Monday, October 31, 2022
What it will take to achieve change
The world will only take meaningful action on the climate crisis once people in rich countries start dying in greater numbers from its effects, Gabon’s environment minister has said.
“With everything that’s happened in the last year in the Horn of Africa and Pakistan – those places really count,” White said. “But with the once-in-a-500-year drought in Europe, fires in France, and the New York subway becoming Niagara Falls, we might be at a point where things are getting bad enough that developed nations start taking the climate more seriously." He pointed out that “It’s a horrible thing to say but until more people in developed nations are dying because of the climate crisis, it’s not going to change.”
Lee White said governments were not yet behaving as if global heating was a crisis, and he feared for the future he was leaving to his children.
He explained that broken promises on billions of dollars of adaptation finance have left a “sense of betrayal” saying the $100bn of promised climate finance from rich nations was not reaching poor countries, which was driving distrust in the UN climate process. He said he had seen only small amounts of climate funding for his country despite big promises.
“Over and over again, developed nations have committed and not delivered. They’ve committed to reduce emissions and they’re not delivering sufficiently. They’ve committed to funding and that funding doesn’t ever seem to materialise..."
Gabon is holding one of the largest ever sales of carbon credits, generated by protecting its portion of the Congo basin rainforest, the world’s second-largest and the last that sucks in more carbon than it releases.
White said his country, which gets about 60% of its state revenue from oil, accepted that the oil economy would go and that greater emphasis needed to be placed on sustainable forestry and timber.
“We’ve not really actively promoted the death of the oil industry like Costa Rica,” he said, referencing the Beyond Oil & Gas Alliance launched at Cop26 in Glasgow by the Central American country and Denmark. “We recognise that the oil industry will disappear.”
Nothing will change on climate until death toll rises in west, says Gabonese minister | Cop27 | The Guardian
Profits in People Trafficking
Clearsprings Ready Homes has a 10-year contract to manage asylum seeker accommodation in England and Wales.
It showed an increase in its profits of more than sixfold last year, with its three directors sharing dividends of almost £28m.
Clearsprings boosted its profits from £4,419,841 to £28,012,487 to the year ending 31 January 2022, with dividends jumping from £7m to £27,987,262.
Asylum seekers in hotels receive just over £1 a day, £8.24 a week, to buy essentials.
Graham O’Neill, the policy manager at the Scottish Refugee Council, explained, "Much of this money ends up as bumper profits and dividends for private companies, directors and shareholders. By definition, this profit is not going where it should: into good social housing in communities, into local services so they may support refugees and local people. It is blindingly obvious that this is neither sustainable nor in the public interest."
Firm managing hotels for UK asylum seekers posts bumper profits | Immigration and asylum | The Guardian
WE ARE WHAT WE EAT
14.5% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to livestock farming, an industry that emits not only carbon dioxide (CO2), but also methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) — two gases considered to play a similar role to CO2 in driving global warming. Though methane and nitrous oxide do not remain in the atmosphere as long as CO2, their respective climate warming potential is about 25 times and 300 times higher than that of carbon dioxide.
Most emissions in livestock farming result from feed production (58%) and are released during animals' digestive processes (31%); ruminants such as cattle, sheep and goats produce large quantities of methane. Processing and transport account for sizable share of greenhouse gas emissions (7%), as well, as does the storage of manure (4%).
About 87% of methane and nitrous oxide emissions in livestock farming are attributable to cattle farming because of the sheer number of animals.
A 2021 study published in Nature Food found that that plant-based foods account for just 29% of greenhouse gasses emitted by the global food industry. In contrast, 57% of greenhouse gas emission in the industry are linked to breeding and rearing cows, pigs and other livestock, as well as producing feed.
A quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions in the food industry are said to result from beef production alone. 99.48 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents per kilogram, beef production remains the biggest source of greenhouse gases. This is almost double the carbon dioxide equivalents per kilogram linked to lamb and mutton production (39.72 kilograms). Pork and poultry production show lower carbon dioxide equivalents, at 12.31 kilograms and 9.87 per kilogram of meat, respectively. Both also emit fewer emissions than cheese production (23.88 kilograms) and fish farming (13.63 kilograms).
Most greenhouse gas emissions from plant-based foods are lower than those linked to animal-based foods. Take the example of rice. Producing one kilogram of the food staple results in 4.45 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents — less than half the emissions released when producing one kilogram of poultry.
Beef, lamb and mutton industries require 116 times the land needed to cultivate rice. Animal farming accounts for 78% of agricultural land worldwide. Yet expanding agricultural and pastureland leads to habitat destruction.
News and current affairs from Germany and around the world – DW
Greta Thunberg on COPs
“The Cops are mainly used as an opportunity for leaders and people in power to get attention, using many different kinds of greenwashing,” she said.
The Cop conferences, she added, “are not really meant to change the whole system”, but instead encourage gradual progress.
“So as it is, the Cops are not really working, unless of course we use them as an opportunity to mobilise.”
Thunberg called for more people to get involved in climate activism, saying the time had come for “drastic changes” to the status quo.
“In order to change things, we need everyone – we need billions of activists,” she said.
Greta Thunberg to skip ‘greenwashing’ Cop27 climate summit in Egypt | Cop27 | The Guardian
Saturday, October 29, 2022
Capitalism Is Failing
At a school in the centre of Colombo, Sri Lanka, it has become common for children to faint in the middle of class. Their parents can barely afford a meal a day and they have been arriving at school quietly starving.
“Parents can’t afford the meat, eggs and milk that children need,” says Sandarenu Amarasiri, a teacher, adding that many were also missing school because financial hardship meant they could not afford transport, uniforms and shoes.
With 90% of people relying on state handouts, child malnutrition has soared across Sri Lanka.
According to Save the Children, two-thirds of families are now struggling to feed themselves.
Unicef’s regional director for south Asia, George Laryea-Adjei, says that “children are going to bed hungry, unsure of where their next meal will come from”.
In Sri Lanka’s poverty-stricken regions in the north, parents have started leaving their children in care homes as they can no longer feed them.
Food inflation has continued to rise, hitting a record 94.9% in September according to the Colombo Consumer Price Index, meaning parents have been unable to afford even basics such as rice and dal, while vegetables and meat have become unaffordable luxuries for many households.
Despite a $2.9bn (£2.5bn) loan from the International Monetary Fund tentatively agreed last month, it has done little to ease Sri Lanka’s economic woes, with experts warning it could be years before the country is back on its feet.
Fish, milk and chicken have become distant memories, and now many families live off only rice, lentils and sambol, a simple dish made from grated coconut.
‘Parents can’t afford meat, eggs and milk’: children bear the brunt of Sri Lanka’s economic crisis | Global development | The Guardian
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 10.6 million people were diagnosed with TB in 2021, a 4.5% increase on the previous year, prompting accusations that the disease has been neglected because it affects the poor.
Dr Lucica Ditiu, the executive director of the Stop TB Partnership, said: “...Despite this shockingly upward trend of TB mortality and infection rates, funding for fighting TB decreased in 2020 and 2021 from an already pathetically low level. This is infuriating and it makes me wonder why there is such a lack of investment for TB. Is it because governments do not care for their own people? Is it because the life of a person dying from TB is less important or is it because TB affects mainly poor people from poorer countries, and it is more comfortable to simply neglect them?”
Prof Jamie Triccas, a TB researcher at the University of Sydney, explained, some potential vaccines have reached late-stage trials, but the funding needed to develop them isn’t there.
According to the Treatment Action Group and the Stop TB Partnership, the total amount of global funding for tuberculosis research was $915m in 2020 – far below the $2bn goal set by the UN in 2018. Of that total, 13% of it was spent on vaccine research, while billions were invested in Covid vaccines. According to the WHO there has been decline in global spending on essential TB services from $6bn in 2019 to $5.4bn in 2021, which is less than half of the global target of $13bn.
“It is perhaps the quintessential disease of poverty and therefore does not have the political pressure and financial incentives behind it that do diseases that affect the more affluent parts of global society,” said Mel Spigelman, president of the TB Alliance.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director general, said: “If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that with solidarity, determination, innovation and the equitable use of tools, we can overcome severe health threats. Let’s apply those lessons to tuberculosis.”
The main source of international funding for TB is the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which last month received $14.25bn of the $18bn it wanted to fund its work for the next three years. The UK failed to commit any money.
Global tuberculosis cases increase for the first time in 20 years | Global health | The Guardian
Austerity Cuts Are Coming
The trade union Unison collected data from 391 councils, compiled through freedom of information requests and financial statements, and found that almost nine in 10 have a predicted budget gap in the 2023/24 financial year. Unison’s investigation found that waste collections, leisure centres, nurseries and other vital services are already being cut in some local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales as they prepare for a tough year ahead. The data suggested the cumulative funding gap is to worsen to more than £5.28bn in 2024/25.
Christina McAnea, the general secretary of Unison, said, “Cash-strapped councils are having to resort to ever more desperate measures after years of austerity just to keep services going. Now the government looks set to make their predicament infinitely worse with emergency cuts to spending after the mini-budget fiasco..."
With inflation and energy prices eating into budgets, local authorities across the UK are facing a £3.2bn budget shortfall next year. With inflation and energy prices eating into budgets, local authorities across the UK are facing a record black hole that is unlikely to be plugged by central government as the Treasury is seeking to squeeze spending to make up for a £30-50bn shortfall in the public finances.
The Local Government Association has warned Jeremy Hunt in a letter that the £3bn-plus shortfall facing councils will lead to cuts, particularly as inflation has worsened since the last local government finance settlement was announced. “Without immediate additional funding, councils will face increasingly stark decisions about which services to stop providing as rising costs hit budgets. This means not just isolated closures of individual facilities but significant cuts to services people rely on, including those to the most vulnerable in our society,” it said.
The biggest budget shortfall of £80m next year is being faced by Birmingham city council.
Birmingham council leader Ian Ward said, “This is a perfect storm for local government and without government action, councils will have no choice but to significantly cut local services. So, if the government is truly committed to levelling up, then the chancellor’s autumn statement on 17 November must not signal a return to austerity.”
Edinburgh council reported this week it is also facing a £80m black hole, up from £70m last month, with the Labour local leader warning of “probably the worst cuts I’ve seen in my time in this council”.
Kent county council said it was increasing its projected overspend to £70m, up from £50m just three months ago, with its Conservative council leader telling colleagues: “We’ve never been looking at a projected set of pressures on this scale; no one should doubt the gravity of the situation.” It said not a single department would be immune from cuts.
In Lancashire, the council said this week that its project shortfall has almost trebled, from £30.5m to £87m. It is looking at cost-cutting measures on everything.
Wirral Council shutting nine libraries by the end of this month, with two being handed to community and church groups.
Gateshead Council looking at closing two leisures centres deemed “unaffordable” as it grapples with a £6.5m shortfall.
Leeds city council cancelling Bonfire Night events in six locations next month to save £200,000 of non-essential spending at a time of budget pressures.
Hillingdon council planning to close all three of its nurseries, which provide more than 100 childcare places across the borough.
Hampshire County Council planning to scrap a transport scheme that takes thousands of disabled children to school to save £1m. Home pick-ups would be replaced with drop-off points.
Norfolk county council planning to reduce access to recycling centres by closing them on Wednesdays, with its Tory council leader warning he had never dealt with funding reductions on this scale, to plug a £60m gap
The Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) said its councils were facing pressures “on a scale never seen”, with “painful cuts” to come.
UK councils slashing services to meet £3.2bn budget shortfall | Local government | The Guardian
Friday, October 28, 2022
Capitalism Heats Up
Heatwaves have cost the global economy about $16tn since the 1990s, according to a study published in the journal Science Advances.
The research calculates the financial impact of extreme heat on infrastructure, agriculture, productivity, human health and other areas.
“We have been underestimating the true economic costs we’ve suffered because of global warming so far, and we are likely underestimating the costs going out into the future,” said Justin Mankin, an assistant professor of geography at Dartmouth College and senior author.
Despite having the lowest carbon emissions, it is the tropics and the global south that bear almost the entirety of the economic brunt of extreme heat. This is because they are warmer and therefore hit harder by heatwaves, and also because they are more economically vulnerable and therefore more susceptible to economic depression and the costs of adapting to the climate crisis. The study found that the world’s wealthiest regions, such as areas of Europe and North America, experienced an average 1.5% loss of GDP per capita per year due to extreme heat. By comparison, low-income regions – such as India and Indonesia – recorded a 6.7% GDP per capita loss yearly.
Christopher Callahan, a researcher at Dartmouth College and lead author of the study explained, “We know that heatwaves kill crops and cause illnesses like heat stroke, but they also have other effects such as increased interpersonal aggression, increased rates of workplace injury, and reduced mental performance.”
According to Dr Leonie Wenz, the deputy head of the research department on complexity science at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, who was not involved in the study, most studies on the subject were based on averages, but these can mask the effects of local and temporary events. “They do not fully reflect how we as humans experience temperature. What really matters for us, what affects our wellbeing, our productivity, and our decisions are the extremes and the fluctuations from one day, or week, to the next.”
The bill had been footed mainly by countries that had not benefited from industrialisation, said Mankin, creating a vicious cycle.
“Low-income countries have been asked to develop and industrialise in a global economy that strategically disadvantages them,” he said. “And they’re doing so while also being hammered by the impacts of global warming that has been generated by the global north. It’s kind of a double whammy.”
Climate crisis study finds heatwaves have cost global economy $16tn | Climate crisis | The Guardian
Foreign Aid - Robbing Peter to Pay Paul
The government insists the UK remains one of the largest global aid donors.
The experts calculate the UK will spend only about £3bn in aid money - known as official development assistance or ODA - this year on direct bilateral payments for development and humanitarian projects in poor countries. A further sum, bringing the budget up to a total of roughly £11bn, is given to multi-nation institutions that organise aid efforts around the world.
The government is now spending more of the UK's foreign aid budget at home than on direct help for poor countries overseas, development experts say. More than £4bn meant for development aid will be spent in Britain this year, largely to support rising numbers of asylum seekers and refugees. Under international rules, countries are allowed to spend foreign aid on the domestic costs of asylum seekers and refugees - but only for the first year after their arrival. This means less money can be spent elsewhere because the total budget is capped at 0.5% of national income.
The assessment of how much is being spent at home comes from two of Britain's leading development experts: Stefan Dercon, former chief economist at the Department of International Development and Ranil Dissanayake, policy fellow at the Center for Global Development think tank.
Prof Dercon, said: "Within the fixed 0.5 ODA budget, the UK is now spending more of its development budget inside the UK than inside poor developing countries. One area in which ODA costs are soaring are the refugee and asylum seekers costs, mainly for Ukraine.
"It means much of what is left will be more cuts to humanitarian spending for African and Asian crises..."
Ranil Dissanayake said: "Though the government is making it very difficult to actually look at the numbers, it's extremely likely that refugee spending in the UK alone is already higher than the UK's country specific aid to low and lower-middle income countries."
Romilly Greenhill, UK Director of the charity ONE Campaign, explained: "This is a discreet, further squeeze to the aid budget. Spending money on refugees from Ukraine is vital, but the way UK aid is managed means that low-income countries are effectively footing the bill."
She added the UK's actual budget available to spend overseas is closer to 0.3% of national income than 0.5%.
UK foreign aid being spent in Britain passes £4bn mark, experts say - BBC News
End Wage Slavery And Unemployment – Abolish Money
Removing money from the current economic equation would strike most people as impossible, unthinkable, absolutely imponderable. Everything we do, every transaction we make, from posting a letter to sending a space probe to Mars, from birth to death and at every step in between, money has become a necessary part of getting what we require. It has become an accepted, entrenched method of acquiring anything and everything BUT it wasn't always so and in a genuine socialist system money will be shown to have been an unnecessary, wasteful and divisive way of ordering world communities.
When initially being presented with the notion of a world without money the first imperative is the willingness to contemplate a huge paradigm shift, to put aside all familiar long-held views and preconceived notions and to enter into an adventure of discovery that there is a place for all at the table, that it doesn't entail regression to the Dark Ages and that the welfare and progress of people doesn't have to come at a cost to the environment.
Work is well recognised by experts in the health arena as being one of the most stressful areas of life for reasons such as long hours, extended travelling time to and from place of employment, risk of job loss, lack of security of tenure, inflexible working practices, difficulty getting release for major personal events such as bereavement, long-term illness of a spouse or partner, or even short-term care of a sick child. Loss of employment can put stress on the whole family, sinking it into debt, causing day to day difficulties with the household budget and in many cases leading to loss of the home.
Right now, worldwide, are millions of 'would-be' workers who are sidelined in one way or another, without employment or scratching on the edges of a black economy and in some of the more 'developed' countries we find many termed 'scroungers' in current day parlance.
Within the capitalist system there has to be a pool of workers unable to find work in order to keep the bargaining power in favour of the capitalist employers who strive to keep wage levels down, whereas if there is a shortage of suitable labour the bargaining power switches to the employees who try to force wage levels up. The fact that some 'developed' countries have systems which pay a percentage of workers to remain unemployed (and who receive welfare benefits) is a price the capitalists are prepared to pay to maintain the tensions in society. Encouraging the employed to think that they are the ones subsidising the benefits system maintains one fissure within the 'working' class whereas allowing a large number of unemployed to be without any welfare would cause too many problems for the capitalists with possibilities of mass looting, rioting and damage to their property.
There are also untold numbers of immigrants living temporarily or permanently away from home just to make a living which has become impossible in their own country especially since deregulation of the market and as a group they send billions of whatever currency back to their homelands. For every ten who make it there are hundreds who struggle endlessly seeing no progress or find they have moved into a life of indebtedness and semi-slavery.
The current situation worldwide with its high unemployment rates suits the capitalists very well, but is both punishing and divisive for the vast majority. However, w hen money is not required in exchange for work and when, instead, all contribute their skills, expertise and/or manpower in return for open access to the requirements of life then we can begin to see a different motivation enter the whole concept of the 'work' scenario. W hen all 'work' is seen as legitimate and deserving of recognition, from the humblest occupations – collecting and sorting waste, stacking shelves in our 'stores', keeping the utilities working even in the worst weather, repairing our shoes – to those which are perceived as more elite - heart surgeons, ground-breaking scientists or cutting-edge technicians; when all are respected or appreciated for their contribution simply by having the same right of access to our commonly produced goods humankind will have truly developed to a higher level.
In addition a moneyless world will free up millions of workers who are now tied to some very stressful occupations dealing only in (other people's) money – banking, mortgage brokering, insurance; those occupied in the collection of rates, taxes and utility payments; those in security work such as guards and armoured truck staff engaged only in protecting and moving money and other 'valuables' – millions of workers who, when considered logically, currently fulfil no useful function and contribute nothing to society that improves that society. This is in no way to imply that those currently employed in such work are any less valuable than any other worker. Within the capitalist system we all have to work with what is available and what percentage of the working class can truly say that their work is exactly what they were looking for? However, in the new, socialist system, with so many extra hands on deck working hours will be considerably reduced which, with the knowledge that one's 'work' is not tied to the ability to feed and clothe the family, to house them and provide all the other requirements of life, will be to remove the stress at a stroke.
With millions released from wage slavery in the now redundant financial sector and free to be a part of the production, distribution and service sectors, with the black economy, immigrants and illegals no longer a threat to paid workers (pay being redundant) there will be a huge reduction in individual necessary work time. When there is no profit incentive the emphasis will be on the production of quality goods from quality materials and no one need choose an inferior item based on cost. Providers of utilities such as electricity and gas, water and communications will be able to have sufficient workers to install, service, repair and develop their installations more efficiently and effectively. If there is work that no one is prepared to undertake then an alternative will need to be found democratically.
Without the constraints that we have today the workplace will become a different place, one of cooperation not competition where we work for the benefit of all not for the profit of a few. The lines between work and leisure may well be much more blurred than in today's scenario. People will have time, time to be creative, to learn different and multiple skills and to enjoy the time they spend working. Leisure activities seen as hobbies now – vehicle maintenance, gardening, DIY home improvements, baking, the making of all kinds of hand-made items, giving educational and training courses – could well form part of one's 'work time' in the community, bringing a greater satisfaction and contributing to individual development generally, one of the aims of socialism. With more leisure time available it is also highly likely that more 'work' would be created in the leisure area, whether sports complexes, theatrical and music productions and educational courses in the widest sense and with unlimited opportunities for the active participation of those who choose it.
Want to end wage slavery and unemployment? Abolish money.
End Wage Slavery And Unemployment – Abolish Money By Janet Surman (countercurrents.org)
Thursday, October 27, 2022
Protect the vote
The advocacy group Common Cause warned in a new report, Extremists' Plot to Nationalize Voter Suppression: 2023 and Beyond, that U.S. congressional Republicans are introducing dozens of bills that, if the GOP regains control of Congress after the midterm elections, pose a "serious threat to the freedom to vote for millions of Americans."
"Although significant attention has focused on the more than 400 anti-voter bills that have been introduced (several dozen of which have become law) in state legislatures...congressional Republicans have introduced more than 30 [federal] anti-voter bills that have largely gone unnoticed."
"While none of these federal anti-voter bills will become law this year, if control of Congress switches after this November's election, a Congress with different leadership may try to advance some of these proposals and do at the federal level what self-interested, power-hungry legislators in certain states are trying to do: make it harder to vote, and in ways that are disproportionately targeted at Black and Brown voters."
"Instead of silencing voters on a state-by-state basis, members of Congress introducing these anti-voter bills may try to disenfranchise certain voters in one fell swoop," Sylvia Albert, Common Cause's director of voting and elections and one of the report's authors, said in a statement.
- Eliminate the National Voter Registration Act (aka the "motor-voter" law);
- Prohibit states from counting a ballot cast in a federal election if it is received by the state after the date of the election, regardless if the ballot was completed and mailed by Election Day;
- Prohibit states from using automatic voter registration systems;
- Prohibit states from providing absentee ballots to many voters;
- Restrict the use of drop boxes for absentee ballots;
- Block many Americans from no-excuse absentee voting;
- Prevent most individuals from voting at a polling place during an early voting period;
- Significantly curtail the Election Assistance Commission’s (EAC) ability to provide investments to states to help run safe and secure elections; and
- Relitigate the 2020 presidential election by establishing a commission to investigate the results of an election that Trump's own appointees at the Department of Homeland Security declared was the "most secure in American history."
Live Longer - Work Longer
French President Emmanuel Macron vowed Wednesday to implement a pension reform that would eventually push up the retirement age by three years to 65, making younger generations work longer.
The minimum retirement age to get full a pension would be gradually increased from 62 now to 65 by 2031, he said. Macron said the changes would start being applied next year.
'Live longer, work longer': Macron vows to raise French retirement age to 65 (france24.com)
Fracking and LNG - No Solution
LNG ([liquefied natural gas) which is created by cooling fracked gas to create a clear, colorless liquid, has been promoted by the oil industry as "climate-friendly."
However, an analysis by Food & Water Watch, titled LNG: The U.S. and E.U.'s Deal for Disaster, warned, "One year of emissions from 50 billion cubic meters (BCM) of LNG would be equivalent to yearly emissions from 100 coal plants."
The U.S. is already the world's biggest exporter of LNG, with exports averaging 0.32 BCM per day in the first half of this year. More than 70% of U.S. exports went to Europe this year, and while the Biden administration's plan has promised an extra 15 BCM of LNG to Europe this year, the current pace "will triple" that pledge. Exporting 50 BCM of LNG per year would cost between $10 billion and $19 billion annually, while providing the E.U. with just 12% of its demand for gas as it faces an energy crisis.
The same level of investment in utility-scale solar power could provide Europe with more than 540 megawatt-hours (MWh)—11% more energy than would would be provided by LNG. Onshore wind power costs are similar, providing 515 million MWh," reads the report. "Scaling up renewables to this level would avoid over 500 million metric tons of fossil fuels, no matter if it is replaced with solar or wind. The choice is clear."
"The White House vision for delivering gas to Europe will serve to deliver climate chaos across the globe, at a moment when we simply cannot build new fossil fuel facilities at all," said Food & Water Watch research director Amanda Starbuck.
Right wing policies cost lives
According to peer-reviewed research published in PLOS ONE, working-age mortality rates have been rising for decades across the United States, but premature deaths are more pronounced in states where "conservative" policies predominate and less common in states that have adopted more "liberal" policies.
Policies that "expand state power for economic regulation and redistribution, protect the rights of marginalized groups, or restrict state power to punish deviant behavior" were defined by the study's authors as "liberal," while those with opposite aims were deemed "conservative."
The authors found that liberal policies were associated with fewer early deaths among 25- to 64-year-olds between 1999 and 2019.
"Changing all policy domains in all states to a fully liberal orientation might have saved 171,030 lives in 2019," the researchers estimate, "while changing them to a fully conservative orientation might have cost 217,635 lives."
Study co-author Dr. Steven Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University, explained,:"As an academic who does scientific research, I studiously avoided talking about politics in my professional work... But the data are pointing us to that as a determinant of health."
If a state policymaker were to say to me, 'it's unfair to criticize my state because I have a low-educated, low-income population,' I would ask them, 'why do you have a low-educated, low-income population?'" lead study author Jennifer Karas Montez, a professor of sociology at Syracuse University, pointed out. "It's because of your policy environment."
Darrell Gaskin, a health economist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said that some people "like to think about (working-age mortality) as failures of individuals, that they eat too much or use drugs, but that's all in context."
"If we don't have the proper regulations in place to protect people, then what happens is that they could be exploited," said Gaskin. "We always get the promise from conservative states that we're going to cut your taxes and regulation and make the environment better for business, and it comes with a cost."
With their efforts to impose anti-union "right-to-work" laws, ban abortions, and curtail Medicaid, and their insistence on ignoring gun violence and the life-threatening climate crisis, Republicans have firmly established themselves in the camp that is actively increasing premature deaths among the nation's working-age population.
Republican Policies Are Killing Americans: Study (commondreams.org)
Another Climate Fail
A UN environment report analysed the gap between the CO2 cuts pledged by countries and the cuts needed to limit any rise in global temperature to 1.5C, the internationally agreed target. Progress has been “woefully inadequate” it concluded. There is “no credible pathway to 1.5C in place”, the UN’s environment agency has said, and the failure to reduce carbon emissions means the only way to limit the worst impacts of the climate crisis is a “rapid transformation of societies”.
Current pledges for action by 2030, if delivered in full, would mean a rise in global heating of about 2.5C and catastrophic extreme weather around the world. A rise of 1C to date has caused climate disasters in countries from Pakistan to Puerto Rico.
If the long-term pledges by countries to hit net zero emissions by 2050 were delivered, global temperature would rise by 1.8C. But the glacial pace of action means meeting even this temperature limit was not credible, the UN report said.
The report found that existing carbon-cutting policies would cause 2.8C of warming, while pledged policies cut this to 2.6C. Further pledges, dependent on funding flowing from richer to poorer countries, cut this again to 2.4C.
Inger Andersen, the executive director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said:
“This report tells us in cold scientific terms what nature has been telling us all year through deadly floods, storms and raging fires: we have to stop filling our atmosphere with greenhouse gases, and stop doing it fast. We had our chance to make incremental changes, but that time is over. Only a root-and-branch transformation of our economies and societies can save us from accelerating climate disaster. It is a tall, and some would say impossible, order to reform the global economy and almost halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, but we must try,” she said. “Every fraction of a degree matters: to vulnerable communities, to ecosystems, and to every one of us.”
Prof David King, a former UK chief scientific adviser, said: “The report is a dire warning to all countries – none of whom are doing anywhere near enough to manage the climate emergency.”
Climate crisis: UN finds ‘no credible pathway to 1.5C in place’ | Climate crisis | The Guardian