Our global society is broken. Donald Trump & Brexit are symptoms along with the rise of the far right elsewhere in Europe. In an old pattern, fundamental economic crisis often results in society becoming very much more brutal for most people. In the age of nuclear weapons this current crisis could be our last. And with a somewhat longer countdown to disaster we are also facing climate catastrophe.
The crisis is fundamental rather than temporary because there are two underlying factors that are irreversible. The first is the end of the era where the environmental costs of growth could be mostly discounted in the belief that dilution would neutralise pollution. For much of the industrial revolution the poisonous effluent dumped into the ecosystem had only local severe effects with the vast oceans and atmosphere diluting the pollutants enough that global effects were minor. This is no longer the case with climate change being the most talked about of several examples where the pollution generated by growth can no longer be absorbed without serious global consequences.
Oxfam has just released a report that shows global inequality has escalated rapidly over the last 6 years. The particular measure they used is a very important one. First they calculated the wealth held by the poorest 50% of the planets population, which is about 3.6 billion people. And then they asked how many of the richest people held the same amount of wealth.
You can now view the video of the Defending the Amazon defending life from the Dublin Anarchist Bookfair
Rather worrying news about those mysterious sink holes that have appeared in Siberia. It now appears they were giant methane releases - long forecast by climate change scientists as a likely positive feedback occurrence as permafrost in Siberia melted and released trapped methane. Worrying because methane is a 20 times more potent climate change gas than CO2 because it is more efficient at trapping radiation.
This weeks leads editorial in the international business magazine 'The Economist' shrugs its shoulders and walks away from the idea of controlling Climate Change. This is very significant for The Economist is not a climate change denial publication, for some time (at least as far back as 2006) it has accepted the scientific consensus that human caused Climate Change is a real process with extremely serious implications. So it giving up the fight is a very big deal indeed, and one that contains serious lessons for the Climate Change reformists who continue to believe that if enough pressure is put on a deal can somehow be struck at five minutes to midnight.
Last weekend I went to Birmingham, England for the national conference of the British anarkismo affiliate Liberty & Solidarity. I started to write this blog on then train back from a National Shell to Sea meeting in Galway this Sunday. During the week I updated three of my blogs about my North American speaking tour. This is the week when Ireland is cut off from the world as the ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano drifts overhead, grounding all flights. Which got me thinking about transport and climate change.
This weeks New Scientist carries an editorial calling for "robust public debate on geoengineering". Geoengineering is the idea that if climate change cannot be avoided through a reduction in carbon emissions its worst effects can be avoided through large-scale engineering of our environment. The failure of the Climate Summit in Copenhagen has seen many scientists look to what is perceived as the only possible alternative.
If you want to escape from the misery of the Irish winter the warmest, cheapest and most direct destination is the Canary islands far to the south off the coast of Africa. It is a tourism entirely build around cheap flights bringing affordable holidays in the sun to millions of European workers. But has it any future on a planet threatened by Climate Change? When I visited Lanzarote in January 2010 I was escaping one of the coldest winters that Ireland had seen in decades, a coldness perhaps created in part by the very mechanism I was using to escape from it.
I've just listened to a rather good introduction to some of the major issues of Climate Change from someone I normally have little time for, George Monbiot. In this audio though he scores some points in terms of the dangerous distraction of peak oil panic and the economics of climate change. He also lays out why fossil fuels have been so incredibly useful in the development of civilisation to date and why the COP strategy is no strategy at all when you look at the underlying science.
This audio interview conducted by mobile phone on Monday evening covers the protests at the COP15 summit in Copenhagen. Ronan who was a member of WSM in Ireland has been living in Denmark for a year and a half and is involved in a new Libertarian Socialist group and the local infoshop in the autonomous Youth House.
Our interviewee gets nicked on Saturday along with 960+ others