Is Earth’s climate about to pass the tipping point

Ecology, Threats

Is Earth’s climate about to pass the tipping point

The straw that breaks the camel’s back. The last time the axe hits the tree before it falls. The last profitable barrel to be extracted from an oil well. There are many examples of Tipping points (TP). Although tipping points and points of no return are the buzzwords of our times, we should probably be using them more than we are.

A range of studies have long indicated that attention should be paid to the effects of climate change on subsystems such as the Amazon, Greenland ice or permafrost. These effects have been debated for more than 20 years. Since then, thousands of pages have been written describing their interrelationships, warning of a coming disaster. As in this article published in Nature by key figures in climate science, or this article published in National Geographic. However, despite the seriousness of the issue, mainstream media silence remains thunderous. We can even hear climate change deniers on prime time TV.

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Intellectual monopoly capitalism and its effects on development

Economy, Policies

Intellectual monopoly capitalism and its effects on development

What is new with contemporary (global) leading corporations? If gigantic monopolies are a repeated phenomenon in capitalism’s history, why all the fuss we see every day regarding high concentration?

Leading corporations of the 21st century are intellectual monopolies. These are firms that rely on a permanent and expanding monopoly over portions of society’s knowledge. A recent joint OECD and European Union report shows that the top 2000 corporations in business expenditure in research and development (BERD) concentrated 60% of total IP5 1 patents between 2014 and 2016 (Dernis et al., 2019).

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Why Brazil Still Matters

Brazil, Demographic

Why Brazil Still Matters

While many in the West lamented Jair Bolsonaro’s stunning ascension to the presidency of the world’s fifth most populous country in 2018, the election outcome was sealed roughly a year earlier. That was when Brazil’s two-term center-left president, Lula da Silva, who had been legally barred from a third consecutive term in 2010 despite an 86 percent approval rating—and who was leading in all the polls for a comeback in the 2018 presidential race—was convicted on dubious corruption charges and then declared ineligible to run. With his primary obstacle out of the way, Bolsonaro cruised to victory.

The stench of those events intensified greatly when Bolsonaro appointed the judge who’d found Lula guilty, Sergio Moro, to the newly enhanced position of minister of justice and public security. Even Moro’s closest allies in the sprawling anti-corruption probe known as Operation Car Wash (Lava Jato in Portuguese) were outraged by this blatant quid pro quo, which they realized would forever tarnish their legacy.

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A sweeping study shows how humans changed the environment over 12,000 years

Ecology, Threats

A sweeping study shows how humans changed the environment over 12,000 years

One environmental narrative, common to dystopian science fiction, goes like this: humans start to colonize the planet, and slowly take up more and more space until there’s nothing wild or untouched on Earth. Humanity’s infectious spread over the globe slowly eats the planet’s resources alive.

As it turns out, this narrative is all wrong — at least for the past 12,000 years, according to a new study. Humans, researchers found, occupy roughly the same amount of land on Earth that they always have in that span. That means that our planet’s myriad environmental problems aren’t exactly the cause of human societies spreading, but rather the way that we misuse resources that exist. Evidently, humans roamed about the same places they always had on Earth without stirring up too much trouble, at least until the advent of industrial capitalist societies.

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Just 3% of world’s ecosystems remain intact, study suggests

Ecology, Threats

Just 3% of world’s ecosystems remain intact, study suggests

Just 3% of the world’s land remains ecologically intact with healthy populations of all its original animals and undisturbed habitat, a study suggests.

These fragments of wilderness undamaged by human activities are mainly in parts of the Amazon and Congo tropical forests, east Siberian and northern Canadian forests and tundra, and the Sahara. Invasive alien species including cats, foxes, rabbits, goats and camels have had a major impact on native species in Australia, with the study finding no intact areas left.

The researchers suggest reintroducing a small number of important species to some damaged areas, such as elephants or wolves – a move that could restore up to 20% of the world’s land to ecological intactness.

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The Future of Ecommerce: 5 Trends Sellers Need to Know

Economy, Policies

The Future of Ecommerce: 5 Trends Sellers Need to Know

This year, the rules of e-commerce have effectively been rewritten. In an increasingly touchless society, our lives have become digitised, changing how we engage, interact, and view day-to-day life. Now, new online buying behaviours have emerged, and millions of consumers that previously relied on brick-and-mortar sales are shopping online to meet everyday needs.

But the rise of e-commerce hasn’t been without shortcomings. At the height of the pandemic in May, sellers, welcoming millions of new consumers, were faced with supply chain disruption, shock shortages, and business loss. Many turned to international options to mitigate issues, and cross-border sales saw a staggering 21 per cent increase in year-on-year sales in June.

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Nuclear disarmament: Thinking outside the silo

Proflieration, Threats

Nuclear disarmament: Thinking outside the silo

Every five years since 1970 diplomats and arms control experts have gathered to review progress – or lack of it – in the disarmament process enshrined in the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The latest review conference, which was scheduled for May 2020, was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This postponement is a silver lining behind a very dark cloud made up of the pandemic and several looming nuclear crises. It has bought time and with that time a new administration in Washington, one that is likely to be more open to multilateral efforts, pragmatic compromise and cooperative solutions.

The Accidental President of Brazil: A Memoir

Brazil, Demographic

The Accidental President of Brazil: A Memoir

Fernando Henrique Cardoso received a phone call in the middle of the night asking him to be the new Finance Minister of Brazil. As he put the phone down and stared into the darkness of his hotel room, he feared he’d been handed a political death sentence. The year was 1993, and he would be responsible for an economy that had had seven different currencies in the previous eight years to cope with inflation that had run at 3000 percent a year. Brazil had a habit of chewing up finance ministers with the ferocity of an Amazon piranha.

This was just one of the turns in a largely unscripted and sometimes unwanted political career. In exile during the harshest period of the junta that ruled Brazil for twenty years, Cardoso started his political life with a tentative run for the Federal Senate in 1978. Within fifteen years, and despite himself, this former sociologist was running the country.

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