New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has presented a pioneering national budget where spending is dictated by the “well-being” of citizens, rather than productivity and economic growth. But as long as other major economies continue to prioritise growth, New Zealand may become a lone wolf trapped in an increasingly hungry bear pit, writes Jack Peat.
From Great Game India: A global contest with at least 9 geoeconomic projects is underway in and around Asia. Regional powers are putting forward ambitious plans for building roads, railways, and other hard infrastructure across the region. A preview of a competition as wide-ranging as the region itself; whose long-term ecological cost will be incalculable.
From Al Jazeera: Scandinavian countries have some of the highest levels of happiness on the planet, and top virtually every ranking of human development. They re worth celebrating for all they get right. But there’s a problem. They’re an ecological disaster, with some of the highest levels of resource-use and CO2 emissions in the world.
The legend of Savitri and Satyavan in the Mahabharata, is a love story. Savitri, a beautiful princess, marries Satyavan, a penniless woodcutter, despite the Sage Narada warning her that Satyavan, a dead man walking, would die in one year. Now, the story of Savitri and Satyavan is being played out in real life in the ongoing climate change saga.
From BuzzFeed: The 2010s will likely lock down the record for the hottest decade so far. The 10-year stretch boasted many of the most expensive and destructive catastrophes ever. Here’s a review of six of the most devastating climate-records we broke this decade. Also, a short video featuring expert views on looming climate tipping points.
Earlier this year, over 11,000 scientists from around the world issued a signed warning stating “clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency”. At the ongoing CoP-25 climate talks at Madrid, Dr. William Moomaw, one of the report’s co-authors, explains the nature of that emergency, and what we must do about it.
From Logic Magazine: Despite the climate crisis, Big Oil is doubling down on fossil fuels. At over 30 billion barrels of crude oil a year, production has never been higher. Now, leading oil companies are forging a lucrative partnership with tech giants like Microsoft, building a new carbon cloud that just might kill us all.
From The Intercept: Anthropologist and Bolivia scholar Bret Gustafson offers a nuanced analysis of how the coup in Bolivia unfolded, who benefits from the present crisis, and what is at stake for the overwhelmingly indigenous population. Also, Glenn Greenwald talks about his recent conversation with Brazil’s former president Lula, who was recently released from prison.
From The Hindu: More fuel-efficient cars usually mean that car owners take many more trips, in effect nullifying the saving of fuel from the technical innovation. This simple example shows why any advocacy of a lasting technological solution to ecological challenges is only destined to set the stage for the next generation of ecological problems.
Hello. Allow me to introduce myself. I am a Carbon atom, writing in the hope that the intelligence operating here might be able and willing to come to our aid. In particular, I am acting on behalf of the many Carbon atoms – who are contently resting in peace, unaware that they’re in great danger.
Over more than 40 years, Vaclav Smil has grown in influence, and is now seen as one of the world’s foremost thinkers and a master of statistical analysis. Bill Gates says he waits for new Smil books the way others wait for the next Star Wars movie. Smil’s latest is Growth: From Microorganisms to Megacities.
“Most people aren’t paying attention. Most people have no idea what’s going on. Industrial civilization is already having serious health problems and heart palpitations. By 2020, industrial civilization’s going to suffer a massive stroke. By 2025, it will be in hospice. By 2030, it will be dead,” writes the anonymous author of Articulating The Future.
From Down to Earth: The biodiversity of the Western Ghats, already under a lot of anthropogenic pressure, will suffer even more if the expansion of the Kaiga Nuclear Power Plant, goes ahead. That this will be done for generating power through a technology that has several alternative and much benign options is even more ironical.
From The Wire: The Rs 3 lakh crore oil refinery project, planned by oil majors over an expanse of over 15,000 acres of land in Maharashtra’s Konkan region, if it takes off, will inevitably displace farmers and fisherfolk from 17 villages – 15 villages in Ratnagiri and two in neighbouring Sindhudurg along the western coast.
From Ensia: Research suggests that at least 100 U.S., European and Asian nuclear power stations built close to sea level could be threatened by serious flooding from accelerating sea-level rise and more frequent storm surges. Meanwhile, scientific papers published in 2018 suggest that safety standards set by national and international nuclear regulators are out of date.
From The Revelator: In the year ahead we all need to stand up and let our elected officials and unelected corporate power-brokers know what really matters to us and to the planet. We need to demand transparency and the truth, rapid change, renewed protections for imperiled species and a commitment to sustainability on all fronts.
In this book, Kerryn Higgs traces the rise of economic growth to the status of the number one goal of nations, and how this pernicious idea prevailed over carefully reasoned counter-arguments through well-funded, carefully orchestrated propaganda. Its a kick in the head for those of us who believe in the persuasive power of reasoned argument.
From The Guardian: On the eve of the UN’s annual climate conference, many experts believe the world may no longer be hovering at the edge of destruction but has probably crossed a crucial point of no return. Climate catastrophe now looks inevitable; we’ve simply left it too late to hold global temperatures to under 1.5C.
From Vox.com: “For a long time I was a climate change denier,” says William T. Vollmann, the award-winning American author, journalist, and war correspondent. Yet, he has just completed a sprawling, two volume polemic called Carbon Ideologies, which explores the ideology of energy consumption, and is addressed to humans living in a “hot dark future.”
We’re on track for four degrees of warming, more than twice as much as most scientists believe is possible to endure without inflicting climate suffering on hundreds of millions or threatening at least parts of what we call, grandly, “civilization.” The only thing that changed is that the scientists, finally, have hit the panic button.