Podcast: climate change and the global struggle

In Episode 81 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg takes stock of the fast-mounting manifestations of devastating climate destabilization—from Oregon to Siberia, from Germany to Henan. In Angola, traditional pastoralists are joining the ranks of “climate refugees” as their communal lands are stricken by drought. In Iran’s restive and rapidly aridifying Ahwazi region, protests over access to water have turned deadly. These grim developments offer a foreboding of North America’s imminent future. Yet media commentators continue to equivocate, asking whether these events are “linked to” or “caused by” climate change—rather than recognizing that they are climate change. And the opportunity for a crash conversion from fossil fuels that was posed by last year’s pandemic-induced economic paralysis, when already depressed oil prices actually went negative, is now being squandered. Oil prices are again rising, with the return to pre-pandemic dystopian “normality.”

Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

Production by Chris Rywalt

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Photo of Ahwazi protesters in Iran: Ahwazna

Erratum: This podcast was, of course, recorded on July 23, 2021—not (as erroneously stated) Feb. 23.

  1. UN report: pandemic emissions drop a ‘temporary blip’

    Declines in greenhouse gas emissions seen during the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic were a “temporary blip” and emissions are rapidly returning to pre-pandemic levels, according to a United Nations-backed report. The World Meteorological Organization’s United in Science 2021 report found that while emissions reductions last year likely resulted in lower annual growth of greenhouse gas concentration, the drop amounted to no more than natural fluctuations. (The Hill)

  2. Oil price jumps to seven-year high —but majors still skittish

    Both major price indexes, West Texas Intermediate and Brent crude, closed over $80 a barrel Oct. 11 for the first time since October 2014. A price jump at the pump is partly due to Hurricane Ida, which shut down a lot of production. Historically, at $80 a barrel, energy companies would be rushing to drill. And we have seen rig counts inch up in Texas’ Permian Basin.

    But they don’t belong to the usual suspects, said Greg Priddy, an energy market consultant “It’s not Chevron or Exxon Mobil that are adding rigs and big numbers, it’s the small independent wildcatters,” Priddy said.

    The bigger players are sitting it out to save money and protect investors’ dividends. So, the big question is, are they going to get in? “There will be somebody out there who is willing to put money in,” said Ellen R. Wald, president of Transversal Consulting. “The question is just, at what point will we see that happen?”

    It won’t be overnight, Wald said. Bringing new infrastructure on line is slow and expensive. But she doesn’t think prices are going to plateau at $80 a barrel. (Marketplace)