Weather will be very changeable unless we institute a Green New Deal.

The Radical Reformist Green New Deal

The radical-reformist Green New Deal (GND) is a more viable approach to the climate emergency than the dominant Green Growth perspective, and it is more politically promising than the Degrowth/Post-capitalist framework.  The political obstacles are still formidable in this age of populist denial. Nonetheless, radical reformism is our best bet. Continue reading

Popular mobilization is crucial

Climate Politics in the Age of Populist Denialism

Many of us thought that reason would prevail in responding to the climate crisis. If we established that climate change is real, that human activity is the main driver, and that policies and technologies are at hand to deal with the problem, then governments would respond. An aroused public would ultimately demand an emergency response. But we know now that this assumption is naive. Despite all the evidence, a powerful far right, now including some mainstream conservative parties, has assumed a belligerent denialism. Centre-left political mobilization and action thus offer the best prospect for resolving the climate/ecological challenge. Continue reading

Degrowth: Desirable but Improbable

Degrowth is a growing intellectual movement among those alarmed by the climate crisis. Its proponents envision a desirable world which has not only come to terms with the ecological crisis, but also is more egalitarian and convivial than our current societies, both in the global North and South. Advocates also provide a cogent critique of economic growth. They contend, perhaps less cogently, that capitalism is the problem because it is inherently growth oriented. One finds, in addition, the analysis of many relevant policies, at both the national and global level, for overcoming the climate/ecological crisis and building an egalitarian society. However, the political strategy for moving from our current situation to the desirable world is underdeveloped. It seems highly improbable that we will witness a transformation of capitalism in the next decade or two, let alone a nonviolent transformation.

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World Bank suppprts the nmotion of inclusive green growth

Why “Green Growth” Is Not the Answer to the Climate Crisis

Green growth is the dominant perspective, adhered to by governments, international organizations such as the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, corporations, and most people in their role as consumers. The bold claim of this perspective is that countries can combine perpetual growth and prosperity with safeguarding ecological conditions for later generations. The is a dubious claim for three reasons.

The positive outcome depends on following the right policies and maintaining support for technological development. The right policies include market-corrective and price-based policies, together with occasional green stimulus programs, such as the Inflation Control Act under President Joe Biden in the USA. Regulation, such as fuel-efficiency standards for automobiles, are also part of this approach. Technological optimism pervades this viewpoint. Green growth thus focuses on making growth resource-efficient and cleaner, not reducing it.

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Climate and Capitalism: Is System Change the Answer?

This 55-minute lecture assesses approaches for surmounting the accelerating climate crisis. i focus on the desirability, viability, and potential feasibility of these approaches.

The argument is simple.

What is possible (Green Growth) is inadequate to the challenge of climate change, whereas what is necessary and desirable (Degrowth) is impossible in the short time available to us. To escape this impasse, we need to forego reformism and radicalism in favour of radical reformism – a supplemented Green New Deal.

Report to the Club of Rome

The “Earth for All” Report: Good Policies, Inadequate Politics

It is a harsh truth: no matter how sound the analysis of a problem and no matter how reasonable and progressive the proposed policy solutions, without a workable political strategy, the vision is more in the way of wishful thinking than a practical guide. Continue reading

Image, supplied by Ukraine Department of Defense, illustrates the ferocity of the Ukraine war

In Ukraine, Neither Side Is Blameless

Richard Sandbrook and Arnd Jurgensen

Richard Sandbrook is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at University of Toronto. Arnd Jurgensen lectures in international relations at University of Toronto. Both are executive members of Science for Peace, whose board members debated the issues discussed here.

One prevalent explanation of the war in Ukraine pins the blame on Russia; the other, which has little institutional backing in the West, but far more outside the West, blames NATO. Proponents of each view largely ignore the opposing interpretation. Both sides agree the war is illegal under international law, but there the agreement ends. For those who blame NATO, their declaration of the illegality of the invasion is largely a formality because, from their viewpoint, NATO provoked Russia to invade Ukraine. For those who blame Russia, the invasion is not only illegal under international law but also a travesty of “unprovoked” aggression. Continue reading

Disinformation, or Debating with a Bot

“Disinformation” undoubtedly exists as a form of warfare in this contentious age of artificial intelligence. But how do we know disinformation when we come across it? The obvious danger is that officials and activists will dismiss strongly opposing views as disinformation, not to be taken seriously, or, at worse as potential sedition to be investigated.

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Science for Peace and Sustainability? Not without a Strategy

Humanity faces the gravest crisis in our short history. Our governmental leaders are unwilling or unable to grapple effectively with two looming catastrophes: escalating climatic disasters and growing arsenals of increasingly deadlier nuclear arsenals, combined with rising tensions among nuclear powers. Authoritarian tendencies throughout the world make matters worse, as far-right deniers and conspiracy theorists rise to the fore. Continue reading