The Evening Blues - 12-6-18
Hey! Good Evening!
This evening's music features blues and r&b singer Lee Shot Williams. Enjoy!
Lee Shot Williams - Hello Baby
“I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth. Banks are going bust. Shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
We know things are bad – worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is: ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’
Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get MAD! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot – I don’t want you to write to your congressman, because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad. (shouting) You’ve got to say: ‘I’m a human being, god-dammit! My life has value!’
So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell: ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’
I want you to get up right now. Sit up. Go to your windows. Open them and stick your head out and yell – ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’ Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!…You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’ Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first, get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’"
-- Paddy Chayefsky
News and Opinion
For decades, scientists have warned of the pending crisis for the planet and humanity in the event of runaway climate change. But a new paper from prominent economists frames the situation in language that people might actually understand: Not addressing climate change, they conclude, will lead inevitably to “worldwide economic collapse.” Researchers also have a warning for renewable energy evangelists and techno-optimists, concluding that it is a fantasy to believe that the economy can grow at a torrid pace — as measured by GDP — while simultaneously reducing or eliminating greenhouse gas.
That’s because the “P” in GDP — production — necessarily requires energy inputs, which means more burning of fossil fuels unless and until the shift is fully made toward clean energy. That’s not a case for despair, though: By allocating less than half of what world governments spend annually on fossil fuel subsidies to mitigation efforts, we can prevent the above dystopia and improve millions of lives in the process — especially compared to what’s coming our way if we don’t.
As COP24 gets underway in Poland, the Institute for New Economic Thinking has released two working papers from prominent economists backing up the increasingly dire warnings from climate scientists. In “Economic Growth and Carbon Emissions,” Enno Schröeder and Servaas Storm find empirical evidence that economies can’t continue to grow their GDPs exponentially and bring down carbon emissions in line with the targets set in the Paris Agreement. In moving toward the latter, though, world governments can “improve overall welfare by redistributing income (and growth) between countries and income groups,” the authors told me via email. In order to grapple with the harsh reality of economic growth and climate change, Schröeder and Storm argue, governments need new ways of measuring welfare and well-being that don’t rely on GDP growth. (Bhutan, for instance, measures “Gross National Happiness,” but there are other options as well.) ...
In a similar vein, Gregor Semieniuk, Lance Taylor, and Armon Rezai wrote “The Inconvenient Truth about Climate Change and the Economy,” using a macroeconomic model to argue that while the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scenarios largely assume steady economic growth, they undercount potential emissions by ignoring the historic relationship between higher GDP and increased energy usage, which — in a fossil fuel-based energy system — means more greenhouse gases spewed into the atmosphere. “If world output goes up to 3 percent per capita, energy use would go up by 3 percent per capita, and they didn’t get a hold of that,” Taylor said of the IPCC modeling.
An excellent article by Diana Johnstone, very much worth reading in full.
The Yellow Vests held their first demonstrations on Saturday, November 17, on the Champs-Elysées in Paris. It was totally unlike the usual trade union demonstrations, well organized to march down the boulevard between the Place de la République and the Place de la Bastille, or the other way around, carrying banners and listening to speeches from leaders at the end. The Gilets Jaunes just came, with no organization, no leaders to tell them where to go or to harangue the crowd. They were just there, in the yellow vests, angry and ready to explain their anger to any sympathetic listener. Briefly, the message was this: we can’t make ends meet. The cost of living keeps going up, and our incomes keep going down. We just can’t take it any more. The government must stop, think and change course. ... Things are much worse than officials and media in Paris have let on. There were young women who were working seven days a week and despaired of having enough money to feed and clothe their children. People were angry but ready to explain very clearly the economic issues. Colette, age 83, doesn’t own a car, but explained to whoever would listen that the steep raise of gasoline prices would also hurt people who don’t drive, by affecting prices of food and other necessities. She had done the calculations and figured it would cost a retired person 80 euros per month. ...
And the tax announced by the government – an additional 6.6 cents per liter for diesel and an additional 2.9 centers per liter of gasoline – are only the first steps in a series of planned increases over the next years. The measures are supposed to incite people to drive less or even better, to scrap their old vehicles and buy nice new electric cars. More and more “governance” is an exercise in social engineering by technocrats who know what is best. This particular exercise goes directly opposite to an earlier government measure of social engineering which used economic incitements to get people to buy cars running on diesel. Now the government has changed its mind. Over half of personal vehicles still run on diesel, although the percentage has been dropping. Now their owners are told to go buy an electric car instead. But people living on the edge simply can’t afford the switch. Besides, the energy policy is incoherent. In theory, the “green” economy includes shutting down France’s many nuclear power plants. Without them, where would the electricity come from to run the electric cars? And nuclear power is “clean”, no CO2. So what is going on? People wonder. ...
Initial government responses showed that they weren’t listening. They dipped into their pool of clichés to denigrate something they didn’t want to bother to understand. ... After the second Yellow Vest Saturday, November 25, which saw more demonstrators and more tear gas, the Minister in charge of the budget, Gérard Darmanin, declared that what had demonstrated on the Champs-Elysée was “la peste brune”, the brown plague, meaning fascists. (For those who enjoy excoriating the French as racist, it should be noted that Darmanin is of Algerian working class origins). This remark caused an uproar of indignation that revealed just how great is public sympathy for the movement – over 70% approval by latest polls, even after uncontrolled vandalism. Macron’s Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castaner, was obliged to declare that government communication had been badly managed. Of course, that is the familiar technocratic excuse: we are always right, but it is all a matter of our “communication”, not of the facts on the ground. Maybe I have missed something, but of the many interviews I have listened to, I have not heard one word that would fall into the categories of “far right”, much less “fascism” – or even that indicated any particular preference in regard to political parties. These people are wholly concerned with concrete practical issues. Not a whiff of ideology – remarkable in Paris! ...
Macron is a bubble that has burst. The legitimacy of his authority is very much in question. Yet he was elected in 2017 for a five year term, and his party holds a large majority in parliament that makes his destitution almost impossible. So what next? Despite having been sidelined by Macron’s electoral victory in 2017, politicians of all hews are trying to recuperate the movement – but discreetly, because the Gilets Jaunes have made clear their distrust of all politicians. This is not a movement that seeks to take power. It simply seeks redress of its grievances. The government should have listened in the first place, accepted discussions and compromise. This gets more difficult as time goes on, but nothing is impossible.
A week after General Motors announced the planned shutdown of five plants in the US and Canada and the elimination of nearly 15,000 hourly and salaried workers’ jobs, an analyst for Wall Street bank Morgan Stanley told investors that Ford would likely carry out even deeper cuts, eliminating 25,000 employees from its global workforce. ... The decision by GM to shut major assembly plants in Detroit, Lordstown, Ohio and Oshawa, Ontario, plus two transmission plants in Michigan and Maryland, led to a sharp spike in GM shares last week. The company, which is expected to make $10 billion in profits in 2018, is freeing up billions in cash to continue its stock repurchase program and dividend payments to wealthy investors. ...
The brutal downsizing by the US-based automakers is part of a wave of international job cuts. German-based drug manufacturer Bayer AG has just announced plans to cut 12,000 jobs out of its global workforce of 118,000 by the end of 2021. ... The moves, which came after shares of the company fell by more than a third this year, are seen as an effort to mollify Wall Street.
French steel pipe maker Vallourec, which owns a steel mill in Youngstown, Ohio, near the threatened GM Lordstown plant, announced plans last week to cut 1,800 jobs—1,200 at three sites in France and 600 in Germany. The company, which supplies the oil and gas industry, has struggled to recover since oil prices crashed in 2015. It has seen its shares plummet 56.6 percent over the last year. Last month, Montreal-based train and aircraft manufacturer Bombardier announced the layoff of 5,000 workers by 2021 to reduce its long-term debt by $9 billion. The workers being terminated include 2,500 in Quebec, 500 in Ontario and another 2,000 in overseas operations, including 490 in Belfast, Ireland. The announcement follows the elimination of 14,500 jobs around the world over the last three years.
Toronto-based Thomson Reuters Corporation said on Tuesday it will cut its workforce by 12 percent by 2020, axing 3,200 jobs. The media and information company said it will buy back $9 billion in stock from shareholders starting Tuesday, sending its stock up 4 percent. Global mergers and acquisitions hit a record $3.3 trillion in the first nine months of the year, eclipsing the previous high on the eve of the global financial crash more than a decade ago.
Tourist attractions and museums in central Paris have said they will not open on Saturday, when fresh gilets jaunes (yellow vests) protests are planned, as French authorities prepared to deploy 65,000 security personnel across the country.
“The demonstrations announced on Saturday 8 December in Paris do not allow us to welcome visitors in safe conditions,” said the operator of the Eiffel Tower in a statement on Thursday. Police have also ordered about a dozen museums, including the Louvre and the Grand Palais, cultural sites such as the Opera and shops along the Champs-Élysées to close over fears of violence. “We cannot take the risk when we know the threat,” Franck Riester, the culture minister, told RTL radio. Several top-league football matches have also been cancelled.
As senior ministers sought to defuse public fury with conciliatory language on taxes, an official in Emmanuel Macron’s office risked provoking more anger by saying that intelligence suggested that some protesters would come to the capital “to vandalise and to kill”. ...
The finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, told a conference he was prepared to bring forward tax-cutting plans and that he wanted workers’ bonuses to be tax free. But he added: “In this case, it must go hand-in-hand with a decrease in spending.” He also said France would impose a tax on big internet firms in 2019 if there was no consensus on an EU-wide levy, seeking to appeal to anti-business sentiment among the protesters. ...
France’s hard-left CGT trade union on Thursday called on its energy industry workers to walk out for 48 hours from 13 December, saying it wanted to join forces with the gilets jaunes. ... Trouble is also brewing elsewhere for Macron. Teenage students blocked access to more than 200 high schools across the country on Thursday, burning garbage bins and setting a car alight in the western city of Nantes. Farmers, who have long complained that retailers are squeezing their margins and are furious over a delay to the planned rise in minimum food prices, and truckers are threatening to strike from Sunday.
Efforts to advance a War Powers Act challenge to the Yemen War through the Senate continue apace, with Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) saying he believes the floor debate will begin on Monday.
As Congress never authorized the Yemen War, this resolution would demand the US end its support for the Saudi War. The soaring civilian death toll in the war was fueling this effort in Congress, and the Saudi murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has brought even more to the side of ending support for the conflict.
There is negotiation underway within Congress for a series of combined deals, including a non-binding resolution saying the prince is complicit in the death of Khashoggi. The Yemen War vote is just one aspect of the moves on the Saudis, with Corker promising overall, the proposals will “have teeth.”
In a live radio interview on Thursday, Moreno said that the WikiLeaks founder now had sufficient guarantees to leave Ecuador’s embassy in the UK, where he has lived under asylum since mid-2012.
Moreno told journalists he was talking to the UK government so it would “guarantee his life, and guarantee he wouldn’t be extradited to any country where his life would be in danger”. He added the UK would require Assange to complete a short jail term for breaching bail conditions.
The announcement comes as speculation mounts that the Australian activist’s six-year stay in the London embassy could be coming to a close. The appointment of a new ambassador Jaime Marchán in the London embassy this week is a sign that the government wants to resolve the problem, according to analysts in Quito.
Assange’s legal team has said it is considering how to respond, according to the Associated Press.
The Foreign Office did not deny a previous news report last month suggesting the home office had given written assurances to the Ecuadorean government that UK ministers would not allow Assange’s extradition to a country where he would face the death penalty. It is not clear if this assurance amounts to a commitment that the UK will not allow Assange’s extradition to the US at all – or whether it would allow extradition on condition that he would not face the death penalty. It is understood that the UK has also given assurances that Assange would not face more than six months in jail for related bail offences.
Robert Mueller is allegedly examining a Trump campaign adviser’s appearances on the Kremlin-controlled broadcaster RT, offering new hints about the investigation into possible collusion between Moscow and Donald Trump’s associates. Mueller’s investigators have asked Ted Malloch, the London-based American academic who is also close to Nigel Farage, about his frequent appearances on RT, which US intelligence authorities have called Russia’s principal propaganda arm. ...
Malloch disclosed that he was questioned about RT to his friend Jerome Corsi, a rightwing author who is himself a target of the investigation. “They thought maybe he was coordinating with Russia – and RT is Russia,” Corsi told the Guardian. Malloch denies any coordination.
Draft legal documents and visitor logs from Ecuador’s embassy in London, where Assange is based, show that RT staff met and interviewed Assange on the same day – 2 August 2016 – that Roger Stone, the self-described “dirty trickster” and longtime Trump associate who had previously bragged about having special access to WikiLeaks, was passed information about Assange’s plans.
The timing may be coincidental and is not clear evidence that RT shared information with Stone or others. RT denied sharing any information about its interview and said it was “ludicrous, baseless” to make any claim that information was passed from RT staff to Malloch or Corsi.
Vladimir Putin has voiced support for the Venezuelan leader, Nicolás Maduro, as he visited Moscow seeking financial assistance for the socialist country’s collapsing economy. At a meeting at Putin’s residence outside Moscow, the Russian president told Maduro: “We support your efforts to achieve mutual understanding in society and all your actions aimed at normalising relations with the opposition.” Putin added: “Naturally we condemn any actions that are clearly terrorist in nature, any attempts to change the situation by force.”
Hit by low oil prices, mismanagement and the impact of US sanctions, Venezuela is in freefall and Maduro is seeking support from allies after winning a second presidential term this year. ...
Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said ahead of the meeting that Maduro had travelled to Moscow specifically to ask Russia – itself the target of US sanctions – for financial assistance. “The talks will focus on the help that the Venezuelan leadership needs,” Peskov told reporters, declining to be more specific on how much Russia could lend. He said the economic situation in the Latin American country remained difficult but noted “signs of improving dynamics”.
Mexico’s new president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, rose to power on the promise that he would tackle the country’s rampant corruption and violence. That will have to wait, as he faces a more urgent matter: the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Thousands of migrants have arrived in the northern city of Tijuana in recent weeks, having trekked through Mexico as part of the caravans from Central America that began forming in October. Most of them have crowded into dirty makeshift shelters. Local officials have complained that they are unable to cover the cost, and humanitarian groups have warned of deteriorating conditions. Last week, UNICEF said it was “deeply concerned for the safety and wellbeing” of more than 1,000 migrant children in Mexico.
President Donald Trump has been at the center of the crisis, limiting the number of asylum seekers granted entry and putting the onus on Mexico to find a solution. For his part, Lopez Obrador, the veteran leftist who won in a landslide in the July election, has mostly taken a diplomatic tone with Trump. But a showdown between the two leaders is already brewing. While Trump has sent troops to the border to deter illegal crossings, Lopez Obrador has struck a more sympathetic tone. He has repeatedly called for fair treatment of migrants and acknowledged the desperate situations that many Central Americans are fleeing. And on Saturday, at his swearing-in ceremony, the veteran leftist leader spoke out against “coercive measures” on immigration.
The Trump administration is pressuring the Mexican government to accept a deal that would keep migrants in Mexico while they apply for asylum, breaking the established procedure of allowing asylum applicants into the U.S. as their claim is processed. Politicians in Mexico worry the proposal, known as “Remain in Mexico,” is already being practiced and could result in migrants waiting months or years at the border. Former Mexican congressman Agustin Barrios Gomez warned that illegal border crossings could spike as a result of such a policy.
The central mythos of Facebook is that what’s good for Facebook is good for the world. More sharing, more friends and more connection will “make the world more open and connected” and “bring the world closer together”, Mark Zuckerberg has argued, even as his company has been engulfed by scandal. But confidential emails, released Wednesday by the British Parliament, reveal the hardheaded business calculations that lurked beneath the feel-good image projected by Zuckerberg and Facebook.
“That may be good for the world, but it’s not good for us,” Zuckerberg wrote in a 2012 email about the possibility that developers would build applications that used data about Facebook users and their friends, but not provide any data back to Facebook. Zuckerberg’s assessment – that “sharing” was only valuable if people were sharing data with his company – was endorsed by Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, who responded, “I think the observation that we are trying to maximize sharing on facebook [sic], not just sharing in the world, is a critical one.”
The emails provide an uncommon window into the thinking of Zuckerberg and other Facebook executives as they sought revenue streams amid an industry-shaking shift from desktop to mobile computing. Executives considered charging developers fees to gain access to user data – something Facebook now claims it would never do – and discussed other schemes to leverage the company’s scale and vast troves of user data into revenue. At one point, Zuckerberg mused about how Facebook could mimic financial institutions as an “informational bank” whose assets were user’s personal information rather than money.
Twenty-four employees at an Amazon warehouse in New Jersey were taken to hospital after a robot accidentally punctured a can of bear repellant. The 255g can containing concentrated capsaicin, a compound in chilli peppers, was punctured by an automated machine after it fell off a shelf, according to local media.
The incident happened on Wednesday at a warehouse in Robbinsville, New Jersey, on the outskirts of Trenton. ...
The incident has again shone a spotlight on conditions in Amazon’s warehouses, which have been criticised in the US and the UK for poor working practices and a focus on productivity above worker safety.
A Guardian investigation in June detailed multiple instances of workers left unable to work after injuries sustained in the warehouses, including the Robbinsville fulfilment centre.
In 'Craven' Bait-and-Switch Attack on Workers, Michigan GOP Guts Minimum Wage and Sick Leave Proposals
Three months after ensuring that Michigan voters would not have a say in proposals to hike the state's minimum wage and provide sick leave to workers, the state's Republican-led Senate pushed through major changes to the initiatives on Tuesday, effectively gutting legislation that hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents had demanded.
Under the original minimum wage proposal, the state's minimum wage would have gone up from $9.25 to $12 per hour by 2022—but workers will have to wait until 2030 under the GOP's version of the bill. Tipped workers's wages will go up to only $4 from $3.52 per hour by that time under the Republican proposal.
The raise offered in the original proposal was meager compared to the reforms that Fight for 15 and other workers' rights groups advocate for. According to MIT, a single parent in Michigan needs to earn $23 per hour to make a living wage.
The paid sick leave proposal was supposed to allow workers to accrue an hour of paid sick leave after 30 hours of work, but the new version changes that to one hour after 40 hours. One million Michigan workers who work for the state's 162,000 small companies will also be exempt from the right to paid sick leave under the GOP's bill.
Imagine hating working class people this much https://t.co/hNRxcgiXMX
— Clara Jeffery (@ClaraJeffery) December 5, 2018
With Power to Kneecap Bold Demand, Incoming Democratic Tax Committee Chair Says Medicare for All 'Not Realistic'
"Neal will have near total control over what tax-related policies come to the House floor, including legislation that would create a Medicare for All healthcare system," noted investigative reporter Eoin Higgins in a piece for Sludge on Wednesday. "Having Neal at the helm of the committee, rather than a more progressive member, makes it much less likely that the House of Representatives will vote on universal healthcare measures."
As Higgins documents, Neal—who has served as the top Ways and Means Democrat since 2016—has received more insurance industry cash throughout his career than any other member of the incoming Congress, including Republicans. This fact may help explain his recent attacks on supporters of Medicare for All, who he recently called on to be more "calm" in their pursuit of bold solutions to America's deadly healthcare status quo.
"I think that there is an approach that is a little more incremental in nature," Neal said of his position on Medicare for All during an interview in August. "I understand aspiration... but the idea that overnight you're going to take 20 percent of the American economy and transform it is not realistic."
With Deadline to Save Net Neutrality Days Away, Here Are the 18 Democrats Still Siding With Telecom Donors Over Open Internet
With just days to go before the Dec. 10 deadline to restore net neutrality protections, Fight for the Future on Wednesday launched a new website to pressure the 18 House Democrats who have yet to sign on to the congressional resolution that would overturn FCC chair Ajit Pai's deeply unpopular assault on the open internet.
The 18 House Democrats who still haven't signed on to the Congressional Review Act (CRA) measure to restore net neutrality protections are: Reps. Brandon Boyle (Pa.), Robert Brady (Pa.), G.K. Butterfield (N.C.), Matt Cartwright (Pa.), Jim Costa (Calif.), Henry Cueller (Texas), Dwight Evans (Pa.), Vicente Gonzalez (Texas), Josh Gottheimer (N.J.), Gene Green (Texas), Tom O'Halleran (Ariz.), Brad Schneider (Ill.), David Scott (Ga.), Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), Filemon Vela (Texas), Pete Visclosky (Ind.), Frederica Wilson (Fla.), and Mary Gay Scanlon (Pa.).
Heh. DemoRat in the woodpile alert! This guy is so slick, he might be the next Obama.
Antonio Delgado, the incoming representative from New York’s 19th District, hasn’t signed onto the “Green New Deal” yet. Yet during the height of his congressional campaign, he name-checked the program in front of voters and was tied to it in the media. In Delgado’s comments to the crowd at the League of Conservation Voters forum in August, he cited the Green New Deal in an inspirational dash of opening rhetoric, which positioned saving the environment as part of an American aspirational story. According to Delgado, transitioning to clean energy is not only the moral choice for the future, but an economically viable one. ...
Delgado’s use of the Green New Deal language at the August League of Conservation Voters forum didn’t sit well with Green Party candidate Steve Greenfield, who wasn’t invited to speak to voters at the event. The forum was packed, a turnout that underscored the importance of environmental issues to voters in the 19th. In a contemporaneous press release, Greenfield said that Delgado’s “opening statement was nearly word for word what Greenfield had been handing out on a leaflet on the sidewalk just before the event.” Greenfield told The Intercept on Sunday that Delgado hadn’t mentioned the Green New Deal again during the race. “It was a one-time mention,” said Greenfield, “in front of a specific audience.”
Now that he’s been elected to Congress, Delgado has the opportunity to deliver on the promise of the Green New Deal — but he has yet to take advantage of that opportunity. In an interview with the Cooperstown Crier on November 15, the incoming member of Congress hedged his language on the issue. ... That couched language and Delgado’s refusal thus far to endorse the program hasn’t stopped his name being tied to the legislation, however. In a number of news reports on the Green New Deal since the election, Delgado was referred to as a “Green New Deal candidate.” He got that treatment in a November 8 Reuters piece; a week later, he was mentioned as a member of the “Green New Deal Wing” of the Democratic Party in Consumer Affairs; and he has been linked to the program in publications like the Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and Common Dreams.
This misconception on Delgado’s positions isn’t unique to the Green New Deal. In June, the NPR radio program This American Life spent an hour profiling the race, focusing on one of Delgado’s primary opponents, the left-leaning Jeff Beals. Reporter Ben Calhoun found that voters in the district were unclear on Delgado’s views on “Medicare for All” — Delgado does not support it — and they believed that the then-candidate was for the legislation despite Delgado’s rejection of the popular progressive program in a primary debate.
Global carbon emissions will jump to a record high in 2018, according to a report, dashing hopes a plateau of recent years would be maintained. It means emissions are heading in the opposite direction to the deep cuts urgently needed, say scientists, to fight climate change. The rise is due to the growing number of cars on the roads and a renaissance of coal use and means the world remains on the track to catastrophic global warming. However, the report’s authors said the emissions trend can still be turned around by 2020, if cuts are made in transport, industry and farming emissions.
The research by the Global Carbon Project was launched at the UN climate summit in Katowice, Poland, where almost 200 nations are working to turn the vision of tackling climate change agreed in Paris in 2015 into action. The report estimates CO2 emissions will rise by 2.7% in 2018, sharply up on the plateau from 2014-16 and 1.6% rise in 2017.
Almost all countries are contributing to the rise, with emissions in China up 4.7%, in the US by 2.5% and in India by 6.3% in 2018. The EU’s emissions are near flat, but this follows a decade of strong falls. “The global rise in carbon emissions is worrying, because to deal with climate change they have to turn around and go to zero eventually,” said Prof Corinne Le Quéré, at the University of East Anglia,who led the research published in the journal Nature. “We are not seeing action in the way we really need to. This needs to change quickly.”
Rising sea levels could become overwhelming sooner than previously believed, according to the authors of the most comprehensive study yet of the accelerating ice melt in Greenland. Run-off from this vast northern ice sheet – currently the biggest single source of meltwater adding to the volume of the world’s oceans – is 50% higher than pre-industrial levels and increasing exponentially as a result of manmade global warming, says the paper, published in Nature on Wednesday.
Almost all of the increase has occurred in the past two decades – a jolt upwards after several centuries of relative stability. This suggests the ice sheet becomes more sensitive as temperatures go up. “Greenland ice is melting more in recent decades than at any point in at least the last four centuries, and probably more than at any time in the last seven to eight millennia,” said the lead author Luke Trusel, of Rowan University. “We demonstrate that Greenland ice is more sensitive to warming today than in the past – it responds non-linearly due to positive feedbacks inherent to the system. Warming means more today than it did even just a few decades ago.”
The researchers used ice core data from three locations to build the first multi-century record of temperature, surface melt and run-off in Greenland. Going back 339 years, they found the first sign of meltwater increase began along with the industrial revolution in the mid-1800s. The trend remained within the natural variation until the 1990s, since when it has spiked far outside of the usual nine- to 13-year cycles.
Greenland currently contributes about 20% of global sea-level rise, which is running at 4mm per year. This pace will probably double by the end of the century, according to the most recent models used by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. How the new study affects those projections will be the subjects of future study by the authors. If all the ice in Greenland melted, it would raise sea levels by seven metres. At the current pace that would take thousands of years, but the ongoing acceleration could bring this forward rapidly.
Luxembourg is set to become the first country in the world to make all its public transport free. Fares on trains, trams and buses will be lifted next summer under the plans of the re-elected coalition government led by Xavier Bettel, who was sworn in for a second term as prime minister on Wednesday. Bettel, whose Democratic party will form a government with the leftwing Socialist Workers’ party and the Greens, had vowed to prioritise the environment during the recent election campaign. On top of the transport pledge, the new government is also considering legalising cannabis, and introducing two new public holidays.
Luxembourg City, the capital of the small Grand Duchy, suffers from some of the worst traffic congestion in the world. It is home to about 110,000 people, but a further 400,000 commute into the city to work. A study suggested that drivers in the capital spent an average of 33 hours in traffic jams in 2016. While the country as a whole has 600,000 inhabitants, nearly 200,000 people living in France, Belgium and Germany cross the border every day to work in Luxembourg.
Also of Interest
Here are some articles of interest, some which defied fair-use abstraction.
A Little Night Music
Lee Shot Williams - When You Move You Lose
Lee Shot Williams - I'm Trying
Lee Shot Williams - You're welcome to the club
Lee Shot Williams - I Like Your Style
Lee "Shot" Williams - Hold Me, Hold Me, Hold Me
Lee Shot Williams - I'm In Love
Lee 'Shot' Williams - The Love You Save
Lee Shot Williams - I Hurt Myself
Lee Shot Williams - Mark My Words
Lee Shot Williams - Get Some Order