25 March 2019   Leave a comment

A rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip and it hit a house near Tel Aviv in Israel. As of the writing of this post, no group in the Gaza has claimed responsibility for the rocket, but Israel holds Hamas responsible for everything that happens in the Gaza. The Gaza Strip is about 25 miles long and six miles wide and is home to about 2 million Palestinians. There have been a number of conflicts between Israel and Hamas: in 2009-10, 2012, and an extended battle in 2014. Israel has responded with air strikes against Hamas-related buildings in Gaza, but the area is so densely populated, precision strikes are virtually impossible. There are reports that Egypt has brokered a cease-fire, but we will have to see if it holds. The elections scheduled for April place Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in a position where he may feel obliged to respond forcefully to the rocket attack.

Israeli Air Strikes in the Gaza Strip

Global energy demand increased at the fastest pace in a decade in 2018 according to new data released by the International Energy Agency. As a result, carbon emissions continued to grow and show little sign of slwoing down. According to the IEA:

“Energy demand worldwide grew by 2.3% last year, its fastest pace this decade, an exceptional performance driven by a robust global economy and stronger heating and cooling needs in some regions. Natural gas emerged as the fuel of choice, posting the biggest gains and accounting for 45% of the rise in energy consumption. Gas demand growth was especially strong in the United States and China.

“Demand for all fuels increased, with fossil fuels meeting nearly 70% of the growth for the second year running. Solar and wind generation grew at double-digit pace, with solar alone increasing by 31%. Still, that was not fast enough to meet higher electricity demand around the world that also drove up coal use.

“As a result, global energy-related CO2 emissions rose by 1.7% to 33 Gigatonnes (Gt) in 2018. Coal use in power generation alone surpassed 10 Gt, accounting for a third of the total increase. Most of that came from a young fleet of coal power plants in developing Asia. The majority of coal-fired generation capacity today is found in Asia, with 12-year-old plants on average, decades short of average lifetimes of around 50 years.”

Unfortunately, demand for coal, the most serious source of greenhouse gas emissions, has grown substantially in Asia. Even though the world is using more renewable energy, the consumption of carbon-based energy continues to grow apace. The Washington Post quotes a climate researcher who gives a very pessimistic assessment of the current situation:

“Rob Jackson, a professor of Earth system science at Stanford University, said the substantial growth of wind and solar energy detailed in Monday’s report was overshadowed by the world’s ongoing reliance on fossil fuels.

“’The growth in fossils is still greater than all the increases in renewables,’ Jackson said, adding that few countries are living up to the pledges they made as part of the Paris climate accord. ‘What’s discouraging is that emissions in the U.S. and Europe are going up, too. Someone has to decrease their emissions significantly for us to have any hope of meeting the Paris commitments.’

“The new results dash prior hopes that global emissions might be flattening and starting to decline. From 2014 through 2016, they fell slightly, and coal emissions in particular dipped as well. But with a renewal of growth in 2017 and new record highs in 2018, turning the corner on emissions remains nowhere in sight.

“As a result, optimism from earlier this decade has largely faded. International efforts to combat climate change have struggled to maintain momentum and the U.S. government has undergone a reversal of priorities.

“’We are in deep trouble,’” Jackson said of Monday’s findings. ‘The climate consequences are catastrophic. I don’t use any word like that very often. But we are headed for disaster, and nobody seems to be able to slow things down.’”

It is becoming increasingly more difficult to think rationally about the wrong-headedness of the way we live out or lives at the expense of future generations. These years will go down in history as the most incomprehensible years in human history.

James Dorsey has written an essay entitled “Civilizationism Vs The Nation State – Analysis” which deserves a close read. The core idea is one developed by several authors in the last decade: that the civilizational state is one defined culturally and not territorially as is the case in most liberal societies. It is a difficult idea to parse, but the framework does explain the rise of authoritarian societies which use power to defend values and not interests. Dorsey is particularly engaging when he discusses the way the murderer at Christchurch, New Zealand interpreted the world.

Posted March 25, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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