Bird’s Eye: Hurricane Sandy (see photo spread below) put climate change back on the table. And if no politicians are willing to start nibbling, well, then with grandmotherly kindness*, Nature will keep reminding us. Meanwhile, insurance companies are always focussed on the current reality, so they’ll raise their rates, and Naomi Klein looks at how the 1% are trying to use the shock of Sandy, as they use all shocks, to gain more power.
Those crazy, radical hippies at Bloomberg Businessweek have gone and done it. With the blunt, no-nonsense cover that likely already appeared on your Facebook feed or Twitter stream or Tumblr dashboard, Businessweek dared state with certainty what so many media outlets have nervously danced around in their coverage of Superstorm Sandy: It’s Global Warming, Stupid.
* Making a Buck off Climate Change Common Dreams
Change the language and you’ve begun to change the reality or at least to open the status quo to question. Here is Confucius on the rectification of names:
“If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.”
So let’s start calling manifestations of greed by their true name. By greed, I mean the attempt of those who have plenty to get more, not the attempts of the rest of us to survive or lead a decent life. …You can look at the chief executive officers of the oil corporations — Chevron’s John Watson, for example, who received almost $25 million ($1.57 million in salary and the rest in “compensation”) in 2011 — or their major shareholders. They can want for nothing. They’re so rich they could quit the game at any moment. When it comes to climate change, some of the wealthiest people in the world have weighed the fate of the Earth and every living thing on it for untold generations to come, the seasons and the harvests, this whole exquisite planet we evolved on, and they have come down on the side of more profit for themselves, the least needy people the world has ever seen.
* Insurance Is Set to Go Up Forbes
“Insurance is the first line of defines against extreme weather losses, but climate change is a game-changer for the models that insurers have long relied on,” Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler told an industry blog on risk and insurance. “Companies will need to adapt if insurance is to remain available and affordable.”
“With 40 percent of industrial insurance claims that Allianz now pays out being due to natural catastrophes, climate change represents a threat to our business,” Allianz told the Insurance Journal.
“We are already vulnerable to the impacts of weather related natural catastrophes. We expect climate change to compound the problems,” Swiss Re Natural Hazards Expert Megan Linkin says on the reinsurer’s web site.
* Super Storm Sandy—A People’s Shock? Naomi Klein The Nation (Thanks, Amy)
Less than three days after Sandy made landfall on the East Coast of the United States, Iain Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute blamed New Yorkers’ resistance to big-box stores for the misery they were about to endure. Writing on Forbes.com he explained that the city’s refusal to embrace Walmart will likely make the recovery much harder: “Mom-and-pop stores simply can’t do what big stores can in these circumstances,” he wrote.
And the preemptive scapegoating didn’t stop there. He also warned that if the pace of reconstruction turned out to be sluggish (as it so often is) then “pro-union rules such as the Davis-Bacon Act” would be to blame, a reference to the statute that requires workers on public-works projects to be paid not the minimum wage, but the prevailing wage in the region.
The same day, Frank Rapoport, a lawyer representing several billion-dollar construction and real estate contractors, jumped in to suggest that many of those public works projects shouldn’t be public at all. Instead, cash-strapped governments should turn to “public private partnerships,” known as “P3s.” That means roads, bridges and tunnels being rebuilt by private companies, which, for instance, could install tolls and keep the profits.