As UN ratchets up climate warnings, where are the solutions?

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres delivered another bleak warning about the climate emergency on December 2. He told the 197 country leaders assembled that global average levels of carbon dioxide have now gone over what used to be considered an “unthinkable global tipping point”.

“Global average levels of carbon dioxide reached 407.8 parts per million in 2018”, Guterres told the 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, also known as COP25, in Madrid.

“Not long ago, 400 parts per million was seen as an unthinkable tipping point. We are well over it.”

Campaign launched to keep buses public

Union members and commuters protested outside New South Wales Coalition Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s office in Martin Place on December 2 in response to her government’s plan to privatise the remainder of Sydney’s bus services.

Buses have already been sold off in the city's inner west and Newcastle, with disastrous results for commuters, including buses running late, service and route cuts and the loss of many bus stops.

The state government announced in October that early next year it would open all 13 of Sydney's metropolitan bus contracts to competitive tender over the next three years. This includes the remaining three regions in the Northern Beaches, Eastern Suburbs and Ryde/Willoughby.

Speakers at the rally called Berejiklian a “liar”, as she had specifically ruled out additional privatisations days before the state elections in March. A petition demanding no sell-offs, with 11,000 signatures, was presented to the protesters.

Leonard Cohen: the poet, his muse and his penis

Maryanne & Leonard, Words of Love
Documentary film directed by Nick Broomfield
In cinemas

As I emerged from the media preview for this film, I heard another viewer mutter that it was “the most self-indulgent film I’ve ever seen”.

So, beware! This documentary about Leonard Cohen’s personal and artistic life will cut the sheep from the goats of fans and detractors – much like his music and atonal singing have always done.

The film is actually quite beguiling and dream-like, but not without faults. It is supposed to rescue Cohen’s lover, Maryanne Ilhen from obscurity and elevate her influence on his work, hence her name coming before his in the title.

However, despite the best intentions Cohen’s star outshines hers.

There is much about Cohen that could be examined in a documentary, such as his liberal Zionist politics. But this film essentially revolves around Leonard Cohen and his penis.


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