climate change

Show details for the week of September 4th, 2017

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This week’s show takes a closer look at Houston’s weather and flooding with two guests. Why were different parts of the city so differently impacted by Harvey and prior weather events? What will this mean for future events? First up is Historian Bob Buzzanco to discuss the political players in Houston, and Texas, and the background to recent flooding events. Our second guest is Meteorologist Eric Berger to discuss the weather conditions that created Harvey and the current “yellow blob” in the Gulf, and what we can expect from Irma.

More about this week’s guests:

200px-robert_buzzancoRobert Buzzanco is professor of history at the University of Houston. He is a scholar of 20th Century U.S. History and Diplomatic History. Buzzanco has also contributed to national newspapers and magazines such as the Baltimore Sun, Houston Chronicle and Newsday magazine. He has been interviewed or cited by various international media such as the BBC, NPR, Financial times, Al-Jazeerra and the Islamic News Network. See the recent interview with him on Vimeo. He gives a breakdown of the current situation and the relevant history in Houston, including the 2001 tropical storm Allison, which deluged Houston and caused over 20 deaths. After that storm, Buzzanco notes there was widespread discussion of Houston following a different development model, only to pave over more green space. For more background see from the Texas Tribune and ProPublica “Boomtown, Flood Town,” which notes: “unchecked development remains a priority in the famously un-zoned city, creating short-term economic gains for some while increasing flood risks for everyone.”

bergerEric Berger is the senior space editor at Ars Technica, covering everything from astronomy to private space to wonky NASA policy. Berger spent his college years at the University of Texas dreaming about the stars, which led him to an astronomy degree. But he decided studying a particular classification of stars in depth for the rest of his life seemed a little dull, and preferred meeting interesting people to the solitude of observatories. He dove into journalism, hoping to explain the complexities of science and medicine to the general public. Hoping to interact with readers, he began the SciGuy blog in early 2005, encompassing everything from nanometers to parsecs. Eric previously worked at the Houston Chronicle for 17 years, where the paper was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2009 for his coverage of Hurricane Ike. A certified meteorologist, Eric lives in Houston.

 

I want to apologize for not posting show details for the last two week. Two weeks ago I was out of the country and last week I was unable to make it to the studio because of the flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Staci Davis held the show together in my absence (thank you Staci!). Things are not quite yet back to normal but we were lucky to make it through relatively unscathed. My thoughts are with those who were not so lucky. I hope you are all doing better than you were last week.

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Show Details for the week of July 10th, 2017

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On The Monitor this week:

  • Mike Dieterich on Climate Change and the looming Southeast Asia refugee crisis
  • Ira Helfand on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

More about this week’s guests:

1f51030Mike Dieterich is a LEED Accredited Professional, environmental scientist, award winning producer, and bestselling author. He has worked in the sustainability industry with local-small businesses to state agencies, federal groups, international companies and nonprofit organizations. He is the author of Renew & Sustain: A cutting edge approach to being socially responsible, environmentally conscious, and incredibly profitable for businesses, schools, and government. He recently published The Future Muslim Climate Refugee where he writes: “in 20–30 years we are going to have 50 to 200 Million people moving out of Southeast Asia alone. A lack of food caused by warming oceans, acidification, and over fishing.

ira-helfand-pictureIra Helfand is past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility and is currently co-president of that group’s global federation, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize. He is a frequent speaker on Climate Change, nuclear power, nuclear waste, radiation exposure, Iran nuclear crisis, nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, nuclear war, terrorism and preparedness, nuclear Famine

Quote: “Two things were most notable in the overwhelming vote for this treaty. One was the urgency felt by the representatives of 122 countries who voted for it. The other was the rather crude and revealing statement put out by the ‘P3’ — the U.S., Britain and France. When this process began several years ago, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council [P5] — U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China — put out a statement against the treaty, arguing that it wasn’t the most useful approach and distracted from their alleged efforts to get rid of their nuclear weapons. The P3 statement on Friday made clear the real basis of their opposition to the treaty: ‘We do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it.’ It is not the timing or the specifics of the treaty that they object to. They intend to maintain their policy of mutually assured destruction forever, even though they are legally required to negotiate the elimination of their nuclear arsenals under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The apparent instability of the U.S. president highlights the danger of maintaining arsenals of nuclear weapons that constitute an existential threat to human survival and underlines the need for this treaty as the next step to achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons as quickly as possible.”

Show Details for the week of June 5th, 2017

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On The Monitor this week:

What does the decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord mean from the environmental and legal perspectives? Our guests are Neil Tangri and Marjorie Cohn.

More about this week’s guests:

ybktv7khbf4jdiyvbjnkfrileq0ymnvbmpps1nqzisNeil Tangri is a PhD candidate in climate science at Stanford University. He previously led the international waste picker/GAIA climate change campaign, which succeeded in ending international climate subsidies for incinerators and landfills. He is an expert on international environmental policy and finance. Quote: “Trump’s decision isn’t going to affect U.S. emissions, which is ultimately what is most important. As renewables replace fossil fuels and electric vehicles replace gasoline cars, those will continue to drop, albeit not as fast or as far as needed. The pull-out from Paris is going to change the international political dynamic. Already, China, India, the EU, and even Russia have reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Agreement, which is good news for the world. It means that the U.S. is abandoning its influence in the international arena, and the world will increasingly look to China for leadership on climate and other issues.”

Marjorie Cohn SpeakingMarjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law where she taught from 1991-2016, and a former president of the National Lawyers Guild. She lectures, writes, and provides commentary for local, regional, national and international media outlets. Professor Cohn has served as a news consultant for CBS News and a legal analyst for Court TV, as well as a legal and political commentator on BBC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NPR, and Pacifica Radio.

The author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law and co-author of Cameras in the Courtroom: Television and the Pursuit of Justice (with David Dow) and Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent (with Kathleen Gilberd), Professor Cohn is editor of and contributor to The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse, and Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues.

Show Details for the week of August 8th, 2016

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On The Monitor this week:

  • Deconstructing environmental party politics with Dahr Jamail
  • Bernie Sanders supporters going Green with YahNe Ndgo

More about this week’s guests:

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Dahr Jamail is a journalist who is best known as one of the few unembedded journalists to report extensively from Iraq during the 2003 Iraq invasion. He spent eight months in Iraq, between 2003 to 2005, and presented his stories on his website Dahr Jamail’s Mideast Dispatches

He has appeared on The Monitor with Mark Bebawi several times in the past, including live unembedded reports from Iraq at the height of the US invasion. Since his return he has written two books – “The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan,” (Haymarket Books, 2009), and “Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq,” (Haymarket Books, 2007).

More recently Dahr has been covering environmental topics. You can read his latest articles on his website. The interview will focus on the policies of the various parties on climate change.

dv-xlagoYahNe Ndgo describes herself as “Bernie Lover, Ubuntu Promoter, Singer, Writer, Activist, Traveler, Mother, Sister, Auntie, Daughter, Granddaughter, Cousin, Friend, Neighbor, Lover, Human Being” and gained significant attention when a CNN interview she gave went “viral”: YahNe Ndgo explains Bernie or Bust/Never Hillary

She was one of the keynote speakers at the Green Party’s convention in Houston and I interviewed her for Pacifica’s live coverage of that event. I asked her about the Sanders campaign, his supporters’ potential for voting Green, and what motivates her political activities.

Show Details for the week of April 4th, 2016

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On The Monitor this week:

  • Toby C Jones on America’s Oil Wars and the military-energy complex in the Persian Gulf
  • Kani Xulam on Turkey’s “Dirty War” Against the Kurds

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More about this week’s guests:

SAMSUNG CSCToby C. Jones is associate professor of history at Rutgers University, New Brunswick where he also directs the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the M.A. program in Global and Comparative History. He teaches courses on global environmental history, energy, and the modern Middle East. Jones has traveled and worked extensively in the Middle East, including in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. His more recent work examines the global history of oil, including the recent energy boom in the United States. During 2008-2009 he was a fellow at Princeton University’s Oil, Energy, and the Middle East project. From 2004 to early 2006 Jones worked as the Persian Gulf political analyst for the International Crisis Group.

Jones is the author of two books. The first, Desert Kingdom: How Oil and Water Forged Modern Saudi Arabia was published by Harvard University Press in 2010. The second, Running Dry: Essays on Energy, Water and Environmental Crisis, published by Rutgers University Press, appeared in 2015. He is currently working on a third book, America’s Long War, which is under contract at Harvard University Press. He has written for both scholarly and general audiences, including at the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Journal of American History, Middle East Report, Raritan Quarterly Review, The Nation, Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic, the London Review of Books, the New York Times, and elsewhere. In 2015 Jones was recognized as a Rutgers Chancellor’s Scholar for distinguished scholarship.

Jones appears regularly on local and national media discussing political developments and challenges in the Middle East, including at NPR, the BBC, Democracy Now!, and others.

Kani Xulam is director of the American Kurdish Information Network and a native of Kurdistan.He studied International Relations at the University of Toronto, holds a BA in history from the University of California Santa Barbara and an MA in the International Service program at American University. At the University of Toronto, he represented Kurdistan at the Model United Nations, which passed a nonbinding resolution recognizing the right of the Kurdish people to self-determination.At the University of California Santa Barbara, he was part of a group of peace activists who protested the first Gulf War by taking part in a sit-in at Chancellor’s office in January 1991. Everyone was arrested. Mr. Xulam pled not guilty, defended himself, and was sentenced to 18 hours of community service to plant saplings in Santa Barbara. In 1993, at the urging of Kurdish community leaders in America, he left his family business in Santa Barbara, California to establish the American Kurdish Information Network (AKIN) in the nation’s capital. AKIN is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering Kurdish-American understanding and friendship.

In 1997, he took part in a hunger strike on the steps of the Capitol urging members of Congress to use their good offices on behalf of their imprisoned Kurdish colleagues. 153 members signed a letter urging President Clinton to intervene on the matter. Mr. Xulam, on the advice of his physician, ended his fast on the 32nd day.

Kani Xulam recently wrote the piece “A Kurdish Girl’s Lonely Death,” for CounterPunch and is continuing a vigil outside the Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C. — now in its eleventh week — protesting Turkish attacks on Kurds.

Show Details for the week of December 28th, 2015

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This is the last show of 2015 and this week’s Monitor takes a look back at two of important stories from the year. The first is with William R Polk and is focused on the history of economic and political crisis in Greece. The second is with Dahr Jamail and examines climate change. Both of these interviews were conducted in July this year.

  • An interview with Dahr Jamail on the “Sixth Great Mass Extinction Event” that is already underway.

More about the two guests:

William R. Polk is a graduate of Harvard University (B,A.  and Ph.D.) and Oxford University (B.A. and M.A.).  He also studied at the Universidad Nacional de Mexico, the Universidad Nacional de Chile, the University of Baghdad and the American University of  Beirut. Dr. Polk taught history and Arabic language and literature and helped to found the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University from 1955 to 1961 when President Kennedy appointed him the Member of the Policy Planning Council responsible for the Middle East,  Central Asia and much of Africa.  On the Council, he also dealt with a number of special issues including development, refugees and cultural exchange.  And there he was the head of various interdepartmental tasks forces on foreign affairs including efforts to end the Algerian war, the revision of American relations with Turkey and the Palestine problem.   During the Cuban Missile Crisis, he served as one of three members of the Crisis Management Committee.  During this period he was asked to become Deputy Commissioner General of UNRWA. In 1965, Dr. Polk resigned from government service to become Professor of History at the University of Chicago.  There he established the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and was a founding director of the American Middle Eastern Studies Association. In 1967 he became the founding director (later President) of the Adlai Stevenson Institute of International Affairs which, among other ventures, hosted the 20th Pugwash Conference on nuclear weapons and did much of the planning for the United Nations Environment Program. He was called back to the White House briefly during the 1967 Middle Eastern war to write a draft peace treaty and to act as assistant to the former Director of the National Security Council and then the President’s special assistant, McGeorge Bundy.   In 1970, at the request of Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir he successfully negotiated with President Nasser of Egypt a ceasefire on the Suez Canal. Born in Fort Worth, Texas, he grew up there and on a nearby ranch.  He attended public school in Fort World and, during the Second World War was trained for the cavalry at the New Mexico Military Institute.  After the war ended, he worked on a newspaper in Rome before entering college. He was awarded four Rockefeller Foundation, one Ford and one Guggenheim fellowship and, during his time in government, he received a commendation from the Department of Defense and the Medal of Honor from the Kingdom of Afghanistan. Dr. Polk has traveled extensively throughout Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe and speaks several of he languages of those areas. He has written a number of books and has served on the boards of various foundations and businesses.  In addition,  he has acted as an advisor to the chief executives of a dozen major corporations. Dr. Polk has lectured in over a hundred universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Chicago, Northwestern, SMU, Texas, UCLA, Berkeley, the University of Colorado, and research institutions including The Council on Foreign Relations, the Canadian Institute of International Affairs, the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), Brookings, and the Soviet Academy of Sciences. In addition he has appeared frequently on radio and television programs including CBS, ABC, PBS, BBC, Channel 24 (Paris)  and a large number of local stations. He has also spoken to many public affairs groups, clubs and civic organizations.

 

Dahr Jamail (@DahrJamail) is a Truthout staff reporter and the author of The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, (Haymarket Books, 2009), and Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq, (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from Iraq for more than a year, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last ten years, and has won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards. His third book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with William Rivers Pitt, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in Washington State.

Article: Sixth Great Mass Extinction Event Begins; 2015 on Pace to Become Hottest Year on Record

In part, the article states:

…the most important development this month is clearly a recently published study in Science that states, unequivocally, that the planet has officially entered its sixth mass extinction event. The study showed that species are already being killed off at rates much faster than they were during the other five extinction events, and warned ominously that humans could very likely be among the first wave of species going extinct.

The lead author of the study, Gerardo Ceballos of the Universidad Autónoma de México, told reporters that if current rates of ACD, deforestation and pollution are allowed to continue, “Life would take many millions of years to recover, and our species itself would likely disappear early on.”

Another alarming feature of the study is that it is admittedly conservative. On page three it states: “We emphasize that our calculations very likely underestimate the severity of the extinction crisis.”

Show Details for the week of November 9th, 2015

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On The Monitor this week:

  • Mae Ngai on Immigration Reform – how it happened before and how it can happen again
  • Paul Paz y Miño on Chevron’s RICO Case – the star witness admits to lying and the case collapses

More about this week’s guests:

Mae M. Ngai, Professor of History and Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies, is a U.S. legal and political historian interested in questions of immigration, citizenship, and nationalism. She is author of the award winning Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (2004) and The Lucky Ones: One Family and the Extraordinary Invention of Chinese America (2010).  Ngai has written on immigration history and policy for the Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the Nation, and the Boston Review. Before becoming a historian she was a labor-union organizer and educator in New York City, working for District 65-UAW and the Consortium for Worker Education.  She is now working on Yellow and Gold: The Chinese Mining Diaspora, 1848-1908, a study of Chinese gold miners and racial politics in the nineteenth-century California, the Australian colony of Victoria, and the South African Transvaal.

The Nation recently published her piece: “This Is How Immigration Reform Happened 50 Years Ago. It Can Happen Again

“When Johnson signed the Hart-Celler Act, he hailed it as a milestone for civil rights — and, in many ways, it was. The signal achievement of the act was to abolish the noxious quota system, in effect since 1924, which numerically restricted immigration and allocated visas for permanent residents (green cards) according to national origin and race. The quota structure favored immigration from Northern and Western Europe, restricted it from Eastern and Southern Europe, and excluded Asians altogether. The 1965 immigration act got rid of this blatantly racist system and replaced it with one based on individual qualifications, giving preference to those with skills and those with family members in the United States. To further make the system fair, it set a uniform cap on all countries at 7 percent of the annual total.

Moreover, for all its liberal intentions, Hart-Celler was decidedly illiberal in crucial respects: It imposed numerical limits on the countries of the Western Hemisphere, which previously had no such quotas. At the same time, it subjected all countries to the same maximum limit of 20,000 new admissions a year (when Congress raised the overall ceiling by 40 percent in 1990, the country cap went up to just 26,500). Treating Mexico and India ‘equally’ with, say, New Zealand and Belgium reflected the civil-rights era’s emphasis on abstract, formal equality. However, it also guaranteed that a significant portion of Mexican immigration would be unauthorized, because ongoing labor-market demands far exceeded legal avenues for entry.”

Paul Paz y Miño is the Director of Outreach & Online Strategy at AmazonWatch. Paul joined Amazon Watch in 2007. He has an MA in International Affairs from George Washington University. Since 1995, he has volunteered as Colombia Country Specialist for Amnesty International USA and was the Guatemala/Chiapas Program Director at the Seva Foundation for seven years. Paul has lived in Chiapas, Mexico and Quito, Ecuador, promoting human rights and community development and working directly with indigenous communities. Paul is also an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and served on the board of Peace Brigades International USA. Follow Paul on Twitter: @paulpaz

For details of the topic of this interview see Chevron’s Star Witness Admits to Lying in the Amazon Pollution Case:

“In March of last year, California-based oil giant Chevron hailed a sweeping victory in a two-decade long legal battle in the Ecuadorean Amazon. A New York federal judge, Lewis Kaplan, ruled that a $9.5 billion Lago Agrio judgment leveled against the company by the small Andean country’s highest court, was obtained by way of fraud and coercion.

In his decision, based on violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, the judge found that the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Steven Donziger, committed mail fraud, engaged in coercion, and paid bribes in order to win judgment against Texaco, which Chevron brought in 2001.

The case largely hung on Chevron’s star witness, Alberto Guerra, a former Ecuadorean judge who has admitted to receiving substantial amounts of money and other benefits to cooperate with Chevron. In New York, Guerra testified that he had struck a deal between the plaintiffs and the presiding judge, Nicolas Zambrano: Guerra would ghostwrite the verdict, Zambrano would sign it, and the two would share an alleged $500,000 in kickbacks from the plaintiffs.”