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Naomi Klein: Radical GHG emissions policies need radical social movements to back them

Gabriel Levy, Climate Code Red
Policies to counter global warming effectively “will only advance if accompanied by radical social movements”, socialist writer and activist Naomi Klein has told the Radical [greenhouse gas] Emissions Reduction conference in London. “Transformative policies… must be backed by transformative politics.”

Advocates of radical action have to face the fact that pro-market ideology is dominant in mainstream political fora and that “we are the marginal ones”, Klein said yesterday, on a web link from Toronto, Canada.

“It’s not that our ideas [about cutting greenhouse gas emissions] are not popular. But they are not powerful, not dominant. They are not winning.” The movement needs to “turn the popular into the powerful” by creating a “radical, enabling environment in which these policies can flourish”, she said…
(12 December 2013)

The billionaire boys’ club: How college students and Wall Street are thinking alike

Heather Smith, Grist
A year ago, Unity College in Maine became the first school to divest from the energy companies whose bottom line depends on digging up and burning enough coal, gas, and oil to make climate change even worse…

Colleges are institutions well accustomed to deflecting youthful idealism. Students graduate every four years, after all, and administrators don’t. But something interesting is happening with the divestment movement. While college administrations are rejecting the protesters’ arguments, one significant external group is paying heed — only its address is on Wall Street, not Ivy Lane. Specifically, three powerful individuals who are capable of commanding attention have begun, in different ways, to make loud noises about the climate: hedge fund founder and billionaire Tom Steyer, former U.S. Treasury Secretary and chair of Goldman Sachs Hank Paulson, and financial media mogul and outgoing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg…
(11 December 2013)

Coal blow as major European bank cuts funding

Nilima Choudhury, RTCC
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has approved a five-year strategy to limit financing coal projects and increase investment in clean technology and energy efficiency.

The multilateral development bank will limit financing coal fired power generation projects to “rare and exceptional circumstances in which there is no feasible alternative energy source.”

“We cannot use carbon without having a thought about what the impact of climate change is going to be,” EBRD managing director for energy and natural resources, Riccardo Puliti told Bloomberg. “There is a climate-change problem, and there are actions to be undertaken in order to solve it.”…
(11 December 2013)

Safe Limit for Global Warming Is Lowered Dramatically by Experts

John Rennie, Scientific American
Unless significant, steady reductions in the emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels begin extremely soon, the Earth might be much closer to potentially catastrophic warming than is widely believed. So argues climatologist James Hansen of the Columbia University Earth Institute and an international team of colleagues in a new analysis published today in the journal PLOS One. Their paper further underscores other recent studies showing that even small delays in shrinking the industrial output of carbon dioxide (CO2) could steeply complicate not only attempts to temper climate change but also any attempts by future generations to adapt to it…
(3 December 2013)

Act now placard teaser image via benmabbet/flickr