COP21 Paris Trocadero, 2015  © Julien B. | Flickr
EssaysFeatureScience

Climate Policies After Paris

Toward the end of 2015, leaders from around the world convened in Paris for the latest round of international climate talks. This marks the 21st annual Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. More than 40,000 people from over 150 countries attended the conference, representing governments, businesses, non-governmental organizations, and supranational institutions.

The Paris talks underscore the importance of addressing climate change before Earth’s ecosystems face irrevocable damage. Simply put, the use of carbon-based fuels that have been central to the economic development of the last couple hundred years creates a significant cost for the environment. Increasing dependence on fossil fuels has precipitated an unprecedented shift in a number of climate indicators. …

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Sunset 2009 © Paul Sønder |Flickr
EssaysFeatureScience

The Green Growth Path to Climate Stabilization

The World Resources Council recently reported that between 2000 and 2014, 21 countries, including the U.S., Germany, the U.K., Spain and Sweden, all managed to “decouple” GDP growth from CO2 emissions — i.e. GDP in these countries expanded over this 14-year period while CO2 emissions fell.[1]   This is certainly a favorable development. But the crucial question remains: how favorable is it relative to what is necessary to put the global economy on a successful path to climate stabilization?

As of the most recent worldwide data (2012), global CO2 emissions are at around 32 billion tons per year.[2] The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides conservative benchmarks as to what is required to stabilize the average global temperature at no more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) above the pre-industrial average. The IPCC presents these benchmarks in terms of ranges and probabilities, but a fair summary of their assessment is that global CO2 emissions need to fall by 40 percent within 20 years, to 20 billion tons per year, and by 80 percent as of 2050, to 7 billion tons.

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Screenshot from the film 88:88 by Isiah Medina, 2016 © Jonty Tiplady | Courtesy of the author
CapitalismEssaysFeatureMedia & PublicsTheory & Practice

Theses On The Philosophy Of The FKA-Anthropocene, Feat. Shia LaBeouf, Part II

Something of Shia LaBeouf’s name stands in, perfectly, controversially, for what is now happening to us, across us, as a kind of general FKA-transing of all available terms. Around the time Caitlyn Jenner came out, there was talk of an intersectional “trans-”: a trans for race and class and even for ecographic sub-constituencies. During Occupy Wall Street, the same talk happened, and then nothing happened, and a few people said it was still on, and then nothing happened.

Intersectionality seems to be the least sustainable piece …

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Night image of the greater New York City metropolitan area taken by an Expedition 35 crew member aboard the Earth-orbiting International Space Station, 23 March 2013 © NASA | Wikimedia Commons
CapitalismEssaysFeatureMedia & PublicsRaceTheory & Practice

Theses On The Philosophy Of The FKA-Anthropocene, Feat. Shia LaBeouf, Part I

Walter Benjamin’s strategy in the Theses on the Philosophy of History was to focus on a non-human moment in human time and to present this instance on blast in his prose style. What I mean by “blast” here is the fact that the message had to be pirated past ideological hangers-on and historical barriers, past both Marxist and theotropic renditions, and also past the Nazi episode that might have been his more obvious target in 1940. His prose is clear but depth-charged, resonates at another frequency, still as if exploded past the imaginary proscriptions of Theodor Adorno, who was already in situ in New York …

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Flooded makeshift latrines contaminating water in refugee camp in Bihar, India © Balazs Gardi | Flickr
EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionTheory & Practice

Ecology, Security, and the Death of Liberal Democracy

In a recent episode of the FX series Fargo, Minnesota Sheriff Lou Solverson answers a key witness’s refusal to accept police protection from a local crime syndicate by recounting his experience in Vietnam: “There’s a look a boy gets when he’s been shot, or a landmine takes off his legs, …

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Civil Society Sit-In at COP21 Dec. 9, 2015 © Paris Climate | Flickr
CapitalismEssaysTheory & Practice

The Paris Climate Deal: Just Words?

Or just enough to move the earth?

As the world leaders read through endless scripted statements about making history and saving the planet for our children, environmental critics were already denouncing the Paris climate deal as a fraud. It is not difficult to see why. First, the deal contains no legal obligations for countries to cut emissions, and there …

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