Well this is a blog ramble with Monbiot, Obama, the Green New Deal and more - not quite what I set out to write but well I got interrupted and sidelined....
I've just read Monbiot in The Guardian - a depressing but essential read - he argues "the planet is now so vandalised that only total energy renewal can save us....It may be too late. But without radical action, we will be the generation that saved the banks and let the biosphere collapse."
Photos: Randwick woods last week
Monbiot shows how George Bush opening America's wilderness to logging and mining, trashing pollution controls, tearing up conservation laws, will do almost as much damage in the last 60 days of his presidency as he achieved in the foregoing 3,000. Monbiot writes: "Is it too late? To say so is to make it true. To suggest there is nothing that can be done is to ensure that nothing is done. But even a resolute optimist like me finds hope ever harder to summon. A new summary of the science published since last year's Intergovernmental Panel report suggests that - almost a century ahead of schedule - the critical climate processes might have begun."
I would urge you to see the Guardian article in full:
Response to Pre-Budget report
This week I've been helping put together local responses to the pre-budget report. You can see our press release here. A Green party response is, effectively, the Green New Deal which is being launched in Stroud on Thursday - see more about that here. Gordon Brown's tax cuts will lead to either saving (which could be deflationary) or a small increase in consumption in sectors that just add to the problem (imports plus CO2 emissions if made in China).
Instead of tax cuts we should have government investment in key sectors to move towards the low-carbon economy - that is precisely what the Green New Deal is for. How can Brown, Clegg and Cameron all get it so wrong??? Having said that a v small part of the package re the public sector pushing renewables and energy efficiency is great - nevertheless it is scary there seems to be so little understanding of the current situation. See local Green party Economist comments on her blog this last week: http://gaianeconomics.blogspot.com/
Does Obama have the answers?
Meanwhile an email asked me this week why in previous posts was I so cautious about welcoming Obama - well I didn't think I was so cautious - MediaLens with their excellent look beyond the news have a more in depth consideration of the reporting around Obama - see their report here - which includes comments by former Green party presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Obama is described as "a hawk and an expansionist" and as someone who will not take on the powers that need to be challenged.....
Monbiot was perhaps more optimistic than Medialens in his article above saying: "Barack Obama's speech to the US climate summit last week was an astonishing development. It shows that, in this respect at least, there really is a prospect of profound political change in America. But while he described a workable plan for dealing with the problem perceived by the Earth Summit of 1992, the measures he proposes are hopelessly out of date. The science has moved on."
Sign petition now
On a separate but related issue a Green party colleague recently set up a Downing Street petition which refers to the closing down of tax havens, the bringing in of a Currency Transaction Tax (also known as Sterling Stamp Duty in solely UK form), and a fairly sophisticated reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). It's all quite self-explanatory, but if you do need more info on CTT before signing there is also a useful video here: www.stampoutpoverty.org/film/?bw=300
As a longtime supporter of a Tobin Tax it is great to see interest in this growing again. The petition itself is at http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/tobintaxnow/