The Panama Papers should be no surprise. I was there in the 1970s, when the system they’ve exposed was set in motion. As an Economic Hit Man (an EHM), I helped forge this global economy that is based on legalized crimes. It’s a system in which 62 individuals have as much wealth as half the world’s population, and a handful of the super-rich control governments around the globe. Big corporations benefit from infrastructure and social services without having to foot the bill. Instead, average U.S. citizens pay for it with their hard-earned tax dollars, while the very rich and their corporations shelter their incomes in tax havens like Panama. “The revelations of the Panama Papers are one more indictment of a failed system.” The foundations for Panama as a tax shelter go back to 1903, when President Theodore Roosevelt fomented a rebellion to wrest Panama from Colombia so the U.S. could build the Panama Canal. J.P. Morgan and Company became the new country’s official fiscal agent. Soon Panama passed laws allowing John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company to register its ships there, avoiding U.S. taxes and regulations — and Panamanian tax shelters were born. Read
Empowering women. Improving education. Expanding access to technology. Reducing infant mortality. These goals have all been heralded as keys to sparking sustainable economic growth in the developing world and improving the lives of billions of global citizens. But a new study suggests that if the planet is to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change, there might need to be an even bigger development priority: scaling up clean energy. The study, published in the journal PLoS One this month, warns that, if economic growth continues to be fueled by coal, natural gas, and other carbon-rich energy sources, global warming could surge past the two-degree Celsius threshold by 2030—an outcome expected to inflict severe economic consequences on the developing world. The researchers also project that continued, intense reliance on fossil fuels would result in cost-prohibitive energy prices, driven both by diminishing reserves (read: lower supply) as well as Gross Domestic Product and population growth (read: higher demand). Read
A combination of a carbon tax on food and a tax on sugary drinks in the UK could lead to health benefits, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and raise up to GB£3.6 billion revenue, according to research published in the open access journal BMC Public Health. Lead researcher, Adam Briggs from the University of Oxford, said: “Agriculture is responsible for up to 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions and those arising from food production have negative effects that aren’t borne by the individual buying the food, but by society as a whole. Examples include the health effects of global warming from extreme weather, changing global disease patterns, and airborne pollution, as well as changes to food production patterns and overall availability of energy resources. Read
This week Guy and Mike are joined by independent journalist Cory Morningstar as they discuss and analyze the words of prominent writer Naomi Klein, author of the 2014 book about anthropogenic climate change, This Changes Everything. Thanks to our listeners for providing examples, and also for calling in during the show. Guy adds a brief climate-change update.
Eleanor LeCain talks about the Paris agreement on climate change, the end of the fossil fuel era, and the renewable energy revolution with Michael T. Klare, Director of the Five College Program on Peace and World Security based at Hampshire College.
The weak, non-binding and dishonest Paris Climate Agreement will have delighted climate criminal and war criminal nations likeSaudi Arabia, the US and US lackey Australia, but has betrayed our children, grandchildren, future generations, the Developing World, Humanity and the Biosphere – the target of 1.5 to 2 degrees C is both unavoidable and catastrophic and key matters are non-binding. The Paris betrayal demands a peaceful, world-wide Climate Revolution involving Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against all people, politicians, parties, companies, corporations and countries disproportionately involved in climate criminal and terracidal greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution. According to the BBC: “The measures in the agreement included: (1) To peak greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and achieve a balance between sources and sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century. (2) To keep global temperature increase “well below” 2C (3.6F) and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5C. (3) To review progress every five years. (4) $100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries by 2020, with a commitment to further finance in the future” . Read
Paris — THE climate news last week came out of Paris, where the world’s nations signed off on an agreement to finally begin addressing global warming. Or, alternately, the climate news came out of Chennai, India, where hundreds died as flooding turned a city of five million into an island. And out of Britain, where the heaviest rains ever measured over 24 hours in the Lake District turned picturesque villages into lakes. And out of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, where record rainfalls flooded atolls. In the hot, sodden mess that is our planet as 2015 drags to a close, the pact reached in Paris feels, in a lot of ways, like an ambitious agreement designed for about 1995, when the first conference of parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change took place in Berlin. Read
As the United Nations climate talks in Paris near their end, global activists on Thursday said people power needs to step in where governments are failing while announcing plans for upcoming mass mobilizations that aim to “keep fossil fuels in the ground and accelerate a just transition to 100% renewable energy.” Acts of civil disobedience scheduled for May 2016, slated to occur in at least a dozen countries across the globe from the U.S. to Nigeria to Australia, are necessary, the organizers write on the breakfree2016.org website. “Our actions must reflect the scale and urgency of this crisis in a way that governments can no longer ignore.” Among the groups organizing the Break Free from Fossil Fuels mobilization are 350.org, Attac, Greenpeace International, and the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice. From their statement: Read
The COP21 climate talks in Paris reached their halfway point on Saturday, but a deal that experts and global justice campaigners would consider acceptable remains a long way off as the fossil fuel industry and wealthy nations maintain their powerful grip on the direction of the international summit. Given the troubled history of the UN-sponsored talks, most members of civil society headed to Paris acknowledging the two-week gathering was unlikely to yield the kind of agreement that either the science of global warming, or the movement for climate justice, would find acceptable. “At the core of this failure are the obstinate negotiating positions of the US and other Global North governments who are bent on deregulating the global rules applying to them and advancing the financial needs of big business over the survival needs of people.” —Tamar Lawrence-Samuel, Corporate Accountability International Read
‘What we call the eternal ice of Antarctica unfortunately turns out not to be eternal at all,’ says lead author of new study A new study published Monday warns that “unstoppable” melting in West Antarctica could make a three-meter increase in sea level “unavoidable.” According to researchers at Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the vulnerable Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica “has most likely been destabilized.” They point to recent studies indicating that this area of the ice continent is “the first element in the climate system about to tip.” Read