Britain Spent 'Twice As Much On Overseas Fossil Fuels As Renewables'

A vendor weighs coal for a customer in Lucknow, India. The country has been one of the top five beneficiaries of UK energy support this decade. Photograph: Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP

By Arthur Neslen for The Guardian – The UK has spent more than twice as much overseas support on fossil fuels projects as on renewable ones so far this decade, according to research commissioned by the Catholic aid agency Cafod. The Overseas Development Institute, which analysed the figures, found that 46% of Britain’s £6.1bn energy spending in developing countries between 2010 and 2014 went on oil, coal and gas-fired schemes, compared with 22% for renewable energy projects. Overall, fossil fuel support increased by nearly £1bn this decade compared with the previous five years, with a staggering 99.4% of UK export finance support directed towards “dirty” energy investments. Cafod called on the government to clarify how it would bring public support for overseas projects into line with climate commitments under the Paris agreement. Dr Sarah Wykes, Cafod’s lead energy analyst, said: “To tackle climate change we have to leave fossil fuels in the ground and switch rapidly to renewable sources of energy. “Yet the UK carrying on a business as usual spending pattern overseas in recent years suggests a huge inconsistency in policy and a missed opportunity to promote greater investment in renewable technologies, as the Department for International Development (DfID) has tried to do through its spending.”

Lawmakers Seek To Make It A Crime To Support BDS Against Israel

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By Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Grim for The Intercept – THE CRIMINALIZATION OF political speech and activism against Israel has become one of the gravest threats to free speech in the West. In France, activists have been arrested and prosecuted for wearing T-shirts advocating a boycott of Israel. The U.K. has enacted a series of measures designed to outlaw such activism. In the U.S., governors compete with one another over who can implement the most extreme regulations to bar businesses from participating in any boycotts aimed even at Israeli settlements, which the world regards as illegal. On U.S. campuses, punishment of pro-Palestinian students for expressing criticisms of Israel is so commonplace that the Center for Constitutional Rights refers to it as “the Palestine Exception” to free speech. But now, a group of 43 senators — 29 Republicans and 14 Democrats — wants to implement a law that would make it a felony for Americans to support the international boycott against Israel, which was launched in protest of that country’s decades-old occupation of Palestine. The two primary sponsors of the bill are Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio.

Naomi Klein And Jeremy Corbyn Discuss How To Get The World We Want

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By Naomi Klein for The Intercept – Naomi Klein: I’m Naomi Klein, reporting for The Intercept, and I’m here in London at the Houses of Parliament with Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, three weeks after the Labour Party in an historic election won many, many more seats than anybody predicted – except for some of the people in this room, who saw it coming. And it’s just an enormous pleasure to be here with Jeremy and to talk about the importance of a forward-looking, bold agenda to do battle with the right. Hi, Jeremy. Jeremy Corbyn: Lovely to see you. NK: So, Jeremy Corbyn, it’s been extraordinary being in the U.K. this week, and seeing the political space that you have opened up, and the fact that now we’re seeing the Tories try to poach some of your policies and scramble to try to appeal to young people by talking about maybe getting rid of tuition fees. JC: Well, social justice isn’t copyrighted, but it’s a bigger picture than just the individual issues. NK: I want to talk about this extraordinary moment in which the project that really began under Thatcher in this country, and Reagan in the U.S. — the whole so-called consensus that never really was a consensus, the war on the collective, on the idea that we can do good things when we get together — is crumbling.

The Hypocrisy Of The Bi-Partisan Congress On Militarism

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By Ann Garrison for Black Agenda Report – Supporters of the British Labour Party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn marched through London streets on Saturday, July 1st, from the BBC headquarters to the Parliament Building at Westminster. The London- based Independent reports that tens of thousands joined the “Not One More Day” march against the Conservative Tory government and its austerity policies. They carried signs that read “Tories Out,” “No to Islamophobia, No to War,” “Cut War, Not Welfare,” and “Austerity is the New Terror. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn addressed the crowd upon their arrival outside Parliament. “What this election campaign, this anti-austerity movement, this current mood in British politics has done is unleashed the ideas and the imagination, unleashed that day-to-day conversation on every street corner, every café, and every pub of how differently this country could be run. The Tories are in retreat. Austerity is in retreat. The economic arguments of austerity are in retreat. It’s those of social justice, of unity, of people coming together to oppose racism and all those that would divide us that are the ones that are moving forward.”

U.S., UK And France Denounce Nuclear Ban Treaty

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By David Krieger for Counter Punch – The U.S., UK and France have never shown enthusiasm for banning and eliminating nuclear weapons. It is not surprising, therefore, that they did not participate in the United Nations negotiations leading to the recent adoption of the nuclear ban treaty, or that they joined together in expressing their outright defiance of the newly-adopted treaty. In a joint press statement, issued on July 7, 2017, the day the treaty was adopted, the U.S., UK and France stated, “We do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it.” Seriously? Rather than supporting the countries that came together and hammered out the treaty, the three countries argued: “This initiative clearly disregards the realities of the international security environment.” Rather than taking a leadership role in the negotiations, they protested the talks and the resulting treaty banning nuclear weapons. They chose hubris over wisdom, might over right. They based their opposition on their belief that the treaty is “incompatible with the policy of nuclear deterrence, which has been essential to keeping the peace in Europe and North Asia for over 70 years.”

UK Court: Illegal To Ban BDS Movement Against Israel

‘On 11 June Avigdor Lieberman proudly announced that Israel was planning its greatest expansion of settlement homes since 1992.’ Ramot in the occupied West Bank. Photograph: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

By Ben Jamal for The Guardian – Two weeks ago I found myself in a sweaty room in the Royal Courts of Justice, packed with fellow Palestine activists, listening to detailed and sometimes arcane legal arguments about pension law. The journey that ended in that courtroom began in September last year when the government announced new guidance intended to prohibit local government pension schemes from pursuing “divestment and sanctions against foreign nations and UK defence industries … other than where formal legal sanctions, embargoes and restrictions have been put in place by the government”. The key target of these new rules was made clear in the government press releaseabout the decision. This was the government acting to place a ban on boycotting Israel. The regulations were introduced in November 2016 despite a public consultation indicating that 98% of respondents thought this was the wrong thing to do, and a wider public outcry. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign, of which I’m the director, decided to take the government on. We launched a judicial review supported with witness statements from War on Want, Campaign Against the Arms Trade and the Quakers.

Lancashire Councillors And Residents Lock-Down Fracking Site

Credit: Kristian Buus

By Staff of Relcaim the Power – At 03.00hrs, a group of residents arrived at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site on the Fylde Coast in Lancashire, where the drilling rig is expected any day now, and blockaded the entrance, locking themselves to heavy objects and preventing any vehicles from entering the site. Lancashire County Councillor Gina Dowding, who is one of the councillors taking part in this direct action, stated: “It’s abundantly clear that when it comes to fracking, local councils have been rendered weak and helpless. I feel I need to be here with the community to say that we won’t roll over and accept this. We are putting our bodies on the line because our voices haven’t been heard.” Fylde Borough Councillor for Warton and Westby, Julie Brickles, stated: “I’m sometimes called the anti-fracking councillor. I strongly disagree with this: I’m the pro-community councillor and Westby is my community. Residents are rightly scared and we have now run out of options.”

15,000 At Glastonbury Set Record For Biggest Human Peace Sign

People form a giant peace sign at Glastonbury. Photograph: Andy Eliot/PA

By Hannah Ellis-Petersen for The Guardian – About 15,000 people gathered at Glastonbury’s monumental stone circle on Thursday to set a new record for making the world’s biggest human peace sign. The event was one of the first to display a spirit of unity in the face of recent terrorist attacks in Manchester and London, as the festival officially opens on Friday. Organised by the team who run Glastonbury’s green fields as a “message of peace to the world”, the attempt broke the previous record when 5,814 people performed a similar stunt at Ithaca festival in New York in 2008. Among those taking part were Emily Eavis and William Hawk, a Native American from the Standing Rock reservation. Cat Warren, 22, from Bristol, was held aloft on the shoulders of her friends – all part of a cheerleading team – to cheers from the crowd. “There are worries that things like the attacks in Manchester and London are just going to divide people, and make people more hateful towards minorities,” said Warren. “So just coming together and celebrating with people from all ages, races and religions, it feels so lovely. It’s almost like a protest to anyone who is being hateful and shows we’re not afraid. We could do with a bit more of this outside of Glastonbury.”

Britain Wants A 'Way Out' Of The Julian Assange Standoff, Says Ecuador

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By Julian Assange for The Guardian – Maria Fernanda Espinosa, foreign minister, says UK and Ecuador working on an ‘opening’ Britain is interested in finding a solution to the standoff that has led to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange being holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy for five years, the foreign minister of the South American country has said. In May, Sweden dropped an investigation into rape allegations that led Assange, 45, to seek asylum in the embassy in 2012, but British police said he would still be arrested if he left the building. “The United Kingdom wants a way out, but evidently that is in the hands of the UK justice system, they have their procedures, their ways,” the minister, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, told reporters on Thursday. “This opening has been there, and we are working on it.“ A British court issued an arrest warrant for Assange when he failed to surrender to the court on 29 June, 2012, and the Metropolitan Police Service is compelled to execute that warrant, the London police said in May. Assange, who denies the rape allegations, fears being handed over to the United States to face prosecution over WikiLeaks’ publication of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents in one of the largest information leaks in US history.

‘Day Of Rage’ Protesters Demand May’s Resignation

Protesters hold signs calling for justice for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire. Photograph: Teri Pengilley for the Guardian

By Nadia Khomami for The Guardian – Hundreds of protesters marched from west London to Downing Street on Wednesday to protest against the government’s response to the Grenfell Tower fire. The march – on London’s hottest day of the year – was one of a number of “day of rage” protests to coincide with the state opening of parliament. The demonstrators demanded that the displaced residents of Grenfell Tower are rehoused locally, and want full amnesty and permanent UK residency for those without immigration papers. The marchers also demanded the publication of all records of the companies involved with the tower and their dealings with Kensington and Chelsea council. There were around 500 people on the march, police said. The march, which was organised by Movement for Justice By Any Means Necessary (MFJ), set off for Downing Street as the prime minister set out her legislative programme for the next two years.

6 Lessons From The UK Election For National Improved Medicare For All

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By Brittany Shannahan for HCHRMD – This is the end of the center-left as we know it. In democracies across the world, we have seen a polarization of politics, with far-right populists and ethnonationalists sparring against a new wave of leftist political activism as the traditional center-left collapses under its own weight. The process has a name, Pasokification, after the Democrat-esque Greek center-left party that went from a major government player into a fringe institution overnight after an election in 2015. Had Labour replaced Jeremy Corbyn with a centrist, Theresa May and the Conservative party would have won by a landslide. We see a leftist coalition built on a visionary plan for a future for the many rather than for the few taking on a highly popular right-wing government and almost beating it entirely after only six weeks of campaigning. Some will bring up Macron in France as an example of a centrist, neoliberal political party holding its own against the far right. But we need to remember that Nazi sympathizers and collaborators founded the Front National. As Naomi Klein has said, the Front National is more David Duke than Donald Trump.

Trump Postpones Trip To UK Due To Fear Of Protests

The President reportedly made the admission in a recent phone call to the PM AFP/Getty

By Emily Shugerman for Independent – The President does not want to visit the UK until the public supports him, sources say. Donald Trump has reportedly told Theresa May that he does not want to visit the UK soon for fear of large-scale protests against him. Ms May invited Mr Trump to Britain seven days after his inauguration. Now he apparently wants to wait until the British public supports him coming. The US President made the admission in a recent phone call to the Prime Minister, a Downing Street adviser who was present for the call told The Guardian. The aide said Ms May seemed surprised. Jeremy Corbyn welcomes ‘cancellation’ of Donald Trump state visit. Mr Trump – never a favourite among British voters – stoked outcry in recent weeks for attacking London Mayor Sadiq Khan in the wake of terrorist attacks in the city. The President ridiculed Mr Khan’s calls for calm, and later condemned the Mayor’s “pathetic excuse” for his statements.

Newsletter: Corbyn Teaches To Embrace Change We Need

Corbyn For the Many Not the Few

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The shocking election result in the United Kingdom – the Conservatives losing their majority and the creation of a hung Parliament; and Jeremy Corbyn being more successful than any recent Labor candidate – cutting a 20 point Theresa May lead down to a near tie – gives hope to many that the global shift to the right, fueled by the failures of governments to meet the basic needs of their population and growing economic insecurity, may be ending. Corbyn is a lifelong activist (as you will see in the photos below), whose message and actions have been consistent. He presented a platform directed at ending austerity and the wealth divide and was openly anti-war. There are a lot of lessons for the Labor Party in the UK from this election but there are also lessons for people in the United States. We review what happened and consider the possibilities for creating transformative change in the United States.

Corbyn Tells Truth About Counterproductive War On Terror

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By Ben Norton and Max Blumenthal for AlterNet – This June 8, British voters will decide whether or not to continue with the conservative status quo, or take a chance on a new kind of left-wing politics that would represent a firm break with the orthodoxies of the ruling Conservative Party and the Labour Party’s establishment wing. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party’s intrepid new socialist leader, has pledged to drastically change his society. His party’s leftist manifesto calls for more funding for the socialized health care system, nationalizing the country’s tattered railways and putting a stop to massive cuts in social spending. Yet Corbyn has also taken a step further than others in his party have dared, pledging to do what to many progressives remains a shibboleth: oppose war and imperialism and limit the violent blowback they have caused back home. The liberal political establishment in the U.S. and across Western Europe has uncritically supported wars from Iraq, to Libya, to the push for regime change in Syria, often in the name of humanitarianism and “civilian protection.” While many progressives have portrayed the so-called War on Terror as an unfortunate but necessary evil…

UK Set For First Coal-Free Work Day Since Pre-Industrial Times

Drax, the UK's biggest coal power station, has converted to partly run on biomass (Flickr/Jonathan Brennan)

By Megan Darby for Climate Home – Three old coal plants closed last year, while surging renewables, cheap gas and a carbon price make the remaining power stations less viable. A halving of coal use in 2016 was the main driver of a 5.8% fall in UK carbon dioxide emissions, according to Carbon Brief analysis of official data. The government has pledged to end coal burning by 2025, subject to consultation. Hannah Martin, head of energy at Greenpeace UK, said the day should be noted by politicians fighting over who will lead the UK through the next stage of its energy transition. “A decade ago, a day without coal would have been unimaginable, and in ten years’ time our energy system will have radically transformed again,” she said. “It is a clear message to any new government that they should prioritise making the UK a world leader in clean, green, technology. They will need to get on with the coal phase-out plan and recognise the economic potential of renewable energy and energy efficiency. We can meet the UK’s needs for skilled jobs and fair bills, whilst also meeting our climate targets.” Britain is phasing out coal faster than some European neighbours like Germany, helped by a surcharge of £18 a tonne of CO2 ($23) on top of the €5 ($5) EU market price.