How Serious is Biden's Climate Agenda?


Toward Freedom

A Progressive Perspective on World Events Since 1952



Dear Readers:

In the wake of Trump’s failed, last ditch legal efforts to reject the will of the voters by going through the US Supreme Court, we can all breathe a little easier. As one pundit noted, “the rule of law has been preserved.” Hmm. Well yes, though how many times have we seen the rule of law ignored in recent decades?(Although not so seriously  as Trump’s mounting an attempted coup). US-sponsored assassinations of foreign leaders, once banned, are back. Frankly, we’re still anticipating yet another provocative action against Iran, which once again restrained itself from reacting to the assassination of the head of its nuclear program.) Meanwhile, we begin this newsletter by focusing attention on the incoming Biden-Harris administration as it promises a “return to normalcy’ in its relations with the rest of the world.

From India::   Biden’s Climate Responsibilities Towards the Developing World - Toward Freedom

Rishika Pardikar gives us an Indian perspective on Biden’s climate responsibilities, India having been hit by a Category 5 cyclone in May and swarms of locusts at the same time.

Clearly, there are few global issues as serious as climate change. Rashika notes that Biden’s promise to rejoin the Paris Agreement and his appointment of John Kerry to serve as his “climate czar” are an essential part of his administration’s plan to ‘Build Back Better’—but, she asks, “is this enough?” She cites a warning from India’s Deputy Manager for Climate Change that Biden’s climate plan “is nowhere near as ambitious as it needs to be.” Biden’s $2 trillion plan “pales in comparison to plans proposed by Bernie Sanders ($16 trillion) and even Kamala Harris in her former campaign ($10 trillion).”

From Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua: A Cry for Help: Burlington's Sister City in Nicaragua is a Major Disaster Zone - Toward Freedom

Perhaps nowhere in the world has global warming  smashed into our awareness during hurricane season more than in Central America, which in November suffered two Category 4 hurricanes two weeks apart.  Puerto Cabezas on Nicaragua’s Atlantic coast was particularly hard hit, as revealed in our call for help, urging people to donate to a gofundme campaign mounted by the Burlington (VT)-Puerto Cabezas Sister City Program. Dan Higgins, a retired professor and photographer who has made many trips since his first visit in 1986, helped produce a wonderfully honest video about how confirmed Sandinista supporters from Burlington had to readjust their expectations when they learned that the costenos, as they call themselves, had a long relationship with the US and some had joined Ronald Reagan’s “Contra War” against the Sandinista government based in Managua on the Pacific coast. Watch this video, and you will learn the colonial history of the region that contributed to the tensions that still remain between indigenous communities on the Atlantic Coast and the Ortega government in Managua. Any yet, Sister City goodwill remains strong. Hope you can help!

In Ecuador: A victory for Indigenous environmental activism in Ecuador - Toward Freedom

Indigenous activists in Ecuador recently sounded a major victory when they recently accomplished formal recognition of 1071 hectares of the high-altitude páramo hills as a national Protected Hydrological Area (APH). Reports Tristan Partridge, “This not only offers new levels of legal recourse, it also creates a model for other communities to follow — in the much-needed protection of unique ecosystems.

The paramo, found in the moorlands of the northern Andes, is of great importance — both locally within the hydrological cycle and globally in terms of climate change.

Yet, even while its vital ecological importance is gaining wider recognition, the páramo is still seen by a powerful minority as a source of natural resources ready for exploitation. For the good of communities like San Isidro and, indeed, for the sake of the world as a whole, there is a clear need for a broad environmental movement that foregrounds the páramo protect

In Venezuela: A Strategy Comes Home to Roost: Fake Fraud in Venezuela and the USA - Toward Freedom

Cries of election fraud by Donald Trump and his followers are familiar to Venezuelans; their right-wing opposition has been doing the same thing for years, as Peter Lackowski reveals based on his first of many visits to Venezuela prior to upcoming elections in 2005. “The opposition was pulling out of the election,” he writes, “telling their supporters to stay home! They claimed the election was rigged, the Chavistas were going to engage in massive fraud, and they refused to participate.”

Claims of fraud have been advanced to excuse violence, he adds. “After conservative Enrique Capriles lost a close election to President Maduro in 2013 he told his followers to ‘discharge their rage,’ which they did by attacking Cuban-staffed medical centers, killing several defenders, based on the bizarre rumor that ballots were being hidden in them. Lacowski’s article was prophetic. On December 6,  Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro declared victory in congressional elections which gave him full control of the country’s socialist government, “despite cries from protesters and other world powers of a rigged election,”Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared the election results  “a fraud and a sham, not an election" and has refused to legitimize the results.

In North America: All American Nativism: A Must Read on the Macabre History of America's Long War on Immigrants - Toward Freedom


Jared Olson’s review of All American Nativism by Daniel Denver describes a much larger tradition of anti-immigrant violence” than what we associate today with  right wing hysteria sweeping the country. “Trump may have been one of the ugliest examples of All-American Nativism,” he writes, “ But in a world buckling under the weight of climate change, inequality and militarism, fighting back against it means recognizing the problem goes far beyond just him.”

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