Changing the environment: What the Paris conference showed

first_imgPart 1 Changing the environment: From Kyoto to Storm FrankJan. 18 — Stock markets around the world have been sliding downward for the last two weeks, propelled in large part by the news that the glut of oil has grown worse despite the shutting down of many wells. By Jan. 15, crude oil had fallen below $30 a barrel for the first time in 13 years.The mood in financial circles is doom and gloom. Because of the heavy debt load throughout the world, including in the United States, a downturn has the potential of spinning out of control. The banks and other financial institutions are the core of modern capitalism. They rake in interest on huge loans based on the assumption that economies will keep on growing, no matter what the growth is based on. Fancy automobiles, mansions and private jets are at least, if not more, stimulating to the economy than health care, affordable housing and healthy food. So are industries that wreck the environment.Here, in a nutshell, is an illustration of why achieving a sustainable environment is so impossible under capitalism.One might think: Demand for oil has decreased. Wonderful! Less greenhouse gases to warm the planet! But one would be wrong, according to Wall Street.At a time when the warming of the planet can no longer be denied — even trendy Miami Beach finds itself often underwater because of rising sea levels — you wouldn’t know these problems exist if all you read were the business pages. There, it’s sell more oil, sell more cars, sell, sell, sell. Or the whole thing will fall apart.Capitalism has been a dynamic economic system, remaking the world in just a few centuries. Instead of the small-scale individual crafts that prevailed under feudalism, capitalism developed factories where the productivity of labor was raised by a phenomenal amount as individual skills were replaced by machines and eventually by the assembly line. In today’s economy, shaped to serve the profit interests of imperialist billionaires, this division of labor has gone global.With the deskilling of the individual worker alongside a tremendous increase in productivity, the workers’ share of the value produced has plummeted. This widening wealth gap is well known and is grinding down workers everywhere, while also exacerbating national oppression and super-exploitation, especially of people of color.Capitalism’s dynamic growth has come at the expense of the environment.The last thing any boss wants to factor into the cost of production is what damage it has done to the air, the water and the land — not to speak of the people who live in contaminated areas, like the residents of Love Canal in Niagara Falls, N.Y., back in the 1970s or today in Flint, Mich. In both cases, poisonous industrial wastes have sickened a whole generation.Socialism vs. capitalismThe basic theme of this series is that it will take socialism — not a “regulated” capitalism but the revolutionary ousting from power of the capitalist ruling class and its agents — to reorganize human society and economic activity in order to have a sustainable planet. We have described some of what the People’s Republic of China has done toward this end.China? Doesn’t China have the worst pollution of all?Yes, it has severe environmental problems, some that go back centuries, and the Chinese government acknowledges this. Not only acknowledges it, but takes it very, very seriously. That is why climatologists were excited when, for the recent climate conference in Paris, China prepared a detailed plan to lower its greenhouse gas emissions.China is not an ideal socialist society, and doesn’t pretend to be. Many of its environmental problems can be linked to what it calls “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” That means the current leaders have made big concessions to capitalist mechanisms that they have felt are necessary to overcome the extreme underdevelopment the country faced at the time of its revolution. It also means they do not advocate that revolutionary socialists all over the world follow their path, which has evolved through many internal political struggles. The masses of people have not been passive observers of China’s trajectory, but are extremely active and militant in raising their demands.So how will China’s conduct affect the outcome of the growing climate crisis?Let’s look at the Paris meeting. Out of that global event came an agreement that the warming of the planet should be held to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Note the word “should,” not “must” or “shall.”This was hailed as a great breakthrough. However, it didn’t commit any country to anything. The U.S., in particular, has fought at every one of these conferences to prevent firm targets being set for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions cuts.U.S. threats at Paris conferenceAccording to a recent article about the conference, “When U.S. lawyers discovered a phrase declaring that wealthier countries ‘shall’ set economy-wide targets for cutting their GHG pollution, Secretary of State John Kerry told the delegates, ‘We cannot do this and we will not do this. And either it changes or President Obama and the United States will not be able to support this agreement.’ So it was changed to ‘should.’” (The Nation, Jan. 4)Even a statement that vague, which didn’t say how big the cuts must be, just that there “shall” be cuts, was rejected by the U.S. government. The U.S., by the way, continues to be the world’s largest polluter on a per capita basis.There is nothing in the final agreement to threaten the workings of capitalism, and especially the fortunes of the fossil fuel magnates who have run the show here ever since Rockefeller Standard Oil Co. took over 90 percent of U.S. oil production in 1890.John Kerry and the Obama administration are supposed to represent the liberal pole in U.S. politics. So what hope is there that any U.S. capitalist government will rein in the giant corporations — which would see the world destroyed rather than give up a small fraction of their profits?By contrast, China went to the Paris Conference with a detailed plan and commitment to redirect its economy away from fossil fuels and toward nonpolluting sources of energy. Its plan also includes measures to improve energy efficiency and transmission and to reforest vast areas in order to sequester carbon from the atmosphere.What makes China different — and why the capitalist rulers see it as an enemy — is that it had a revolution in which the oppressed masses took the power away from the ruling classes. The leaders of that revolution were communists. China has since made big concessions to capitalists and capitalism, but the state born out of that revolution has not been overthrown.Just a generation ago most Chinese people were terribly poor. Yet China today is able to do what Kerry himself said the U.S. absolutely cannot do. Western capitalists understand the difference, but of course put their own spin on it.The Economist, a British financial magazine, wrote back on April 10, 2013: “In the West it is often said that one of China’s chief advantages in dealing with climate change is that its leaders can impose tough policies that democratic systems shy away from.” Translated: It’s democratic for the big fossil fuel billionaires and their paid-for politicians to prevent capitalist governments from adopting concrete measures to cut emissions.So what are China’s “tough policies”?The article continues: “[China’s] carbon emissions are growing at half the rate of GDP [gross domestic product], a bit better than the global average. China has also boosted investment in renewable energy far more than any other country. It has the world’s most ambitious plans for building new nuclear power stations. To combine economic growth and environmental improvement, China has concentrated on reducing carbon intensity — emissions per unit of GDP. This fell by about 20 percent in the past five years and the government is aiming to cut it by 40-45 percent by 2020, compared with 2005. Most of the improvement is coming from a scheme to bully 1,000 state-owned enterprises (SOEs) into using energy more efficiently — arguably the single most important climate policy in the world.“The enterprises sign a contract with the central government agreeing to meet efficiency targets, abide by new building codes and install environmental-control equipment. This helped Chinese cement-makers (who produce as much of the stuff as the rest of the world put together) reduce the energy needed to make a tonne of cement by 30 percent in the 10 years to 2009. The scheme has now been expanded to 10,000 SOEs, covering the majority of polluters.“China is also generating energy more efficiently. According to the World Bank, better operations and the closure of [outmoded] plants helped to push the average thermal efficiency of its coal-fired power stations from 31 percent in 2000 to 37 percent in 2010; America’s remained flat, at 33 percent.“The other big energy change is China’s vast renewables program. The government aims to get 20 percent of its energy from such sources by 2020, the same target as in richer Europe. The largest slice will come from hydropower, which accounted for around 15 percent of total energy in 2012 (with nuclear power at 2 percent). But the big rise comes from wind and solar: the government will roughly double investment in these two in 2011-16, compared with 2006-10. Chinese investment in renewables puts others to shame. It amounted to $67 billion in 2012, says REN21, a network of policymakers, more than three times what Germany spent. The aim is to have 100 gigawatts of wind capacity and 35 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2015. …“A few years ago Chinese politicians said such emissions would go on rising at least until 2050. Now mainstream Chinese opinion says the peak will come in 2030-40. Academics at the Energy Research Institute and CASS reckon it could come earlier — in 2025-30. Compared with what seemed likely a few years ago, that would be a big achievement.”That was written almost three years ago. China has not only fulfilled its goals but in many cases already exceeded them.Next: What way forward?FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Banking and Housing Lobby Petitions for CFPB Structural Changes

first_imgHome / Daily Dose / Banking and Housing Lobby Petitions for CFPB Structural Changes About Author: Staff Writer Related Articles Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Banking and Housing Lobby Petitions for CFPB Structural Changes ABA Banking and Housing Lobby CFPB NAFCU NAR 2017-06-27 Staff Writer The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Tagged with: ABA Banking and Housing Lobby CFPB NAFCU NAR Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Share Save June 27, 2017 1,161 Views The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Previous: Ever-Changing TRID Demands Companies Pivot to Stay Current Next: Lowest Home Appreciation in the U.S. in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, Headlines, News  Print This Post The banking and housing lobby has recently sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate and House appropriations committees expressing their position that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should be restructured from a single director to a bipartisan panel of five people. A total of 22 organizations signed on, including the American Bankers Association, the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions, and the National Association of Realtors, amongst others. In the collective letter, the authors make their case: “A Senate confirmed, bipartisan commission will provide a balanced and deliberative approach to supervision, regulation, and enforcement for consumers and the financial institutions the CFPB oversees by encouraging input from all stakeholders. The current single director structure leads to regulatory uncertainty and instability for consumers, industry, and the economy, leaving vital consumer financial protection subject to dramatic political shifts with each changing presidential administration. Moreover, a commission is the traditional and customary structure for the regulators of our nation’s depository institutions.” It is not immediately clear why the letter was sent to the appropriations committee.  However, Victor Whitman at imagines it has to do with the fact that these two committees control the budget process. “Certain bills can be fast-tracked through budget resolutions employing special rules in what is known as reconciliation, and would not require 60 votes in the U.S. Senate to pass. This is how the Senate Republican leadership plans to pass its version of the Obamacare repeal bill and replacement, but legal experts have told Scotsman Guide News that changes to the CFPB couldn’t be done this way.” Currently, the director can only be removed by the president, “for cause,” however, many analysts don’t believe that Congress will be able to pass legislation before Richard Cordray’s appointment is up in 2018.  Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Sign up for DS News Daily Subscribe Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days agolast_img read more

Letterkenny councillors call on minister to stop funding IBAL

first_img Letterkenny councillors call on minister to stop funding IBAL LUH system challenged by however, work to reduce risk to patients ongoing – Dr Hamilton By News Highland – January 17, 2012 Calls for maternity restrictions to be lifted at LUH RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Facebook Twitter Google+ WhatsApp Facebook Twitter Previous articleDonegal County Council to ban frackingNext articleRape trial continues at Central Criminal Court News Highland center_img Pinterest Google+ Guidelines for reopening of hospitality sector published Pinterest Almost 10,000 appointments cancelled in Saolta Hospital Group this week Newsx Adverts Letterkenny Town Council is calling on Environment Minister Phil Hogan to withdraw fundiny from IBAL, the Irish Business Against Litter group. The issue was raised by Cllr Dessie Larkin, who said that unlike the Tidy Towns judges, IBAL will not engage with the council, and its judging takes place in secret.IBAL receives €70,000 in government funding.The council is to write to Minister Hogan with copies of the letter going to all other councils.Cllr Larkin says it was no surprise to him that his proposal received uanimous support. He says the government should either give the money to Tidy Towns, or bring in a competition that the Town Council can subscribe to and engage with……….[podcast]http://www.highlandradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/desi830.mp3[/podcast] WhatsApp Business Matters Ep 45 – Boyd Robinson, Annette Houston & Michael Margey Need for issues with Mica redress scheme to be addressed raised in Seanad alsolast_img read more

Bishop Long stepping down

first_img Tweet Share Share Share 40 Views   no discussionscenter_img FaithInternationalLifestylePrint Bishop Long stepping down by: – December 7, 2011 ATLANTA – When Bishop Eddie Long was accused of sexual misconduct by former church members, his congregation rallied around him and his wife stood by his side. About a year later, the Atlanta megachurch pastor is headed for divorce and stepping away from the pulpit.Long announced Sunday at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church that he needed a break from preaching to focus on his family. The hiatus leaves New Birth, which once boasted 25 000 members, at a crossroads, its reputation battered and membership dwindling. Their pasts inextricably linked for nearly a generation, both Long and his church face an uncertain future.“A church is bigger than its pastor,” said Goldie Taylor, who has attended New Birth in the past.“For too long, the New Birth family has acted as if it is smaller than its pastor. Its challenge going forward will be its ability to flip that and become a church without walls again.”For many members, Long has been the only pastor they have ever known. He became senior pastor in 1987, taking the helm of a flock of only a few hundred members. Not long after he arrived, the former Ford salesman and Honeywell executive dismissed New Birth’s board of directors and took unilateral control of the church, ensuring that he would be the one to determine the date of his departure.New Birth grew quickly under its charismatic, dynamic young leader, swelling to 8 000 members in five years. A decade later New Birth boasted 18 000 members and the church paid cash for the land and sprawling property it currently occupies in DeKalb County – including a 10 000-seat sanctuary.In addition to its Lithonia, Georgia headquarters, the church has satellites in several cities including Miami, Charlotte and Denver, and television and international ministries.Many who joined the church under Long’s tenure were attracted to the prosperity gospel that he preached and practised. It was a message that mirrored an emerging black middle class in and around Atlanta. Unlike the traditional Southern Baptist preacher, Long owned a $350 000 Bentley and private jet, lived in a $1.4 million house with six bedrooms and nine bathrooms, adorned himself with diamond jewellery and read his sermons from an iPad.Long’s spiritual swagger inspired a loyal and protective congregation. In September 2010, when accusations swirled that he used his lavish lifestyle to seduce four young men into sexual relationships in exchange for cars, clothes and trips, New Birth members supported their embattled leader, who vowed he was innocent and would fight the cases.Long settled out of court eight months later for an undisclosed amount and has never admitted any wrongdoing. After that, some changed their opinion of him.“Once the money was paid, it was like you’re hiding something,” said Donielle Marshall, who joined New Birth as a college student in 1999.“Did you lie to us? I look at him as just a common man, full of fault, but also a disgrace.” (AP)Nation News Sharing is caring!last_img read more

What the Players are Saying about the Battle of Sfax

first_imgFemi SolajaRegardless of the 4-0 win posted by Super Eagles against Libya last Saturday in Uyo, players from both teams are optimistic of posting a win when they meet again tomorrow in Sfax on Match-day 4 of the AFCON 2019 qualifiers.Udinese FC defender, William Troost-Ekong is confident that Super Eagles are capable of picking the maximum three points in this second leg match tomorrow.The 2016 Olympics bronze medallist wrote on his official Twitter handle after Super Eagles 4-0 win over Libya on Saturday: “Three points. Clean sheet. Great work from the boys today. Always enjoy playing on my home soil in Uyo. Special mention of @ighalojude congrats on your hat-trick bro. On to Tuesday now to finish the job! #SuperEagles #Afcon #GloryToGod https://t.co/6RkpIJPC8S” he twitted. Unused substitute, John Ogu, also threw his weight behind the team to get their second away win in Tunis tomorrow. He commended the fans for their support as he promised to work harder to make the first team.“Thank you to everyone for the compliment. I really do appreciate. For me the team comes first and am happy to be part of it. We go again on Tuesday for that 3 points,” he tweeted.However, Libyan players have put the 4-0 defeat behind and are seeking to revenge against Nigeria in the reverse fixture.The Captain and goalkeeper of the team, Mohammed Fathi Fathi Abduala, expressed confidence that his team will avenge the 0-4 defeat.He insisted that Nigeria won’t have it as easy as they did owing to the fact that luck played a big role in Eagles victory.“It’s not over yet. We can still beat Nigeria in Tunisia and we will do that. They (Eagles) were lucky with some decisions and we were not. In Tunisia, it won’t be the same”, the goalkeeper remarked when he reflected on the humiliating defeat last Saturday.He however admitted that Nigeria paraded a good team against them in Uyo. “Nigeria have a good team with individual players in Europe but we gave them a good fight and we hope to do better in Tunisia. Mistakes to be corrected were made by us during the game. We will beat them in Tunisia “, he pointed out.In a related development, Libyan midfield ace, Ahmad Benali, blamed the wide margin defeat to bad officiating insisting that they were twice denied genuine penalty claims with scores at 1-0 in favour of Nigeria.“Not once but twice, we appealed what looked a good call for penalty for us but the referee ignored our protest. There was a handball and a foul on me in the box. We believe that we had a real case to be given one of the two penalties especially as Nigeria was also given one,” stressed the Libyan midfielder.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more