The Indian sub-continent is enduring a scorching heatwave that is breaking all records.
Europe also is suffering the heat.
Temperatures of “extraordinary intensity” in parts of southern Spain are forecast to exceed 42C on Saturday.
In the 2022 Sunday Times Rich List, billionaire brothers Sri and Gopi Hinduja taking the top spot who run the Mumbai-based conglomerate Hinduja Group, are worth a staggering £28.47billion - an increase of more than £11billion on their fortune last year.
Treating people as the problem isn’t just misguided — it’s dangerous. When concern about population becomes central to environmental policy, “racism and xenophobia are always waiting in the wings.” said Betsy Hartman, former director of the population and development program at Hampshire College and author of 'Reproductive Rights and Wrongs: the Global Politics of Population Control,'
“In this ideology of ‘too many people’ it’s always certain people who are ‘too many,’ ” Hartman said. “It just shifts the discourse away from the real problem of who has power and how the economy is organized.”
Climate change isn’t caused by population growth. It’s caused by greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels.
“But doesn’t having more people on the planet lead to more fossil fuel consumption, which leads to more emissions?” some over-populationists respond.
Not so, Princeton University environmental engineer Anu Ramaswami, an expert on sustainable cities and contributor to the United Nations’ Global Resources Outlook explained. A small minority of wealthy people produce the majority of global greenhouse gas emissions — their consumption habits have a much greater impact than overall population numbers. It’s true that the planet can’t support unlimited population growth, Ramaswami said. But if people can figure out how to moderate our consumption and meet our needs without fossil fuels, experts say, it is possible for all of us to live sustainably and well — even if there are more of us. Ramaswami said. “Fixating on population decrease doesn’t make much of a difference.” People in the world's richest countries emit 50 times more than those in the poorest, despite having much slower population growth.
Over-populationists ignore the enormous inequality of wealth existing within every nation, whether thickly or thinly populated. They also ignore that much of the population between 16 and 60 are not engaged in producing wealth at all, but are either idle or are carrying on purely wasteful services called into being by the capitalist system. For them, there are no class divisions in society. They dismiss our contention that nature, contrary to some claims, is sufficiently bountiful for our needs. Many assert that over-population is the cause of modern wars. It is, of course, nonsense. The urge to find markets and sources of raw materials affects every capitalist country, irrespective of population. Is it a “natural” or a “man-made” law which prevents millions of workers from taking possession of the wealth which they create but do not possess? What natural law prevents the workers from enjoying the food and housing reserved for the propertied classes? The amount consumed by members of the capitalist class depends on their ownership of the means of production, which in turn depends on their control of the political machinery of society. There obviously are problems of population, but the problem of working-class poverty is not one of these. That problem cannot be solved by the workers until they have taken possession of the political machinery and re-organised society on a socialist basis.
We all need to eat. We all need homes that are warm in the winter and cool in the summer. We all require to travel. But the economic system can change.
Between 1948 and 1954 hundreds of thousands of people were arrested and interrogated, often under torture, by the secret police in the countries of the Soviet bloc in Eastern Europe. There were show trials and executions. The victims were members of the ruling ‘communist’ parties, including quite a few in prominent positions. In Czechoslovakia alone nearly 170,000 party members were arrested, almost causing the economy to collapse.
It is not by force of arms or terror
That this benighted world can be remade,
There’s no infallible elite to aid
This process, nor leader without error.
Reforms have not brought such change by stealth,
Reformers fail, whatever their intent,
Career politicians are mouths for rent
By those rich enough to safeguard their wealth.
All can be transformed through the power of choice,
A new world without money, war and greed,
Commonwealth arranged to satisfy need
And all achieved through the popular voice.
World without borders, no national schism:
True democrats demand socialism.
Carmakers around the world are racing to introduce new cars with zero exhaust emissions of carbon, and almost every big brand plans to move to battery electric technology. However, at the same time manufacturers are trying to keep selling their highly profitable diesel and petrol cars.
Tesla and Mercedes-Benz are the only firms out of 12 big manufacturers who are on course to shift to zero-emissions vehicles at a rate in line with climate goals. The carmakers that plan the slowest adoption of zero-emissions technology are the three biggest Japanese producers – Toyota, Honda and Nissan – while other laggards included South Korea’s Hyundai and General Motors in the US.
The shift to zero-emissions vehicles is seen as crucial for the world’s transition away from polluting fossil fuels. The International Energy Agency, a watchdog respected by industry and campaigners, has calculated that 57.5% of global car sales must be zero-emission vehicles by 2030 (equivalent to 52% by 2029) if global heating is to be limited to only 1.5C. Should the world go beyond that target, agreed at the 2015 Paris climate conference, the scientific consensus is that increasing proportions of the globe will become unliveable.
“Extreme weather has the most immediate impact on our daily lives,” he said. “We are seeing a drought emergency unfolding in the Horn of Africa, recent deadly flooding in South Africa and the extreme heat in India and Pakistan. Early warning systems are critically required to save lives yet these are only available in less than half of WMO’s 187 member nations.”
The world’s oceans absorb more than 90% of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases and 2021 set a record. The increasing warmth in the ocean, which is irreversible over timescales of centuries to millennia, has been especially strong in the last 20 years. Much of the ocean experienced at least one strong marine heatwave in 2021, the WMO said. The global sea level also reached a new record high in 2021. It has increased by 10cm since 1993 and the rise is accelerating, driven by the melting of ice sheets and glaciers and the thermal expansion of the ocean. The rise imperils hundreds of millions of coastal dwellers, the WMO said, and increases the damage caused by hurricanes and cyclones. Almost a quarter of CO emissions are absorbed by the oceans, but this causes them to become more acidic. This threatens shell-forming wildlife and corals and therefore food security, tourism and coastal protection, the WMO said. The oceans are now more acidic than for at least 26,000 years. CO and methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, are at record levels, with CO concentration 50% higher than before the Industrial Revolution sparked the mass burning of fossil fuels. The global temperature in 2021 was 1.1C above the pre-industrial average, moving closer towards the 1.5C limit agreed by the world’s nations to avoid the worst climate impacts.
The WMO noted exceptional heatwaves in 2021 in western North America and the Mediterranean, deadly flooding in Henan, China, and western Europe, and rain being recorded for the first time on the summit of Greenland’s ice sheet. The agency warned eastern Africa is facing a high risk of rains failing for a fourth consecutive season, meaning the worst drought in 40 years.
“Today’s State of the Climate report is a dismal litany of humanity’s failure to tackle climate disruption. Fossil fuels are a dead end – environmentally and economically,” said António Guterres, the secretary general of the UN. “The only sustainable future is a renewable one..."
Prof James Hansen, said this week, there was “a spectacular, continuing failure of governments to adopt effective long-term energy and climate policies.
“We must all be aware that demands for effective policies will yield only superficial change as long as the role of special interests in government remains unaddressed.”
The Tax Justice Network (TJN) found that "the U.S. now fuels more global financial secrecy than Switzerland, Cayman, and Bermuda combined."
Despite U.S. President Joe Biden's campaign pledge to "bring transparency to the global financial system, go after illicit tax havens, seize stolen assets, and make it more difficult for leaders who steal from their people to hide behind anonymous front companies, "Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen conceded, "There's a good argument that, right now, the best place to hide and launder ill-gotten gains is actually the United States."
TJN stressed that the shell company law enacted in January 2021 is riddled with loopholes such as "limited definitions of which legal entities and beneficial owners must register, 23 baked-in exemptions to registration, and an absence of requirements on all trusts."
The richest 10% of the world population owns 76% of the wealth, while the poorest half owns just a sliver, according to the World Inequality Lab.
The new study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, analysed a database of more than 25,000 oil and gas fields and developed a new dataset of coal mines. The researchers found that fields and mines that have already been developed would lead to 936bn tonnes of COwhen fully exploited and burned. That is 25 years of global emissions at today’s rate – the world’s scientists agree emissions must fall by half by 2030. The researchers calculated that 40% of developed fossil fuels must stay in the ground to have a 50-50 chance of global temperature rise stopping at 1.5C. Half the emissions would come from coal, a third from oil and a fifth from gas. The researchers found that almost 90% of developed reserves are located in just 20 countries, led by China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the US, followed by Iran, India, Indonesia, Australia and Canada. The research only considered projects where companies had made final investment decisions, that means committed to spending billions on building rigs and pipelines to extract the fossil fuels. A 2021 study, led by Daniel Welsby at University College London, assessed all known reserves and found 90% of coal and 60% of oil and gas must remain unexploited.
Greg Muttitt, at the International Institute for Sustainable Development, was one of the leaders of the new research and said: “Halting new extraction projects is a necessary step, but still not enough to stay within our rapidly dwindling carbon budget. Some existing fossil fuel licences and production will need to be revoked and phased out early. Governments need to start tackling head-on how to do this in a fair and equitable way, which will require overcoming opposition from fossil fuel interests.”
Kelly Trout, at Oil Change International, the other lead author of the work, said: “Our study reinforces that building new fossil fuel infrastructure is not a viable response to Russia’s war on Ukraine. The world has already tapped too much oil and gas.”
The study did not estimate how much CO could be removed from the atmosphere by technology in future. “These technologies are unproven at scale,” said Muttitt. “There’s a lot of talk about them, but we believe it would be a mistake to predicate achieving climate goals on these being delivered at a very large scale. We just don’t know whether it will be possible in terms of financing or governance.”
Maeve O’Connor, at the Carbon Tracker thinktank, the author of a new report, said: “Oil and gas companies are gambling on emissions [reducing] technologies that pose a huge risk to both investors and the climate. Most of these technologies are still at an early stage of development, with few large projects working at anything like the scale required by company goals, while solutions that involve tree planting require huge areas of land.”