News from Extinction Rebellion, Ukraine. Journalist David Beers exposes darker myths behind Elon Musk, along with his genius. From Oil Change International, Lorne Stockman covers the risks & alternatives to fossil power – in machines and geo-politics.
There is a war on! Why bother listening to climate change news? Because nature will break down our lives, making human fights look small.
EXTINCTION REBELLION IN THE UKRAINE
Extinction Rebellion in the Ukraine just issued a plea to stop funding fossil terrorists. Europe’s gas supply for homes and industry is teetering.
Let’s start with the invasion of Ukraine, again. The Communists invaded and then starved the Ukraine in the 1930’s. Google “Holodomor” – to find the genocide left out of history. Ukrainians do not have good memories about their times in the Soviet Union. Not to mention the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear explosion that poisoned the children of Kiev, and spread radioactive dust across Europe. A revived Stalinist empire is not where Ukrainians want to go.
Free Ukraine developed an ardent climate action community. We just received a passionate, sad last communique from Extinction Rebellion Ukraine, as Russian troops moved in.
XR Ukraine writes:
“We want to highlight how the EU’s dependence on Russian coal, oil and gas, has created existential threats both for world peace and for the climate. The money coming from those sources is no less than crucial for Putin’s criminal regime, which uses fossil-fuel money for his military aggression outside of Russia and for unprecedented in
world history tv, radio, print and digital propaganda and brutal police control inside Russia.
What climate policy can Germany and other European countries can claim to have if they’ve been buying oil and gas from an international terrorist for decades? How can the climate crisis be solved when there is an energy security crisis at the heart of the EU? Even without a climate agenda, fossil fuels are a threat to world peace as they feed dictatorships all over the world. But Putin’s dictatorship is particularly outstanding.”
The XR group goes on to explain the sordid history of Putin’s rise to power, and the way billions of dollars of European money for fossil fuels has been used against the people or Russia, against democracies around the world including America, and now to invade the Sovereign people of Ukraine.
Of course wars, and all the industry that went into weapons production, are a huge blow-out of fossil fuels into the atmosphere. All those ships, planes, trucks, and tanks burn lots and lots of oil, diesel, and bunker fuel. Nothing of value is produced: the purpose of armaments is to destroy. Then reconstruction creates even more greenhouse gases. Industrialized war is a particular human madness, and now it continues long into the future, as Earth heats up.
Olha Boiko, a coordinator for the Climate Action Network in Ukraine, says “Until [Putin’s] regime falls,” there cannot be climate action. Boiko was awoke to shelling and fled West on a train.
Chloé Farand of ClimateHome Weekly reports: “the crisis has already taken its toll on Ukrainian scientists, who have had to leave the report’s approval session taking place online, amid artillery shells exploding.” The only bright spot, Farand says, is “Europe’s compulsion to end its dependence on Russian gas might accelerate the continent’s decarbonisation efforts and spur energy efficiency and renewable roll out. “
Oh well, I’m looking forward to my peaceful life on Mars. Let’s get to our first guest.
DAVID BEERS ON ELON MUSK
The rocket-man club has an answer: escape to Mars! Journalist David Beers exposes darker myths behind Elon Musk, along with his genius.
It is time, ladies and gentlemen; time to admit even climate heroes are flawed. We speak of Elon Musk, the visionary who revolutionized the electric car industry. His batteries save emissions. Musk is deploying satellites to bring communications to every corner of the world. His rockets carry scientific instruments into space. But like every human, Elon’s mind contains dangerous myths as well.
David Beers called out Toxic Musk memes in the Tyee, Canada’s independent online journal. David is the founding editor and current editor-in-chief, with a stable of award-winning contributing journalists. Beers was a senior editor at Mother Jones Magazine, and publishes in major outlets. David Beers. David is also an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia’s graduate school of journalism.
Canadian journalist David Beers
When a trucker’s protest occupied Canada’s capital, Elon Musk tossed out an early morning Tweet saying Adolf Hitler was better than our elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He agreed with the right-wingers in the protest that our government was illegitimate, even though recently elected.
Musk also appeared on Joe Rogan’s show, in 2018, before the pandemic. Musk famously smoked pot on camera and wore his Occupy Mars T-shirt. Why not occupy Mars, like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie “Total Recall”? David Beers describes some of the harsh realities on Mars, and Musk’s plan to detonate thousands of nuclear weapons trying to “terra-form” the planet for humans.
The European Space Agency has already decided against any manned mission to Mars. Just the radiation there would kill humans. So here we are. Elon Musk, one of the greatest technical minds of our age, is just as crazy as the rest of us. But Musk has a global platform to spread that madness, along with his genius – like 77 million Twitter followers.
I would love to have a Tesla instead of my gas-burning car. We need this guy to succeed, or at least the good part of him. Both Beers and I agree Elon Musk is a genius for the times when it comes to technology, but not very developed when it comes to making society.
This interview is based on the article “Enough with Toxic Musk-ulinity”, published in the Canadian online publication “The Tyee”. But there was a previous, longer article published in the New Republic as well.
I also recommend the prophetic 1989 book “Stark” by English comedian Ben Elton. Elton described a conspiracy of billionaires building a space-ship to escape an ecologically dying Earth. That was recreated in the recent Netflix hit “Don’t Look Up”. While billionaires increase their obscene wealth wrecking the planet, what else could they be thinking, other than laws of life and physics will not apply to them – they will get away somehow?
The demand to get off Earth did not start with Elon Musk. Scientist Stephen Hawking famously warned life on Earth is so vulnerable we must find another planet. Now there are multi-million dollar institutions founded on this need, like Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom and his Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford. They claim we need to prioritize not climate change, or mass extinction, or poverty, – but space exploration. Only rich white men can want this, don’t you think?
In his pitch, Nick Bostrom already counts happiness in the future, as humans spread across galaxies. In the 1940’s and 50’s, science fiction writer Isacc Asimov depicted this big dream in his book series “The Foundation”. In my opinion, the space barons are peddling science fiction. It is a distraction that could cost us the living world we have.
LORNE STOCKMAN – OIL CHANGE INTERNATIONAL
The oil and gas industries expect another record year, and banks pay out trillions for even more coal operations. From the campaign group Oil Change International, Lorne Stockman speaks to the risks and alternatives to fossil power – in machines and politics.
Lorne Stockman is the Research Co-Director at Oil Change International. He specializes in the North American oil industry. Lorne previously produced research and reports for Greenpeace UK, while campaigning for climate action. He holds a Master’s Degree from King’s College London, and co-authored the book “The Next Gulf” about oil and conflict in Africa.
Lorne Stockman, Oil Change International
Despite all the soothing green noises from mega fossil fuel companies, and despite climate emergency, the United States, Canada, and Norway are “pumping more oil than ever”. That is all laid out on a killer blog by long-time UK green campaigner Andy Rowell.
This is sad and shocking news. Here is the fundamental understanding we all need to survive: getting more fossil fuels out of the ground will result in extremes on Earth that will wreck economies and kill millions of people. Every increase in production means a decrease in the habitability of Earth. Scientists make clear in every report: we will all suffer as this continues!
WHO WANTS TO BE THE WORST?
Despite being burned by shale gas in the past, investors are back. There seems to be a race between Qatar, Australia, and the U.S. for the title of world’s biggest gas exporter. That sounds like a race to the bottom, like who is the world’s worst mass murderer, or something.
COGNITIVE DISSONANCE: AMERICA
At the COP26 in Scotland, U.S. President Joe Biden said “the science is clear”, we need to limit global warming. But didn’t Biden approve a bunch of new oil and gas drilling leases? Yes, but those have been held up so far by a judicial decision. More offshore drilling hangs in the balance. Now the industry says we need it all, because Russian supplies are doubtful. Let’s burn it all! What could go wrong?
The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts American oil and gas production could break a record this year, because of higher prices. How far is this fossil fuel binge going in the wrong direction?
Let’s talk about my own country Canada. Young Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paints himself as a world leader in the battle against climate change. But Trudeau spend over 4 billion dollars of taxpayer money to purchase a tar sands pipeline that no private company would build. We just learned that cost has soared to $21.4 billion dollars and counting. The cognitive dissonance between green talk and massive spending is hard to take.
DID PM TRUDEAU APPROVE THE PIPELINE TO PLACATE THE CHINESE, UNDER A HARPER DEAL?
UK AND AUSTRALIA PILE ON
in the UK, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson is also warning about dangerous climate change, blah, blah, blah. But in late February, the UK’s Energy Minister Greg Hands told an online energy conference “We need continued investment into the North Sea.”
COAL IS BACK?
There were a wave of news stories declaring coal dead, or at least a dying industry. Some coal power stations closed, and several of the biggest American coal mining companies went bankrupt. But now the German group Urgewald reports big banks have laid on another 1.5 trillion dollars on further coal growth, just in the last two years.
THE DIRTY DOZEN!
I want to flag a new report called “Private Equity’s Dirty Dozen: 12 firms dripping in oil and the wealthy executives who run them.” That comes from the group LittleSis and from the Private Equity Stakeholder Project. They name names like Blackstone’s Stephen A. Schwarzman, Carlyle Group’s David Rubenstein, KKR’s Henry Kravis, and Tony Ressler of Ares’s.
One of the authors, Derek Seidman pointed out, quote: “It’s a serious problem when super-rich private equity executives who invest billions in harmful fossil fuels can greenwash their reputations through acquiring coveted board seats at prestigious universities and cultural institutions. This helps these Wall Street billionaires hide the fact that they’re among the world’s biggest oil and gas barons.”
Read or download this free report “Private Equity’s Dirty Dozen” here.
MORE NEWS ABOUT THE MAD EXPANSION OF FOSSIL FUELS …
FINANCING MORE COAL
“… a recent report from campaign groups Urgewald and Reclaim Finance, alongside more than two dozen other non-governmental organizations, found that banks and investors have been dishonest about their divestment aims and claims. ‘Banks and investors have channeled massive sums of money to support the coal industry in recent years,’ CNBC recently reported, thereby ‘propping up the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel at a time when humanity is facing a climate emergency.’”
KEY CLIMATE REPORTS OUT THIS WEEK
A FOOT OF SEA LEVEL RISE BY 2050! – NOAA & NASA
“Sea level along the U.S. coastline is projected to rise, on average, 10 – 12 inches (0.25 – 0.30 meters) in the next 30 years (2020 – 2050), which will be as much as the rise measured over the last 100 years (1920 – 2020). Sea level rise will vary regionally along U.S. coasts because of changes in both land and ocean height.”
Who says? That is from the latest 2022 Sea Level Rise Technical Report released in February by top U.S. government agencies, including NOAA and NASA. Their sea level predictions are not based on models, but on more than a hundred years of tide-line measurements and satellite data. Probably a foot of sea level rise is coming in the next 30 years, no matter what we do about emissions. The higher seas are baked in, from our emissions already.
If developed countries can slash their emissions significantly in the next decade, our last chance – that still won’t stop a foot of sea level rise and more. Due to delays in big systems, especially the ocean, emissions cuts now affect how hight the sea will go after 2050, in the second part of this century, and beyond.
So far, the government agencies do not have a full accounting of the mass damage this will cause. Ports will go underwater. Coasts will erode. Beaches disappear. Cities begin to flood. Salt water seeps into former farm land. The impacts of sea water being a foot higher will change more than a billion lives.
Note the 10 to 12 inches, about a third of a meter, higher levels are based on 2010 sea levels, which were already 5 to 8 inches higher than 40 years ago. Nicole LeBoeuf, Director of the National Ocean Service warned there will be high-tide flooding even without any storms. That is the new normal.
In 2050, sea flooding will happen ten times more often than today, and 4 to 5 times every year.
These estimates DO include new assessments of “rapid ice sheet loss”, although that may come quicker than current estimates. Sea level rise will be greater in some places, where land is already sinking, like New England and coast of the Gulf of Mexico, and somewhat less on the Pacific West Coast. But sea level rise is a major problem around the world.
Find a YouTube video of the combined agency press conference here.
WILDFIRES – NEW UNEP REPORT
the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) just released a new report on wildfires in a warming world. It is titled “Spreading like Wildfire: The Rising Threat of Extraordinary Landscape Fires”. Our West coast listeners will not be surprised to learn wildfire risk is projected to rise “14 per cent by 2030, 30 per cent by the end of 2050 and 50 per cent by the end of the century.” New science from Australia calls the 2019/20 wildfires there “Apocalyptic”.
COMING NEXT WEEK – NEWS BIGGER THAN THE MOMENT
I will interview one of the wildfire report’s Lead Authors, Australia’s Dr. Andrew Sullivan next week. Also next week: the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Surprise! Climate change is already worse than scientists thought! The IPCC is starting to get real. War or not, pandemic or not, if we miss these warnings there will literally be Hell to pay.
We do not have to torch the future. Please think about how you can support climate action and Radio Ecoshock. Can you contribute to help me keep this program free, and advertising free, to anyone in the world? While so many are distracted by the invasion (me too) donations are down. But there are continuing costs to cover. Please donate this week if you can.
I’m Alex Smith. Thank you for listening to the big picture, in war and peace, in sickness and in health, ’till death do us part.