George Monbiot: I’m part of the ‘anti-growth coalition’ Liz Truss loves to hate – and I’m proud of it

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/oct/12/liz-truss-anti-growth-coalition-class-power

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For many years, a small band of us “voices of decline” and “enemies of enterprise” who “don’t understand aspiration” have been trying to point out that increments in gross domestic product do not equate to increments in happiness. We have argued that no one wins the human race. We have sought to explain that what mainstream economists call progress is what ecologists call planetary ruin. We’ve contended that infinite growth on a finite planet is a recipe for catastrophe. I hope Liz Truss is right to claim that so many people now accept our arguments.

Even if this coalition is not yet as broad as she suggests, she seems determined to widen it. Her plans to rip down planning controls, to cut public services, deregulate business, crush protests, unleash exploitation and destroy economic security, all in the name of boosting the rate of economic growth, could scarcely be better calculated to reveal the difference between GDP and prosperity.

Is our prosperity enhanced by increasing the volume of sewage in our rivers and on our beaches? No. It may boost the profits of the water companies and the remuneration of their directors, very little of which – unlike the effluent they release – will trickle down into our lives. Will a new roadbuilding programme enhance our lives? Not if, as new roads always do, it pushes congestion to the next bottleneck, while increasing noise, pollution and the destruction of landscapes. Will we be happier if the regulations protecting workers and consumers are stripped away? No. We will find that our health, wealth and wellbeing decline, even as the companies exploiting us become richer. Our lives do not grow in these circumstances. They are shrunk by poverty, pollution, poor health and exploitation.

dizzy: As a blogger, I should only quote small excerpts of copyrighted works and as a rule of thumb I tend to go for 3 paragraphs of newspaper articles. I recommend the rest of Monbiot’s article.

Continue ReadingGeorge Monbiot: I’m part of the ‘anti-growth coalition’ Liz Truss loves to hate – and I’m proud of it

Monbiot: Make extreme wealth extinct: it’s the only way to avoid climate breakdown

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/nov/10/extreme-wealth-polluting-climate-breakdown-rich

The richest 1% of the world’s people (those earning more than $172,000 a year) produce 15% of the world’s carbon emissions: twice the combined impact of the poorest 50%. On average, they emit over 70 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person every year, 30 times more than we can each afford to release if we’re not to exceed 1.5C of global heating. While the emissions of the world’s middle classes are expected to fall sharply over the next decade, thanks to the general decarbonisation of our economies, the amount produced by the richest will scarcely decline at all: in other words, they’ll be responsible for an even greater share of total CO2. Becoming good global citizens would mean cutting their carbon consumption by an average of 97%.

There’s an oft-quoted axiom, whose authorship is obscure: it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. Part of the reason is that capitalism itself is difficult to imagine. Most people struggle to define it, and its champions have generally succeeded in disguising its true nature. So let’s begin by imagining something that’s easier to comprehend: the end of concentrated wealth. Our survival depends on it.

I’ve come to believe that the most important of all environmental measures are wealth taxes. Preventing systemic environmental collapse means driving extreme wealth to extinction. It is not humanity as a whole that the planet cannot afford. It’s the ultra-rich.

Something to watch on the eve of huge energy price increases driving the cost of living crisis in UK

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COP26 News review day 5

COP26 news today is Fridays for Future Scotland’s protest in Glasgow. Greta Thunberg has called COP26 a failure.

Greta Thunberg speaks at Fridays for Future Scotland’s protest in Glasgow.

George Monbiot: Never mind aid, never mind loans: what poor nations are owed is reparations [ed: I recommend reading this article]

At Cop26 the wealthy countries cast themselves as saviours, yet their efforts are hopelessly inadequate and will prolong the injustice

The wealthy nations, always keen to position themselves as saviours, have promised to help their former colonies adjust to the chaos they have caused.

Never mind aid, never mind loans; what the rich nations owe the poor is reparations. Much of the harm inflicted by climate breakdown makes a mockery of the idea of adaptation: how can people adapt to temperatures higher than the human body can withstand; to repeated, devastating cyclones that trash homes as soon as they are rebuilt; to the drowning of entire archipelagos; to the desiccation of vast tracts of land, making farming impossible? But while the concept of irreparable “loss and damage” was recognised in the Paris agreement, the rich nations insisted that this “does not involve or provide a basis for any liability or compensation”.

By framing the pittance they offer as a gift, rather than as compensation, the states that have done most to cause this catastrophe can position themselves, in true colonial style, as the heroes who will swoop down and rescue the world: this was the thrust of Boris Johnson’s opening speech, invoking James Bond, at Glasgow: “We have the ideas. We have the technology. We have the bankers.”

But the victims of the rich world’s exploitation don’t need James Bond, nor other white saviours. They don’t need Johnson’s posturing. They don’t need his skinflint charity, or the deadly embrace of the bankers who fund his party. They need to be heard. And they need justice.

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THE STATE WE’RE IN :: George Monbiot is trying to get arrested today

Journalist and author George Monbiot is trying to get arrested today as part of the Extinction Rebellion Climate Emergency protests in London. There have been over 1,400 arrests of XR rebels in London and the Metropolitan Police have now imposed a blanket ban on London XR protests.

Today, I aim to get arrested. It is the only real power climate protesters have

Image of Extinction Rebellion protestors getting removed and possibly arrested by police
Photograph: Ollie Millington/Getty

A few hours after this column is published, I hope to be in a police cell. I don’t yet know what the charge will be, where I will be arrested or when, but I know that if I go home this evening without feeling the hand of the law on my sleeve, I will have failed. This may sound like a strange ambition, but I believe it is a reasonable one.

If I succeed, I will be one of many. In the current wave of Extinction Rebellion protests, more than 1,400 people have so far allowed themselves to be arrested. It’s a controversial tactic, but it has often proved effective. The suffragettes, the Indian salt marchers, the civil rights movement and the Polish and East German democracy movements, to name just a few, all used it as a crucial strategy. Mass arrests are a potent form of democratic protest.

They work because they show that the campaigners are serious. When people are prepared to jeopardise their liberty for their cause, other people appear more likely to listen to what they say, and more likely to recognise its importance. Those who founded Extinction Rebellion researched these histories and sought to apply their lessons to the greatest predicament humanity has ever faced: the gathering collapse of our life support systems.

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NASA: 2014 the Warmest Year on Record

Climate change, global warming, irrefutable facts about, climate change, global warming

Looking into the eye of a Whale is very special.

I am not suggesting that saving whales is any real response to climate change, although of course Whales should be protected and adored. What I am suggesting is that we should hugely reduce our – i.e. human – adverse effect on this beautiful planet that is our World. We need to make huge changes to stop destroying our World.

It’s not about personal issues like riding a bike and doing away with cars (although it may have a minimal affect edit: doing away with cars would have a huge effect, aeroplanes too). Yes, we need to act local – avoid travelling excessive distances. Get a job closer to home.

The real issue is much bigger and needs to be addressed by politicians. We have to stop destroying this World. 2014 was the warmest year on record. Climate change is real and must be addressed.

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UK politics news

A selection of recent UK and international political articles.

Continue ReadingUK politics news