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A roundup of news, views and ideas from the main stream press and the blogosphere.  Click on the headline link to see the full article.


Why Degrowth has out-grown its own name. Guest post by Kate Raworth

Kate Raworth, Oxfam Blogs
My much-missed Exfam colleague Kate Raworth, now writing the book of her brilliant ‘Doughnut Economics’ paper and blog, returns to discuss degrowth. Tomorrow, Giorgos Kallis, the world’s leading academic on degrowth, responds.

Here’s what troubles me about degrowth: I just can’t bring myself to use the word.

Don’t get me wrong: I think the degrowth movement is addressing the most profound economic questions of our day. I believe that economies geared to pursue unending GDP growth will undermine the planetary life-support systems on which we fundamentally depend. That is why we need to transform the growth-addicted design of government, business and finance at the heart of our economies. From this standpoint, I share much of the degrowth movement’s analysis, and back its core policy recommendations.

It’s not the intellectual position I have a problem with. It’s the name.

Here are five reasons why…


You’re wrong Kate. Degrowth is a compelling word

Giorgos Kallis, Oxfam Blog
Giorgos Kallis responds to yesterday’s post on degrowth by Kate Raworth, plus you get a chance to vote.

My friend Kate Raworth ‘cannot bring herself to use the word’ degrowth. Here are nine reasons why I use it…


What If We Just Gave People Enough Money To Live: 2015 In Basic Income

Fast Coexist
At the beginning of 2015, few people had even heard of the idea of a basic income. It wasn’t a popular concept and few media outlets had mentioned it. By December, it was being discussed in hundreds of places, and several countries, including Finland and Switzerland, were seriously considering implementing it…


Money for Free

vpro backlight
Around the globe, experiments are conducted with alternatives for the existing social security system that has become stuck. People no longer believe in centrally organised long-term planning: change can only be brought about by bottom-up small-scale social experiments. Advocates of redistributing our prosperity and disconnecting work and income are fighting for this. In many places and using many different methods they are experimenting with handing out free money…


5 Climate And Clean Energy Charts From 2015 You Need To See

Joe Romm, PUBThink Progress
This was a big year in climate science and solutions. We learned a number of truly astounding things, which generally makes for great charts.

Clean energy progress…
A true emissions plateau?…
CO2’s direct impact on cognition…
No ‘pause’ in global warming…
A call for post-Paris action…


Dozens of Nations Back Regenerative Farming Initiative That Can Help Solve Global Warming

Katherine Paul, Ronnie Cummins, Alternet
France, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the U.K., Germany and Mexico are among more than two dozen countries that have signed on to an agreement that one day may be recognized as the most significant climate initiative in history.

France’s 4/1000 Initiative: Soils for Food Security and Climate puts regenerative food and farming front and center in the climate solutions conversation. This is why the Organic Consumers Association, its Mexico affiliate Via Organica, IFOAM Organics International and more than 50 other activist allies across the globe have signed on in support of the Initiative…


Why we fear terrorism more than climate change

George Marshall, The New Statesman
In Paris, at the UN climate summit, there are armed police on every corner. President Obama has referred to the conference as an “act of defiance” against Islamist terror, with 25,000 official delegates convening in Paris to seek action on an issue that is repeatedly, with excellent reason, described as one of the greatest threats humanity has ever faced. “What greater rejection of those who would tear down our world than marshalling our best efforts to save it,” Obama said.

In focus groups, including those that dictated the themes of the UK general election in May, climate change is seldom mentioned as a critical question. People like myself, who work on the issue every day, are especially adept at suppressing our fears. And yet, how can I neatly parcel up my concerns over climate change, but have no personal defence against the fear of terrorist violence?…


We’re Doomed. Now What?

Roy Scranton, New York Times
The time we’ve been thrown into is one of alarming and bewildering change — the breakup of the post-1945 global order, a multispecies mass extinction and the beginning of the end of civilization as we know it. Not one of us is innocent, not one of us is safe. The world groans under the weight of seven billion humans; every new birth adds another mouth hungry for food, another life greedy for energy.

We all see what’s happening, we read it in the headlines every day, but seeing isn’t believing, and believing isn’t accepting. We respond according to our prejudices, acting out of instinct, reflex and training. Right-wing denialists insist that climate change isn’t happening, or that it’s not caused by humans, or that the real problem is terrorism or refugees, while left-wing denialists insist that the problems are fixable, under our control, merely a matter of political will. Accelerationists argue that more technology is the answer. Incrementalists tell us to keep trusting the same institutions and leaders that have been failing us for decades. Activists say we have to fight, even if we’re sure to lose…


Why zero is a better climate target than 2 degrees

David Roberts, Vox
One important element of the Paris climate accord has been somewhat overshadowed in all the press coverage. Before the whole thing fades from the news cycle, I want to take a moment to celebrate it.

I’m talking about the shared goal, endorsed by 195 nations, to reduce net global greenhouse gas emissions to zero by the end of the century.

Zero. Zilch. Nada. Let that roll around in your mindgrape for a moment. It has a ring to it…


Shell to cut billions in spending, costs next year

Fuelfix
Royal Dutch Shell says it’s planning to cut billions in spending and operating costs in 2016, girding itself for a prolonged downturn as the collapse of crude prices in recent weeks underscores the possibility that the oil bust could last for several years…


Wild bee populations dwindle in main U.S. crop regions: study

Will Dunham, Reuters
Wild bees, crucial pollinators for many crops, are on the decline in some of the main agricultural regions of the United States, according to scientists who produced the first national map of bee populations and identified numerous trouble spots.

The researchers on Monday cited 139 counties as especially worrisome, with wild bee numbers decreasing while farmland for crops dependent on such pollinators is increasing.

The counties included agricultural regions of California such as the Central Valley, the Pacific Northwest, the upper Midwest and Great Plains, west Texas and the southern Mississippi River valley…


‘Stop the killing!’: farmland development scheme sparks fatal clashes in Ethiopia

William Davison, The Guardian
The protesters wrapped the two bodies in blankets and plastic sheeting. On top, they placed pieces of paper with the names of the dead, alongside the bullet casings from the weapons that had just killed them. Then the chanting began: “There is no democracy, there is no justice.”

This was the scene in Wolenkomi, a town in Ethiopia’s Oromia region, on Tuesday, shortly after security forces fired into a crowd protesting at plans to develop farmland surrounding the capital, Addis Ababa. At least four people were killed…


Scarred Riverbeds and Dead Pistachio Trees in a Parched Iran

Thomas Erdbrink, New York Times
Pouze Khoon, Iran — The early-morning sun meagerly brightened the gloom of this sad township, a collection of empty, crumbling houses along a highway through the dusty desert landscape in southeastern Iran.

Until a decade or so ago, Amin Shoul would come here every year to help his father harvest pistachios, the nuts that are as much a symbol of Iran as caviar. Now, with the last reserves of groundwater tapped out, the family’s grove and the seemingly endless fields beyond it are filled with dead trees, their bone-colored branches a deathly contrast to the turquoise sky…


The Ocean Is Contaminated by Trillions More Pieces of Plastic Than Thought

Taylor Hill, TakePart
Somewhere between 15 trillion and 51 trillions pieces of plastic litters the world’s oceans, a new study has found. That’s three to 10 times more plastic than scientists had previously estimated.

The study, led by climate scientist Erik van Sebille at London’s Imperial College and coauthored by researchers at nonprofit group 5 Gyres, built on the findings of two papers published last year. The scientists tapped every data set on plastic pollution published since the 1970s and ran the numbers through three computer models…

 

News clippings image via shutterstock. Reproduced at Resilience.org with permission.