Corporate climate blockers: Why is BASF still lobbying against climate regulations?

The chemical giant was recently ranked the third most “negative and influential” corporation in the world when it comes to lobbying on climate policy

https://www.corporateknights.com/category-climate/the-climate-blockers-basf-quietly-lobbies-against-strong-climate-policy-while-talking-a-big-game/

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Exposing rainforest carbon credits: why offsetting isn’t working | News | The Guardian

Link to a Guardian 37 minute podcast

Companies across the world rely on carbon offsetting credits as a way to display their green credentials, but a Guardian analysis of scientific studies has found that many rainforest carbon credits are worthless. The investigation into Verra, which is the world’s leading carbon standard for the offsetting market, found that the vast majority of credits being bought are likely to be “phantom credits”.

Verra has argued that the studies’ conclusions are incorrect, and questioned the methodology used. It also argues that its work has channelled billions of dollars into rainforest protection.

Patrick Greenfield, the biodiversity reporter for the Guardian’s Age of Extinction project, tells Michael Safi about how he conducted the investigation in collaboration with the German weekly Die Zeit and SourceMaterial, a non-profit investigative journalism organisation.

Greenfield explains why we should not rely on such credits to tackle the climate crisis, and why the focus should be on decarbonisation.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/audio/2023/jan/23/exposing-rainforest-carbon-credits-why-offsetting-isnt-working

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Guardian: our cities need trees

Planners want to plant trees to tackle climate crisis but often face a hostile urban environment

In an effort to put a monetary value on trees’ benefits, Ana Luisa Soares, a landscape architect at the University of Lisbon adapted a US software program, iTrees, and fed it data from Lisbon’s 41,000-odd trees. She found that while the trees cost about $1.9m annually, the services they provided were worth $8.4m.

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2023/jan/16/trees-green-vision-europe-cities

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Cities are falling out of love with parking lots

They are gray and rectangular, and if you laid all 2 billion of them together they would cover an area roughly the size Connecticut, about 5,500 square miles. Parking lots have a monotonous ubiquity in US life, but a growing band of cities and states are now refusing to force more on people, arguing that they harm communities and inflame the climate crisis.

Faced with a public used to navigating car-centric cities with ample parking at amenities from strip malls to concert halls, cities typically have zoning laws demanding at least one parking space per apartment built, one per 300 square feet of commercial development, and one per 100 square feet for restaurants.

These stipulations have helped concrete over huge chunks of America—there are between three and six car parking spaces per car in the US, numbering up to 2 billion in total, according to some estimates. In much of the US, more space is devoted to parking than housing—in Jackson, Wyoming, for example, parking spaces outnumber homes 27 to 1,

https://www.wired.com/story/us-cities-are-falling-out-of-love-with-the-parking-lot/

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Climate & Capitalism – 90% of world’s people to face combined extreme heat and drought

More than 90% of the world’s population is projected to face increased risks from the compound impacts of extreme heat and drought, potentially widening social inequalities as well as undermining the natural world’s ability to reduce CO2 emissions in the atmosphere — according to a study from Oxford University’s School of Geography.

In the wake of record temperatures in 2022, from London to Shanghai, continuing rising temperatures are projected around the world. When assessed together, the linked threats of heat and drought represent a significantly higher risk to society and ecosystems than when either threat is considered independently, according to the paper, published this month in the journal Nature Sustainability.

https://climateandcapitalism.com/2023/01/09/90-of-worlds-people-to-face-combined-extreme-heat-and-drought/

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Ecological Economics Volume 205, March 2023

This issue is in progress but contains articles that are final and fully citable.

[Note: From an academic journal. I haven’t read any of these articles yet but have bolded a number of titles which seem of interest to degrowth readers. The link below should lead you to a page that lets you review the abstracts and even download a free zipped copy of the entire issue. Bob]

Issue titles – overview

https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/ecological-economics/vol/205/suppl/C

  1. In memoriam: Herman Daly (1938–2022)
    • Joshua Farley, Tommaso Luzzati
  2. Managing the distributional effects of climate policies: A narrow path to a just transition\
    • Francesco Vona
  3. Pests, wind and fire: A multi-hazard risk review for natural disturbances in forests
    • Félix Bastit, Marielle Brunette, Claire Montagné-Huck
  4. What does network analysis teach us about international environmental cooperation?
    • Stefano Carattini, Sam Fankhauser, Jianjian Gao, Caterina Gennaioli, Pietro Panzarasa
  5. First-degree price discrimination water bank to reduce reacquisition costs and enhance economic efficiency in agricultural water buyback
    • C. Dionisio Pérez-Blanco, Francesco Sapino, Pablo Saiz-Santiago
  6. Testing the sensitivity of stated environmental preferences to variations in choice architecture
    • Jülide Ceren Ahi, Margrethe Aanesen, Gorm Kipperberg
  7. How to estimate whether preferential trade agreements contribute to international environmental impact shifting. A new methodology and empirical illustration for Switzerland
    • Oskar Martin Jönsson, David Presberger, Stephan Pfister, Thomas Bernauer
  8. Environmental justice and green innovation: A quasi-natural experiment based on the establishment of environmental courts in China
    • Xiulin Qi, Zhifang Wu, Jinqing Xu, Biaoan Shan
  9. Navigating farming-BMP-policy interplay through a dynamical model
    • Mehran Homayounfar, Rachata Muneepeerakul, Christopher J. Martinez
  10. Under what conditions do payments for environmental services enable forest conservation in the Amazon? A realist synthesis
    • Fernando-Esteban Montero-de-Oliveira, Genowefa Blundo-Canto, Driss Ezzine-de-Blas
  11. Wild harvesting or cultivation of commercial environmental products: A theoretical model and its application to medicinal plants
    • Sofia Topcu Madsen, Carsten Smith-Hall
  12. Leaders and laggards in the pursuit of an EU just transition
    • Darren McCauley, Kerry A. Pettigrew, Iain Todd, Christine Milchram
  13. Resource shifting: Resourcification and de-resourcification for degrowth
    • Hervé Corvellec, Alexander Paulsson
  14. Capitalized value of evolving flood risks discount and nature-based solution premiums on property prices
    • Asli Mutlu, Debraj Roy, Tatiana Filatova
  15. Social outcomes of energy use in the United Kingdom: Household energy footprints and their links to well-being
    • Marta Baltruszewicz, Julia K. Steinberger, Jouni Paavola, Diana Ivanova, … Anne Owen
  16. Supporting national-level policies for sustainable consumption in Portugal: A socio-economic Ecological Footprint analysis
    • João-Pedro Ferreira, João Lourenço Marques, Sara Moreno Pires, Katsunori Iha, Alessandro Galli
  17. The short-run, dynamic employment effects of natural disasters: New insights from Puerto Rico
    • Alessandro Barattieri, Patrice Borda, Alberto Brugnoli, Martino Pelli, Jeanne Tschopp
  18. Assessing U.S. consumers’ carbon footprints reveals outsized impact of the top 1%
    • Jared Starr, Craig Nicolson, Michael Ash, Ezra M. Markowitz, Daniel Moran
  19. Disparities in economic values for nature-based activities in Canada
    • Danielle S. Spence, Corinne J. Schuster-Wallace, Patrick Lloyd-Smith
  20. Experimenting with a green ‘Green Revolution’. Evidence from a randomised controlled trial in Indonesia
    • Michael Grimm, Nathalie Luck
  21. How payments for ecosystem services can undermine Indigenous institutions: The case of Peru’s Ampiyacu-Apayacu watershed
    • Ashwin Ravikumar, Esperanza Chairez Uriarte, Daniela Lizano, Andrea Muñoz Ledo Farré, Mariel Montero
  22. An assessment of the scope and comprehensiveness of well-being economy indicator sets: The cases of Iceland, Scotland and New Zealand
    • David Cook, Takeshi Benjamín Kaji, Brynhildur Davíðsdóttir
  23. The Green New Deal: Historical insights and local prospects in the United Kingdom (UK)
    • Donal Brown, Marie-Claire Brisbois, Max Lacey-Barnacle, Tim Foxon, … Giulia Mininni
  24. Do people think they have enough? A subjective income sufficiency assessment
    • Damaris Castro, Brent Bleys
  25. Digitalization, positioning in global value chain and carbon emissions embodied in exports: Evidence from global manufacturing production-based emissions
    • Yongming Huang, Yanan Zhang
  26. Designing policy packages for a climate-neutral industry: A case study from the Netherlands
    • Brilé Anderson, Emile Cammeraat, Antoine Dechezleprêtre, Luisa Dressler, … Konstantinos Theodoropoulos
  27. The Role of Catch Portfolios in Characterizing Species’ Economic Linkages and Fishers’ Responses to Climate Change Impacts
    • Smit Vasquez Caballero, Diego Salgueiro-Otero, Elena Ojea
  28. Modelling the embodied carbon cost of UK domestic building construction: Today to 2050
    • Michał P. Drewniok, Cyrille F. Dunant, Julian M. Allwood, Tim Ibell, Will Hawkins
  29. Less and more: Conceptualising degrowth transformations
    • Hubert Buch-Hansen, Iana Nesterova
  30. Green consumption: The role of confidence and pessimism
    • Maria J. Montoya-Villalobos
  31. A descriptive framework to evaluate instrument packages for the low-carbon transition
    • Herman Vollebergh, Edwin van der Werf, Johanna Vogel
  32. What drives the designation of protected areas? Accounting for spatial dependence using a composite marginal likelihood approach
    • Anne Nobel, Sebastien Lizin, Robert Malina
  33. Evolution of farm-level crop diversification and response to rainfall shocks in smallholder farming: Evidence from Malawi and Tanzania
    • Clifton Makate, Arild Angelsen, Stein Terje Holden, Ola Tveitereid Westengen
  34. Urban mining: The relevance of information, transaction costs and externalities
    • Antoinette van der Merwe, Livia Cabernard, Isabel Günther
  35. Facing finitude: Death-awareness and sustainable transitions
    • Gábor Király, Alexandra Köves
  36. Book Reviews
  37. An Inconvenient Apocalypse: Environmental Collapse, Climate Crisis, and the Fate of Humanity, Wes Jackson, Robert Jensen (Eds.). University of Notre Dame Press (2022), 171+ix pages
    • Richard B. Norgaard

Copyright © 2023 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved

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NYTimes: At Columbia’s $600 Million Business School, Time to Rethink Capitalism

Glenn Hubbard, the former business school dean who brought the project to fruition, saw the need to break free from fealty to the unregulated free market economy that over decades has led to extraordinary wealth concentration. The idea that business should focus only on making money, attributed to the economist Milton Friedman, “was a simple and direct idea that took over business, banking, even corporate law,” Hubbard explained. “We are trying to come up with a framework that can be more about flourishing, not just profit.

https://nyti.ms/3WRExKU

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Degrowth policies are very popular! 74% of people want to replace capitalism with the wellbeing economy!

Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2023 12:01:19 -0500
From: Degrowth Collective <degrowthco

Dear community leaders,

Degrowth policies are very popular! A recent survey commissioned for the Club of Rome asked 20000 people in G20 countries if they wanted to transform economic systems to prioritize well-being, health, and protection of the planet over a singular focus on profit and economic growth. The answer was a resounding “Yes.” Among G20 countries, 74% of people support the idea that their country’s economic priorities should move beyond profit and increasing wealth and focus more on human wellbeing and ecological protection.

Across the G20, three in five people (58%) are “extremely worried” or “very worried” about the current state of the planet. Even more are concerned about the future. Concern is at its highest level among: women (62%), young people aged 25 to 34 (60%), those educated, high earners, and people who identify more as global citizens than those who have a very strong national identity.

Three in four people (73%) believe Earth is edging closer to tipping points because of human action. Those living in places close to large, vital ecosystems currently under attack from development, like Indonesia and Brazil’s rainforests, are most aware.

Do people want to become better planetary stewards? Are people willing to do more to protect nature and the climate? Again, the answer is a resounding, “Yes” (83%). So most people across the world’s largest economies do indeed want to do more to protect and restore nature. But that does not mean that they are willing to pay the bill.

Polls in Europe show that the majority of people prioritize well-being and ecological objectives over growth.

Polls in the United States and the United Kingdom show support for job guarantees and working-time reductions

You can find resources, such as books and articles about degrowth, in our discord server: ttps://discord.gg/PfwrU6X3NC

You can see highlights of degrowth policies and join our regular mailing list here: https://forms.gle/tSaDXGTiFaxNdehh8

Change is coming!

Yours truly,

Vlad Bunea

Founder of Degrowth Collective

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Practical nuclear fusion is still just hype | Climate & Capitalism

In reality, commercially viable nuclear fusion is only infinitesimally closer than it was back in the 1980s when a contained fusion reaction — i.e. not occurring in the sun or from a bomb — was first achieved. A meaningfully just energy transition needs to both be fully renewable, and also reject the myths of perpetual growth that emerged from the fossil fuel era. If the end of the fossil fuel era portends the end of capitalist growth in all its forms, it is clear that all of life on earth will ultimately be the beneficiary.

https://climateandcapitalism.com/2023/01/02/practical-nuclear-fusion-is-still-just-hype/

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Radio Canada: Eric Pineault – Is degrowth possible?

Radio Canada interview translated via Google translate

https://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/1943108/decroissance-entrevue-pineault-eric-surconsommation

Photo: La planète Terre vue de l’espace.
Earth seen from space

The degrowth revolution could well end up happening

Interview by Laurence Niosi
Posted December 26 2022 at 4:06 a.m.

Degrowth. The concept is not new, but experts and the public are increasingly interested in it. In an economy based on all-out growth, is downsizing possible? In the middle of the holiday season – and of overconsumption – we put the question to sociologist Éric Pineault, professor at the Institute of Environmental Sciences at the University of Quebec in Montreal.

Laurence Niosi: How to define degrowth?

Éric Pineault: There are two levels. The de means to go out, to undo something. We want to undo hegemony, the domination of economic growth as an obligatory way of addressing our societal challenges. This is something that was installed in the context of the cold war, it is a straitjacket that must be broken.

The second idea is that there must be a reduction in the matter that we extract, in the land that we transform and occupy, and there must be a reduction in the energy that we produce in the rich countries. We know that betting on technological changes does not work: we need changes in behavior, changes in institutions and a modification of the basic economic rules.

L.N. : Do you have concrete examples?

E.P.: Me, I don’t ask people anything in their daily behavior, I’m not a preacher, but as a collective, I ask a lot of things. There are people who can’t buy less because they just buy the basics they need to live on. But let’s take the example of a toaster. Let’s say I want a toaster that I can repair myself. There, it will take me days of research to find one that does not have the famous screws that burst as soon as you touch them. So I’m stuck with toasters that I throw away every two years. So what I would like is for there to be a law in Quebec on the repairability of everyday objects.

L.N. And what about overconsumption around Boxing Day?

E.P.: Of course, it still takes people who give themselves handmade or second-hand gifts that resist Boxing Day; so yes to individual initiative. Exemplarity is important: every little gesture counts in the field of the environment. But it mainly involves public policies, changes in institutions.

However, it will upset us, it will be revolutionary, there will be conflict. For example, for me, Walmart or large corporations are not compatible with degrowth. Our pension plans are based on growing, large financial institutions. It’s big, it’s a radical change. It’s like communism in the 1920s, it’s the scarecrow that scares. But this time the change must be democratic, there must be support. We cannot impose that. So the change will not be made by arms, but there will be demonstrations, strikes. We saw the mini-debate around the Horne Foundry in Quebec. And we’re going to see that more and more.

L.N. : What do we do to decrease when we don’t have access to wealth? Wouldn’t that increase inequality?

E.P.: No, it reduces inequalities. Degrowth comes with an idea of maximum income and wealth. After World War II, in North America, we saw marginal taxation – the top income tax bracket – increase to 94%. This corresponded to the reduction of inequalities. It lasted until the 1980s. And now, inequalities are coming back. We are starting to look like the 1920s, just before fascism and the political instabilities created by inequality.

L.N. : Can we slow down our growth while maintaining our quality of life?

E.P. Yes, but it depends on how we define quality of life. When we measure the quality of life, we have several indicators. We can take GDP per capita, and there we say that there is a strong link between growth and well-being. But, for years, we have had studies in economics that have taken other indicators, and we always end up with the same curve. If we take health, and on another axis the GDP, well, after a while, there are no more gains, economic growth no longer gives anything in terms of health. Same thing with the subjective feeling of happiness. We surveyed the populations: we arrive with the same curve. Then there, the question must be asked: what is it after that that can increase or decrease well-being if it is not growth?

L.N. : We are talking more and more about degrowth, especially at COP15 in Montreal this month.

E.P.: It is present. It’s not part of political negotiations, but in the sidelines, it’s ubiquitous much more than in years before. Why? It corresponds to the trajectory of degrowth as a field that has changed a lot in the last 15 years. It went from a spontaneous social criticism of a mode of development and it became anchored in the work, and it was taken up in official reports. That’s what changed.

And that refers to a key notion, that of decoupling: it is a concept in environmental science, promoted by large companies and governments even today, that it is possible to detach economic growth from environmental impacts, and even that growth can benefit nature. But in the scientific field, no one defends that anymore. Over the past 10 years, we have witnessed a paradigm shift, from decoupling to downsizing.

The society may not be there yet, but the science is there. And it’s like many ideas, if you had told a man in 1910 that women were going to participate in politics, he would have said “impossible”. There are tipping points at some point, and it’s accelerating.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Also to read and listen (in French)

La décroissance est-elle possible?
La décroissance pour sortir de la crise écologique? | Décroissance | Rad (Nouvelle fenêtre)
Les concepts de « décroissance » et de « mode de vie sobre » s’invitent à la COP15

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