According to Human Rights Watch, 75% of Covid vaccines have gone to 10 countries. The Economist Intelligence Unit have calculated that half of all of the vaccines made so far have gone to 15% of the world's population, the world's richest countries administering 100 times as many shots as the poorest.
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Only a third of children under two in many developing countries are fed what they need for healthy growth and no progress has been made on improving their nutrition over the past decade.
According to the report, half of the children aged from six to 23 months across a range of developing countries were not fed the minimum number of daily meals and even fewer had a diverse diet that met minimum requirements.
As a result of poor diets, children can fall behind in school, become more vulnerable to illness and suffer the effects of malnutrition, including stunting and wasting, as well as becoming overweight or obese.
Unicef estimates more than 11 million children under two are vulnerable to wasting globally.
Nutrition was worst for children in rural or poorer families, according to the study, and varied by region.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, the diets of 62% of children aged between six and 23 months met the minimum diversity requirements compared with less than a quarter in Africa and only 19% in South Asia.
The report said that many families now bought their food rather than producing it themselves, even in rural areas, which made them more dependent on food systems.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said last week that the food summit was taking place at a key time, after five years of the number of those affected by hunger growing globally to about 811 million people, after a period in which it declined.
“Many of the current agri-food practices are also exacting a heavy toll on our planet. Our agri-food systems are not functioning properly,” said the FAO’s director-general, Qu Dongyu. He said the key was transforming the system that delivers food, from “tillage to table”.
At the General Assembly of the United Nations Biden concluded his speech by boldly declaring that "I stand here today — for the first time in 20 years the United States is not at war."
He either has forgotten or ignores US combat troops in Iraq, Syria, and Africa.
2,500 in Iraq, 900 in Syria and an undisclosed number of special forces in various African countries. A recent air attack was carried out in Somalia in July.
Then there are 2,976 United States military personnel in Jordan, 2,742 in Saudi Arabia, and 83 in Lebanon for the purposes of counterterrorism.
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
The president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, from a wealthy business family, first emerged in politics as a popular mayor of San Salvador from 2015 to 2018. He is described by observers as a millennial populist who uses social media to communicate with the public, often announcing his decisions via Twitter. Bukele won a landslide victory in February 2019 as an anti-establishment candidate riding the wave of voter frustration and disappointment with the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA), in power from 1989 to 2009, and the left-wing Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), which governed from 2009 to 2019. His party then swept the legislative elections in May 2021.
100 million Covid-19 vaccines stockpiled by rich nations and set to expire by the end of the year.
The European Union holds 41% and the United States 32%.
“Rich countries like the U.K. are hoarding vaccines that are desperately needed in low- and middle-income countries. We should immediately hand doses over to Global South nations. But that alone will not be enough,” Global Justice Now director Nick Dearden said.
“About half the world does not have a healthy diet. Of the 8 billion people on the planet, roughly 1 billion live in extreme hunger. Another 2 billion live with one or more micronutrient deficiencies, anaemia, vitamin deficiencies or omega-three fatty acid deficiencies, which are absolutely debilitating for health. Another billion people are obese,” said Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University.
US Border Patrol guards whipped Haitians who were trying to bring food to their encampment. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas praised "the heroic work of the United States Border Patrol"
This is happening under a president who claims humanitarian credentials.
Democratic Party left-winger, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, commented "It doesn't matter if a Democrat or Republican is president, our immigration system is designed for cruelty towards and dehumanization of immigrants. Immigration should not be a crime, and its criminalization is a relatively recent invention. This is a stain on our country."
Her colleague said, Ilhan Omar "These are human rights abuses, plain and simple. Cruel, inhumane, and a violation of domestic and international law. This needs a course correction and the issuance of a clear directive on how to humanely process asylum-seekers at our border."
The forced deportations of Haitian migrants and asylum-seekers have begun under the fallacious authority of Title 42. 12,000 of whom are expected to be deported from Texas in the coming weeks. Title 42 is inhumane, not based on science, and a violation of the US’s own immigration laws
"I am asking for a humanitarian moratorium,” Jean Negot Bonheur Delva, the head of Haiti's national migration office. Haiti is expecting to accept six flights per day carrying deported migrants.
Monday, September 20, 2021
Millions of people forced to leave their homes because of severe drought and powerful cyclones are at risk of modern slavery and human trafficking over the coming decades, a new report from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and Anti-Slavery International warns.
The climate crisis and the increasing frequency of extreme weather disasters including floods, droughts and megafires are having a devastating effect on the livelihoods of people already living in poverty and making them more vulnerable to slavery.
Researchers found that drought in northern Ghana had led young men and women to migrate to major cities. Many women begin working as porters and are at risk of trafficking, sexual exploitation and debt bondage – a form of modern slavery in which workers are trapped in work and exploited to pay off a huge debt.
On the border between India and Bangladesh, severe cyclones have caused flooding in the delta, reducing the land available for farming. With countries in the region tightening immigration restrictions, researchers found that smugglers and traffickers operating in the disaster-prone region were targeting widows and men desperate to cross the border to India to find employment and income. Trafficking victims were often forced into hard labour and prostitution, with some working in sweatshops along the border.
Fran Witt, a climate change and modern slavery adviser at Anti-Slavery International, said: “Our research shows the domino effect of climate change on millions of people’s lives. Extreme weather events contribute to environmental destruction, forcing people to leave their homes and leaving them vulnerable to trafficking, exploitation and slavery.”
Ritu Bharadwaj, a researcher for the IIED, said: “The world cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking that’s being fuelled by climate change. Addressing these issues needs to be part and parcel of global plans to tackle climate change.”
The Social Market Foundation (SMF) said the birthrate was almost half what it was at its postwar peak in the 1960s, and the country’s ageing population could lead to “long-term economic stagnation”.
The birthrate in England and Wales peaked in 1964 when the number of children per woman averaged 2.93. Last year it was 1.58, well below the 2.1 replacement level needed to keep the population rate stable, and in Scotland it was even lower at 1.29.
There are a little under three over-65s for every 10 workers, but by the middle of the next decade that ratio will rise to 3.5, and by the 2060s the number will be closing in on four. By 2050 a quarter of Britons will be over 65, up from a fifth today.
The report explains, “This combination of a lower share of the population in work and a higher share in need of economic support clearly has a negative effect on the productive capacity of the economy.”
Dr Aveek Bhattacharya, the chief economist at the SMF and one of the report’s authors, said: “The question of whether the government should intervene to try to increase the birthrate is clearly a sensitive topic that must be delicately handled. However, given the alarming fall in fertility rates, and the risks that population ageing poses to our social and economic wellbeing, it is a discussion we should not duck.”
“Pronatalism” is the policy or practice of encouraging the bearing of children, especially through government support of a higher birthrate.
One helpful measure might be better childcare provision. The thinktank said typical British working parents spend 22% of their income on full-time childcare, more than double the average for western economies.
The report says 28% of countries worldwide specifically adopt pronatalist policies to drive up the birthrate. In some countries these can take the form of direct payments to parents, such as in France, where there is a “birth grant” worth €950 (£810).
And the right-wingers say we will be over-crowded if we permit in more immigrants which is the other demographic policy that can be pursued.
Sunday, September 19, 2021
New analysis from the Legatum Institute that the extra £20 Universal Credit supplement protected some 840,000 people from poverty in the second quarter of this year. The research from the think tank includes 290,000 children.
Some 320,000 of the people in the group were in a full-time working family before the pandemic, with a further 300,000 in a family working a mixture of full-time and part-time.
Biden campaigned on a promise to fight for policies to halt climate change. His envoy, John Kerry, has been on world tours touting American commitments to bring about cuts in carbon emissions.
But nine months into his presidency, political, legal, and economic obstacles have forced his administration to make several moves in support of fossil fuels development at home and abroad.
Setbacks include a federal judge overturning the administration's effort to block new oil and gas leasing on federal lands, forcing it to offer millions of new acres for drilling, and rising retail gas prices that have led the White House to publicly ask the global oil cartel, OPEC, to boost production. The Biden administration has backed lesser-known oil and gas infrastructure projects like Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline from Canada and sped up processing of oil and gas drilling permits. Government data show the administration has approved more than 2,600 drilling permits on onshore leases, a faster pace than during the Trump administration.
Political opposition has forced the administration to put its centerpiece climate proposals that would help deliver an April pledge to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 into a budget reconciliation bill that has an uncertain future in the closely-divided U.S. Congress. Democrats, who hope to pass the bill by the end of September, are already talking about paring back investments and targets.
If Biden fails to deliver ahead of COP26, many other nations will be reluctant to commit to reducing their own emissions.
Dozens of West Papuans seeking independence from Indonesia were tortured, murdered and thrown into the sea 23 years ago. Australia learned the details of the attack, yet remained silent.
The Indonesian government has either denied or downplayed the deaths. Not one person has been charged with the killings. The massacre is not recognised officially and no government or international inquiry has reported on it.
A newly released, unredacted intelligence report reveals an Australian intelligence officer, Dan Weadon, an Australian military attaché and intelligence officer connected to the Jakarta embassy, provided the government with compelling evidence just 11 days after the killings that Indonesia “almost certainly used excessive force against pro-independence demonstrators”. The same officer was also handed photographic evidence by West Papuans on Biak, at great risk to their safety. The photos were distributed to his superiors, but never saw the light of day. Evidence suggests they have since been destroyed by the defence department, despite consistent calls for a proper investigation into the atrocity.
Saturday, September 18, 2021
Climate crises will hit Africa the hardest and extreme weather events caused by global warming are already affecting the poorest and most vulnerable people on the continent. The 6th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released 9 August 2021, explained that global warming has been more rapid in Africa than the rest of the world, despite its carbon emissions being almost negligible in comparison with all the other nations. But what energy sources Africa produces is based on extracting and burning fossil fuels.
Half of Africa’s population of 1.2 billion, do not have access to the most basic electricity supply while almost 900 million rely on traditional biomass and simple stoves for cooking such as charcoal or propane gas cylinders and where electricity may be available it is often unaffordable.
Friends of the Earth Africa have published an informative study called “A Just Recovery Renewable Energy Plan for Africa” that holds many lessons.
Africa has enough renewable energy sources available for solving energy poverty, creating jobs and reducing emissions, according to the report. Africa has excellent solar resources and other renewable sources that can be easily harnessed to provide enough electricity for its population’s needs. African coastal areas have particularly good wind resources. There are geo-thermal sources located in the Rift Valley. These and other methods of energy can provide 300GW (equivalent to Africa’s energy poverty gap) of clean wind and solar renewable energy by 2030, raising to over 2000GW by 2050.
The Friends of the Earth Africa make some insightful observations:
“System change means building alternatives to replace the current system, not simply trying to fix it. The way we manage, extract, use and distribute the Earth’s natural resources under the current dominant economic model has put us on a path towards ecological and social crises. We need system change – a new model of environmental, social, political, economic and gender justice – and we need to build the power of the peoples.”
“Everyone should have the right to energy. It should be a common good and not a commodity. The sun and the wind are shared resources that should not be exploited for corporate gain. Our energy system should not be run for profit but should exist to meet the needs of the peoples”
“Energy production and use should be owned and controlled by the people, for the people.”
“Decisions about the production and use of energy need to
be democratic, participative, open and accountable and respect the rights of communities to define their energy needs and how these needs are met in accordance with their cultures and ways of life, as long as these choices do not have destructive impacts on other people and communities.”
The downside of the energy proposals is that it still all depends upon the goodwill of governments and their allocation of money to finance the new future energy scheme. Of course, it is possible for global corporations to end their tax evasion, for African governments in cooperation with the international community to impose and enforce new taxes and for the banks as well as the developed nations and their banks to cancel Africa’s debts. Local African governments could adopt the recommendations of the Friends of the Earth Africa study.
However, the primary concern that motivates businesses and governments is profit. Without the promise of a lucrative return, investment, no matter how socially necessary or worthy, does not happen.
Friends of the Earth Africa has shown what is feasible and practicable but it will take a socialist society to implement it.
Friday, September 17, 2021
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres has warned that a failure to cut global emissions is setting the world on a “catastrophic” path to 2.7 degrees Celsius heating. That would unleash far more devastating effects than those already battering countries around the world, from fatal floods to wildfires and storms.
“Overall greenhouse gas emission numbers are moving in the wrong direction,” UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa said. “It’s not enough, what we have on the table.”
New UN analysis said that under countries’ current pledges, global emissions would be 16 percent higher in 2030 than they were in 2010 – far off the 45 percent reduction by 2030 that scientists say is needed to stave off disastrous climate change.
Nations responsible for about half the world’s emissions have yet to set tougher emissions-cutting targets this year. China, India and Saudi Arabia are among them. Brazil and Mexico submitted updated pledges that analysts said would cause higher emissions than those countries’ previous targets.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said on Friday it was likely that wealthy countries missed a goal to contribute $100bn in 2020 to help developing nations cope with climate change.
“No one has been here since the earthquake. Just like before, the only time we see an outsider round here is when they want our votes,” says Altema Jean Joseph, a 52-year-old farmer who grows vetiver, an ingredient used in expensive perfumes which, despite costing $25,000 (£18,000) a barrel, makes farmers only $4 a week. “So why would we expect them here?
A 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck southern Haiti on 14 August killed more than 2,200 and left 30,000 homeless. Many rural Haitians see an all too familiar abandonment. Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, where nearly half of the 11.4m population is food insecure. But the poverty in which rural Haitians – who make up two-thirds of the population – live is startling, even by the country’s own abject standards.
“Haiti has always been divided between an urban professional class and the ignored rural communities,” says Estève Ustache, 58, a researcher on rural development attached to a Methodist church outside Jeremie.
Communities live in shacks built partly from material scavenged in the city. The phone signal is unreliable, and aside from a handful of community-built wells, there is no water supply.
“Everything we have, we built ourselves,” says Moise Magaly, “I don’t know why no one comes for us. We’ve contacted the media and our representatives but we’ve heard nothing.”
“It’s a very poor area, where people don’t have the resources or the funds for materials to build their houses well,” says Kit Miyamoto, a structural engineer who runs a firm and foundation that works in Haiti and around the world to improve earthquake preparedness. “And this is a forgotten disaster because it happens out of the eyes of the world, which means there will be less funding.”
The World Socialist Movement (WSM) has always argued that when it comes to socialism solving the climate crises, allowances must be made to uplift the poor (including those inside the so-called affluent countries) and provide them with a decent living standard. It may mean economic growth when our long-term aim is still to decrease production levels albeit we expect it to be compensated with reductions in socially unnecessary and ecological wasteful manufacturing and services such as military and the buying and selling sectors. For the undeveloped and developing countries, economic growth is urgent and crucial for their populations' well-being.
New research, published in Environmental Research Letters, studied deprivation and calculated the energy required to provide “decent living standards” (DLS) to all – including to build the infrastructure to reach those that still lack them. Their conclusion is that the increase in energy provision required for poverty eradication does not, in itself, pose a threat to mitigating climate change on a global scale.
“The good news from recent research is that essential energy needs to meet everyone's basic needs, framed as "decent living standards" (DLS), could constitute a small share of projected energy growth…”
On a global scale, it would require roughly a quarter of projected world energy demand by mid-century. In order to provide DLS for all by 2040, energy provisioning for basic needs in some poor countries would at least have to double by 2030 and triple by 2040, even if all energy growth were directed solely towards poverty eradication efforts. The construction of new buildings and transport infrastructure are the biggest factors in providing new services.
To fill the gaps in basic provision would require an extra 68 exajoules (EJ) of energy on a global basis, or about another 5 gigajoules (GJ) per person on average. These figures can be compared with the current total global energy demand of more than 400EJ and the average per person of about 55GJ. The construction of new buildings and transport infrastructure are the biggest factors in providing new services. This construction energy, at about 12EJ per year, is, however, much smaller than the annual needs to operate services on an ongoing basis.
The research shows that current global energy consumption is already, in principle, sufficient to provide everyone with a decent life. But this will happen only if there is a stronger focus on providing the energy to serve basic needs rather than growing affluence.
The authors explain, “Our research shows that current global energy consumption is already, in principle, sufficient to provide everyone with a decent life. But this will happen only if there is a stronger focus on providing the energy to serve basic needs rather than growing affluence.
For instance, while global energy supply under pathways that limit global temperature increase to 1.5C is more than enough to provide for basic needs, as well as some affluence, projected DLS [decent living standards]energy needs for some regions and countries can go up to or exceed half of the total. (Faster energy efficiency improvements would reduce this ratio.)
Together, this means that while eradicating multidimensional poverty is compatible with ambitious climate targets, it does likely require a shift towards more equitable energy, climate and development policies, both within and between countries.”
Thursday, September 16, 2021
UN chief Antonio Guterres said, “I believe that we are at risk of not having a success in COP26.”
It is at risk of failure due to mistrust between developed and developing countries and a lack of ambitious goals among some emerging economies.
Guterres explained, “There is still a level of mistrust, between north and south, developed and developing countries, that needs to be overcome. We are on the verge of the abyss and when you are on the verge of the abyss, you need to be very careful about what the next step is. And the next step is COP26 in Glasgow.”
There is now a 40 percent chance that average global temperature in one of the next five years will be at least 1.5C (2.7F) warmer than pre-industrial levels.
On Monday, Guterres and Boris Johnson will host a meeting of world leaders on the sidelines of the annual high-level week of the UN General Assembly in a bid to build the chances of success at the climate conference.
“We need the developed countries to do more, namely in relation to the support to developing countries. And we need some emerging economies to go an extra mile and be more ambitious in the reduction of air emissions,” Guterres said and he continued, “Until now, I have not seen enough commitment of developed countries to support developing countries … and to give a meaningful share of that support to the needs of adaptation,” said Guterres.
COVID-19 pandemic has not slowed the pace of climate change. Virus-related economic slowdown and lockdowns caused only a temporary downturn in CO2 emissions last year, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said.
"There was some thinking that the COVID lockdowns would have had a positive impact on the atmosphere, which is not the case," WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said.
The United in Science 2021 report, which gathers the latest scientific data and findings related to climate change, said global fossil-fuel CO2 emissions between January and July in the power and industry sectors were already back to the same level or higher than in the same period in 2019, before the pandemic.
Although CO2 emissions from road traffic in 2021 have been below the levels before the pandemic outbreak, concentrations of the major greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming continued to increase, according to the report.
"We are still significantly off-schedule to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. "Unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to 1.5C will be impossible, with catastrophic consequences for people and the planet on which we depend." Guterres said.
UK government, Olivier De Schutter, the UN-appointed rapporteur on extreme poverty, said, “It’s unconscionable at this point in time to remove this benefit,” he said, adding the decision to cut universal credit – which was boosted last year to help people get through the pandemic – was based on a “very ill-informed understanding” of its impact on claimants.
Cutting universal credit by £20 a week breaches international human rights law and is likely to trigger an explosion of poverty, the United Nations’ poverty envoy said.
“For these people, £20 a week makes a huge difference, and could be the difference between falling into extreme poverty or remaining just above that poverty line … If the question is one of fiscal consolidation to maintain the public deficit within acceptable levels then you should raise revenues, not cut down on welfare at the expense of people in poverty.”
There was plentiful evidence showing millions of people would struggle to afford food and pay essential bills as a result.