miscellaneous

What we learned this week

They’re still producing ‘brown coal’, but Germany’s last ‘black coal’ mine closed just before Christmas. The level of emotional attachment to coal mining is worth noting.

On a related note, unions in Britain have been petitioning for guarantees of a just transition as Britain moves towards a more sustainable future. Oil and gas workers shouldn’t be left behind the way coal miners were under Thatcher.

Meanwhile, DeSmog highlights how the fracking industry’s greatest skill is ‘pretending to make money‘. If the much-celebrated US industry isn’t delivering, what chance for Britain?

“What if we composted the news?” asks Byron Smith in introducing his new podcast, The Good Dirt. Rather than responding to breaking news, the podcast revisits it to see what matters and what we can learn.

As I was going through the books I read in 2018 this week, I idly wondered whether the pile was taller than the children. Yes, is the answer, especially since there are ebooks, library books and some that I’ve lent to people. I wonder how many years that will be true for.

In looking at the photo later, I noticed the number 61 on Zach’s jumper. Entirely coincidentally, that is the number of books in the stack…

4 comments

  1. For info ref German coal: this is from Ende Gelaende’s newsletter ‘wish list for 2019’:
    https://www.ende-gelaende.org/en/news/newsletter-37-our-wish-list-for-the-climate/
    The so-called Coal Commission (officially titled “Commission for Growth, Structural Change and Employment”) is slowly coming to its end. But whatever final result is presented on 1 February 2019, it will hardly be compatible with the 1.5°C target or even climate justice. Instead, it looks as if the coal lobby could once again assert its interests. The shutdown of coal-fired power plants is not to begin until after 2020, with high compensation for and only in agreement with the corporations. The already inadequate CO2 reduction target for 2020 would thus be abandoned.

    Ref guarantees of a just transition’ I was recently very struck by Edward Luttwak’s comments in Radio 4’s programme on Turbo Capitalism:
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bk1dnv
    https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Turbo_capitalism.html?id=-weUQgAACAAJ&source=kp_book_description&redir_esc=y
    I’m still evaluating what is my overall reaction to Luttwak, but it made me think. I don’t think I had appreciated the issues of disruption to employees of existing fossil industries: surely we must quickly move from fossil fuels, but perhaps liberals should be more aware of helping ‘fossil employees’ to transition well. Jeremy Leggett makes the point that they often have excellent transferrable skills for the new renewables industries, but probably more needs to be done to enable them to make the switch.

    Thanks also for the heads-up on Byron Smith’s podcast

  2. oops, feel foul of comment filtering again. Having another go..

    For info ref German coal: this is from Ende Gelaende’s newsletter ‘wish list for 2019′:
    ende-gelaende.org/en/news/newsletter-37-our-wish-list-for-the-climate/
    The so-called Coal Commission (officially titled “Commission for Growth, Structural Change and Employment”) is slowly coming to its end. But whatever final result is presented on 1 February 2019, it will hardly be compatible with the 1.5°C target or even climate justice. Instead, it looks as if the coal lobby could once again assert its interests. The shutdown of coal-fired power plants is not to begin until after 2020, with high compensation for and only in agreement with the corporations. The already inadequate CO2 reduction target for 2020 would thus be abandoned.

    Ref guarantees of a just transition’ I was recently very struck by Edward Luttwak’s comments in Radio 4’s programme on Turbo Capitalism:
    bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bk1dnv
    books.google.co.uk/books/about/Turbo_capitalism.html?id=-weUQgAACAAJ&source=kp_book_description&redir_esc=y
    I’m still evaluating what is my overall reaction to Luttwak, but it made me think. I don’t think I had appreciated the issues of disruption to employees of existing fossil industries: surely we must quickly move from fossil fuels, but perhaps liberals should be more aware of helping ‘fossil employees’ to transition well. Jeremy Leggett makes the point that they often have excellent transferrable skills for the new renewables industries, but probably more needs to be done to enable them to make the switch.

    Thanks also for the heads-up on Byron Smith’s podcast

  3. Thanks Marcus. I like the organisation Iron & Earth here, which retrains tar sands workers for the renewable energy industry. That’s the kind of thing we need to see more of, not just for the workers but for whole communities that depend on fossil fuels.

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