Month: September 2016

Harry Belafonte: Movements Don’t Die

During his seven-decade career, Harry Belafonte has been a singer, an actor, a friend to Martin Luther King Jr., a Unicef good-will ambassador, an anti-apartheid activist and more. “I’m at a time of life when I’m examining the entire journey,” he said one recent afternoon at his Manhattan home, lamenting how the dreams of the civil rights movement are far from realized. “When I was 20 and 30, my visions for what the world would be, all things were possible.”

Mr. Belafonte, for whom art and activism have been inextricably linked, said his life is a “call and response,” and, at 89, he isn’t ready to retire from being one of society’s most passionate and visible advocates just yet.

This weekend, “Many Rivers to Cross,” a two-day “music, art and justice” festival in the Atlanta area focuses on three issues: voting, mass incarceration, and the relationship between community and law enforcement.

The lineup features an array of genres and musical styles: John Legend; Carlos Santana; Goapele; Dave Matthews; and Tip Harris, better known as the rapper T.I., are scheduled to take to the stage, alongside Chris Rock, the poet Sonia Sanchez, the actor Jesse Williams and the activist Umi Selah of the Dream Defenders. The event will raise money for, a social justice organization founded by Mr. Belafonte that unites grass-roots organizations and artists in the fight against problems like income disparity and inequities in the justice system.

“What makes a movement work are thousands of parts that come together and express itself in favor of a given destination or objective,” he said. “You have to find men and women who are willing to play the role that each of these things demand.”

With Election Day nearing in what has been a contentious presidential race exposing deep ideological divides, registration services will be available to help attendees ahead of nationwide deadlines.

“The vote is perhaps the single most important weapon in our arsenal,” Mr. Belafonte said. An area called the social justice village will feature representatives from over 40 organizations. The goal is to allow festivalgoers to “walk away with tools to better go out and support the causes they care about,” said Gina Belafonte, who helped organize the event with her father.

Mr. Belafonte said, “When Trayvon Martin was shot and our community went into a response to that, there was no question in my mind that America was being awakened to its reality.” Thinking back to the 1950s and ’60s, when he toiled alongside activists including Dr. King, Julian Bond and Fannie Lou Hamer, Mr. Belafonte recalled how Dr. King represented a “harvest of opportunity.” He added: “The energy that went into the movement disappeared because people were reaping the benefits. We’ve forgotten what the opportunity was about.”

In 2012, a brouhaha ensued after Mr. Belafonte asserted that today’s celebrities have “turned their back on social responsibility” and mentioned Jay Z and Beyoncé. Jay Z responded in an interview with Rap Radar’s Elliott Wilson by saying among other things, “my presence is charity.” Mr. Belafonte said that he extended an olive branch and that he and Jay Z met one on one. But Mr. Belafonte fervently maintains that artists must do more to champion causes.

“There’s no evidence that artists are of the same passion and of the same kind of commitment of the artists of my time,” he said. “The absence of black artists is felt very strongly because the most visible oppression is in the black community.”

Mr. Belafonte provides counsel to celebrities and organizations, saying that he draws parallels between the roadblocks and successes of the ’50s and ’60s and those of the present political movements.

Linda Sarsour, the executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, said conversations with Mr. Belafonte had proved critical. “Mr. B plays no games with us,” she said. “When he doesn’t think we’re doing the right thing, he tells us. He said, ‘Look, you need the wisdom of your elders, but we need your energy right now.’”

T.I., who will perform at “Many Rivers to Cross” on Saturday, said he felt compelled to take action; his latest EP, “Us or Else,” addresses interactions between law enforcement and blacks, among other issues, and part of its proceeds benefit

It just seemed all too consistent, all too repeated, all too ignored,” he said of police killings of black people. In the widely viewed video for the song “Warzone,” which he will perform at the festival, he spotlights the cases of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Philando Castile. “It was very insightful to hear from someone who had been through so much and been a part of history in so many ways,” he said of his meeting with Mr. Belafonte.

With his 90th birthday on his mind, Mr. Belafonte paused to take stock. “I wake up at the age of 90, and I look around and say, ‘What do we need now?’” he said.

“Well, the same things needed now are the same things needed before,” he went on. “Movements don’t die because struggle doesn’t die.”

From The CIA To The GFE

The US spends $1 billion per year on global education, and $900 billion on military-related programs. Unfortunately, it is not the only country where policymakers believe that sustainable development is best achieved through superior firepower.

The United States needs to shift its spending from war to education, from CIA-backed regime change to a new Global Fund for Education (GFE). With hundreds of millions of children around the world not in school, or in schools with under-qualified teachers, a lack of computers, large class sizes, and no electricity, many parts of the world are headed for massive instability, joblessness, and poverty. The twenty-first century will belong to countries that properly educate their young people to participate productively in the global economy.

The current imbalance in US spending on global education and military-related programs is staggering: $1 billion per year on the former, and roughly $900 billion on the latter. Military-related programs include the Pentagon (around $600 billion), the CIA and related agencies (around $60 billion), Homeland Security (around $50 billion), nuclear weapons systems outside of the Pentagon (around $30 billion), and veterans’ programs (around $160 billion).

What US politicians and policymakers in their right minds could believe that US national security is properly pursued through a 900-to-1 ratio of military spending to global education spending? Of course, the US is not alone. Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Israel are all squandering vast sums in an accelerating Middle East arms race, in which the US is the major financier and arms supplier. China and Russia are also sharply boosting military spending, despite their pressing domestic priorities. We are, it seems, courting a new arms race among major powers, at a time when what is really needed is a peaceful race to education and sustainable development.

Several recent international reports, including two this month by UNESCO and the International Commission on Financing Global Education, headed by former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, show that annual global development assistance for primary and secondary education needs to rise from around $4 billion to around $40 billion. Only this ten-fold increase can enable poor countries to achieve universal primary and secondary education (as called for by Goal Four of the new Sustainable Development Goals). In response, the US and other rich countries should move this year to create the GFE, with the needed funds shifted from today’s military spending.

If Hillary Clinton, the likely next US president, genuinely believes in peace and sustainable development, she should announce her intention to back the GFE’s creation, just as President George W. Bush in 2001 was the first head of state to endorse the newly proposed Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria. She should call on China and others to join this multilateral effort. The alternative – to continue spending massively on defense rather than on global education – would condemn the US to the status of a declining imperial state tragically addicted to hundreds of overseas military bases, tens of billions of dollars in annual arms sales, and perpetual wars.

Without a GFE, poor countries will lack the resources to educate their kids, just as they were unable to finance the fight against AIDS, TB, and malaria until the Global Fund was established.

Here’s the basic budgetary challenge: it costs at least $250 in a poor country to educate a child for a year, but low-income countries can afford, on average, only around $90 per child per year. There is a gap of $160 per child for around 240 million school-aged kids in need, or about $40 billion per year.

The consequences of underfunded education are tragic. Kids leave school early, often without being able to read or write at a basic level. These dropouts often sign up with gangs, drug traffickers, even jihadists. Girls marry and begin to have children very young. Fertility rates stay high and the children of these poor, under-educated mothers (and fathers) have few realistic prospects of escaping poverty.

The cost of failing to create decent jobs through decent schooling is political instability, mass migration to the US (from Central America and the Caribbean) and Europe (from the Middle East and Africa), and violence related to poverty, drugs, human trafficking, and ethnic conflict. Soon enough, the US drones arrive to exacerbate the underlying instability.

In short, we need to shift from the CIA to the GFE, from the expensive failures of US-led regime change (including those targeting Afghanistan’s Taliban, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Libya’s Muammar el-Qaddafi, and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad) to investments in health, education, and decent jobs.

Some critics of aid argue that funds for education will simply be wasted. Yet the critics said exactly the same about disease control in 2000 when I proposed a scale-up of funding for public health. Sixteen years later, the results are in: disease burdens have fallen sharply, and the Global Fund proved to be a great success (the donors now think so, too, and have recently replenished its accounts).

To establish a successful counterpart for education, first the US and other countries would pool their assistance into a single new fund. The fund would then invite low-income countries to submit proposals for support. A technical and non-political review panel would assess the proposals and recommend those that should be funded. Approved proposals would then receive support, with the GFE monitoring and evaluating implementation, enabling well-performing governments to build track records and reputations for sound management.

Since 2000, the US and other countries have squandered trillions of dollars on wars and arms purchases. The time has come for a sensible, humane, and professional new approach that would scale up investment in education while scaling back expenditures on wars, coups, and weaponry. The education of the world’s youth offers the surest path – indeed, the only path – to global sustainable development.

Recalculating The Climate Math

The future of humanity depends on math. And the numbers in a new study released Thursday are the most ominous yet.

Those numbers spell out, in simple arithmetic, how much of the fossil fuel in the world’s existing coal mines and oil wells we can burn if we want to prevent global warming from cooking the planet. In other words, if our goal is to keep the Earth’s temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius—the upper limit identified by the nations of the world—how much more new digging and drilling can we do?

Here’s the answer: zero.

That’s right: If we’re serious about preventing catastrophic warming, the new study shows, we can’t dig any new coal mines, drill any new fields, build any more pipelines. Not a single one. We’re done expanding the fossil fuel frontier. Our only hope is a swift, managed decline in the production of all carbon-based energy from the fields we’ve already put in production.

The new numbers are startling. Only four years ago, I wrote an essay called “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” In the piece, I drew on research from a London-based think tank, the Carbon Tracker Initiative. The research showed that the untapped reserves of coal, oil, and gas identified by the world’s fossil fuel industry contained five times more carbon than we can burn if we want to keep from raising the planet’s temperature by more than two degrees Celsius. That is, if energy companies eventually dug up and burned everything they’d laid claim to, the planet would cook five times over. That math kicked off a widespread campaign of divestment from fossil fuel stocks by universities, churches, and foundations. And it’s since become the conventional wisdom: Many central bankers and world leaders now agree that we need to keep the bulk of fossil fuel reserves underground.

But the new new math is even more explosive. It draws on a report by Oil Change International, a Washington-based think tank, using data from the Norwegian energy consultants Rystad. For a fee—$54,000 in this case—Rystad will sell anyone its numbers on the world’s existing fossil fuel sources. Most of the customers are oil companies, investment banks, and government agencies. But OCI wanted the numbers for a different reason: to figure out how close to the edge of catastrophe we’ve already come.

Scientists say that to have even a two-thirds chance of staying below a global increase of two degrees Celsius, we can release 800 gigatons more CO2 into the atmosphere. But the Rystad data shows coal mines and oil and gas wells currently in operation worldwide contain 942 gigatons worth of CO2. So the math problem is simple, and it goes like this:

942 > 800

“What we found is that if you burn up all the carbon that’s in the currently operating fields and mines, you’re already above two degrees,” says Stephen Kretzmann, OCI’s executive director. It’s not that if we keep eating like this for a few more decades we’ll be morbidly obese. It’s that if we eat what’s already in the refrigerator we’ll be morbidly obese.

What’s worse, the definition of “morbid” has changed in the past four years. Two degrees Celsius used to be the red line. But scientists now believe the upper limit is much lower. We’ve already raised the world’s temperature by one degree—enough to melt almost half the ice in the Arctic, kill off huge swaths of the world’s coral, and unleash lethal floods and drought. July and August tied for the hottest months ever recorded on our planet, and scientists think they were almost certainly the hottest in the history of human civilization. Places like Basra, Iraq—on the edge of what scholars think was the Biblical Garden of Eden—hit 129 degrees Fahrenheit this year, approaching the point where humans can’t survive outdoors. So last year, when the world’s leaders met in Paris, they set a new number: Every effort, they said, would be made to keep the global temperature rise to less than 1.5 degrees. And to have even a 50–50 chance of meeting that goal, we can only release about 353 gigatons more CO2. So let’s do the math again:

942 > 353

A lot greater. To have just a break-even chance of meeting that 1.5 degree goal we solemnly set in Paris, we’ll need to close all of the coal mines and some of the oil and gas fields we’re currently operating long before they’re exhausted.

“Absent some incredible breakthrough in mythical carbon-sucking unicorns, the numbers say we’re done with the expansion of the fossil fuel industry,” says Kretzmann. “Living up to the Paris Agreement means we must start a managed decline in the fossil fuel industry immediately—and manage that decline as quickly as possible.”

“Managed decline” means we don’t have to grind everything to a halt tomorrow; we can keep extracting fuel from existing oil wells and gas fields and coal mines. But we can’t go explore for new ones. We can’t even develop the ones we already know about, the ones right next to our current projects.

In the United States alone, the existing mines and oil wells and gas fields contain 86 billion tons of carbon emissions—enough to take us 25 percent of the way to a 1.5 degree rise in global temperature. But if the U.S. energy industry gets its way and develops all the oil wells and fracking sites that are currently planned, that would add another 51 billion tons in carbon emissions. And if we let that happen, America would single-handedly blow almost 40 percent of the world’s carbon budget.

This new math is bad news for lots of powerful players. The fossil fuel industry has based its entire business model on the idea that it can endlessly “replenish” the oil and gas it pumps each year; its teams of geologists are constantly searching for new fields to drill. In September, Apache Corporation announced that it has identified fields in West Texas that hold three billion barrels of oil. Leaving that oil underground—which the new math shows we must do if we want to meet the climate targets set in Paris—would cost the industry tens of billions of dollars.

For understandable reasons, the unions whose workers build pipelines and drill wells also resist attempts to change. Consider the current drama over the Dakota Access oil pipeline. In September, even after pipeline security guards armed with pepper spray and guard dogs attacked Native Americans who were nonviolently defending grave sites from bulldozers, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called on the Obama administration to allow construction to proceed. “Pipeline construction and maintenance,” Trumka said, “provides quality jobs to tens of thousands of skilled workers.” The head of the Building Trades Unions agreed: “Members have been relying on these excellent, family-supporting, middle-class jobs with family health care, pensions, and good wages.” Another union official put it most eloquently: “Let’s not turn away and overregulate or just say, ‘No, keep it in the ground.’ It shouldn’t be that simple.”

She’s right—it would be easier for everyone if it weren’t that simple. Union workers have truly relied on those jobs to build middle-class lives, and all of us burn the damned stuff, all day, every day. But the problem is, it is that simple. We have to “turn away.” We have to “keep it in the ground.” The numbers are the numbers. We literally cannot keep doing what we’re doing if we want to have a planet.

“Keeping it in the ground” does not mean stopping all production of fossil fuels instantly. “If you let current fields begin their natural decline,” says Kretzmann, “you’ll be using 50 percent less oil by 2033.” That gives us 17 years, as the wells we’ve already drilled slowly run dry, to replace all that oil with renewable energy. That’s enough time—maybe—to replace gas guzzlers with electric cars. To retrain pipeline workers and coal miners to build solar panels and wind turbines. To follow the lead of cities like Portland that have barred any new fossil fuel infrastructure, and countries like China that have banned new coal mines. Those are small steps, but they’re important ones.

Even some big unions are starting to realize that switching to renewable energy would add a million new good-paying jobs by 2030. Everyone from nurses to transport workers is opposing the Dakota pipeline; other unions have come out against coal exports and fracking. “This is virtually unprecedented,” says Sean Sweeney, a veteran labor and climate organizer. “The rise of ‘climate unionism’ offers a new direction for the labor movement.” And if it spreads, it will give Democratic politicians more room to maneuver against global warming.

But to convince the world’s leaders to obey the math—to stop any new mines or wells or pipelines from being built—we will need a movement… As the new math makes clear, keeping fossil fuels in the ground is the only realistic approach. What’s unrealistic is to imagine that we can somehow escape the inexorable calculus of climate change. As the OCI report puts it, “One of the most powerful climate policy levers is also the simplest: stop digging.” That is, after all, the first rule of holes, and we’re in the biggest one ever.

This is literally a math test, and it’s not being graded on a curve. It only has one correct answer. And if we don’t get it right, then all of us—along with our 10,000-year-old experiment in human civilization—will fail.

Refugee Crisis: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver

In this video released after terrorist attacks in Paris in 2016, John Oliver looks at how refugees and specifically those from Syria, can be admitted to the United States. 

He lists the steps:

  1. Apply through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (less than 1% end up being recommended for resettlement)
  2. Vetting process at the State Department including screenings through  the National Counter Terrorism Center, the FBI, and The Department of Homeland Security.
  3. If you are a Syrian Refugee. You get the “Syria Advanced Review”
  4. Interview with the USCIS offices and fingerprinted to run through the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense databases.
  5. Health screenings
  6. Enrolled in cultural information classes while your information is checked again.

Ultimately, Oliver argues that while there is no way to guarantee that a terrorist would not be able to somehow make it through this screening process, that risk is very low while the benefits for those refugees are very high. In reality, of the 784,000 people who have entered the United States, only 3 have been arrested for planning terrorist activities – Oliver jokes that more people in the U.S. are killed in cars, by peanuts, drowning, and by cows, than by refugees.


Mapping The World’s Energy Sources

The world produces electricity from three major sources: fossil fuels, nuclear energy, and renewables. Of the three, fossil fuels is still the most dominant. So how many countries would be left in the dark if we were to ban them tomorrow? The innovators at goCompare can answer that question with their interactive map that reveals the different sources of energy that power the world.


Why We Need a Carbon Tax, And Why It Won’t Be Enough

Putting a price on carbon is an idea whose time has come, with even Big Oil signaling it may drop its long-standing opposition to a carbon tax. But the question is, has it come too late?

It feels as if we may be getting close, or at least closer, as a nation to putting some kind of price on global warming pollution.

Bernie Sanders campaigned all year on a straight-up carbon tax, and though Hillary Clinton hasn’t signed on to that, her team on the Democratic Party platform committee did agree to compromise language calling for pricing carbon and methane to reflect their “negative externalities.” (Full disclosure: serving as a Sanders representative on the platform committee, I put forward the tax resolution on his behalf, and, after it failed, put forward the language on carbon pricing.)

Meanwhile, Exxon — weighed down by investigative journalists showing it lied through its corporate teeth for decades about climate change — seems to be putting at least a little lobbying muscle behind its long-standing theoretical call for a carbon price. It’s true that the House Republican caucus voted unanimously (with one abstention) against a carbon tax, but since a great many of them are in essence employees of the fossil fuel industry that stance could shift quickly. Pressured by the Paris agreement, the American Petroleum Institute, which is the polite way of saying Big Oil, has recently formed a “task force” to “revisit the industry’s long-held opposition to taxing greenhouse gas emissions.” Meanwhile, devoted activists from the Citizens Climate Lobby have been working steadily to erode opposition among individual Republican officeholders, a noble, if so far quixotic, task.

Oh, and the Trump candidacy just might be Titanic enough to return control of the U.S. Senate to Team Democrat, whose likely captain — majority-leader-in waiting Chuck Schumer — has begun making serious noises about carbon pricing as a revenue source for a strapped government.

There is a very real sense in which this is good news. I’ve been arguing for a price on carbon since, oh, 1989, when I wrote the first book for a general audience on what we then called the greenhouse effect. I would estimate that I’ve said in roughly 3,000 speeches some variant of the line that “it makes no sense that the fossil fuel industry is allowed to put out their waste for free, using the atmosphere as an open sewer.” And indeed it does make no sense — it’s only the historical accident that we never knew CO2 was dangerous that’s left us with this perverse arrangement where, unlike every other form of waste, it carries no cost and hence no incentive to avoid its production. The minute, in the late 1980s, that we started to understand the risk is the same minute that economists left, right, and center began recommending a price on carbon as the most efficient way to help us out of our predicament.

Carbon should not flow unpriced into the atmosphere, any more than you should be allowed to toss your garbage in the street.

To understand why, listen to Charlie Komanoff, energy wonk extraordinaire and head of the Carbon Tax Center, testifying before the Senate in 2014:

The U.S. energy system is so diverse, our economic system so decentralized, and our species so varied and innovating that no subsidies regime, no matter how enlightened, and no system of rules and regulations, no matter how well-intentioned, can elicit the billions of carbon-reducing decisions and behaviors that a swift full-scale transition from carbon fuels requires. At the same time, nearly all of those decisions and behaviors share a common, crucial element: they are affected, and even shaped, by the relative prices of available or emerging energy sources, systems, and choices.

That’s always been the argument: Since every action of a modern life involves using fossil fuel, the only way to get enough change is to send a price signal through the matrix, so that everyone from investors to car buyers to electric-toothbrush-users will find their behavior changing automatically. It’s the one big action that encompasses all the others. As Camila Thorndike, the dynamic young leader of an effort to get a carbon price passed in Oregon, told the Democrats at their platform hearings, “As a cross-sector and market-based solution, a carbon tax empowers business to profitably transition to the clean-energy economy.” That may sound a little wonky, but she added that she and many other young women she knew were wondering whether they should have children in a world of inexorably rising temperatures. “In a world diseased with distrust,” she said, “may you find the courage to commit to this honest solution.”

So that’s the good news. And it is good news — there is no intellectually respectable reason that carbon should flow unpriced into the atmosphere, any more than there’s a reason you should be allowed to toss your garbage into the middle of the street every night. Cleaning up after yourself is a mark of civilization.

There is, however, more to be said.

In the first place, most of the carbon pricing schemes adopted around the world haven’t worked spectacularly. These so-called cap-and-trade systems set limits on carbon and allow companies to buy and sell allowances. When trace pollutants like nitrogen and sulfur were the issue two decades ago, schemes like these worked well. But in the vastly larger carbon markets, with endless opportunities to game the system, the results have been mixed at best: prices have crashed, entire industries have used political muscle to win exemptions, and the net results — though such pricing plans now cover about 12 percent of the world’s emissions — have been far from earth-shaking.

A much more straightforward plan is simply to tax carbon directly. It removes the arbitraging games and artful dodges that have helped undermine cap and trade schemes in places like Europe, but in return it requires that politicians vote for”¦ a tax. And indeed that they keep voting to raise it, year after year. The result, in the real world, is likely to be a relatively low price on carbon that then stays put — it’s hard to imagine politicians with the gumption, year after year, to hand their opponents an easy issue. Exxon, for instance, has been talking about $50 a ton — and it’s a certainty that if Exxon is talking about it, that means they’ve modeled that price to make sure it won’t put a crimp in their business. (In fact, as Exxon and the other oil majors have increasingly turned toward the natural gas business as their future, a price on carbon may nudge markets in the direction they’d want them to go.)

Probably the best hope for a price on carbon that kept going up, in order to keep the pressure on carbon emissions, is the so-called “fee-and-dividend” approach that Citizens Climate Lobby, the eminent climatologist James Hansen, and others like Thorndike, have tirelessly advocated. It sets a price on carbon, and then rebates all the revenue straight to citizens, perhaps even sending them a monthly check. Yes, the price we pay at the pump goes up, which is good, because then we ride bikes more; but yes, the check covers the increased cost. Everyone’s made whole, and if you push up the tax you push up the rebate too. It should be a kind of perpetual motion machine, a virtuous cycle.

It’s actually kind of worked in the one place it’s been tried — British Columbia, where emissions fell 19% in the years after the fee went into place. But even there politics began to drag the process down. The last increase in the tax was in 2012, and so emissions have started rising again; in fact, a new study due out this month shows that they may be rising faster than untaxed emissions elsewhere in Canada.

Carbon rebates also come with one obvious moral and intellectual flaw: most of the damage from both climate change and air pollution has fallen on poor people, people of color, and Native nations, both in our country and around our world. They need to be treated fairly in any rebate plan. And any such rebates shouldn’t overlook the estimated nearly 12 million undocumented Americans who contribute to the economy — and cause far less than their proportional share of emissions. Environmental justice would mean a truly “fair” system compensated them for that history; it would also require policies to make sure that carbon pricing doesn’t perpetuate toxic “hot spots” in poor communities as companies look for least-cost ways to deal with the new reality. Furthermore, environmental justice demands that carbon prices don’t create a windfall on other of forms of ecological or toxic energy production, such as mass incineration or mega-hydro dams.

At best, a carbon tax is one arrow in a quiver full of other arrows we’re going to need to let loose in a volley.

None of this is impossible, and the good people pushing for such schemes recognize these needs — but none of it is easy, either.

There’s one other truly grave danger with carbon pricing that zealous advocates occasionally do fall into: the idea that it’s the only thing that needs to be done. Exxon, for instance, has made it clear that the price for a carbon tax should be an end to other kinds of regulations (and probably a corporate tax cut); to bring Republicans along you’d need some kind of grand bargain that, perhaps, limited the EPA’s authority to regulate carbon, or scrapped Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

One of the temptations I try to avoid is saying, “If only you’d paid attention back then.” In 1989, back when I wrote that first book, it’s plausible that a low price on carbon, set to rise slowly over the years, would have been enough to bend the curve of emissions enough to save us from climate change. But in 2016, that’s no longer true. At best it’s one arrow in a quiver full of other arrows we’re also going to need to let loose in a volley.

We’re no longer talking about cutting emissions one or two percent a year; now, with the poles actually melting, coral reefs literally dying in a matter of weeks, and temperatures shattering new records every month, we need to do everything. Not just a price on carbon, but dramatic subsidies for renewables to speed their spread. Not just a price on carbon, but an end to producing coal and gas and oil on public land. Not just a price on carbon, but a ban on fracking, which is sending clouds of methane into the atmosphere. Not just a price on carbon, but a dozen other major regulatory changes that have some chance of cutting emissions the six or seven percent a year that’s now required, a rate far greater than we’ve ever seen before.

We are, you might say, in a war, and if that’s the case then think of a price on carbon as the infantry. It can get things done, but it’s going to need the Navy, the Air Force, and the Marines, as well. If the climate movement stays unified around a suite of solutions, instead of resisting the temptation to grab at one, we have a chance. An outside chance, but a chance.

What People Miss About The Gender Wage Gap

This video from Vox begins with the often cited statistic that women make 79 cents for every dollar that men make. That statistic is correct, but there is a lot more to it.

One element of the problem is that women are concentrated in lower-paying jobs. Another element is that men tend to get slightly higher paying jobs immediately.

However, this video focuses on the need for flexibility. It describes that the wage gap widens as women get older in their 20s and 30s but then starts to shrink. This is largely because women still take on a larger percentage of childrearing tasks than men, even if both parents are working full time. Jobs which are more flexible have lower wage gaps than jobs that have set hours.

The video ends with a simple idea to work towards shrinking the wage gap: “There are lots of jobs where hours can be more flexible than they are now. The more we can make that work, the more the wage gap will shrink.”


Harry Belafonte Weighs In On Kaepernick National Anthem Protest Controversy

Roland Martin sat down with legendary actor and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte for an exclusive interview. During their discussion, Martin and Belafonte covered a variety of topics including Colin Kaepernick’s decision to sit during the national anthem. Watch a Mr. Belafonte explain the Kaepernick controversy in a manner in which no one else can.