Global Climate Coalition Tells Biden Ukraine War Is Chance to ‘End the Fossil Fuel Era

Global Climate Coalition Tells Biden Ukraine War Is Chance to ‘End the Fossil Fuel Era’

 Over 520 organizations told President Joe Biden on Wednesday to urgently “end the fossil fuel era” and commit to a rapid renewable energy transition rooted in justice and a more peaceful world.
“This is the opportunity of our lifetimes to stop the violence of fossil fuels and build a new era of peace and justice to confront the climate crisis.”
The demand was delivered in a letter that points to a “cascade of emergencies” currently facing humanity including the climate crisis and Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, which “share the same dangerous thread: dependence on fossil fuels.”
“Russia’s invasion into Ukraine is fueled by their fossil fuel extraction power, and the world’s reliance upon it,” the signatories, including global groups like Climate Action Network International and, wrote

CIG to control future renewable assets in new policy

CIG to control future renewable assets in new policy 

 The Cayman Islands Government is seeking to take control of the country’s future green energy resources through majority ownership of new solar or other renewable energy facilities. Premier Wayne Panton announced the major new policy direction on Wednesday at a forum in Miami, when he outlined the goal for government and the public to have the majority shares in any new infrastructure, allowing Cayman to reap and retain the benefits of renewable projects and control of future energy supplies.
Panton’s revelation came during a special conversational section at the Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum, in which he delivered the keynote speech. Afterwards, he told CNS that the details of how this will be achieved have not yet been ironed out, but he said government will be engaged in some form of private partnership with operators of renewable facilities that will see the public control the majority stake.

Heat-resilient “super corals”: Nature Seychelles setting up aquaculture farm for future corals

Heat-resilient “super corals”: Nature Seychelles setting up aquaculture farm for future corals 

 Nature Seychelles, a nonprofit organisation, is planning to set up a land-based aquaculture coral farm on the island of Praslin to produce more heat-resilient corals, which are better engineered to adapt to continuously rising ocean temperatures.
The organisation’s chief executive, Nirmal Shah, told SNA that such a project will be more advantageous than an ocean-based nursery or farm.
“By growing corals in an aquaculture facility, we will be able to produce more corals and faster. We can also produce corals that we have experimented with. We want to train the corals to become more resilient to heat as this is the problem corals face at the moment,” said Shah.
Corals all over the world are increasingly dying due to the continuous rise of sea temperatures as a result of climate change.
Shah explained that it is more urgent for Seychelles matters as waters of the western Indian Ocean are warming up at a faster rate, causing corals to bleach faster.
When corals bleach, they expel their symbiotic partners, types of photosynthetic algae, causing the corals to be deprived of their nutrients and, as such, die off. 

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Casualties of America’s Never-Ending Global War on Terror

Opinion | Casualties of America’s Never-Ending Global War on Terror 

“The drone attack of 29 November 2018 where 11 innocent people lost their lives in Libya is part of the broader U.S. program of extrajudicial killings. This program is based on a notion of pre-emptive self-defense that does not meet the canons of international law, as the use of lethal attacks of this nature is only legitimate where the state is acting to defend itself against an imminent threat to life. In this circumstance, the victims posed no threat,” reads the criminal complaint. “In light of this premise, the drone attack on Al Awaynat on 29 November 2018 stands in frontal contrast to the discipline, Italian and international, regarding the use of lethal force in the context of law enforcement operations.”
For the last two decades, the United States has been conducting an undeclared war across much of the globe, employing proxy forces from Africa to Asia, deploying commandos from the Philippines to the West African nation of Burkina Faso, and conducting air strikes not only in Libya, but in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. Over those years, the U.S. military has taken pains to normalize the use of drone warfare outside established war zones while relying on allies around the world (as at that Italian base in Siracusa) to help conduct its global war.  Read More

Opinion: The surprising solution to gun violence

(CNN) In 1973, two psychologists came up with a clever experiment. They took a group of Princeton Theological Seminary students and asked them to walk across campus to give a lecture on the parable of the “Good Samaritan.” Along their route, the psychologists positioned someone in a doorway, not moving, eyes closed, coughing and groaning as the study subjects went by — someone, in other words, clearly in need of a Good Samaritan’s help.
There was a twist: Before the students left to give their lecture, some were told they were late. Others weren’t told anything at all. That little variation in their situation made all the difference in their behavior.
Only 10% of the students who were “late” stopped to help the slumping man, whereas nearly two-thirds of those who were “on time” stopped to offer help. As the psychologists put it, “On several occasions, a seminary student going to give his talk on the parable of the Good Samaritan literally stepped over the victim as he hurried on his way.”
The two psychologists didn’t know it then — and it certainly wasn’t their intent — but through their study, they demonstrated something unexpected: a key driver of gun violence in America.  Read More

The scientific breakthrough that could have saved a diver’s life

 Smith was a U.S. Navy veteran who, after separating, found a way to carry on his love affair with the ocean at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, better known as NOAA. At this job, he spent a substantial amount of his time underwater. However, on May 5, 2009, the pressure waves from a nearby underwater jackhammer flipped through the settings of the electronics package of his breathing equipment and turned off the computer that was monitoring and controlling his supply of oxygen, without his knowledge or permission. He was using a specialized type of equipment called a mixed-gas rebreather, which recycles a diver’s breathing gas, injecting new oxygen to replace what the diver has already used up.
Dewey Smith was an extraordinarily experienced, skilled, and well-trained diver. Still, on that warm summer day in the Florida Keys, he breathed in the last remaining molecules of oxygen available to him, lost consciousness, and died. Nobody had done anything wrong, including him. Not really. Diving with a rebreather is the second most lethal activity in the world per hour, after BASE jumping. Once you remove from the statistics the weekend warriors who have heart attacks, about half of the all-too-frequent deaths are caused by the same phenomenon that killed Dewey: hypoxia, otherwise known as lack of oxygen. The divers almost never know what hit them, and the ocean rarely offers second chances.

The Ludlow Massacre: Bitter and Prejudiced In the Extreme

Further | The Ludlow Massacre: Bitter and Prejudiced In the Extreme | Opinion

 This week marks the 108th anniversary of what Wallace Stegner called “one of the bleakest and blackest episodes of American labor history,” when armed thugs hired by John Rockefeller Jr. burned down a tent encampment and machine-gunned the families of striking coal miners in Ludlow, CO, killing at least 26 – including 15 women and children who suffocated in a pit – for the crime of seeking to be treated as human beings. 
The attack on April 20, 1914 against 1,200 striking mineworkers was the culmination of a long struggle in Colorado coal country, where the United Mine Workers had been organizing a diverse workforce of thousands of miners, many Greek, Mexican and Italian. 
Most worked for the massive Colorado Fuel and Iron Co. owned by the Rockefellers, America’s richest family, who despite growing public revulsion for the excesses of the Gilded Age still ran CFI like the Robber Barons they were. Miners died in the hundreds in cave-ins and from disease, working 12-hour days, seven days a week, for 80 cents per ton of coal; they got no pay for the so-called “dead work” of prepping a mine to minimize its hazards; they had to live in company shacks in company towns, shopping at company stores using company scrip, guarded by company thugs who ruled towns like concentration camp kapos.  Read More

NATO accession – Nordic perspective

NATO accession – Nordic perspective 

The war in Ukraine seems to have put an end to European indecision. Countries such as Switzerland, Austria, Sweden and Finland imposed sanctions on Russia. But Switzerland and Austria are hundreds of kilometers from the Russian border. Sweden and Finland, on the other hand, are on the brink. Consequently, these Nordic countries view with great concern the events in Ukraine and fear that the crisis may spread beyond Ukraine.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine looks set to make what has hitherto been almost unimaginable the rapid accession of two Nordic countries – Sweden and Finland – to NATO. According to forecast analysis , the debate is no longer about “whether or not Sweden and Finland will join”, but “when and how soon they will join”.
It is a historic moment and time of great decisions in the geopolitics of these two Nordic states, decisions which will determine the security configuration in this region of Europe and beyond for many decades to come. The decision is by no means easy.
In Kosovo, for example, membership in the Alliance may enjoy unreserved support, but for the Nordic countries, joining NATO is not accompanied by much enthusiasm. First of all, it is a cold calculation that shows for the awareness that membership will not only bring security, but is likely to be followed by tensions in the Nordic-Russian region as well.
Below is a brief summary of the Swedish-Finnish view on NATO membership and the evolution of their foreign policy as a result of the Russian occupation of Ukraine.
From neutrality to non-alignment, then to membership
To understand the reasons why Sweden and Finland are not members of NATO one must first make a brief recollection of their history. Sweden has not been involved in the war for more than two hundred years. During the Cold War, it took a neutral position on the rivalry between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, an alliance of communist states rallying around the former Soviet Union that disintegrated with the end of the Cold War.
However, from the early 1990s onwards, Sweden’s position has evolved from a genuine neutrality to the status of a non-aligned country in terms of security. In other words, while Sweden continues to be a non-NATO member, its armed forces work closely with those of the Alliance, as well as contributing to joint peacekeeping forces ( including Kosovo ). The standard operating procedures of the Swedish army are in full compliance with those of NATO; Democratic control over the armed forces is complete and in accordance with the basic principles of consolidated democratic states.
However, the voice of those who in the past have called for NATO membership, both by the government and the public, has always been low. In fact, Swedish politics – almost its entire spectrum – has always been clear about Russian politics. She has not cultivated illusions about Moscow, a sentiment that has been encountered not infrequently in German politics, for example. Basically, the reason for staying out of NATO for Sweden is explained through its own history. Why change the security architecture if the current one has contributed to the country not going to war for more than two centuries? So there was no reason to modify the security configuration. At least not so far.
Finland, on the other hand, emerged from the bloody World War II, with lost territory but proud and proud of its citizens’s heroic battles against the Soviet Union. It shares the 1300 km border with Russia and, perhaps more than any other nation, understands very well the psyche of the Russian citizen, his ambitions, prejudices and fears.
Like Sweden, Finland during the Cold War adopted a position of neutrality towards East and West, but with ever-increasing tendencies of rapprochement with NATO, participating in its peacekeeping forces, as in Kosovo . Even in this country, the standard operating procedures are in full compliance with those of NATO, while the state has full democratic control over the armed forces. Unlike Sweden, Finland has been at war with Russia and precisely for the sake of cultivating stable relations has had to rule out the option of NATO membership. So far.
Finland has had to work hard to cultivate a relatively close relationship with Moscow, a relationship based on mutual respect and trust. This is a close relationship not like the one that can be encountered between two friends, but one that can be seen between enemies who, for the sake of coexistence, must find common bridges of cooperation. Thus Finland had to learn how to work and even cooperate with Russia. They are neighbors, after all.
It is no coincidence that Finns like former President Martti Ahtisaari have mediated in conflicts like the one between Kosovo and Serbia. This is because people like him have enjoyed the trust of the West but also of Russia. In Finland, support for NATO membership has always been higher than in Sweden, but such a step has not been taken due to maintaining the balance of peace with Russia. Either way, such a step can be taken very quickly.
Between safety and permanent voltage
The Kremlin’s ever-increasing aggression has led public opinion in both Sweden and Finland to vote in favor of NATO membership. The application for membership is likely to be made very soon, probably at the next NATO summit that is expected to be held in Madrid at the end of June . Finland will enter the membership dance with more taste and enthusiasm; Sweden will take this step with a little nausea and laziness.
The governments of both countries take this step without euphoria and with responsibility, aware that membership strengthens the security architecture but also carries with it a series of dilemmas and tensions in the field of security that can continue for decades.
With NATO membership, the Nordic region and the whole of northwestern Europe come under the Alliance’s security umbrella. Any attack on these states would be an attack on NATO, as stated by NATO Article 5 on collective defense.
But on the other hand, the whole security architecture of the Nordic-Russian region will move towards further militarization. There will be an increase in armaments, an increase in military spending, which means less money for health, education, the environment, and so on. The West-East partition along the Baltic Sea will also be concreted, which will lead to further isolation of Russia. A completely isolated enemy can be even more dangerous than the one with whom we maintain communication contacts, however rare they may be.
In this regard, especially Helsinki will have to rebuild political relations with Moscow, relations cultivated with sensitivity for decades. Furthermore, the risk of incidents and unconventional attacks, such as cyber attacks, will increase. And, finally, it is likely that we are entering an ice age, of a neo-brutal militarization of societies for decades. This crazy arms race is not a good omen for anyone, especially when dealing with criminal and completely irrational regimes like the Kremlin.
The constant militarization of states and societies leads to the escalation of new conflicts and reduces the space for peace. All this is happening in the circumstances when today’s Mordor – to borrow an analogy from the works of JRR Tolkien according to which Mordor is the epicenter of Evil in the world – that is, the Kremlin, shows no signs of softening in its savagery.
Is there any other way but to arm NATO membership? As is the case with Sweden and Finland, it is easy to call for peace, but in the face of brutal aggression coming from the Kremlin, there seems to be no alternative but to join NATO.
Armend Bekaj
Armend Bekaj is a Lecturer in the Department of Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University, Sweden. He has worked for a number of international organizations, including International IDEA in Sweden. He holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Sheffield, UK.

Arundhati Roy on Religious Nationalism, Dissent, and the Battle Between Myth and History

Arundhati Roy on Religious Nationalism, Dissent, and the Battle Between Myth and History 

 Good afternoon, and thank you for inviting me to deliver the Sissy Farenthold lecture. Before I begin, I would like to say a few words about the war in Ukraine. I unequivocally condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and applaud the Ukrainian peoples’ courageous resistance. I applaud the courage shown by Russian dissenters at enormous cost to themselves.
I say this while being acutely and painfully aware of the hypocrisy of the United States and Europe, which together have waged similar wars on other countries in the world. Together they have led the nuclear race and have stockpiled enough weapons to destroy our planet many times over. What an irony it is that the very fact that they possess these weapons, now forces them to helplessly watch as a country they consider to be an ally is decimated—a country whose people and territory, whose very existence, imperial powers have jeopardized with their war games and ceaseless quest for domination.

Scientists Stage Worldwide Climate Change Protests After IPCC Report

Over 1,000 scientists from 25 different countries staged protests last week following the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s new report. The report warned that rapid and deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions are necessary by 2025 to avoid catastrophic climate effects.
The group, called the Scientist Rebellion, writes in a letter that “current actions and plans are grossly inadequate, and even these obligations are not being met.” Their protests “highlight the urgency and injustice of the climate and ecological crisis,” per a statement from the organization.
In Los Angeles, scientists including Peter Kalmus, a NASA climate scientist with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, chained themselves to the JP Morgan Chase building.
“We’ve been trying to warn you guys for so many decades,” Kalmus says, his voice shaking. “The scientists of the world have been being ignored. And it’s gotta stop. We’re going to lose everything.”
They were met by about 100 police officers in riot gear and arrested, reports Salon’s Eric Schank