According to the science, we need to halve total emissions by 2030 to be on track for the ‘magic’ 1.5 degrees; I was unaware of this deadline before COP26. Halving emissions will alter our present way of life and it’s no surprise that Glasgow stayed with economic growth; but it’s dishonest to conclude that our leaders are bad people; in truth, economic growth is what electorates want; we still vote for emissions.
Fury at this ‘failure’ at COP is evident in this 84 second video tweeted by Naomi Klein. The anger of climate justice activists stems from the assumption that the neo-liberal rich-world has already chosen its strategy towards places that will flood or overheat – abandon them. Key survival cities will be selected – those with effective defences against climate and the floods of refugees. Mostly, we’ll simply carry on, and hope for tech miracles to save our grandchildren – but not the children dying now across the world.
It’s sobering to reflect that my generation didn’t even fight the climate battle; I am also aware that we squandered what was a gentler way of life: affordable house prices; mothers being able to be at home with toddlers; grants for university; a less stressed NHS… Given the hand we were dealt. I’m embarrassed at the mess we have left for others to clean up. I can’t avoid that I am part of the ‘watch’ which consented to our market society – to the mass consumerism that burns our planet. Greta Thunberg was right: ‘How dare you!’
I am much relieved that the Boris Johnson regime feels more ‘accountable’ these days; more within reach of hostile fire – which is a necessity for effective democracy. Blundering sleaze has clearly irritated the billionaires who own our press; the 2019-ers (71 of whom have wafer-thin majorities) have been audibly muttering; there have been plentiful warnings about damage to the reputation of Parliament. I’m not saying that we have returned to a balanced two-party system – but perhaps the one party is a bit less arrogant. Post pandemic, there is now a looming cost-of-living crisis which will be worst for the poorest; this is more telling than cleaning up sleaze, and will require the UK Govt’s best game. I appreciate the weekday free newsletter from Paul Waugh of i news.
In my opinion, she should have done it sooner – but this week Nicola Sturgeon came out against the new Cambo Oil Field.
My overall experience of lawyers is that they are self-serving and greedy, so my growing respect for the Good Law Project is a pleasant surprise; it’s a non-profit campaigning organisation, which uses the law for public good – challenging the abuse of power. Here’s their take on the clumsy Tory attempt to rig the new chair of OFCOM.
The capitalist juggernaut that threatens our planet is epitomised by the big 5 tech giants which seem unstoppable. But this Conversation piece suggests that the recent decision by the EU Commission to uphold the £2bn fine against Google (for uncompetitive behaviour) will rein in the tech giants. Dare we hope that this 15-year litigation is concluded.
In the 1980s, I visited the Isle of Eigg while still in private ownership – a depressed and precarious community; since the 1997 community buy-out, the island is one of Scotland’s most inspiring transformations. Particularly with regard to off grid energy generation, this four-minute BBC film shows how they have replaced fossil fuels with a wind, water, solar grid of their own.
If you are a parent or carer on a low income in Scotland, you are entitled to a weekly payment of £10 for each child under 6. Scotland’s trusted Poverty Alliance says that child poverty is rising across Scotland – and asks us to urge Kate Forbes MSP to support the doubling of the Scottish Child Payment now – in the upcoming 9th December budget. See link above.
From Manjit Kumar’s 2008 book, Quantum:
“After Elsa’s death, Einstein established a routine that as the years passed varied less and less. Breakfast between 9 and 10 was followed by a walk to the institute. After working until 1pm he would return home for lunch and a nap. Afterwards he would work in his study until dinner between 6.30 and 7pm. If not entertaining guests, he would return to work until he went to bed between 11 and 12. He rarely went to the theatre or to a concert, hardly ever watched a film. He was, Einstein said in 1936, ‘living in the kind of solitude that is painful in one’s youth but in one’s more mature years is delicious’.” He died aged 76; at the end he refused surgery saying; “I have done my share – it is time to go – and I will do it elegantly”.