climate destabilization

AI, nuclear power and the end of the Earth

Tech companies now acknowledge that they are failing to meet their carbon emission reduction goals because of the mega-computing necessary for artificial intelligence—as if AI were something good and inevitable rather than ultra-dystopian. Meanwhile, the nuclear industry exploits carbon concerns to lubricate its comeback—with even countries like Kenya now planning reactors, amid oppressive and iniquitous social conditions. Even apart from the risk of devastating accidents, the normal functioning of nuclear power constitutes an ongoing disaster due to the dilemmas of waste disposal and the despoliation of indigenous lands by uranium mining. Climate disaster versus nuclear disaster is a false choice posed by omnicidal techno-capitalism. The only way to salvage a dignified human future lies in the abolition of fossil fuels, nuclear power and artificial intelligence alike. So argues Bill Weinberg in  Episode 234 of the CounterVortex podcast. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

Mexican elections see record number of assassinations

The results are in from Mexico's June 2 presidential election and Claudia Sheinbaum of the ruling left-populist National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) has won by some 60%, handily defeating a rival backed by an alliance of the country's more traditional political parties. The former mayor of Mexico City as well as an environmental scientist with a PhD in energy engineering from UC Berkeley, Sheinbaum was a researcher with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) when it earned a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Despite this prestigious and somewhat technocratic background, her status as the chosen hier of incumbent populist Andrés Manuel López Obrador has caused her victory to be viewed with suspicion if not panic in elite quarters. Both the peso and Mexican stock exchange slided on the news.

Small Island States conference rebukes developed nations

The president of the Fourth International Conference of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Gaston Alphonso Browne, accused wealthy nations of empty climate pledges on May 27, referring to a lack of financial help to developing countries, along with the inadequacy of carbon emission reduction efforts. The summit, entited "Charting the Course Toward Resilient Prosperity," was hosted by Antigua & Barbuda, where Browne serves as prime minister. Browne blasted developed nations for failing to meet their "obligation to compensation" to the SIDS nations. This refers to the annual $100 billion that was agreed to under the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2009 and reiterated in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Tuvalu regains full sovereignty over security relations

Australia and Tuvalu released a joint statement May 9 announcing new commitments to improve security relations, and remove the veto power Australia previously had over the small island nation's security relations with other countries. The announcement concerned implementation and interpretation of the Falepili Union, a bilateral treaty entered into on Nov. 9, 2023, which expands upon the Australia-Tuvalu Security Partnership Memorandum of Understanding of 2017. "Falepili" is a Tuvaluan term for neighbors, which the treaty says "embodies the values underpinning the deeper partnership, including care and mutual respect."

Protect indigenous rights in biodiversity framework

Amnesty International cautioned May 10 against potential threats to indigenous peoples' rights in the monitoring process for progress towards the Global Biodiversity Framework. The organization emphasized the imperative for states to engage in consultations with indigenous communities and secure their "free, prior, and informed consent" in conservation projects, in line with the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Darfur: 'ethnic cleansing' targets Massalit

Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported May 9 that "ethnic cleansing" and crimes against humanity are being committed in El Geneina, capital of Sudan's West Darfur state. The crimes are described as "among the worst atrocities against civilians so far in the current conflict in Sudan." The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) are responsible for the widespread attacks and massacres that have been carried out against the Massalit ethnic minority. The wave of attacks commenced in April 2023, with the start of the conflict. Since then, it is estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 people have been killed in El Geneina. HRW called for these killings to be investigated as genocide by the International Criminal Court.

World peasant movements mobilize for UNDROP

The world organization for land-rooted peasant farmers, Vía Campesina, is launching a coordinated international campaign for full approval of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants & Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP), and for implementation of policies in line with its principles. Several events were held around the world marking the International Day of Peasant Struggle. El Salvador was one of the first countries to commit to ratifying UNDROP after it was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in September 2018. However, Vía Campesina affiliates in the Central American nation accused the government of pursuing policies contrary to its spirit, noting that in the years since then, there has been a reduction in cultivated areas of maize and beans, with a loss of at least 10,000 hectares of maize.

How to break cycle of rising global hunger?

More countries facing crises; more people going hungry. Some 281 million people were locked in high levels of acute hunger last year, according to the latest Global Report on Food Crises—a benchmark analysis of food insecurity by a network that includes UN agencies, donors, and famine analysts. The figure is 24 million higher than the previous year—a rise driven in part by Sudan's civil war and Israel's destruction of Gaza. Global hunger numbers have spiked since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to rise. A mix of conflict, extreme weather, El Niño, inflation, and volatile food prices suggest there won't be a reprieve by the time 2024's numbers are tallied. How do we break the cycle in the face of such dire numbers? Doubling down on reforming food systems, and building "peace and prevention" into the mix is crucial, aid groups say.

Syndicate content