Analysis

When, in 1774, the British essayist Samuel Johnson wrote in the famous words “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel” the context was an aggressive British colonial expansionist push and associated wars with its European colonial competitors.

Climate scientists and other observers often refer to various regions, such as the Arctic, low-lying islands, the Andes, and Bangladesh, inhabited by Indigenous and peasant peoples as the canaries in the bird cage when it comes to the adverse impacts of anthropogenic climate change. But Australia is shaping up as one the canaries, writes Hans Baer.

The latest fire emergency in four states has rammed home the meaning of the words “catastrophic climate change” in the minds of most people in Australia. Most now realise that this is a climate emergency and our society should mobilise all its resources to address it.

Looking out my office window in early January, the smoke haze blanketing Melbourne CBD blocked all sight of the city. It made visibility on the roads a problem and venturing outside a dangerous activity.

“It is time to abolish billionaires ... because we cannot afford them, the planet cannot afford billionaires,” Kenyan climate activist Njoki Njoroge Njehu told 10,000 protesters in Lausanne, Switzerland on January 17. She is right. It is the billionaire class that is blocking moves to make the urgent shift to create a safe climate.

The small New South Wales town of Cobargo was devastated by bushfires around New Year's Day.

David Mcevoy, an environment and LGBTI activist, was visiting a friend in Cobargo, NSW, on New Year’s Eve when the catastrophic bushfires hit the historic town. Green Left’s Rachel Evans talked to him about his escape from the firestorm and the community’s resilience.

Illawarra Knitting Nannas Against Greed at a protest outside NSW parliament.

The following open letter to Antony Albanese is being circulated by Illawarra Knitting Nannas Against Greed. They are asking people to sign-on and send on to his office.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is fond of saying that Australia only produces 1.3% of global greenhouse emissions. He says this to bolster his climate denialist position that his government does not need to take a lead on cutting carbon emissions. This position is fundamentally wrong.

News that the Austrian Greens made a deal with the hard-right People’s Party to form a coalition government should be a wake-up call to progressives everywhere. It reaffirms that the climate crisis can lead to eco-fascist conclusions just as much as left-wing solutions.

A protest to demand climate action, Sydney, January 10.

The far right traditionally grows in the context of political despair when fear is channelled into scapegoating.

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