Politics

An item from The Economist’s “Politics this week” recently: Ambassadors from 37 countries signed a letter praising China’s “contribution to the international human-rights cause”, including in its restive western region of Xinjiang, where China has locked up perhaps 1m people, mostly Muslim Uighurs, in “vocational training” camps. The signatories were all from authoritarian regimes with […]

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It’s 4:41am and I am in my 10 1/2th hour of thesis work since I last slept. For weeks I have been working my way through my notebooks, compiling interview reports based on my discussions with campus fossil fuel divestment organizers in Canada. I have been paying special attention to getting the details from this […]

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It seems like a plausible rule for climate change reduction schemes that the people running them will generally prioritize other political and economic objectives over actual emission reductions. This meshes together with other forms of wishful thinking, where we give ourselves credit for overly generous assumptions about reduced emissions, then find every possible way to […]

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Among other things, this reinforces my view that “awareness raising” isn’t very meaningful and certainly isn’t sufficient to keep us from wrecking the global climate: At the European elections 48% of voters said climate change was their top concern. The Green Party came second in that election and now leads Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union […]

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Surprisingly, despite the importance placed on it in the University of Toronto fossil fuel divestment brief and in the divestment movement generally, I don’t have a post on the idea of the carbon bubble. If we start with the temperature targets countries have chosen as the upper limit for tolerable climate change, we can calculate […]

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Natural gas is often held up as a solution to climate change, or at least a transition in the right direction, on the basis of producing less CO2 per unit of energy than oil or coal. Other factors are also relevant, however. Natural gas is mostly methane (CH4) which is a much more powerful greenhouse […]

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The CBC is reporting on polling results pertinent to this fall’s federal election: CBC News poll takes snapshot of Canadians ahead of fall election. They say the cost of living was the top concern identified, followed by climate change. This suggests a familiar Canadian dynamic: being notionally concerned about climate change, but rejecting action on […]

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Over the years I have written a variety of academic papers on various aspects of nuclear weapons and nuclear power: 1) Written for an undergrad international relations course at UBC and subsequently published in a journal and given an award: “The Space Race as ‘Primitive’ Warfare.” UBC Journal of International Affairs. 2005. p. 19-28. 2) […]

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Conservatives have no more reason to want to destabilize the climate than anyone else, though the political right has largely become where those who deny the existence of or need to do anything about climate change can persist unrebuked and win converts. A central view of mine these days is that it’s hopeless to pursue […]

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A central aim of the climate change activist movement is to discourage further investment in fossil fuel projects. This is closely tied to economic analyses showing that the total cost of the transition depends critically on how quickly it starts and how effectively long-term high-carbon projects are avoided. It’s also the inverse of a frequent […]

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