The John James Newsletter 129
23 July 2016
Our efforts to deal with climate change have been betrayed by a lack of leadership and political cowardice, the like of which I have never seen
Malcolm Turnbull in 2010
During the five years before the last election, 41% of the private donations made to political parties came from just 76 people. This is what plutocracy looks like.
Life needs no inventing. Ordinary life, so-called, is extraordinary when I pay attention
We all know it is happening, but were we to decide to stop all emissions suddenly and today, what would life look like afterwards? I have not seen this addressed anywhere (except in generalities). The social and commercial changes would be profound, but at least we might survive.
The Practical Path to Reversing Climate Change
Most Australians (53%) believe there is a 50% or greater chance our way of life will end within the next 100 years, and a quarter that humans will be wiped out. These are surprisingly high estimates; no organisation would accept this level of risk. In response, 75% agreed we need to transform our worldview and way of life (an ‘activist’ response); 44% agreed that the world’s future looks grim so we have to focus on looking after ourselves and those we love (nihilism); and 33% agreed that we are facing a final conflict between good and evil in the world (fundamentalism).
Large Sections of Greenland Covered in Melt Ponds, Dark Snow
The Earth has now warmed by more than 1 C above Preindustrial temperatures. And 1-2 C warming from this baseline in the Eemian resulted in a 10-20 foot rise in ocean levels. We’re in this temperature range now.
New Studies Show Extent of Earth’s Ice Melt
This is worth watching
Eastern Hemisphere’s All-Time Temperature Record: Kuwait Fries in 54°C
Global warming hadn’t paused at all. It was just getting ready to hit the accelerator.
It is the increasing rate of emissions that indicates we are entering an increasingly rapid-change era in which each increase adds fuel onto the next. Exponentially!
George Monbiot on the current UK government
We have a environment secretary whose ideology urges her to see the environment as an impediment to profit, a communities secretary whose every fibre rebels against the planning system and an international trade secretary who used his previous post in government to connect mysteriously with American corporate lobby groups. We no longer have a climate change secretary, of any description. We have a government that treats the Earth’s systems, upon which our survival depends, as an afterthought. Or not a thought at all.
Theresa May Shuts Climate Change Office
Less than a day after becoming the UK’s unelected PM, Theresa May closed the government’s climate change office and moved responsibility for the environment to a new Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. The decision comes the same week as the UK’s own advisers warned that the nation was not ready for the inevitable consequences of climate change.
UK poorly prepared for climate change impacts
The UK is poorly prepared for the inevitable impacts of global warming in coming decades, including deadly annual heatwaves, water shortages and difficulties in producing food
Britain Faces the Biggest Crisis of Democracy in its History
Theresa May’s new regime represents the most authoritarian, racist and austerity-obsessed government in British history. May plans to continue brutally cutting public services and basic welfare benefits that hit the poorest.
First Half of 2016 Blows Away Temperature Records
Look at the gap between slow annual growth in global heating and the extraordinary jump since October.
The Myth of “Aggressive Russia”
The US and allies have imposed sanctions because of the Crimea decided to separate from Ukraine and rejoin Russia. Tourist cruise ships no longer stop at Crimean ports and international airlines are prohibited from flying directly to the international airport at the Crimean capital, Simferopol. Students from Crimean universities cannot transfer their academic credits to universities internationally. Despite the sanctions Crimea appears to be doing reasonably well.
Scores of City-Sized Siberian Wildfires Spew 2,500 Mile-Long Plume of Smoke
Practically no one in the global mainstream media is talking about how Northern and Central Siberia is burning. Scores of massive fires, some the size of cities and small states, are throwing off a great pall of smoke 2,500 miles long.
US Releases Saudi Documents: 9/11 Coverup Exposed
fresh evidence of a deliberate coverup of the role played, not only by the Saudi government, but US intelligence agencies themselves, in facilitating the attacks and then covering up their real roots.
The full text
Islamists at War in Turkey
Erdogan runs a political party, Gülen operates a civil movement called Hizmet (Service). Erdogan comes out of a more traditional Sunni Turkish Islamist movement; Gülen comes out of an a-political, more Sufi, mystical and social tradition. Gülen is interested in slow, deep social change including secular higher education; Erdogan as a party leader is first and foremost interested in preserving his party’s power that operates in a populist manner trying to raise the general welfare.
Syrian state paper says failed Turkey coup fabricated
The attempted coup was a plot by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to “avenge the military and strip it of its remaining popular support.”
Turkey’s Attempted Coup
Erdogan’s popularity would have dwindled with time. The Turkish economy is stagnant, his Syrian policy is a disaster, and the flagrant corruption of the people around him is getting hard to ignore. Sooner or later he would have lost an election. The officers who led the Turkish coup didn’t trust democracy enough to wait.
Coup d’état Attempt: Turkey’s Reichstag Fire?
The damage that was inflicted on the parliament building in Ankara was huge reminiscent of the Reichstag fire in Germany in 1933. The Reichstag fire marked the end of basic freedoms and critical thinking in Germany.
The Coup in Turkey has Thrown a Wrench in Uncle Sam’s “Pivot” Plan
The coup in Turkey has changed the geopolitical landscape overnight realigning Ankara with Moscow while shattering Washington’s plan to redraw the map of the Middle East. Whether Erdogan staged the coup or not is of little importance in the bigger scheme of things. The fact is, the incident has consolidated his power domestically while derailing Washington’s plan to control critical resources and pipeline corridors from Qatar to Europe.
Purge Continues as Turkey Bans Academics from Foreign Travel
How Extrajudicial Executions Became Policy in Washington
The US has been fighting wars for almost 15 years. As vets have returned from their tours of duty, numbers have gone into police work when weaponry, vehicles, and military equipment have poured off distant battlefields and into police departments. And while the police were militarizing, gun companies have been marketing battlefield-style assault rifles by the millions, at the very moment when citizens can carry weapons in public.
The Trojan Drone: An Illegal Military Strategy Disguised As Technological Advance
The technical advances embodied in drone technology distract us from a more fundamental change in military strategy. The US has now embraced extrajudicial executions on foreign soil.
Sections of Great Barrier Reef suffering from ‘complete ecosystem collapse’
Without enough surviving corals, the fish didn’t have the shelter and food sources they needed and had died or moved elsewhere. Without many of those fish, Marshall said the coral would face a harder time recovering, since the entire ecosystem had been degraded.
Greenpeace: ‘Extremely High’ Jump in Post-Fukushima Radioactive Chemicals
There is no return to normal. The vast expanse of contaminated forests and freshwater systems will remain a perennial source of radioactivity for the foreseeable future, as these ecosystems cannot simply be decontaminated.
Unicef Report Reveals 250 Million Child Victims Of War
There have not been so many children suffering the consequences of conflicts, crises and natural catastrophes since the Second World War. Some 250 million girls and boys, one in nine children, are forced to grow up in conflict zones. Even more are threatened by natural disasters such as droughts, floods and epidemics.
Nearly 3,000 Migrants Have Died so far This Year in Mediterranean
Some disturbing figures about the upcoming banking crisis
Deutsche Bank has a capital level of less that 3% (just like Lehman), and a risky asset base with derivatives exposure of more than $70 trillion, roughly the size of world GDP. Even the IMF has stated unequivocally that Deutsche Bank poses the greatest risk to global financial stability. And the IMF would be right… except for all the other banks.
Currency Crash Drives Stg to a 31 Year Low As Deutsche Bank Sinks To Lowest Level Ever
The British pound could eventually hit parity with the US dollar. We are seeing seismic shifts on the foreign exchange market right now that will affect trillions of dollars of currency-related derivatives.
Heat Dome Expected to Bake the United States
Forecasters expect a high pressure ridge and extreme temperatures to combine to create what is referred to as a “heat dome” over large portions of the US. A heat dome occurs when high pressure in the upper atmosphere acts as a lid, preventing hot air from escaping. The air is forced to sink back to the surface, warming even further on the way. Heat index values for parts of the U.S. are expected to reach 110 degrees or higher.
Biodiversity is below safe levels across more than half of world’s land
Habitat destruction has reduced the variety of plants and animals to where ecological systems may be unable to function, with risks for agriculture and human health. The unchecked loss of biodiversity is akin to playing ecological roulette.
Arctic birds face disappearing breeding grounds as climate warms
Countries worldwide could see declines in the numbers of migratory birds reaching their shores, and the Canadian and Russian Arctic islands may be the last refuges these species have.
World’s biggest solar + storage projects planned for Australia
The first new project is planned for South Australia, with a 100MW solar PV plant to be combined with a battery storage array of up to 40MW, Green says the plant could be in operation near Roxby Downs by early 2018, and there are plans for other similar projects around the country.
Stark divide between young and old as Australian household incomes and wealth stall
Median household wealth grew 2002-2006, but has since grown little despite continued increases in house prices.