If Degrowth Is Coming, What Does It Propose for Workers? | OnLabor #EcologicalCrisis #ClimateCrisis #auspol #ausvotes #LimitsToGrowth Infinite growth on a finite planet is against the laws of physics #TellTheTruth #IPCCReport

If Degrowth Is Coming, What Does It Propose for Workers? | OnLabor

By  | May 20, 2022 | 

In 2015, countries participating in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change rallied around preventing the rise in average global temperatures beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius.

With an average rise of 1.5–2.0 degrees, scientists predict 70–90% loss of coral reefs globally, an explosion of natural disaster–related deaths, and displacement of up to 1.2 billion people by 2050.

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

We already stand at an increase in average global temperatures of 1.2 degrees Celsius since the Industrial Revolution and, according to the World Meteorological Organization, there is now a 40% chance that the world will see average global temperatures increase to 1.5 degrees in the next five years.

As the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded last year, the world missed its opportunity to prevent many of these devastating impacts and can only hope to prevent the “most harrowing” possibilities — but we need to take decisive action, and we need to do it now.

In the United States, advocates are calling for a “Green New Deal” to redirect innovation toward sustainable enterprise before it’s too late to avoid the bulk of climate change’s devastation. With a Green New Deal, the federal government would provide the job training and economic investment necessary to decarbonize the economy by developing renewable energy, upgrading buildings across the country, and building a sustainable national transportation system. Besides creating upwards of 30 million long-term, full-time jobs in the “clean energy” sector, this program combined with the Climate Jobs Guarantee could advance workers’ rights and the position of labor by building “a powerful labor-friendly coalition” between organized labor and environmentalists and providing guaranteed employment at a baseline $15 dollars an hour with benefits.

Although some have dismissed the Green New Deal as a “radical front for nationalizing [the U.S.] economy,” others question whether it is enough to avoid oncoming climate catastrophe.

Bright Green Lies systematically debunks many of the lies and distortions that characterize the discourse of those who argue that ‘technology will stop global warming’ or that ‘technology will save the planet.’ The book has a chapter devoted to debunking claims that each of following will individually or collectively power this culture sustainably; or help the planet: solar power, wind power, recycling, ‘efficiency, ‘ batteries and other forms of energy storage, changes in the electrical grid, and hydropower. We also provide our own solutions, and more importantly, a way of looking at these problems that centers the health of the planet.

Bright Green Lies

Enter “degrowthers” who claim that a Green New Deal only “greens” the “capitalist imperative of perpetual economic growth, which is the true cause of environmental destruction.” The degrowth movement insists that we can’t have our cake (ecological sustainability) and eat it too (while maintaining economic growth at all times) — to truly reduce our environmental impacts, degrowthers believe we must “scale down energy and material use throughout the economy” ultimately “lead[ing] to a downturn in gross domestic product (GDP) growth.”

Degrowthers have reason to be skeptical of the mainstream campaign to decouple economic growth and ecological sustainability. According to one studypublished in Advances in Applied Energy last year, only 14 of 116 countries surveyed were able to decouple GDP growth from CO2 emissions between 2015 and 2018; even then, those countries continued to add greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere and some countries that had decoupled GDP and emissions at the time of a previous study had actually reverted to increasing emissions for GDP gains since.

Written in refreshingly accessible prose, Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update is a long anticipated revival of some of the original voices in the growing chorus of sustainability. Limits to Growth: The 30 Year Update is a work of stunning intelligence that will expose for humanity the hazy but critical line between human growth and human development. 

Limits to Growth

Accompanying worldwide economic growth is also an increase in demand for energy — the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts a 50% increase in global energy use by 2050, which cannot be fully offset using renewable sources. Fossil fuels continue to dominate the energy landscape — fueling about 80% of the United States’ energy-use in 2018 — leaving some to conclude that “peak oil and the slow expansion of renewable energy will result in a decrease in the total quantity of energy available by 2050,” bringing about widespread descaled economic production (i.e., degrowth) whether we like it or not.

Growing evidence shows that continued economic growth is 
incompatible with sustaining life and is not necessary for a good 
life for all. Despite this, not only in society at large, but also on the 
Left, we are held captive by the hegemony of growth.

Leftists have based their utopian hopes on the development of productive forces, on redistributing the fruits of economic growth and technological 
progress.

This book argues that any Left politics and vision for 
postcapitalism that doesn’t question growth perpetuates global 
inequalities, climate injustice, and the destruction of life on Earth. 

The Future is Degrowth

Spontaneous economic contraction is a huge concern for workers. GDP, while an imperfect measure for societal welfare, is largely correlated with a country’s standard of living; economic downturns almost always hit lowest-wage workersthe hardest and it can take much longer for poor individuals to see true recovery than the rich. Even mild recessions have a distinct racial character, with negative impacts disproportionately impacting communities of color.

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

Indeed, advocating for degrowth requires serious caution. For example, a so-called ecofascist framing of degrowth might characterize the suffering accompanying a rapid economic downturn as a necessary check on our overconsumption of natural resources. (A damning indictment of the radical ecological movement is that it has, at times, taken for granted the Malthusian notion that poor individuals, immigrants, and those with large families are to blame for climate catastrophe and that the ravages of poverty or economic contraction are a “positive check” on overpopulation.) However, insofar as the degrowth movement has any cohesive action plan (and critics often insist that its biggest downfall is that it does not), it could intersect with some strong labor-friendly policies — and backing these specific policy interventions could prompt more workers to support degrowthers’ vision of a radically reshaped global economy.

For instance, degrowthers are in a much stronger position to advocate for a universal basic income than mainstream green-growthers. A major axiom of degrowth is that our economy needs to descale in many if not most sectors. Since climate change is primarily driven by the “cumulative historical consumption of the Global North,” rich countries need to shrink our economies while concentrating productivity in sectors that are sustainable and necessary. This most likely translates to shorter work weeks: Professor Jared Fitzgerald at Boston College has found that each percent increase in working hours corresponds to a 0.65 percent increase in carbon emissions. Combined with redistributive policies, reducing the world’s working hours could thus be a necessary component to decarbonizing the global economy. While the final bill proposing a Green New Deal erased any reference to UBI due to backlash over the notion of supporting those “unwilling to work,” degrowthers can advocate for UBI precisely for its potential to empower workers to reclaim their time and take up non-growth-based labor.

Degrowthers also invite us to reimagine work and consumption in a world that has eschewed growth for growth’s sake. Degrowthers blame the “capitalist economic model” for producing a society which prioritizes “corporate profits, over-production and excess consumption” over “social and ecological well-being;” degrowth’s “logical implication” is to challenge this economic modelsince, as political economist Güney Işıkara posits, “[o]nly under social ownership of the means of production can we extend democracy to the realm where resources are allocated and limits are defined.” In pursuit of this, ecosocialist scholars like Stefania Barca argue that “degrowth should aim for a truly democratic, workers’ controlled production system, where alienation is actively countered by a collective reappropriation of the products of labor and by a truly democratic decision-making process over the use of the surplus.” To this end, degrowthers could support a transition to “alternative political economic arrangements” by advocating policies that specifically encourage the growth of worker co-operatives, public banking, and the public provision of essential goods.

The Green New Deal, if ever passed, would be a tremendous step forward for raising minimum labor standards while decarbonizing the U.S. economy. But the degrowth movement implores us to remain unsatisfied by anything short of a “fundamental overhaul of the way our economies work.” And the exact contours of this transition could make all the difference; as Işıkara concludes, “[a]voiding ecological collapse” may be “more closely linked to the emancipation of the working classes than it appears.”

— Read on onlabor.org/if-degrowth-is-coming-what-does-it-propose-for-workers/

The Dominoes are falling fast. We face a climate emergency – Pearls and Irritations #ClimateCrisis demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #IPCCReport listen to the scientists #auspol #ausvotes #FundOurFutureNotGas #CoralNotCoal

Climate tipping points in Antarctica, the Arctic and Amazon are at risk of being reached requiring a “major rethink” of global climate goals.

By David Spratt and Ian Dunlop

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

The belated release of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s “Reef snapshot: summer 2021-22” has exposed the Federal government’s insistence that the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is not endangered as the lie it has always been.

But beneath the political gaslighting is a far greater issue. A new report, “Climate Dominoes: tipping point risks for critical climate systems”, from the Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration, concludes that as a result of climate denial and inaction, the GBR, along with coral reefs worldwide, is in a death spiral even at today’s 1.2oC average global temperature increase.

The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment Reports (AR6) are the most important analyses of humanity’s future on Earth to date. As Professor Sir David King FRS says in his foreword to “Climate Dominoes”: “Never before have we had so much scientific evidence demonstrating that we are in the midst of a global climate emergency.”

AR6 provides a stark warning that humanity’s chances of outrunning the devastating impacts of climate change are uncomfortably low. The fact that these reports have been ignored by our political leaders is an abrogation of their primary responsibility to ensure the security of the Australian people.

Unfortunately there is a blind spot in the AR6 analysis, in that the severity of human impact on our planetary ecosystems is leading us toward a range of irreversible tipping points.

These are the greatest risks of climate change, for the process does not necessarily progress in a linear manner correlated with increasing atmospheric carbon concentrations. Instead, at certain points, it may “tip” abruptly from one relatively stable state to another far less conducive to human prosperity or survival. For example, Arctic sea ice is melting rapidly as temperatures rise four times faster than the global average. As a result, less solar radiation is reflected back to space off the white ice; instead it warms the oceans, which in turn warm the seabed and surrounding land, melting permafrost, leading to further carbon emissions and accelerated warming.

Fifteen non-linear tipping points were identified around the world some years ago. Once triggered, they may become irreversible, beyond the influence of humanity, with catastrophic outcomes.

Some are inter-related; once one triggers, others may follow in a cascading effect globally.

The “Climate Dominoes” report has reviewed the latest science and concludes that tipping point risks are greater than previously thought:

  • At just 1.2°C of global average warming, tipping points have already been passed for several large Earth systems. These include Arctic sea ice, the Greenland Ice Sheet, the Amundsen Sea glaciers in West Antarctica, the East Amazon rainforest, and the world’s coral systems including the GBR.
  • System-level change is happening earlier and/or faster than previously forecast, locking in substantial sea level rise and warming
  • Climate models do not yet incorporate an accurate representation of these processes
  • Overall, the Earth climate system is already undergoing abrupt change, not just to individual elements but also the cascading interaction between them
  • This may push the system past a “Hothouse Earth” threshold of accelerating and irreversible warming. Scientists have warned this could occur in the 1.5–2°C target range of the Paris Climate Agreement. At least 1.5oC is now inevitable by 2030, irrespective of any action taken in the meantime.

Quantifying the probability and severity of these risks is difficult due to their complex nature. But from study of the Earth’s past climates we know they exist and we are ill-prepared for what may happen. Hence, as Sir David King emphasises: “Precautionary action is needed now to avoid, to the extent possible, further tipping points being triggered.”

Australia is the country most exposed to climate risk, yet the country with the most opportunities to benefit from addressing those risks. But this climate threat cannot be overcome with the anti-science, vested-interest governance that has created it over the last three decades.

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

In the election campaign, there has been no sense of urgency to address climate change, just antagonistic rhetoric around political trade-offs between inadequate policy options, to reach net zero by 2050.

What politicians, corporate and financial leaders fail to understand is that politics and business-as-usual is over. If we want to survive with a viable economy and society, we must act now in line with the science, rather than prioritise a free-market system which has created the climate threat, but proven incapable of solving it.

Emission reduction is the single most important issue. Zero emissions must be reached as close to 2030 as possible, with carbon drawdown from atmosphere to more stable levels. No more fossil fuel expansion or corporate and offset greenwashing, fossil fuel subsidies removed, far greater focus on demand reduction etc.

A massive task requiring national mobilisation akin to wartime. Inevitably this will be disruptive, but we have wasted the time in which we could have made an orderly transition.

This is not alarmism, but realistic recognition of the path ahead. The decisions taken here and globally in the next three years will determine the future of humanity.

— Read on johnmenadue.com/the-dominoes-are-falling-fast-we-face-a-climate-emergency/

Don’t Choose Extinction

Australia election: How climate is making Australia more unliveable – BBC News #ClimateCrisis #auspol #ausvotes demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #IPCCReport listen to the scientists.

Climate-driven disasters are converging with key financial decisions like never before, experts say.

By Shaimaa Khalil and Tiffanie Turnbull in Brisbane
BBC News

Sam Bowstead

Sam Bowstead’s home in Brisbane was among thousands of properties hit by floods in February

“It’s devastating. The amount of time and effort you put in your home and then to see it go under water.”

Sam Bowstead is an architect who specialises in preparing houses to withstand natural disasters. But when floods engulfed his Brisbane home in February, he felt helpless. 

“I’ve worked with people who’ve been in similar situations – now this happened to me,” he says. 

“I was shocked at how fast [the water] rose… more than a metre in a couple of hours. I went from being worried about our property to being worried about our safety.”

In the end, a boat was the only way out. 

Mr Bowstead’s experience has become increasingly common for Australians.

In the past three years, record-breaking bushfire and flood events have killed more than 500 people and billions of animals. Drought, cyclones and freak tides have gripped communities.

Climate change is a key concern for voters in Australia’s election on Saturday. So is the cost of living – and these issues are converging like never before.

Australia is facing an “insurability crisis” with one in 25 homes on track to be effectively uninsurable by 2030, according to a Climate Council report. Another one in 11 are at risk of being underinsured.

*Assumes countries implement their existing emission reduction policies,

resulting in a global average temperature rise of around 2.7°C by 2100

Source: Climate Valuation, Climate Council

Insurance for the highest-risk homes will be prohibitively expensive or refused by providers, says the Climate Council, which created an interactive map for Australians to search.

“Climate change is playing out in real time here and many Australians now find it impossible to insure their homes and businesses,” says chief executive Amanda McKenzie.

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. 

Insurance will become increasingly unaffordable or unavailable in large parts of Australia due to worsening extreme weather.

Uninsurable Nation

The state most exposed

Nowhere is this a bigger issue than in Queensland. It is home to almost 40% of the 500,000 homes projected to be effectively uninsurable.

Queensland has been ravaged by floods in recent months. In February, the state capital Brisbane had more than 70% of its average yearly rainfall in just three days.

“I still feel quite traumatised when it rains heavily,” says Michelle Vine, whose East Brisbane home was destroyed along with decades of her artwork.

“We had to move out of the home – it became unliveable.”

Michelle Vine lost artwork she had spent years making

Insurers say the floods – which also battered New South Wales – will become Australia’s most expensive flood event ever. But even before this year, insurance costs were skyrocketing. 

Though rising property prices are one factor, Australia’s peak insurance industry body points the finger at climate change.

The Insurance Council of Australia says no parts of the country are currently uninsurable but there are “clearly affordability and availability concerns”.

Over the past decade, the amount paid out by insurers on damage claims from natural disasters has roughly doubled.

On average, consumers now pay almost four times for home insurance premiums than in 2004.

In northern Australia, these numbers are even more extreme – in some cases 10 times higher than elsewhere.

More Australians are being forced to underinsure – purchase cheaper policies that cover too little – or forgo insurance altogether. 

“This is probably Australia’s most important cost-of-living issue,” Dr Antonia Settle, a political economist at the University of Melbourne, tells the BBC. 

“Households that don’t have insurance risk losing their most important asset.”

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

‘Catch-22 for young people’

The phenomenon could also exacerbate social inequality and create “climate ghettos”, says Climate Valuation, a risk analysis company. 

Properties in higher-risk areas are becoming cheaper to buy and rent, often attracting people who are least able to afford adequate insurance, compounding the financial impact of disasters.

“People are not moving away from climate-endangered places in Australia. And in fact, along the fringes of the major cities, they are more likely to move toward them,” says demographer Liz Allen from the Australian National University.

“The housing affordability issue in Australia is so dire… that people see climate catastrophe as almost a bargain, a way to ensure that they can have a place to call their own.”

Sam Bowstead says he moved to his area for price reasons

Ms Vine is one example of this – saying she was drawn to a vulnerable area by price. At the time, she felt like she’d “won the lottery”. Mr Bowstead made a similar choice, describing it as “a Catch-22… for young people”. 

And once in a risky area, it’s near impossible for many to get out – as is the case for Gary Godley in the town of Grantham, west of Brisbane. 

Given Grantham’s horrific flood history – 12 people died there in 2011 – there are no takers for his home.

“We want out. We just can’t afford it,” Mr Godley says. “We can’t do anything.”

So what can be done?

The government has promised billions to help “reinsure” insurers against major claims resulting from disasters, arguing it will essentially halve premiums for people in northern Australia.

But it is a risky policy, and not one either the Insurance Council of Australia or the country’s industry watchdog wanted.

Critics have pointed out that disasters are now frequently devastating areas outside northern Australia that won’t be covered by the policy. What about their premiums? 

They’re instead calling for the government to limit development in high-risk areas, consider buying out some homeowners, or create incentives for people to make their properties disaster-resilient.

But the obvious answer is addressing climate change, Dr Settle says – though this is something successive governments have been reluctant to do. 

After massive bushfires in 2019-20, Australians were warned to prepare for an “alarming” future of simultaneous and worsening disasters.

Yet for a nation so exposed to climate change, Australia remains one of the world’s biggest emitters per head of population.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has promised to reduce emissions by 26% by 2030. Labor, under Anthony Albanese, has pledged a 43% cut. 

Both are below the 50% recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

The coal problem

Most Australians want tougher climate action, but both parties have kept fairly quiet on the topic during this election campaign.

In the town of Gladstone – which lies in a marginal seat in central Queensland – the reason for this avoidance is clear.

Coal is an integral part of Gladstone. It’s shipped from the local port and has helped Australia become the second-largest exporter globally and created thousands of jobs. 

Phil Golby, a local Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union official, says “change is inevitable” but fears fossil fuel workers will be left behind. 

“I’ve heard a lot of talk. I’ve listened to a lot of presentations – but I haven’t really seen a direct path yet,” Mr Golby says. 

“If a new industry comes [to Gladstone] we need to make sure that we’re going to get our workforce trained… [and] it’s got to replace their pay. We can’t start to see people going backwards.” 

Getty Images

More than 3000 homes were scorched in the Black Summer bushfires of 2019-20

Essentially, coal lies in that impossible place between Australia’s prosperity, politics, and environmental perils. 

So phasing out fossil fuels is a politically toxic issue that no big party wants to tackle head-on, especially not during an election.

That frustrates Mr Bowstead. For him and so many young people there’s a real anxiety about what climate change will mean for how and where they’ll live in the future. 

“[It’s] not going to happen – this is happening already,” he says.

“It feels like we’re going to have to take responsibility and bear the brunt of that for much longer than most of those people who are in power now.”

With visual journalism by the BBC’s Erwan Rivault, Paul Sargeant and Alison Trowsdale.

— Read on http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-61432462

I’m a climate scientist and writer: this election is the most important in Australia’s history #ClimateCrisis #auspol #ausvotes demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #TellTheTruth #IPCCReport #FundOurFutureNotGas #CoralNotCoal

Australian authors have formed a new group, Writers for Climate Action. Joelle Gergis explains how art, along with science, can help bring about the changes needed.

By

As a climate scientist, I believe this federal election is the most important in Australia’s history. 

The world will be watching to see whether Australians will continue to provide the social licence for one of the largest exporters of coal and gas to continue cooking the planet.

The latest climate change assessment report released by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is clear: humanity has less than a decade to avert a planetary disaster. The world must cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and reach net zero by no later than 2050 to limit warming to 1.5℃ above pre-industrial levels. 

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.

The Lost Years

The IPCC shows that this is possible, but the next few years are critical. Working Group III’s Summary for Policy Makers clearly states: 

Any further delay […] will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.

And yet, here in Australia, there are plans on both side of politics to continue the expansion of the fossil fuel industry, despite what the science says. As the international community is desperately trying to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, Australia currently has 69 new coal and 45 new gas projects in the pipeline. 

In 2021–2022, Australian federal, state and territory governments provided a total of $11.6 billion worth of subsidies to the fossil fuel industries. There are also existing commitments to spend $55.3 billion subsidising gas and oil extraction, coal-fired power, coal railways, ports, and carbon capture and storage. 

That is ten times more than the Emergency Response Fund, and over 50 times the budget of the National Recovery and Resilience Agency.

The role of creative arts

Award-winning author Kate Grenville, founder of Writers for Climate Action. Danielle Bagnato/Text Publishing

In an effort to help make climate change a central issue in the 2022 Australian Federal election, 80 Australian authors have banded together to form the Writers for Climate Action. 

Spearheaded by Kate Grenville, and supported by some of Australia’s most celebrated writers – including J.M. Coetzee, Helen Garner, Mem Fox, Tony Birch and Charlotte Wood – the group aims to use its influence to persuade readers to become part of the critical mass needed to vote for candidates willing to take real and immediate action on climate change. 

The inspiration to form the group came about when Kate Grenville wanted to give people a way of addressing the helplessness they feel on an individual level to do anything about a topic like climate change that often feels so overwhelming. She says: 

What writers do at the quietness of their desk is find some kind of coherence, to make meaning out of what seems chaotic […] that’s perhaps why people look to writers to make meaning. 

In my forthcoming book, Humanity’s Moment: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope, I devote a lot of time to explaining the powerful role the creative arts sector can play in shaping the cultural change needed to generate the social tipping point needed to influence political change. 

Because the issue has been framed by economics, energy policy and divisive politics, rather than being considered through the far more human eyes of the shared values that form our cultures, many people feel powerless in the face of climate change.

Engaging the creative arts sector in the most profound cultural moment in our species’ history is a golden opportunity to allow our most imaginative people to help us reimagine a future founded on shared cultural values.

Humans have always used art to inspire a shift in the emotional world not only of ourselves, but of others. Creative expression is a way of creating empathy, emotional engagement and the cultural understanding that is needed to help people make sense of the world around them. Unless we experience things on an emotional level, it is hard for people to care about a topic like climate change that can often feel so huge and daunting.

In his essay What the Warming World Needs Now Is Art, Sweet Art, American environmentalist and author Bill McKibben highlights the crucial role of creatives at this particular moment in human history:

If the scientists are right, we’re living through the biggest thing that’s happened since human civilization emerged. One species, ours, has by itself in the course of a couple of generations managed to powerfully raise the temperature of an entire planet, to knock its most basic systems out of kilter. 

But oddly, though we know about it, we don’t know about it. It hasn’t registered in our gut; it isn’t part of our culture. Where are the books? The poems? The plays? The goddamn operas? Compare it to, say, the horror of AIDS in the last two decades, which has produced a staggering outpouring of art that, in turn, has had real political effect. I mean, when people someday look back on our moment, the single most significant item will doubtless be the sudden spiking temperature. But they’ll have a hell of a time figuring out what it meant to us.

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

Enough is enough

Who better to bring about the cultural evolution we need to redefine our social values than our creatives? Who better to help articulate the things we all feel but struggle to express than our writers?

As a scientist and an author, I know that no matter how many facts and figures I give people, in the end it is probably going to be a book, an art work, a song, a photograph, a play, a performance or a film that will reawaken their sense of care for other people and the natural world. 

Art has always been the most powerful portal into the world of our emotions. It helps us imagine a world we cannot see. It gives us the images and language we need to ignite the emotional connection that will fuel the personal action we all need to take to turn the tide on the collective crisis we now face.

We will not see the political response we need to address climate change until we redefine the cultural and social norms that are destroying life on Earth. Individual voters can choose to maintain the status quo of burning fossil fuels to the point of planetary instability, or say enough is enough.

As we watch extreme weather ravage every corner of our country, it is crucial to remember that our politicians are the people we vote for, the people that we elect to be in charge of our society.

We are at a critical crossroads. Australians no longer have the luxury of being apolitical. The solutions we need to live sustainably already exist – we just need the social movement and political will to create a better world.

— Read on theconversation.com/im-a-climate-scientist-and-writer-this-election-is-the-most-important-in-australias-history-183121

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. 

Uninsurable Nation

‘Lifeline’ of renewable energy can steer world out of climate crisis: UN chief | | UN News #ClimateCrisis demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #IPCCReport #TellTheTruth #auspol #ausvotes #FundOurFutureNotGas #CoralNotCoal

Greenhouse gas concentrations, sea level rises, ocean heat levels and acidification, all set new records during 2021, while some glaciers reached the point of no return, according to the latest flagship report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), published on Wednesday. |

The State of the Climate 2021 indicates that extreme weather – the day-to-day face of climate change – wreaked a heavy toll of human lives, triggered shocks for food and water security, and led to hundreds of billions of dollars in economic losses last year.

The report, which describes yet more clear signs that human activity is causing harm on a planetary scale – to our land, ocean and atmosphere – also confirms that the past seven years have been the warmest on record, with global temperature in 2021 reaching about 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels.

It is just a matter of time before we see another warmest year on record. Our climate is changing before our eyes. The heat trapped by human-induced greenhouse gases will warm the planet for many generations to come”, warned WMO chief Petteri Taalas. “Sea level rise, ocean heat and acidification will continue for hundreds of years unless means to remove carbon from the atmosphere are invented”.

Villagers in the Peruvian village of Sibayo, use a solar-powered spinning machine.

A plan for renewables

Calling the report, a “dismal litany of humanity’s failure to tackle climate disruption”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that while time is running out to prevent the worst impacts of the climate crisis, there is a ‘lifeline’ right in front of us.

“We must end fossil fuel pollution and accelerate the renewable energytransition before we incinerate our only home… Transforming energy systems is low-hanging fruit”, he emphasized in a video message.

Highlighting that renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar are readily available and in most cases, cheaper than coal and other fossil fuels, the UN chief proposed five critical actions to jump-start the energy transition, which he called the “peace project of the 21st century”.

1.    Treating renewable energy technologies as essential global public goods

This means removing obstacles to knowledge sharing and technological transfer, including intellectual property constraints.

Mr. Guterres called for a new global coalition on battery storage led by governments and bringing together tech companies, manufacturers and financiers to fast-track innovation and deployment.

2.    Secure, scale up and diversify the supply components and raw materials for renewable energy technologies

Supply chains for renewable energy technology and raw materials are concentrated in a handful of countries, and more international coordination is needed to overcome this obstacle.

3.    Build frameworks and reform fossil fuel bureaucracies

The UN chief is calling for governments to fast-track and streamline approvals of solar and wind projects, modernize grids and set ambitious renewable energy targets that provide certainty to investors, developers, consumers and producers.

4.    Shift subsidies away from fossil fuels

Each year, governments around the world pour around half a trillion dollars into artificially lowering the price of fossil fuels – more than triple the subsidies given to renewables.

“While people suffer from high prices at the pump, the oil and gas industry is raking in billions from a distorted market. This scandal must stop”, Guterres highlights.

5.    Private and public investments in renewable energy must triple

The UN chief is calling for and adjustment to risk frameworks and more flexibility to scale up renewable finance.

“it’s time to jump-start the renewable energy transition before it’s too late”, the Secretary-General urged.

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

The Lost Years

Climate emergency

The UN chief’s plan is long overdue, at a time when extreme weather continues to impact the lives of millions in recent weeks, as seen with the drought emergency in the Horn of Africa, the deadly floods in South Africa, and the extreme heat in India and Pakistan.

The WMO State of the Global Climate report complements the latest assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which only included data up to 2019, and it will be used as a negotiation document during the upcoming UN Climate Conference in Egypt (COP 27) later this year.

Here are some of its key findings:

·       Greenhouse gas concentrations

Levels reached a new global high in 2020 and continued to increase in 2021, with the concentration of carbon dioxide reaching 413.2 parts per million globally, a 149% increase on pre-industrial levels.

“We have broken records in main greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide and especially the record in carbon dioxide is striking; we haven’t seen any improvement despite of the lockdowns caused by COVID in 2020, so the concentrations continue growing”, explains WMO chief Petteri Taalas.

·       Ocean heat

Another record high. The upper 2,000m depth of ocean water continued to warm in 2021 and it is expected that it will continue to warm in the future – a change which is irreversible on centennial to millennial time scales, and affects deeply marine ecosystems such as coral reefs.

·       Ocean acidification

Because of the excess carbon dioxide (CO2) the ocean is absorbing (some 23% of annual emissions), its waters are increasingly acidifying.

This has consequences for organisms and ecosystems, and also threatens human food security and tourism.

The decreasing PH level also means the ocean’s capacity to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere also decreases.

“90 per cent of the excess heat that we have produced to the planet, they are stored in ocean”, informs Prof. Taalas.

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

Sea-level rise

Sea level increased a record of 4.5 mm per year over the period 2013-2021, mainly due to the accelerated loss of ice mass from the ice sheets.

This has major implications for hundreds of millions of coastal dwellers and increases vulnerability to tropical cyclones.

 ·       Cryosphere

The world’s glaciers that scientists use as a reference have thinned by 33.5 meters since 1950, with 76% happening since 1980.

In 2021, glaciers in Canada and the US Northwest had a record ice mass loss because of heatwaves and fires in June and July.

Greenland also experienced an exceptional mid-August melt and the first-ever recorded rainfall at its highest point.

·       Heatwaves

The heat broke records across western North America and the Mediterranean in 2021.  Death Valley, California reached 54.4 °C on 9 July, equalling a similar 2020 value as the highest recorded in the world since at least the 1930s, and Syracuse in Sicily reached 48.8 °C.

A heatwave in British Columbia, Canada caused more than 500 deaths and fuelled devastating wildfires.

A mother carries her child past the carcasses of livestock that died as a result of a severe drought in Marsabit, Kenya.

Flooding and Droughts

Flooding caused economic losses of US$17.7 billion in Henan province of China, as well as 20 billion in Germany. It was also a factor leading to heavy loss of life.

Droughts affected many parts of the world, including the Horn of Africa, South America, Canada, the western United States, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey.

The drought in the Horn of Africa has intensified through 2022. Eastern Africa is facing the very real prospect that the rains will fail for a fourth consecutive season, placing Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia into a drought of a length not experienced in the last 40 years.

“These [climate] impacts are unevenly distributed. If you’re living in Central America, South America, Central, East or West Africa, South Asia or in a Small Island Developing State, you’re 15 times more likely to die from climate-related impact or a climate-related weather extreme”, explains Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Climate Action, Selwin Hart. 

·       Food security

The compounded effects of conflict, extreme weather events and economic shocks, further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, undermined decades of progress towards improving food security globally.

Worsening humanitarian crises in 2021 have also led to a growing number of countries at risk of famine. Of the total number of undernourished people in 2020, more than half live in Asia (418 million) and a third in Africa (282 million).

“There’s a component coming from this COVID crisis, and there’s a high risk now because of the war in Ukraine that we will see major hunger problems”, adds Prof. Taalas.

·       Displacement: 

Hazards related to water events continued to contribute to internal displacement. The countries with the highest numbers of displacements recorded as of October 2021 were China (more than 1.4 million), the Philippines (more than 386,000) and Viet Nam (more than 664,000). 

— Read on news.un.org/en/story/2022/05/1118452

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. 

Uninsurable Nation

Have We Reached the Limits to Growth? by Michael Jacobs & Xhulia Likaj – Project Syndicate #auspol #ausvotes #TellTheTruth #IPCCReport demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #EcologicalCrisis #Overshoot #DoughnutEconomics

Michael Jacobs & Xhulia Likaj explains why, on its 50th anniversary, the Club of Rome’s landmark report is more relevant than ever.

By

In 1972, three scientists from MIT created a computer model that analyzed global resource consumption and production. Their results shocked the world and created stirring conversation about global ‘overshoot,’ or resource use beyond the carrying capacity of the planet. Now, preeminent environmental scientists Donnella Meadows, Jorgen Randers, and Dennis Meadows have teamed up again to update and expand their original findings in The Limits to Growth: The 30 Year Global Update.

Limits to Growth

BERLIN – Fifty years ago this spring, one of the most influential books of the twentieth century was published. Written for the Club of Rome by Donella Meadows and colleagues at MIT, The Limits to Growth used new computer models to forecast an uncontrollable collapse in the global population and economy if prevailing patterns of environmental resource use and pollution continued. Exponential economic growth could not go on forever; at some point in the next 100 years, it would inevitably run up against Earth’s finite environmental limits.

A half-century later, with a climate and environmental crisis upon us, the debate triggered by The Limits to Growth has returned with a vengeance.

In 1972, the book came under immediate fire from economists who claimed that its authors failed to understand basic economics. If a resource becomes scarce, its price will rise, they pointed out. Other resources will then be substituted for it, and it will be used more efficiently. Technological innovation will lead to new, cleaner methods of production. Far from leading to social collapse, economic growth was thus self-correcting – not to mention the only way for countries to develop out of poverty. 

So confident were mainstream economists that The Limits to Growth was wrong that one of them, Julian Simon, made a bet with the environmentalist Paul R. Ehrlich about the price of five metals over the following decade. Ehrlich bet that their prices would rise as they became scarcer, Simon predicted that they would become cheaper as other materials were substituted for them. Simon won the bet on all five. 

But the scarcity of metals – or even fossil fuels – was never really what The Limits to Growth was about. As ecological economists Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen and Herman Daly pointed out, the reason physical limits to growth exist is that the planet’s biosphere cannot grow exponentially. Cut down trees faster than they can grow, and deforestation will result. Take more land for agriculture, and species will disappear. Pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere faster than it can be absorbed, and the planet will heat up. 

Simon may have won his ten-year bet, but over the past half-century the predictions in The Limits to Growth have proven remarkably robust. More recent scientific research has shown that, for a range of core life-support systems – including the climate – we are fast approaching, or in some cases may now have exceeded, the “planetary boundaries” within which humanity can safely prosper.

Mainstream economists recognize this, of course. But they note that economic growth is measured in terms of national income and output (GDP), and there is not a simple relationship between these indicators and environmental degradation. Using renewable energy, recycling waste, and shifting consumption from goods to services can make economic growth much less environmentally damaging. We can therefore have “green growth”: higher living standards and a healthier environment, too. Over the past decade, green growth has become the official objective of all the major multilateral economic institutions, including the World Bank and the OECD.

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. 

The Lost Years

Rich countries’ CO2 emissions have indeed fallen in recent years, even as their economies have grown. But much of this apparent decoupling of GDP growth from environmental damage has been achieved by transferring emissions to China and other emerging economies that now produce most manufactured goods. And in other areas – including deforestation, fish stocks, and soil depletion – there has been little or no absolute decoupling. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the United Nations Environment Programme have been warning with ever-growing urgency, the world is still headed for environmental disaster. 

What must be done to avert it? To an increasingly prominent group of environmentalists, the answer is obvious: Developed economies need to stop growing and start contracting. Only “degrowth,” say authors such as Jason Hickel and Giorgos Kallis, can enable the world to live within its environmental means and leave enough resources for the poorest countries to develop. 

Moreover, the degrowthers argue, economic growth is not only environmentally unsustainable but also fails to make us better off. GDP growth in rich countries, they observe, is now correlated with multiple social problems, from rampant inequality to growing mental ill-health. 

Unsurprisingly, the economic debate between advocates of green growth and degrowth is also a political argument between pro- and anti-capitalist ideologies. Partly for this reason, a third position – “post-growth” – has emerged in recent years. 

Proponents of post-growth economics criticize both green growthers and degrowthers for focusing on GDP. Since GDP does not measure environmental degradation or social well-being, neither growth nor degrowth of it should be a primary economic goal. In a recent report for the OECD, a panel of leading economists argue that economic policy should focus instead on society’s paramount objectives – which in the richer countries today should be environmental sustainability, improved well-being, declining inequality, and greater economic resilience. 

Economics is broken. It has failed to predict, let alone prevent, financial crises that have shaken the foundations of our societies. Its outdated theories have permitted a world in which extreme poverty persists while the wealth of the super-rich grows year on year. And its blind spots have led to policies that are degrading the living world on a scale that threatens all of our futures.

Doughnut Economics

Because none of these objectives can any longer be guaranteed by economic growth, policymakers need to go “beyond growth” to target them directly. As Kate Raworth, author of Doughnut Economics, puts it, we should be “growth-agnostic.” 

A key reason for the rise of post-growth ideas is that advanced economies have in recent years had trouble growing at all. Previously normal 2-3% annual increases in GDP have been largely out of reach, with even modest growth sustained only by ultra-low interest rates and huge injections of central bank money. 

Economists puzzle over why this is, but recent economic sluggishness certainly makes it easier to contemplate low rates of growth brought on by environmental policy, if that is indeed what would happen. One does not have to be an environmentalist to recognize the overwhelming priority of curbing the economy’s destructive impact on Earth’s climate and environment. 

The Limits to Growth was widely dismissed a half-century ago. Had that not happened, we wouldn’t need to be having the debate again today.

— Read on www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/club-of-rome-limits-to-growth-relevant-today-by-michael-jacobs-and-xhulia-likaj-2022-05

Rethinking buildings for climate crisis: here’s what to do | World Economic Forum #auspol #ausvotes demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #TellTheTruth #IPCCReport

By

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Schneider Electric

  • Buildings account for 37% of the world’s carbon emissions; fortunately, technologies to dramatically reduce energy consumption in buildings already exist.
  • Yet many building owners, operators, developers and financiers are still not fully aware of the many solutions that exist, or of the value and investment returns created by embedding them.
  • To improve awareness, Schneider Electric, alongside Accenture and the World Economic Forum, developed a Building Value Framework.

Against the backdrop of the French Alps sits a 26,000-square-metre office building, a space where over 1,500 workers come together daily. Two towering wind turbines and a sea of solar panels lining the roof generate all the energy the building needs. On the inside, sensors and software optimize lighting, heating, cooling and other energy-consuming activities, ensuring no power is wasted.

In fact, this new building may just be the best example of building energy efficiency in the world. That’s according to the LEED Certification International Framework, which rates how environmentally friendly buildings are. Achieving net-zero emissions annually, it uses only one-tenth of the energy of its average European counterpart.

Getting more buildings to embed these sorts of technologies is crucial if we’re to avert calamitous climate change. Whether they’re the malls we shop in, the homes we live in, the factories and office buildings we work in, or the hospitals, transport hubs and schools we visit, buildings account for 37% of the world’s carbon emissions. 

Add to that the recent spike in energy prices – now at multi-decade highs – and it’s clear that reducing energy usage through greater efficiency is now imperative for businesses, policymakers and households everywhere.

Rethinking the value of buildings: beyond financials

The good news is that the technologies to dramatically reduce energy consumption in buildings already exist. And it makes not just environmental but also social and financial sense to incorporate them in new buildings – or to add them to existing ones. The investment cost of decarbonizing and digitizing that office building in the French Alps, for example, will be recouped within the next three to five years.

And then there are the non-financial benefits. Investing in low-carbon, efficient buildings and cities brings greater energy resilience; it creates jobs; and it means improved health and wellbeing for those who live and work in them.

Raising awareness of the possibilities: a framework for action

Yet many building owners, operators, developers and financiers are still not fully aware of the many solutions that already exist, or of the value and investment returns that are created by embedding them into new or existing buildings.

To improve awareness, and help decision-makers – from end users to real estate owners – better evaluate such investments, Schneider Electric, alongside Accenture and the World Economic Forum, in 2022 developed a Building Value Framework.

Part of the wider Net Zero Carbon Cities initiative, this includes a practical operational checklist spanning a set of recommendations to future-proof building investments – whatever the building’s size, use, or geographic location.

The starting point: the decarbonized, smart building

It all starts with decarbonizing and digitizing individual buildings.

On the decarbonization front, the most obvious action point is to avoid the use of fossil fuels (heating with oil or coal, for example, or cooking with gas), and use electric alternatives instead. Electricity is not only more efficient (less energy wasted), but also cleaner (less carbon released into the atmosphere). 

But it’s also about equipping buildings with the means to generate their own clean energy. Think the solar panels and wind turbines that supply the power for that building in France: these are proven technologies whose cost has fallen dramatically in recent years, and that any building owner or operator can and should consider. 

On the digitization front, building operators can sharply increase energy efficiency via sensors and automation systems that ensure heating, cooling and lighting are only provided when and where needed. Yes, insulation such as double-glazing improves energy efficiency, but “active” energy management via digital tools is far more cost-effective over time. 

Digital tools can also help building managers and tenants better monitor energy consumption, giving them insights on behavioral changes that might improve energy usage. Deploying building management systems on top of this data allows the building to most efficiently use its energy, as well as flagging to building staff and tenants any issues for improvement.

The best results are achieved when all the data – everything from those sensors to the systems running on the ground – is shared into one data pool. 

Finally, digital twins can help developers optimize a building’s efficiency right from the get-go – minimizing costs and waste from the design and construction stages, and reaping efficiency benefits right through to the day-to-day operations. In the case of that office building in France, for example, planners incorporated half a million variables into an energy simulation at the outset, to predict how, why and where energy was going to be used. This allowed them to attain maximum efficiency once the building was actually complete.

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

Going beyond single buildings: the system effect

Decarbonizing and digitizing individual buildings is just part of the story, however. Even more ideal is when such buildings go one step further – when their energy and resource management capabilities are integrated into the wider power, transport and EV-charging ecosystems around them. Doing so can help stabilize cities’ energy supplies and accelerate the transition to net-zero. 

Again, concrete examples of what this looks like exist: in Järvenpää, Finland, a logistics centre operated by the retailer Lidl, harnesses the heat captured from its cooling operations through an energy management system, then sells this heat on to the local grid for use in heating the neighbouring district. 

What is the World Economic Forum doing to promote sustainable urban development?

Cities are responsible for 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions and are home to over half of the world’s population—a number that will grow to two-thirds by 2050. By going greener, cities could contribute more than half of the emissions cuts needed to keep global warming to less than 2°c, which would be in line with the Paris Agreement. 

To achieve net-zero urban emissions by 2050, the World Economic Forum is partnering with other stakeholders to drive various initiatives to promote sustainable urban development. Here are just a few:

To learn more about our initiatives to promote zero-carbon cities and to see how you can be part of our efforts to facilitate urban transformation, reach out to us here.

Similarly, the new office building in France will ultimately be able to feed any surplus energy generated by its wind turbines and solar panels to the neighbouring power grid. 

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

The buildings transition is possible: make it happen today

Sustainable, resilient and people-centric buildings are not utopian dreams for the distant future. They exist in the here and now. The Lidl logistics centre in Finland and the office building in the French Alps (Schneider Electric’s newest building) are proof of that.

To address the twin challenges of climate change and soaring energy prices, we need to ensure they’re no longer the exception – that they become commonplace in towns and cities around the globe. It’s not a case of inventing new technologies, but of adopting them, fast. Our simple to-do list is a good place to start.

Read more about the Net Zero Carbon Cities’ Building Value Framework and the Operational Checklist here.

— Read on www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/05/rethinking-buildings-is-a-climate-imperative-here-s-what-to-focus-on/

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

Imagine an economy of peace – Greenpeace International #auspol #ausvotes #EcologicalCrisis #ClimateCrisis demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #IPCCReport #TellTheTruth

By Markus Trilling

Be it the climate emergency, the pandemic, the war in Ukraine or any of the multiple other intersectional challenges the world is facing today, we are, inexplicably, in a crisis of imagination. Since human beings have been around, we have adapted the way in which we live, strive and survive. What we have come to realise is that the systems we live in – within which our current economic system is a linchpin – are founded on inequality, overconsumption, the pursuit of infinite growth at the expense of people and the environment, and the unsustainable extraction of finite resources. Our current systems’ foundations were planted in harm not peace, and this extends to our economic structures. 

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

Our economic system ignores planetary boundaries, leading to ecological collapse, climate crisis, biodiversity loss alongside many other environmental disasters, and grave human rights abuses. 

These devastating impacts have been known, and tolerated, for far too long. Tragically, there has been a failure in reimagining a harmonious and peaceful economic system, a lack of action to explore, an unwillingness to embrace change and a misconception that time is on our side. The window is closing on opportunities to prevent climate and biodiversity collapse, and instead recreate an economic system that works in harmony with people and the planet. With courage and hope, and political commitment, we can radically transform our economic system so we don’t just survive but allow future generations to thrive in harmony with nature and each other. Transforming our economic system, due to its sheer power, would have an immediate and long-lasting impact on all of the intersectional systems we are currently struggling to survive within. 

The climate and nature crisis has come about due to poor choices – we can and must be better at deciding what is best for our planet and all people. This is not about making the economic system more sustainable through incremental changes, because the very foundations of it were rotten from the start. We must dream big. We must plant new seeds for the future.

For many of us in 2022 – no matter where we were born in the world – it is generally assumed as fact that an economic system based on extractivism and mass consumption is the inevitable, final stage of market evolution – for the benefit of all. 

But at the moment, we are working for and within an economic system that is harming us. There are a huge number of alternative economic approaches, theories, proposals and experiments out there that are better designed to work for people and the planet.

Many of these new economic approaches are already being actively developed, discussed and implemented. A lot of them are also on-the-ground implementation efforts that are small-scale or not interconnected, which means they mostly haven’t been heard of. 

What’s clear is that we can have an economic system that works for the many, not the few – and in harmony with nature. 

Two hundred and fifty years ago the founding ideology of our current Western economic system was born: the ‘invisible hand’ would steer free markets forces, magically turning the ‘strive’ for individual profit into the benefit of all. Not accidentally, 250 years ago fossil fueled industrialisation and the systematic, large-scale extraction of natural resources picked up, producing a new social entity known today as the ‘working class’. Then 250 years later – to now – we see how this ‘invisible hand’ has turned out to be destructive and inequitable, putting the planet and people in peril.

Today we have to look at the ‘public hand’, namely governments and their role in the economic system. Hundreds of billions of public money flows to fossil fuels rather than to climate solutions, despite the very clear science that oil, coal and fossil gas are not compatible with a green, harmonious and safe future. Removing fossil fuel subsidies could, alone, reduce emissions by up to 10% globally by 2030 and free up money flows to renewable energy and the upskilling of workers currently employed in polluting industries. 

However we imagine a future economic system, people will continue to meet their existential needs. Nearly 8 billion people living on the planet today – expected to grow up to 11 billion by the end of the century – work and strive to produce food, shelter and everyday commodities.  But this has to happen in an authentically sustainable and affordable way, within the limits of the planet’s natural boundaries.

A fundamental transformation of our economic basis, the infrastructure and production machinery that modern societies developed over the past centuries, is called for. The ‘invisible hand’ of our current economic system is betraying us all. Substantial public investments can be better used to transform the hardware of our economies: our entire built environment, housing, our mobility system, food and energy production. This in turn would reset the foundations of our economic system to one based on the values of people and planet, not on the value of profit at any cost. 

We need to ask ourselves how to establish solidarity, equity and equality in societies where the gap between the poor and the rich is ever growing. What is everyone’s fair share in contributing to the functioning of our communities and to the accomplishment of the social contract? A harmonious economic system that works for people and within planetary boundaries would have a ripple effect in our other failing systems that are in need of urgent, radical transformation.

This is your invitation today to explore our collective imagination – envisioning a world that is peaceful, fairer, healthier, greener and more, by transforming our economic system as a first step, and making those dreams our reality. 

Markus Trilling is an EU Economic Advisor at the Greenpeace European Unit.

— Read on www.greenpeace.org/international/story/53759/imagine-economy-system-peace-nature/

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

Multi faith group creates community around climate | #auspol #ausvotes #ClimateCrisis is a moral crisis #IPCCReport #TellTheTruth demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #FundOurFutureNotGas #CoralNotCoal

Betsy Gross helped create the Multifaith Network for Climate Justice to unite religious and spiritual community around environmental issues.

Jillian Froebe stands next to the Multifaith Network for Climate Justice’s Net of Interconnection at a community forest walk in Whatcom County on Saturday, Feb. 26.

Each strip of cloth added to the net contains the writer’s earnest blessing for or pledge of commitment to earth justice for all beings. The net is intended to travel through Whatcom faith and wisdom communities to be continuously added to.Ysabelle Kempe The Bellingham Herald

Bellingham’s Lairmont Manor was bursting at the seams with attendees during the first event held by the local Multifaith Network for Climate Justice in September 2019.

Despite a pandemic that upended how we gather, the Multifaith Network for Climate Justice has continued to meet via Zoom and correspond online, sharing information about policy, events and news.

Leaders from over a dozen spiritual traditions — including Catholicism, Buddhism, Judaism and Paganism— spoke at the first gathering, held during the city’s annual ALL IN for Climate Action Week.

“No matter how superficially different people perceive them as being, all of them expressed a profound deeply rooted belief that their religion calls them to protect this earth,” said Betsy Gross, a retired mental health professional who co-convened the multifaith network. 

The Multifaith Network for Climate Justice is a group of Bellingham residents from faith and wisdom communities that gather monthly to discuss climate change and justice. Gross said the group fills participants’ unmet craving to explore the intersection between their faith and human-caused climate change, which is bringing more frequent, severe extreme weather and disrupting ecosystems around the world. 

“People came because their own faiths weren’t talking about it, and they wanted to,” Gross said.

The digital meetings begin and end with a centering moment that is reflective and meditative.

“It changes the whole tone,” said Jillian Froebe, a community minister involved with the network. “It doesn’t take the fire out of it, but it takes the judgment out of it.”

Participants do not have to be part of an established faith or wisdom community, and meeting attendance ranges from 30 to 120 people, Gross said. 

The network is Gross’ brainchild. After attending a 2019 climate leader training in Atlanta, Georgia, led by former Vice President Al Gore, Gross came back to Bellingham with her “hair on fire.” Filled with indignation that climate change would hit the poorest people the hardest, Gross decided she needed to engage a community in Bellingham that hadn’t been as outspoken about climate change issues: the faith community.

“This is a labor of love,” Gross said. “To me, that’s the niche that spiritual traditions have to offer to the conversation about climate.”

Diane Sue, Betsy Gross, Judy Hopkinson, Jillian Froebe and Brian Johnson hold the Multifaith Network for Climate Justice banner in 2021 in Bellingham. Linda Conroy  Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

‘Climate crisis is a moral crisis’

What do faith and spirituality have to do with the environment and climate change? This is a question that Jason Brown, who teaches at Western Washington University and British Columbia’s Simon Fraser University, has dedicated his career to exploring.

“The climate crisis is a moral crisis,” Brown said. “That means that the climate crisis is a religious issue as much as it is a political, technological or ecological issue.”

Different faiths and spiritual worldviews define the relationship between humans and the natural world in contrasting ways, Brown said. Some frame the earth as a “material blessing from a divine source,” while others perceive the nonhuman world as sharing in God’s presence, he said.

Indigenous peoples tend to have a more entangled relationship with the natural world and a “diverse view of persons,” he said. Froebe, the minister involved with Bellingham’s Multifaith Network, said the group has much to learn from the way local Indigenous communities interact with the environment.

Part of the value of an interfaith group is that it allows participants to clarify their own faith’s position on the environment and climate in relation to others, Brown explained. 

“Do animals have souls? Is the Earth sacred? Can we say Mass outside?” Brown said. “You start to come up against the limitations of your own faith.”

Climate change is arguably the great problem confronting humanity, but we have done little to head off this looming catastrophe.

In The Perfect Moral Storm, philosopher Stephen Gardiner illuminates our dangerous inaction by placing the environmental crisis in an entirely new light, considering it as an ethical failure.

Gardiner clarifies the moral situation, identifying the temptations (or “storms”) that make us vulnerable to a certain kind of corruption.

First, the world’s most affluent nations are tempted to pass on the cost of climate change to the poorer and weaker citizens of the world.

Second, the present generation is tempted to pass the problem on to future generations.

Third, our poor grasp of science, international justice, and the human relationship to nature helps to facilitate inaction.

As a result, we are engaging in willful self-deception when the lives of future generations, the world’s poor, and even the basic fabric of life on the planet is at stake. We should wake up to this profound ethical failure, Gardiner concludes, and demand more of our institutions, our leaders and ourselves.

A Perfect Moral Storm

A climate-focused group rooted in spirituality and philosophy also serves as a space for people to process the emotions elicited by a warming planet, Brown said. Many young people have already begun to move away from religion, and it can be this loss of the “sense of the sacred” that makes the ecological crisis feel even more daunting to them, he said.

“There’s goodness in gathering and talking about grief,” Brown said. “People should talk about how scary it is right now and move to that place of certainty that other people feel the same way. You are not alone.”

Sacred Earth Fair on the horizon

The Multifaith Network for Climate Justice is more than a space to talk. It is a vessel for climate action and policy.

“The idea now is to try and get those faith communities not just to acknowledge this portion of their spiritual path but to put them in a position where there is action taken, so we can do what we can to preserve what’s left of creation,” said Deb Cruz, a participant in the network from the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship.

The network doesn’t mark the first time that faith communities and climate action have crossed paths in Whatcom — statewide nonprofit Earth Ministry supported efforts to fight the proposed Gateway Pacific coal terminal at Cherry Point years before the Multifaith Network for Climate Justice was convened. The network formalized a partnership with Earth Ministry in early 2021.

It’s been more difficult to get large fundamentalist Christian churches out in the county involved with the Multifaith Network than groups in Bellingham, Froebe said. The network is also not as intergenerational as she would like, but she has high hopes that the network’s Sacred Earth Fair this summer will change that.

The Sacred Earth Fair, which will take place at Bellingham’s Center for Spiritual Living from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 31, is an outdoor event that will bring together community members for an afternoon of speakers, yoga, listening circles, Zen nature walks, booths and children’s activities. Violinist and Lummi Nation member Swil Kanim will perform, and Nooksack Tribal storyteller Tammy Cooper-Woodrich and her daughter Angela Letoi will speak.

Gross hopes community members walk away from the fair feeling energized to take action.

“It seems like the more we talk about this and offer 80 different ways you can see, know and understand it, the more we all get involved in doing something about it,” Gross said.

— Read on www.newsobserver.com/news/environment/article261267347.html

A lack of climate action at the national level is a 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 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 been a complete and catastrophic failure to act on the climate crisis. 

The Lost Years

Chevron says world’s largest carbon capture project has ‘a ways to go’ to meet goals | Reuters #ClimateCrisis #auspol #ausvotes #TellTheTruth #IPCCReport #CoralNotCoal #FundOurFutureNotGas

Chevron Corp’s Gorgon carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Australia is working at only half its capacity nearly three years after starting up and the company has no timeframe for delivering on targets it has so far failed to meet, a senior executive said.

By

The world’s largest CCS project, which started up three years late, is being closely watched by the gas industry globally as carbon capture and storage is seen as essential for producers to meet net zero emissions targets by 2050.

Gorgon CCS had originally been slated to be fully operational by last year when the project faced its first five-year rolling assessment. Instead, it was forced to buy carbon credits for falling short of goals for burying emissions from the Gorgon liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant. read more

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison with the Ministry for Energy Angus Taylor

The project was designed to bury 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually but only managed 2.1 million tonnes last year.

“We’ve still got a ways to go to meet the commitment to what we have the injection system designed for,” Chevron Australia’s director of operations, Kory Judd, told Reuters in an interview ahead of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Conference.

“What we’re doing is trying to learn our way through how you inject CO2 into the reservoirs, how do they respond, then how do you do that reliably and how do you do that and get to the point to meeting the commitments that you’ve got.”

The CO2 injection systems are working reliably, he said.

“It’s just getting it to scale that we’re working on.”

Judd said the company would continue to work with the Western Australian government to offer offsets to make up for any shortfall assessed each year.

He did not say how much Chevron had spent on the 5 million greenhouse gas offsets surrendered on behalf of the Gorgon partners, which include fellow majors Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) and Shell (SHEL.L).

Australian Carbon Credit Units soared to a high of A$57 a tonne in January when Chevron was buying offsets. At those prices, the offsets would cost more than A$250 million but not all the offsets were bought on the Australian market.

Despite the challenges faced by the A$3 billion ($2 billion) project off the coast of Western Australia, Chevron is looking for other CCS opportunities in Australia and elsewhere. In Southeast Asia alone BP plc (BP.L), Indonesia’s Pertamina and Malaysia’s Petronas are working on CCS plans.

“There’s no way you can get to the 2050 aspirations any place in the world without CCS being a component of it,” Judd said.

— Read on www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/chevron-says-worlds-largest-carbon-capture-project-has-a-ways-go-meet-goals-2022-05-16/