Friday 29 March, 2024

Railway sleeper

My homage to Annie Ernaux’s Exteriors!

Quote of the Day

”Tragedy is what happens to me; comedy is what happens to you.”

  • Mel Brooks

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

Eels | Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues (Road Trip)


An old favourite.

Long Read of the Day

Capitalism Can’t Solve Climate Change

Really good piece in Time by Brett Christophers of Uppsala University.

Like everyone else I suffer from confirmation bias, which explains why I found this interesting. I’ve been arguing for yonks that we need a theory of incompetent systems — ones that can’t fix themselves — to explain the mess we’re in.

The author’s basic argument is that relying on the capitalist system to avoid climate catastrophe is a toxic example of magical thinking.

As Christophers observes,

How profitable are wind and solar power generation? What sort of returns do investors earn? Inevitably, there is no single, consistent answer: returns vary – often considerably – both historically and geographically. But most analyses of the issue conclude that an internal rate of return of around 5–8 percent would be what investors on average expect and achieve.

Little wonder, then, that companies accustomed to much higher returns than this serially thumb their noses at renewables. Most notable here are the big U.S. oil and gas companies, which typically do not proceed with new hydrocarbon projects unless returns of a minimum of 15 percent are anticipated. Asked at his company’s 2015 annual meeting why Exxon continued to snub solar and wind, CEO Rex Tillerson responded witheringly, ‘we choose not to lose money on purpose’…

Another interesting thing is that the one country in the planet that is making most progress on building renewables capacity is China.

IEA, for its part, expects China to continue to be the sole meaningful over-achiever. It recently revised upwards by 728 GW its forecast for total global renewables capacity additions in the period 2023–27. China’s share of this upward revision? Almost 90 percent…

Worth your time.

My commonplace booklet

The word ‘populism’ is a gift to the far right – four reasons why we should stop using it 

Good advice from Aurelien Mondon and Alex Yates.

And the ‘four reasons’?

  1. It masks the threat posed by the far right
  2. It exaggerates the strength of the far right
  3. It legitimises far-right politics
  4. It blocks democratic progress by distracting us

Yep to all of those.


Something I noticed while drinking from the Internet firehose.

  • From the you-couldn’t-make it-up department.

Saudi Arabia was on Wednesday appointed chair of the United Nations’ top forum for women’s rights and gender equality. [


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