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Open thread for night owls. Hertsgaard: Leading proposals at Paris could be disastrous

At The Nation, Mark Hertsgaard writes that the emissions-controlling proposals pushed by the most powerful governments represented in the Paris climate talks would produce a disastrous result:

“There is such a thing as being too late,” Obama said today in his speech to the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. “And when it comes to climate change, that hour is almost upon us. But if we act here, if we act now, if we place our short-term interests behind [those of our children’s future], then we won’t be too late for them.”


This lofty rhetoric, however, clashes with the actual proposals the United States, China, and other big powers are putting forward at the summit. As Obama noted, more than 180 countries have outlined pledges for future reductions in heat-trapping emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. But the combined effect of these voluntary pledges—even assuming, generously, that each is fully implemented—would still result in global emissions continuing to increase for decades to come, soaring well past the goal of limiting temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius above the level that prevailed prior to the Industrial Revolution. Temperatures would instead rise to 2.7 to 3.5 C above the pre-industrial level, a catastrophic amount.

How catastrophic? Bear in mind, 2 degrees is often described as a “safe” guardrail, but the latest science and real-world observations demonstrate that in fact it marks the threshold between “dangerous” and “extremely dangerous” warming. […] Man-made warming has already increased temperatures by 1 degree C above pre-industrial levels, worsening droughts, heat waves, and storms, with predictable impacts on crop yields, rural incomes, and hunger in much of Africa and other poor regions.

Thus the majority of the world’s governments urge a temperature limit of 1.5 C. This view is virtually absent from the US media, perhaps because these governments represent the world’s most vulnerable nations and the US government dismisses the position as unrealistic, but the disagreement is likely to permeate the rest of the Paris summit. […]

Tweet of the Day


Blast from the Past

At Daily Kos on this date in 2010Federal worker pay freeze is unjustified and ineffective:

Here’s a shocker for you: rich people don’t create jobs. Demand creates jobs. And demand is created when the vast majority of people, lower and middle class people, feel secure enough in their lives to spend some of their very hard earned cash.

The White House Council of Economic Advisers has stated that extending tax cuts for the wealthy is a bad idea. In fact, there’s very good evidence that low tax rates at the top depress the economy. Low tax rates encourage the already wealthy to keep even more funds for themselves by cutting staff and reducing benefits. […]

What does work? Making sure that lower and middle class workers have enough funds on hand to meet their immediate needs. Which is why freezing the pay of federal workers is far, far worse for the economy than allowing the tax cuts to expire for the wealthy. It could be seriously (and convincingly) argued that raising tax rates for corporations and the wealthy would actually be good for the economy. It can’t be argued that imposing a $60 billion penalty on middle class workers — which is exactly what this is — will do anything but retard economic growth and reduce job production.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Another holiday marred by a mass shooting. Greg Dworkin presents the latest 2016 headlines & environmental issues polling. David Waldman rounds up holiday GunFAIL & related issues. Even after the latest attack, conservatives insist on denying there’s any such thing as anti-choice violence.

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