5 things you should know about the UN Ocean Conference, a chance to save the planet’s largest ecosystem | | UN News #auspol #EcologicalCrisis #ClimateCrisis #CoralNotCoal demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #IPCCReport

The Ocean is the planet’s largest ecosystem, regulating the climate, and providing livelihoods for billions. But its health is in danger. The second UN Ocean Conference, due to take place in June, will be an important opportunity to redress the damage that mankind continues to inflict on marine life and livelihoods. |

With delegates from Member States, non-governmental organizations, and universities attending, as well as entrepreneurs looking for ways to sustainably develop the “Blue Economy”, there are hopes that this event, taking place in the Portuguese city of Lisbon between 27 June and 1 July, will mark a new era for the Ocean.

1. It’s time to focus on solutions

The first Conference, in 2017, was seen as a game changer in alerting the world to the Ocean’s problems. According to Peter Thomson, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, Lisbon “is going to be about providing solutions to those problems”.

The event is designed to provide a space for the international community to push for the adoption of innovative, science-based solutions for the sustainable management of the oceans, including combating water acidification, pollution, illegal fishing and loss of habitats and biodiversity.

This year’s conference will also determine the level of ambition for the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). The Decade will be a major theme in the conference, and will be the subject of several important events, laying out the vision of a healthier, more sustainable Ocean.

The UN has set 10 ocean-related targets to be achieved over this decade, as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Organisation’s blueprint for a fairer future for people and the planet. They include action to prevent and reducing pollution and acidification, protecting ecosystems, regulating fisheries, and increasing scientific knowledge. At the conference, interactive dialogues will focus on how to address many of these issues.

© Ocean Image Bank/Brook Peters

Fish swim in Red Sea coral reef.

The role of youth will be at the fore in Lisbon, with young entrepreneurs, working on innovative, science-based solutions to critical problems, an important part of the dialogue.

From 24 through 26 June, they will participate in the Youth and Innovation Forum, a platform aimed at helping young entrepreneurs and innovators to scale up their initiatives, projects and ideas, by providing professional training, and matchmaking with mentors, investors, the private sector, and government officials.

The forum will also include an “Innovathon,” where teams of five participants will work together to create and propose new ocean solutions.

2. The stakes are high

The Ocean provides us all with oxygen, food, and livelihoods. It nurtures unimaginable biodiversity, and directly supports human well-being, through food and energy resources.

Besides being a life source, the ocean stabilizes the climate and stores carbon, acting as a giant sink for greenhouse gases.

According to UN data, around 680 million people live in low-lying coastal zones, rising to around one billion by 2050.

Plus, latest analysis estimates that 40 million people will be employed by ocean-based industries by the end of this decade.

3. Spotlight on Kenya and Portugal

Although the Conference is taking place in Portugal, it is being co-hosted by Kenya, where 65 per cent of the coastal population lives in rural areas, engaging primarily in fisheries, agriculture, and mining for their livelihoods. 

A local fisherman in Kenya who depends on fish for food and livelihood.

For Bernadette Loloju, a resident of Samburu County, Kenya, the ocean is important for her country’s people because it allows them to get many of the goods they need. “The ocean contains many living organisms including fish. It also gives us food. When we go to Mombasa city, we enjoy the beach and swim, adding to our happiness”.

Nzambi Matee, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Young Champion of the Earth winner, shares the same vision. Nzambi lives in Nairobi, Kenya, and is the founder of Gjenge Makers, which produces sustainable low-cost construction materials made of recycled plastic waste.

Ms. Matee takes plastic waste from the ocean, fished by fishermen, and converts it into paving bricks – “my work of recycling plastic waste from the ocean has enabled me to employ over 113 youth and women, whom together have produced 300,000 bricks. I get my livelihood from the ocean, and therefore the ocean is life to me”, she said.

The passion for the ocean is shared with Portugal, the largest coastal European Union Member State with some four million kilometers of continuous coastline, and as such, a country that plays a central role in the Atlantic basin.

© Unsplash/Tamas Tuzes-Katai

Nazaré beach in Portugal.

“Our expectations for the UN Oceans Conference are that it will be a conference about action and not just about commitment”, says Catarina Grilo, Director of Conservation and Policy at Associação Natureza Portugal (ANP), a non-governmental organization working in line with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). ANP runs several projects in the areas of marine protection, sustainable fisheries, and ocean conservancy.

“The previous conference in New York was a really good moment to raise awareness about the role of the oceans for humanity’s well-being. At the time we had a lot of voluntary commitments from Member States and non-state organizations, but now it’s time to move from words to actions”.

RE: updated version of draft aerial survey text [SEC=OFFICIAL]

4. The ocean and the global climate are intrinsically linked

The ocean and global climate heavily influence one another in many ways. As the climate crisis continues to pose an existential threat, there are some key metrics scientists are watching closely.

According to the latest climate change report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) global mean sea levels increased at an average of 4.5 mm per year between 2013 and 2021, due to ice sheets melting at an increasing rate.

The ocean absorbs around 23 per cent of CO2 generated by human activity, and when it does, chemical reactions take place, acidifying the seawater. That puts marine environments at risk and, the more acidic the water becomes, the less CO2 it is able to absorb.

Samuel Collins, a project manager at the Oceano Azul Foundation, in Lisbon, believes that the conference will serve as a bridge to COP27, due to take place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt this November.

“The ocean is fundamentally integral to climate. It houses 94 per cent of the living space on the planet. I could reel off statistics that shock us all.”, says the 27-year-old Scot.

“The reason why the products that we buy in the shop are so cheap is because shipping transports 90 per cent of the goods in our homes, so there are many reasons why we are connected to the ocean, whether you’re a landlocked country or not. There’s no living organism on earth that is unaffected by the Ocean”.

Different fish species swim in a marine protected area outside the coast of Malta.

5. What can you do to help? 

We asked some experts – including Catarina Grilo and biologist Nuno Barros at ANP, as well as Sam Collins at Oceano Azul Foundation – what citizens can do to promote a sustainable blue economy, while waiting for decision-makers and world leaders to move into action. Here are some ideas that you can incorporate to your daily lives:

  1. If you eat fish, diversify your diet in terms of seafood consumption, do not always eat the same species. Also avoid consuming top predators and make sure what you eat is coming from responsible sources.
  1. Prevent plastic pollution: with 80 per cent of marine pollution being originated on land, do your part to stop pollution reaching the sea. You can help by using reusable products, avoid consuming disposable products, and also making sure that you are placing your waste in the appropriate bins.

Beach clean-up at Praia da Poça, a popular little beach at the start of the Estoril – Cascais coast, in Portugal. 

  1. Pick up trash from the beach, and do not litter. But also think that any step you can take to reduce your environmental footprint will help the ocean in an indirect way.
  1. Continue to advocate for solutions, whether that’s on the streets, writing letters to decision-makers, signing petitions, or supporting campaigns that aim to influence decision makers, at the national level or at a global level.

— Read on news.un.org/en/story/2022/05/1119192

How Australia’s electoral system allowed voters to finally impose a ceasefire in the climate wars | Michael Mann and Malcolm Turnbull | The Guardian #auspol #ClimateCrisis Demand #ClimateAction #SDG13

Preferential voting opened a pathway for independents to bypass the right’s hyperpartisan approach to climate policy.

For the first time in a long time, climate action had a good election. It’s instructive to ask why. Certainly, the enduring legacy of the “black summer” was part of it. But we must not understate the role that the rise of the teal independents – and the tectonic shift in Australian politics that it represents – played here.

The Labor party government, led by Anthony Albanese, is committed to a 43% reduction in emissions by 2030 (from 2005 levels). As prime minister, one of the co-authors of this piece, Malcolm Turnbull, committed to a target of 26-28% at Paris in 2015, in the expectation that the target would be increased. His successor Scott Morrison’s refusal to do so at the 2020 Glasgow COP was bitterly resented by Australia’s closest allies, including the United States and the United Kingdom.

It seems hard to believe today but there was a time when both major parties agreed on establishing an emissions trading scheme (ETS). It was first proposed by prime minister John Howard in 2006 and the first piece of legislation to set it up was introduced by Turnbull as environment minister the following year.

At the 2007 election Howard and Labor leader Kevin Rudd had a lot of things to argue about, but an ETS was not one of them.

After the election, Rudd retained the same team of public servants who had been working on the ETS under Howard and they produced what Rudd called a carbon pollution reduction scheme (CPRS).

By this time Turnbull was Liberal leader and Opposition leader. His goal was to maintain the Howard-era policy in favour of an ETS and negotiate with Rudd on the terms of it.

However a growing insurgency on the right of the Liberal and National parties, supported by the coal industry and the Murdoch media, resulted in a party room coup that saw Turnbull lose the leadership to Tony Abbott, who then went on to wage a shamefully dishonest, but highly effective, campaign against the CPRS. (There is some poetic justice in the fact that Abbott would later lose his seat to one of the leading independent climate champions, Zali Steggall.)

Now, 13 years and five prime ministers later, any form of ETS has become a political third rail and it does not feature anywhere in Labor’s climate policies.

During the last election Morrison sought to present Labor’s modest 2030 targets as dangerous economy wreckers and he was backed up by the Murdoch media with a campaign that exceeded any before it. 

A lack of climate action at the national level defined the leadership failure of the past eight years. Australians are living with the everyday consequences of this, and we must work quickly to prevent catastrophe. 

The Climate Council’s new report “The Lost Years: Counting the costs of climate inaction in Australia” provides a detailed overview of the Federal Government’s approach to climate change since the election of the Liberal-National Coalition in 2013. The Climate Council has assessed the Federal Government’s climate performance over the past eight years in detail and finds there’s was a complete and catastrophic failure to act on the climate crisis. 

When asked to rate the government’s performance on climate change and response to worsening extreme weather events, everyday Australians gave an overall 3 out of 10. One in four (26%) surveyed rated the Morrison Government a 0 for ‘not doing anything at all’. 

The past eight years have been characterised by cuts to climate-related funding and effective programs, the rejection of advice from scientists and both national and international expert bodies, a lack of credible climate policy and claims that mislead the public on what’s being done as well as what’s possible.

Australia’s new Labor Government must adopt credible climate policies as a matter of extreme urgency.

The Lost Years

If you saw the election as being one where a climate laggard government was replaced by another with a more activist approach, you would miss the real story.

Sure, Labor won, we have a new prime minister and that will enable Australia – the only developed country not to increase its 2030 target at Glasgow – to rejoin the global effort to cut emissions with credibility.

In a parliamentary system like Australia, winning government means winning the support of a majority of members in the House of Representatives or its equivalent. So typically a political party will have electorates in which its members have large majorities and others where the majorities are slender – a few percent. Government is won or lost in these marginal seats, they can be lost at one election and won back at another.

That means the bedrock of a political party’s parliamentary power lies in its safest seats – the ones they can always rely on winning.

But in this latest election, the “teal” independents, so called for the colour of their campaign livery, succeeded in winning six of the Liberal party’s safest seats, including Turnbull’s old electorate of Wentworth, which he had held with a 67% majority.

Together with three others won in earlier elections, this meant that nine of the Liberal party’s safest, wealthiest seats were now held by independents, all women, who had persuaded thousands of lifetime Liberal voters to defect.

Greens Leader Adam Bandt

In Australia, once an independent wins a seat they are generally very hard to dislodge.

What lessons does all of this have for the fraught climate policy debate for the world’s largest cumulative carbon polluter, the United States?

How, for example, did Australia manage to defeat the Murdoch climate disinformation machine, which has so effectively waged war on climate policy in the US for years? Murdoch outlets such as Fox News and the Wall Street Journal editorial pages have almost single-handedly created the asymmetric polarisation of the American political right that today serves as such a formidable obstacle to meaningful action on climate.

Two Down One To Go

Murdoch has an even greater stranglehold on the Australian media. Yet several features of Australia’s electoral system made it resistant to Murdoch’s influence. The boundaries of parliamentary districts are set by an independent electoral commission and have been for generations – there are no gerrymanders. Voting is compulsory and participation is always well over 90%.

Both policy goals are laudable, but they’re an uphill battle in the US, likely to be fought out bitterly along red state/blue state boundaries.

Finally, and most importantly, though, Australia has preferential or ranked choice voting, where electors have to write a number against each candidate’s name indicating the order in which they are preferred. Right now, ranked choice voting is the law in only two US states, but interestingly, they aren’t blue states: they’re purple (Maine) and deep red (Alaska). This may explain why the two Republican Senators from those States – Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins – are more centrist than most of their Trump-dominated caucus.

A growing number of cities and municipalities have implemented ranked choice, which experiences levels of bipartisan support that are unusual in today’s hyperpartisan American politics. And 29 states are now considering implementing it.

The teal independents in Australia were running against Liberal incumbents, most of whom would normally get a first-preference vote of 50% or more. However if they could take a substantial part of that and get the incumbent’s primary vote down to 40% or less, and if they ran second, they would probably win with the benefit of Labor and Green preferences. And this is more or less what happened.

So a big tent political party was captured by the political right and on several issues, especially climate, and dragged to a position that did not reflect the values of many of its lifetime voters. But the flexibility of preferential voting meant that an independent could come through the middle, offering voters policies and personalities that they wanted.

People power trumped Murdoch. Perhaps it can do so in the US.

Americans have nothing to lose and everything to gain, including a return, like Australia, to a position of global leadership on climate

Michael E Mann is distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Pennsylvania State University. He is author of The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet

Malcolm Turnbull is former prime minister of Australia and author of A Bigger Picture

— Read on www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/may/28/how-australias-electoral-system-allowed-voters-to-finally-impose-a-ceasefire-in-the-climate-wars

Minerals and Materials Blindness

G7 agrees ′concrete steps′ to phase out coal |DW | #auspol #EcologicalCrisis #ClimateCrisis demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #TellTheTruth #IPCCReport #CoralNotCoal #FundOurFutureNotGas

At the end of their Berlin summit, G7 energy and climate ministers pledged to largely stop generating electricity with fossil fuels by 2035.

The move comes amid unease over energy security due to the war in Ukraine.

Climate and energy ministers from the Group of 7 (G7) wealthy nations pledged on Friday to significantly curb the use of coal and other fossil fuels in electricity production — with the goal of an “eventual” complete phaseout, according to a final communique seen by DW.

The announcement by Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Canada and the US — at the end of a three-day summit in Berlin — comes as Europe scrambles to find new energy sources and cut its reliance on Russian oil and gas over the war in Ukraine.

Germany, which is the current chair of the G7, has insisted that finding alternative fossil fuels would not happen at the expense of environmental goals.

When it took office in December, the German coalition government vowed to bring forward the country’s own coal phaseout plan by eight years to 2030 and has been pushing other G7 nations to bring forward their plans.

A lack of climate action at the national level was the defining leadership failure of the past eight years. Australians are living with the everyday consequences of this, and we must work quickly to prevent catastrophe. 

The Climate Council’s report “The Lost Years: Counting the costs of climate inaction in Australia” provides a detailed overview of the Federal Government’s approach to climate change since the election of the Liberal-National Coalition in 2013. The Climate Council has assessed the Federal Government’s climate performance over the past eight years in detail and finds there’s been a complete and catastrophic failure to act on the climate crisis. 

When asked to rate the government’s performance on climate change and response to worsening extreme weather events, everyday Australians gave an overall 3 out of 10. One in four (26%) surveyed rated the Morrison Government a 0 for ‘not doing anything at all’. 

The Lost Years

Is coal making a comeback in Germany?

Australia‘s new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese promises Climate Action

What exactly did G7 ministers agree on?

G7 ministers made their first commitment to quit coal-fueled power, which is responsible for a large chunk of global greenhouse gas emissions.

In a joint communique, they agreed to “further commit to a goal of achieving predominantly decarbonized electricity sectors by 2035,” which included “concrete and timely steps towards the goal of an eventual phase-out of domestic unabated coal power generation.”

The ministers said they would raise their ambitions with regard to renewable energies and “rapidly scale up the necessary technologies and policies for the clean energy transition.”

What else did they commit to?

  • The G7, including Japan for the first time, agreed to end financing of fossil fuel projects abroad by the end of the year, with a few exceptions like those approved for national security and geostrategic interests.
  • Acknowledging for the first time that fossil fuel subsidies are incompatible with the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, the ministers said they would end subsidies for heavily-polluting fuels by 2025.
  • For the first time, the G7 recognizes that it must support vulnerable countries in dealing with the effects of climate change. They pledged to increase climate finance for developing countries by 2025.
  • Ministers called on the world’s development banks to submit their plans in time for the United Nations climate summit COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, in November.
  • In another first, they also committed to securing a highly decarbonized transport sector by 2030 by increasing the use of zero-emission vehicles and pledged to decarbonize industry — particularly within the steel and cement sector.
  • Ministers said they would also boost cooperation on green hydrogen projects and the final communique also included a strong emphasis on protecting biodiversity, the oceans and fighting plastic pollution.

‘Strong signal’ to rest of world 

German Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck said the agreement would send out a “strong signal” about the urgent need to protect the climate.

“Nobody here needs to convince themselves that we are proud pioneers of climate protection. But we’re trying to catch up on what didn’t go well enough in the past —  and that’s also the case with climate finance.”

“That we reward climate-damaging behavior, either through direct subsidies or through tax advantages… is absurd and this absurdity has to be stopped,” Habeck told a news conference.

German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke said the talks were a success because “the three existential crises of our time” — climate change, the global extinction of species and plastic waste — were “thought through together.”

“The crises are very closely linked,” Lemke emphasized and the solutions should also be solved together.

Reacting to the pledge, Alden Meyer, senior associate at climate policy think tank E3G, said it was “good that Japan, the world’s largest financier of fossil fuels, has now joined the other G7 countries in making a shared commitment to end overseas fossil fuel financing.” 

David Ryfisch of the Germanwatch environmental group said the agreement was “significant progress” as it had come during “a very difficult geopolitical situation.” 

We need to talk – about climate change

Germany, US sign pact on renewal energy

Also on Friday, Germany and the US signed a declaration of intent to take a lead role internationally in setting the framework for a successful energy transition to protect the climate.

The focus is on hydrogen, offshore wind power, zero-emission vehicles and on support for third countries, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on the sidelines of the G7 talks.

US climate envoy John Kerry spoke of the economic opportunities around climate protection, describing it as “the biggest market the world has ever seen.” 

He said protecting the planet would become much more expensive if investments aren’t made soon enough.

With their cooperation, both allies said they want to encourage other countries to also seize the opportunities of the energy transition.

Edited by: Rebecca Staudenmaier

— Read on www.dw.com/en/g7-agrees-concrete-steps-to-phase-out-coal/a-61948076

Is degrowth wrong? – Resilience #auspol #EcologicalCrisis #Overshoot #ClimateCrisis #IPCCReport #LimitsToGrowth #FundOurFutureNotGas #CoralNotCoal demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #DoughtnutEconomics

I see degrowth as an opportunity to recentre our economies on what really matters (so very much in the spirit of the wellbeing economy).

By Timothée Parrique

I miss critiques of degrowth. A few years back, a single online search for the term would unleash a stream of fury. But no more. In fact, I cannot remember the last time I stumbled upon a well-argued critique. Why degrowth is wrong by Adam Lee is definitely not one of them – not even close (I will soon show that it is substandardly poor). And yet there is something vintage about it. Something that makes me nostalgic of the good old bot-like written boo-hoos.

Meadows, Randers, and Meadows are international environmental leaders recognized for their groundbreaking research into early signs of wear on the planet. Citing climate change as the most tangible example of our current overshoot, the scientists now provide us with an updated scenario and a plan to reduce our needs to meet the carrying capacity of the planet.

Over the past three decades, population growth and global warming have forged on with a striking semblance to the scenarios laid out by the World3 computer model in the original Limits to Growth. While Meadows, Randers, and Meadows do not make a practice of predicting future environmental degradation, they offer an analysis of present and future trends in resource use, and assess a variety of possible outcomes.

In many ways, the message contained in Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update is a warning. Overshoot cannot be sustained without collapse. But, as the authors are careful to point out, there is reason to believe that humanity can still reverse some of its damage to Earth if it takes appropriate measures to reduce inefficiency and waste.

Limits to Growth

Step 1: Is degrowth necessary? 

Degrowth is cramped, pessimistic vision of the future. Fortunately, it’s also completely wrong.” I was already thinking that the title of the piece (“degrowth is wrong”) was a bit presumptuous (it brings flashbacks of Matt Huber trying to “destroy degrowth with facts and logic” or Noah Smith attempting to show that “degrowth is bad economics”), but the addition of “completely” turns up the volume. But is it really?

We’re nowhere close to the physical limits of what’s possible” sounds like the opening line of a 1950 economics textbook. In 2022 however, such a statement is as false as it gets. Don’t trust me for it, just read the latest IPCC report or the latest IPBES report (if you’ve never heard these acronyms before – which is probably the case for someone who ends up making such a claim – I strongly suggest you refrain from writing about sustainability). Long story short: we are already in a situation of global ecological overshoot, with cases of super-overshoot in most high-income nations. (This study is only a few months old, but since its publication, scientists discovered that another one of the nine planetary boundaries had been crossed.)

Our day-to-day experiences over the past decade have taught us that there must be limits to our tremendous appetite for energy, natural resources, and consumer goods. Even utility and oil companies now promote conservation in the face of demands for dwindling energy reserves. And for years some biologists have warned us of the direct correlation between scarcity and population growth. These scientists see an appalling future riding the tidal wave of a worldwide growth of population and technology.


The good kind of growth comes from technological improvements that allow us to make more stuff quicker, more efficiently and with less effort.” Let me translate in more precise terms: technological progress can decouple economic growth from environmental pressures – the so-called “green growth.” This is a well-known hypothesis, but it remains just that, a hypothesis. After spending considerable time studying the scientific literature on the topic (1234), my view is that the story of growth turning green is both mistaken and deceiving.

It is mistaken because it is simply not true. Proof: this systematic review of the empirical literature on decoupling (835 studies) concludes that “large rapid absolute reductions of resource use and GHG emissions cannot be achieved through observed decoupling rates.” This is the most solid empirical fact we have: GDP and environmental pressures have until now always been tightly coupled.

It is deceiving because it assumes that this decoupling can happen in the future. I don’t think it can, as I explained in the last part of Decoupling debunked. And even if it could, it wouldn’t happen fast enough to make it an effective mitigation strategy. Risk compensation theory may have been debunked (the author claims), but the theory of the rebound effect has not (again, if you’ve never heard about the term, drop the pen, you’re punching above your weight).

It is time to admit that we are not living in a solar punk world where Hextech alchemy allows us to bypass the laws of nature. As the author writes himself: basic physics can’t be denied. If that is true, how are we supposed to produce an ever-increasing quantity of batteries, solar panels, robots, and 3D printers in a world with limited materials? The laws of thermodynamics impose limits to how much matter and energy we can use, just like the laws of biology impose limits to the services ecosystems can provide. How much vertical farming can you do without pollinators, fertile soil, and clean water? (I remind you that biodiversity is currently collapsing, precisely because of economic growth.) Bottom line: the decoupling hypothesis makes for good sci-fi novels, but it’s not a serious ground for policy-making.

The Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries (2017)

Humanity’s 21st century challenge is to meet the needs of all within the means of the planet. In other words, to ensure that no one falls short on life’s essentials (from food and housing to healthcare and political voice), while ensuring that collectively we do not overshoot our pressure on Earth’s life-supporting systems, on which we fundamentally depend – such as a stable climate, fertile soils, and a protective ozone layer. The Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries is a playfully serious approach to framing that challenge, and it acts as a compass for human progress this century.

Doughnut Economics

Step 2: Is degrowth urgent?

There are billions of people still seeking to rise out of poverty [and] we owe it to them to make this possible.” Now, explain to me how affluent consumers in rich countries getting SUVs, updating their smartphones every year, or more generally earning more money is going to help them? Fact: it won’t because it does precisely the opposite.

We’ve long known that that the bulk of environmental pressures is exerted by the richest (e.g., the top 10% generates around half of all emissions), and that the degradation they cause harms the poor first and hardest (e.g., this is one of the key messages of the latest IPCC report). But now, we also know that high-footprint lifestyles in rich regions of the world directly deprive poorer countries of their resources (that’s the theory of unequal exchange123). This is why degrowth targets high-income nations; it’s not a universal recipe, but rather a macroeconomic diet for these few nations and classes who live above their sustainable means.

I can hear many of you saying: yes, but these countries who sell resources get money for it, which helps them to develop. But here is the disturbing paradox of global capitalism: even money flows upward the wealth distribution. Powerful nations make everything they can to keep Southern prices low as to be able to import cheaply (think of the cheap labour used to manufacture our smartphones). And they also make everything they call to keep Northern prices high in order to sell dearly (over-priced medicine is a good example). As a result, for every unit of labour that the South imports from the North, they have to export thirteen units to pay for it. Overtime, this means international trade makes the least powerful countries poorer, and not the opposite.

Add to that the repayment of debts and you get yourself a perfect loot. Between 1973 and 1993, the global South debt grew from $100 billion to $1.5 trillion, out of which only $400 billion was actually borrowed money, the rest being cumulated interest. Calling the accumulation of wealth in the North “growth” is maliciously misleading. In reality, it is closer to an economic raid.

What humanity needs is not growth, but rather a more equitable sharing of wealth in all the forms it takes, including nature. Acknowledging that North America and Europe are responsible for half of all emissions since 1850, and that the remaining carbon budget is rather small (11 years at current levels of emissions), would it not make more sense to preserve as much of this budget as possible for those who would benefit the most from using it? Said differently, do we prefer to burn our last barrels of oil to upgrade Western cars to SUVs or to build solar panels, water pipes, and hospitals in the global South?

This logic applies to all natural resources. Wealthy consumers eat more steaks, take more planes, build more houses, etc. but at the expense of less biodiversity, water, and food sovereignty in countries who must deforest to supply the global North with cheap feedstock, less climate stability, and less minerals available to build renewable energy infrastructure. In a world in ecological overshoot, too-much somewhere systematically means not-enough elsewhere.

“We are simply talking about the very life support system of this planet.”
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Germany’s former chief climate scientist (2009)

“Burning all fossil fuels would create a very different planet than the one that humanity knows. The palaeoclimate record and ongoing climate change make it clear that the climate system would be pushed beyond tipping points, setting in motion irreversible changes, including ice sheet disintegration with a continually adjusting shoreline, extermination of a substantial fraction of species on the planet, and increasingly devastating regional climate extremes” and “this equates 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day 365 days per year” . James Hansen et al. 2012 and James Hansen 2012. 

Planetwide Ecocide

Step 3: Is degrowth desirable?

For Adam Lee, degrowth is a “cramped, pessimistic vision of the future.” It brings visions of scarcity, hardship, and sacrifice. I understand how one may, at first sight, perceive degrowth as such, but what I will try to show is that the very same process the author fears could also be celebrated.0

Just so readers don’t get the wrong idea. I’m not implying that degrowth is going to be all joy and giggles. Adapting to a life without fossil fuels will demand radical lifestyle changes, and the dangers to avoid on the way are manifold (unemployment, austerity politics, inequality, authoritarian populism, etc.). But there is a silver lining: What if producing and consuming less was a means to liberate time and energy for other, more meaningful pursuits?

Imagine if all the people currently working bullshit jobs, making ads, selling cars, and speculating on financial markets were suddenly free to do whatever they wanted? For my part, I see degrowth as an opportunity to recentre our economies on what really matters (so very much in the spirit of eco-socialismwellbeing economy, and buen vivir). Today, we ‘invest’ in companies, cryptocurrencies, and real estate hoping we’ll make a profit out of it. But what about investing in more sleep, in quality relationships, or in a thriving nature? This may mean a smaller GDP, but it sounds like a better society.

We might have to get rid of our cars and rely on mass transit.” Would you even need a car if you were working closer from home, if you could easily ride a bike to work, if your kids could safely go to school in a walking bus, or if you had access to high-quality public transports?

We might all have to move into small apartments, abandoning suburban houses with big backyards.” Who would need a suburban backyard in a city scattered with community gardens, food forests, and public parks? Would you miss living alone in a large suburban mansion in a world with merry co-living and co-housing arrangements?

No more coffee or bananas or strawberries in winter.” Would you regret your tasteless frappuccino in a world where your edible garden alone contains a dozen different herbal teas? Would you really miss your banana after rediscovering thousand different varieties of apples? Would you even want to eat strawberries in Winter after discovering the thrills of seasonal eating?

At this point, it is perhaps tempting to brush away these utopian depictions of life after capitalism. I don’t care, one may say, I just want my car, my mansion, and my fucking strawberries. But not that fast. Here comes the reminder of what we previously discussed: this is not really a choice. I mean, it is a choice, but one with heavy consequences. Are we willing to risk the collapse of planetary ecosystems for exotic smoothies and sport cars? I prefer to think about it this way: the joys of voluntary simplicity and shared conviviality can be the silver lining of a well-planned transition to a smaller economy, even though it should not detract from the fact that degrowth is necessary and urgent.


Degrowth might be wrong, but it will take more than a two-page mumble to convince me that it is. Why degrowth is wrong is the archetypical degrowth hit-and-run. No references, no numbers, no theories, no definitions – just one opinion served raw.  If it convinced me of anything, it is that those who want to criticise degrowth really need to up their game. There is much to criticise, and I do a fair share of it myself, but this shallow pestering is not moving the discussion forward.

— Read on www.resilience.org/stories/2022-05-26/a-response-to-adam-lee-is-degrowth-wrong/

Minerals and Materials Blindness

Can We Get Serious Now? – by Henrik Nordborg #ClimateCrisis #auspol Demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #TellTheTruth #IPCCReport #ClimateEmergency Our ship is sinking!

Why we are being lied to and what to do about it.


Imagine that we are all on board a sinking ship. There are big holes in the hull, and we are taking in water at an increasing rate. Various people are pretending to do something about it. The scientists are trying to figure out how much water the ship can hold before it sinks. The engineers are designing pumps to keep the leaking ship afloat. The economists just want to keep the casino open. And everyone agrees that it will be the people traveling in third class who will drown first. Strangely enough, very few people seem interested in plugging the holes. On the contrary, the most lucrative job on the ship is drilling new ones. The second most lucrative is making sure that poor people remain on the lower decks.

When it comes to climate change, this metaphor is too close for comfort. The greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are rising at an accelerating rate, and unless we break this trend, any discussion over carbon budgets is pointless. The only reason for the increase is that we have drilled holes in the crust of the Earth, from which we extract coal, oil, and gas. We know that the fossil fuels in the ground and the oxygen in the air were both created by the same process – almost a billion years of photosynthesis – but we have reversed it to enable economic growth. Somehow, capitalism and short-term profits are still considered more important than the future of humanity and the global ecosystem. We keep arguing over technologies rather than focusing on the most important task: phasing out gas, coal, and oil as quickly as possible. How can anyone believe that we will prevent the climate crisis when fossil fuel extraction is still the world’s most lucrative business? Why does anyone think that governments are serious about stopping climate change when they continue to subsidize fossil fuels and spend twice as much money on protecting their borders as on protecting the climate? 

The problem is that the governments of the Global North have decided that climate change cannot be prevented at a reasonable cost and are now preparing for the inevitable climate disaster by strengthening their defenses to keep the huddled masses out. As their armies require large quantities of oil to operate, they are essentially “feeding the crocodile, hoping that it will eat them last.” They cannot openly admit this and therefore resort to the kind of political language brilliantly described by George Orwell in 1946:

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. 

If you are looking for modern examples of this phenomenon, the mission statement of Frontex is an excellent place to start: The European Area of Freedom, Security and Justice. There are good reasons for keeping climate refugees out of Europe, but they are hardly compatible with the notion of universal human rights and the avowed aims of our political parties.

We live in faux democracies, where the public is encouraged to participate in the political process on irrelevant issues but is kept in the dark on important matters. We saw this during the financial crisis of 2008, and we see it today with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Fundamental decisions about saving the global financial system and rewriting national defense and security policies are made behind closed doors without any involvement of the public. Germany, a country that has spent decades arguing over speed limits on the Autobahn, was prepared to change its entire post-war approach to foreign policy and massively boost defense spending without any political debate. Whether this decision was correct or not is irrelevant. The point is that a major crisis was used to ram through political decisions that would otherwise have been difficult. This is Disaster Capitalism at its best.

Humanity’s 21st century challenge is to meet the needs of all within the means of the planet. In other words, to ensure that no one falls short on life’s essentials (from food and housing to healthcare and political voice), while ensuring that collectively we do not overshoot our pressure on Earth’s life-supporting systems, on which we fundamentally depend – such as a stable climate, fertile soils, and a protective ozone layer. The Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries is a playfully serious approach to framing that challenge, and it acts as a compass for human progress this century.

The Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries (2017)

The rich and the powerful who run the show are not stupid but rather rational, unscrupulous, greedy, and power-hungry. They realized a long time ago that their lifestyle is incompatible with a finite planet and that the kind of global collaboration and solidarity required to prevent climate disaster is extremely unlikely. However, they are delighted to hear that the poorest and most vulnerable will suffer the worst consequences, especially in the Global South. The choice between sacrificing power and wealth or letting poor people die is easy.

As long as you continue to drill holes in the hull, you are not really trying to salvage the ship. Likewise, saving the only habitable planet in the known universe does not involve extracting non-renewable natural resources and destroying ecosystems at an accelerating rate. Stating that we never tried to stop climate change would be too polite. The truth is that the people in charge decided that it was not worthwhile. And as usual with significant decisions, they did not bother to consult the rest of us.

The people running the show always knew that they were wrecking the planet, which is why additional research was never going to change anything. For them, climate protection was simply a “cure worse than the disease.” In the short run, they are probably right. And in the long run, we are all dead. 

How do we get out of this mess? Appealing to the sense of altruism of the global elite is not going to work. On the other hand, launching a popular uprising to abolish capitalism is also likely to fail, as the global elite is too powerful, and we do not have a generally accepted alternative to the existing system. Because of this, revolutions in the past have typically been chaotic and bloody affairs with disappointing outcomes. 

To defeat the people in power, we need to divide and conquer. The introduction of a global carbon tax would deal a major blow to global capitalism by invalidating any business models dependent on fossil fuels. Without access to cheap fossil fuels, most large corporations would not be able to operate. If the tax revenue were fairly distributed, the poor would not have to suffer. Oil companies do not care whether they generate their profits from destroying the planet or taking money from the rich, as long as they make a profit. After all, it is easier to sell one barrel of oil for $1000 than ten barrels for $100 each. But the impact on the environment is a lot smaller with one barrel.

Rather than attacking the fossil fuel companies directly, Global Climate Compensation uses them as tax collectors. They are allowed to continue to operate as long as they take money from the rich and give it to the poor. In the short run, this would solve their image problem without significantly hurting their bottom line. And we know that they do not care about long-term consequences.

— Read on henriknordborg.substack.com/p/can-we-get-serious-now

Climate Policies for a sensible government. #auspol #ClimateAction #SDG13 #TellTheTruth #IPCCReport #FundOurFutureNotGas #CoralNotCoal

Humanity’s 21st century challenge is to meet the needs of all within the means of the planet. In other words, to ensure that no one falls short on life’s essentials (from food and housing to healthcare and political voice), while ensuring that collectively we do not overshoot our pressure on Earth’s life-supporting systems, on which we fundamentally depend – such as a stable climate, fertile soils, and a protective ozone layer. The Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries is a playfully serious approach to framing that challenge, and it acts as a compass for human progress this century.

The Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries (2017)

Every City Needs a Chief Heat Officer | Foreign Affairs #auspol #qldpol #ClimateCrisis #TellTheTruth #IPCCReport demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #FundOurFutureNotGas #CoralNotCoal

Kathy Baughman McLeod argues a first step toward adapting to deadly high temperatures as a result of global warming is to hire more Chief Heating Officers.


The Northern Hemisphere is heading into what will surely be another of the hottest summers on record. Texas has already seen more days registering about 90 degrees

According to the United NationsIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), this heating trend will continue even if countries immediately slash their carbon emissions to zero. Any reductions in emissions will merely stave off the worst effects of global heating—and it is far from assured that countries will take the steps needed to do so.

Rising temperatures kill. During a heat wave in June 2021, roughly 600 peopleWashington and Oregon died from causes likely due to or exacerbated by rising temperatures.

The same heat dome killed more than 500 people in British Columbia, not to mention some one billion marine animals. Extreme weather also damages infrastructure, buckling roads and bending rail lines. Most airplanes cannot take off above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and mobile phones cease to function when the temperature hits 105 degrees.

Global warming

City dwellers—some 55 percent of the world’s population, or about 4.2 billion people—are especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The asphalt, cement, glass, and steel that are features of most urban areas are especially efficient at absorbing, retaining, and emanating heat. The so-called heat island effect can cause temperatures up to sevendegrees Fahrenheit hotter in urban environments than in suburbs and rural regions, which have more green space and foliage.

A relatively simple way in which cities can protect their residents is by putting someone in charge of responding to the most harmful effects of climate change. After all, cities have departments for fighting fires and for coordinating responses to regional floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes. But just a handful of cities in the world have someone whose job it is to craft and implement plans to respond to rising temperatures. To save lives, every municipal leader should appoint a chief heat officer, or CHO.


In 2020, the city of Miami hired a chief heat officer—the first position of its kind in the world. Since then, Phoenix—one of the most rapidly heating cities in the United States—funded an Office of Heat Response and Mitigation. Athens hired its CHO last summer, as did Freetown, Sierra Leone. Monterrey, Mexico, and the Metropolitan region of Santiago, Chile, followed suit in spring of 2022.

To save lives, every municipal leader should appoint a chief heat officer.

In some cases, CHOs will find that a vital step they must take to protect their residents is to overhaul their system of data collection. That was the experience of Miami CHO Jane Gilbert. As in many parts of the United States, Miami’s primary weather station and temperature monitors were located at its airport. Many of Miami’s poorer, most at-risk residents, however, live in treeless, asphalt-heavy neighborhoods that regularly register temperatures five or even ten degrees hotter. Gilbert worked with volunteers and scholars at the University of Miami and at Florida International University to place sensors throughout Miami-Dade County to capture the temperature differentials. These readings are reported on the news and over the radio, so that residents can prepare for extreme temperatures and seek out cool places on the hottest days.

CHOs outside the United States have also launched programs that offer lessons for U.S. municipal leaders. The CHO of Athens, Eleni Myrivili, has compiled a regional cooling guidebook that highlights technical recommendations for specific tree species and their location, and placement of green spaces such as parks. It includes designs for adding water—including pop-up water features and streams—to public spaces. The overall goal of Myrivili’s guide is to give community leaders the information that they need to prepare for a hotter world and to equip urban planners, procurement teams, engineers, and contractors with new ways of approaching municipal design.

In Freetown, Sierra Leone, the city’s CHO, Eugenia Kargbo, is enlisting some 2,000 women who work in unshaded market stalls throughout the city to design structures to protect their workplaces from the sun. Kargbo’s hope is that this will not just help women in the markets cope with the effects of heat but also help spread awareness about the risks that high temperatures pose to families across the city. A particular challenge for Freetown is the rising number of torrential rainstorms, which have increased the incidence of waterborne diseases such as bacterial infections. Kargbo is working closely with Freetown’s sanitation department to address these public health impacts by hosting community workshops to inform residents and brainstorming responses in conjunction with the city’s sanitation team.

Kargbo’s work in this area calls to mind the late 1800s, when cities were first forming public health and fire departments. Municipalities, of course, worked to address disease and fires before these entities existed, but they generally did so in an ad hoc manner. Only once they created an organizational structure to deal with the challenges could they systematically tackle the problem and its root causes. Without fire departments coordinating responses, conflagrations burned out of control. But once departments became a mainstay of city government, big burns became far rarer.


Enlisting members of the community to address the challenge of extreme heat can help protect vulnerable urban residents. In Miami, for example, Gilbert created a “heat enhancement” training program for emergency response volunteers. At the end of each training, participants receive a tool kit containing a thermometer, instant ice packs, electrolytes, and cooling towels so they can treat victims of heat stroke. Making this a national initiative would save lives. Often, the people most vulnerable to extreme heat do not consider themselves at risk, and thus don’t heed warnings. Expanding the number of people who can provide first aid would allow for treatment in cases where medical personnel aren’t present and cannot arrive at the scene quickly.

Community outreach will also help raise awareness about the dangers of extreme heat—which is, in many ways, an invisible problem. Unlike hurricanes and tornadoes, heat waves don’t make for dramatic television. But like storms, heat waves are discrete events that can be planned for. Naming and categorizing heat waves would help draw more public attention to the phenomenon and is currently being tested in six cities including Athens, Greece and Seville, Spain.

As hot as this year will be, it will also be one of the coolest for at least the next century. Urban dwellers—who compose 86 percent of the U.S. population—are at particular risk. Mayors and city leaders would do well to appoint CHOs and empower them to do the hard and necessary work to help populations survive deadly rising temperatures and tack toward a cooler future.

— Read on www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2022-05-26/every-city-needs-chief-heat-officer

Humanity’s 21st century challenge is to meet the needs of all within the means of the planet.

In other words, to ensure that no one falls short on life’s essentials (from food and housing to healthcare and political voice), while ensuring that collectively we do not overshoot our pressure on Earth’s life-supporting systems, on which we fundamentally depend – such as a stable climate, fertile soils, and a protective ozone layer.

The Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries is a playfully serious approach to framing that challenge, and it acts as a compass for human progress this century.

Doughnut Economics

Disaster prevention, risk reduction, critical to sustainable future: UN deputy chief | | UN News. #ClimateCrisis #EcologicalCrisis demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #SDGs #auspol #TellTheTruth #IPCCReport #FundOurFutureNotGas

The world will experience 1.5 medium to large-scale disasters every day through the end of the decade, unless countries ramp up action on prevention and risk reduction, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said in Bali, Indonesia, on Wednesday. |

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed (third left) visits the UN in Indonesia booth at the first post-pandemic global disaster summit in Bali.

Ms. Mohammed was speaking at the opening of the Seventh Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction – the first international forum on the issue since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – bringing together governments, the UN and key stakeholders.

During the three-day meeting, participants will take stock of implementation of a 2015 agreement known as the Sendai Framework, which aims to protect development gains from the risk of disaster.

Climate Visuals Countdown/Debsuddha Banerjee
Coastal protection measures are being undertaken in India due to rising sea levels.

Resilient future

The UN deputy chief told participants that the world is looking to the forum for leadership, wisdom, and expertise.

“The decisions you take can play a significant part in preventing another calamity like the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.  “We can – and we must – put our efforts firmly behind prevention and risk reduction, and build a safe, sustainable, resilient and equitable future for all.”

Disasters are already hampering global efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Lessons from COVID-19

Stressing the need for urgency, Ms. Mohammed outlined four areas for action, starting with learning from the pandemic.

“We must secure better coherence and implementation of the humanitarian development nexus.  That means improving risk governance. Because despite our efforts, risk creation is outpacing risk reduction,” she said.

Ms. Mohammed noted that currently, there are no governance frameworks in place to manage risks and to mitigate their impact. She said the UN’s 2022 Global Assessment Report, published last month, outlines ways in which governance systems can evolve to better address systemic risks. 

The report “makes clear that in a world of uncertainty, understanding and reducing risk, is fundamental to achieving sustainable development”, she added.

Invest in data

For her second point, Ms. Mohammed emphasized the importance of investing in stronger data capabilities.  

She pointed to “new multilateral instruments” in this area, such as the UN’s Complex Risk Analytics Fund, which supports “data ecosystems” that can better anticipate, prevent, and respond to complex threats, before they turn into full-blown disasters

“This includes jointly developing risk analysis, and investing in coordination and data infrastructure that enables knowledge-sharing and joint anticipatory action. Such investments will us help us navigate complex risks earlier, faster, and in a more targeted and efficient manner,” she said.

Mangroves serve as a protective ecosystem for the community of Punta de Miguel near Ecuador’s border with Colombia.

Support vulnerable countries

As the world’s Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States suffer disproportionately during disasters, her third point centred on giving greater focus to them. 

Disasters in these countries can wipe out decades of development progress and economic growth, she said, with very serious long-term economic and social consequences. 

“We urgently need to step up international cooperation for prevention and disaster risk reduction in the most vulnerable countries and for the most vulnerable communities, including women and girls, people with disabilities, the poor, marginalized and isolated,” she said.

The Climate Council’s new report ‘The Lost Years: Counting the Costs of Climate Inaction in Australia’ has found that the Federal Liberal-National Government has overwhelmingly failed on climate action over its three terms of government. 

As Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie says “The record is clear, in eight years, the Federal Government’s decisions have exacerbated the climate crisis and they have tried to cover up their policy failings. Australians have lost almost a decade of what should’ve been our moment to take strong and bold action on climate.” 

We call on all parties to get emissions plummeting THIS DECADE. There’s no more time to waste.

The Lost Years

Early warning saves lives

Ms. Mohammed listed the provision of Early Warning Systems as one example of an effective measure that provides a considerable return on investment.

She said the UN Secretary-General has asked the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to present an action plan at the next UN Climate Conference (COP27), to be held in Egypt in November, aimed at ensuring that every person on earth is covered by Early Warning Systems within five years.   

For her final point, Ms. Mohammed called for the public and financial sectors to be “risk proofed”, stating that “we need to ‘think resilience’, account for the real cost of disasters and incentivize risk reduction, to stop the spiral of disaster losses.”

Governments also need to factor disaster risk reduction into financial frameworks, while “alternative measurements, beyond Gross Domestic Product, should take account of disaster risk and resilience.”

Aerial view of damage caused by Hurricane Irma in Antigua and Barbuda (2017).

Resilience ‘must be our mantra’: Shahid

The President of the UN General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid, said that one overriding lesson of COVID and the climate crisis, was that those who are furthest behind, and who suffer the most are “far to often, wiped away by whatever crisis comes their way.”

“Our recovery from the pandemic must reflect this knowledge. Resilience, must be our mantra”, he said.

“Every new building, every new social programme, every budget and every initiative must be designed and executed in a way that reduces risk. It must be embedded into everything we do, from the very beginning, and cross-checked at each step of the way.

“And the importance, no, the necessity, of this will only increase.”

Mr. Shahid said the requirement now, was for a “transformative recovery” that makes up for gaps in economic, social, and environmental policies, and over production and consumption.

“Everything about the way we live on this planet, must now be seen through a precautionary lens, ever mindful of the volatility that exists, and laser focused on covering gaps and strengthening defences.

Such a recovery, he said, “requires more than policy, it requires whole-of-society ownership.”

Seize the moment

The Seventh Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction was organized by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and is being hosted by the Government of Indonesia. 

President Joko Widodo said his country is highly prone to disasters.

“In 2022, as of May 23, 1,300 disasters have taken place, and in a month, on average, 500 earthquakes happened,” he said.

“Therefore, at the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, today, the government of Indonesia offers to the world the concept of resilience as a solution to mitigate all forms of disasters, including pandemics.”

President Widodo also called on all nations to “commit and be serious” in implementing the Sendai Framework.

— Read on news.un.org/en/story/2022/05/1119042

The Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries (2017)

Humanity’s 21st century challenge is to meet the needs of all within the means of the planet.

In other words, to ensure that no one falls short on life’s essentials (from food and housing to healthcare and political voice), while ensuring that collectively we do not overshoot our pressure on Earth’s life-supporting systems, on which we fundamentally depend – such as a stable climate, fertile soils, and a protective ozone layer.

The Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries is a playfully serious approach to framing that challenge, and it acts as a compass for human progress this century.

Doughnut Economics

Meet the climate independents who shocked Australia’s political elite – Climate and Capital Media #auspol #ClimateCrisis demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #TellTheTruth #IPCCReport #FundOurFutureNotGas

The failure of major political parties to address climate change has unleashed a political revolution in Australia.

by Blair Palese |

Blair Palese

Blair Palese is a writer and project manager on a range of climate change projects.

In 2009, she cofounded 350.org Australia and was its CEO for 10 years. Previously, she was a communications director for Greenpeace International and Greenpeace USA, head of international public relations for the Body Shop, editor-in-chief of Greenpages magazine, and worked at Washington Monthly and ABC.

An epic failure of Australia’s government to address the climate crisis, unleashes a political ‘teal’ revolution. Climate & Capital’s Blair Palese meets the new revolutionaries

This weekend’s Australian federal election sent the world a clear message: Ignore climate change and women at your peril. At least nine independent candidates, mostly women, made Australian history by helping the Labor government take control after ten years in the wilderness. As the results came in, a rising number of seats fell to what has come to be known as a “teal” bath because of the candidates’s shared shared campaign color.

It was an extraordinary shift away from the sitting conservative government coalition born out deep frustration, fear and anger at years of refusing to even acknowledge climate change, let alone address it. This despite some of the worst fires and floods the world has ever seen.

The Climate Council’s report ‘The Lost Years: Counting the Costs of Climate Inaction in Australia’ found that the Federal Liberal-National Government overwhelmingly failed on climate action over its three terms of government. 

As Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie says “The record is clear, in eight years, the Federal Government’s decisions have exacerbated the climate crisis and they tried to cover up their policy failings. Australians have lost almost a decade of what should’ve been our moment to take strong and bold action on climate.” 

We call on all parties to get emissions plummeting THIS DECADE. There’s no more time to waste.

The Lost Years

The world’s first renewable energy superpower

While the regime of Prime Minister Scott Morrison denied climate change, Australia’s new Labor prime minister, Anthony Albanese, promises to make Australia a renewable energy superpower. This is a huge victory for the climate-driven independents, who now hope their message of the need for action and taking up the economic opportunities of solutions will spread. These independents along with a few new Greens members are likely to push Labor to do much more than the party would do without them.  It’s a chance for Australia to step up and rejoin the world in setting real emissions reduction targets and transitioning from fossil fuels.

It may also be a sign of things to come around the world. Australia’s previous boys club, coalition government of far-right parties –– the Liberals and Nationals –– failed spectacularly in this election. In a country dominated by mining, coal and gas, the Murdoch media and toxic vested interest politics, community-backed independents have shown what can happen when the public has had enough. 

‘Enough is enough’

“What Australians proved with this election outcome is that voters are looking for transformation,” community-backed independent Nicolette Boele,  who is still waiting for the final vote count in her electorate of Bradfield, told Climate & Capital. “It’s clear that how we’ve dealt with things in the past is not working. We need people with real-world experience and an ear to community concerns to forge a new way forward. Climate change is the intersectional issue that touches on all aspects of life — our economy, jobs, health and preparing for more of the climate impacts we’re already seeing. We need strategic and long-term thinking to address it and we we have not seen that from the major parties of government.”

Boele said older women and young people stepped up in their hundreds to get involved in this election and brought about the radical shift away from the sitting government.

“Grandmothers have been saying ‘enough is enough’. Younger voters are angry and tired of privileged, older men in government not hearing their voices and not acting in their interest.”

RE: updated version of draft aerial survey text [SEC=OFFICIAL]

The rise of Australia’s climate independents

So who are these newly-elected independent women? A pediatric neurologist, a foreign correspondent who has covered global conflicts, the founder of a major cancer foundation and a former business consultant, most in Sydney and Melbourne electorates, are on their way to the government seat of Canberra. All have had successful careers outside of politics and all ran with community, not political party, support, including funding. 

Virtually all of these candidates list the government’s failure to address climate change –– as devastating fires and floods ravaged the country –– as their reason for running. Collectively, they signed up tens of thousands of volunteers to support their campaigns from all walks of life, many completely new to election politics. While Labor looks to gain enough seats to govern in its own right, the independents are likely to put strong pressure on them to deliver stronger policy outcomes and not just on climate change but on government accountability, integrity and equity for women. 

Australia has no national climate policy

“Every single issue we face is interconnected with climate change in some way, whether it’s national security, food security, energy costs, economic productivity or the mental health of our children who have watched millions of animals burn to death in fires,” Boele said. “This issue is not going away. It will be impacting permeates families and communities  for decades to come.” 

Australia’s per capita emissions are some of the highest in the world and its emissions reduction targets are some of the lowest. The country currently has no national climate policy for reducing emissions, no price on carbon, no policy to electrify the country’s ageing energy systems and transition to electric vehicles. The previous government was using taxpayer money to fund new gas projects and expensive, untested carbon capture and storage technologies that were a direct benefit to the fossil fuel sector. Analysis by independent think tank Climate Analytics showed that the previous government’s approach on climate would lead to 3 degrees Celsius of warming. The newly arriving Labor Party’s plan, left unchallenged, would lead to to 2 degrees of warming. 

“This government has done nothing good for us in the past nine years.”

Prior to the election, a number of independent candidates showed the country what was possible. Independent Zali Steggal successfully ousted former prime minister, and blatant climate denier, Tony Abbott in the last election and put forward strong climate bill that is now ready for real consideration by the new government. It would legislate a strong 60% emissions reduction target and, thanks to Steggal’s efforts, has far-reaching support from a wide range of businesses and interest groups around the country. Labor comes to government with the pressure of new independents, their stronger legislative bill and public expectations for real action. 

“The [previous] government has done nothing good for us in the past nine years,” said independent Dr. Monique Ryan, who successfully won her seat against long-serving Liberal and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, in the country’s biggest upset. She called the government’s legacy a “toxic miasma of division, disappointment and debt.”

Climate Change, driven by the burning of coal, oil and gas is supercharging our weather systems. While climate change affects all Australians, the risks are not shared equally. In the most extreme instances, areas may become uninhabitable. 

Worsening extreme weather means increased costs of maintenance, repair and replacement to properties – our homes, workplaces and commercial buildings. As the risk of being affected by extreme weather events increases, insurers will raise premiums to cover the increased cost of claims and reinsurance. 

Uninsurable Nation

Businesses and voters alike were embarrassed by the country’s behavior at COP26

International media covering the independents has largely missed that, while the biggest upswell of climate independents is happening in Australia due to the scale of the government’s climate policy failure, it is likely to spark a growing trend around the world. 

So how did it all start in Australia?

“Engaged Australians are deeply frustrated that we are not making progress on the issues that matter … We are frustrated that so often our government has been found to be either lying or incompetent, sometimes both,” said Simon Holmes à Court, who founded a fund called Climate 200 to support climate-focused candidates, at a speech prior to the election in Canberra. “We have had a government more interested in winning elections than improving our great nation. A government that seeks power without purpose.”

Having lived through the utter frustration of more than a decade of government climate inaction in Australia myself, I can attest to the catalyst effect this has played nationally. By way of full disclosure, I have volunteered to support many independent candidates prior to the election. Like many who want Australia to just get on with addressing the issue, it seemed like the only way to break the complete policy deadlock. Also, Australia’s mandatory voting requirement, vote or be fined, is actually a great advantage. While Americans often bristle at the idea of being required to vote, mandatory democracy means just that, and in this election, voters voted for climate action and a move away from government playing politics on the issue. 

“Climate change has been weaponized.”

“Climate change has been weaponized as a political issue in this country for so long, I think the government has lost the capacity to see that it is a huge issue for our future prosperity and safety,” newly elected member Zoe Daniel told the media before the election.  

Business leaders, investors, economic and security experts, Aboriginal communities whose lands are being impacted by fossil fuel extraction, young people who will suffer more extreme weather in the future and even some coal-dependent communities wanting transition support all expressed frustration and deep worry about climate change long before the election. 

Heady times

From joint letters by scientists and famous writers including Kate Grenville, John Coutzee and Di Morrisey to state and local governments taking the move to renewable energy into their own hands, the previous federal government has been seen as dangerously out of touch. It’s an open secret that the leaders in the country’s two biggest economic states, Victoria and New South Wales, were negotiating behind the back of the previous federal energy minister despite hailing from opposing political parties. Businesses and voters alike were embarrassed by the country’s laggard behavior at COP26, where Australia famously allowed the gas company, Santos to park its logo on the country’s national exhibit as French President Macron called Prime minister Scott Morrison a liar. Heady times. 

Even former Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, a Liberal whose seat of Wentworth was just won by a teal backed the independents before the election. “Even if the members of a political party cannot escape from the thrall of the dominant faction, their traditional supporters in the electorate can do so by voting for an independent who has a real chance of success,” he said. 

Around the world, signs of this break-free independent movement are showing. From Mayor Michelle Wu in Boston and “sunshine socialist” Richie Floy in Florida to Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb and BankFWD CEO Vanessa Fajans-Turnerrunning for Congress in New York, climate-focused candidates are on the rise. Add to that Jane Fonda’s new climate change PAC, organizations like Give Greento help donors find climate candidates to back and a growing number of renewable energy and climate-tech PACs, climate is likely to top the election agenda in the U.S. Elsewhere, the Greens continue to play an important role in European politics, the Canadian government has just launched its first national consultation with voters on climate impacts and adaptation, and the U.K. and New Zealand continue to see the issue as a bi-partisan imperative. 

The question now in Australia is whether the new Labor government will seize the opportunity of working with climate-focused independents to deliver the kind of real climate policy the voting public just demanded. 

— Read on www.climateandcapitalmedia.com/australian-teal-women-candidates-take-on-a-miasma-of-division-and-debt/

Humanity’s 21st century challenge is to meet the needs of all within the means of the planet.

In other words, to ensure that no one falls short on life’s essentials (from food and housing to healthcare and political voice), while ensuring that collectively we do not overshoot our pressure on Earth’s life-supporting systems, on which we fundamentally depend – such as a stable climate, fertile soils, and a protective ozone layer.

The Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries is a playfully serious approach to framing that challenge, and it acts as a compass for human progress this century.

Doughnut Economics

Protecting the world’s biodiversity | United Nations #ClimateCrisis #EcologicalCrisis demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #FundOurFutureNotGas #CoralNotCoal #TellTheTruth #IPCCReport #auspol #StopEcocide

In August 2022, the world will convene in Kunming, China, to adopt a new framework for protecting the world’s biodiversity.

The Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, Elizabeth Mrema, speaks about the interlinkages between climate change and biodiversity loss.

Elizabeth Mrema, the Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), grew up in Moshi, a town located on the lower slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in northern Tanzania. Her early years surrounded by nature profoundly influenced her and her work. 

“I grew up seeing our villages full of trees. But as I continued to grow… the outlook began changing. The bush, the forest I was seeing, you see more holes and spaces, [and] the weather kept changing. And as I speak, even those rivers – when you hear the water flowing in the streams at the backyard – have completely dried up.”

In August 2022, the world will convene in Kunming, China, to adopt a new framework for protecting the world’s biodiversity called the 2050 Vision of “Living in Harmony with Nature.” The framework sets out an ambitious plan to implement actions to bring about a transformation in the world’s relationship with biodiversity and to ensure that, by 2050, the shared vision of living in harmony with nature is fulfilled. 

“Biodiversity, just like all other environmental issues, there are cross-cutting issues – the challenges are cross-cutting, and therefore governments alone or at national level ministries of environment alone will not be able to solve all the challenges or to implement all the targets as expected,” says Mrema.

The CBD was established following the Earth Summit in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, which paved the way for the establishment of three major conventions on the environment – on biodiversity, climate change and land degradation. 

RE: updated version of draft aerial survey text [SEC=OFFICIAL]

This year, 30 years after the Earth Summit, the conferences of the parties to the three conventions – starting with the Abidjan Summit on desertification in May, followed by the Kunming Conference on biodiversity in August and the Climate Change Conference in Egypt in November – provide an opportunity to demonstrate how the challenges of and the solutions to land degradation, biodiversity loss and climate change are fundamentally intertwined.  

“The journey begins in Cote d’Ivoire, with the Convention to Combat Desertification. The message will go to the CBD, and the two will land in Egypt with the climate change conference to bring together that connection,” says Mrema stressing the importance of the interlink between the issues.   

“The IPBES report of 2019 actually gave us five direct drivers of biodiversity loss. One of them is climate change – a primary driver of biodiversity loss. And yet, that same climate change depends on biodiversity as part of the solution. So clearly the two are linked, and cannot be separated,” she adds. 

In 2019, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) warned that 1 million out of the estimated 8.1 million plant and animal species in the world are at risk of extinction – many within decades. 

Today, a 1.1°C temperature rise has altered marine, land and freshwater ecosystems around the world. A 1.5°C temperature rise could mean a loss of up to 70 percent of the world’s coral reefs. And a 2°C temperature rise could threaten to rapidly escalate the collapse of entire ecosystems. 

“If the about $500 billion spent every year on incentives or subsidies for harmful activities on biodiversity – if these funds are repurposed, redirected to nature-positive biodiversity activities, then you will see some resources will be accrued, but there will still be a gap. So that’s another issue still requiring deeper discussion.”

Redirecting unsustainable subsidies into nature-positive incentives is one of the 21 targets of the new framework. Healthy ecosystems are critical for mitigating climate change. They can provide 37 percent of the mitigation needed to limit temperature rise, including through absorbing greenhouse gas emissions. 


— Read on www.un.org/en/climatechange/thought-leaders-elizabeth-mrema

Humanity’s 21st century challenge is to meet the needs of all within the means of the planet.

In other words, to ensure that no one falls short on life’s essentials (from food and housing to healthcare and political voice), while ensuring that collectively we do not overshoot our pressure on Earth’s life-supporting systems, on which we fundamentally depend – such as a stable climate, fertile soils, and a protective ozone layer.

The Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries is a playfully serious approach to framing that challenge, and it acts as a compass for human progress this century.

Doughnut Economics