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Ghost Dog

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Hometown: Canary Islands Archipelago
Home country: Spain
Member since: Wed Apr 19, 2006, 12:59 PM
Number of posts: 15,348

About Me

Brit gone native. Cooperative member. Ecology. Cartography. Programming. Music production.

Journal Archives

Merkel supports intentions to set up EU-Russia common economic zone

BERLIN, June 3. /TASS/. Germany’s Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel has supported the intentions to set up a common economic zone on a space from Lisbon to Vladivostok.

She said it on Friday in the town of Gustrow, the federal state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, where the territorial branch of the Christian Democratic Union held a congress.

"I’m in favor of a gradual rapprochement between Russia and the European economic area so that we could get a common economic zone from Vladivostok to Lisbon in the final run," she said...

... She pointed out the importance of strict compliance with Minsk accords, the adoption of a Ukrainian law on local elections in Donbass and the provision of access to the borderline for the Ukrainian forces in the places where they do not have it.

More:
http://tass.ru/en/world/880093

Naomi Klein: Reading Edward Said in a warming world.

London Review of Books:

... He was, of course, a giant in the study of ‘othering’ – what is described in Orientalism as ‘disregarding, essentialising, denuding the humanity of another culture, people or geographical region’. And once the other has been firmly established, the ground is softened for any transgression: violent expulsion, land theft, occupation, invasion. Because the whole point of othering is that the other doesn’t have the same rights, the same humanity, as those making the distinction. What does this have to do with climate change? Perhaps everything.

We have dangerously warmed our world already, and our governments still refuse to take the actions necessary to halt the trend. There was a time when many had the right to claim ignorance. But for the past three decades, since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was created and climate negotiations began, this refusal to lower emissions has been accompanied with full awareness of the dangers. And this kind of recklessness would have been functionally impossible without institutional racism, even if only latent. It would have been impossible without Orientalism, without all the potent tools on offer that allow the powerful to discount the lives of the less powerful. These tools – of ranking the relative value of humans – are what allow the writing off of entire nations and ancient cultures. And they are what allowed for the digging up of all that carbon to begin with...

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n11/naomi-klein/let-them-drown


Thought-provoking long essay from Ms. Klein.

I thought, btw, apart from the anti-Trump barrage, that in the meat of Ms. Clinton's San Diego FP speech there were clear examples of 'othering'...

See also: DU Environment and Energy

By Naomi Klein, The London Review of Books 02 June 16

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n11/naomi-klein/let-them-drown

Reading, thanks. Here's the map referenced:



(Nb. Mercator projection: not to scale.)

Blair government's rendition policy led to rift between UK spy agencies

British involvement in controversial and clandestine rendition operations provoked an unprecedented row between the UK’s domestic and foreign intelligence services, MI5 and MI6, at the height of the “war on terror”, the Guardian can reveal.

The head of MI5, Eliza Manningham-Buller, was so incensed when she discovered the role played by MI6 in abductions that led to suspected extremists being tortured, she threw out a number of her sister agency’s staff and banned them from working at MI5’s headquarters, Thames House.

According to Whitehall sources, she also wrote to the then prime minister, Tony Blair, to complain about the conduct of MI6 officers, saying their actions had threatened Britain’s intelligence gathering and may have compromised the security and safety of MI5 officers and their informants.

The letter caused a serious and prolonged breakdown of trust between Britain’s domestic and foreign spy agencies provoked by the Blair government’s support for rendition...

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/may/31/revealed-britain-rendition-policy-rift-between-spy-agencies-mi6-mi5

The revelations... show, first, at least some of what lay behind the euphemistic references to the “uncomfortable relationship” of MI6 with the government that led to Sir Richard Dearlove’s departure as head of that service in 2004. This, it would appear, was an understatement of the first order: at the height of the Iraq war, the heads of the UK’s two major intelligence agencies were at each other’s throats.

They show, second, that rendition – the clandestine transfer of terrorist suspects from one country to another where they were likely to be subject to methods of interrogation which are outside the law – met opposition at the very top of UK intelligence. At least someone retained her moral compass: a bouquet for Manningham-Buller. Alas, it is not at all clear that her view prevailed.

They show, third, not just the fawning attitude that infests UK intelligence relations with the United States – but also the protectionism exercised by individual services. In the particular case at issue here – the enforced return of exiled Libyan opposition leader Abdul Hakim Belhaj to Tripoli in 2004, where he was detained and as he says repeatedly tortured – MI6 was concerned to take all the “credit”, demonstrating its prowess to the US, but keeping Belhaj to itself.

And, fourth, the revelations show how successful the powers that be have been in keeping the covers on these reprehensible practices to this day. The CPS is still deciding whether there should be prosecutions and Belhaj himself is awaiting a ruling on his case from the supreme court. The Gibson inquiry on rendition was summarily halted, after details of Belhaj’s case emerged, and the questions it raised were left unanswered. Lawsuits brought by those who claim they were subject to rendition have been settled out of court. Individual intelligence agents are thus spared from appearing as witnesses; more important, the agencies themselves are let off the hook...

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/01/mi5-mi6-myth-uk-intelligence-superiority

Greece, Still Paying for Europe’s Spite (Varoufakis)

... Greece’s economic misery seemed set to provoke a new standoff recently — except that, this time, it was between the International Monetary Fund and the European Union’s Brussels-Berlin nexus. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany is reluctant to confess to the Bundestag that Greece’s bailout loans were always unsustainable. To maintain the fantasy that they will be repaid as planned under the terms of last year’s deal, Berlin has insisted on setting a ludicrous target for Greece’s budget surplus. (That target is 3.5 percent of gross domestic product every year starting in 2018 — roughly equivalent, as a percentage of G.D.P., to America’s military budget, but in Greece’s case, purely to service its foreign debt.)

The German condition amounts to imposing permanently escalating austerity on Greece. The I.M.F. protested, correctly, that there was no level of austerity that could achieve this target.

In past weeks, there were indications that the fund was ready to insist on debt relief for Greece, allowing a lower budget surplus target and therefore less austerity. Unfortunately, last week’s meeting of the so-called Eurogroup — an informal body of eurozone finance ministers together with officials from the European Central Bank and the I.M.F. — dashed these hopes. With the I.M.F.’s managing director, Christine Lagarde, notably absent, her stand-in capitulated to the Brussels-Berlin axis, postponing any debt relief until 2018 at the earliest...

... Reason demands an end to this loop of doom. What Greece needs is a realistic restructuring of its debt and a primary surplus target of no more than 1.5 percent of national income. The government should also continue with reforms that target oligopolies in areas of the economy like supermarkets and the energy sector, as well as inefficiency and corruption in public administration.

Instead, the odd principle of imposing the greatest austerity for Europe’s most depressed economy lives on, spreading new misery through Greece and needlessly holding back recovery in Europe’s monetary union.

http://nytimes.com/2016/06/01/opinion/yanis-varoufakis-greece-still-paying-for-europes-spite.html


Also: DU Foreign Affairs

Meteorologists are seeing global warming's effect on the weather


Both NASA and local farmers confirm longer growing seasons, with more allergens, pests and invasive species. Rainfall rates are increasing; wet areas trending even wetter... A warmer atmosphere is increasing water vapor levels overhead, juicing storms...

In recent decades, weather patterns have appeared to become more sluggish and erratic, worldwide. Rapid warming of the Arctic may be impacting the jet stream, the high-speed river of air that whisks weather systems around the planet. These high-altitude winds are powered by north-south temperature gradients, which are being altered by rapid warming of northern latitudes.  Preliminary research suggests a drop in jet stream wind speeds, creating a “wavier” pattern where weather systems can become “stuck”. This translates into supernaturally-persistent blocking patterns, where weather stalls for extended periods of time. 

When weather goes into a holding pattern consequences can be severe: record rains; deeper, drier droughts; a longer, more intense wildfire season; and longer periods of life-threatening heat. Worldwide, record highs have exceeded record cold by asignificant margin. On July 31, 2015 the town of Bandar Mahshahr, Iran experienced a staggering heat index of 165°F. From relentless winter flooding in the UK to disruption of India’s monsoon to chronic fires in Indonesia to more midwinter rain and less snow from the Alps to the Rockies, the planet’s accelerating warming signal is now showing up in the weather...

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2016/may/27/meteorologists-are-seeing-global-warmings-effect-on-the-weather

Specifics & details from both candidates re. Climate Change

extracted from the respective campaign websites. Care to compare, contrast and comment?

1. Clinton:

https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/climate/

Generate enough renewable energy to power every home in America, with half a billion solar panels installed by the end of Hillary’s first term.

Cut energy waste in American homes, schools, hospitals and offices by a third and make American manufacturing the cleanest and most efficient in the world.

Reduce American oil consumption by a third through cleaner fuels and more efficient cars, boilers, ships and trucks.

Defend, implement, and extend smart pollution and efficiency standards, including the Clean Power Plan, which will prevent 3,600 premature deaths and 90,000 asthma attacks annually, and efficiency standards for cars, trucks and appliances that are already reducing energy costs for American households and businesses by over $75 billion per year.

Launch a $60 billion Clean Energy Challenge to partner with states, cities, and rural communities and give them the tools and resources they need to go beyond federal standards in cutting carbon pollution and expanding clean energy. The Clean Energy Challenge will also help ensure all Americans share in the benefits of a clean energy economy by encouraging solar and energy efficiency investments in low-income communities.

Invest in clean energy infrastructure, innovation, manufacturing and workforce developmentto make the U.S. economy more competitive and create good paying jobs and careers. Hillary has a comprehensive plan for making existing energy infrastructure cleaner and safer, unlocking new investment, and forging a climate compact with Canada and Mexico to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate clean energy deployment across the continent.

Ensure safe and responsible energy production. As we transition to a clean energy economy, we must ensure that the fossil fuel production taking place today is safe and responsible and that areas too sensitive for energy production are taken off the table. Hillary knows there are some places where we should keep fossil fuels in the ground or under the ocean.

Reform leasing on public lands. As president, Hillary would reform fossil fuel leasing and significantly expand clean energy production on public lands, from wind in Wyoming to solar in Nevada.

End wasteful tax subsidies for oil and gas companies. Oil and gas companies have enjoyed billions in tax breaks for decades. Hillary would end those wasteful subsidies and invest in clean energy.

Cut methane emissions across the economy. Hillary would cut emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, by 40-45 percent and put in place strong standards for reducing leaks from both new and existing sources.

Revitalize coal communities. Building a 21st century clean energy economy will create new jobs and industries, protect public health, and reduce carbon pollution. But we can’t ignore the impact this transition is already having on coal communities. Hillary’s $30 billion plan to revitalize coal communities will ensure coal miners, power plant operators, transportation workers, and their families get the respect they deserve and the benefits they have earned; invest in economic diversification and job creation; and make coal communities an engine of US economic growth in the 21st century, as they have been for generations.

Make environmental justice and climate justice central priorities. Across America, air pollution, water pollution, and toxic sites are disproportionately impacting low-income communities and communities of color—and climate change will make that impact even more severe. Hillary will set a bold national goal to eliminate lead poisoning as a public health risk within five years, create new economic opportunity by cleaning up the more than 450,000 toxic brownfield sites across the country, expand solar and energy efficiency solutions in low-income communities, and include the voices of community leaders, the environmental justice movement, and outside experts in taking on these challenges with a new Environmental and Climate Justice Task Force.

https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/climate/


https://www.hillaryclinton.com/briefing/factsheets/2015/07/26/renewable-power-vision/

First, Hillary Clinton will make it a top priority to fight efforts to roll back the Clean Power Plan. The Clean Power Plan is a crucial tool in our national strategy to reduce carbon pollution, level the playing field for and increase the deployment of renewable energy, and build a clean energy future. In the face of attacks from climate change deniers, we will need a champion in the White House to defend it and implement it effectively.

But smart federal standards set the floor, not the ceiling. We can and must go further.

Hillary Clinton will launch a Clean Energy Challenge that forms a new partnership with states, cities, and rural communities that are ready to lead on clean energy. She will outline this Challenge in detail in the coming weeks, and it will include:

Climate Action Competition: Competitive grants and other market-based incentives to empower states to exceed federal carbon pollution standards and accelerate clean energy deployment.

Solar X-Prize: Awards for communities that successfully cut the red tape that slows rooftop solar installation times and increases costs for businesses and consumers.

Transforming the Grid:Work with states, cities and rural communities to strengthen grid reliability and resilience, increase consumer choice and improve customer value.

Rural Leadership: Expand the Rural Utilities Service and other successful USDA programs to help provide clean, reliable, and affordable energy, not just to rural Americans but to the rest of the country as well.

As part of the Clean Energy Challenge, Clinton will ensure that every part of the federal government is working in concert to help Americans build a clean energy future. This includes:

Transmission Investment: Ensure the federal government is a partner, not an obstacle, in getting low-cost wind and other renewable energy to market.

Solar Access: Overcome barriers that prevent low-income and other households from using solar energy to reduce their monthly energy bills.

Tax Incentives: Fight to extend federal clean energy incentives and make them more cost effective both for taxpayers and clean energy producers.

Public Lands and Infrastructure: Expand renewable energy on public lands, federal buildings, and federally-funded infrastructure, including an initiative to significantly increase hydropower generation from existing dams across the US.

Innovation: Increase public investment in clean energy R&D, including in storage technology, designed materials, advanced nuclear, and carbon capture and sequestration. Expand successful innovation initiatives, like ARPA-e, and cut those that fail to deliver results.

But this is only part of a comprehensive energy and climate agenda.

This is just the beginning of the energy and climate strategy that Hillary will present over the coming months, including ways in which the Clean Energy Challenge will improve the efficiency of our buildings and modernize our transportation system, as well as major initiatives in the following areas:

Energy and Climate Security: Reduce the amount of oil consumed in the United States and around the world, guard against energy supply disruptions, and make our communities, our infrastructure, and our financial markets more resilient to climate-related risks.

Modernizing North American Infrastructure:Improve the safety and security of existing energy infrastructure and align new infrastructure we build with the clean energy economy we are seeking to create.

Safe and Responsible Production: Ensure that fossil fuel production taking place today is safe and responsible, that taxpayers get a fair deal for development on public lands, and that areas that are too sensitive for energy production are taken off the table.

Coal Communities: Protect the health and retirement security of coalfield workers and their families and provide economic opportunities for those that kept the lights on and factories running for more than a century.

Collaborative Stewardship: Renew our shared commitment to the conservation of our disappearing lands, waters, and wildlife, to the preservation of our history and culture, and to expanding access to the outdoors for all Americans.

https://www.hillaryclinton.com/briefing/factsheets/2015/07/26/renewable-power-vision/


2. Sanders:

https://berniesanders.com/issues/climate-change/

Cut U.S. carbon pollution by 40 percent by 2030 and by over 80 percent by 2050 by putting a tax on carbon pollution, repealing fossil fuel subsidies and making massive investments in energy efficiency and clean, sustainable energy such as wind and solar power.

Create a Clean-Energy Workforce of 10 million good-paying jobs by creating a 100% clean energy system. Transitioning toward a completely nuclear-free clean energy system for electricity, heating, and transportation is not only possible and affordable it will create millions of good jobs, clean up our air and water, and decrease our dependence on foreign oil.

Return billions of dollars to consumers impacted by the transformation of our energy system and protect the most vulnerable communities in the country suffering the ravages of climate change. Bernie will tax polluters causing the climate crisis, and return billions of dollars to working families to ensure the fossil fuel companies don’t subject us to unfair rate hikes. Bernie knows that climate change will not affect everyone equally – disenfranchised minority communities and the working poor will be hardest hit. The carbon tax will also protect those most impacted by the transformation of our energy system and protect the most vulnerable communities in the country suffering the ravages of climate change...

Ban fossil fuels lobbyists from working in the White House. Massive lobbying and unlimited super PAC donations by the fossil fuel industry gives these profitable companies disproportionate influence on our elected leaders. This practice is business as usual in Washington and it is not acceptable. Heavy-handed lobbying causes climate change skepticism. It has no place in the executive office.

End the huge subsidies that benefit fossil fuel companies. When fossil-fuel companies are racking up record profits, it is absurd to provide massive taxpayer subsidies to pad their already enormous earnings. After all, it is immoral that some in Congress advocate harsh cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security while those same people vote to preserve billions in tax breaks for the most profitable corporations in America.

Create a national environmental and climate justice plan that recognizes the heightened public health risks faced by low-income and minority communities. Low-income and minority neighborhoods will continue to be the hardest hit if we don’t act to stop climate change now. Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina decimated the Gulf Coast, flooding 80 percent of the city of New Orleans. Some areas of the city were submerged in as much as 10 feet of water, and 28 percent of residents had no way to leave the city. Almost 100,000 African American residents who left New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina never returned. The reality of the impacts of the storm on the African American community in New Orleans exposed the broader trend that low-income and minority communities face the brunt of climate change impacts first and worst.

Bring climate deniers to justice so we can aggressively tackle climate change. It is an embarrassment that Republican politicians, with few exceptions, refuse to even recognize the reality of climate change, let alone are prepared to do anything about it. The reality is that the fossil fuel industry is to blame for much of the climate change skepticism in America. Bernie recently called for the Department of Justice to investigate Exxon Mobil, which may have not only known about the dangers of climate change, but has spent millions of dollars to spread doubt about the causes and impacts of burning fossil fuels.

Fight to overturn Citizens United. In a 5-4 decision in 2010 in the Citizens United case, the Supreme Court opened the floodgates for corporations and the super wealthy to spend unlimited and undisclosed money to buy our elected officials. The Supreme Court essentially declared that corporations, including fossil fuel corporations, have the same rights as natural-born human beings. This decision has enabled billionaires and special interests to increasingly control the political campaign finance system, and amounts to legalized bribery...


Embrace a science-based standard for carbon pollution emissions reductions. We have a very limited window of time to transition away from fossil fuels toward clean energy for all Americans to prevent a global temperature increase that will cause cataclysmic impacts. Bernie knows that to maintain a safe and healthy planet for our kids and grandchildren we must listen to the scientists who say we must decrease carbon pollution emissions by at least 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050.

Put a price on carbon. Bernie agrees with leading economists on both ends of the political spectrum: a tax on carbon is one of the most straightforward and cost-effective strategies for quickly fighting climate change.

Protect the health of our children. Kids are uniquely threatened by air pollution from sources like coal plants and oil refineries. Children’s lungs are more sensitive to air pollution than adults. Climate change exacerbates existing air pollution problems, which will only increase the health impacts on children, especially those with respiratory diseases like asthma. As a father of four and a grandfather of seven, Bernie cares about leaving clean air and a healthy, livable planet for all of our kids and grandchildren.

Create clean, domestic energy alternatives to power our cars and trucks. The transportation sector accounts for about 26 percent of carbon pollution emissions. We must move our transportation sector beyond oil by running our cars and trucks on electricity generated by solar and wind power. We need efficient public transportation, advanced renewable fuels and high-speed passenger and cargo rail.

Ban Arctic oil drilling. Bernie knows that drilling in the Arctic Circle and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge at a time when we face a serious climate emergency is unthinkable. Research shows that drilling in the Arctic is inconsistent with efforts to prevent catastrophic global temperature increases. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which spans 19.6 million acres in Alaska and boasts the greatest biodiversity of any protected area north of the Arctic Circle, is too precious to put at risk from the detrimental consequences of oil production and extraction.

Ban offshore drilling. If we are serious about moving beyond oil toward energy independence, lowering the cost of energy, combatting climate change and cutting carbon pollution emissions, then we must ban offshore drilling. If there is a lesson to be learned from the 2010 BP oil spill disaster, it is that Congress must not open new areas to offshore oil drilling.

Stop dirty pipeline projects like the Keystone XL. Back in August 2011, Bernie was the first national politician to publicly oppose Keystone XL, because he saw that it would move us in exactly the wrong direction, toward greater dependence on fossil fuels, specifically tar sands oil, but also on one of the dirtiest and most expensive fossil fuels imaginable. Bernie was again the first presidential candidate to oppose the Bakken oil pipeline that would cross Iowa and the first to oppose the Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline that would bring fracked natural gas through New Hampshire. We need to invest in clean energy infrastructure, not lock ourselves into long-term payments and significant carbon pollution emissions for pipelines that could cause disastrous oil spills.

Stop exports of liquefied natural gas and crude oil. The Department of Energy has found that exporting even half of the natural gas already approved for export could raise U.S. prices by up to 54 percent. Oil and natural gas exports must be in the interest of consumers, the economy, our manufacturing sector and national security – not merely the interest of fossil fuel companies’ bottom line. Especially while we still import oil, we should be transitioning toward clean, sustainable energy instead of incentivizing more extraction and consumption of fossil fuels.

Stand with Vermont and other states to ban fracking for natural gas. Fracking threatens our air and water. Disposal of wastewater from fracking causes earthquakes. Oklahoma became the number one place for earthquakes on Earth this year because gas companies inject fracking fluid back into the ground. Fracking is a large-scale industrial process that doesn’t belong in anyone’s backyard or deserve exemption from laws that protect the health of our children. That’s why communities all over the country from New York to California and Texas to Colorado have stood up to the oil and gas industry and said they don’t want fracking in their backyards. Bernie was very proud when Vermont became the first state to ban fracking. We have clean energy solutions to climate change, and fracking is not one of them.

Ban mountaintop removal coal mining and invest in Appalachian communities. Across the Appalachian Mountain Range, coal companies are blowing up entire mountaintops to get at the thin coal seams below. The communities in the region are paying for this destructive practice in their health, their culture and their natural heritage. Bernie is in staunch opposition to this dirty and damaging practice and believes we must invest in Appalachian communities to help them transition to a clean, prosperous, and healthy future.

Close the loopholes that allow the chemical, oil and gas industries to pollute our air and water. Bernie served as mayor of Burlington, Vermont, which sits on one of the largest freshwater lakes in the United States, Lake Champlain. Bernie understands the importance of clean water practices and recognizes how it impacts communities. The federal Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act have reduced pollution, but they are always under attack by polluters who put profits before the health of our children and grandchildren.

Increase fuel economy standards to 65 miles per gallon by 2025. Recent fuel economy standards put us on track to reach 54.5 miles per gallon in 2025, which moves us in right direction, but still leaves us lagging behind the rest of the world. Japan is set to reach that level five years before us, and Europe will do even better, reaching over 65 miles per gallon by 2020. Bernie knows we can do more and make our cars internationally competitive by raising our fuel economy standards to 65 miles per gallon by model year 2025. This will save car owners money at the pump, cut carbon pollution emissions and create good-paying American jobs.

Protect public lands by promoting natural resource conservation and habitat preservation. Conservation of our public lands such as our National Parks and Forests are an American tradition and a vehicle for economic growth. Our conserved public land also serves an important role in not only preventing climate change but also in mitigating the catastrophic effects of climate change like floods, hurricanes and other extreme weather that have been increasing in frequency. Bernie is committed to ensuring that Americans have access to urban, suburban and rural recreational green space that are vital to our national heritage and our country’s tradition of recreation and conservation.

Work toward a 100 percent clean energy system and create millions of jobs. Scientists tell us we have a short time to make an aggressive cut in our carbon pollution emissions. Transitioning toward a completely clean energy system for electricity, heating, and transportation is not only possible and affordable it will create millions of good jobs, clean up our air and water and decrease our dependence on foreign oil.

Invest in clean, sustainable energy sources powered by the sun, wind and Earth’s heat. Massive and sustained investment in clean energy technology development and implementation can get us where scientists tell us we need to be. It’s no great secret that clean energy technologies are a good investment. We actually get more energy out of the money invested in sustainable energy technologies than we do out of fossil fuel. Clean energy technology has no associated fuel costs, which means there are no price spikes like we see with oil and gas. The cost of deploying solar panels has gone down by more than 80 percent since 2008, thanks to tax credits and federally funded research and development. Our national solar capacity will soon provide enough energy to power four million homes.

Similarly, wind tax credits spurred the development of wind farms that now provide enough power for 16.7 million American homes. In fact, wind provided almost 30 percent of all new domestic power capacity in the last five years. Last year, nearly 30 percent of the electricity used in Iowa came from the wind. The decreasing cost of wind and solar demonstrates that we can have a 100 percent clean energy future.

Invest in advanced renewable fuels and keep our energy dollars at home. Renewable fuels have become a key component of our national strategy to move beyond oil in the fight against climate change. Renewable fuels must be produced in a way that achieves our environmental and energy security goals. We must both ensure that our renewable fuels production is truly sustainable, and we must also prevent the oil companies from derailing our progress in developing cleaner and more sustainable alternatives to gasoline and diesel. We should emphasize new, clean technologies like cellulosic ethanol and algae-based fuels. Advanced biofuels have enormous potential to deliver dramatic reductions in carbon pollution and strengthen rural economies, all while keeping our energy dollars here at home instead of sending them overseas to oil oligarchs in Russia and the Middle East.

Invest in solar energy and put money back in the pockets of consumers. Bernie believes that solar energy is one of the most promising sources of clean energy for America’s future. That’s why he supports making billions of dollars of investments in renewable energy, like solar. Bernie recently introduced the Low Income Solar Act to increase low-income families’ access to solar energy by making it more affordable for people who own their own home and incentivize access to community solar projects. Investing in solar energy is just as important for the economy as it is for the Earth. Bernie supports solar net metering, which means that people who invest in solar should be able to offset the cost – or in some cases even make money – on their electric utility bill. He recognizes that as we lower the cost of solar energy and increase our use of solar, we can create hundreds of thousands of good-paying manufacturing and installation careers in this country.

Invest in making all American homes more energy efficient. Energy Efficiency is a “low-hanging fruit” because the investments made in energy efficiency are so effective in reducing carbon pollution emissions, and the return on investment is so quick. For every dollar invested in energy efficiency technologies, like weatherization and efficient light bulbs, energy customers can enjoy up to four dollars in savings. Bernie has long been a champion of the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) that help rural and low-income families make their homes more energy efficient and lower their energy bills. At a time when we spend on average of $350 billion a year on foreign oil, we must take every possible step to invest in cheaper energy here in the United States. That’s why Bernie recently introduced the Residential Energy Savings Act to provide federal loans to states to perform energy efficiency updates to provide homeowners with valuable energy savings.

Support American workers moving into clean energy jobs. Our transition to a clean energy economy has created hundreds of thousands of jobs all over the United States, and Bernie’s climate change plan will create millions more. But we must ensure our transition from fossil fuels to clean energy is a just transition for workers. That’s why Bernie is introducing the Clean Energy Workers Just Transition Act, which provides the most comprehensive package of benefits for workers, including extended unemployment benefits, education opportunities, health care and job training for those transitioning to a career in the clean energy industry. Additionally, the bill ensures that workers in the clean energy industry will be able to organize a union to ensure living wages and safe working conditions. It also makes billions of dollars of investments in communities most affected by a transition to a clean energy future.

Invest in an affordable energy storage solution that will allow us to fulfill our clean energy needs. Affordable energy storage technologies like batteries allow clean energy technologies like wind and solar to be integrated onto the electric grid – even when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining. Effective storage systems can affordably balance energy supply with demand by capturing energy at times when there is excess energy on the system for use during hours of high demand. Battery storage continues to develop and is becoming increasingly more affordable for families all over the country.

Build geothermal power plants to create full time family-wage jobs for operations, engineering, maintenance, and administration. Bernie believes that geothermal energy should play an important role in our country’s future energy portfolio. Geothermal systems can use the constant underground heat to provide heating when it is cool outside and to pull heat from buildings when it is warm outside. Geothermal energy power plants are less expensive than new modern natural gas plants and can be called on to produce power when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. Geothermal conserves energy, reduces pollution and saves money all at once.Utility-Scale Clean Energy Generation. There are hundreds of thousands of roofs with solar panels, but research and technology developments have significantly improved sustainable energy technologies that are making large-scale clean energy an affordable reality. For example, advancements in utility-scale concentrated solar allows power from the sun to be stored for later use, even when the sun is not shining. Most importantly, concentrated solar power installations create permanent jobs and provide economic support for surrounding communities, which tend to be rural.

Enable greater consumer choice in energy. Americans should have the ability to choose affordable clean technologies for their home and businesses. Additionally, the electric utilities and fossil fuel industries should not be able to get in the way of that choice. Grid modernization technologies enable greater consumer choice and ultimately utility bill savings by making it easier for families to connect clean energy resources to the grid.

Begin a moratorium on nuclear power plant license renewals in the United States. Bernie believes that solar, wind, geothermal power and energy efficiency are proven and more cost-effective than nuclear – even without tax incentives – and that the toxic waste byproducts of nuclear plants are not worth the risks of the technology’s benefit. Especially in light of lessons learned from Japan’s Fukushima meltdown, Bernie has also raised questions about why the federal government invests billions into federal subsidies for the nuclear industry. We can have an affordable carbon-free, nuclear-free energy system and we must work for a safe, healthy future for all Americans.

Provide global clean energy funding to vulnerable countries. The United States should lead the international community in funding technology development and deployment solutions for the most vulnerable developing countries as part of any international agreement...


Build electric vehicle charging stations. In a country where nearly 30 percent of carbon pollution emissions come from the transportation sector, it is imperative that we end our dependence on gasoline. Vehicles that run on electricity are more efficient than internal combustion engines and can be powered with renewable energy resources like wind and solar. We need to support the development of vehicle charging stations that will allow us to drive cleanly and sustainably.

Build high-speed passenger and cargo rail. Our nation’s rail system is largely obsolete, even though our energy-efficient railroads move more freight than ever, and Amtrak’s ridership has never been higher. While Amtrak’s fastest train travels at an average speed of just 65 mph, high-speed rail now crisscrosses most of Europe, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and China with trains that run up to 200 mph. Once we have a state-of-the-art rail system, we will not only be able to move passengers and cargo faster and more efficiently, we will make significant cuts in carbon pollution emissions that cause climate change and create millions of permanent family-wage jobs for electricians, pipe fitters and sheet-metal workers.

Make our cities more walkable and take more cars off the road. Public transit can move more people in fewer vehicles, which is good for clean air and reducing carbon pollution emissions. Public transportation saves enough electricity to power nearly 5 million homes in the United States. Despite the potential for public transit and biking to save Americans money and reduce emissions, the United States has a long way to go to make the roads safe for those who choose these alternative modes of transportation.

Update and modernize the energy grid. Some of our grid infrastructure has not been updated since it was first built in the 1920s and 1930s. This causes hundreds of avoidable power failures and interruptions each year. Today, power failures cost the economy $164 billion annually, stemming from impacts like lost productivity and wasted food. Those costs are only expected to increase as climate change causes more extreme weather, which can knock the power out. Additionally, our grid is highly centralized and therefore susceptible to cyber and physical attacks. Technology development in clean energy resources and electric grid improvements have enabled “smart” technologies, programs and policies to create a safer, more sustainable energy system. The “smart grid” offers real benefits for consumers and the environment.
:

Convene a climate summit with the world’s best engineers, climate scientists, policy experts, activists and indigenous communities in his first 100 days. The United Nations Paris climate talks in December are an important milestone toward solving climate change, but even optimistic outcomes of these talks will not put the world on the path needed to avoid the most catastrophic results of climate change. We must think beyond Paris. In the first 100 days of Bernie’s Presidency, he will convene a summit of the world’s best climate experts to chart a course toward the healthy future we all want for our families and communities.

Lead countries in cutting climate change. Climate change is the greatest global challenge, and must be met with global solutions. The United States has contributed greatly to climate change, but also has the greatest opportunity and know-how to lead in implementing climate change solutions. The argument that we shouldn’t act until other countries do is falling by the wayside as China, India and many other countries have come to the table with initial commitments to take significant action to solve climate change.

Plan for peace to avoid international climate-fueled conflict. Changes in rainfall patterns, higher temperatures and more frequent natural disasters such as droughts and flooding due to climate change pose a direct threat to our global food and energy supply. In the United States, this could mean higher food and energy prices. In some developing countries, the effects could be even worse, and lead to temporary or more permanent situations where not enough food or water is available for everyone. This has the potential to result in an international climate-fueled conflict. Bernie believes that we must plan for peace now in order to prepare for this sort of dire conflict that is already beginning to unfold in parts of the world.

https://berniesanders.com/issues/climate-change/

Jeremy Corbyn calls for new economics to tackle 'grotesque inequality'

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/may/21/jeremy-corbyn-labour-economy-re-industrialisation-digital-age

Jeremy Corbyn said the UK needed a serious debate about wealth creation, as he called for a new style of economics to tackle Britain’s “grotesque inequality”.

Closing a Labour state of the economy conference in central London on Saturday, the party’s leader said: “Wealth creation is a good thing: we all want greater prosperity. But let us have a serious debate about how wealth is created, and how that wealth should be shared.” ...

... “We want to see a genuinely mixed economy of public and social enterprise, alongside a private sector with a long-term private business commitment, that will provide the decent pay, jobs, housing, schools, health and social care of the future. Labour will always seek to distribute the rewards of growth more fairly. But to deliver that growth demands real change in the way the economy is run,” Corbyn said...

... There was a need to change the way capitalism in Britain worked, he told the audience: “Previous Labour governments were content to only think about how to redistribute income. Today, technological change means we have to think more closely about ownership.

“I’ve spoken before of moving beyond the Tory right to buy and creating a Labour right to own. This can be at the centre of our offer to Britain – a radical decentralisation of economic power and authority back to working people and local communities.”

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/may/21/jeremy-corbyn-labour-economy-re-industrialisation-digital-age


Two points. 1. Need to consider what is 'wealth'. More than just money. A wealthy society should be a healthy society, physically and mentally. 2. Economics must take into account environmental 'externalities' for long term sustainability.

The full speech at Labour's site:

http://press.labour.org.uk/post/144706064579/leader-of-the-labour-party-jeremy-corbyn-mps

.. An economy based on a new settlement with the corporate sector that, yes … involves both rights and responsibilities.
Labour will always seek to distribute the rewards of growth more fairly … But, to deliver that growth demands real change in the way the economy is run.
Change that puts the interests of the public, the workforce and the wider economy … ahead of short-term shareholder interest.
Wealth creation is a good thing: we all want greater prosperity.
But let us have a serious debate about how wealth is created … And how that wealth should be shared.
It is a co-operative process between workers, public investment and services, and, yes … often very innovative and creative individuals and businesses.
So if wealth creation is a shared process … then the proceeds must be shared too.
Technology is changing the way we work … Digital technology and robotics are transforming jobs and whole sectors of the economy.
Globalisation means that greater international trade is altering where jobs are based … and where workers are in demand.
Work for many has become insecure … and we want to change that because we believe that a happier, more secure workforce is a more productive workforce....

/... http://press.labour.org.uk/post/144706064579/leader-of-the-labour-party-jeremy-corbyn-mps

Some population dynamics data:

This at Zerohedge...

... Take a gander at the chart below, annual global population growth from 1950 to present and the OECD population growth estimations through 2050. You might notice a...HEAD AND SHOULDERS pattern!!! 1988 was the head of annual global population growth...1973 was the left shoulder and 2012 was the right shoulder.



But what if the OECD and their future estimates are wrong??? The chart below is annual population growth (in total) vs. the annual growth of the under 45yr/old global population. The base of population growth (young) has caved in and only been masked by the 45+yr/olds living a decade or two longer than their parents. However, this extension of lifespans vs. the previous generation is a one off. The current young are not likely to live decades longer again than the current generation. Simply put, we have significant population longevity among the wealth and rapidly waning population growth most everywhere except the very poorest. As you may have noticed, it's a night and day difference.



The chart below is the ultimate visual of stabilizing global population of young vs. globally swelling elderly populations. What was a 9-1 ratio of babies (0-4yrs/old) per 75+yr/olds in 1950 has become a 2.7-1 ratio in 2016...and estimated to be a 1-1 ratio by 2050. The global growth of young has essentially ceased but the growth of old is skyrocketing...



... Where the growth is coming from broken down. The chart below is global population growth split out among wealthy OECD, aspiring BRIICS (Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, China, S. Africa), and the RoW (rest of the world). From an economic standpoint, the sources of quality growth are slowing and lesser sources unable to replace this loss. Simply put, those with income, savings, and access to credit are able to consume significantly more than those without.



A focus solely on the population growth of those under 45yrs/old removes the confusion of the older generations living far longer. Below, as of 2016 all net under 45yr/old net population growth is among the poor RoW as all growth has ceased among the OECD and BRIICS. Among the RoW, the majority of all younger population growth is Africa. The same Africa where 1/3 of the nations have average incomes below that of Haiti. Africa is not an engine of consumptive growth...



/more... http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-05-20/mother-all-head-shoulder-patterns-just-completed-right-shoulder

Austria election: Far-right contender and rival to hold rallies

Source: BBC

Austria's far-right Freedom Party presidential candidate Norbert Hofer and his rival, Green-backed Alexander Van der Bellen, are to hold final rallies ahead of a run-off vote.

Mr Hofer, 45, won last month's first round, but failed to avoid the run-off. If he wins on Sunday, Mr Hofer could become the EU's first far-right head of state, although Austria's president plays a largely ceremonial role... In the first round of voting, Mr Hofer secured 35% of the votes, while Mr Van der Bellen, polled 21%.

For the first time since World War Two, the candidates from Austria's two main parties - the Social Democrats and the People's Party - did not make it to the run-off. Both parties have governed Austria for decades - either alone or in coalition.

This is a big shake-up in Austrian politics, as the country has had a president from the centre-left or centre-right since 1945...


Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36339063
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