Special coverage in the Trump Era

Dark Money author Jane Mayer on The Dangers of President Pence, New Yorker, Oct. 23 issue on-line

"Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America" see: our site, and George Monbiot's essay on this key book by historian Nancy MacLean.

Full interview with The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer March 29, 2017, Democracy Now! about her article, "The Reclusive Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind the Trump Presidency: How Robert Mercer Exploited America’s Populist Insurgency."

Democracy Now! Special Broadcast from the Women's March on Washington

The Economics of Happiness -- new version

Local Futures offers a free, shortened version of its award-winning documentary film The Economics of Happiness. This 19-minute abridged version "brings us voices of hope of in a time of crisis." www.localfutures.org.

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October 04, 2017

Puerto Rico and Why Climate Reparations Must Know No Borders

"Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director of UPROSE and co-chair of the Climate Justice Alliance, tells In These Times, “The devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Maria is the culmination of centuries of colonialism, extraction and repression. This climate catastrophe downed many grids that were already buckling under the weight of neglect and austerity: the communications grid, the electrical grid, the food grid and the economic grid.”

By Sarah Lazare, In These Times October 3, 2017

Excerpt: 

“Free rider” countries

This season’s destructives storms fit the overall rise in extreme weather, exacerbated by human-made climate change. According to data released in 2012 by the World Bank, the United States is the second-largest producer of carbon in the world, second only to China.

This disproportionate climate impact can also be broken down by class. Findings released by Oxfam International in 2015 show that the poorest half of the global population is responsible for producing just 10 percent of all carbon emissions, while the wealthiest 10 percent produces roughly half of such emissions. The study also finds that an individual in the wealthiest 1 percent of the global population has a carbon footprint 175 times greater than that of an individual from the poorest 10 percent.

These disparities reflect global inequalities. For example, Oxfam determined that an individual from the wealthiest 10 percent of India’s population uses an average of just one quarter the carbon of an individual in the poorest half of the U.S. population.

And the role of the U.S. elite in driving climate change cannot be measured solely in terms of carbon output. As the largest economy in the world, the United States plays a key role in maintaining a ruthless, international capitalist system predicated on oil, gas and coal extraction, even as scientists warn that the vast majority of fossil fuels must stay in the ground if we are to stave off catastrophic climate change.

According to a November 2015 study from Oil Change International, G20 countries are responsible for shelling out $444 billion a year to subsidize the production of fossil fuels. The report, which reviewed the years 2013 and 2014, found that the United States spent more than $20 billion annually to subsidize fossil fuel production. Meanwhile, Climate Transparency has determined that G20 countries are responsible for nearly three quarters of all current greenhouse gasses.

Yet it is the poor, people of color and residents of the Global South who suffer most. According to a 2015 study published in the journal Scientific Reports, the countries most responsible for driving climate change are the ones least impacted in the immediate term. “’Free rider’ countries contribute disproportionately to global GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions with only limited vulnerability to the effects of the resulting climate change, while ‘forced rider’ countries are most vulnerable to climate change but have contributed little to its genesis,” the study finds. “This is an issue of environmental equity on a truly global scale.”

Among the 17 countries identified in the study as “acutely vulnerable” to climate change, most are African countries or island nations in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.

In an April 2017 briefing, Oxfam affirmed that we are already seeing climate change unleash humanitarian crises. “Nearly thirteen million people in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia are dangerously hungry and in need of humanitarian assistance,” states the briefing. “The worst drought-affected areas in Somalia are on the brink of famine.”

The failure of the global elite to ease the suffering caused by the climate crisis springs from multiple, interlaced social problems: racism, capitalism, colonialism, global inequality and state violence. This failure has impacted the U.S. mainland, from Houston to New Orleans, but most severely hits those countries excluded from the mainstream media narrative of climate destruction. Discussion of the havoc wrought in Cuba and Barbados is generally absent from headlines in the United States, while reporting on drought and potential famine in East Africa is nearly totally missing.

In 2014, Marshallese writer Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner read a poem to the United Nations Climate Summit in which she cited the fact that the Marshall Islands are disappearing as the sea levels rise. “They say you, your daughter and your granddaughter, too will wander rootless with only a passport to call home,” she read from a poem addressed to her daughter."...
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