Economy

As the urgency of climate action is once again reinforced by a major new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate and Capitalism editor Ian Angus looks at seven new books for an ecosocialist bookshelf.

Below are five new books for the “ecosocialist bookshelf” on climate change and human health, ecology and imperialism, environmental economics, capitalism and universities, and the meaning of hegemony.

They have been compiled by Ian Angus, the editor of Climate and Capitalism, where this first appeared. Angus is the author of A Redder Shade of Green, which has just been published by Monthly Review Press.

To most South Australians, Labor Premier Jay Weatherill’s plan for a vast outback dump to host imported high-level nuclear waste is dead, needing only a decent send-off.

Nevertheless, the Premier keeps trying to resurrect the scheme. Why?

Substantial changes proposed for East Timor’s Petroleum Fund law will expose the nation’s finances to high risk and open the door to corruption.

Just a few years ago the fund was widely praised as a model of prudential and sustainable management, and a means of possibly escaping the “resource curse” of waste and corruption.

That is all about to change.

East Timor's AMP government, led by Xanana Gusmao, has a bill before parliament that removes most of the prudential controls on the fund.

The Republic of Ireland’s financial crisis, which has caused unemployment to rise from 4.3% in 2006 to 14.1% in October, has deep roots.

The conditions of the European Central Bank (ECB)/International Monetary Fund (IMF) “bailout” package for the Irish government will total €85 billion — at a higher interest rate than that tied to the Greek bailout in May. It is tied to the Irish government carrying out huge government spending cuts, tax rises for workers and wage cuts for public sector employees.

Irish workers are being told to pay for a crisis they did not cause.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard knew just who she was talking to when she gave her address to the Australian Industry Group’s annual dinner on October 25.

The AIG and its affiliates represent more than 60,000 bosses, according to its website. This includes Veolia, the privatisation juggernaut.

But just so she didn’t rustle too many feathers, Gillard spoke to them in the kind of arcane riddles she hoped only they could understand.

The following statement was adopted by the Trade Union Climate Change Conference held in Melbourne on October 9.

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This conference of Victorian union activists and local climate activists commends the report by Beyond Zero Emissions and Melbourne University’s Energy Research Centre. The report outlines a technically feasible and economically viable way for Australia to transition to 100% renewable energy within 10 years.

The Australian dollar has become a favourite for international currency speculators. Fuelled by expectations of rising interest rates, the A$ has increased in value from US$0.82 in June, to almost $0.98 on October 12.

Some expect the $A could surpass the value of the US$ in coming weeks.

After a month of thundering that a rise in the official interest rate was close, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has kept interest rates on hold at its monthly board meeting on October 5.

Most financial commentators were betting on a rate rise of 0.25%, with banks expected to increase their mortgage rates by an even larger margin, despite their record profits, to account for higher costs of borrowing overseas. However, the dark financial clouds over Europe and the US appear to have put the kibosh on the financiers’ party.

The US Senate passed the much-ballyhooed financial reform bill this week to applause from an increasingly thin crowd of Obama administration supporters.

Most focused on the “something is better than nothing” features of the bill. But this could barely disguise the fact that the new regulations will do little to curb the activities of the mega-financial institutions at the centre of the economic crisis that ensued in 2008.

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