The Davos Club: Meet the People Who Gave Us a World in Which 62 People Own as Much as 3.6 Billion...

Jan 21, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Economy The Davos people talk about poverty and pledge money to charity. But it’s just spare change to them. By Vijay Prashad / AlterNet Global elites meet in the remote Swiss town of Davos each year for the World Economic Forum. The conclave began in 1971, but it became an essential destination in the 1990s. When globalization became the buzzword, Davos became its headquarters. Big business, politics and the media meet, exchange business cards and go away better connected to each other. Deals are sometimes struck, but more than anything harmony among the world’s elite is established. This is what the Davos Summit is intended to do, to create a Davos civilization for the important people of the planet. Each year, before the summit, Oxfam International publishes a report on global wealth. This...

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A CASE FOR BRINGING INNOVATION TO THE HOUSING MARKET...

Jan 19, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] David Friedlander   LIFE EDITED Architecture In Manhattan, the average cost of a studio apartment is $2,418 (non doorman). In San Francisco, it’s $2650. Crazy as it sounds, you might not have the privilege of paying those sums as both cities have low single digit vacancy rates. Other major cities like Boston and DC have similarly high rents and low inventory. And while some of this expense is offset by higher per capita incomes, many find themselves unable to afford housing. A study by NYU’s Furman Center found that 50% of New Yorkers were “cost-burdened” by their rent, paying more than 30% of their income on housing; 60% of that segment (600K people) were “extremely cost burdened,” forking over more than 50%. So it’s not a stretch to say that housing is a big problem in many major cities (we’ll...

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2016 — THE YEAR OF GREEN FINANCE, THE VIEW FROM LONDON...

Jan 16, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Nick RobinsCo-Director, UNEP Inquiry into a Sustainable Financial System Heading into the New Year, global financial markets are experiencing yet another bout of volatility and turbulence. Many political, economic and environmental uncertainties and threats cloud the year ahead. One thing is clear, however. From a strategic perspective, 2015 built a new set of policy foundations for the global economy, signaling new directions for the financial system. We now have the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, the so-called SDGs, which, in essence, plot out an annual investment pipeline measured in the trillions to end poverty and also marry increased prosperity with social inclusion and environmental regeneration. And we also have the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which signaled the shift to a low and ultimately net zero carbon economy, stressed the urgency of improving...

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THE FEDS WANT TO GIVE $14 MILLION IN TAXPAYER MONEY TO A KOCH BROTHER’S COAL MINE...

Jan 14, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Shutterstock/Kritchanut By Katie Herzog   GRIST Damn, it feels good to be a billionaire. Today in WTF News, we learned that billionaire industrialist William Koch — brother of arch conservatives Charles and David Koch — may be getting a $14 million royalty refund after his coal mine on leased federal property in Colorado shut down. And that $14 mil would come compliments of the American taxpayer. When coal is mined from underground on federal land, the federal government is entitled to an 8 percent royalty. But coal-mining companies can claim they face trying economic conditions and ask for a “royalty rate reduction,” Reuters reports. One of Koch’s companies did just that. It’s not a big surprise that a greedy fossil fuel billionaire would ask for an extra government handout. What’s crazy is that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management wants to grant the request. Put another way, to...

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U.S. SOLAR CREATED MORE JOBS THAN OIL AND GAS EXTRACTION...

Jan 13, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Ryan Koronowski CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: AP Photo/Jerry McBride Two of 105 solar panels are installed on the roof of a barn Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009, north of Hesperus, Colo.   Over the last year, the solar industry added jobs twelve times faster than the rest of the economy, even more than the jobs created by the oil and gas extraction and pipeline sectors combined. The Solar Foundation released its annual Solar Jobs Census Tuesday, and found that for the third straight year, the solar workforce grew 20 percent in the United States. According to the census, the industry added 35,052 jobs, elevating its grand total to 208,859. That builds on the 31,000 jobs added the year before, and 23,600 added the year before that. “It’s incredible,” SolarCity CEO and co-founder Lyndon Rive...

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WHY VICTORY IN THE FIGHT AGAINST BIG MONEY IS CLOSER THAN YOU THINK...

Jan 12, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] In a Q&A, veteran campaign finance reformer Derek Cressman says Americans are becoming increasingly aware that something has to change about the growing amount of money in politics. By John Light | BILL MOYERS & CO. Supporters of campaign finance reform listen as members of Congress discuss a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) Derek Cressman is a veteran of more than 20 years in the campaign finance reform movement. He has long been an advocate of a constitutional amendment to change how campaigns are financed and to elevate the voice of everyday, non-rich American voters. Now the problem is more urgent than ever. Citizens United and a series of other decisions by the Roberts Supreme Court have rolled back much of...

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THE DEEP STATE: HOW CAMOUFLAGE BECAME CHIC IN BELTWAYLAND...

Jan 8, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Democracy & Government Welcome to Mike Lofgren’s Washington, DC — a This Town, where the political theater that is endlessly tweeted and blogged about has nothing to do with actual decision making. By Mike Lofgren | WASHINGTON POST/MOYERS & COMPANY National Guard troops line Pennsylvania Avenue during an inaugural parade rehearsal January 16, 2005 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images) This post is an excerpt from The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government. Read our introduction to Mike Lofgren’s book and watch a video interview with him from Moyers & Company. Camouflage Chic As the seat of government and location of the headquarters of the armed forces, Washington has always had a large military contingent. Its presence is impossible to ignore. Now that...

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GRIPING ASIDE, AMERICA IS IN PRETTY DAMN GOOD SHAPE...

Jan 8, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] —By Kevin Drum  MOTHER JONES David Sucsy/iStockphoto Yesterday at lunch, I was mulling over all the familiar laments we’ve heard this year about voter anger and America decline. And I thought: really, what’s so bad? I should write a post about this. Today I woke up, and in a remarkable example of precog telepathy, Politico’s Michael Grunwald had written almost exactly the piece I had in mind: Start with the economy….Unemployment has dropped from 10 percent during the worst of the Great Recession to 5 percent today….The housing market has also rebounded from the crisis, and after-tax corporate profits are at an all-time high….The oft-predicted doomsday scenarios of the post-crisis era—double-dip recession, runaway inflation, runaway interest rates, out-of-control energy prices, a health insurance death spiral, a Greek-style debt crisis, a run on the...

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THIS GLOBAL RULING IS JUST NOT COOL...

Jan 6, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Jim Hightower They say that if you get up in the morning and swallow a live toad, nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day. Well, we Americans have just been fed a live toad by the World Trade Organization. Last May, the WTO — an oligarchic, autocratic governing entity essentially run by and for multinational corporations — ruled that a U.S. consumer protection law called “COOL” violates one of WTO’s obscure trade rules. COOL stands for “country-of-origin labeling,” a straightforward requirement that meat sold in the United States be labeled so consumers can know where it came from. This law was passed by our Congress, signed by our president, upheld by our courts, and is supported by 92 percent of our people. Image via Wikimedia Commons. But corporate meat...

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10 Powerful Reasons Why Bernie Scares Wall Street...

Jan 6, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Some of Sanders’ suggestions: Break up banks. Tax speculators. Cap interest rates. By Steven Rosenfeld / AlterNet Photo Credit: https://berniesanders.com Bernie Sanders has declared war on the biggest players in Wall Street’s financial sector, saying they are overrun with “greed, fraud, dishonesty and arrogance,” and criticizing his top rival for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton, as being naïve about what needs to happen to create a financial system that “works for all Americans.” “To those on Wall Street who may be listening today, let me be very clear,” Sanders said in a midtown Manhattan speech on Tuesday. “Greed is not good. In fact, the greed of Wall Street and corporate America is destroying the fabric of our nation. And here is a New Year’s resolution that I will keep if elected president: If...

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FOR THE WEALTHIEST, A TAX SYSTEM THAT SAVES THEM BILLIONS...

Dec 31, 2015 Posted by

[Translate]   The very richest are able to quietly shape tax policy that will allow them to shield billions in income. By NOAM SCHEIBER and PATRICIA COHENDEC. 29, 2015 Daniel S. Loeb, shown with his wife, Margaret, runs the $17 billion Third Point hedge fund. Mr. Loeb, who has owned a home in East Hampton, has contributed to Jeb Bush’s super PAC and given $1 million to the American Unity Super PAC, which supports gay rights. Credit Left: Patrick McMullan Company; Right: Doug Kuntz WASHINGTON — The hedge fund magnates Daniel S. Loeb, Louis Moore Bacon and Steven A. Cohen have much in common. They have managed billions of dollars in capital, earning vast fortunes. They have invested large sums in art — and millions more in political candidates. Moreover, each has exploited an...

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Paul Krugman: The Nasty Truth That Trump Distracts Us From...

Dec 29, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] And you thought W. was bad. By Janet Allon / AlterNet   Photo Credit: via YouTube/Moyers & Co. Donald sucked up all the air in the room in 2015, Paul Krugman notes in Monday’s column, but however much the GOP establishment laments him, their frontrunner has helped them out in one important way:  “I has distracted pundits and the press from the hard right turn even conventional Republican candidates have taken, a turn whose radicalism would have seemed implausible not long ago.” Krugman recounts how, unbelievably, instead of the party engaging in some serious reexamination after the “debacle of George W. Bush’s presidency,” what we’ve seen is “a doubling down, a determination to take whatever didn’t work from 2001 to 2008 and do it again, in a more extreme form.” There is the...

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Germany’s Basic Income Experiment: What Would You Do If You Had $1,100 a Month With No Strings?...

Dec 28, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Awesome Stefan Bohrer  FUTURISM In Brief A new German experiment explores the possibilities of emancipatory basic income and what its implications are on productivity and creativity. No Strings Attached Here’s a question Germany seeks to answer—would the country be a better place if each citizen was given a check worth $1,100 by the government each month, with no strings attached? Would people still feel compelled to get up, go to work, and be productive with an unconditional basic income (which, by the way, is half the average monthly wage in Germany but twice the amount of those receiving welfare)? These are the questions that the privately funded German experiment involving 26 people, “Mein Grundeinkommen” (My Basic Income) wants to answer. The project is financed through crowdfunded donations that raise issues about Germany’s utopian ideals given the rise of poverty in Europe. Basic income...

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FROM HALIBURTON TO WALMART, THESE BIG CORPORATIONS WILL MAKE MONEY OFF OF CLIMATE CHANGE...

Dec 23, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Shutterstock GRIST By Jeremy Schulman This story was originally published by Mother Jones and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.Climate change will have some pretty terrifying consequences. Experts have predicted everything from deadly heatwaves and devastating floods to falling crop production and even increased political instability and violence. But according to some of the world’s biggest companies, these future disasters could also present lucrative business opportunities.In a remarkable series of documents submitted to a London-based nonprofit called CDP, big-name corporations describe global warming as a chance to sell more weapons systems to the military, more air conditioners to sweltering civilians, and more medications to people afflicted by tropical diseases. CDP, which stands for “Carbon Disclosure Project,” asks companies all over the world to disclose information about their greenhouse gas...

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LURKING WITHIN THE OMINOUS, OMNIBUS SPENDING BILL by Bill Moyers & Michael Winship...

Dec 21, 2015 Posted by

[Translate]   McConnell agrees not to shut down the government only if the millionaires and billionaires are permitted to continue buying the government in ever greater secrecy. By such are we governed today: soulless puppets dangling from the rich man’s string, their wooden hands outstretched, palms upturned. Top of Form Update, The Washington Post: “Early Friday morning the House passed [the] $1.1 trillion spending bill on a 316 to 113 vote, with 150 Republicans and 166 Democrats supporting the measure, after passing a $622 billion tax measure Thursday on a 318 to 109 vote… The Senate soon after passed both parts of the agreement on a 65 to 33 vote.” ##### There is an unwritten rule in Congress that before you do even a little for the working class you must do a lot for the donor class....

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Robert Reich: How to Deal With Your Right-Wing Uncle Bob This Christmas...

Dec 20, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Here’s a helpful holiday guide. By Robert Reich / RobertReich.org  VIA ALTERNET December 19, 2015 In preparation for the holidays, here’s a survival guide for dealing with your right-wing relatives. Robert B. Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. His latest book is “Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few.” His website is www.robertreich.org....

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JUSTICE GINSBURG’S OMINOUS WARNING ABOUT CREEPING CORPORATE POWER...

Dec 16, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Justice by Ian Millhiser THINK PROGRESS CREDIT: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin If you’re a business looking for new ways to squeeze money out of your consumers without having to worry about whether doing so is illegal, than you had a very good day in the Supreme Court on Monday. In its first divided decision of the current Supreme Court term, the Court held in DIRECTV v. Imburgia that the satellite television company DIRECTV could effectively immunize itself from many suits claiming that they charged illegal fees, despite the fact that this decision cuts against language in DIRECTV’s own contract. Only three justices, the conservative Clarence Thomas and the liberals Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, dissented. On the surface, not very much is at stake in DIRECTV. The company allegedly charged early termination fees...

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DON’T BE MISLED; THE TPP IS STILL COMING FULL STEAM...

Dec 15, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Dave Johnson   AMERICANS FOR A SAFE FUTURE Recently there have been news reports that Republicans are going to delay TPP until after the 2016 elections. Do not be misled; this is a bargaining ploy. They want the Obama administration to make “side agreements” that give corporations even more. We have to keep up the fight, and keep getting the word out. People opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “trade” agreement have recently had their hopes lifted by reporting that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that perhaps President Obama should avoid bringing TPP up for a vote before the elections. But note the reasons for Republican objections. The Washington Post, “McConnell warns that trade deal can’t pass Congress before 2016 elections“: But McConnell, who said Thursday that he has relayed his concerns...

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GET EVERYONE IN YOUR LIFE A “ONE LESS GIFT” CERTIFICATE...

Dec 14, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] David Friedlander  LIFE EDITED Behavior Gift giving/receiving season got you stressed? Not sure what to get people when you’re trying to promote simpler living? Not sure what to do about unwanted gifts that don’t fit with your less is more lifestyle? Francine Jay, aka Miss Minimalist, has a solution: It’s the “One Less Gift” Certificate. Jay’s certificate (available to download as full-page PDF), promotes a “stuff-free holiday.” The certificate expresses appreciation for the receiver’s generous spirit, but says that the giver has everything she “could possibly want” and would prefer that both parties have one less thing to worry about, along with more time, money, stress and environmental responsibility. The certificate is a two way proposition, saying both what the giver wants (no stuff) and what the receiver will get (no stuff). It then...

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5 STUFF-FREE GIFT IDEAS

Dec 14, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] David Friedlander  LIFE EDITED According the website Nerdwallet, it takes the average middle-class American household three months to pay off their holiday gift-buying expenses. Unfortunately these arrears, taken on in the spirit of generosity, are often taken on for naught. Research shows that many, if not most, of our gifts are undervalued and/or disliked by the people we give them to. Not to be too humbuggy, but I suspect the average gift probably has a 50% chance of being well received and/or used (I’m assuming this is a gift that wasn’t specifically requested by the receiver). Would you buy stock in a company where there was a 50% chance the stock would be worth nothing within weeks of buying it? Probably not. With all this in mind, it’s a good time to suggest some stuff-free gift alternatives–“things” that are almost sure to...

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ROBERT POLLIN SHOWS US THAT “GREENING THE GLOBAL ECONOMY” IS DOABLE...

Dec 11, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Bill Scher  AMERICANS FOR A SAFE FUTURE Above: Economist and author Robert Pollin discusses his latest book, “Greening the Global Economy,” with Isaiah J. Poole while at a congressional briefing in Washington December 8. The expected Paris climate agreement will be a landmark achievement, not just for the environment, but for peace. Never before has the entire world come together to save each other from harm. But the fight to protect the climate will not be over. The pledges made by each country will not be enough on their own to sufficiently limit the rise in global temperatures. What is our next step? Prof. Robert Pollin, co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, has laid out a road map in his new book “Greening The Global Economy.” He has done...

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The Economic Impact of Depression in the Workplace...

Dec 8, 2015 Posted by

Depression is something that American businesses deal with discretely…

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AT THE CURRENT RATE, THE U.S. WON’T END HOMELESSNESS FOR ANOTHER 40 YEARS....

Dec 6, 2015 Posted by

[Translate]   by Scott Keyes THINK PROGRESS CREDIT: Shawn Davis A homeless man rests on a bench in Washington, D.C.   The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) 2015 report on homelessness in the United States, released on Thursday, found that the number of people living without adequate housing is declining, as it has every year since 2010. But even so, at the current rate, homelessness will continue in the United States for another 40 years. Between January 2014 and January 2015, the number of people experiencing homelessness decreased by 11,742, a decline of 2 percent. Homelessness among youth and veterans decreased at faster rates. A number of cities and states across the country have even ended chronic homelessness among veterans. But the HUD report also found that 564,708 individuals in the wealthiest...

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WALMART THREATENS CITY COUNCIL FOR CONSIDERING MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE...

Dec 6, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] by Bryce Covert THINK PROGRESS CREDIT: AP Photo/Gareth Patterson Walmart CEO Doug McMillon   A California city is experiencing a tactic Walmart has become known for: threats over a minimum wage hike. The city of Desert Hot Springs, California is considering a minimum wage increase to boost residents’ incomes and therefore help attract more retailers. But the proposal has drawn the protests of the country’s largest retailer, Walmart. The ordinance that the city council will vote on Tuesday would require any large retailers — those with gross sales of $500 or more — who open in the city to pay at least $10.20 an hour starting in January, a minimum that would increase by a dollar each of the next two years and then be indexed to inflation after that. The city’s current...

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RENEWABLES ARE CHANGING THE CLIMATE NARRATIVE FROM SACRIFICE TO OPPORTUNITY...

Nov 29, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] THE GUARDIAN Oil-rich countries are choosing renewables as a means to create jobs, boost GDP and improve livelihoods – as well as reduce emissions The solar plant Shams 1 in the desert of Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. Dramatically falling solar PV costs and visionary commitments by governments in the Middle East and North Africa are changing the economic equation of renewables. Photograph: Xinhua/Xinhua Press/Corbis Adnan Z. Amin The author is Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency     Accelerating signs of climate change and rising global temperatures are perhaps more pressing here in the Middle East, where the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) is headquartered, than anywhere else on the planet. Record-breaking temperatures made global headlines this year and a recent scientific study predicts the region will face heatwaves “beyond...

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THE GLOBAL ECONOMY IS A PONZI SCHEME: BLACK FRIDAY, THE POPE AND THE PARIS CLIMATE TALKS...

Nov 27, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] by Joe Romm THINK PROGRESS CREDIT: AP   Black Friday has become an orgiastic celebration of unbridled consumerism. Last year, the Pope warned world leaders that “unbridled consumerism” was assaulting the natural environment “and this will have serious consequences for the world economy.” In his powerful June climate encyclical, the Pope went further, writing of “extreme consumerism” and “compulsive consumerism” and “an unethical consumerism bereft of social or ecological awareness.” The “pace of consumption,” the Pope asserts, “can only precipitate catastrophes.” Francis offered this blunt warning: “Obsession with a consumerist lifestyle, above all when few people are capable of maintaining it, can only lead to violence and mutual destruction.” Black Friday has become a sort of reverse “Hunger Games,” an annual ritualized competition, but one built around overabundance, rather than scarcity. It is...

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WHAT COULD A COLD WAR ON GLOBAL WARMING ACHIEVE? ASK THE PENTAGON...

Nov 10, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] FTP.ARL.MIL By Heather Smith GRIST A little over a decade ago, my friend Ed took me to see ENIAC — the first programmable electronic computer. Well, it was less than 10 percent of ENIAC. It sat in a glass case in a corner of the engineering school at the University of Pennsylvania, and there were just a few parts left of what had been a 30-ton machine: large metal rectangles and a few snaking cables. We peered through the glass. It looked like the kind of thing that a very eccentric shut-in might make in a basement, which was sort of true, except that the shut-ins were engineers and the whole thing cost them about $6 million in today’s dollars to build. “It was built with what they called ‘a baby-killer grant’,” said Ed, as we pressed our faces to the glass....

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GOING OFF FOSSIL FUELS WOULD BOOST DISPOSABLE INCOME ANDCREATE A MILLION JOBS...

Nov 10, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] by Samantha Page THINK PROGRESS CREDIT: AP Photo/Bob Leverone Construction jobs in clean sources of electricity are expected to boom under a low-carbon scenario.   A new report has found that transitioning to a clean energy economy would be an economic boon to the United States, increasing employment, reducing costs to consumers, and benefiting investors. The report, from NextGen Climate America, showed that investment in efficiency, renewable sources of electricity, and fuel switching — such as moving from fossil fuel-powered cars to electric vehicles — would add a million jobs by 2030, and roughly 2 million jobs by 2050, while increasing GDP by $290 billion and improving household income. The researchers looked at scenarios that would reduce emissions by 80 percent below 1990 levels. “While addressing climate change is one of our greatest...

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THE PLAN TO SAVE THE WORLD

Nov 9, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] What success at the Paris climate conference looks like. —By Rebecca Leber   MOTHER JONES More than 300,000 computer-controlled mirrors gather light at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in Primm, Nevada Chris Carlson/AP This story originally appeared in the New Republic and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Right now, we’re in a car, hanging on for dear life as we hurtle around a mountain bend. If we don’t hit the brakes soon, we’re going to lose control, crash through the guardrail, and careen into the abyss. We’ve been fully warned about the danger ahead, but now here we are, testing our fate. Already, the effects of climate change are clear and significant. Last year was the hottest in recorded history, and it’s all but certain that 2015 will...

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The Executive Action Obama Could Take to Restore a Shred of Democracy to Our Politics...

Nov 9, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Obama can take a step forward and reform Washington’s culture of corrupt campaign money. By Steven Rosenfeld / AlterNet Photo Credit: www.whitehouse.gov Has President Obama given up on using executive action to try to spotlight and rein in some of the corrupt ways money, power and influence work in Washington? After the U.S. Supreme Court issued its Citizens United ruling in 2010, freeing corporations to contribute to non-candidate political committees (the same outfits that today are getting multi-millions from billionaires and flouting the law by openly supporting presidential picks like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio), Obama criticized the Supreme Court’s right-wing majority during his nationwide State of the Union speech. Five years later, in 2015’s State of the Union, President Obama called for better rules governing campaigns, saying, “A better politics is one where...

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