George Monbiot on the unholy trinity of ideologies trashing our planet

Is another form of capitalism possible? And can new social movements like Extinction Rebellion escape the ideologies that pervade our lives?

Campaigner and journalist George Monbiot

Campaigner and journalist George Monbiot.  John Russell/Flickr, CC 2.0

 

If you get into debt buying your child branded trainers, if you fear redundancy, if you suffer anxiety about the future of the planet and you blame yourself for all of these things then you are showing symptoms of drowning in the “insidious” and “sinister” ideology of neoliberalism.

The escalating environmental and social crises that confronted us – climate breakdown, collapse in biodiversity, the threat of war – are all failures of a worldview that puts profit making, the markets and economic growth ahead of human happiness. This is George Monbiot’s prognosis.

The journalist and campaigner will be speaking at a three-hour special event at the Gillian Lynne Theatre in London on 11 February 2020 under the title The Invisible Ideology Trashing Our Planet. The tour will continue on Thursday, 12 March 2020 at the UBSU Richmond Building in Bristol.

The invisible ideology referred to is neoliberalism. But when I caught up with Monbiot at his home in Oxford this month he had already extended the scope of his speech to include capitalism and consumerism. This is the holy trinity: capitalism is the father, consumerism the son and neoliberalism the holy ghost.

Monbiot argues that capitalism now is neoliberal capitalism. And, unusually, that capitalism and consumerism are ideologies as much as neoliberalism is. “Part of the insidious power of these ideologies is that they are the water in which we swim – the plastic soup in which we swim. They are everywhere. They affect our decision making every day, they affect the way we see ourselves. They are difficult to see not because they are so small but because they are so big. The most powerful ideologies never announce themselves as ideologies. That is where their power lies. Our first step is to recognise them as ideologies.”

The blasphemy of attacking capitalism

Why did it take Monbiot so long to come to attacking capitalism head on?

“There was an element of fear involved. Directly attacking capitalism is blasphemy today. It’s like pronouncing that there is no god in the 19th century. But of course we recognise those who did so as pioneers whose voices were necessary. I suddenly realised that for years I had been talking about variants of capitalism. I had been talking about corporate capitalism, neoliberal capitalism, crony capitalism. But then it suddenly struck me that maybe it is not the adjective, but the noun. It makes a difference, the form of capitalism, but all forms drive us to the same destination, albeit at different rates. So neoliberal capitalism accelerates natural destruction. But Keynesian social democratic capitalism still gets us there, but maybe a little more slowly because it has more regulatory involvement and less inequality.”

Neoliberalism, broadly, asserts that free market capitalist is the best mechanism for making decisions in our modern, complex societies. The state should not intervene. This means fewer regulations, from banking to food. It means not providing health and social care. It means cutting taxes. Neoliberalism dominates the thinking of the world’s leaders, at a time when it undermines the efficacy of the state to deal with climate breakdown.

So is a non-neoliberal capitalism now possible? Could John Maynard Keynes, the influential economist who advocated government management of the economy, make a return? Can we stage a tactical retreat? Or has capitalism reached a point where neoliberalism red in tooth and claw is necessary for capitalist profit generation?

“We cannot go back to [Keynes],” Monbiot responds. “It is growth based. The whole point of Keynesian economics is to maintain the rate of growth – not too fast, not too slow – and we know that even a steady rate of growth is progress towards disaster. But also, in its first iteration in the years after the Second World War it was very effectively destroyed, principally by finance capital working out ways to destroy capital controls, foreign exchange controls. The idea that we can relaunch a Keynesian capitalism and not have it destroyed by people who have already destroyed it once, who have not forgotten those lessons, and who are in a much more powerful position to destroy it today….that’s just dreaming. That is magical thinking. You cannot go back in politics, you have constantly to devise new models.”

On Extinction Rebellion, citizens’ assemblies, and the taking of political positions

I ask Monbiot what all this means for current debates around climate advocacy and campaigning and particularly for Extinction Rebellion (XR).

He hesitates for a moment, not wanting to “abuse” his position as Britain’s most influential environment journalist to sway the climate direct action movement.

“As I see it, XR tried very hard to remain a single issue movement and to say, ‘we are not taking a justice position, we are not going to take a political position, we just want people to respect the science and introduce the policies that are in accordance with the science’. I understand that, because they wanted to reach as many people as possible.

“But there is obviously a tension between that and the intersectionality that our many issues demand and the necessity to understand the political context in which we operate and the political change required in order for us to operate. I do not think we need to flinch from the fact that to take effective action on climate breakdown requires a change of leadership, a change in government, it requires political change and it very much requires ideological change. We fool ourselves if we think we can change the policies without attending to the political framing in which these policies are discussed.

He adds: “These have to be political campaigns as well as environmental campaigns. There is a lot of recognition [within XR] about where the constraints have been and lots of intelligent people having great conversations about how it evolves. It cheers me to see so many interesting discussions happening.”

So, I ask, does XR need to be anti-neoliberal?

“Obviously, if anything XR wants to happen is to happen, then we have to overthrow neoliberal ideology. The idea of government being so activist that it is going to transform our whole economy and go to zero carbon by 2025, and change our political system, even acknowledge the importance of a political system in making decisions, all that is directly counter to neoliberalism. If a political scientist was to analyse XR’s three demands and its charter they would say, this is a profoundly anti-neoliberal programme’.”

I asked whether neoliberalism also presents a challenge in terms of the XR proposal to have a citizens’ assembly with members chosen through sortition (which is similar to the way we select members of a jury in the criminal justice system). If neoliberalism is hegemonic, is all pervasive, then even the great British public will be trapped within its assumptions. Monbiot points out that the civil service will also be immersed in, and will have an interest in upholding, neoliberal ideology.

“I have never been in favour of a pure sortition system,” Monbiot responds. “What it does is give tremendous power to the civil service, because the civil service are the permanent officials who understand how the system works, who have a long term stake in that system, whereas the people who are chosen by sortition haven’t. T[he citizens] are not trying to get in at the next election – they will not have a long term political programme. That makes the bureaucracy tremendously and dangerously powerful. A mixed system – in the widest possible sense – has got more to say for it.”

Can we ever escape ideology?

So the question arises: can we ever escape ideology? Karl Marx, the philosopher communist, believed that through a rational, logical, analysis of the economy and of society he had punched through “bourgeois” or capitalist ruling class ideology and glimpsed momentarily a non-ideological reality. But if we argue that we are not ideological, that we are free entirely of any illusions, is this not proof positive that we are so deeply immersed that we cannot even see the edges of our own delusion?

“I don’t think you can be [ideologically free]. We’re so governed by our social environment, and our social environment will always be saturated by ideology. To be ideology free would be to become an island, you would have to be completely isolated from all other human beings – and even then you would probably create your own ideology. You often hear people stand up and say, ‘I have no ideology’. And that is just self-deception.”

Monbiot presents a compelling argument. We say our goodbyes and I am back out on the street, reflecting that I am even now contained entirely within ideology, neoliberal ideology. I am willing to believe that we will never escape ideology – a grand narrative that explains who we are, where we are, what we are. If this is the case, we as individuals and as a collective humanity must choose our ideology wisely. SOURCE

Home care should not be for-profit: NDP’s France Gélinas

France Gélinas. Image: Submitted

rabble spoke with France Gélinas, the NDP’s health critic in the Ontario legislature, about the state of home care in the province, the CarePartners-Service Employees International Union (SEIU) dispute and the potential solutions to reverse profit-taking in the sector.

Update: The interview was conducted on January 20. By January 25, SEIU had reached a deal with CarePartners. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

rabble: What are your thoughts on the ongoing dispute between CarePartners and SEIU?

France Gélinas: It’s just awful. This is the second [recent] labour dispute with CarePartners. They locked out their scheduling employees in Sudbury, where I live. Six months later, they closed up shop. What they are doing now with their [other] employees is ruthless. It’s not the way quality health care can be done. It’s terrible.

SEIU says that if CarePartners gets away with this conduct, other employers in the sector will potentially emulate their behavior and will end up driving down working conditions across the sector even further. Does the NDP have any ideas on how to confront this employer and address this challenge right now, as opposed to waiting for the next election?

We do. [But] are there realistically things we can do without giving workers false hope? They are more limited.

CarePartners is there to make money on the backs of frail, elderly people and on the backs of women who often don’t have a voice. The way they operate has nothing to do with quality care. It has everything to do with maximizing profits.

At NDP we [advocate] for a public health-care system that has to be not only publicly paid [for] but publicly delivered. You have way more control over the behavior of a public not-for-profit organization.

We have a board of directors that you can go to. They have minutes of meetings that are public.  [There’s levers of control], if they start to stray you can bring them back and show them that their reason for being is to provide quality home care. When it is a for-profit company, there are not enough of those levers.

There’s always public shaming, and we had quite a bit of that in Sudbury, but they are totally immune to it.

What about privately delivered not-for-profit services? I assume that some of the same issues that we have with for-profit delivery also impact non-profit private delivery because they still have duplicate administrations [and management] and like you said we [the public] don’t have access to their meeting minutes and other information.

Yeah. There are a whole lot layers of oversight and accountability [such as the auditor general] that can be used to investigate what’s going on [in the public sector]. Once you go into the private sector all of that is gone.

So how do we reverse this privatization? I assume that it would be very complicated because the industry has been shaped by the existing system which has been in function for about 25 years. 

It would be very difficult.

Before Mike Harris came into power, Sudbury [for example] had a top notch home care system. It was delivered by VON [a non-profit provider]. When competitive bidding came in, the services moved to [for-profit firm] Bayshore, who said that they were going to do things better, cheaper and faster.

VON had to declare bankruptcy in Sudbury. All of their staff had to be re-hired. A lot of their staff were career people working in home care — they were really, really good at what they did.

Employers who cannot recruit or retain a stable workforce, keep sending different people to peoples’ homes and a whole bunch of problems arise from this. You know, grandpa doesn’t like to strip naked in front of 20 different strangers every month because there’s a different PSW [personal support worker] at his door every time to give him his bath.

This is what we have now, it’s terrible. Our home care system is broken on so many fronts [unlike] when we had not-for-profits such as VON and others delivering home care. They were there for the right reasons — to provide quality care and now most of them are there to maximize profits.

We often hear of home care as the future of health care in this province. And one of the reasons why governments have favoured home care is that it is less costly. But how much of this cost effectiveness is due to poor compensation for workers and the expectation that family members will provide care?

Home care has always been the cheaper option even before Mike Harris opened it up to the [for-profit] private sector. If you go to Manitoba, who never privatized their home care sector, it is still way cheaper to keep people at home than it is to keep them at long-term care homes or a hospital.

You have to realize that we as taxpayers, we still pay good money for [home care] services. The problem is that this money never makes it to the actual home care workers. There are many levels who take their share of the money and the workers earn $16.50 an hour [the PSW minimum wage in the home care sector].

In other provinces that have not been privatized, the home care system system is cheaper and the workers have full-time jobs with pension plans and benefits.

What concrete actions could an NDP government take to address some of these issues and transform the sector so that it’s publicly-run and delivered?

Is this something we can do overnight? No. But the government has many resources at its disposal to influence the sector. You can mandate minimum wage for different levels of care and different levels of service.

You can also mandate how much profit can be taken out [when signing a contract with providers]. The government can ask to see the financial report to see how much profit has been taken out of the system.

You can make the sector attractive to not-for-profit providers. There are many things a government can do and put the focus on quality of care and satisfaction of patients.

Right now, how many home care patients are satisfied with the services they get? If you listen to my answering machine every morning, we get complaints about home care every single day.

So from your response, it seems like we can improve the sector by taking certain measures like improving minimum wage and having more transparency. But it seems that to transform the sector from private to public, that can’t even happen in say, the next 10 years.

I won’t say 10 years. With this government in place, it won’t happen. With an NDP government, could it happen? I’d say we can reshape a big part of the sector. If you make it less profitable, the for-profits tend to go away.

Right now, if you open up a new contract, they fight among themselves over a new contract because there’s a lot of money to be made. They don’t share best practices, because they use it as a competitive advantage to win the next bid.

You don’t see this in any other part of the health-care system. In other parts of the health-care system, once you have identified the best practice you share it so that will help your system progress together. Not in home care, where there are trade secrets to secure more contracts.

The base funding per hour of personal support services is $35.83 for about 80 per cent of contracts. Providers, both for-profit and not-for-profit say, this is not enough money. Do you agree with that? And if so, how much of an increase should we see in base funding?

The Ontario Community Support Association has put together quite a bit of information regarding that. We are looking at $210 million or so just to increase volume. We are looking at improving PSW wages by at least five per cent per year for the next many years before we can close the gap between what a PSW makes in home care versus how much she — they are mostly women — makes in long-term care or hospitals.

You’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars to stabilize the system, to get rid of the waitlist, where we all know you may qualify for two baths a week, but it won’t start for eight months.

We’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars invested in the system to improve base funding [for hourly contracts], to close the wage gap, to increase the level of service and to make the basket of services available for all.

Note: The OCSA’s submission for the 2020 budget calls for heavy investment in the home and community care sector

What should be covered under publicly funded home care [so that people are not forced to purchase services from the private market]?

There are many things that would life easier. In Northern Ontario, shoveling snow. We just got a lot of snow right now and there is no way an 85 or 90-year-old could have gone through the dump of snow we got over the weekend.

I would have liked a bit of support for them to stay at home, like shoveling the snow or cutting the grass. Would I want a bit of support [for them to do home maintenance] so that it is safe for them to do so? Yes, absolutely.

[Would I like] to have somebody do the grocery shopping for you and prepare a little bit of food and check on your medication? I would like all of this to be covered in order for people to be safe.

[Although] I draw the line — you will still pay your own rent, still pay for your own food, still pay for your own hydro bills, it’s the care that will be covered, not [the expenses] of living at home.

First Nations Vow to Fight on after Trans Mountain Defeat

Federal court rejects argument consultation was inadequate. ‘Reconciliation stopped today,’ says representative.

COVER.TMX-First-Nations-Court.jpg

The $7.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project is already under construction. The expansion has been strongly opposed by the Indigenous governments challenging it in court. Photo by Jason Franson, the Canadian Press.

The Federal Court of Appeal has dismissed an application from First Nations seeking to overturn the government’s approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion because they had not been adequately consulted.

While pipeline supporters applauded the court’s decision, opponents — including representatives of the First Nations involved in the challenge — promised the fight will continue both inside and outside the legal system.

“The applicants’ submissions are essentially that the Project cannot be approved until all of their concerns are resolved to their satisfaction,” Justices Marc Noël, J.D. Denis Pelletier and J.B. Laskin wrote in their unanimous reasons for judgment released today.

“If we accepted those submissions, as a practical matter there would be no end to consultation, the Project would never be approved, and the applicants would have a de facto veto right over it,” it said.

The application was filed by the Coldwater Indian Band, Squamish Nation and Tsleil-Waututh Nation along with the Aitchelitz, Skowkale, Shxwhá:y Village, Soowahlie, Squiala First Nation, Tzeachten and Yakweakwioose.

The respondents were the Canadian attorney general, Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC and Trans Mountain Corporation. The attorneys general for Alberta and Saskatchewan intervened, as did the Canadian Energy Regulator (formerly known as the National Energy Board).

The $7.4-billion project, already under construction, will twin an existing 1,150-kilometre pipeline from near Edmonton to Burnaby, tripling capacity to 890,000 barrels per day.

The expansion has been strongly opposed by the Indigenous governments challenging it in court, as well as by local governments, environmental groups and individuals. More than 200 people have been arrested protesting construction in the Lower Mainland, including former Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May and now Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart, cases that have led to charges in many cases and proceeded through the court system.

In a 2018 ruling, the court had found that the federal government’s original decision to approve the expansion of the pipeline, which it now owns after buying it from Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion, was based on an “impermissibly under-inclusive” environmental assessment and a failure by the Crown to fulfil its duty to consult with Indigenous peoples.

Today’s decision found the consultation process launched after that ruling has been sufficient, justifying the subsequent federal government approval.

“Contrary to what the applicants assert, this was anything but a rubber-stamping exercise,” the justices ruled. “The end result was not a ratification of the earlier approval, but an approval with amended conditions flowing directly from the renewed consultation.”

“It is true that the applicants are of the view that their concerns have not been fully met, but to insist on that happening is to impose a standard of perfection, a standard not required by law.”

Trans Mountain Corporation welcomed the ruling. “After many years of consultation and review we are pleased to be able to continue moving forward and building the Project in respect of communities, and for the benefit of Canadians,” President and CEO Ian Anderson said in an emailed statement.

“The Government of Canada’s additional Indigenous consultation represented an immense undertaking by many parties. The Government was committed to a specific and focused dialogue with affected Indigenous communities to ensure Canada, and the Company heard their concerns and responded.”

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney tweeted “Another win on the #TMX pipeline for Alberta! Pleased to see this unanimous decision by the Federal Court of Appeal to reject this challenge. Now let’s get it built.”

Representatives of the First Nations involved in the case expressed deep disappointment with the ruling during a news conference in Vancouver but said the fight will continue.

“Disappointing as it is, it’s one step,” said Tsleil-Waututh elected Chief Leah George-Wilson. “We have far longer to go in this journey.”

We’ll continue to fight to enforce our jurisdiction within our territories,” said Khelsilem, a Squamish Nation elected councillor, stressing the continued right to self-determination on unceded lands.

While there are legal options to continue the fight, he said, it’s worth remembering B.C.’s long history of civil disobedience in support of environmental causes. “There are a lot of people who are willing to do a lot to defend our coast and defend our communities.”

The applicants have 60 days to review the decision and decide whether to appeal it to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Several speakers pointed out that the federal government’s drive to complete the pipeline expansion is at odds with its stated goals of reconciliation with Indigenous people and action on the climate crisis. The pipeline will carry bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands to be exported by tanker from Burnaby.

“Reconciliation stopped today,” said Rueben George, a spokesperson for the Sacred Trust Initiative of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. “This government is incapable of making sound decisions for our future generations.”

University of Victoria law professor Chris Tollefson said the appeal court’s decision was unsurprising and the matter is almost certainly headed to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The original decision requiring additional consultations “made it clear there were some fundamental problems with the process and sent it back for those to be fixed,” said Tollefson, who represented BC Nature through the National Energy Board process.

“The new process was not much better than the old one. It still left many of the same questions and problems on the table,” he said. “Instead of opening the courthouse door and hearing those arguments, what the court did the second time was to severely constrain which arguments it would hear and from whom they would hear them.”

“What we have is a judicial process that is very much open to criticism in terms of giving parties with a very legitimate stake, who have worked in this process, they’ve been effectively denied their ability to make their case.”

Today’s decision answers a small number of questions for a narrow number of litigants, meaning the Supreme Court will eventually have to rule on all the still unanswered questions, he said.

“It’s not the end of the story.”

Today’s ruling follows a unanimous January Supreme Court of Canada decision that found British Columbia lacked the jurisdiction to regulate the flow of heavy oil across the province. SOURCE

 

Public money for environmental justice

We’ll never fund a transformative Green New Deal with money designed for capitalism

Fearless Girl statue, facing the Wall Street bull. Image: Alex Proimos CC BY-NC
The Green New Deal is perhaps the most audacious plan to ever seriously address the grave social and environmental challenges we face. By identifying “systemic injustice,” the plan is sweeping in its scope. Yet, while the plan discusses public banks in a reference to adequate capital, the plan fails to see the commercial banking sector as one of the structural causes of, and impediments to solving, the problems we face. Importantly, the Green New Deal fails to articulate exactly why a nationalized banking system is critical to the success of the programs its proposes.

Money is created in modern economies when commercial banks extend interest-bearing loans to individuals and corporations. The money in those loans does not exist before the loan is generated but is created when the bank marks up the borrower’s checking account. This is in stark contrast to the general notion that money is a finite resource, such as gold, that is allocated to its best economic use by the Central Bank.

When money is created by the private sector in the manner discussed above, it is seen as a private resource. Accordingly, public use of money for government spending is viewed as wasteful expenditure rather than productive investment. In the case of the Green New Deal, the massive price tag is seen as cannibalizing the productive private sector. It is for this reason that opponents of the Green New Deal argue that it will hurt the economy, and its proponents argue to “finance” the plan by moving money from one sector to another, e.g. from Wall Street to Main Street.

Money is a social relation. It is an abstract measure of what we all owe to one another.

Money, however, is not a private resource. And it is not a finite commodity. Money is a social relation. It is an abstract measure of what we all owe to one another. Think of it as a tally of everything you owe and are owed, for all the work you do and all the purchases you make. Now extrapolate that to the whole country, let the government manage it—just like it does with laws and other contracts—and you’ve got a monetary system!

The role of the government is crucial in managing the money system. Since money is a social relation, the government is responsible for the money system. Think of what happened in the Great Depression, the Savings and Loan crisis, and the 2008 Financial Crisis: the government always stepped in to repair the money system. And as guarantor of the social relation, it always will.

Monetary theorists understand the government’s monetary prerogative in three ways. First is the government’s ability to choose the unit of account that is used in the country—dollars in the United States and Canada. Second is the government’s ability to issue those units of account into circulation. Third is the benefit of first use that comes with issuing money. This last right is called seigniorage and can be thought of as the profit of creating money above the cost of printing and distributing that money.

Money has existed as a state-managed tally of owing and being owed (of credits and debts in theoretical parlance) for thousands of years. In fact, a lot of evidence suggests that such monetary systems existed for thousands of years before coins and markets—and might even be the reason humans began to settle in the first place! (See Money: The Unauthorized Biography.) Capitalism is a relatively new manner of social organization and is characterized by a transition from state-created money to bank-created money.

Think about that for a moment. Capitalism is about bank-created money! For thousands of years, the state, for better or worse, controlled three monetary prerogatives discussed above. The state created money by spending it into existence and guaranteed its value by levying taxes in the unit of account in which it spent. Beginning around the twelfth century, however, states began to expand beyond what their power to tax could justify and so they asked private merchants for loans. (See Brown 2013, p.111, and Davies 2002, p.261.) Slowly but surely, states lost the majority of their power to create money and the seigniorage benefit that came with that creation. States only kept the power to determine the unit of account. But with that power came the responsibility to manage the stability of the unit of account.

There has been precious little discussion on ending or reigning in the commercial banking industry’s money-creation power.

It is this strange conflict of interest with which this paper is most concerned. The state is forced to ensure a stable dollar, but it isn’t able to determine how—or for what—dollars enter society. So while much of the discussion surrounding the Green New Deal concerns ending or reigning in capitalism, there has been precious little discussion on ending or reigning in the commercial banking industry’s money-creation power.

While capitalism is often thought of as the private accumulation of surplus, the manner in which that accumulation is enabled is often ignored. Commercially created money means that production surpluses remain within the private sector. Were the state to take back the power to create money, and the seigniorage benefit that comes with such creation, it would severely limit the extent to which the private sector could accumulate surplus. In fact, nationalizing money creation would align the right of the state to create money with the responsibility it bears to manage money’s stability.

Perhaps most importantly, by regaining the monetary prerogative, the state could influence the direction of the economy by spending and lending money into existence in accordance with its goals. In the case of the Green New Deal, these goals would be social justice and environmental sustainability. This would mean that the tenets of the Green New Deal—from healthcare and education to healthy food and sustainable energy—would become structural components of a just and sustainable economy and not simply regulatory mechanisms of an extractive capitalism.

The Green New Deal, as currently written, is an end-of-pipe regulatory framework that relies upon taxing bank-created money to finance social and environmental spending.

This is a huge difference! By avoiding a discussion of a nationalized money supply, the Green New Deal, as currently written, is an end-of-pipe regulatory framework that relies upon taxing bank-created money to finance social and environmental spending. A nationalized money supply would transform government spending into the monetary creation mechanism and embed justice and sustainability as hallmarks of how we manage our national economy.

SOURCE

 

Fossil Fuel Industry Is Now ‘in the Death Knell Phase’: CNBC’s Jim Cramer

Climate campaigners drew attention to CNBC’s Jim Cramer’s comments Friday that he’s “done with fossil fuels” because they’re “in the death knell phase.”

Cramer added that “the world’s turned on” the industry as they did with tobacco.

“They’re done,” Cramer said of fossil fuels on the network’s “Squawk Box.” “We’re starting to see divestment all over the world. We’re starting to see … big pension funds saying, ‘We not going to own them anymore.”

“The world’s changed,” Cramer continued. While companies like BP still mark profits, “nobody cares,” because “new money managers want to appease younger people who believe that you can’t ever make a fossil fuel company sustainable.”

“You can tell that the world’s turned on them, and it’s actually kind of happening very quickly,” said Cramer. “You’re seeing divestiture by a lot of different funds. It’s going to be a parade … that says look, ‘These are tobacco, and we’re not going to own them.'”

Author and climate activist Naomi Klein said Cramer’s comments showed the power of fossil fuel divestment campaigners.

350.org founder and author Bill McKibben had a similar takeaway, writing on Twitter Friday, “Thanks to all who fight so hard.”

Oil Change International also weighed in on Cramer’s comments.

Cramer’s comments on “Squawk Box” came two days after he tweeted that he was “taking a hard pass on anything fossil” — a comment welcomed by Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune.

Lindsay Meiman, a spokesperson for 350.org — which has spearheaded the global movement to demand pension funds, university endowments, and other institutions divest from oil, coal and gas companies — said Cramer is only confirming what many market observers already understand.

“The financial tides are turning away from fossil fuels. Coal, oil and gas companies are not only the perpetrators of the climate crisis we’re now experiencing, but have also dangerously underperformed markets over the last decade,” Meiman told Common Dreams. “As we enter the climate decade, we’re demanding polluters pay for their destruction, and that all institutions and politicians cut ties from toxic fossil fuels to reinvest in a world that puts our health and safety first.” SOURCE

Our last hope is a managed decline of fossil fuel production

In this global climate emergency, we must stop planning to fail

Image result for ricochet:In this global climate emergency, we must stop planning to fail"

“Humankind’s greatest crisis coincides with the rise of an ideology that makes it impossible to address. By the late 1980s, when it became clear that man-made climate change endangered the living planet and its people, the world was in the grip of an extreme political doctrine whose tenets forbid the kind of intervention required to arrest it.” – George Monbiot

Many commentators have been brightsiding last year’s federal election results as a majority of Canadians voting in favour of climate action. The reality, however, is that we have elected a government with a plan to fail.

Developed countries like Canada need to aim for a 60 per cent emission reduction by 2030, but the Trudeau government’s target fall well short of that necessary ambition. In fact they will fail to meet even the old Harper-era targets, while still trying to expand fossil fuel production.

Although nobody today seriously questions whether climate change is happening and is human caused primarily through our use of fossil fuels, Canadians remain in implicatory denial, refusing to consider let alone implement effective mitigation.

As Greta and the kids know only too well, something is seriously wrong.

Market measures wasting time

Back in the 1990s when climate mitigation planning began in earnest, decarbonization was conceived of as renewable energy capacity expanding and outcompeting fossil fuels in existing markets, aided by carbon pricing or governmental incentives for renewables.

These market-focused measures, today, are merely pretend mitigation, wasting more of our precious little time. There is not enough carbon budget left, investment in fossil fuel expansion continues largely unchecked, fossil fuel use is predicted to continue at present levels until at least 2040, and the only mitigation policies and instruments deemed acceptable (such as carbon pricing) are designed not to affect the all-important GDP by even minor percentage points. The systemic change we need is simply not allowed. No surprise that few nations have reduced emissions even to the inadequate levels pledged in international agreements.

Commenting on politicians’ (in)action in Australia, where wildfires seem to be at last awakening public opinion to what is at stake, Brad Zarnett describes the government’s plan to fail as immunity via collective failure:

To continue the illusion that we’re doing something, we’ve lumped ourselves into the mix of countries that have signed on to the Paris Accords as it requires little effort on our part and places us in good company with almost every other country on the planet that has failed to meet its non binding targets.

Why are our governments not responding responsibly to the growing climate crisis? Zarnett describes our present neoliberal governance:

The truth is that we exist in a playground, designed by corporations and billionaires, that talks the talk of societal wellbeing while simultaneously dismantling the very regulations that protect us from corporate abuse and greed.

The ‘big stall’

In the Canadian context, a decade ago, powerful corporate lobbyists concocted a “big stall” to in order to continue raking in the profits while keeping our government docile and following a plan to fail. Later, others involved with what would become the new federal Liberal government agreed to include pipeline projects in any national climate plan. Even though climate change is an emergency, the government pushes ahead to twin the TransMountain pipeline and build the Coastal GasLink for LNG.

How is this possible? Tipping points to runaway warming — civilization, if not humanity, threatening — are close to being reached, and we absolutely cannot afford to waste another decade without effective emission reductions.

As we begin 2020, we must have a vision of humanity’s future, an understanding of the climate dangers and how and why mitigation has failed. To achieve effective mitigation, we must escape myopia and denial with a clear-eyed vision of what needs to happen.

We need an immediate switch in our conception of mitigation, from the pretend, demand-side decarbonization orthodoxy to supply-side regulation.

Climate change is now a serious threat to all of our futures. Listen to the children and catch up with the best climate science. Climate is an emergency now requiring urgent, deep systemic change to a global post-carbon socio-economy; otherwise, we are all going to lose big, big time. Carbon lock-in, the Golden Straitjacket and the “tragedy of the atmospheric commons” must be recognized, addressed and conquered urgently so that effective mitigation becomes possible.

We need an immediate switch in our conception of mitigation, from the pretend, demand-side decarbonization orthodoxy to supply-side regulation. Our last hope is a regulated, managed decline of fossil fuel production and use initiated by those national producers wealthy and stable enough to lead. Emissions must be cut with both arms of the scissors.

Canada and Australia must lead. Both are important global producers and exporters who are experiencing rapid and threatening warming; both have socio-economies stable, wealthy and technologically proficient enough to make the transition to a post-carbon economy. The only way out of the atmospheric commons problem is for one or more countries in this position to do the right thing and lead by winding down production.

The only way that either of these governments will be able to initiate a regulated, managed decline is to form emergency wartime-style coalition governments. Emergency government must be agreed to by present powerful actors. Business will have to lead (in their own self-interest) by rolling back their capture of government and insistence upon smaller government and deregulation in the expansion of the global economy. Political actors on the right and left will have to agree on the need for bi-partisan cooperation, on the need for pragmatic emergency action instead of pursuit of ideological victory.

Too late?

But in the bleak beginning of this new decade, foremost climate columnist David Roberts (echoing the novelist Jonathan Franzen) strongly argues that effective mitigation to stay below a 1.5 C rise in global temperature is now a pipedream and we should stop pretending. We’ve waited too long; emissions would now have to decline at more than 10 per cent per year, which is impossible. The Trudeau government’s continuing pretend, strictly within business-as-usual decarbonization will fit perfectly into a global lack of ambition, and we, all of us but mostly the poor today and our kids in their climate chaos future, will lose big time.

Roberts (and Franzen) are far too ideologically careful to even mention managed decline or emergency government but that is what now has to happen urgently — we don’t need 100 per cent emission reduction by 2050, we need 10 per cent per year starting immediately, as soon as possible. And that must mean emergency governments regulating a managed decline.

Effective mitigation to stay under 2 C — if not 1.5 C — is still possible, just not likely without leadership, and leadership is increasingly absent with each election and wasted decade.
Russia, the U.S. and the Saudis are not going to lead. What is needed is leadership from Australia and Canada, who are major producers, who are both beginning to experience increased damage and loss from warming, and whose governments, though hobbled by neoliberalism, still have the capacity to choose reasonable, responsible mitigation opportunities to address a problem that everybody now agrees will only get more dire with continued inaction, with continuing pretend mitigation. But can either Australia or Canada get to emergency coalition government where mitigation becomes possible?

Last year Greta and the kids started getting serious about effective mitigation and about our (parents, adults, governments) continuing climate mitigation failure. But marching in optimism that adults and governments will finally act, the kids don’t understand how pretend the pretend mitigation is, how difficult it will be to even begin effective mitigation, how insidious the rules of the neolib playground are and how cowardly and myopic our supposed leaders are (especially our duplicitous, divisive prime minister). Effective mitigation to stay under 2 C — if not 1.5 C — is still possible, just not likely without leadership, and leadership is increasingly absent with each election and wasted decade.

How dare we pretend that we are doing what we need to do to protect their future? How dare we pretend that their future means anything but horror and fire, horror and loss, unbelievable catastrophe? How dare we pretend to care if we won’t even reasonably consider regulating the end of what has now become a possibly fatal toxin? SOURCE

Court dismisses Indigenous challenges of Trans Mountain pipeline

Segments of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion are buried near the area of Edmonton in December 2019. Photo by Trans Mountain

The Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion can proceed, even if Indigenous concerns still haven’t been addressed, because the Trudeau government consulted adequately with First Nations and the consultation process can’t be used as a veto, the Federal Court of Appeal said Tuesday.

The unanimous ruling by the three-judge panel found that the government’s second attempt at fulfilling its constitutional duty to consult meaningfully with Indigenous peoples was sufficient. It followed the court’s decision in August 2018 to quash the original approval of the pipeline.

“Contrary to what the applicants assert, this was anything but a rubber-stamping exercise,” reads the judgment, issued in downtown Ottawa on Feb. 4 by justices Marc Noël, Denis Pelletier and John Laskin.

“The end result was not a ratification of the earlier approval, but an approval with amended conditions flowing directly from the renewed consultation. It is true that the applicants are of the view that their concerns have not been fully met, but to insist on that happening is to impose a standard of perfection, a standard not required by law.”

It is the second high-profile court victory for pipeline supporters this year, after the Supreme Court in January dismissed an appeal that would have allowed the B.C. government to block heavy oil flowing through its territory on Trans Mountain.

The Coldwater Indian Band, Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe now have 60 days to decide whether to appeal Tuesday’s decision to the Supreme Court.

Reacting to the ruling outside the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon, Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan said it affirmed that the government “delivered on our duty to consult in a meaningful two-way dialogue.”

He then offered an olive branch to pipeline opponents. “I want to say clearly to those who are disappointed with today’s court decision, we see you and we hear you,” said O’Regan. Cananda will continue to engage with a range of voices as the pipeline is built, he said.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau, who appeared alongside O’Regan for the brief media appearance, said the government was pleased the project was moving forward, particularly in light of the “thousands” of people in B.C. and Alberta who are working on the pipeline expansion.

Indigenous ‘veto’ mentioned eight times

According to the ruling, the First Nations had argued that, essentially, “the project cannot be approved until all of their concerns are resolved to their satisfaction.” That was an impossibly high standard, said the justices.

Although Indigenous peoples can “assert their uncompromising opposition” to a fossil fuel project like an oil pipeline, they can’t “use the consultation process as a means to try to veto it,” the Federal Court of Appeal has ruled.

“If we accepted those submissions, as a practical matter there would be no end to consultation, the project would never be approved, and the applicants would have a de facto veto right over it,” they wrote.

“Insisting that the only acceptable accommodation is selecting an alternative to the project amounts to seeking a veto over the project, which forms no part of the duty to consult.”

In fact, the concept of an Indigenous veto over natural resource projects is mentioned eight separate times in the ruling’s text.

For instance, in another section, the justices add that “the case law is clear that although Indigenous peoples can assert their uncompromising opposition to the project, they cannot tactically use the consultation process as a means to try to veto it.”

As well, adhering to Reconciliation doesn’t mean sticking to any particular outcome on major decisions, because if it did, “Indigenous peoples would effectively have a veto over projects such as this one. ​The law is clear that no such veto exists.”

Even suggesting “too strict” a standard for reasonableness, or meaningfulness, concerning the duty to consult “would de facto create a veto right,” they wrote.

But beyond knocking down the veto concept, the Court of Appeal found that the government’s attempt at consultations passed the smell test.

“The evidentiary record shows a genuine effort in ascertaining and taking into account the key concerns of the applicants, considering them, engaging in two-way communication, and considering and sometimes agreeing to accommodations,” they wrote.

All this was “very much consistent with the concepts of reconciliation and the honour of the Crown.”​​​​​​​

The Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion can proceed, even if Indigenous concerns still haven’t been addressed, because the Trudeau government consulted adequately with First Nations and the consultation process can’t be used as a veto, the Federal Court of Appeal said Tuesday.

The unanimous ruling by the three-judge panel found that the government’s second attempt at fulfilling its constitutional duty to consult meaningfully with Indigenous peoples was sufficient. It followed the court’s decision in August 2018 to quash the original approval of the pipeline.

“Contrary to what the applicants assert, this was anything but a rubber-stamping exercise,” reads the judgment, issued in downtown Ottawa on Feb. 4 by justices Marc Noël, Denis Pelletier and John Laskin.

“The end result was not a ratification of the earlier approval, but an approval with amended conditions flowing directly from the renewed consultation. It is true that the applicants are of the view that their concerns have not been fully met, but to insist on that happening is to impose a standard of perfection, a standard not required by law.”

It is the second high-profile court victory for pipeline supporters this year, after the Supreme Court in January dismissed an appeal that would have allowed the B.C. government to block heavy oil flowing through its territory on Trans Mountain.

The Coldwater Indian Band, Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the Ts’elxwéyeqw Tribe now have 60 days to decide whether to appeal Tuesday’s decision to the Supreme Court.

Reacting to the ruling outside the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon, Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan said it affirmed that the government “delivered on our duty to consult in a meaningful two-way dialogue.”

He then offered an olive branch to pipeline opponents. “I want to say clearly to those who are disappointed with today’s court decision, we see you and we hear you,” said O’Regan. Cananda will continue to engage with a range of voices as the pipeline is built, he said.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau, who appeared alongside O’Regan for the brief media appearance, said the government was pleased the project was moving forward, particularly in light of the “thousands” of people in B.C. and Alberta who are working on the pipeline expansion.

Indigenous ‘veto’ mentioned eight times

According to the ruling, the First Nations had argued that, essentially, “the project cannot be approved until all of their concerns are resolved to their satisfaction.” That was an impossibly high standard, said the justices.

Although Indigenous peoples can “assert their uncompromising opposition” to a fossil fuel project like an oil pipeline, they can’t “use the consultation process as a means to try to veto it,” the Federal Court of Appeal has ruled.

“If we accepted those submissions, as a practical matter there would be no end to consultation, the project would never be approved, and the applicants would have a de facto veto right over it,” they wrote.

“Insisting that the only acceptable accommodation is selecting an alternative to the project amounts to seeking a veto over the project, which forms no part of the duty to consult.”

In fact, the concept of an Indigenous veto over natural resource projects is mentioned eight separate times in the ruling’s text.

For instance, in another section, the justices add that “the case law is clear that although Indigenous peoples can assert their uncompromising opposition to the project, they cannot tactically use the consultation process as a means to try to veto it.”

As well, adhering to Reconciliation doesn’t mean sticking to any particular outcome on major decisions, because if it did, “Indigenous peoples would effectively have a veto over projects such as this one. ​The law is clear that no such veto exists.”

Even suggesting “too strict” a standard for reasonableness, or meaningfulness, concerning the duty to consult “would de facto create a veto right,” they wrote.

But beyond knocking down the veto concept, the Court of Appeal found that the government’s attempt at consultations passed the smell test.

“The evidentiary record shows a genuine effort in ascertaining and taking into account the key concerns of the applicants, considering them, engaging in two-way communication, and considering and sometimes agreeing to accommodations,” they wrote.

All this was “very much consistent with the concepts of reconciliation and the honour of the Crown.”​​​​​​​

SOURCE

When it comes to climate hypocrisy, Canada’s leaders have reached a new low

A territory that has 0.5% of the Earth’s population plans to use up nearly a third of the planet’s remaining carbon budget

‘If an alcoholic assured you he was taking his condition very seriously, but also laying in a 40-year store of bourbon, you’d be entitled to doubt his sincerity.’ Photograph: Andrej Ivanov/Reuters

Americans elected Donald Trump, who insisted climate change was a hoax – so it’s no surprise that since taking office he’s been all-in for the fossil fuel industry. There’s no sense despairing; the energy is better spent fighting to remove him from office.

Canada, on the other hand, elected a government that believes the climate crisis is real and dangerous – and with good reason, since the nation’s Arctic territories give it a front-row seat to the fastest warming on Earth. Yet the country’s leaders seem likely in the next few weeks to approve a vast new tar sands mine which will pour carbon into the atmosphere through the 2060s. They know – yet they can’t bring themselves to act on the knowledge. Now that is cause for despair.

The Teck mine would be the biggest tar sands mine yet: 113 square miles of petroleum mining, located just 16 miles from the border of Wood Buffalo national park. A federal panel approved the mine despite conceding that it would likely be harmful to the environment and to the land culture of Indigenous people. These giant tar sands mines (easily visible on Google Earth) are already among the biggest scars humans have ever carved on the planet’s surface. But Canadian authorities ruled that the mine was nonetheless in the “public interest”.

This is painfully hard to watch because it comes as the planet has supposedly reached a turning point. A series of remarkable young people (including Canadians such as Autumn Peltier) have captured the imagination of people around the world; scientists have issued ever sterner warnings; and the images of climate destruction show up in every newspaper. Canadians can see the Australian blazes on television; they should bring back memories of the devastating forest fires that forced the evacuation of Fort McMurray, in the heart of the tar sands complex, less than four years ago.

The only rational response would be to immediately stop the expansion of new fossil fuel projects. It’s true that we can’t get off oil and gas immediately; for the moment, oil wells continue to pump. But the Teck Frontier proposal is predicated on the idea that we’ll still need vast quantities of oil in 2066, when Greta Thunberg is about to hit retirement age. If an alcoholic assured you he was taking his condition very seriously, but also laying in a 40-year store of bourbon, you’d be entitled to doubt his sincerity, or at least to note his confusion. Oil has addled the Canadian ability to do basic math: more does not equal less, and 2066 is not any time soon. An emergency means you act now.

In fairness, Canada has company here. For every territory making a sincere effort to kick fossil fuels (California, Scotland) there are other capitals just as paralyzed as Ottawa. Australia’s fires creep ever closer to the seat of government in Canberra, yet the prime minister, Scott Morrison, can’t seem to imagine any future for his nation other than mining more coal. Australia and Canada are both rich nations, their people highly educated, but they seem unable to control the zombie momentum of fossil fuels.

There’s obviously something hideous about watching the Trumps and the Putins of the world gleefully shred our future. But it’s disturbing in a different way to watch leaders pretend to care – a kind of gaslighting that can reduce you to numb nihilism. Trudeau, for all his charms, doesn’t get to have it both ways: if you can’t bring yourself to stop a brand-new tar sands mine then you’re not a climate leader. SOURCE

Race to exploit the world’s seabed set to wreak havoc on marine life

New research warns that ‘blue acceleration’ – a global goldrush to claim the ocean floor – is already impacting on the environment.

Aitutaki lagoon in Polynesia. Photograph: Andrea Izzotti/Alamy

The scaly-foot snail is one of Earth’s strangest creatures. It lives more than 2,300 metres below the surface of the sea on a trio of deep-sea hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. Here it has evolved a remarkable form of protection against the crushing, grim conditions found at these Stygian depths. It grows a shell made of iron.

Discovered in 1999, the multi-layered iron sulphide armour of Chrysomallon squamiferum – which measures a few centimetres in diameter – has already attracted the interest of the US defence department, whose scientists are now studying its genes in a bid to discover how it grows its own metal armour.

The researchers will have to move quickly, however, for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has just added the snail to its list of threatened species. German and Chinese industrial groups have revealed plans to explore the seabed around two of the three vents that provide homes for scaly-foot snails. Should they proceed, and mine the seabed’s veins of metals and minerals, a large chunk of the snail’s home base will be destroyed and the existence of this remarkable little creature will be threatened.

“On land, we are already exploiting mineral resources to the full,” says Jean-Baptiste Jouffray, of Stockholm University. “At the same time, the need for rare elements and metals is becoming increasingly important to supply green technologies such as wind and solar power plants.

“And so industrialists are looking to the seabed where it is now technologically and economically feasible to mine for minerals. Hence the arrival of threats to creatures like the scaly-foot snail.”

Jouffray is the lead author of an analysis, published last week in the journal One Earth, which involved synthesising 50 years of data from shipping, drilling, aquaculture, and other marine industries and which paints an alarming picture of the impact of future exploitation of the oceans.

This threat comes not just from seabed mining – which is set to expand dramatically in coming years – but from fish farming, desalination plant construction, shipping, submarine cable laying, cruise tourism and the building of offshore wind farms.

Another illustration of blue acceleration is provided by seabed grabbing, state the authors. Article 76 of the UN convention on the law of the sea (UNCLOS) allows countries to claim seabed that lies beyond the 200 miles of a nation’s exclusive economic zone. Since the first claim under Article 76 was made in 2001, 83 countries have made submissions. Put together, these claims account for more than 37 million sq km of seabed, an area more than twice the size of Russia.

Many seabed grabbers include small island states that are trying to become large ocean states in the process. For example, the Cook islands in the South Pacific has claimed an area of seabed that is 1,700 times its land surface. “The extension of the continental shelf is therefore not only transforming the geopoltical landscape, it is also substantially shrinking the area designated as the common heritage of humankind,” states the report.

Chrysomallon squamiferum – the scaly-foot snail.
 Chrysomallon squamiferum – the scaly-foot snail. Photograph: Chong Chen Pinterest

 

Examples of the conflicts that could ensue because of the blue acceleration include the disruption of key fish stocks by drilling for gas or oil offshore; pipelines that prevent trawl fishing; and offshore wind farms that disturb tourism.

Norway provides a stark demonstration of likely future conflicts. It aims to bring about fivefold rises both in salmon farming and cruise tourism in its waters over coming years while also building more and more offshore wind farms and more and more offshore gas and oil platforms. Seabed mining for minerals is also scheduled to begin. This saturation of ocean space renders Norwegian waters as being highly vulnerable to shocks, states the report.

The South China Sea is another potential flashpoint. It is a key gateway in the region’s network of undersea telecommunication cables; a third of the world’s shipping passes through it; while half the world’s fishing boats operate in its waters – which are disputed variously by China, Malaysia, Vietnam and others. Should armed conflict break out here over any of these issues, there would be a far-reaching impact on the world’s economy.

“The relevance of the ocean for humanity’s future is undisputed,” states the report. “However, addressing the diversity of claims, their impacts and their interactions, will require effective governance.”

To achieve this, the authors call for greater accountability to be imposed on those financing the fundamental changes that are now being made to Earth’s oceans. These include both banks and governments.

In addition, the vulnerability of small island states needs to be addressed, it adds: “Navigating the blue acceleration in a just and sustainable way requires particular emphasis on the implications of increased ocean use across the globe – and how these claims could have an impact on the economic safety and wellbeing of vulnerable communities and social groups.” SOURCE

Greta Thunberg files application to trademark her name

Climate activist also applied to register name of climate movement Fridays for Future

Thunberg in front of the Swedish parliament. She said she applied to trademark Skolstrejk for klimatet (school strike for the climate). Photograph: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty

The climate activist Greta Thunberg has said she has applied to register her name and that of the Fridays For Future movement she founded in 2018, which has gone global and catapulted her to international fame.

The move would allow legal action against persons or companies trying to use her name which are not in line with her values or that of her movement, she said.

“I assure you, I and the other school strikers have absolutely no interests in trademarks. But unfortunately it needs to be done,” she said on Instagram on Wednesday.

Image result for instagram: greta thunberg smiling homepage"
Impostors, trademarks, commercial interests, royalties and foundation… First: Unfortunately there are still people who are trying to impersonate me or falsely claim that they "represent" me in order to communicate with high profile people, politicians, media, artists etc. Please be aware that this is happening and be extremely suspicious if you are contacted by ”me” or someone saying they ”represent” me. I apologize to anyone who has been contacted – and even misled – by this kind of behavior. Second: My name and the #FridaysForFuture movement are constantly being used for commercial purposes without any consent whatsoever. It happens for instance in marketing, selling of products and people collecting money in my and the movement’s name. That is why I’ve applied to register my name, Fridays For Future, Skolstrejk för klimatet etc as trademarks. This action is to protect the movement and its activities. It is also needed to enable my pro bono legal help to take necessary action against people or corporations etc who are trying to use me and the movement in purposes not in line with what the movement stands for. I assure you, I and the other school strikers have absolutely no interests in trademarks. But unfortunately it needs to be done. Fridays For Future is a global movement founded by me. It belongs to anyone taking part in it, above all the young people. It can – and must – not be used for individual or commercial purposes. And third: together with my family I’m setting up a foundation. It’s already registered and existing, but it not is not yet up and running. This is strictly nonprofit of course and there are no interests in philanthropy. It is just something that is needed for handling money (book royalties, donations, prize money etc) in a completely transparent way. For instance, taxes have to be paid before we can give them away to specified purposes and charities. This takes a lot of time and work, and when the foundation is fully up and running I will tell you more. The foundation’s aim will be to promote ecological, climatic and social sustainability as well as mental health. Love/ Greta

A post shared by Greta Thunberg (@gretathunberg) on


Thunberg said she had also applied to trademark Skolstrejk for klimatet (school strike for the climate in Swedish) – the wording on the placard she has held since she started her protest outside the Swedish parliament in 2018.

“My name and the #FridaysForFuture movement are constantly being used for commercial purposes without any consent whatsoever. It happens for instance in marketing, selling of products and people collecting money in my and the movement’s name,” she wrote on the social network.

Thunberg, who took centre stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos this month, and her fellow young activists in the movement want politicians to listen to climate scientists and take action to tackle global heating. SOURCE