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Posts Tagged ‘Pope Francis’

Please Nominate Your Candidates for the 2015 Environmental Hall of Fame/Shame Awards

Sat ,02/01/2016

It is important that we keep in mind those who have most affected the environment by words or action.  Each year, this site Earthrise2takes a poll to find those most deserving to be in the Environmental Hall of Fame and the Environmental Hall of Shame. Please send  your nominations  for  each category by e-mail through the “Contact the Author”   link or put it in the comment section . If you would, please include a short reason that your nominee should be chosen and suggest a suitable gift if they win.

Nominations will be taken until January 31st, 2016. The nominees will then be  listed  and this site will conduct a poll to determine the winner in each category.   You may suggest a suitable prize for your nominee. Please be imaginative, as particularly thoughtful or humorous  nominations will  be recognized and published on this site

Past years winners and their awards were:

Hall of Fame Winners – Award

2014       Pope Francis  – for his Protect Creation efforts.  – A strong agreement from the Paris climate conference.

2013       Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org – Many new members so subscribe to his  weekly newsletter .

2012       President Barack Obama – A little coöperation from Congress, so please write your Representatives.

2011        James Hansen – A massive presence at the 2012 Citizen’s Climate Lobby 

2010        RealClimate.org  – A recommendation from this site. ( Priceless)

2009       Benno Hansen,  ThinkAboutIt Blogger – A Subscription to Science News.

Hall of Shame 

2014    Freedom Industries ( Gary Southern ) –  A prison cell with drinking water from the Elk River he polluted.

2013      The Koch Bothers -A boycott of their products: less money, less lobbying.

2012       Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund – An IRS investigation of their of their tax-exempt status.

2011        Halliburton (Cheney) –  A big glass of water from a well next to a hydrofracking operation.

2010        Koch Brothers – A petition to the Wizard of Oz for  the grant of a social conscience.

2009       SpaceGuy,  Newsvine Blogger – The movie Wall-E,  representing his view of the future of Earth.

 

(C) 2015  J.C. Moore

Paris Climate Conference: Pope Francis and CEOs Urge Action

Fri ,23/10/2015

On his world tour, Pope Francis called on world leaders to address climate change in November at the Paris Climate Conference. eiffelIt is not just religious leaders and climate scientist who are concerned, but business leaders who are aware that climate change will hurt the world’s economy. A recent study, published in the journal Nature, found that temperature change due to unmitigated global warming will leave global GDP per capita 23% lower in 2100 than it would be without any warming.

Joining the call for action on climate change are companies such as Nike, Walmart, Goldman Sachs, Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, Salesforce, Starbucks, Steelcase, and Voya Financial, all who have adopted a goal of 100 %  renewable energy.  Food Companies are concerned that climate change is threatening our food supply. CEOs of Kellogg’s, Mars, Dannon, Ben & Jerry’s, Stonyfield Farms, and Nestlé have signed a letter urging US and global leaders to “meaningfully address the reality of climate change.”

By this week, 81 big-name corporations representing 9 million employees and $5 trillion in market capitalization have signed on to the President’s “Act on Climate” pledge.

 

THE AMERICAN BUSINESS “ACT ON CLIMATE PLEDGE”

 “We applaud the growing number of countries that have already set ambitious targets for climate action. In this context, we support the conclusion of a climate change agreement in Paris that takes a strong step forward toward a low-carbon, sustainable future.

We recognize that delaying action on climate change will be costly in economic and human terms, while accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy will produce multiple benefits with regard to sustainable economic growth, public health, resilience to natural disasters, and the health of the global environment.”

 

The list of the corporations taking the pledge and a summary of their pledges are listed in this White House fact sheet. Their pledges set ambitious, company-specific goals such as:

Reducing emissions by as much as 50 percent,

Reducing water usage by as much as 80 percent,

Achieving zero waste-to-landfill,

Purchasing 100 percent renewable energy, and

Pursuing zero net deforestation in supply chains.

Most importantly, these companies set an example to their peers who will be asked to sign onto the pledge before the Paris Conference.

The plan to reduce emissions with broad bipartisan support in the US is the carbon fee and dividend as proposed by the Citizens’ ccl1Climate Lobby. Their proposal would place a fee on carbon at the source and allow market forces to encourage reduced emissions, energy conservation, and investments in renewable energy. The carbon fee is not a tax as proceeds would be distributed equally to every household as a monthly energy dividend. It would effectively stimulate the economy and add an estimated 2.8 million jobs over the next 20 years. What could be a better plan?

 

(c) 2015 J.C. Moore

The 2014 Environmental Hall of Fame/Shame Winners

Fri ,06/03/2015
The picture at the right was taken from the Apollo spacecraft as the Earth rose above the horizon of the moon. It Moonreminds us of how beautiful the Earth is, how small and finite it is in the universe, and how important it is that we protect it. This contest was designed to identify those who work to protect the Earth and those who would damage it through their actions. The 2014 Environmental Hall of Fame/Shame contest was carried out on four websites and the votes were combined to determine those who have most affected the environment.

The 2014 Environmental Hall of Fame Winners:

1. Pope Francis (55%) – for his Protect Creation efforts. He is preparing a comprehensive Vatican teachings on climate change, which will urge 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide to take action. He  also plans to convene a summit of the world’s main religions in hopes of bolstering next year’s crucial U.N. climate meeting in Paris. Hoped for Reward: A strong agreement from the climate conference.

2.  John Holdren (18%) –  a lauded theoretical physicist who is President Obama’s science adviser. He has been a strong influence on the Administration’s science policy and has been quite effective in shutting down Congressmen who deny the human influence on climate.  Prize : Election defeats  for all Congressmen who exclaim, “I’m not a scientist, but…” .

3. Boyen Slat ( 15%) – a 19 year old Dutch student/ inventor and founder and CEO of The OCEANCLEANUP . He developed a method for removing much of the 30 million tons of plastic entering the oceans annually, convincing 70 scientist to help, producing a 530 page feasibility study, and raising over 2 million dollars to start the project. Prize : A high price for recyclable plastic.

4.  Physicist John Cook ( 12%) for creating the Skeptical Science site in 2007 which conveniently catalogues all paid denier memes/propaganda and the scientific responses to them. He has posted a large number of articles and videos explaining the facts of climate science.  Prize: Ownership of WWUT, the major denier site.

The 2014 Environmental Hall of Shame Winners:

1.  Freedom Industries and its ex-CEO  Gary Southern (43%) – for contaminating the drinking water for 300,000 West Virginians. They have been charged with multiple violation of the Clean Water Act related to polluting West Virginia’s Elk River, including a massive chemical spill this past January that saw 10,000 gallons of a coal-cleaning chemical called crude MCHM dumped into the river. Award: A prison cell with drinking water from the Elk River.

2. Senator James Inhofe (31%) who claims “climate change is the biggest hoax in history”. He has compared the United States Environmental Protection Agency to a Gestapo bureaucracy, EPA Administrator Carol Browner to Tokyo Rose, and now he’s chairman of the Senate Science Committee. Award:  A path for the KXL pipeline through his backyard.

3. Tony Abbot (19%) – Australian Prime Minister who led the repeal of the carbon tax, even though Australia is one of the world’s largest polluters per capita and is facing serious changes to climate and weather systems as a result of global warming. The Guardian described it as “an act of gross moral negligence to the future prosperity of this country and future generations.”  Award: A million lumps of coal for next Christmas, delivered to his front yard.

4. Dr. Richard S. Lindzen (7%)  – Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute who  described the recent U.S. Senate climate vote as a bizarre and ludicrous “attempt to hijack science for political purposes”. The Cato Institute is a part of the Climate Change Denial Machine, and the “focus his work is on the interaction between climate science and policymakers”. Once a fine scientist, denial for political purposes is now Dr. Lindzen’s job and he knows enough to sound impressive as he disputes accepted science. Prize: A trophy engraved “Outstanding Climate Science Hypocrite Award”.


It is important that we keep in mind those who have the greatest impact, for good or ill, on the environment. I wish to thank those who provided the nominations, the prize suggestions, the insightful and humorous comments, and the votes to determine the winners. As this year goes by, please take note of those you wish to nominate for the 2015 awards.

(c) 2015  – J.C. Moore

Poll: Vote for the 2014 Hall of Fame and Hall of Shame Candidates

Sat ,07/02/2015

Thanks  to those of you who entered nominations. The four top candidates have been selected from Moonthose nominated by readers. Please help select the winner by voting for the nominee who you think has most affected the environment for good or ill.  If you will, please post a reason for your vote and a suggestion for other suitable gifts for your favorite candidate. Some great gifts have already been proposed. The author will buy the gifts from his blogging earnings, so please don’t worry about the expense. Voting will  close and the winners announced on March 7, 2015.

Please  put your choice as a comment or take the poll at this site.

Hall of Fame Nominees

1.  John Holdren –  a lauded theoretical physicist who is President Obama’s science adviser. He has been a strong influence on the Administration’s science policy and has been quite effective in shutting down Congressmen who deny the human influence on climate.

Prize : Election defeats  for all Congressmen who exclaim, “I’m not a scientist, but…” .

2.  Physicist John Cook for creating the Skeptical Science site in 2007 which conveniently catalogues all paid denier memes/propaganda and the scientific responses to them. He has posted a large number of articles and videos explaining the facts of climate science.

Suggested Prize: a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.

3. Boyen Slat – a 19 year old Dutch student/ inventor and founder and CEO of The OCEANCLEANUP . He developed a method for removing much of the 30 million tons of plastic entering the oceans annually, convincing 70 scientist to help, producing a 530 page feasibility study, and raising over 2 million dollars to start the project.

Prize : a ban on disposing of plastic bottles in waterways.

4. Pope Francis – for his Protect Creation efforts. He is preparing a comprehensive Vatican teachings on climate change, which will urge 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide to take action. He  also plans to convene a summit of the world’s main religions in hopes of bolstering next year’s crucial U.N. climate meeting in Paris.

Hoped for Reward: A strong agreement from the climate conference.

 

Hall of Shame Nominees

1. Senator James Inhofe who claims “climate change is the biggest hoax in history”. He has compared the United States Environmental Protection Agency to a Gestapo bureaucracy, EPA Administrator Carol Browner to Tokyo Rose, and now he’s chairman of the Senate Science Committee.

Award:  a path for the KXL pipeline through his backyard.

2.  Freedom Industries and its ex-CEO  Gary Southern  – for contaminating the drinking water for 300,000 West Virginians. They have been charged with multiple violation of the Clean Water Act related to polluting West Virginia’s Elk River, including a massive chemical spill this past January that saw 10,000 gallons of a coal-cleaning chemical called crude MCHM dumped into the river.

Award: A prison cell with drinking water from the Elk River.

3. Dr. Richard S. Lindzen  – Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute who  described the recent U.S. Senate climate vote as a bizarre and ludicrous “attempt to hijack science for political purposes”. The Cato Institute is a part of the Climate Change Denial Machine, and the “focus his work is on the interaction between climate science and policymakers”. Once a fine scientist, denial for political purposes is now Dr. Lindzen’s job and he knows enough to sound impressive as he disputes accepted science.

Prize: a trophy engraved “Outstanding Climate Science Hypocrite Award”.


4. Tony Abbot – Australian Prime Minister who led the repeal of the carbon tax, even though Australia is one of the world’s largest polluters per capita and is facing serious changes to climate and weather systems as a result of global warming. The Guardian described it as “an act of gross moral negligence to the future prosperity of this country and future generations.”

Suggested Award: ??

 

Nominations were taken and votes will be taken from four sites. The  poll will close on March 7, 2015.

Please  put your choice as a comment or take the poll at this site.

 

 

 

Aristotle, the Pope, and Income Inequality

Thu ,02/01/2014

 

Aristotle, when comparing forms of government, pointed out some of the problems in a democracy. When the poor gain too much power, they will enrich themselves out of the public treasury and the nation will become poor. If the wealthy gain too much power, then the nation will become an oligarchy and the poor will suffer. Oligarchs insist that citizens be treated differently based on wealth, and they argue that wealth is a sign of virtue and merit, and that the poor are poor because they lack those qualities.  Aristotle concluded that: “A large middle class is absolutely essential for a stable and well-run government because the middle class do not covet rule, are not envious, foster friendship because of their similarity, and can act as neutral arbitrators between the rich and the poor.” –  Aristotle’s Politics

There is ample evidence that the middle class in United States has declined sharply, while the country has moved toward oligarchy, allowing the wealthy to enrich themselves at the expense of the middle class, the poor, and also the nation. The chart below shows how the income is now divided in the United States, with the top 1% owning 38% of the wealth and the top 20% owning 82% of the wealth. Not only is the distribution of wealth much worse than what people consider ideal, it is even much worse than what they think it is.

Wealth in Amer 2

According to Senator Bernie Sanders:

“While the very rich get richer, the middle class continues to disappear and we now have more people living in poverty than ever before.  Despite huge increases in technology and productivity, tens of millions of workers are finding it harder to feed their families, pay for health care, send their kids to college or put aside savings for retirement.” In recent years,  95% of all new income has gone  to the top 1%, we have seen a huge increase in the number of millionaires and billionaires. While the average American is increasingly unrepresented in  the political process, the very wealthy are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to justify their wealth and to convince voters to elect candidates who will further their interests.”

The  wealthy consider the money an investment which has paid off handsomely. It has bought tax breaks, loopholes, and subsidies. Many wealthy Americans are even reaping the lions share of many federal programs that were intended to help the poor and disadvantaged. 

Trickle Down economics  is behind the redistribution of wealth that began during the 1980’s, as shown in the chart at the right. Super rich incomeWhen President Reagan came into office in 1980 the top tax rate was 60%, a rate which the wealthy thought was much too high. Arthur Laffer developed the supply side arguments that led to taxes being cut using the Laffer Curve . Mr. Laffer convinced the Reagan Administration that lowering the tax rate would give the job creators more money to invest, which would stimulate the economy and lead to greater tax revenue. Reagan cut the top tax rate to 28%, which put more money in the hands of the wealthy, but little of it trickled down. The economy grew at 3.5%, a lower growth rate than when tax rates were higher, the wealthy got wealthier,  and the national debt almost tripled. The graph at the right shows a narrowing of the income gap when the Clinton administration raised taxes and a widening gap after the 2003 tax cuts.  

Following Laffer’s trickle down theory put the U.S. on a slow spiral into debt,  austerity, and income inequality. Tax rates are now clearly too low  and, according to the Laffer curve, raising taxes should stimulate the economy. Certainly, raising taxes sufficiently would end our national debt problems and the shameless practice of using the national debt for political purposes. However, Congress thinks the problem is that we have not cut taxes enough, and Paul Ryan has proposed a Congressional budget that would further decrease tax rates. Paul Ryan has proposed  reducing the top tax rate to 25%. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimated Ryan’s budget would add $5.7 trillion to the deficit over the next decade and would increase the after-tax income of the top 1% of citizens by 18%.  His budget is a case of ideology trumping practical economics.

 Jobs: Congressman Ryan is still working under the assumption that trickle down economics works, and he argues that further tax cuts would create jobs. That argument is discredited by Nick Hanauer, a billionaire who has helped start many companies. He explained on Ted.com that the rich aren’t the job creators, as job creation now comes from demand, and the demand would come from a large  numbers of middle class consumers, a person making 1000 times as much as the average citizen does not buy 1000 times as much stuff. When someone calls themselves “job creators”‘, they are making a claim as Aristotle pointed out, on their virtue – the status and privileges they think they deserve.  Mr. Hanauer says the 15% taxes that capitalists pay on interest, dividends, and capitol gains and the 35% the ordinary citizen pays on their job earnings is hard to justify. He points out that of the inequality has been justified by the fallacy that ” as taxes on the rich go up, job creation will go down”. His data shows the opposite to be true. Tax vsjobsHe concludes that demand grows the economy, and taxing the rich to pay for investments that benefit all is the best thing we can do for the middle class, the poor, and for the rich as well.

The Pope recently spoke about the problem of economic inequality as it is worldwide. Many countries are in debt because of policies that favor the rich, and the remedy is too often austerity programs that hurt the poor. In his recently published Exhortation, Pope Francis warns the world against the idolatry of money and the false promise of trickle-down economics.
“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about great­er justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”

 “While the earnings of a minority are grow­ing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ide­ologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation.”” Con­sequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control.  To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide di­mensions. ” In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of in­creased profits, whatever is fragile, like the envi­ronment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.” – Pope Francis

The IMF: Clearly, there are both sound economic and moral reasons that countries need to act for the common good by correcting income inequality. While the Pope acts to change hearts, the countries’ leaders need to act to make fairer economic policies, raise taxes, and cut out loopholes. The Guardian of financial orthodoxy, the International Monetary Fund, typically calls for nations in difficulty to slash public spending to reduce their deficits. But in this year’s Fiscal Monitor report, subtitled “Taxing Times”, the Fund advanced the idea of “taxing the highest-income people and their assets to reinforce the legitimacy of spending cuts and the fight against growing income inequalities.” There is both a moral and an economic imperative to do so.

(c) 2014 J.C. Moore