Why a New Global Deal on Aviation Emissions is Really Bad News

airline-pollution-carbon-emissions

(Photo: Shutterstock)

It sounds like a fine riddle: what can grow exponentially but still remain the same size? A new global deal on climate emissions from aviation promises just that: “carbon neutral growth” from an industry that is the world’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gases.

When diplomats meet in Montreal this week for the triennial Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the results are likely to be prosaic: a delay in cutting emissions until 2021, at which time a voluntary scheme would be introduced that allows airlines to continue polluting by paying others to clean up for them. The controversial “carbon offsetting’”scheme at the heart of this proposal is likely to involve counting reductions in greenhouse gas emissions twice, posing a significant new threat to hopes of avoiding dangerous climate change.

The airline industry is currently responsible for about two per cent of the carbon dioxide emissions that play a lead role in causing climate change, but the impact of flying could be more than double that headline figure.

Without getting too technical, emissions from planes change the balance of energy in the atmosphere (‘radiative forcing’), as well as forming cirrus clouds (the contrails so beloved of conspiracy theorists) that can lock in further warming. Taking all of these factors into account, aviation is responsible for closer to five per cent of the climate change problem, a small but significant share. The bigger problem, though, is that flying is expected to be the fastest growing cause of climate change.

Read the full article on New Internationalist’s website.

The post Why a New Global Deal on Aviation Emissions is Really Bad News appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Oscar Reyes is an associate fellow for the Institute for Policy Studies.

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China’s famously strict gun control laws obfuscate on children’s toy guns, which this expat parent argues should … – Global Times


Global Times
China's famously strict gun control laws obfuscate on children's toy guns, which this expat parent argues should
Global Times
China's low crime stats can probably be attributed to the country's strict gun control laws. The sale and private ownership of guns is unlawful here, and the manufacturing of conventional small arms for export is restricted to just 11 authorized State

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Global Smart Factory Solution Industry – PR Newswire (press release)

Global Smart Factory Solution Industry
PR Newswire (press release)
II-118 Mentor Graphics Unveils Valor® IoT Manufacturing Solution II-118 Tornos UK to Introduce TISIS 2.0 Software II-118 ADLINK to Introduce MICA Platform II-118 Cyrptosoft Releases Latest Version of Cryptosoft Platform II-118 Siemens to Unveil

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Indian industry must meet global quality standards: Indian envoys – ETAuto.com

Indian industry must meet global quality standards: Indian envoys
ETAuto.com
CHANDIGARH: Indian industry must meet global quality standards and imbibe international societal values to compete in the world market, heads of Indian Missions to Australia, the EU, Belgium and Luxembourg said on Friday. … Navdeep Singh Suri, the

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Global Smart Factory Solution Industry – PR Newswire (press release)

Global Smart Factory Solution Industry
PR Newswire (press release)
II-118 Mentor Graphics Unveils Valor® IoT Manufacturing Solution II-118 Tornos UK to Introduce TISIS 2.0 Software II-118 ADLINK to Introduce MICA Platform II-118 Cyrptosoft Releases Latest Version of Cryptosoft Platform II-118 Siemens to Unveil

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TPP, a Global Stimulus for Local Communities – Huffington Post

TPP, a Global Stimulus for Local Communities
Huffington Post
Living up to the President's campaign promise to rewrite NAFTA, TPP includes enforceable labor standards ensuring fair labor competition in the form of collective bargaining rights, bans against child and forced labor, minimum wage standards, and rules

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Human rights reporting vital to ending injustices in global supply chains

During the ‘EU Roadmap to Business and Human Rights Conference’ on 11 May 2016, Maddalena Neglia – Fairfood International’s Business and Human Rights specialist – gave a presentation on Human Rights Reporting. Fairfood wanted to remind the audience that human rights reporting should not only be a ‘fashionable’ topic discussed among and by companies, but a way to concretely improve the situation of people working in the global supply chain and to integrate respect for human rights into corporate culture and behaviour.

Human rights abuses in Morocco’s booming tomato sector

Fairfood shared its experiences in Morocco for this occasion. Morocco, and in particular the Sous Massa Region in the west rural part of the country, is a major exporter of tomatoes (the country’s largest agricultural export), which are sold in main EU supermarkets, including the biggest Dutch supermarkets.

We looked more closely at the production of this commodity and we found that the freedom of association is not always respected, wages are low (a worker earns 5 euros per day for 12 hours of work) and working conditions are sometimes unsafe (especially unsafe transport to work). Moreover, 92% of the workers in the Moroccan agricultural sector are women and they do not receive any childcare support from the employers and are left to their own devices if they get pregnant. You can find more details about the Tomato project on our website.

The need for a collaborative approach to creating fairer supply chains

We tried to find a shared solution to those issues by initiating a dialogue among the different stakeholders involved: local unions in the agricultural sector, local authorities, workers, local NGOs, academia and industries, as well as European companies and consumers. After the first challenging months, the response of local stakeholders to this initiative was enthusiastic and very promising: a major agricultural union, local producers and local authorities agreed to sit together and to enter into a dialogue in order to find shared solutions for the future. Wages increased and working conditions were improved by local producers, which was also due to the increased negotiating capacity of the union.

However, little information was available on the sourcing practices of global companies and, unfortunately they were reluctant to participate in this process.

This example demonstrates the importance of the collaborative approach among stakeholders as the only way to achieved shared and sustainable solutions on the ground. However, it also tells us how difficult it is to fully achieve it in practice.

Action not box ticking

For this reason, Fairfood argued that the issue of Human Rights reporting should be used as an opportunity to start a genuine process that helps global companies to understand complex problems in their supply chain and that facilitates the dialogue among different stakeholders already at an early stage. Only if reporting is realized through such a process, and does not end in a mere box ticking exercise, can social value be created at local level.

Given this direction, we are aware that lots of questions are still open. For example, to what extent could and should both national and European legislations foster this type of reporting as a process, and how can we do this without creating counterproductive multiplication of reporting requirements?

The session partially contributed to addressing those issues.

We hope that this is the first step towards shared future engagement among companies, policy makers and civil society organisations, ultimately leading to the endorsement of human rights reporting as a way of changing and improving workers’ lives.

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Remembering Michael Ratner: Radical Lawyer, Global Activist, Loyal Friend

Michael Ratner with Vanessa Redgrave

Michael Ratner with Vanessa Redgrave

One of our movement’s champions, Michael Ratner, died yesterday. He was one of the greats among radical lawyers. With his colleagues at the Center for Constitutional Rights and the National Lawyers Guild and beyond, he linked brilliant, innovative legal approaches with creative strategies for advocacy, activism, and mobilization.

Michael sued in U.S. courts to implement the decision of the International Court of Justice holding the Unite States liable for bombing Nicaragua. He defended inmates charged in the Attica prison uprising. He worked to get protesters out of jail, among them Central American activists and Palestinian human rights defenders. And he was among the first to say that detainees at Guantanamo Bay prison, held without charge or trial in the so-called “global war on terror,” deserved lawyers, legal rights, and a challenge to their illegal detention.

 Michael was a consummate internationalist, committed to international law as well as global activism on Vietnam, Cuba, Haiti, Palestine, and further.  He helped create Palestine Legal, a team of lawyers and legal workers he mentored to defend Palestinian rights activists in the U.S.  He worked with CCR founder and longtime IPS board member Peter Weiss along with CCR’s Rhonda Copelon to figure out ways to use U.S. law to go after military dictators around the world.

 In 2006 Michael, along with his CCR colleague Maria LaHood and their client Maher Arar, a Canadian whom the U.S. had sent off to Syria to be tortured in 2002, accepted IPS’s annual Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award. It was presented by acclaimed actor-activist Vanessa Redgrave.

 Michael was an extraordinary human being. The last time I saw him was at the flag-raising of the just-reopening Cuban Embassy in Washington in July 2015. He was, he said, more excited than at any moment other than the birth of his children.

Beyond his passion for justice and his powerful insistence on standing up to oppression and oppressors, Michael was a funny and incredibly loyal friend. I still remember an unexpected phone call years ago from Michael, who had just heard I had been diagnosed with cancer. He just wanted to tell me, “If you need any help, any money, if there’s anything, anything that you need – another doctor, a new drug, anything – you call me. I’m here.”  And he always was.

 His death is a huge loss for all of us. But what a gift that we had Michael with us for so long. Now it’s our turn to be inspired by his commitment to justice and challenged by his fierce courage in fighting for it. As his CCR comrades wrote yesterday, “Today we mourn. Tomorrow we continue his work.”

The post Remembering Michael Ratner: Radical Lawyer, Global Activist, Loyal Friend appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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Just Did It: Nike’s Phil Knight on the trailblazing emergence of a global mega-brand – The Globe and Mail

Just Did It: Nike's Phil Knight on the trailblazing emergence of a global mega-brand
The Globe and Mail
You end the book with Nike's initial public offering in 1980 – before Just Do It, before Michael Jordan or LeBron or Tiger Woods, before the sweatshop crisis. Why? There's too much story to cover the whole … But I didn't give up my love of the sport

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Our Childhood Poverty Is a Global Embarrassment

childhood-poverty-usIf a society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable members, the United States just received an incredibly unflattering judgment.

A new study published by the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund, or UNICEF, ranked the wealthiest countries of the world by the well-being of their most disadvantaged children. Out of 41 countries, the U.S. ranked No. 18 overall.

For context, the U.S. ranks No. 1 in total wealth.

The study took a comprehensive approach, comparing the gap between children at the very bottom to those in the middle across a range of criteria – including household income, educational achievement and self-reported health and life satisfaction. The central question was this: How far do countries let those at the very bottom fall?

In the United States, the answer seems to be distressingly far.

Read the full article on U.S. News and World Report’s website.

The post Our Childhood Poverty Is a Global Embarrassment appeared first on Institute for Policy Studies.

Josh Hoxie directs the Project on Opportunity and Taxation at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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