Thursday, October 23, 2014

Common Dreams:
“The wind power boom in Nordic countries is making fossil fuel-fired power plants obsolete and is pushing electricity prices down, according to reporting by Reuters published Friday.

Power prices in Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden have dropped sharply as renewable energy floods the market, efficiency measures lower energy use overall, and growth remains stagnant, reporter Nerijus Adomaitis writes. This, in turn, will lead to the ‘mothballing’ of 2,000 megawatts (MW) of coal capacity in Denmark and Finland over the next 15 years, a Norway-based consultant tells Adomaitis.

According to the article, ‘Pushing fossil-fueled power stations out of the Nordic generation park is part of government plans across the region.’ It seems to be working. One gas-fired power plant in Norway was put in ‘cold reserve,’ or decommissioned, this January; a coal-fired power plant in Finland was shut down earlier this year; and Swedish-owned power company Vattenfall said in May it will shut down its coal-fired power plant in Denmark in May 2016. Meanwhile, Denmark wants to phase out all coal use in power generation by 2030 and to generate all power and heat from renewables by 2035, Reuters reports. …”

—>Both the US media and the elites who run our government are far too invested in fossil fuels to report on this greening of other countries. The NYT did publish an article on Germany’s switch to renewable energy, but why not follow up with how this is being done with other industrialized nations?


Guardian UK:
“Monsanto, the largest genetically-modified seed corporation in the world, has so far spent over $4 million in a bid to crush an Oregon initiative, up for vote in November, to mandate the labeling of genetically engineered food. Records from the Oregon Secretary of State's office show that the company, on October 8, made a contribution of $2.5 million to opponents of the bill, bringing the company's total contributions to $4,085,150.

The initiative—ballot measure 92—would require manufacturers and retailers to label ‘genetically engineered raw and packaged food.’ Backers of the provision say that Oregonians ‘have the right to know’ what is in their food.
This is not the first time Monsanto has poured its funds into efforts to crush such measures. Earlier this month, it was revealed that the company has spent $4.7 million to defeat a similar initiative in Colorado, also up for vote in November.“ 

—>The NYT didn’t print this story. Big media in the US is in Monsanto’s pocket, and for the same reason this company is able to defeat ballot initiatives calling for food labeling. The NYT rarely covers stories that are unfavorable to US business interests. It is profit over the people’s right to know, even in its acclaimed Science Section.


Common Dreams:
"As the official West African death toll from the worst Ebola outbreak in recorded history nears 5,000, global concerns about the infectious disease continue to mount. Analysts and medical providers, from Liberia to the United States, say that in order to address the crisis, the international community must tackle the real culprit: western-driven economic policies defunding public health systems around the world, particularly in the countries hit hardest by the outbreak.

‘The neoliberal economic model assassinated public infrastructure,’ said Emira Woods, a Liberia native and social impact director at ThoughtWorks, a technology firm committed to social and economic justice, in an interview with Common Dreams. ‘A crisis of the proportion we've seen since the beginning of the Ebola catastrophe shows this model has failed.’

Since the 1980s, western financial institutions have given loans to third world governments on the condition those states impose austere domestic reforms and roll back public services. This approach is encapsulated in the 1981 World Bank report Accelerated Development in Sub-Saharan Africa, which presses for ‘structural adjustments,’ including rapid privatization, shrinking of public services and subsidies, and a shift towards export dependency as a solution to ‘slow economic growth.’ “

—>The NYT never connects the dots when it comes to the bad outcomes of neoliberalism. In fact, a search of the last 30 days in the NYT shows that the words “neoliberalism” and “ebola” never come up together in the same article. 

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