System Change Not Climate Change: Climate Crisis Commentary for April 2020


Australia still has dinosaurs. We didn’t know what to make of this when we heard it.  Thinking fossilized, we were mostly right.  The “dinosaurs” were actually “dinosaur trees,” the very last remaining stand of prehistoric trees on that continent, heroically saved by firefighters during the recent Australian wildfires.  But it isn’t the trees that are fossilized, it’s the Australian political leadership.  They still deny that climate change exists.  Dinosaurs.

Lighting up for climate.  A Colorado brewery is testing technology that would capture carbon dioxide emitted during fermentation.  The CO2 would  be chilled into a liquid and delivered to pot-growing facilities where it would be released to speed photosynthesis of the plants.  Ultimately, the goal is to spread the use of the process to avoid spewing 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by 2030.  Knowing this mellows many right-out.

Bill McKibben, founder, on why fossil fuel divestment:  “Because money is the oxygen on which the fires of global warming burn. We’ve done a good job fighting the fossil fuel industry head on, but it’s always going to be a tenacious battle—Exxon doesn’t know how to do anything else, so they will fight to the last bridge. But the big banks, asset managers, and insurance companies? They’re just trying to make a little more money off the destruction of the earth… But it’s simply not OK for them and Liberty Mutual and BlackRock and the rest to keep trying to cash in on climate destruction.”

No hop-ing around the facts. An environmental engineering professor at the University of California, Davis, says consuming liquor has less of an environmental impact than drinking beer, mostly as a result of the refrigeration needed for beer but not for spirits.  The greenhouse gas emissions from producing one six-pack is about equal to driving a car eight miles. The professor’s conclusion:  When you drink booze, you drive less.

And then there is enlightened Idaho.  Boise, Idaho has been ranked 13th on the list of fastest-warming cities in the U.S. by Climate Central, a nonprofit climate science organization, outpacing places like Houston and Minneapolis.  Yet even as 97% of climate scientists agree that human-caused climate change is occurring, only 25 percent of Idaho Republicans concur.  Little wonder that Idaho stands alone as the only state to strike climate change from its classroom teaching guidelines.

More Signs of the Times.  A recent climate supporter in Seattle provide this poster advice to the town’s bankers:  “U cannot breathe money.”  And in Rio de Janeiro another climate defender provided an educational illustration: a sign that said “Rio 2050” and showing the city’s landmarks underwater, with the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue’s head poking out.

Certainly nothing uncertain about this “uncertainty.”  Interior Department Deputy Secretary Indur Goklany was appointed by Donald Trump to “review” the agency’s climate policies.  His simple plan – fudge the reports.  His method — insert misleading language into scientific reports casting doubt on many elements of climate change.  Interior employees have mocked his activity as “Goks uncertainty language.”  Certainly appears to be climate denialism.

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[Editor’s note: We reprint this article by the Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt (CADTM). In 1989, the Bastille Appeal was launched, inviting popular movements throughout the world to unite in demanding the immediate and unconditional cancellation of the debt of the so-called developing countries. This crushing debt, along with neo-liberal macro-economic reforms imposed on the global South, has led to an explosion of worldwide inequality, mass poverty, flagrant injustice and the destruction of the environment.


CLIMATE CRISIS STRIKES PAKISTAN — To aid the millions of Pakistanis suffering from the catastrophic floods: send donations through ESSF (Europe solidaire sans frontières)