Friday, December 13, 2019

What followers of the Democratic Socialists of America candidates Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won't learn from the U.K. election

The United States is not the United Kingdom. Donald Trump is not Boris Johnson. Bernie Sanders is not Jeremy Corbyn. The Republican Party is not the Conservative Party. The Democratic Party is not the Labour Party.

Nonetheless, the key issues that shaped yesterday's election in Great Britain were nationalism, racism, and socialism. And the candidate with the platform embracing a nationalist economic policy, racist immigration politics, and anti-socialist rhetoric won, and won by a margin not seen since 1987, 32 years ago.

Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party squashed the Labour Party as explained by The Guardian:

    The biggest loser of 2019 is Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour. The party’s 203 seats is its lowest total since 1935. In 18 years, Labour has lost more than 50% of the seats it won in 2001. The Tories swept through constituencies in the Midlands and the north of England that Labour has rarely lost in its history: seats like Bishop Auckland, Great Grimsby and Workington. But the losses were nationwide. In Wales, Wrexham now has its first Conservative MP since the first world war. In Scotland, Labour lost six of its seven seats. In the south, it lost Ipswich and Stroud. After nine years of divisive and troubled Tory rule, Labour could manage only one solitary gain anywhere in the UK.
    This abject performance reflects [a] lack of belief in some of Labour’s manifesto pledges, and divisions over Brexit. But the election was not lost during the campaign. At its roots lie what has become an increasingly unstable alliance of Labour’s left and centre, ... its middle-class and working-class bases. In the 1980s, 80% of Labour voters were manual workers and their families. Today, that figure is around 40%. Mr Corbyn has shown himself unwilling and incapable of unifying that volatile coalition.

If any of this information sounds at all familiar to Democrats, they should also be aware that Johnson is 55 years old, Corbyn is 70.

Finally, with regard to Millennials and Gen Z one should carefully consider this response to the election from 30-year-old Maya Goodfellow, British journalist and author of Hostile Environment: How Immigrants Became Scapegoats:

    When the result of an election will mean bad things for so many, there’s no putting a gloss on it. There is no real celebration in loss, but it means resistance is necessary. And it’ll be young people at the forefront of that. The evidence we have suggests there’s a big generational divide. ... The engine of the Labour party campaign was young people, flanked as ever by their older counterparts. They were out in the streets this election, enthusiastically advocating for public ownership, a green new deal, social housing and a fundamental rewiring of how our deeply unequal economy functions. Whatever happens next, one thing is sure: sustaining and building that movement will be essential.
    Brexit has often been talked about as fundamental to the future of this country – how do we want our relationships with the EU to look, and what kind of country do we want to live in. But what has so often been eclipsed is the life-chances of millions of children in the UK that will continue to be made worse in myriad ways by Conservative policies. Minute-by-minute dissections of Brexit will continue even as child poverty continues to rise, inequality grows and the climate crisis worsens. Based on recent history and the sharp rightward turn of the Conservative party under Johnson’s leadership, superficial change and meaningless soundbites are all that is likely in response.
    Still, there are people all around us who will resist the oncoming onslaught. A few months ago, standing in the middle of Westminster, I was surrounded by some of the people who will be part of that change. Thousands upon thousands of 15-, 16- and 17-year-olds led the way protesting against the lack of action to fight the climate crisis. Cutting through the noise of UK politics to pinpoint this is the most pressing issue young people face. That is the future – one that can’t come soon enough.

As Goodfellow notes, the climate crisis is the issue that rises above all others for Millennial generation and Gen Z. The climate crisis threatens the continuation of The Industrial Age still ongoing in the Third World and The Information Age critical to the First World and thereby world's economic future. In that context, Johnson, Trump, and other aging world leaders appear to be on a course to become the Neville Chamberlain's of this time, refusing to face down an obvious threat to the survival of civilization because it would end the status quo requiring sacrifices unacceptable to the general public.

What is frustrating to this old guy is Goodfellow's admiring description of what was the young people's campaign "enthusiastically advocating for public ownership, a green new deal, social housing and a fundamental rewiring of how our deeply unequal economy functions." I'm sorry kids but there will always be relative poverty. No civilization existing today has eliminated it.

And yet  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and friends somehow managed to hijack a nearly two-decade-old climate crisis oriented program for purposes of advocating controversial egalitarian ideals.

The United States is not the United Kingdom. Donald Trump is not Boris Johnson. Bernie Sanders is not Jeremy Corbyn. The Republican Party is not the Conservative Party. The Democratic Party is not the Labour Party. And yet, the American political system seems to a ambling down a road that leads to a similar result.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Climate Change Black Death is inevitable
  It is officially too late to prevent the release of a
  gigaton of methane and 37 gigatons of carbon
  dioxide from an Arctic permafrost thaw by 2100

Certainly it was a true "feel good" story today that TIME offered 16-year-old Swedish climate crisis activist Greta Thunberg as its 2019 Person of the Year cover girl making her at least somewhat more important than
  • Lizzo: TIME's Entertainer of the Year
  • Public Servants: TIME's Guardians of the Year
  • U.S. Women's Soccer: TIME's Athlete of the Year and
  • Disney CEO Bob Iger: TIME's Businessperson of the Year.
Yesterday we read The Arctic may have crossed key threshold, emitting billions of tons of carbon into the air, in a long-dreaded climate feedback letting us know what was in the U.S. Government's 2019 Arctic Report Card.

Some may wonder why this writer chooses to express the climate crisis in an "extreme" way as...

...and this week's juxtaposition of news articles provides an opportunity to explain the situation.

Twenty-five years ago this month, in 1996, six years before Ms. Thunberg was born, Science Magazine published Arctic Tundra Leaking Greenhouse Gases which explained:

    A profound change appears to be sweeping the landscape above the Arctic Circle: Northern Alaska's tundra is warming up, perhaps because of local climate change. And as it warms, it is releasing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than it's soaking up, according to a report at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco this week. The findings suggest that a sustained global warming because of human activity could unleash a flood of carbon dioxide from the arctic tundra, which could alter the region's environment and nudge up global temperatures.
    Scientists are concerned that this trickle of greenhouse gases may represent the first cracks in a dam, as the arctic tundra stores an estimated 180 billion metric tons of carbon--about a third of the total in the Earth's atmosphere, says [University of Michigan biologist George] Kling. "The concern is what will happen in the future as global warming increases and melting permafrost exposes more of this buried carbon to be respired and released into the atmosphere," he says. As it does, this cold place could turn up the heat on the rest of the planet.

So here we are 25-years later. Nothing has been done.

Today at the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP25, the 25th United Nations Climate Change conference (yeah, the same 25 years), Thunberg said to the adults in the room: “We are desperate for any sign of hope. I’ve given many speeches and learned that when you talk in public you should start with something personal or emotional to get everyone’s attention, say things like ‘our house is on fire,’ ‘I want you to panic,’ and ‘how dare you.’ But today I will not do that, because then those phrases are all that people focus on. They don’t remember the facts, the very reason why I say those things in the first place.”

During the same meeting 22-year-old Ugandan activist Hilda Flavia Nakabuye noted: “You’ve been negotiating for the last 25 years, even before I was born."

Both Thunberg and Nakabuye, along with Lizzo, are members of the Gen Z generation, who along with the Millennial generation that will experience through their entire lives the environmental changes of Climate Change Black Death.

Bob Iger at age 68 has not had and will not have a similar lifetime experience, as he is a Baby Boomer, among the many that have overseen the huge expansion of a corporation creating demand for content, and creating the content, on the internet for huge profits. Which brings up a related study.

Last month as noted in The Guardian a study commissioned by energy company OVO pointed out that "if every adult in the UK sent one fewer “thank you” email a day we would save more than 16,433 tonnes of carbon a year – equivalent to 81,152 flights to Madrid or taking 3,334 diesel cars off the road."

An expert explained: “When you are typing, your computer [device] is using electricity. When you press send it goes through the network, and it takes electricity to run the network. And it’s going to end up being stored on the cloud somewhere, and those data centres use a lot of electricity. We don’t think about it because we can’t see the smoke coming out of our computers, but the carbon footprint of IT is huge and growing.”

As has been explored in these posts previously, such things as wind and solar power or electric cars  just reduce the expansion rate of the societal carbon footprint within the first world. The Paris Agreement goal of keeping the global temperature rise well below 2 °C is simply hot air created by the aircraft and vehicles delivering the participants in conferences to various meeting sites. As noted here numerous times, in 2018 in both the U.S. and China formal findings have been made that we have "locked in warming" of 4°± Celsius most likely within 60 years with the Chinese projecting an increase of 4°C as early as 2064.

And for clarity again it must be mentioned that Al Gore began his campaign to stop the climate crisis in 1974 and in 1989, 30 years ago as a U.S. Senator, with a frustration level matching that of Thunberg and Nakabuye, wrote: "How much information is needed by the human mind to recognize a pattern? How much more is needed by the body politic to justify action in response? ...If an individual or a nation is accustomed to looking at the future one year at a time, and the past in terms of a single lifetime, then many large patterns are concealed. But seen in historical perspective, it is clear that dozens of destructive effects have followed the same pattern of unprecedented acceleration in the latter half of the 20th century. ...Yet, the pattern of our politics remains remarkably unchanged. That indifference must end. As a nation and a government, we must see that America's future is inextricably tied to the fate of the globe. In effect, the environment is becoming a matter of national security -- an issue that directly and imminently menaces the interests of the state or the welfare of the people."

Well, Al, Greta gave us a truth today when she said the people "don’t remember the facts, the very reason why I say those things in the first place.” Let me add to it. The people who could do something like Bob Iger don't remember it because they don't want to.

The 21st Century Climate Change Black Death is happening now.
                                                                                                          If you're new to this blog here's the link to the listing of the 30+ previous posts in the Blog regarding Climate Change and the Environment.

This post is a part of a series:  climate change black death surrounds us