Tuesday 5 July, 2022

Into the light

Quote of the Day

.”You will know you’re old when you cease to be amazed.”

  • Noël Coward

(In that case, I’m old.)

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

J.S. Bach | Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 | Aria | Lang Lang


Lovely but a bit showy. Makes an interesting comparison with Glenn Gould’s 1955 recording, though.

Long Read of the Day

’Davos Man’ and climate-change baloney 

I can never understand why anyone takes the Davos crowd seriously.

This sharp piece by Jag Bhalla does a nice demolition job on the climate ‘pledges’ made by the First Movers Coalition, a public-private partnership launched last year at the United Nations Climate Change Conference. The coalition consists of 55 corporations and nine national governments that have made “ambitious commitments” toward limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.


Coalition members seek to use their collective purchasing power to jump-start early markets for green technologies in “hard to abate” sectors including aluminum, aviation, chemicals, concrete, shipping, steel, and trucking. Automakers Ford and Volvo, for instance, have pledged that, by 2030, a tenth of the primary aluminum they purchase will be produced with little or no carbon emissions. Alphabet, Microsoft, and Salesforce — also First Movers — pledged to invest $500 million in carbon recapture technology. And some coalition members announced specific carbon removal goals. For instance, Swiss Re committed to remove 50,000 metric tons by 2030; Boston Consulting Group pledged 100,000 metric tons. At Davos, U.S. climate czar John Kerry heralded the moves as a “gigantic shift” and lauded businesses for “taking the lead” in areas where governments have been slow to act.

Sounds impressive? Actually it’s baloney. The $500m ‘investment’, for example,

represents about 0.1 percent of Alphabet, Microsoft, and Salesforce’s collective revenues last year. And it’s dwarfed by the nearly one trillion dollars that energy companies plan to put into new oil and gas projects — so-called “carbon bombs” each blasting more than a billion tons of carbon skyward — by 2030. Likewise, the 150,000 metric tons of carbon removal promised by Swiss Re and Boston Consulting is barely a sliver (0.00002 percent) of the extra 646 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas that those carbon bomb projects are expected to spew into the atmosphere — pollution that will cook the planet for centuries, unless it can be later removed.

In fact, Swiss Re and Boston Consulting Group’s carbon removal commitments won’t even nearly offset the carbon footprints of their own employees. The average individual in the top 10 percent of global earners — and with the current Euro-to-dollar exchange rate, if you earn more than $39,100 a year, you qualify — causes about 31 metric tons of annual carbon emissions each. (These figures are according to the 2022 World Inequality Report.) Assuming most of Swiss Re’s 14,000 employees and Boston Consulting’s 25,000 staffers fall into that category, which for Boston Consulting seems almost certain given the six figure salaries that many of their workers appear to command, those employees alone would collectively produce more carbon in just two months than the companies’ carbon removal projects would remove over the next eight years.

You get the drift. This is just corporate happy-talk while they and their clients get on with heating the planet.

My commonplace booklet

 A Declaration of Independence from the United States Supreme Court

Righteous indignation from Jennie Egerdie…

We hold this truth to be self-evident: We are sick of this shit.

We have established that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That when any branch of government becomes destructive of these rights, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it.

We acknowledge an institution such as the Supreme Court has, like our country, a complicated past. Previous Supreme Courts have supported civil rights and liberties, yet have also passed decisions reinforcing slavery, eugenics, and corruption. But now, as this current court transitions away from modern democracy and towards despotism, it is again the People’s right—and their duty—to strip power away from such governance. After all, this is what the United States of America was founded on…

Do read on.

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