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Paris Climate March Will Go On, Say Activists – November 17, 2015

Civil society rejects French government’s restrictions on public demonstrations during COP21

graphic depicting a leaf with the silhouette of the Eiffel tower

It is often said that the twentieth century began, not in 1900, but in 1914 when the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand IV threw us into World War I.  Before the Friday attacks in Paris, I was saying — perhaps a bit glibly — that the climate conference in Paris would mark the real beginning of the twenty-first century. At this point, I'm not even sure I want to be right. For if this indeed our fate, it will not likely be an easy one. 

Exhibit A is France’s decision to suspend many of the… more

by: Tom Athanasiou

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Paris: The End of the Beginning – November 16, 2015

Will Paris be a success or a failure? It will be both. The real question is whether it opens the way to a new future of justice and ambition

graphic depicting a leaf with the silhouette of the Eiffel tower

As I write this, the United Nations climate conference is only weeks away. And now, of course, it will take place in an atmosphere of mourning, and crisis, and war. Beyond this change of tone, what difference will the 11/13 attacks make on the outcome of the negotiations? It is impossible to say, though it’s not too much to hope for heightened clarity, and seriousness, and resolve. This is a time to attend to the future. On this, at least, we should be able to agree.

The essay below was finished before the attacks.… more

by: Tom Athanasiou

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No Time to Spare – November 17, 2014

In Review: This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate

The first thing to say about Naomi’s Klein’s latest book is that its title makes a grand promise, This Changes Everything – and that’s before you even get to the subtitle, which sets up a face-off between capitalism on one side and the climate on the other. The second thing to say is that no single book could ever meet such a promise. Klein, with careful aplomb, does not attempt to do so. Rather, she offers a tour of the horizon upon which we will meet our fates. Or, rather, the horizon upon which we will attempt to change them.

book cover thumbnailmore

by: Tom Athanasiou

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As Dire as It Sounds, IPCC Report Is an Understatement – April 3, 2014

The consensus text does not track the bleeding edge of anxiety

There are two things to keep in mind if you would know the climate future. The first is that, as scientific statesman John Holdren likes to say, it will come to us as a mixture of mitigation, adaptation, and suffering. The second is that the suffering will be disproportionally visited upon the poor and the innocent.

Storm CloudsPhoto by Tal AtlasWhere once there was constant recourse to “this storm/drought/surge is consistent with global warming,” we’re now increasingly likely to hear “this storm/ drought/surge would not have happened without global warming.”

Hold these thoughts when considering the massive tome just issued by the IPCC’s… more

by: Tom Athanasiou

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Climate Denialism has Peaked. Now What Are We Going to Do? – April 8, 2013

We need action on the scale that’s actually necessary, rather than the scale that appears to be possible

head in sand

It was never going to be easy to face the ecological crisis. Even back in the 1970s, before climate took center stage, it was clear that we the prosperous were walking far too heavily. And that “environmentalism,” as it was called, was only going to be a small beginning. But it was only when the climate crisis pushed fossil energy into the spotlight that the real stakes were widely recognized. Fossil fuels are the meat and potatoes of industrial civilization, and the need to rapidly and radically reduce their emissions cut right through to the heart of the great American dream. And the European dream. And, inevitably, the… more

by: Tom Athanasiou

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