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Sweden Aims to be Carbon Neutral by 2045; Largest Pension Fund Ditches Climate Bad Actors

In a stunning victory for clean energy and climate progress, Sweden this week overwhelmingly passed a law that fully commits the country to carbon neutrality by 2045. Meanwhile, Sweden’s largest pension fund has divested from corporations it identifies as violators of the Paris Climate Accord. As a wise person recently said (see featured comment below) — this is “what real climate leadership looks like.”

Beating a Fast Path to Net Zero Emissions

Sweden’s most recent climate law, which flew through the Parliament by a 254 to 41 margin, aims to have the country producing net zero carbon emissions in less than three decades. This new measure moves the date for Sweden’s carbon neutrality forward by 5 years from 2050 to 2045.

Already a climate leader, Sweden presently gets about 85 percent of its electricity from hydropower, wind and nuclear energy. Across all sectors of its economy, Sweden has achieved the goal of 50 percent renewable energy fully 8 years ahead of schedule. The new measure doubles down on this already-powerful trend by further trimming carbon-based electrical generation while shifting larger focus to carbon emissions cuts from the transportation sector.

(Swedish electrical generation is dominated by hydro, nuclear, and wind power. Sweden aims to remove fossil fuels from electrical power generation while shifting transportation to EVs and biofuels by 2045. Image source: Electricity Production in Sweden.)

In order to achieve carbon neutrality, Sweden is pushing hard for rapid electrical vehicle adoption, switching remaining liquid fuels to biofuels, and to completely phase out its ever-dwindling margin of fossil fuel power generation. The result of these policies would be a country that primarily runs on renewable and nuclear power generation and that uses EVs and other alternative fuel vehicles for motorized transportation. Ultimately, Sweden aims to cut its presently low carbon emissions by a further 85 percent all while planting trees and developing carbon sinks to offset the rest by 2045.

Divesting From Climate Bad Actors

In a related move, Sweden’s largest pension fund, which manages the pensions of 3.5 million Swedish citizens, decided to divest money from various climate bad actors. The fund, AP 7, announced last week that it would pull investments from six corporations that it identified as being engaged in various violations of the Paris Climate Summit. These companies included: ExxonMobil, Westar, Southern Corp, and Entergy for fighting against climate legislation in the United States, Gazprom for oil exploration in the vulnerable Arctic, and TransCanada for building pipelines across North America despite widespread local opposition and obvious long-term climate impacts.

(AP 7’s divestment from climate bad actors is a major win for climate action advocacy groups like 350.org which nobly aim to leverage mass social, political and protest action to help spur a transition to 100 percent renewable energy in an effort to prevent serious global harm from climate change. Image source: 350.org.)

These moves were praised by climate action advocacy group 350.org’s Jamie Henn, Strategic Communications Director for the global grassroots climate movement, who stated:

“Sweden divesting its largest pension from Exxon proves you can’t claim to support climate action while funding and perpetuating climate change. Exxon knew about climate change half a century ago, and continues to sow doubt and bankroll climate deniers. With its core business model dependent on exploiting people and planet for profit, Exxon is in direct violation of the Paris agreement.”

Responsible Climate Action by Sweden

Sweden’s latest moves cast light on various agencies who have done so much to slow the pace of a much-needed response to climate change and a related energy transition while putting serious legislative muscle behind carbon emissions reductions. It’s a major win for the divestment and climate action movements — further calling into doubt the viability of a number of businesses who’ve predicated their future profitability on wholesale global harm. Sweden, by both moving forward its date for carbon neutrality and by moving large pension funds away from direct capital support of the fossil fuel industry continues to set an example for all by vividly underlining how decisively the rest of the world needs to act to catch up.

Links:

Sweden Commits to Becoming Carbon Neutral by 2045 With New Law

Sweden’s Largest Pension Divests From Paris Accord Violators Including ExxonMobil and TransCanada

Electricity Production in Sweden

350.org (Please Support)

Featured Comment:

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63 Comments

  1. climatehawk1

     /  June 20, 2017

    Tweet scheduled.

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  2. Greg

     /  June 20, 2017

    There is much to learn from small leaders showing the big boys how it is done. Norway and Costa Rica also lead in carbon neutral pledges.
    I just saw this and it speaks volumes about social justice and I can’t help but make connections to those who are in the front lines of climate change:
    U.S. Congressman (Republican) Steve Scalise’s Life (and likely other congressman on that baseball field) was saved by a black gay female police officer.
    http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_59490f1ee4b0cddbb0095752

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    • Just extraordinary, Greg. Hell of a testimony there.

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    • Norway claiming to be carbon neutral is like a drug pusher bragging that he is drug free. When they start reducing oil and gas exports then they will be really making a statement, although there may be some troublesome geopolitical issues with that …

      http://www.vogue.com/article/netflix-occupied-erik-skjoldbjaerg-homeland

      Costa Rica and Sweden seem to be the real deal.

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      • Norway offers record number of blocks for Arctic oil exploration

        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-norway-oil-idUSKBN19C17Y

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      • Suffering from the resource curse, which it seems is pulling Norway — like Canada and the U.S. — in two directions. At least their politics isn’t quite so messy as ours these days. This article from the Guardian highlights the conflict, I think.

        https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/mar/28/oil-and-gas-norways-fossil-free-energy-renewables-oslo

        Major fossil fuel companies are also investing in renewables. Statoil, for example, established as the Norwegian State Oil Company is testing floating wind turbines technology off the country’s coast.

        Mali Skoden is director of the Oslo Renewable Energy and Environment Cluster (OREEC), a similar networking initiative to the government clusters, created with regional companies and other partners. She says lower oil prices and awareness of climate change are providing opportunities.

        “Much of our economy depends on the oil and gas industry, which is declining. A lot of engineers and bright minds from that industry are looking for jobs so we can channel that brain power into new sectors of green energy.”

        In any case, offering more oil exploration blocks in this market is tantamount to asking companies to lose revenue. We could see 30 dollar oil again pretty soon. And then the bankruptcies will start to rev up anew. We’re also in a time when EVs are setting up to knock 40,000 to 100,000 BPD off demand each year. Add in, rising efficiency, solar replacing diesel and wind and solar competing with gas and the net effect on an already oversold/oversupplied market is pretty strong.

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  3. Greg

     /  June 20, 2017

    Water is a big part of the equation for us going forward. Some hopeful progress on lowering the cost and increasing the sustainability of making purified water:
    “Researchers can now desalinate seawater with the power of the Sun”
    https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/researchers-now-desalinate-seawater-power-224500304.html

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  4. Greg

     /  June 21, 2017

    South West United States ongoing heatwave:

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  5. Greg

     /  June 21, 2017

    Meanwhile in the Gulf of Mexico the rainfall from this first tropical storm of the season are very heavy.

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  6. Greg

     /  June 21, 2017

    glug, glug, glug…
    Faced with flooded roadways and rising seas, Fort Lauderdale is considering charging higher fees to keep the public high and dry.

    On the table is a proposal that would double what city property owners pay in stormwater fees, from $8.5 million a year now to roughly $16.6 million.

    In recent years, the city has increasingly suffered from flooding during the highest of tides. Water lapped into driveways and rendered neighborhood streets temporary canals.

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/broward-politics-blog/fl-sb-fort-lauderdale-flooding-20170619-story.html

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  7. Abel Adamski

     /  June 21, 2017

    Talking a gas
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-11/hydrogen-breakthrough-could-fuel-renewable-energy-export-boom/8518916

    Australia’s next big export industry could be its sunlight and wind, as game-changing technology makes it easier to transport and deliver their energy as hydrogen.

    Industry players are even talking up renewable hydrogen as the next liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry, which could supply hydrogen to power cars, buses, trucks and trains in Japan, South Korea and even Europe.

    Their plans have been given a boost by a CSIRO-developed metal membrane, which allows the high-purity hydrogen, needed for hydrogen-powered cars, to be separated from ammonia.
    What is renewable hydrogen?
    Hydrogen is a carrier of energy
    Renewable hydrogen is produced by purifying seawater, then separating the hydrogen and oxygen via electrolysis
    The process of separation is powered by solar or wind energy
    The hydrogen becomes a vehicle for storing renewable energy such as solar or wind
    It is converted into transportable forms for export

    CSIRO principal research scientist Michael Dolan said the technology, now being trialled on an industrial scale in Australia, was “the missing link” that allowed hydrogen to be transported and used as an energy source.

    “One of the great problems with hydrogen is that it’s difficult to transport over long distances because it has such a low density,” he told ABC News.

    “Ammonia is a very nice way of transporting hydrogen from point A to point B — be it from Australia to Japan, for example — because it actually has a higher hydrogen density than liquid hydrogen.”

    The technology the CSIRO has developed can then be applied at the point of use, converting ammonia back into hydrogen for use in transport fleets.

    Dr Dolan said the technology had the potential to turn Australia into a renewable energy superpower.

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  8. Abel Adamski

     /  June 21, 2017

    Meanwhile in the real world of lives and politics
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/21/australia-warned-it-has-radically-underestimated-climate-change-security-threat?
    Australia warned it has radically underestimated climate change security threat

    Senate inquiry starts as report into political, military and humanitarian risks of climate change across Asia Pacific released

    Co Author of Report
    Report co-author Ian Dunlop argues Australia’s political and corporate leaders, by refusing to accept the need for urgent climate action now, are “putting the Australian community in extreme danger”.

    Dunlop, a former chairman of the Australian Coal Association and chief executive of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, told the Guardian the security impacts of climate change were not far-distant future concerns, but happening now.

    The ongoing Syrian civil war – which has killed 450,000 and forced an estimated 5.5 million people to flee the country over six years of conflict – is attributed, in significant part, to an extended drought, exacerbated by climate change, that left millions without food or livelihoods.

    “Once these effects start, then they unfold right the way through the system as an accelerant,” Dunlop said. “Natural disasters lead to social pressures, to increasing conflicts, competing claims for scarce resources. These fuel extremist positions, which could be religious, tribal, or political, which can lead to mass migrations. We are going to see a lot of people start moving, in our region especially, and to think we stop that by finessing things like ‘stop the boats’, is frankly naive.”

    Dunlop said the global nature of the climate change challenge should force countries to cooperate.

    “Climate change has to become seen as a reason for far greater levels of global cooperation than we’ve seen before. If we don’t see it that way, then we’re going to be in big trouble. This problem is bigger than any of us, it’s bigger than any nation state, any political party.

    “We’re going to be steamrolled by this stuff unless we take serious action now.”

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    • Greg

       /  June 21, 2017

      What? “Dunlop, a former chairman of the Australian Coal Association and chief executive of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, told the Guardian the security impacts of climate change were not far-distant future concerns, but happening now.” How, what flipped him?! We need more Dunlaps.

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      • Abel Adamski

         /  June 21, 2017

        Actually why I posted so much of the text.
        AGL , one of the biggest Electricity producers and suppliers refuses to build a coal generator and explains why in another article

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    • Good find here, Abel.

      Another article by Dunlop, this one supporting the renewable energy transition:

      https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/mar/03/clean-coal-ccs-and-csg-will-not-save-fossil-fuels-their-game-is-up

      As he says in this article — ‘the game is up.’

      I think a good number of these fossil fuel guys probably feel guilty or have a big dose of cognitive dissonance. Add in the fact that even the short term economic argument for fossil fuels no longer holds much water and the field is rife for defections of the rational and willing.

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  9. Ryan in New England

     /  June 21, 2017

    Tropical storm Cindy is likely to produce extreme rainfall amounts in some Gulf states.

    https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/downpours-sweep-southeast-ahead-tropical-storm-cindy

    Despite its relatively weak winds and poor organization, Cindy will haul a very impressive slug of tropical moisture into the eastern United States. Precipitable water (the amount of moisture in a column above the surface) is predicted to reach or exceed 2.5” in the New Orleans area by tonight, which would be among the three highest values ever recorded there in June. PW values of more than 2” will overspread most of the Deep South by Wednesday, helping to fuel very heavy rains.

    Models have been insistent on producing a focused pocket of 10” – 20” rains close to the coast well east of Cindy, likely somewhere between southeast Louisiana and the western Florida Panhandle. Parts of the central Gulf Coast have already had an unusually wet June, and significant local impacts could be expected if these rains materialize. Much of the inland South could also see 5” or more of rain from Cindy (see Figure 3).

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  10. Ryan in New England

     /  June 21, 2017

    The Petermann ice shelf looks like it’s ready to discharge a massive chunk of ice. I think it’s incredible that we are able to monitor the location in such detail.

    https://icyseas.org/2017/06/16/is-petermann-gletscher-breaking-apart-this-summer/

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  11. Abel Adamski

     /  June 21, 2017

    https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/eco-catholic/climate-change-vietnam-causing-farm-failures
    What you don’t read in the MSM

    The farmers are doing it hard in Vietnam

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    • Abel Adamski

       /  June 21, 2017

      More detail, on the ground of how they are doing it tough.
      If that rich dude is looking for charity works he need look no further

      Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, chairwoman of the National Assembly, said at an international conference on May 11 that Vietnam is one of the Asian Pacific countries most affected by climate change. An estimated 54 percent of the country’s flatland will be inundated, and 10-12 percent of the population will be affected directly, she said.

      Sisters rush to offer food to victims of climate change

      St. Paul de Chartres Sister Ephreme Nguyen Thi Luu and other sisters offered $9 per household to 50 families in Phu Mau Commune on May 29. “Most farmers here have had poor crops and lacked basic food for months,” Luu said. Last January, the nuns also gave them cooking oil, cake, dried fruits and sugar to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

      Luu said people have fallen into poverty due to climate change and many have fled to cities to look for jobs. “It is hard for them to live on their farmlands,” she added.

      She said the nuns will ask benefactors to provide scholarships so the children can continue pursuing their studies in the new school year in September.

      Daughters of Mary Immaculate Sister Mary Truong Thi Thu said the nuns have been giving rice, instant noodles, blankets, second-hand clothes and money to farmers in the districts of Huong Thuy, Phu Loc, Phu Vang and Quang Dien since December when floods hit the province.

      “We only give basic supplies to victims of climate change when we get donations from benefactors, so we could share with them only irregularly,” Thu said.

      Le Thi Sen from Phu Mau commune said local people who suffered crop loss have received nothing from the government since early this year.

      “We do not know what to live on, without the nuns’ supplies,” the mother of two said.

      During the meeting held May 25 by the government’s Vietnam Fatherland Front in Ho Chi Minh City, representatives from 14 religions reviewed their activities to protect the environment and strengthen people’s resilience to climate change.

      Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Do Manh Hung of Ho Chi Minh City Archdiocese said the church educates Catholics in environmental protection by collecting and classifying garbage, saving water sources and energy, using environment-friendly materials and planting trees. Local Catholics make donations to funds for victims of climate change.

      Followers of other religions grow organic vegetables, collect used pesticide containers and save water in cultivation.

      Eidvin Archer, head of Nordic Assistance to Vietnam, a Norwegian NGO giving social and humanitarian assistance in Vietnam, appreciated religions’ environment activities and promised to support initiatives to join local religions in environment protection.

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    • Thanks for alerting us to this report, Abel.

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  12. Abel Adamski

     /  June 21, 2017

    If the Final Conflict is beginning the sides are lining up, and it isn’t any particular religion or faith

    https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/eco-catholic/religious-and-indigenous-leaders-seek-save-rainforests

    Religious and indigenous leaders from 21 countries gathered in Norway on Monday to launch a new initiative aimed at saving the world’s tropical rainforests from the impact of deforestation and climate change.

    It was the first time leaders from Catholic, Protestant Jewish, Buddhist and other faiths joined indigenous leaders from Brazil, Peru, Indonesia, Colombia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to call for urgent action to protect the forests.

    Inspired by Pope Francis’ outspoken stance on global warming and overdevelopment in his 2015 “Laudato Si'” encyclical, the groundbreaking event was held in Oslo and backed by Norway’s King Harald V.

    “Without the forests we do not have life; we live thanks to the forests,” Monsignor Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, who heads the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, told the conference.

    “If we continue to do deforestation, it is like suicide. We need to act together to defend our common house.”

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    • Suzanne

       /  June 21, 2017

      Thanks for the great links and posts Abel. And yes, New Scientist is “too pricey” IMO.

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  13. Suzanne

     /  June 21, 2017

    Came across this…”The Science Behind Arizona’s Record Setting Heat Wave” at Pacific Standard:
    https://psmag.com/environment/terrifying-heat-waves-in-arizona

    What’s an extreme heat wave like in a place that’s accustomed to extreme heat? Here’s a snapshot of Monday:

    A Phoenix television station broadcast a live webcam of a 600-pound block of ice.

    In Sacramento, California, a team of meteorologists successfully baked cookies and fried bacon inside a car, with temperatures inside the car reaching nearly 200 degrees.

    The United States Border Patrol stepped up safety messages, saying “it is physically impossible for the average person to carry enough water to survive.”

    The National Weather Service also warned against walking pets outdoors, saying that at pavement temperatures above 162 degrees (consistent with air temperatures of 102), skin is instantly destroyed.

    Also on Monday, American Airlines canceled 38 flights previously scheduled for Phoenix on Tuesday—simply because it will be too hot to fly. It’s not necessarily that the pilots and ground crew will need extra rest, it’s that the planes’ wings themselves weren’t designed to perform under such conditions. Hotter air is thinner, and provides less lift, making it difficult for planes to take off.

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  14. Suzanne

     /  June 21, 2017

    New pictures of washed-away houses reveal destruction of Greenland tsunami…
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/europe/93908659/pictures-of-submerged-houses-reveal-devastation-of-greenland-tsunami

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  15. Suzanne

     /  June 21, 2017

    “The 97% Consensus on Climate Science”
    Published on Jun 18, 2017
    Researcher John Cook’s analysis, replicated many times, showed overwhelming consensus among climate scientists. Here’s how the 97% ‘concensus’ meme came to be.

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  16. Suzanne

     /  June 21, 2017

    And as a hat tip to Colorado Bob…who I hope is getting stronger. He is in my thoughts and prayers…

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  17. Suzanne

     /  June 21, 2017

    And on this first day of summer… is a hat tip to Colorado Bob, who I hope is getting stronger….and who is in my thoughts and prayers:

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    • Suzanne

       /  June 21, 2017

      Oops…Sorry Robert..thought my first submission hadn’t gone through…Yikes. 🙂

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      • Suzanne

         /  June 21, 2017

        And sorry, I don’t mean to be a “Nervous Nellie”…but does anyone know if Cate is okay? I haven’t been as in touch with the blog due to a busy schedule, but when I do check in..I haven’t seen any posts by Cate in quite awhile. I don’t know of any other way of asking other than posting a comment, so forgive me for being off CC topics…I am just concerned for my fellow regular Scribblers when I notice they have suddenly gone dark.

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  18. Spike

     /  June 21, 2017

    The Dutch had been laggards rather unusually for them, but may now be meeting their 2020 Kyoto target. Hopefully they will do much more from then on.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-netherlands-climatechange-idUSKBN19A1OS

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    • So I find it interesting that court order compelled the country to do this. More and more climate morality appears to be being codified as law, particularly when it comes to meeting past policy promises. I find this trend to be quite positive.

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  19. coloradobob

     /  June 21, 2017

    Record Rains Fall in Rio de Janeiro, with More Coming
    Between 4PM yesterday and midnight, eleven rainfall stations recorded volume higher than expected for the entire month of June.

    RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Yesterday, June 20th, the city of Rio experienced a twenty year record for rainfall in a single day. The Pluviométrica Station at Alto da Boa Vista recorder 247 millimeters of rain in the space of 24 hours, and more rain is expected to fall in the early hours of Wednesday, June 21st.

    http://riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/rio-politics/record-rains-fall-in-rio-de-janeiro-with-more-coming/

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  20. Eric Thurston

     /  June 21, 2017

    Important article on the path to adapting renewables. The question is how much did the Jacobson team overstep the boundaries of what is actually feasible.

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    • Renewable energy detractors have been proven wrong time and time again. At some point the contrarian arguments of the fossil fuel backers become simply ludicrous.

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  21. Shawn Redmond

     /  June 21, 2017

    This is way OT but is underpinning everything. I say it is well past high time these high priests were called out as the charlatans that they are.
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-20/we-need-public-inquiry-economics-profession
    Because this hardship is indirectly a consequence of the economics profession. Economists led the way to financial liberalisation of the past 40 years, which led to soaring levels of debt, crises and financial ruin. Economists dictated the terms for austerity that has so harmed the economy and society over the past years. As the policies have failed, the vast majority of economists have refused to concede wrongdoing, nor have societies been offered alternative economics policies.

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    • Shawn Redmond

       /  June 21, 2017

      This opinion piece by George Monbiot in the Guardian plays to the above post. Wouldn’t want to step on the toes of international trade!
      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/21/new-disease-devastate-wildlife-tories-do-nothing-michael-gove

      What this threat appears to demand is a moratorium on the import of all live plants other than those grown through tissue culture (propagation in sterile conditions). This would require negotiation with the EU or (in future) the World Trade Organisation. But while the government has long been happy to pursue a holy war in such forums on behalf of financiers and other favoured interests, it is not prepared to request concessions to serve the wider public good.

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      • George Monbiot is spot on. Although I wouldn’t denigrate the entire field of economics, just that particular bit foisted laissez faire, austerity for the poor, and welfare for the rich upon us.

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  22. Paul

     /  June 21, 2017

    UK government ‘plans to require’ petrol stations to install electric charge points:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-40352884

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