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As world leaders prepare for this November's United Nations Climate Conference in Scotland, a new report from the Cambridge Sustainability Commission reveals that the world's wealthiest 5% were responsible for well over a third of all global emissions growth between 1990 and 2015.
"Rich people who fly a lot may think they can offset their emissions by tree-planting schemes or projects to capture carbon from the air. But these schemes are highly contentious and they're not proven over time."
The report (pdf), entitled Changing Our Ways: Behavior Change and the Climate Crisis, found that nearly half the growth in absolute global emissions were cause by the world's richest 10%, with the most affluent 5% alone contributing 37%.
"In the year when the U.K. hosts COP26, and while the government continues to reward some of Britain's biggest polluters through tax credits, the commission report shows why this is precisely the wrong way to meet the U.K.'s climate targets," the report's introduction states.
The authors of the report urge United Kingdom policymakers to focus on this so-called "polluter elite" in an effort to persuade wealthy people to adopt more sustainable behavior, while providing "affordable, available low-carbon alternatives to poorer households."
The report found that the "polluter elite" must make "dramatic" lifestyle changes in order to meet the U.K.'s goal—based on the Paris climate agreement's preferential objective—of limiting global heating to 1.5°C, compared with pre-industrial levels.
In addition to highlighting previous recommendations—including reducing meat consumption, reducing food waste, and switching to electric vehicles and solar power—the report recommends that policymakers take the following steps:
- Implement frequent flyer levies;
- Enact bans on selling and promoting SUVs and other high polluting vehicles;
- Reverse the U.K.'s recent move to cut green grants for homes and electric cars; and
- Build just transitions by supporting electric public transport and community energy schemes.
"We have got to cut over-consumption and the best place to start is over-consumption among the polluting elites who contribute by far more than their share of carbon emissions," Peter Newell, a Sussex University professor and lead author of the report, told the BBC.
"These are people who fly most, drive the biggest cars most, and live in the biggest homes which they can easily afford to heat, so they tend not to worry if they're well insulated or not," said Newell. "They're also the sort of people who could really afford good insulation and solar panels if they wanted to."
Newell said that wealthy people "simply must fly less and drive less. Even if they own an electric SUV, that's still a drain on the energy system and all the emissions created making the vehicle in the first place."
"Promisingly, we have brought about positive change before, and there are at least some positive signs that there is an appetite to do what is necessary to live differently but well on the planet we call home."
—Cambridge Sustainability Commission
"Rich people who fly a lot may think they can offset their emissions by tree-planting schemes or projects to capture carbon from the air," Newell added. "But these schemes are highly contentious and they're not proven over time."
The report concludes that "we are all on a journey and the final destination is as yet unclear. There are many contradictory road maps about where we might want to get to and how, based on different theories of value and premised on diverse values."
"Promisingly, we have brought about positive change before, and there are at least some positive signs that there is an appetite to do what is necessary to live differently but well on the planet we call home," it states.
The new report follows a September 2020 Oxfam International study that revealed the wealthiest 1% of the world's population is responsible for emitting more than twice as much carbon dioxide as the poorest 50% of humanity combined.
CEO makes video owning Fox News after they called him a socialist and predicted his company would fail
Six years ago, CEO Dan Price revealed that he would raise the minimum salary of employees in his company to $70,000 a year. Right-wing media at Fox News and Fox Business laughed at him, mocked him, called him a socialist, and predicted that his company would fail and his staff would be on the bread line in short order. It was Dan Price who got the last laugh.
Doing a round of interviews, Price revealed that not only has his company not failed, it has flourished. The company, which handles credit card processing, has grown from doing $3 billion to $10 billion, he said, tripling their revenue.
Further, Price said that it's been a huge help to his staff. People bought their first homes, they put more money into their 401(k) accounts, they began having children, and turnover for the company dropped in half.
Conservatives like actor Mike Rowe spoke out against raising the minimum wage, with many turning to hyperbole to predict the end of the world due to socialism. Hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Eric Bolling, Stuart Varney and others did the same, twisting his corporate policy into claims America is somehow becoming Cuba.
See Price's video below:
6 years ago today I raised my company's min wage to $70k. Fox News called me a socialist whose employees would be o… https://t.co/5Cg6tMEt8b— Dan Price (@Dan Price)1618333827.0
Republicans learned an extremely dangerous lesson from the 2020 election -- according to this conservative
When candidates lose a presidential election, their party typically performs an "autopsy" and tries to figure out exactly where they went wrong. President Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign, for example, was arguably the result of three "autopsies" — as Democrats had lost three presidential elections in a row during the 1980s. But Never Trump conservative Jonathan V. Last, in a column for The Bulwark published this week, argues that the Republican response to former President Donald Trump's loss to now-President Joe Biden in the 2020 election was to double down on Trumpism.
"In the days after Democrats unseated an incumbent president and won unified control of Congress," Last writes, "the victorious party went through a round of self-analysis and recriminations. The Republicans, who managed a trifecta of losing that hadn't been accomplished since Herbert Hoover, doubled down. Then they backed up their bets, split 4s, and doubled down again."
Last adds that with the GOP having doubled down on Trumpism following Trump's loss, one of the talking points of "Conservatism Inc." is "how beside-the-point 'democracy' is, anyhow." And Last points to a recent tweet in which conservative writer David Harsanyi wrote, "I'm not pro-democracy, I am pro-freedom. If democracy erodes freedom, (then) it's not something to celebrate."
The conservative Bulwark columnist argues that the GOP, with its post-election "autopsy," isn't trying to figure out how to appeal to a wider range of voters, but trying to discourage voting.
"When Republicans conducted their autopsy," Last writes, "they skipped 'How to Win: Option 1' and went straight to Options 2 and 3 — leapfrogging the question of how to get more votes and focusing on how to use institutional leverage to take power even while losing popular majorities. Option 2 — the path of least resistance — is for Republicans to change voting rules at the state level in the hopes that they can drive down the number of Democratic votes cast and win the Electoral College despite being a persistent minority. A lot has been written about these various initiatives, some of which are more grotesque than others."
With biting sarcasm, Last adds, "But the real cutting-edge work being done as a result of the GOP autopsy concerns Option 3: figuring out how a Republican can win the presidency even while losing the popular vote and the Electoral College."
After the 2020 presidential election, Last writes, some Republicans in the state governments in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Georgia had enough integrity to resist Trump allies who wanted them to defy the Electoral College results. But with Option 3, according to Last, the GOP could try to purge state governments of Republicans who will accept Electoral College results even if they don't like an election's outcome.
"So, the key parts of the Republican autopsy have been: (1) building the political will to use raw power next time, and (2) removing the Republican officials who were not willing to comply last time," Last explains. "That's why Republican state parties have censured nearly every Republican who did not participate in Trump's attempted coup."
Last continues, "That's why (Secretary of State) Brad Raffensperger is the target of a primary challenge in Georgia…. That's why Nevada Republicans are attacking Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, the only Republican to have won state-wide office in 2018. Even though she is a Republican, Cegavske refused to go along with the attempt to overturn Nevada's result."
As much sarcasm and scathing humor as Last uses in his column, the Never Trumper concludes it by making a disturbing point and stressing that many Republicans have become overtly "authoritarian" and are undermining checks and balances.
Last writes, "This is how authoritarianism starts. A society goes from the rule of law, to rule by law — where the minority gets just enough power to change the laws so that they can amass more power. And here is a serious question: If Republicans managed enough votes to sustain an objection to counting electoral votes, what would our recourse be? Crossing our fingers and hoping that the Supreme Court steps in?.... The time to fight against authoritarianism isn't December 2024. It's now."
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