9 August 2019   Leave a comment

The US has imposed additional sanctions on the Maduro regime in Venezuela. The sanctions are designed to pressure Maduro to resign and will undoubtedly aggravate the desperate situation for most Venezuelan citizens. It is not clear why the Trump Administration believes that additional sanctions will work since they have not only been ineffective against Venezuela, but also Russia, Cuba, North Korea, and Iran. Like the Iranian sanctions, the US is applying secondary sanctions against companies that trade with Venezuela–in effect, making US law extra-territorial. The US National Security Adviser, John Bolton, made this comment:

“Critically, it also exposes foreign entities doing business with the Maduro government to so-called secondary sanctions in the U.S. — a fact not lost on Maduro’s government as it tries to rally support at home and abroad.

“’The U.S. has to understand once and for all that they aren’t the owners of the world,’ Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said in a statement from Caracas. ‘Every country that has investments in the U.S. should be very worried because this sets a dangerous precedent against private property.'”

I doubt that these sanctions will induce Maduro to leave office, particularly since he seems to have the backing of both Russia and China.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released another report, this one on climate change and food production. It is a very lengthy report and at this point I have only read the first chapters. It is so depressing, however, that I may not finish it. Rolling Stone summarized some of the findings:

“The report confirmed that the world’s land areas are warming about twice as fast as the oceans, a phenomenon that was long predicted (soil heats up faster than water, which is why we cool off in swimming pools). Warming over land is happening so fast that even since the end of the 10-year average used in report (2006 to 2015), global land temperatures have increased by a further 20 percent. New data show that last month, July 2019, was the hottest month ever measured on the planet…..

“That ongoing transition to a world never-before experienced by humans is greatly worrying, because we’re not sure how modern agriculture will respond. Among other things, the report finds food will become less nutritious at higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as plant’s chemistry fundamentally changes. Masson-Delmotte said that the search is already on for crops that are resilient to extreme heat and drought, as well as urgent efforts to conserve and protect forests that help buffer the natural world from the expansion of agriculture.

“The risks to the world’s farms increases rapidly beyond warming of 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius, to the point where some of the possible solutions to climate change might quickly become impossible.”

Robinson Meyer has written an excellent essay for The Atlantic that poses seven ways of interpreting the IPCC report.

Posted August 9, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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