The Low Road.

Politicians have taken regard of historian Simon Schama’s comment that no one ever won an election by telling voters it had come to the end of its “providential allotment of inexhaustible plenty”. The official policy articulated, in a moment of unusual candour, by Jean-Claude Juncker, the current head of the European Commission, was that when the situation becomes serious it is simply necessary to lie.

For the moment, to paraphrase Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the “permanent lie [has become] the only safe form of existence“.
http://www.smh.com.au/comment/satyajit-das-column-20150825-gj7bcy.html#ixzz3kIOC1BVl

The issue of climate change is no different, with the exception that blind faith in technology also incorporates a collective “amnesia” about the problems that we face because of technology. As pointed out to Stewart Brand by Winona LaDuke.

The politics of the “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” are based on the most powerful (U.S.) corporate intellect, the same philosophical basis upon which all governments are run.

The very oil, coal, and gas giants that have brought us to the brink of catastrophe are not just at the negotiating table—they are coming dangerously close to running the show. Examples of Big Energy’s influence in the talks abound: from corporations actually sponsoring the last round of talks (COP19), to industry front groups like the World Coal Association and IPIECA (the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association) gaining official status, to solutions on the table that seek to enrich the private sector above all else.

http://theleap.thischangeseverything.org/rescuing-the-climate-talks-from-corporate-capture-a-roadmap/

 

Naomi Klein’s book “The Shock Doctrine” on “disaster capitalism” is a stark reminder of what will happen to those who cannot pay, and the institutions on which they rely.

One of those who saw opportunity in the floodwaters of New Orleans was Milton Friedman……He wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal three months after the levees broke. “Most New Orleans schools are in ruins,” Friedman observed, “as are the homes of the children who have attended them. The children are now scattered all over the country. This is a tragedy. It is also an opportunity to radically reform the educational system.”…….. George W. Bush backed up their plans with tens of millions of dollars to convert New Orleans schools into “charter schools,” For Milton Friedman, the entire concept of a state-run school system reeked of socialism. In his view, the state’s sole functions were “to protect our freedom both from the enemies outside our gates and from our fellow-citizens: to preserve law and order, to enforce private contracts, to foster competitive markets.” In other words, to supply the police and the soldiers—anything else, including providing free education, was an unfair interference in the market.

Within nineteen months, with most of the city’s poor residents still in exile, New Orleans’ public school system had been almost completely replaced by privately run charter schools. Before Hurricane Katrina, the school board had run 123 public schools; now it ran just 4. Before that storm, there had been 7 charter schools in the city; now there were 31

For more than three decades, Friedman and his powerful followers had been perfecting this very strategy: waiting for a major crisis, then selling off pieces of the state to private players while citizens were still reeling from the shock, then quickly making the “reforms” permanent.

From “The Shock Doctrine, The Rise of Disaster Capitalism”. Introduction

Governments who make the decisions in the IPCC forum have no thought to change the economic/social system to a more egalitarian climate justice base, but the IPCC is complicit by blind adherence to science fiction and the ecomodernist answers, Corporate ideology, and feeding this back into Government thinking as “viable”.

The Papacy turned the eye once more to the “moral” case for climate justice, but known skeptics within the church such as Cardinal George Pell from Australia, said the Catholic Church had no business issuing statements about politics.

The “Precautionary Principle” has morphed into ‘cost /benefit, risk analysis’ where GDP and profit are “privatising” what were once “Human Rights”

Naomi Klein’s book set the debate in the most analytical way possible. The logic is irrefutable, but is answered with silence and has failed to produce the required debate. Read it.

This is the “low road”, but requires more crowdfunding than is possible. Needs more emissions reductions that seem possible, more “Degrowth” than seems possible. It needs new financial taxes, redistribution of wealth and social reforms that don’t seem possible. More than that, it needs a sizeable majority with Climate Justice as its main talking point. Its a road we know instinctively but haven’t travelled before, its starting again.

 

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Naomi Klein, Why the Right fears Climate Change.

Naomi Klein has been an outspoken activist, best selling author and filmaker for many years. This interview is cross posted from “Solutions” website and delves into Ms Klein’s investigative research into the wildly swinging opinion on climate change action, and the reality of finding a solution that is equitable globally, not just for the 1%.

Throwing Out the Free Market Playbook: An Interview with Naomi Klein

Perhaps one of the most well-known voices for the Left, Canadian Naomi Klein is an activist and author of several nonfiction works critical of consumerism and corporate activity, including the best sellers No Logo (2000) and Shock Doctrine (2007).

In your cover story for the Nation last year, you say that modern environmentalism successfully advances many of the causes dear to the political Left, including redistribution of wealth, higher and more progressive taxes, and greater government intervention and regulation. Please explain.

The piece came out of my interest and my shock at the fact that belief in climate change in the United States has plummeted. If you really drill into the polling data, what you see is that the drop in belief in climate change is really concentrated on the right of the political spectrum. It’s been an extraordinary and unusual shift in belief in a short time. In 2007, 71 percent of Americans believed in climate change and in 2009 only 51 percent believed—and now we’re at 41 percent. So I started researching the denial movement and going to conferences and reading the books, and what’s clear is that, on the right, climate change is seen as a threat to the Right’s worldview, and to the neoliberal economic worldview. It’s seen as a Marxist plot. They accuse climate scientists of being watermelons—green on the outside and red on the inside.

It seems exaggerated, but your piece was about how the Right is in fact correct.

I don’t think climate change necessitates a social revolution. This idea is coming from the right-wing think tanks and not scientific organizations. They’re ideological organizations. Their core reason for being is to defend what they call free-market ideology. They feel that any government intervention leads us to serfdom and brings about a socialist world, so that’s what they have to fight off: a socialist world. Increase the power of the private sector and decrease the public sphere is their ideology.

You can set up carbon markets, consumer markets, and just pretend, but if you want to get serious about climate change, really serious, in line with the science, and you want to meet targets like 80 percent emissions cuts by midcentury in the developed world, then you need to be intervening strongly in the economy, and you can’t do it all with carbon markets and offsetting. You have to really seriously regulate corporations and invest in the public sector. And we need to build public transport systems and light rail and affordable housing along transit lines to lower emissions. The market is not going to step up to this challenge. We must do more: rebuild levees and bridges and the public sphere, because we saw in Katrina what happens when weak infrastructure clashes with heavy weather—it’s catastrophe. These climate deniers aren’t crazy—their worldview is under threat. If you take climate change seriously, you do have to throw out the free-market playbook.

What is the political philosophy that underscores those who accept climate change versus those who deny it?

The Yale cultural cognition project has looked at cultural worldview and climate change, and what’s clear is that ideology is the main factor in whether we believe in climate change. If you have an egalitarian and communitarian worldview, and you tend toward a belief system of pooling resources and helping the less advantaged, then you believe in climate change. And the stronger your belief system tends toward a hierarchical or individual worldview, the greater the chances are that you deny climate change and the stronger your denial will be. The reason is clear: it’s because people protect their worldviews. We all do this. We develop intellectual antibodies. Climate change confirms what people on the left already believe. But the Left must take this confirmation responsibly. It means that if you are on the left of the spectrum, you need to guard against exaggeration and your own tendency to unquestioningly accept the data because it confirms your worldview.

Members of the Left have been resistant to acknowledging that this worldview is behind their support of climate action, while the Right confronts it head on. Why this hesitancy among liberals?

There are a few factors at work. Climate change is not a big issue for the Left. The big left issues in the United States are inequality, the banks, corporate malfeasance, unemployment, foreclosures. I don’t think climate change has ever been a broad-based issue for the Left. Part of this is the legacy of siloing off issues, which is part of the NGO era of activism. Climate change has been claimed by the big green groups and they’re to the left. But they’re also foundation funded. A lot of them have gone down the road of partnerships with corporations, which has made them less critical. The discourse around climate change has also become extremely technical and specialized. A lot of people don’t feel qualified and feel like they don’t have to talk about it. They’re so locked into a logic of market-based solutions—that the big green groups got behind cap and trade, carbon markets, and consumer responses instead of structural ones—so they’re not going to talk about how free trade has sent emissions soaring or about crumbling public infrastructure or the ideology that would rationalize major new investments in infrastructure. Others can fight those battles, they say. During good economic times, that may have seemed viable; but as soon as you have an economic crisis, the environment gets thrown under the bus, and there is a failure to make the connection between the economy and the climate crisis—both have roots in putting profits before people.

You write in your article, “After years of recycling, carbon offsetting, and light-bulb changing, it is obvious that individual action will never be an adequate response to the climate crisis.” How do we get the collective action necessary? Is the Occupy movement a step in the right direction?

The Occupy movement has been a game changer, and it has opened up space for us to put more radical solutions on the table. I think the political discourse in the United States is centered around what we tell ourselves the American public can handle. The experience of seeing these groups of young people put radical ideas on the table, and seeing the country get excited by it, has been a wake up call for a lot of people who feel they support those solutions—and for those who have said, “That’s all we can do.” It has challenged the sense of what is possible. I know a lot of environmentalists have been really excited by that. I’m on the board of 350.org, and they’ll be doing more and more work on the structural barriers to climate action. The issue is why? Why do we keep losing? Who is in our way? We’re talking about challenging corporate personhood and financing of elections—and this is huge for environmental groups to be moving out of their boxes. I think all of the green organizations who take corporate money are terrified about this. For them, Occupy Wall Street has been a game changer.

What comes after communism and capitalism? What’s your vision of the way forward?

It’s largely about changing the mix in a mixed economy. Maybe one day we’ll have a perfect “ism” that’s post-communism and -capitalism. But if we look at the countries that have done the most to seriously meet the climate challenge, they’re social democracies like Scandinavia and the Netherlands. They’re countries with a strong social sphere. They’re mixed economies. Markets are a big part, but not the only part, of their economies. Can we meet our climate targets in a system that requires exponential growth to continue? Furthermore, where is the imperative of growth coming from? What part of our economy is demanding growth year after year?

If you’re a locally based business, you don’t need continual growth year after year. What requires that growth is the particular brand of corporate capitalism—shareholders who aren’t involved in the business itself. That part of our economy has to shrink, and that’s terrifying people who are deeply invested in it. We have a mixed economy, but it’s one in which large corporations are controlled by outside investors, and we won’t change that mix until that influence is reduced.

Is that possible?

It is if we look at certain choke points like corporate personhood and financing, and it makes sense for us to zero in on aspects of our system that give corporations massive influence. Another is media concentration. If you had publicly financed elections, you’d have to require public networks to give airtime to candidates. So the fact that networks charge so much is why presidential elections cost more than a billion dollars, which means you have to go to the 1 percent to finance the elections. These issues are all linked with the idea that corporations have the same free-speech rights as people, so there would also be more restrictions on corporate speech.

Entrepreneur and writer Peter Barnes has argued that what’s missing is adequate incorporation of the “commons sector” in the economy—public goods like natural and social capital. “Capitalism 3.0” he calls it, which we’d achieve not by privatizing these goods but by creating new institutions such as public-asset trusts. What’s your opinion of this approach?

I definitely think it’s clear that the road we’ve been on—turning to the private sector to run our essential services—has proven disastrous. In many cases, the reason why it was so easy to make arguments in favor of privatization was because public institutions were so cut off and unresponsive and the public didn’t feel a sense of ownership. The idea that a private corporation has valued you as a customer was a persuasive argument. Now it turns out both models have failed. So this idea that there is a third way—neither private nor state-run public—is out there.

Naomi Klein on Occupy and Climate Change.

OCCUPY VANCOUVER interviews NAOMI KLEIN

In this interview with Occupy Vancouver, Naomi Klein gives an appraisal of the Occupy movement and it’s value in redetermining values, communicating and ethics. She offers the opinion that solutions to the economic crisis are the same solutions that are needed for the ecological crisis of climate change, and the political crisis which is advocated by the Tar Sands.

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Naomi Klein’s advocacy is gaining important discussion space as the following post from New York Times columnist Andrew Revkin shows. The discussion centres around her article “Capitalism v Climate” (see below) and her call for a realistic approach to climate change and the massive change that must occur to return to a safe climate.

Andrew Rivkin and the New York Times have acknowledging global warming but staying very close to the “American Way.”

Revkin, although disagreeing with some key aspects of Naomi Kleins essay, welcomes the discussion ;

She challenges the environmental left to embrace this reality instead of implying that modest changes in lifestyle and shopping habits and the like can decarbonize human endeavors on a crowding planet.

Andrew Rivkin. (AR)

First, I was happy to see you dive into the belly of the many-headed beast challenging the need for greenhouse-gas cuts (as was clear from your piece, you recognize that there’s no single species called “deniers”). There are lots of slings and arrows awaiting anyone exploring this terrain, as was the case with the Heartland meeting in 2008. What prompted you to do an in-depth look at global warming stances and the issues underlying this “crisis”?

Naomi Klein (NK)

I got interested after attending the UN climate summit in Copenhagen in 2009. Like a lot of people who watched that train wreck up close, I came away wanting to understand the massive gap between the euphoric expectations of the environmental movement and the real political outcomes. When I got home, I was stunned by a new Harris poll that showed that the percentage of Americans who believed in anthropogenic climate change had plummeted from 71 per cent to 51 per cent in just two years. So here we were thinking that the world was on the verge of some kind of climate breakthrough while a large segment of the U.S. population was rejecting the science altogether. I wanted to understand how that could have happened.

I had a bit of an “a-ha” moment reading a paper by the excellent Australian political scientist Clive Hamilton, in which he argues that a great many American conservatives have come to see climate science as a threat to their core ideological identity. Then I read Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, which explains that many of the key scientists behind the denier movement hold a similar point of view – they are old-school Cold Warriors who came to see fighting environmentalism as a battle to protect “freedom” and the American way of life.

But as I read all this, I found myself thinking that from within the hard-right worldview, these responses were entirely rational. If you really do believe that freedom means governments getting out of the way of corporations and that any regulation leads us down Hayek’s road to serfdom, then climate science is going to be kryptonite to you. After all, the reality that humans are causing the climate to warm, with potentially catastrophic results, really does demand radical government intervention in the market, as well as collective action on an unprecedented scale. So you can understand why many conservatives see climate change as a threat to their identity. Too often the liberal climate movement runs away from the deep political and economic implications of climate science, which is why I wrote the piece. I think we need to admit that climate change really does demand a profound interrogation of the ideology that currently governs our economy. And that’s not bad news, since our current economic model is failing millions of people on multiple fronts.

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WITH DURBAN IN MIND.

The Climate Change conference in Durbam begins shortly and no-one has presented a message as forcefully as Bill McKibben and 350.org Bill has been a champion and a master strategist. 350.org and has been joined by Naomi Klein who is a real inspiration through her tireless advocacy against the greatest minds of conservative thought.      Bill will always have the Tar Sands to his credit. He took James Hansen’s dire warnings and chrystallized them into action, Seeing the seriousness of the situation and having put out this film clip shortly before.

This Durban climate conference MUST DO SOMETHING. – BIG. So if we have to be reminded of the purpose of Durban, it’s to stop this getting worse. Soon we should all be able to ask a question raised by Laurie Anderson ;                                                     “Are things getting better, or are things getting worse.”

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Here is a film on “the great white hope for black coal”, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). “Trials” are collapsing in the U.K. and elsewhere. Meanwhile by 2030 the world is scheduled to have “up and running”

467 projects

31% OECD

69% non-OECD

This is according to IEA/UNIDO emissions reductions ROADMAP TARGETS. That huge amount of infrastructure would see a reduction of less that 1 gigatin by 2030, and only 4gt by 2050 when there would be

1 806 projects

25% OECD

75% non-OECD

PRODUCING ONLY 4 GT OF CO2 CEQUESTRATION.

This film shows the progress of the Australian venture. It should be born in mind that there already is a surplus of CO2 in the atmosphere which must be removed. C.C.S. is needed, but it will never be the “big bazooka”.

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Capitalism vs the Climate – Naomi Klein

This article appears in the November edition of :The Nation”, http://www.thenation.com/article/164497/capitalism-vs-climate?page=0,0

There is a question from a gentleman in the fourth row.

He introduces himself as Richard Rothschild. He tells the crowd that he ran for county commissioner in Maryland’s Carroll County because he had come to the conclusion that policies to combat global warming were actually “an attack on middle-class American capitalism.” His question for the panelists, gathered in a Washington, DC, Marriott Hotel in late June, is this: “To what extent is this entire movement simply a green Trojan horse, whose belly is full with red Marxist socioeconomic doctrine?”

Here at the Heartland Institute’s Sixth International Conference on Climate Change, the premier gathering for those dedicated to denying the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is warming the planet, this qualifies as a rhetorical question. Like asking a meeting of German central bankers if Greeks are untrustworthy. Still, the panelists aren’t going to pass up an opportunity to tell the questioner just how right he is.

Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who specializes in harassing climate scientists with nuisance lawsuits and Freedom of Information fishing expeditions, angles the table mic over to his mouth. “You can believe this is about the climate,” he says darkly, “and many people do, but it’s not a reasonable belief.” Horner, whose prematurely silver hair makes him look like a right-wing Anderson Cooper, likes to invoke Saul Alinsky: “The issue isn’t the issue.” The issue, apparently, is that “no free society would do to itself what this agenda requires…. The first step to that is to remove these nagging freedoms that keep getting in the way.”

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Naomi Klein, Occupy and Wombat.

Naomi Klein gave an inspiring acceptance speech when she was given the  “Challenging Business as Usual Award” at the Rainforest Action Network Conference   in San Francisco. She portrayed the “Occupy” movement as a “state of mind” which was based on “sharing”. This is something the current economic fundamentalism knows nothing about, and given the projected population increase to 10 billion by 2050, we are all going to have to learn.

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One of Naomi’s major points was the need to change the system, unlock the radical imagination, and share. WOMBAT explains it as no human being could. Jason ABles made this clip in 2005 perhaps realising that it was the pnly hope for humanity.      Thanks Jason.

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Jason Ables  http://www.bumpercars.com

OCCUPY EVERYWHERE.

OCCUPY EVERYWHERE ; THE MOVEMENT AGAINST CORPORATE POWER.      Organised by “The Nation” magazine and “The New School”

An engrossing panel discussion occured just 2 nights ago in New York which is long, (over 2 hours) but one of the best discussions I have seen/heard on the nature of the “Occupy” movement, the situation it faces and possible outcomes.

The panelists were, Michael Moore, filmaker; Patrick Bruner, a representative elected from OWS; Rinku Sen, racial justice advocate; Bill Grider, journalist and author; and Naomi Klein, Canadian author. A brilliant clarion call to get activated and a frank discussion of obstacles and what everyone can do to Occupy Everywhere.

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 http://www.thenation.com/