Category: Climate Change
On Sat 12th December 2020 the UN convened a virtual Climate Ambition Summit calling on all Countries to submit Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that would give some chance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C. There were short speeches from the Leaders who were making promises, and other ‘Parties’ including Al Gore for the USA and major international companies. All the speeches are short and can be seen from here.
For more see the COP26 in Glasgow page.
EVENTS TO HELP YOU MAKE YOUR HOUSE WARM AND LOW CARBON
1.The zoom event of 12th October presented by the Highgate Society’s Sustainable Living group in partnership with the Muswell Hill Sustainability Group (MHSG) can be caught up with at Retrofit your Highgate Home, and there is a ‘takeaway’ 2 pager summary there.
2. 19th October MHSG hosted a virtual tour around an Edwardian villa. For full details of the MHSG events and Utube videos of the homes see here.
3.2nd November MHSG hosted a virtual tour around an 80s timber framed detached house
4.9th November 7.30pm MHSG presents “Green Home Technologies” about insulation, solar panels, heat pumps and smart meters. Eventbrite tickets here.
5.10th November 5.30pm Camden presents the first session of a “Home Energy Virtual Cafe.”
For the Camden events book at Eventbrite here.
6.16th November, 7.30pm MHSG presents “Hot Tips for Warm Homes” – how to make your home warmer and cut bills and carbon emissions this winter, without spending too much money. Eventbrite tickets here.
7. 24th November 5.30 Camden presents the second session of a “Home Energy Virtual Cafe”.
- WHAT CAN WE DO NOW to channel this Covid upheaval to build a greener fairer world out of the ashes?
- How can we prevent reinforcement of global finance, with its march towards climate and ecological disaster?
- How can we stop short term emergency measures from becoming long term deregulation, or restrictions on our rights? (member of Haringey Labour Climate Action)
There are so many thinkers writing about global emissions, financial systems and consumption and how to emerge from the Covid-19 catastrophe in better shape than before. And against them are so many powerful forces still pushing their usual interests. So how can the majority, who want a fair and clean world, prevail?
Until the public have a good grasp of what was wrong ‘before’ and what can be done now, those in power will try to get back to the old ways. The global financial system underpins the lifestyle of the privileged and the poor yet could be adjusted now to be fair. Just as the US and UK economies were quickly transformed in WW2 there are measures that could be taken straight away.
The difficult bit is to turn around the fixed mind sets of those in power.
[Superscript numbers at the following bullets refer to the References in the strip at the end]
1. Messages for the public to grasp – Build Back Better
“the proximity of death in shared calamity makes many people more urgently alive, less attached to the small things in life and more committed to the big ones, often including civil society for the common good.”10 Public pressure, arising from a new awareness, is fundamental to a recovery that builds a greener fairer world.
- The finance sector was screwed even before the Covid lockdowns2 BUT THERE IS A MAGIC MONEY TREE5
- Capitalism can’t cope with a pandemic2
- Covid-19 is a dress rehearsal for climate change8
- Production and transport causes air pollution18, consumption drives the Air Pollution and Climate breakdown15
- Stringent changes to avert climate breakdown will not be as bad as the Covid economic collapse11
- Global problems need global responses eg:
- the value of global research into viruses, and global corporation in developing vaccines and in innovative protective products15
- China helping Italy, UK and US in Covid emergency “we are all waves in the same sea”12
- Business As Usual is heading for a 4.1degC rise!!!
2. Re-engineer Global Finance
“Never before has the global economy suffered a shock of this scale all at once. In the US alone, at least 17 million people have lost their jobs in the last three weeks. A severe global recession is now inevitable.” There is a stark choice – shore up a high carbon recovery or create a low carbon recovery.
- The outcome of disasters is not foreordained10
- The global economic and financial systems could be re-engineered to benefit the worlds population and planet2
- Powerful incumbent forces will change the rules to advantage high carbon industries18, 19, 20
- The new money that has been created by central banks ends up accumulating in rich individuals’ bank accounts5 but could go to jobs and infrastructure [see heading schematic]
- the costs of a global crisis are bound to vastly exceed those of its prevention6
- Global competition on death figures could be replaced by competition on serious carbon reductions (see Climate Action Tracker on shortfalls in pledges)
- Countries will only be willing to help climate if all do – else a free ride for some15
- Keynes advised on a reserve currency rather than dollar. $ drives financial systems1
- Cost of recovery will either come from future generations or from today’s poor15
- climate action could accelerate the recovery by creating jobs, driving capital formation, and increasing economic resiliency6
- the main way to offset this lower oil price effect is to raise the carbon price inversely to the falls in oil prices, and to deal with these perverse incentives with carbon border prices15
- not to price carbon is to distort trade15
3. Emergency measures that public will accept
If “the bottom 50% are disproportionately hit the backlash could make France’s “yellow vest” protests look very tame indeed.”9
- State help must come with climate conditions
- Polluters paying. Raising carbon price
- Health and Key workers to be valued from now on
- Vehicle industry restart to only produce Electric Vehicles and batteries
- Deliveries to only be low carbon
- Cost of grid upgrades to be spread across consumers, removing disincentives for small generation
- Insulate and install heat pumps with additional renewables – 2 million new jobs promised at election
- Universal broadband coverage
- Real living wage and affordable housing
- Fair flying allocation
- Community enabled
- Minimum effort, maximum carbon reduction
- Reduced material consumption to reduce carbon15
We are currently in the midst of a battle for the world. On one side are the thinkers who know how to keep the planet healthy and the world a better place. On the other side are those who want to maintain the privilege of a tiny minority, regardless of the legacy to future generations.
1.We can make sure the public understand the complex global financial system and the ‘Magic Money Tree’ nature of money5.
2.We can then pressure those with power to direct the recovery to a green recovery.
3.We can call out all unnecessary restrictions on our rights and insist that emergency measures are directed to protect the planet and the livelihoods of global citizens.
1.Hope and Action podcast 28th March 2020 (30mins) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QaelxWsxG4&feature=youtu.be Ann Pettifor, a founding member of Green New Deal group. Explaining how the current financial and economic system works, skewed to the rich and to American dollars.
2.New Economics Foundation podcast – The coronavirus crisis 9th April 2020https://youtu.be/mU8-A2x1aAI (40 mins) with NEF CEO Miatta Fahnbulleh, NEF’s head of economics Alfie Stirling and economist and author Ann Pettifor.
- Capitalism can’t cope with a pandemic. Catastrophic deep depression
- Finance sector is screwed.
- Need terms and conditions for bail out.
- Keynes had said reserve currency should be independent (co-operation)
3.How coronavirus almost brought down the global financial system Guardian 14th April 2020 http://gu.com/p/dkvyf “Never before has the global economy suffered a shock of this scale all at once. In the US alone, at least 17 million people have lost their jobs in the last three weeks. A severe global recession is now inevitable.”
“at the heart of the profit-driven, private financial economy is a public institution, the central bank.”
“the global financial system is hierarchical. At the apex stands the US Federal Reserve. The ECB, the Bank of Japan, the Bank of England and their advanced-economy counterparts all enjoy the Fed’s direct support.”
“in the panic that began on 9 March.. the price of shares and bonds were collapsing together what they wanted most of all were dollars.”
“the Fed was also acting as a provider of dollar liquidity to the world economy. In the UK, too, the Treasury and the Bank of England were working closely to link the huge increase in government spending to efforts to stabilise financial markets.”
“The World Bank is warning of a devastating setback to the economies of Nigeria, Angola and South Africa, along with the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. Almost half the countries in the world – more than 90 so far – have been forced to apply to the IMF for financial assistance.”
4.Don’t be fooled: Britain’s coronavirus bailout will make the rich richer still 13th April http://gu.com/p/djazy Where is all this money coming from – and where is it ultimately going?
“The answer lies principally in a massive expansion of debt. Wage support is being funded by large-scale public borrowing of the kind we were told was unaffordable just a few months ago (although this is now being supplemented by direct financing with newly created money from the Bank of England). Yes, this could usher in a new era of state intervention – but it could just as easily herald a new era of austerity.”
“The only people in society not being asked to share the burden are “rentiers”: those who make money by owning assets they can charge others to use.”
“most support has been chanelled through banks, landlords, employers and utility firms – with government simply trusting them to benignly pass it on. This is at best naive and at worst irresponsible.”
5.The Coronavirus Magic Money Tree trail Open democracy 27th March 2020 https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/oureconomy/following-coronavirus-money-trail/ “At a basic level, the government has created new money to replace the lost spending of the rich, so that working people can continue to pay their bills to the rich. The new money that has been created by central banks ends up accumulating in rich individuals’ bank accounts ” ie the companies below.
Covid Corporate Financing Facility beneficiaries – carry on polluting with support from taxpayers (p9)
6.Addressing climate change in post-pandemic world McKinsey April 2020 https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/sustainability/our-insights/addressing-climate-change-in-a-post-pandemic-world “can the world afford to pay attention to climate change and the broader sustainability agenda at this time? Our firm belief is that we simply cannot afford to do otherwise.”
“current pandemic provides us perhaps with a foretaste of what a full-fledged climate crisis could entail in terms of simultaneous exogenous shocks to supply and demand, disruption of supply chains, and global transmission and amplification mechanisms.”
“In climate change as in pandemics, the costs of a global crisis are bound to vastly exceed those of its prevention.”
“climate action could accelerate the recovery by creating jobs, driving capital formation, and increasing economic resiliency.”
7.How will the world emerge from the coronavirus crisis? Guardian 31st March 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/31/how-will-the-world-emerge-from-the-coronavirus-crisis Looking at similarities between Covid and climate emergencies and Naomi Klein’s, The Shock Doctrine “to think of this new level of state intervention as a temporary requirement is to ensure that we continue barrelling down the path to climate disaster”
“We can’t think we’re going to go ‘back to normal’, because things weren’t normal.”
8.Are the climate and coronavirus crises really so alike? Business Green 7th April https://www.businessgreen.com/blog-post/4013655/climate-coronavirus-crises-alike “Covid-19 is a dress rehearsal for climate change…”
“businesses must look beyond the profit motive; corporations, governments, and civil society must co-operate; and innovators must first imagine and then deliver a sharp break with business-as-usual.”
– [meat industry] further viral outbreaks, antibiotic resistance, deforestation over-fishing – ecosystem collapse
– [insurance industry] sea levels rise and mega-storms in the same year. Cities become uninsurable
– [global financial system] millions of property assets left unsellable
– [nuclear industry] the monsoons fail and Himalayan water supplies shared by three nuclear powers become unreliable
-[food production] harvests fail completely and repeatedly across North Africa, the Gulf, and Latin America
9.Covid-19 – The Low-Carbon Crisis Bloomberg NEF Liebreich: 26th March https://about.bnef.com/blog/covid-19-the-low-carbon-crisis/
Some short term effects of Covid:
– China’s manufacturing industries down by 17%
– China’s exports down 19%
– China’s car sales down 46%
– Retail demand in countries with stay-at-home orders plummeted 50% to 80%
– power demand across Europe down 15%
– many European countries closed their borders
– most airlines have cancelled over 90% of their scheduled flights
– Indian railway shut all passenger services
– Singapore is closing its borders to through traffic
– several million Americans lost their jobs
– global tourism, hospitality, fitness and live entertainment industries suspended
“the backlash could make France’s “yellow vest” protests look very tame indeed”
Way forward opportunities:
– Food delivery and online shopping cos made to invest in electric delivery only
– Switch buses, taxis, shared mobility vehicles and all publicly-owned vehicle to EVs
– Downsize and/or innovate airline industry
– Get renewables penetrated into grid
– Insulate building stock
– No bailouts for industries or businesses not viable in low carbon world
– Continue electronic communications instead of physical journeys
– Make sure the ‘bottom 50%’ benefit – or expect backlash
– Pay attention to risks caused by our financial system
10.What coronavirus can teach us about hope 7th April 2020: Rebecca Solnit referencing ‘disaster scholars’ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/07/what-coronavirus-can-teach-us-about-hope-rebecca-solnit
“At moments of immense change, we see with new clarity the systems – political, economic, social, ecological – in which we are immersed as they change around us. We see what’s strong, what’s weak, what’s corrupt, what matters and what doesn’t.” [particularly with a proximity of death]
“The outcome of disasters is not foreordained. It’s a conflict…”
“the proximity of death in shared calamity makes many people more urgently alive, less attached to the small things in life and more committed to the big ones, often including civil society or the common good”
11.Coronavirus: What could Lifestyle changes mean for tackling climate change? Carbon Brief 31st March https://www.carbonbrief.org/coronavirus-what-could-lifestyle-changes-mean-for-tackling-climate-change? (Brief statements from a range of green writers and activists with thoughts on how the lifestyle changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic could affect global CO2 emissions in the short and long term.
Dr Carl-Friedrich Schleussner: “Even the most stringent responses to the climate crisis would be much less abrupt than what we are seeing now.”
12.Can We Please Apply The Coronavirus Spirit To Austerity And Climate Change? 29th March 2020 Huff Post Caroline Lucas https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/coronavirus-government-spending-austerity-climate_uk_5e7e0cc1c5b6cb9dc19ecb95. “It has shown how governments need to work with their citizens to overcome threats or challenges. It has brought into the mainstream ideas which were once considered radical or extreme”
“the tons of medical aid sent by China to Italy with the message “we are all waves in the same sea”….”
13. 350deg petition for a Just Recovery https://350.org/just-recovery
14.Greenpeace EU Unit 23rd March 2020 https://www.greenpeace.org/eu-unit/issues/democracy-europe/2673/how-the-eus-response-to-the-covid-19-pandemic-could-make-our-society-more-resilient/ “all spending must also be in line with the Paris agreement, including energy subsidies, funding under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy and cohesion and structural funds.”
- “Put people – not corporations – at the heart of the response to the crisis
- Sustain the planet
- Reinforce strong democracies”
15.Climate change has not gone away – COP26, net zero and the coronavirus Dieter Helm 3rd April http://www.dieterhelm.co.uk/energy/climate-change/climate-change-has-not-gone-away-cop26-net-zero-and-the-coronavirus/
“a reduction in consumption is a reduction in carbon..”
“Either the money has to be borrowed from the next generation, or there has to be a redistribution from richer customers to poorer ones.”
“climate change cannot be cracked unless we get back on a sustainable consumption path”
“the main way to offset this lower oil price effect is to raise the carbon price inversely to the falls in oil prices, and to deal with these perverse incentives with carbon border prices.”
“not to price carbon is to distort trade”
“the value of global research into viruses, and global corporation in developing vaccines and in innovative protective products”
16.Principles for a Just Recovery from Covid-19 a 350deg petition https://350.org/just-recovery petition about justice recovery after coronavirus:
Responses at every level must uphold these five principles:
1. Put people’s health first, no exceptions.
2. Provide economic relief directly to the people.
3. Help our workers and communities, not corporate executives.
4. Create resilience for future crises.
5. Build solidarity and community across borders – do not empower authoritarians.
17.The coronavirus outbreak is part of the climate change crisis Aljazeera 30th March https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/coronavirus-outbreak-part-climate-change-emergency-200325135058077.html
“humans are harvesting the natural resources of the planet – water, fossil fuels, timber, land, ore, etc – and plugging them into an industrial cycle which puts out various consumables (cars, clothes, furniture, phones, processed food etc) and a lot of waste.”
18.Remarks by World Bank Group President David Malpass on G20 Finance Ministers Conference Call on COVID-19 David Malpass 23rd March 2020 https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/speech/2020/03/23/remarks-by-world-bank-group-president-david-malpass-on-g20-finance-ministers-conference-call-on-covid-19 “For those countries that have excessive regulations, subsidies, licensing regimes, trade protection or litigiousness as obstacles, we will work with them to foster markets, choice and faster growth prospects during the recovery.”
“calling on the G20 Leaders to allow the poorest countries to suspend all repayments of official bilateral credit until the World Bank and the IMF have made a full assessment of their reconstruction and financing needs”
19.Trump administration allows companies to break pollution laws during coronavirus pandemic Guardian 27th March https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/mar/27/trump-pollution-laws-epa-allows-companies-pollute-without-penalty-during-coronavirus “particular concern over air pollution emitted by industrial facilities, which are predominantly located in communities with large numbers of low-income people and people of color “
“oil refineries will not be compelled to report on and reduce their carcinogenic benzene emissions”
20.What does ‘national defence’ mean in a pandemic? It’s no time to buy fighter jets George Monbiot 8th April https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/08/national-defence-corona-pandemic-fighter-jets “We now know that both the UK and US governments ignored warnings about the potential scale and impacts of pandemics, and failed to invest in genuine national defence…. “
“They attend, lavishly and zealously, to imaginary threats, while neglecting real ones.” [Pentagon 2017 pandemic plan on scribd]
21. After the Apocalyse. Alan Simpson https://www.climateinteractive.org/tools/en-roads/ “Trump and a legion of corporate deregulators are already seeking to kill off such transformative thinking before the debate even starts. Their rationale is simple: kill the public if you must, just don’t kill off the corporate profits. It is the zero-sum game humanity cannot afford to lose.”
22. April Intergovernmental Dialogue from Berlin
https://www.bmu.de/en/petersberg-climate-dialogue-xi/#c45497 should have been preparation for COP26 in November, but deferred due to Covid. The link has links to talk from Angela Merkel, Dominic Raab, Lord Nicholas Stern, Antonio Guterras, Svenja Schulze and Sharan Burrow.
A Project Drawdown https://www.drawdown.org/solutions/table-of-solutions. Project Drawdown is supported by donations. It consists of a table of solutions, ranked by the CO2equivalent reductions, that could be achieved if there is the will to do so. “Each solution reduces greenhouse gases by avoiding emissions and/or by sequestering carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere.”
B Breakthough Energy Coalition https://www.b-t.energy/ B-E was started by Bill and Melinda Gates and likeminded Billionaires with five main categories, which we call the Grand Challenges: electricity, agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, and buildings.
C. Climate Interactive En Roads interactive model https://www.climateinteractive.org/tools/en-roads/
The model is sponsored by funders such as the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Department for International Development. ‘Ambassadors’ can qualify by attending free courses to understand how moving the bars with different policies would affect global warming.
D Doughnut Economics https://www.kateraworth.com/2020/04/08/amsterdam-city-doughnut/
All Events are off, but mutual community help and advice abounds.
The Highgate Neighbourhood Forum newsletter has links for Camden and Haringey ‘sides of the road’ and will be kept up to date.
Highgate Society Programme
For further details see the Highgate Society front page.
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