The “Pinocchio Agreement” on Climate Change

The real result of the Paris climate talks is a promise to increase emissions from current levels, doing tremendous harm to the environment in the process. The capitalist powers do not admit this, of course. Instead, they declare that they have promised to cut emissions and save the environment. These politicians can make these claims without their noses growing thanks to the curious nature of the promises made.

The Sound and the Fury

smokestacksPresident Obama’s recently announced Clean Power Plan, which calls for a 32% decline in US carbon dioxide emissions (from 2005 levels) by 2030, and which will go effect in 2022, is being heralded as a bold step forward in tackling climate change. Yet for all the hype surrounding it, Obama's plan amounts to little more than, in the words of Shakespeare, “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Volkswagen Scandal—The Bosses Can’t Be Trusted!

volkswagen logoUS regulators have discovered that German automaker Volkswagen has been systematically cheating its emissions tests on diesel vehicles in order to increase its profits. The scale of the scandal is huge, with Volkswagen subsequently admitting to installing “defeat devices” on 11 million of its vehicles.

This is likely to be the tip of the iceberg, since “cheating” is an inevitable outcome of a system based only on profit. Rather than “thou shall not cheat,” the mantra of the capitalists is simply “thou shall not get caught”! Volkswagen is simply another link in the long chain of companies caught engaging in one form of corruption or swindling.

Capitalism Has Failed California

CA DroughtAccording to scientists, basing themselves on dendrochronology and sediment analysis, California currently faces the worst drought it has seen in over 1,000 years. News coverage ranges from highlighting the influence of global climate change on California water systems, the possible economic effects of the drought, why water use for agriculture is to blame, and the response of the Californian government. Like most problems working people face today, the drought in California inexorably knots many layers together, unified in liability.

“This Changes Everything” by Naomi Klein

thischangeseverythingOne of my favorite poems, by Emily Dickinson, speaks of dancing “through endless summer days” and exalting in the beauty and power of the natural world. A delightful image; but perhaps a verse more in tune with the modern world is: “Because I could not stop for death— He kindly stopped for me.” I don’t know about “kindly,” but as Naomi Klein makes clear in her latest book, death is indeed prepared to stop for humanity if we do not stop and reconsider our course.