Carbon offsets, explained in 500 words

“The idea is simple: Someone else can withdraw what you deposit. More specifically, an emitter of a certain quantity of carbon dioxide can pay to compensate for it, leading to no net increase of heat-trapping gases. That compensation can come from planting trees that take in carbon dioxide as they grow, installing renewable energy that replaces fossil fuels, or destroying potent heat-trapping gases like nitrous oxide before they reach the atmosphere.

With an offset, you have an accounting mechanism that bridges greenhouse gas emitters with climate protectors. And offsets are now fueling a multibillion-dollar global market.

But to make a useful carbon offset, you have to consider four key factors.”

Trump needs to worry about the stock market less, and pandemic preparedness more

“What we are realistically looking at now is not containment of a virus that is already on multiple continents, but efforts to mitigate the harm that it does by slowing its spread.”

“Even with effective mitigation a lot of people get sick, but the caseload is spread out and society can continue to function.”

“Mitigation is essentially what the world is doing now. We are slowing the spread of the disease, both from place to place and within the hardest-hit countries.”

The Trump administration doesn’t like high-skilled immigrants either

https://www.economist.com/united-states/2020/02/29/the-trump-administration-doesnt-like-high-skilled-immigrants-either?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/ed/theinvisiblewallthetrumpadministrationdoesntlikehighskilledimmigrantseitherunitedstates

Chris Hayes on the dangers of an incompetent admin. trying to lead us through a major crisis

https://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/chris-hayes-on-the-dangers-of-an-incompetent-admin-trying-to-lead-us-through-a-major-crisis-79657029528?cid=sm_npd_ms_fb_ai&fbclid=IwAR0tlwbE9Bvnm_TRq4ZHy2Ja7NdsCnHk9LDe9hMf2_BbGDggEwQGUiXu8rw

America’s bad paid sick leave policy could make the coronavirus outbreak worse

“Employees in the service industry especially, like food workers or personal care assistants, are much less likely than their peers in more lucrative fields to have paid time off if they get sick. But they also make less money in general, meaning a lost day of work hurts their families’ budgets more. That gives them a strong motivation to go into work — even if they’re not feeling well.

And because these workers come in close contact with the rest of humanity, they are a potent vector for spreading contagions, particularly those as infectious as coronaviruses. It’s a recipe for making a bad outbreak even worse, all because America hasn’t decided to guarantee paid sick leave for all workers.”

“America is alone among advanced economies in not having a national guarantee of paid sick leave for workers.”

“Paid sick leave is usually treated as a principle of basic economic justice: People shouldn’t become financially insecure because they get sick and have to miss work. But when we have an outbreak like coronavirus, the failure to provide that security is actively making our society more vulnerable to a big outbreak.”

America’s crisis of trust and the one candidate who gets it

“over the last several decades, conservatives have waged war on social and political trust, calling into question the fairness and independence of almost every major US institution from journalism to academia to science. They have created parallel institutions of their own, meant to support their factional interests. And they have relentlessly cast “libs” as an enemy within — an alien, hostile, and ultimately illegitimate force.

As a result, a large faction of the country has descended into paranoia and conspiracy theories, fighting intensely against the basic rules, norms, and post-war assumptions of American life. And because that faction has successfully rendered all political fights — even fights over basic facts — as vicious, zero-sum partisan struggles, another large faction of the country has simply tuned out, coming to regard politics and public life generally as corrupt and fruitless. Americans’ trust in their institutions and in one another is at record lows.”

“it works against the left’s purposes. The left needs for voters to believe that effective, responsive governance is possible — that we can, in fact, have nice things. The left needs social and political trust. Without them, collective action for collective benefit, the left’s stock in trade, becomes impossible.

This is the left’s challenge in the US: how to break out of the doom loop and get on a trajectory of better governance and rising trust.”

The war on Israeli democracy

“The West Bank’s Palestinian residents, who live under the grinding realities of occupation, are not Israeli citizens and don’t have a voice in the policies that profoundly shape their lives. The Israeli settlers, many of whom moved to the West Bank with the explicit ideological purpose of seizing control of Palestinian land, do.

Israel is a democratic country within its internationally recognized borders, but it maintains a military occupation of land on which millions of people live while denying those people the right to vote. Under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, this inherent instability has started to tip toward outright authoritarianism throughout the territory under Israeli control. In a 2019 poll conducted by the nonpartisan Israeli Democracy Institute, a majority of Israelis (54 percent) said their democracy was “in grave danger.”

Since Netanyahu took office in 2009, the nationalist right has mounted an assault on liberal institutions and eroded democracy in Israel. The Israeli parliament has passed a bill formally defining Israel as a state for its Jewish citizens, implicitly slotting the sizable minority of Arab Muslim Israeli citizens into a form of second-class citizenship.”

“Netanyahu allegedly struck a deal with a major newspaper to exchange political favors for favorable coverage.

When this scandal was exposed, Netanyahu was indicted on bribery charges; his response has been to attack the media that reported on the scandal, demonize the prosecutors who brought the case, and attempt to pass a law immunizing himself from prosecution while in office.

Israel is heading down a path already trod by countries like Turkey, Hungary, and Venezuela: former democracies whose elected leaders have, gradually and through mostly legal processes, twisted the state’s institutions to the point where the public no longer has a meaningful choice in who rules them. The signs are subtle, but I found them striking during my trip last fall”

“Some of the causes of this anti-democratic drift are uniquely Israeli. No advanced democracy maintains anything like the occupation of the West Bank. The foundational Zionist vision, a state that’s both meaningfully “Jewish” and “democratic,” leads to a constant high-wire act in a country whose citizens are around 25 percent non-Jewish.”

““bad civil society.” These relatively new organizations — the big ones were founded in the 2000s — use the tools of a free society, like court filings and free speech, to attack and shut down people and groups that disagree with them. “These [NGOs] view differences in perceptions of society and the state as being sufficient justification for silencing or delegitimizing others,” as Jamal puts it.

Such “bad civil society” groups are well-funded allies of the right-wing parties in power; they sometimes even share personnel. One prominent far-right MK, Bezalel Smotrich, is a co-founder of the pro-settlement group Regavim. They perform tasks that official members of government can’t or won’t, helping to hollow out Israeli civil society while claiming to be part of it.”