28 November 2015


0010 by Jeff Hess



27 November 2015


0005 by Jeff Hess

Get your Bernie Sanders Volunteer Organizing Toolkit today. I did.
Find a local event…

Transcript of Bernie Sanders on Democratic Socialism and Foreign Policy.

Is Bernie Sanders a Wizard?

Read more about Bernie on HCWW… Watch Bernie TV… Read Democracy Daily

bernie store

As of this morning, 25 September, I have given Bernie $200. How about you?

27 November 2015


0000 by Jeff Hess

top of mind

End Racism in America… Stop Global Warming… Free Raif Badawi…

28 November 2015


0600 by Jeff Hess

We cannot sanely burn the carbon reserves—oil, natural gas and coal—now on the corporate books. What is this bizarre reality where we waste hundreds of millions of dollars searching for more? One driven by greed so strong that the people responsible feel no shame in boldly lying to protect their wealth.

We’ve seen this all before.

My grandfather, a man who husbanded his small family through the Great Depression in the hills of West Virginia, was a saver. He saved bits of wire and machine parts and hardware and the foil from his packs of unfiltered Camels because he never knew when a need would arise. He also saved nearly 50 years’ worth of Popular Mechanics and Popular Science magazines. His family prospered. He died of smoking-related complications when I was eighteen. He acquired the cigarette habit nearly a century ago in the Army during the first World War.

In the ‘60s and ‘70s I spent many a happy hour reading and learning from those magazines. There were lots of ads, of course, but the ones I recall now were for cigarettes, specifically those trumpeting the health benefits of smoking and the now infamous “T-Zone.”

I am of a generation just barely old enough to remember when cigarettes were aggressively advertised on television and the early days of warnings from the Surgeon General. My grandfather continued to smoke despite those warnings. My father also smoked, unfiltered Pall Malls, but he quit sometime in the mid-’70s, about the same time that I joined the Navy and began to smoke three packs a day of filtered Marlboros. (I also finally quit, on 5 December 1981, but who’s counting?)

What does smoking have to do with burning oil, natural gas and coal? Both were known to be life-threatening for more than half a century before we woke up and realized that we were being fooled by the concerted and deliberate institutional lies of the people profiting from our suicidal consumption of their products. The science behind the hazards of smoking was solid, yet tobacco companies convinced us that a controversy existed where there was none. So too, have carbon-extraction corporations convinced many that radical liberal rants about melting ice and the loss of a few worthless polar bears were beneath contempt. Yet the science is indisputable.

The edge of the climate change cliff is marked by an average global rise in temperature of just 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). What happens when we burn enough fossil fuels to load our common atmosphere with the carbon dioxide sufficient to send us across that bright line and over the cliff? Extreme weather events deemed once-in-a-century or even once-in-a-millennium (like the recent flooding in South Carolina), become horribly regular. Weather patterns shifted by melting polar ice and diverted ocean currents deprive some farmers of rain and deluge the fields of others, washing away seed and fertile soil and leading to global famines not even the Prince of Egypt could avert. Our coastal cities like New York, Miami, New Orleans, San Diego, Seattle and Honolulu disappear under rising sea levels. In the extreme, communities like North Royalton battle to protect their access to the potable water of the Great Lakes from waves of refugees that will make the current flood of displaced peoples in Europe, or our own immigration “crisis,” look like beneficial tourism.

There are at present $10 trillion (yes, trillion) in known, but yet untapped, carbon reserves sufficient to generate 2,795 gigatons (a gigaton equals one billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide. We will plummet over that 2-degree precipice if we burn even a fifth of that reserve, equal to only 565 gigatons, over the next 34 years. The odds of me being around in 2050 are slim. My nieces and nephews, however, may ring in that mid-century new year. I want them to do so knowing that my generation made the right choices. That we acted responsibly, and not like petulant and addled addicts, to ensure that they need not fear for themselves and the future of their families.

No miracles, science or otherwise, can save us from the truth that the fossil fuel age is destroying our world. Only our courage and resolve in the face of our shared complacency will suffice. In the 19th century abolitionists ended slavery. New Abolitionists can end the fossil fuel age.

If we are to step back from the cliff, the transition must start now.

You can find much more in my Electronic Chapbook notes on Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. The Climate and The Guardian’s Keep Carbon In The Ground campaign.

24 November 2015


0800 by Jeff Hess

Occasionally I come across a comment on the Internet that is cogent, intelligent and spot on. This comment from lorn on the current hysteria surrounding allowing refugees from the Middle East into the United States is one of those.

As is so typical the right has a bit of a point, but they 1) vastly exaggerate the problem and 2) focus on one modality while ignoring several others. Entering the US with the intent of staging an attack by applying as a refugee seems like possibly the worse possible way of getting in. Which isn’t to say one or two might not try but If I had to get in I would try by applying as a tourist through the visa waver program. It seems much less time consuming and involved. Alternatively, landing in Canada and walking across the border is also an option.

Of course that overlooks the obvious. Some of the Paris attackers were French or Belgian citizens. Recruiting American citizens seems like an efficient method of getting operatives onto US soil. Once on US soil gaining guns would be child’s play. No need to go to Belgium to get firearms into France. Every state in the Union has gun shops and/or gun shows where firearms are sold to pretty much anyone. Lots of people take it as their patriotic duty to make sure everyone is as heavily armed as their wallets will allow.

So sure. Raise a stink about the least likely route to get terrorists into the US while strutting and posturing about how you are patriotic Americans ‘Just being careful’. Propose changes that will make no effective difference. The GOP really wants an attack like Paris to go down on Obama’s watch. They have been looking for a club to beat him with for seven years. They want ISIS to enjoy a small victory so they can discredit the Democrats. It would give their collection of lame incompetents and lunatics a shot at winning. The GOP is all about winning, and if some Americans have to get maimed or die… it is a small price to pay to get those who are born to rule into office. For the good of America, of course.

What the feck are people so afraid of that they’re pissing their pants so much?

At the federal level, where politicians actually get to vote on refugees, Bernie Sanders had this to say:


My father Eli immigrated to America from Poland in 1921 after World War I at the age of 17. He was not a refugee fleeing war, although much of his family later became victims of the Holocaust. He came to America looking to make a better life. He never made a lot of money, but it didn’t matter because he was able to start a family and send his two sons to college. That meant the world to him and he loved this country.

While my father came here as an immigrant, many have also come as refugees fleeing war, oppression and violence. That’s why I opposed the call of some to turn away unaccompanied children who showed up on our borders from Latin America. We must not allow the horrific violence we have seen in France and elsewhere to turn us from our historic role as a haven for the oppressed.

In terms of the Syrian refugee situation we are now facing, now is not the time for us to succumb to racism and bigotry. In this moment, it is particularly important that we not allow ourselves to be divided by the anti-immigrant hysteria that Republican presidential candidates are ginning up.

When hundreds of thousands of people have lost everything and have nothing left but the shirts on their backs, we should not turn our backs on these refugees escaping violence in the Middle East. Of course we have to investigate the backgrounds of people coming into the country—and we will—but to suggest that we would even turn away orphans is incredible.

Sign my petition to say you support continuing the refugee program that promises to resettle 10,000 Syrians, mostly women and children, who are escaping violence in their home country.

The rhetoric and fear mongering about these refugees from some Republicans running for President is abhorrent and has no place in our political discourse.

Donald Trump has not just called for keeping out Syrian refugees, he also said he thinks it’s a good idea to create a national database of all Muslims in America. Meanwhile, Ben Carson said some Syrian refugees are like “rabid dogs” and referred to the rest of Syrian refugees as just “dogs.” This disgusting rhetoric cannot be tolerated.

Other Republicans have suggested rounding up existing refugees and deporting them. And yesterday afternoon, the House of Representatives voted on a plan that would make it near impossible for the United States to continue our Syrian refugee program.

This is not what America stands for.

Syrians and other refugees from the Middle East are escaping unspeakable horrors. To get to our country, refugees already go through a vigorous vetting program by the FBI, National Counterterrorism Center, Homeland Security and the State Department. The process takes almost two years and refugees from Syria face additional scrutiny.

We should continue our program to provide Syrians fleeing violence with the opportunity for a new life. I hope you’ll join me to stand together to admit Syrian refugees.

Thank you for standing with me and making your voice heard on this important issue.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

24 November 2015


0700 by Jeff Hess

20 November 2015


0700 by Jeff Hess

Oliver Burkeman pondering in Why do we undervalue what we’re good at? for The Guardian, asks:

If you want to improve, should you focus on developing what you’re good at, or on patching things up where you’re bad? In a series of bestselling books, the consultant Marcus Buckingham has made a persuasive case for a strengths-based approach: it’s both more effective and more enjoyable, he argues, than struggling to plug your weak spots.

But Rothbard’s Law raises two complicating thoughts. One is that you might not perceive your strengths at all, imagining them instead to be run-of-the-mill capabilities possessed by everyone. The other is that focusing on them might feel boring, even meaningless, compared with the thrill of the unknown.

The trick—easier to talk about than to do, as ever—is to pick challenges adjacent to your existing skills, not diametrically opposed to them. The more profound difficulty is to learn to see your unique skills for what they are – and, when it comes to salary negotiations and suchlike, to resist undervaluing them. All this might sound like the cheesiest sort of self-esteem-boosting advice: “Everyone’s good at something!” I’m sure that mushy conclusion would have appalled Rothbard (and it’s empirically untrue, anyway, because there’s Ashton Kutcher.) The more down-to-earth, more genuinely cheering implication of his law is that you may well be more talented than you think.

I could give a snap assessment of my strengths and weaknesses, but I fear neither would be well informed. Perhaps I need to ask the people who know me.

20 November 2015


0500 by Jeff Hess

Two stories showed up in my inbox this morning highlighting once again how those in power use the latest boogieman to scare the bejesus out of the sheep that pass for masses of citizens of the United States (and the rest of the free world).

First, an email from Payal Parekh at 350.org:


Yesterday, we got some disappointing news. Citing security concerns, the French government has prohibited many of the Paris mobilizations and events connected to the upcoming climate summit from going forward—including the massive march being planned for November 29th.

This is a heavy blow, especially for the many organizers who have been working around the clock for months to bring hundreds of thousands of people out into the streets of Paris. It’s a heavy blow, too, because it makes our job—of making sure this summit actually yields real, ambitious results—that much harder.

While activists in Paris are revising their plans, it’s up to the rest of us to kick it up a notch.

The Global Climate March—which already consists of thousands of events, small and large, all around the world—will continue. From London to Los Angeles, Quito to Quezon City, people are still taking to the streets.

Click here to find an action near you, or to start one of your own on November 28th-29th. There couldn’t be a more important time to step up to the plate.

Organizers in Paris are still reeling from Friday’s terrible attacks, and now they’re scrambling to figure out what they can still do to have an impact in the face of a potentially repressive security situation.

We need to speak up for activists in Paris, who are struggling to be heard. Those of us who can mobilize, must. The Paris Climate Summit is still a crucial opportunity for world governments to send a signal that the world is moving away from fossil fuels. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the world needs this sort of global cooperation urgently.

Even as climate change contributes to conflict around the world, this summit is an opportunity for us to come together and finally grapple with the scale of the problem we’re facing. Unfortunately, that’s not the sort of ambition that governments and politicians muster on their own. That’s the sort of thing only mass social movements have the power to make happen.

You can help make it happen. Now is the time to find an action near you, or get one going with your friends and family.

Going to actions and protests—even leading actions and protests!—isn’t just the domain of seasoned organizers. Most of the events already on the map as part of the Global Climate March are hosted by regular people—people with jobs, families, and regular lives. The only thing that makes them particularly different is how much they’re willing to take action for what they love.

Take action with us on November 28th-29th. Extraordinary times call for doing extraordinary things.

Yesterday’s news was a setback, but we’re not packing up and going home. Not by a long shot. This just means that we need to get louder everywhere.

I hope you’ll help us do that.



The second story involves a tweet from CNN Global affairs correspondent Elise Labott who wrote:

House passes bill that could limit Syrian refugees. Statue of Liberty bows head in anguish @CNNPolitics https://t.co/5RvZwVftgD

Eight hours later Labott tweeted:

Everyone, It was wrong of me to editorialize. My tweet was inappropriate and disrespectful. I sincerely apologize.

Labott had the story right the first time. That she had to save her job because the craven suits needed to appease their fear-mongering masters only underlines how ISIS (and their ilk) continue to win the fight against the Free World ™.

18 November 2015


1000 by Jeff Hess

Matt Taibbi is Hunter S. Thompson without the drugs and alcohol. No. Really.

Writing in The Case For Bernie Sanders Taibbi concludes:

I first met Bernie Sanders ten years ago, and I don’t believe there’s anything else he really thinks about. There’s no other endgame for him. He’s not looking for a book deal or a membership in a Martha’s Vineyard golf club or a cameo in a Guy Ritchie movie. This election isn’t a game to him; it’s not the awesomely repulsive dark joke it is to me and many others.

And the only reason this attention-averse, sometimes socially uncomfortable person is subjecting himself to this asinine process is because he genuinely believes the system is not beyond repair.

Not all of us can say that. But that doesn’t make us right, and him “unrealistic.” More than any other politician in recent memory, Bernie Sanders is focused on reality. It’s the rest of us who are lost.

This is why I’ve sent more money to Bernie ($250 and counting) than any other candidate ever.

Reality, what a concept.

17 November 2015


0600 by Jeff Hess

bernie cleveland 151116

Bernie came to Cleveland last night, and, as Henry Gomez ledes for The Plain Dealer: So this is what a Bernie Sanders rally is like.

Writing in Feel the Bern? Bernie Sanders storms into Cleveland with a pitch for ‘revolution’ Gomez continues:

An ear-splittingly-loud crowd that eggs on the Democratic presidential hopeful’s barbed attacks on capitalism. Boos when he brings up the rich, cheers when he flays them.

Pandemonium when he stands up for women’s rights, gay rights and legal marijuana.

And the signs. They were worthy of a ballgame, with social media hash tags like #AloeForHillary. Because, of course, it’s time to #FeelTheBern.

A soothing evening of politics, this was not.

“We are the vast majority of the people in this country, and when we come together,” Sanders said Monday night during a rally at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center, “we can defeat the people with all of the money and all of the power.”

Make all the jokes and generalizations you want about Cleveland being a deep-blue stronghold for lefties. This was the first time in years that such an unapologetically piqued liberal held such a rapt audience here. And he did it for nearly an hour and a half.

Bernie, as he has done many times before, pulled in the crowd.

His cantankerous demeanor and style—a mix of hoarse growls and flailing arms—has inspired dead-on satire from comedian Larry David and “Saturday Night Live.” His ability to draw a crowd places him in an elevated league of Democratic rock stars that in recent years has included Clinton, her husband and President Barack Obama.

But filling the 13,500-seat Wolstein Center, the home court for CSU’s basketball team and a popular concert venue, is by no means a snap for political celebrities. When Obama campaigned there for then-Gov. Ted Strickland the Sunday before Election Day 2010, Republicans and the media noted all of the empty seats—more than 5,000 of them.

For those who read into such things: Sanders was about on par with Obama and Strickland.

By comparison, Clinton’s August event at Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University drew far fewer. Campus officials estimated a turnout of more than 2,000. The crowd looked much smaller, though, barely filling half of the soccer field where she spoke.

I predict a one-two punch in Iowa and New Hampshire and people (but not Bernie) will start talking about the possibility of a Vice President Clinton.

16 November 2015


1400 by Jeff Hess

tom peters 151116


16 November 2015


1200 by Jeff Hess

I’ve been watching the counter roll closer and closer to 1,000 over the past few days. Yes, I realize that numbers 999 and 1001 are no less important, but we have a fascination for round numbers and artificial milestones.

Today, The Guardian added the 1,000th death at the hands of police in the United States.

Jon Swaine and Oliver Laughland report in Number of people killed by US police in 2015 at 1,000 after Oakland shooting write:

The number of people killed by law enforcement in the US this year has reached 1,000 after officers in Oakland, California, shot dead a man who allegedly pointed a replica gun at them.

Authorities said several officers opened fire on the man on Sunday evening when he walked toward them as they towed away cars that had been used to perform so-called “sideshow” stunts in east Oakland. Officers discovered later that the gun was a replica, police said.

How did the 1,0000 die?

Sunday’s incident was the 883rd fatal shooting by a law enforcement officer so far in 2015, according to the Guardian’s records. Another 47 people died after being shocked with an officer’s Taser, 33 died after being struck by a law enforcement officer’s vehicle, and 36 were killed in custody. Another received a deadly blow to the head during a fight with an officer.

The shooting was also the 183rd death recorded in California, by far the greatest total of any state. Nine states, however, have recorded more deaths per capita, with Oklahoma having the highest rate.

Ask yourself, how many Americans have died at the hands of terrorists this year?

16 November 2015


0800 by Jeff Hess

A great deal of thought in recent years has gone into how reducing our use of material resources could be managed in ways that actually improve quality of life overall—what the French call selective degrowth. [In French, decroissance has the double meaning of challenging both growth, croissance, and croire, to believe—invoking the idea of choosing not to believe in the fiction of perpetual growth on a finite planet.] p. 93

From This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein

Found in my electronic chapbook.

15 November 2015


0700 by Jeff Hess

non-sequitur 151115

Which is why women and cats rule the world and men and dogs need to get over it.

14 November 2015


0500 by Jeff Hess

I thought I wrote about deliberate practice earlier, but this morning, after a longish search I’ve turned up zip at Have Coffee Will Write. In my head this was something I first read in one of Oliver Burkeman’s columns, but I found nothing there. (While walking Buster this morning a different search criteria came to me and I found the post I was looking for.) What I did find was an unattributed article in the Sidney Morning Herald which contains precisely the words I remember reading last year. Ah, the mind is a strange puzzle.

The bit I find most important is:

Deliberate practice has been found to encompass five characteristics:

1. It is designed specifically to improve performance—The exercise often needs to be designed by a teacher or mentor who understands what your weaknesses are and what needs to be done to improve.

The activities need to be designed to stretch you and push you outside your comfort zone. Tiger Woods will drop a golf ball into a sand bunker, step on it, and then play the stroke and he will do that thousands of times until he is exhausted. Tiger may only play that stroke a handful of times through his career, but when he comes to it he is well rehearsed in how to execute.

2. It can be repeated a lot—Repetition counts. Repetition alone however is not good enough, but when focusing on a particular skill-set with a clear outcome, there needs to be high repetition.

In business this can be achieved through role-play and rehearsal. When preparing for a high stakes show in Madison Square Garden on New Year’s Eve, Chris Rock performed 18 dress rehearsal evenings in small clubs across America, perfecting his material with every laugh.

3. Feedback on results is continually available—In business, feedback is everywhere and often it comes in the form of failure; a proposal that didn’t get through, a presentation that didn’t hit, a deal which fell over. Rather than looking at these experiences as failures, if we can examine what happened and take from it an understanding of what to do differently next time, there is our feedback. This is best done with a mentor or manager.

4. It is highly demanding mentally—Several studies have shown that four or five hours a day seems to be the most we can engage in deliberate practice. This is due to the mental exhaustion that accompanies it.

Even professional athletes that may be hitting more tennis balls in a day than most people do in a year, report that at the end of the day it is the mental exhaustion, not the physical exhaustion, that is most obvious.

5. It isn’t fun—Often people can have a romantic notion of what it is to be an ‘entrepreneur’. These notions don’t usually make it past the first year.

Doing what we’re good at is enjoyable. However when you take what you are good at, hone in on your weaknesses and repeat a deliberately designed exercise to the point of mental exhaustion, often it is not fun.

This is of course a good thing. If it were easy—everyone would be doing it.

(What I suspect is that the Herald lifted this passage directly from Colvin’s book, but did not clearly attribute the source. Hence, the absence of a byline.)

What I’m pondering this morning is how I fold deliberate practice into my growth as a writer.

Any thoughts?

13 November 2015


1500 by Jeff Hess

roldo cigarettes 151113

A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday in the New York Times noted that the latest “national numbers mask deep trouble spots within the American population”—the prevalence of poor who still smoke.

This is exactly the reason that the arts and cultural tax on cigarettes deploys an easy but damaging impact on low income people.

“About 43 percent of less educated Americans smoked in 2014, compared with just 5 percent of those with a graduate degree,” said the Times story.

It is clear the arts tax burdens the least able to afford any tax.

Any tax on cigarette products should go to efforts to curtail smoking. Not for any other purpose.

However, smokers become an easy target for raising funds for other purposes.

The CDCP report says smoking—the leading cause of preventable death here—“underscores the extent to which smoking in America has become a problem of the poor,” says the Times.

The study reveals that smoking was highest in the Midwest. In other words, here.

It’s a problem easy to ignore.

“The people who are politically influential believe the smoking problem has been solved. It’s not in their neighborhoods. Their friends don’t smoke. Those who still smoke are the poor, disenfranchised, the mentally ill. That’s who we need to focus on,” said a professor of public health at the Michigan School of Public Health.

Instead, the Cuyahoga County arts community chose to use them to raise funds.

This makes the arts community, which pushed and passed another 10 year cigarette tax for its own use, complicit in raising funds on other’s illnesses and despair. And one they typically don’t endure.

It is not an equitable way to raise funds. But it has been an easy way to quickly raise tens of millions of dollars from the lower end of the economic ladder. In other words, from those who had no resources or proponents to counter the decision.

The supporters for the regressive tax, that raised more than $150 million in its first decade, with the support of most community institutions and the wholesale and essentially unexamined support of the entire news media. The sports sin tax raised another $28 million and it has been extended—for 20 years.

The arts vote was a slam dunk.

But a shameful act.

How will those who backed this reactionary tax make it up to those it hurts? They won’t and they don’t intend to.

Here’s what the Centers for Disease Control reported:

Among racial and ethnic groups, smoking prevalence was highest among American Indian/Alaska Natives (29.2%) and multiracial adults (27.9%), and lowest among Asians (9.5%). Among adults aged ?25 years, prevalence was highest among persons with a General Education Development certificate (43.0%) and lowest among those with a graduate degree (5.4%). Persons living below the poverty level had a higher smoking prevalence (26.3%) than persons at or above this level (15.2%). By U.S. Census region, prevalence was highest in the Midwest (20.7%) and lowest in the West (13.1%). Adults reporting a disability or limitation had a higher smoking prevalence (21.9%) than persons reporting no disability or limitation (16.1%). Prevalence also was higher among lesbian, gay, or bisexual adults (23.9%) than among straight adults (16.6%). From 2005 to 2014, the percentage of adults who were former cigarette smokers did not change significantly (21.5% and 21.9%, respectively).

By Roldo Bartimole…

13 November 2015


0900 by Jeff Hess

The Guardian emails:

Dear Jeff,

As the clocks count down until the doors of the landmark UN climate talks open in Paris, politicians, diplomats, civil society and even celebrities are starting to pull out the stops.

Starting today, for 24 hours nine countries will participate in a round-the-clock broadcast on the climate crisis.

Below the Eiffel Tower in Paris, former US vice president Al Gore, french president Francois Hollande and Parisian mayor Anne Hidalgo will be joined by musicians Duran Duran for a live performance that can be viewed online from anywhere in the world.

Elsewhere in the US, Australia, Brazil, India, Canada, China, the Philippines and South Africa, government leaders, scientists, activists and celebrities will join the live broadcast, including UN secretary general Kofi Annan, actor Morgan Freeman and musicians Elton John, Neil Young, Jon Bon Jovi and Florence and the Machine.

The 24 hours of reality project will begin at 5pm GMT/6pm CET/12pm EST. You can find out the times for all of the video segments in your timezone here.

In Paris Hidalgo and Duran Duran will be live from 5pm GMT this afternoon while Gore and Holland will join at 2pm GMT tomorrow.

In coming weeks we’ll be bringing lots of close-up coverage of the UN talks including detailed commentary and analysis. We’ll also be publishing poetry and showcasing the journey of environment correspondent John Vidal who has been travelling down the Mekong to explore the impacts of climate change in the wider world.

Thank you,


Emma Howard and the Keep it in the ground team

Previously in The Guardian emails…

Keep Carbon In The Ground…

12 November 2015


1800 by Jeff Hess

derf 151111

11 November 2015


1200 by Jeff Hess

The Guardian emails:

Dear Jeff,

The crucial UN climate summit in Paris is now just three short weeks away. Here’s a sneak preview of some of the coverage the Guardian has planned for the coming weeks—with alterations and extras based on requests from readers and Keep it in the Ground supporters:

We will give you the history of the talks and background you need to understand why the negotiations are playing out as they are. We will also introduce you to the movers and shakers at the talks. What outcome are they pushing for and why?

Readers Rick Bazeley, Robert Humphries and many others wanted us to help make sense of the data on individual countries and how their pledges measure up. We’ve already acted on that. This major data interactive explains what each country is offering and how those pledges measure up.

Earnie Tuck and Karen Parlette asked which countries are putting serious pledges on the table, while Louise Power and David Feith asked whether countries are being ambitious enough to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. So far, the answer is no. But as the talks approach we’ll provide more analysis of what all this means and whether it is enough to stop planetary disaster.

Our team of reporters in Paris will stick closely to the key delegations and explain the progress of the talks – and what it all means. On the most significant days we’ll run live blogs so you can follow events as they unfold. Many of the nearly 2000 Keep it in the Ground supporters who responded to our survey last month said they wanted us to go beyond reporting what was happening at the talks and get deeper into the underlying motivations of the actors. What are the hidden obstacles to a deal? What are the vested interests in the background? One supporter from Wales summed it up as “the truth instead of spin please”.

Traditionally, the talks are a venue for major announcements from companies, city mayors and others about projects that will contribute to the goal of a low carbon global economy. Our reporters help sift the bold plans from the greenwash.

Many readers don’t just want information, they want to know how they can influence the process. “How can we, the public, make sure essential changes happen?” asked Kim Hunt, while Sheila Wright wanted to know who she should lobby to make her voice heard. We will make this an important strand of our coverage. Outside the conference halls, many environmental NGOs, trade unions, faith groups and others will be protesting for a strong deal. Much of that activism will take place in Paris but there will also be events around the world, not least the Global Climate March on 29th November. You can find your local event here.

A deal is only likely to stick if it is fair to developing countries that have done little to cause climate change but who will suffer the worst consequences. We’ve sent Guardian environment editor John Vidal to the Mekong river to look at the impacts on food, water and forests in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

During the two weeks of the conference, commentator George Monbiot will write a series of pieces about the impacts around the world that the media often misses. Here’s a taster.

Earlier this year, Britain’s poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy curated a series of 20 poems on the theme of climate change by different authors. We will release recordings of actors including James Franco, Maxine Peake, Tamsin Greig, Gabriel Byrne and Jeremy Irons reading the poems.

Thanks again for your feedback and requests. Just reply to this e-mail if you have other ideas you’d like us to follow.


James Randerson, assistant national editor

Previously in The Guardian emails…

Keep Carbon In The Ground…

11 November 2015


0700 by Jeff Hess

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