Leading barristers have defied bar rules by signing a declaration saying they will not prosecute peaceful climate protesters or act for companies pursuing fossil fuel projects.
They are among more than 120 mostly English lawyers who have signed a declaration vowing to “withhold [their] services in respect of supporting new fossil fuel projects and action against climate protesters exercising their right of peaceful protest”.
Noting that climate breakdown represents “a serious risk to the rule of law”, the so-called “declaration of conscience” calls on legal professionals “to act urgently to do whatever they can to address the causes and consequences of the climate and ecological crises and to advance a just transition”.
One junior lawyer, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Young lawyers are being placed in an impossible position. We’re being told by our firms and regulators it’s a professional obligation to act for fossil fuel projects, knowing that doing so will poison our own future and all of life on Earth. That’s wrong on every level. It’s indefensible. If the profession doesn’t look out for my generation, how does it expect to survive?”
New idea for a mad max movie. people still having to drive to work to jobs that could be done from home. Cities not building bus and bike lanes. Countries drilling for oil and destroying habitats and pipelines leaking into the drinking water.
By Brian Kahn
March 25, 2023
From the article:
Stacey Abrams has been hailed as a masterly community organizer, after she helped turn out the voters that secured two Senate seats for Democrats in once solidly red Georgia. She has also run twice – unsuccessfully – for state governor. For her next move, she’s not focusing on electoral power so much as power itself.
Recently she left the world of campaign politics and took a job as senior counsel for the non-profit Rewiring America. Her role will focus on helping thousands of people across America wean their homes and businesses off fossil fuels and on to electricity, at a moment when scientists have given a “final warning” about the need to curb greenhouse gas emissions and prevent global catastrophe.
“We are at an inflection point where we can choose to electrify,” she said in an interview. “We don’t have to do it everywhere, all at once. If you want to see what the future looks like, we start building it here and now.”
The impetus for her role comes from significant moves taken by the Biden administration. When he signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) last year, President Joe Biden hailed it as “the biggest step forward on climate ever”. It includes a sprawling array of tax credits, rebates and other incentives to help people electrify their lives.
“The government has basically filled a bank account for you with thousands of dollars that will help you go electric,” Abrams said.
Her mission is to help people access that so-called bank account.
“You can improve your indoor air quality, make cooking quick and easy, make being cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and be more affordable,” Abrams said. “But we have to talk about it.”
Abrams is perhaps best known for registering 800,000 voters in Georgia through her voting rights advocacy organization Fair Fight Action. She wants to use a similar playbook with electrification, and doing so could benefit many of the same people whose voices risked going unheard in elections.
‘You meet people where they are, not where you want them to be’: Stacey Abrams. Photograph: Erik S Lesser/EPA
But figuring out what incentives you qualify for and how to access them can be involved, to say the least. While Rewiring America has a calculator that lets individuals suss out what IRA benefits they can snag, Abrams will be taking that and other tools to the community level. She highlighted how houses of worship could be prime places to talk about the IRA and a potential target for outreach.
And she hopes to work with local leaders such as teachers, mayors and city council members to make the IRA a kitchen table issue. Enlisting them will, she hopes, eventually lead to neighbors talking to neighbors about how much money they saved on a new induction stove or how much more comfortable their home was during a heatwave thanks to a newly installed heat pump.
“You meet people where they are, not where you want them to be,” she said. “That means understanding the lives they’re living and the questions they have and who they go to to talk about their questions.”
While the IRA has the potential to be transformative, it’s also not enough to electrify every household in the country. The law has billions set aside for home upgrades, but more resources will be needed to achieve the Biden administration’s goal of reducing US emissions up to 52% below 2005 levels by the end of the decade.
An analysis by the Rhodium Group found the law has the potential to cut emissions by up to 42%. And that it could reduce home energy bills by $717 to $1,146 by 2030.
Abrams said that, based on her experience in the arena of voting rights, the prospect of such benefits could help foster an electrification movement. “As people get more, they expect more,” she said. “The most sustainable movement is when people expect more and are willing to work for more.”
This isn’t Abrams’ first foray into climate. She was quick to point out her college senior thesis was on environmental justice and that she interned with the Environmental Protection Agency. During her tenure in the Georgia house of representatives, she also worked as minority leader to help pass a bill that included the state’s biggest influx of cash for public transportation.
Ultimately, the Biden administration wants the US to reach net zero by mid-century. It might be hard to imagine that occurring – a distant future, when perhaps technologies that are only nascent today like carbon dioxide removal will be more widespread, almost every car and home will be electric, and the inequalities targeted by the IRA and Biden’s executive orders will have dwindled.
That scenario can read a bit like science fiction – a genre of which Abrams is a well-known fan.
“In almost every sci-fi story, it begins with what decisions people are making long before the story takes place,” she said.
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As of 2020, the economy is using more than 100 billion tons of resources per year, thus exceeding the sustainable limit by a factor of two.
The environment stupid.
I love that on tumblr dot com, I’ll see people scream about “dismantling oppression” or “giving it to the man” or “you’re not immune to propaganda” or everyone’s favorite of “no ethical consumption under capitalism”, like y’all are about to start an anarchist-socialist movement.
But as soon as any thought or words are associated to specifically animal agriculture, these same people will do a 180 spin and start licking this massive, wealthy, dominating conglomerate’s boots and screeching lies.
If you can’t even think critically about why this is abhorrent and hypocritical behavior (and can’t be damned to examine how or if you can alter your own lifestyle to match what you supposedly say or believe), then how the fuck am I supposed to trust that you want to change anything?
How am I, or any good faith person practicing veganism, supposed to believe any of you are ready to make real change if you can’t even lessen how many burgers you fucking eat?
You people aren’t ready to do shit if all you can do is talk the talk but won’t walk the walk.
(And before anyone freaks out, veganism is literally about minimizing your usage of animals **as far as is practical and possible for your individual situation**. I won’t be responding to anyone about this because it’s just bad faith at this point, and I am done coddling people.)
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When it comes to history, I'm a high roller. Thread from earlier today: I'm struck by how routinely people don't want to do anything whose successful outcome is not guaranteed when it comes to big stuff like climate. (Imagine if people played games that way. But also imagine the dismalness of history if everyone was that way.
Take this famous quote by Vaclav Havel: “Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something is worth doing no matter how it turns out.” --Vaclav Havel
Imagine a Havel who thought in the 1970s: our chance of dismantling this Soviet client state that controls our lives is slim so I think I'll just do nothing in particular and rock no boats.
Havel rocked boats, went to jail three times, was a co-creator and signatory of the famous Charter 77 declaration of rights in defiance of the state.... It took another dozen years for the regime to crumble, overnight, through the most beautiful people power, known as the Velvet Revolution. But it crumbled. Little things added up. Persistence mattered. Commitment in the face of what seemed insurmountable was crucial.
It wasn't just Havel (and Havel was not a perfect person or, later, prime minister), but he is a splendid example of persistence in the face of the odds and maybe the unknowable. No one knew the Velvet Revolution was coming until it came. But they built it anyway.
What I often see now is people who are either confident that we will fail (thus nothing need be done because that future already exists) or reluctant to do anything unless it's guaranteed to succeed (which isn't how it works).
This for me is so resonant for this decade of decision about the long future of the earth: “Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something is worth doing no matter how it turns out.” This is so worth doing.
And we can see the consequences of climate movements, campaigns, legislation, stories that changed the way people see the situation. They have, of course, not been enough to bend the curve to where it needs to be, but they've bent it a lot.
Climate people are amazing. I see them living by conviction and commitment, doing what they can because it is worth doing, with consequences. But this thread was prompted by the presence of people with the opposite mindset, waiting for the assurances that will never arrive....
"But accepting the current political reality of our times is a death sentence. Campaign goals do not have to be small, and they certainly do not have to be accepted as politically realistic." --Daniel Hunter
On the climate front, new technology is positioned as a central part of the solution, but I’d argue it’s actually used as a delay tactic. A magical tech solution is constantly on the horizon, and it provides an excuse to not make the structural changes to our society that are necessary to address the crisis. It also happens to work out really well for vested interests like the fossil fuel and automotive industries that reap massive profits from the status quo. If we have any hope of staying below even 2ºC of warming at this point, we need to dispel the myth that tech will save us from the climate crisis and speed up our actions to rapidly cut emissions.
We Don't Need New Tech to Fight Climate Change
Cartoon by John Darkow
Cartoon by Mike Luckovich
Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches Another Record Low In February 2023, sea ice around Antarctica reached the lowest extent ever observed since the start of the satellite record in 1979. But despite several recent years of low extents, the long-term trend for sea ice in southern polar waters is essentially flat; it is the declines in sea ice at the other pole—in the Arctic—that are pushing the global sea ice trend downward. Sea ice around Antarctica reached its lowest extent on February 21, 2023, at 1.79 million square kilometers (691,000 square miles). That’s 130,000 square kilometers (50,000 square miles) below the previous record-low reached on February 25, 2022—a difference that equates to an area about the size of New York state. It marks the second time that scientists observed the ice shrinking below 2 million square kilometers. The map above shows the ice extent on the day of its record low. To determine extent, scientists project satellite observations of sea ice onto a grid and then add up the total area of each cell that is at least 15 percent ice-covered. The yellow outline shows the median sea ice extent for February from 1981–2010. A median is the middle value; that is, half of the extents were larger than the yellow line and half were smaller. Amid year-to-year variability, sea ice trends in the Antarctic prior to 2016 were generally headed slightly upward in all months. Since then, several years hit new record lows, including 2017, 2022, and now 2023. “There is some discussion about the Antarctic sea ice undergoing a regime-shift since 2016 toward a generally lower extent, and that maybe this could be a response to global warming; that is, the warming signal is starting to be seen in the Antarctic sea ice above the year-to-year variability,” said Walt Meier, a sea ice scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). “But it is hard to say at this point if it is a real shift and response to warming, or just a temporal multi-year variation.” NASA Earth Observatory images by Lauren Dauphin, using data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Story by Kathyrn Hansen.
!!!!!!THIS IS IMPORTANT!!!!!
The massive oil extraction project named “Willow” in Alaska has to be stopped. If they go through with the plans, it will cause irreversibke damage to our planet. It will cause death of ecosystems, an even more rapid pace of climate change/global warming, and massive amounts of pollution.
Please sign the petition linked, and don’t forget to confirm your signature.
Update: willow project had already been approved, as a commenter kindly brought it to my atention
Brazil Has Lost Thousands of Lives to Climate Negligence, Says Rio's Environment Secretary
For Tainá de Paula, who took office last month, Brazil needs to launch actions in its favelas, where key challenges include urban waste, rain, and deforestation
The new Rio de Janeiro Municipal Secretary for Environment and Climate grew up amidst a number of urban problems affecting her city. Since last month, it has been her mission to address and solve them. Born in the Praça Seca district, in the Loteamento community in western Rio, Tainá de Paula says she realised very early on that discussions on sustainability only took place far from where she lived.
‘Thirty years have passed, and water is still a key topic in the favela where I came from. We have perhaps one of the highest rainfall rates in Latin America, but there is still no wider discussion about this’, she says. Tainá is an architect, and was elected city councillor in 2020, representing the PT party.
In her opinion, the root cause of this problem is racism, which translates into lack of investment in peripheral areas.
‘Over the past 10 years, Brazil has lost thousands of lives due to negligence and the absence of serious climate change mitigation policy’, she points out, citing the recent tragedy in the area of São Sebastião, in the state of São Paulo, and the heavy rains in Petrópolis, in the state of Rio.
For Rio, she adds, one of the priorities is urban waste management, which, according to her, is the root cause for 70 per cent of all floods. Waste is also responsible for emissions resulting from improper disposal.