The CBC is reporting: BlackRock, world’s largest asset manager, changing its focus to climate change.

This is intriguing in several ways. Climate change action is held up politically in part because right wing parties have embraced climate change denial and the defence of the fossil fuel industry. Even progressive parties seem to take the Trudeau approach of promising ambitious targets for long after they are in power, making incremental positive changes, but then continuing to support fossil fuel development to such a degree that those positive changes are overwhelmed.

If the world’s vast pools of finance capital have begun to seriously question the financial return from fossil fuel investments it could do more to decarbonize the global economy than anything which humanity has done so far. It would also be interesting politically if the aims of a climate activist movement which is largely anti-capitalist and redistributive in its membership end up being adopted more immediately and meaningfully by for-profit actors than by governments notionally accountable to the public. It would be interesting too to see what effect this kind of capital shifting may have on right-wing politics.

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Periodic table mug which my father got me as a gift at Sanko Trading Co. (730 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1E8)

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436 Markham Street — The front is fake bricks on a thin laminate

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I was being driven a little up the wall by biblatex rendering errors which referred to Unicode characters within my .bib database.

First I learned that the degree-like symbol you get from typing option + 0 in Mac OS is actually the “Masculine Ordinal Indicator” and you should use Option + Shift + 8 for a degree symbol.

That’s not much help though, since degree signs in your .bib file will still cause problems for creating a bibliography. Instead you need to put in titles like “Global warming of 1.5 \textdegree\ C” which almost renders properly, with the only problem the inclusion of a space between ° and C.

Much more annoying was one ‘ZERO WIDTH NON-JOINER’ (U+200C) which snuck into my .bib file. The error logs don’t say what line it is on, and the character is invisible in TextMate. After trying a bunch of ineffective suggestions on various web forums, I found one that referenced this Unicode converter. Throw in your bibliography and it will tell you the contents in Unicode terms character by character and let you find anything which is yielding errors.

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Clearly one of the principal things we need to learn as part of dealing with climate change is how to get along with one another as an international community. For one thing, we cannot afford the inevitably vast and frantic fossil fuel use which any great-power conflict would involve. More optimistically, it will only by coordinating efforts all around the world that we can follow the sort of decarbonization pathway which would avoid breaching the 1.5 – 2.0 ˚C temperature limit people talk about.

We can choose to be part of a noble tradition in statesmanship: of nations with different strengths, needs, and priorities being able to cooperate on projects of mutual interest and avoid the needless waste of arming excessively for war. It’s a waste in many senses: in terms of the time and skills of people who serve in military forces and who would otherwise contribute to society more in other ways; in terms of the spending on military equipment; the greenhouse gas emissions from remote location diesel generators and military vehicles; the fossil fuels which we are burning instead of keeping underground in order to keep our climate crisis from becoming catastrophic, or at least putting to an important social purpose which benefits people’s lives.

What it requires is a willingness to accept that people around the world are morally comparable to us, akin. We cannot choose a course of action which will condemn their nations to destruction, nor impose the level of disruption and suffering expected from unmitigated climate change. Once we have made a collective determination among some states that it is possible to move beyond fossil fuels and remain prosperous and democratic societies, we can begin to build that bloc outward on the basis of trading links and good and forthright relations with states outside our collective fossil fuel rationing system. Imposing tariffs at the border for states exporting carbon-intensive products may be a necessary part of containing opposition from trade-exposed domestic industries, while encouraging outside states to join the rationing bloc by implementing a credible set of decarbonization policies themselves, or at least established a comparable or integrated carbon price.

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I have all of my data analysis done and printed in a thick binder sorted by subject matter.

With a 58 page bibliography, I feel like I am a good way through the literature review, though my room and computer are still well populated with a set of things which I have read and annotated but still need to be incorporated into the manuscript, as well as a much smaller number that still need to be read.

I have a 98,000 word manuscript, not counting the bibliography, but it has been written in thousands of little sessions and surely needs a fair measure of editing to make it all clear, non-redundant, and smooth-flowing.

Perhaps the following makes sense as a path to completion:

  1. Finish incorporating all paper and digital sources into the manuscript
  2. Complete a read-through and first electronic edit of the entire draft, making note of places where evidence from the interviews would provide useful substantiation
  3. Read through the empirical package, adding relevant quotes and references to the manuscript
  4. Print off and hand-edit the manuscript to the point where I think it is completely ready to go to the dissertation committee for their substantive contents

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