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Fossil fuel investments have soared under Trump

Bank holdings in “extreme” fossil fuels skyrocketed globally to $115bn during Donald Trump’s first year as US president, with holdings in tar sands oil more than doubling, a new report has found. A sharp flight from fossil fuels investments after the Paris agreement was reversed last year with a return to energy sources dubbed “extreme” because of their contribution to global emissions. This included an 11% hike in funding for carbon-heavy tar sands, as well as Arctic and ultra-deepwater oil and coal. US and Canadian banks led a race back into the unconventional energy sector following Trump’s promise to withdraw from...

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Completely Beyond Belief

The Australian cricket scandal? 'Completely beyond belief' said the Australian Prime Minister. The extreme threat climate change presents according to the scientists? Completely beyond belief too it seems.

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Looking for a Father (2)

Looking for a Father (2)   The infant is saved from Winnicott’s dreadful terrors of disintegration and total annihilation of his tiny being by the equally all-encompassing and total love of “the good enough mother”.  But there is a price to be paid.  How, when he gets to the stage of desiring independence, can he escape from this encircling totality of maternal love?  The dilemma is often worse.  Another of my favourite authors is the French psycho-analyst Christiane Olivier.  Her theme is that women desire to be loved by men but all too often their proffered love is not returned.    In...

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Looking for a Father (i)

Admittedly at first sight this post doesn't seem to have much to do with climate,  but there are five parts and it will get there. One of my favourite authors is Christopher Bollas, a member of the British school of psycho-analysis whose inspirational founder was D.W. Winnicott.  Winnicott’s great insight was that human infants are born extremely prematurely (on brain size we should be born at twenty-one months like the elephant) and, because of that, to begin with the infant is physically separate from his/her mother but psychologically not separate from her and still part of her.  “The child” Susie...

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Climate change? What an opportunity!

Britain has just achieved its lowest carbon emissions since 1909 and that has to be good news.  But not that good.  Globally, 2017 achieved the highest carbon emissions on record.  In any case, such news misses the point and could even be counter-productive, like saying in 1940 ‘we won the Battle of Britain and that shows we’re doing pretty well so we can let up on the blood, sweat, toil and tears for a bit’.  We are never going to halt global warming simply by cutting carbon emissions, because human beings are capable of extraordinary degrees of irrationality,  and...

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Of worms and microbes we are so thoughtlessly destroying

It was Charles Darwin who first realized the importance of worms.  He kept an array of them in jars on his mantelpiece and found that they gradually process leaves and other debris through the acids in their stomachs and turn this detritus into soil.  He also dissected their stomachs and almost invariably found tiny fragments of stone.  They dissolve rocks and make their nutritious elements available to plants.  In a process geologists call isostasy worms push soil downhill, and as an ice cube always rises to the surface in a glass of water, fresh rocks with their precious minerals...

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Write to your MP

(from my book Our Terrible/Wonderful Future)   We have become so skilled at resolving cognitive dissonance by telling ourselves fabrications and myths of one kind and another, our society as a whole, perhaps more than any other before,  has become a willing victim of our own seld-deceptions. This applies particularly in the fields covered in this book.  We know that species are disappearing at an alarming rate because rain forests are being destroyed.  But instead of ceasing to use soap made from palm oil or stopping eating meat from soya-fed cattle we watch Attenborough’s wild life programmes to assure ourselves how much...

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Thank you Rongo-manui for stealing the yams

Strange how many people think of themselves as rational but base their whole lives on completely irrational and unquestioned axioms.  Biblical fundamentalists think Genesis is literally true despite overwhelming evidence that it isn’t.  Free trade fundamentalists won’t have government interference at any price (except the 12 trillion dollars governments provided to bail out the 2008 financial crash which was, of course, nothing to do with the greed and stupidity of the banks, not me guv too much government regulation).  Atheists talk the whole time in what Dawkins called “the language of purpose” and then define purposeful to mean purposeless...

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