Are your savings helping the mad new expansion of fossil fuels? From RAN, Dr. April Merleaux names big banks expanding oil, gas & coal from the Arctic to the Amazon. Where does that lead? From London, broadcaster, author, and science journalist Gaia Vince breaks boundaries in her book “Nomad Century – How To Survive The Climate Upheaval”.
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NOMAD CENTURY WITH GAIA VINCE
What are the coming decades about? Did you picture a “Nomad Century”? Award-winning science journalist, broadcaster and author Gaia Vince does. In a book stuffed with science and investigation, Gaia says warming and climate disruption will force at least a billion humans to find new homes. They are already on the move. Is it futile to resist?
Gaia Vince is published by the BBC, The Guardian, New Scientist, and more. She produces science documentaries for radio and television. Her book “Adventures In The Anthropocene” won the Royal Society Prize for Science Books. Now we have “Nomad Century: How to Survive the Climate Upheaval”.
“Over the next fifty years, hotter temperatures combined with more intense humidity are set to make large swathes of the globe lethal for 3.5 billion of us. Fleeing the tropics, the coasts and formerly arable
lands, huge populations will need to seek new homes; you will be among them, or you will be receiving them. This migration has already begun… “
– Nomad Century
Gaia Vince is going to make you question just about everything. First: hundreds of millions of people will have to move in the coming decades because of extreme weather, rising seas, or crop failure. They are coming, no matter what you think about it.
Second: what makes you think that YOU are entitled to live in a country farther north or south, even as your own emissions makes it impossible for others to live where they are? As Gaia points out, pretty well all of us are migrants. A simple DNA check shows we are composed of people and places far away. Humans are raveling species, since the earliest days, spreading out from Africa, but also during most centuries since then. Whites claiming Canada or America as their own, to protect with violence if necessary, just got there within the last couple of hundred years.
“we are all finding our feet in the Anthropocene, and no one has better claim than anyone else to the habitable twenty-first-century landscapes.”
– Gaia Vince, Nomad Century
Third – and perhaps hardest for us to image now – Gaia says cities will compete to GET new immigrants. An aging population need a younger cohort to support them, and current North Americans, Japanese, and even Chinese people are falling below levels to replenish. Personally, I think there are several billion too many humans on the planet, so declining population numbers are something to cheer. But economists disagree. It appears the powers-that-be will do anything to keep the economic engines of waste going, so Vince is probably right.
In 2008, British scientist and inventor James Lovelock shocked many when he said Britain will become a “life-raft” for climate refugees. He said the UK should start building schools and hospitals now – to be ready for the influx. What do you think?
James Lovelock: ‘Enjoy life while you can: in 20 years global warming will hit the fan’ Decca Aitkenhead March 1, 2008:
“Lovelock believes global warming is now irreversible, and that nothing can prevent large parts of the planet becoming too hot to inhabit, or sinking underwater, resulting in mass migration, famine and epidemics. Britain is going to become a lifeboat for refugees from mainland Europe, so instead of wasting our time on wind turbines we need to start planning how to survive.”
Gaia Vince writes: “In the decade from 2000 to 2009, Spain’s foreign-born population more than quadrupled, to almost 14 per cent of the total population, as the nation added 6 million immigrants.“ I have not heard much about anti-immigrant protests or politics in Spain. Gaia explains that is because intelligent integration plans were developed in Spain.
In the interview, we discuss the weak United Nations plans for global relocation under climate change. It is not up to the task, but at least people are working on it. Some countries like New Zealand and Australia are already making plans to take in Pacific Islanders who will be flooded out of their homes with rising seas.
The experience of migration from the Ukraine war shows Europe can take in more than a million refugees in a year if they want to. The key to that success: people did not need full papers or a long process. Most importantly, they were given work permits, and there were jobs unfilled waiting for them. Europeans tended to help people that looked like them, or shared the same culture, even while keeping the route for African migrants hard and dangerous.
“Nation states, then, are an unnatural, artificial social structure that emerged out of the complexity of the industrial revolution, and they are predicated on the mythology that the world is made of distinct,
homogeneous groups that occupy separate portions of the globe, and claim most people’s primary allegiance. The reality is far messier, as we’ve seen. “
We know how not to handle large masses of people fleeing. The resettlement of Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar to Bangladesh has not gone well. There we have over a million people living in make-shift camps and they are unable to go further into Bangladesh. They are cut off from work, and so from any meaningful life or hope. Human trafficking and other crimes are too common.
Gaia has been to Bangladesh several times, visiting refugees. Each time rising water takes more and more land. The slums are overflowing with rural refugees. People are barely hanging on, even though Bangladesh has taken a more active role than others. They have already made arrangements to get through the border with India.
REFUGEES HAVE DOUBLED IN THE LAST DECADE
Gaia writes: “We are witnessing the highest levels of human displacement on record, and it will only increase. In 2022, refugees around the world exceeded 100 million, more than doubling since 2010, and half were children. Registered refugees represent only a fraction of those forced to leave their homes due to war or disaster. In addition to these, 350 million people are undocumented worldwide, an astonishing 22 million in the US alone, the UNHCR estimates. “
CHAD: BRACING FOR ANOTHER FLOOD OF SUDANESE REFUGEES… AS THE FOOD RUNS OUT
A really bad situation is getting worse on the Western side of Sudan, in the land-locked country of Chad. Since the Darfur genocide in West Sudan, hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees have been living in refugee camps along the border. There are 12 of them. You see homes made of grasses and reeds, along with rows of tents donated by various aid agencies. They are not allowed to work or travel. Medical care is slight. Many do not have access to clean drinking water or sanitation.
That is bad, but now MORE hundreds of thousands of refugees are headed to the Chad camps because of the civil war in Sudan. Even before that happens, the United Nations is warning they can no longer feed any of them past the month of May. That program has run out of money.
In an effort to get some refugees to go back home, administrating Sheikhs in one camp cut off about 2,000 people who they said were “able”. The rest of the refugees refused to take food unless all were fed. Then riots erupted and a half dozen camp administrators were murdered.
The major food source, the World Food Program (WFP) is trying to raise more money to feed refugees in Chad. WFP has a new high-profile leader in Cindy McCain, the wife of former Arizona Senator John McCain. Wealthy herself, Cindy McCain has been working tirelessly to help others for a couple of decades. Read the Wiki page on Cindy, and be amazed. She may be the one to save a million innocent lives with food support.
The Ukraine and Sudan are war refugee-makers. The war may end. People fleeing climate change can never go back. When drought stays, or it is too dangerous to go outside in the heat, or seas flood your farm delta, there is no going back. That is when we will see millions arriving.
Gaia Vince says we should at least prepare. Can we develop a sense of species, to thrive or fall as a species? That is the challenge climate change brings for us all.
AMERICA IS ALREADY EXPERIENCING CLIMATE REFUGEES
“Climate change has already uprooted millions in the US – in 2018, 1.2 million were displaced by extreme conditions; by 2020, the annual toll had risen to 1.7 million people. The US now averages a billion-dollar disaster every eighteen days… A 2021 survey of Americans who were moving home found that half cited climate risks as a factor.”
The book makes it sound like Canada and Russia will be the new global boom zones. But as a Canadian who has lived in the North I can tell you, it is underpopulated for a reason: there is little soil, and it is too acidic for crops. Dark long winters are standard and will not change with climate. The blood-sucking insects are hard to stand. The “just move North” meme is over-rated. Still, it seems certain millions of people will leave China to live in Siberia.
My only other criticism: words which I find often in this book include: “planning”, “management”, and “policy”. All of those failed to prevent the known threat of climate change, and we did poorly with the pandemic. I am not sure human affairs are so rational.
As the Roman Empire collapsed, hundreds of thousands of Germanic people, traveling in large tribes, spread across France, Spain and even North Africa. The famous Roman Legions could not stop them. In the new climate migrations, we may get a revival of a species, or we may get dystopia. This book gives examples of both. Some places collapse under the load of mass migration, while others work it out. Shall we agree the future is a mixed bag?
Find the latest from Gaia Vince at her web site.
Here are more thoughts on this book from a Guardian review.
Previous books by Gaia Vince include “Adventures In The Anthropocene”, which won the Royal Society Prize for Science Books (the first woman to do so).
Here is a YouTube video of a special with Gaia Vince made by Channel Four.
BANKING ON CLIMATE CHAOS – APRIL MERLEAUX
Net Zero blah blah blah. Actually, the world’s biggest banks are funding MORE fossil fuels, not less. Projects to heat Earth beyond 2 degrees C are already on the drawing boards, funded, and underway. Spurred on by the biggest profits ever seen on the planet, this crazy fossil fuel bonanza spreads from the deep sea bed through the Amazon jungle right into the far Arctic. Are your savings helping to kill a livable climate?
All the sad and sorry facts, naming names, is found in a new report called: “Banking on Climate Chaos – Fossil Fuel Finance Report 2023”. This comes from a consortium of non-profit groups. Our guide is Dr. April Merleaux, Director of Research for Rainforest Action Network. Merleaux is the author of the 2015 book “American Empire and the Cultural Politics of Sweetness”.
In 2022, the big five oil and gas companies reported over $200 billion in profits, the most ever. We are living in the new fossil fuel boom, just when we need to slash emissions to survive.
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 gave fossil fuel companies a chance to rake in record profits totaling $4 trillion.”
THE CASE OF THE TAR SANDS
My studio is near Vancouver Canada, so let’s start here. We know the Alberta Tar sands are among the most carbon intensive fuels in the world. Who is paying to keep them going, and even fund new projects there?
The Banking on Climate Chaos report lists the top five banks funding the Tar Sands. They are all Canadian. For our Canadian listeners they are: TD (Toronto Dominion), RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) CIBC (Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce), Bank of Montreal, and Scotiabank. Basically that means everyone with a bank account in Canada is funding Tar Sands climate wrecking, whether we know it or not. Shouldn’t the banks at least disclose their toxic investments?
Now we find out a single Canadian bank has topped the list. RBC, formerly the Royal Bank of Canada, jumped to the world’s #1 fossil fuel banking financier in 2022!
THE WORLD’S MOST AGGRESSIVE FOSSIL FUEL EXPANDERS
“In 2022, the world’s largest 60 banks provided $150 billion in financing to the world’s top 100 companies
leading the expansion of oil, gas, and coal. This included $10.1 billion to TotalEnergies, $12.8 billion to TC Energy, $8.4 billion to ConocoPhillips, and $8.9 billion to Saudi Aramco, four of the world’s most aggressive
fossil fuel expanders.”
PNC – THE BAD CONSUMER BANK IN AMERICA
A bank practically unknown outside America is the fastest growing investor in climate doom. I’m talking about The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc, based in Pittsburgh. According to Wikipedia, “PNC is on the list of largest banks in the United States by assets and is one of the largest banks by number of branches, deposits, and number of ATMs.”
This is no Wall Street player or hedge-fund. PNC is a consumer bank, using the money deposited by ordinary Americans to increase their fossil fuel financing by 77% from 2021 to 2022, amounting to $5.4 billion dollars. Some of our listeners may bank with PNC. It that is you, please find out more and contact your bank to ask for a safe future (or close that account).
Recently a few banks in the United States collapsed. The government made depositors whole to avoid a cascade of bank failures. It turns out the troubles came when people and companies withdrew their money. It sounds like we little people may have more power than we know. Can we defund the fossil pushing banks?
EUROPE IS PLAYING THIS SUICIDAL GAME TOO...
The European Union tries to portray itself as a leader in climate policy. They are the greenest ones. But European banks like Unicredit, Barclays, Credit Agricole Deutche Bank are all betting billions on more oil and gas extraction from the Arctic. If a majority of Europeans are worried about climate change, are their political representative capable of regulating their banks? Or do banks tend to control governments?
THE REALLY SAD PART
This is one sad part in this new report “Banking on Climate Chaos – Fossil fuel Finance Report 2023”. Now we are not battling to cut production, as we obviously must, but just to stop the mad EXPANSION of fossil fuels. We are fighting a rear-guard action just to prevent the worst climate arriving.
The new report is easy for anyone to read, with lots of graphics. My other reaction reading it: here we have it, more proof the human species is insane. We know the horrible consequences of our actions, and we just keep doing it anyway.
James Hansen warned us about up to another 1 degree warming already “in the pipeline”. He meant delayed warming, hidden by our aerosol pollution that deflects sunlight, for now. But here the largest banks and companies in the world already have more than a degree of warming “in the pipeline” – in agreed contracts, billions and billions of dollars committed, plans carefully bought up, leases and rights arranged with governments, some with ground clearing already underway….
‘Monster profits’ for energy giants reveal a self-destructive fossil fuel resurgence
Oliver Milman in New York February 9, 2023 The Guardian
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…
The massive record-smashing heat wave across southeast Asia is not getting the news it deserves. If this was happening in North America or Europe you would be bathed in reporting on heat deaths, absolute records smashed, plus damage to crops and the economy. I am working on this story for you.
THE GREENLAND DISTRESS SIGNAL
We also missed another major climate signal. Greenland glaciologist Jason Box has been presenting on the great melt there last September. “Normally” September in Greenland is getting cold again. Nights in the capital of Nuuk average close to freezing. Higher up and further north it is all freezing. But in September 2022, the unimaginable happened.
The whole long coast of Greenland continued to melt late into the month. A continuing series of storms and atmospheric rivers struck Greenland bringing rain, strange September rains, to Greenland. High on the glaciers temperatures were up to 8 degrees C above anything recorded over the last 25 years. Watery snow and ice is darker, reflecting less energy back to space. Greenland rivers were raging, pouring more fresh water into the world’s oceans. The ramifications are many and large. In the scale of planetary history, this was an event much larger than any human affairs. Did you know this happened?
Most of us are over-informed about the lives of celebrities and scoundrels. We do not learn when our planet is sending out distress signals – even though it is we and our descendants who will live out that distress.
Radio Ecoshock brings you voices that matter. I’m Alex. Thank you for listening again this week – and caring about our world. Please add your support for this program.
CREDIT: At the end of the show I play a clip from Coast to Coast AM radio, May 8 2005 as host Art Bell hears a guest explain global warming is due to the increase in sin, which makes Hell more populated, and that heat is rising up to the surface.