In the modern world, emissions of CO2 and greenhouse gasses have become not only the norm but essential to our way of life. Rightfully so, fossil fuels provide efficient fuel at rather inexpensive prices. Humanity and our consumption of fossil fuels is similar to a smoking addiction. We assume that the risks don’t apply to us, and their addictive nature keeps drawing us back in. In a culture of optimism, it is no surprise that we have had little to no large steps towards building a greener energy output. We simply assume the worst won’t happen to us, and that the risk is worth the benefit.
Michael Ottavio | United States
Senate Majority Leader and brilliant tactician, Mitch McConnell, is currently gearing up to take Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal,” a proposed solution to climate change and a massive economic overhaul program, to the Senate floor for a vote.
Othman Mekhloufi | United States
A government-appointed German ‘Coal Commission’ released a recommendation to the German government on the morning of January 26th. The goals of said recommendation are to curb carbon emissions, turn to renewable energy, and take steps towards the deceleration of climate change.
The 28-member commission represents various German mining regions and utility companies. After 21 hours of negotiations, they reached a decision to fully phase out coal over a 19 year period (by 2038). This move will, in turn, shut down all 84 of Germany’s coal plants. Germany has also moved to fully shut down all of its nuclear power plants by 2022. This decision is part of another report by the commission that was legislated in 2011. As of now, Germany shut down 12 of the 19 nuclear power plants in the nation.
The progress will be regularly reviewed by the commission in 2023, 2026, and also 2029. The goal is to find out if phasing out coal is possibly by 2035. Nonetheless, 2038 will remain the legally defined date to fully phase out coal pending German government drafting legislation based on the report.
The commission’s report is not legally binding as it still requires the action of the federal government. The report holds a set of guidelines and suggestions for the federal government to legislate accordingly in hopes of curbing climate change and CO2 emissions. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will likely approve the commissions’ proposal.
Coal in Germany
Coal plants in Germany currently account for 40% of electricity and power production. Renewable energy surpassed coal as the leading source in 2018. It now accounts for 41% of energy use. By fully phasing out coal and nuclear power, Germany aims to rely on renewable energy. Ideally, renewable energy will provide 60%-85% of Germany’s power.
Germany is currently #8 in global coal consumption, although the nation only accounts for 2% of such emissions.
There are roughly 60,000 jobs with ties to the coal industry. Consequently, phasing out coal would put those jobs in jeopardy. There will likely be negative economic repercussions which will fall upon the companies and workers, as well as the families of workers. However, the commission allocated for $45 billion in aid to ease the economic hardships caused by their decision to end the industry. The aid includes an adjustment fund, as well as pension compensation for all employees aged 58 years or older. Younger workers out of a job will also receive aid in the form of education and training for jobs in renewable energy sources.
As we move towards the future, coal is being phased out on a global scale. Climate change is progressing. Therefore, many believe the shift towards renewable energy sources is a must.
By Adam Burdzy | United States
In the 16th century, the Catholic Church experienced a Reformation. Martin Luther, the chief architect behind the religious movement, didn’t agree with the Catholic Church about some key beliefs and practices. Luther published his 95 Theses, a list of controversial topics and discussion points in the Catholic Church at the time. King Henry VIII of England just wanted to divorce his wife because she wouldn’t provide him with a baby boy to be the next king (current science shows that it is entirely his fault that he couldn’t have a son). The Pope told him he could not divorce, so Henry ignored the pope’s decision made the Church of England. These individuals saw a problem with the Church, so they took action into their own hands and attempted to fix it.
It is now 2018, and the Church still needs fixing. Corruption at the core has turned officials evil. The primary example is the Pope. As the head of the Catholic Church, the infallible Pope is supposed to be a role model to all Catholics. He is the spiritual leader who has one goal: to get as many people to convert and stay Catholic. He also must do so with the intention of getting as many people to be saved by God’s grace (in layman terms, not burn in Hell). Today, however, many people do not like or approve of what Pope Francis is doing. Most religious conservatives and libertarians disprove of how the Pope puts his nose into matters involving politics. Pope Francis has been seen discussing policies with popular and powerful liberals, such as former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State John Kerry. He made it known through these encounters that he supports such policies such as the Iran Nuclear deal and the large intake of refugees from the Middle East by Europe. The Pope also is a strong believer in global warming and climate change.
These main three issues that the Pope discussed had many right-leaning Catholics infuriated for justifiable reasons. Even though the Pope has the right to believe whatever he want to, he is abusing his papal power. The Pope is believed to be completely true when he speaks of religious matters. This does not make him infallible when he talks politics. The way he presents his politics, however, is done in a way where the political issue is connected to a Catholic teaching or value in a vague way. An example is the refugee issue. For many years, people from the Middle East, mostly fleeing the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, have been entering into Europe as refugees. These men, women, and children use up a ton of taxpayer euros, and while this has caused a fiery debate inside and outside of Europe, the Pope has decided to take a side, saying it is a Catholic’s duty to take care of others.
We cannot, however, blame the Pope for everything. The Catholic Church as a whole has done some questionable acts. For example, the Chinese government has had a feud with the Catholic Church for decades now, in which they appointed bishops without the consent of the Pope. Instead of the Church simply saying no, the Vatican allowed for seven bishops to be appointed, not by the Church, but instead by the government of China. The Church, who has no political power, has been sleeping with foreign governments, which has led to the deterioration of trust. It is believed that every priest and bishop in the Catholic Church has something called Apostolic succession. Christ gave St. Peter the power to appoint religious men to the priesthood, and this line of succession can be traced down to every priest, except for these 7 bishops. This gives the Church a bad reputation for not sticking to their Canon Law, which is equivalent to the United State’s Constitution. For the Church to do this would be the same as disregarding the confirming power of the Senate.
What happened to the Pope? Isn’t he supposed to be a spiritual figure instead of a political pawn for the left? Of course, Pope Francis wasn’t the only bad Pope the Catholic Church has had. Pope Boniface the VIII was a pedophile, Alexander VI bribed his way into becoming Pope, and Leo X allowed for the Church to sell indulgences, which promised heaven to those who bought them. Pope Francis is just a byproduct of the already corrupt system that the Church has become. This is to blame for the failure of the Church to keep people going to Church. A new study from the PEW research center shows that 21% of Americans are Catholic and that 13% of adults who were born and raised as Catholics have become either Protestant or not religious.
So what can the Church do? They can toughen up and mind their own business. They can focus on being a spiritual force and going back to their Canon Law. They should stop trying to be “hip” as many modern Catholic Churches have tried and failed. People want a true, non-political place of worship where they can grow in faith and become part of a community where they feel welcomed. If you are reading this, Pope Francis, do us all a favor and fix the corruption, not for Catholics, but for God.
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By Daniel Szewc | United States
Russia’s geopolitical model is based upon the following main components- Having an impenetrable Tundra, highlands guarding their Southern and South-Eastern border, complete dominance over the Smolensk gate, a lack of a strong geo-strategic player to it’s West, the South-West defended by the Caucasus, and the frozen Arctic blocking any sea access. The end result of this, is Russia being too large to be effectively occupied by an outside power, and making the Eurasian heartland mostly centred in Russia- but there’s a catch.
Russia’s fortress like structure allows it to win the majority of wars it participates in, as well as close to all defensive wars, because of it’s enemy’s core areas being too distant. At first, Russia’s geographic layout may seem perfect, yet it has several drawbacks. Russia has no proper warm sea ports, therefore effectively preventing them from participating in world trade, causing Russia to be forever economically disadvantaged. Because Russia has no warm water ports, sanctions have a diminished effect on Russia. Because of its reduced contact with the global economy, Russia must give up on the Western idea of power through trade, and constantly build up their army. Lastly, this partial isolationism causes them to organize as a very strict hierarchy, with a system in which only strong leaders may preside. These drawbacks restrict Russia’s influence the global political landscape, and Russia must be willing to expand through military force every so often.
It is a myth that the last group to manage to take over of Russia were the Mongols. Historically, Poland seized Moscow in 1610, during the Dimitriads- an era of an interregnum in Russia, when the Tsardom had many potential heirs to the throne. Poland lost control of Russia after about two years due to political feuds within Poland. During the same time, the Swedish empire was just as capable of taking over Russia, and nearly did so too. As we can see, when Russia didn’t fulfill two of the aforementioned geopolitical descriptions- namely having no influence on the West, and no control of Smolensk, it was ready to fall to it’s knees.
Russia fell for a second time 307 years later in the Bolshevik revolution. This time, Russia’s isolation from the West due to its distance failed. This was because Germany was not a perceived threat, much less as a strike from within. As Churchill said, “Lenin was sent into Russia by the Germans in the same way that you might send a phial containing a culture of typhoid or cholera to be poured into the water supply of a great city, and it worked with amazing accuracy.” But things are changing…
Many see global warming as an ecological threat- I am not here to judge them. Is global warming man made? I am not qualified to answer this either. Yet what I am certain of, is that Russia will finally get complete access to the world’s Oceans, if the Arctic melts. This will shake cause a great shift in the geopolitical strategies of nations. Firstly, gaining a huge coastline with possibly key cities for trade with Canada and America for many cheap labour producers in Asia would boost the Russian economy. Secondly, Russia’s North would become arable, allowing farming to be done in more places than just the west. Thirdly, Russia would be susceptible to a large scale invasion from the North. What’s more, it would be able to invade Canada quite easily, causing it to lessen it’s spending on the army, and to increase it on the navy.
As you now see, Russia will be a very good potential ally for any country seeking world dominance. There are three contenders for this position- the USA, China and India. India is unable to help fund Russia’s growth resource-wise because building a highway through the Himalayas/Pakistan would be very challenging. As for China, a land power itself, they are offering Russia the only possible alternative to what global warming would give them- the New Silk road initiative. It would effectively give Russia the benefits of trade, protecting it from attacks from the North, while only limiting it’s potential for invasion of Canada. However, invasion of Canada would only happen for defensive purposes, to counter America’s potential attack on them. The second option, is for America to divide it’s world influence with Russia, possibly along the lines of the former Soviet bloc. This time, Russia would possibly accept the deal struck after the Yalta conference, because it has a better economical model and provides access to the Ocean.
Since even allies must be carefully monitored not to become stronger than their counterparts, both- China and America have schemes to control Russia if either of the party becomes too strong.
Russian policy makers have been trying to decide on which proposal to undertake since the turn of the Putin era. On one side, China’s proposal is safer- yet it would create a rigid, asymmetric economical addiction to China. If China ever gained control of the Oceans, and could trade with Europe whilst bypassing Russia, Russia would suffer. China is already making many African countries their economical fiefs, as well as buying out Ukrainian land, and making Greece a political client of theirs. Greece even votes in China’s favour inside of the EU and NATO.
In case of Russia becoming a global power before China manages to become a maritime hegemony, China has the support of Greece, which would possibly let them block Russian access to the Mediterranean, especially if the lately unstable Turkey was to ever lose Istanbul to them. If this ever happened, America would lose its economic grip on Canada (the USA accounts for 50% of Canada’s imports), whilst China would vastly expand it’s already rapidly growing 17% of imports into Canada, to assure their ability to force Canada to blockade Russia’s new Northern Ocean access. What’s more, China will have enough influence in the world by then to also block the GIUK passage by striking a deal with The British, Danes and Islanders. These three components would again immobilize Russia’s trade, forcing them to comply to any, even territorial changes in favour of China (it’s worthwhile to remember that Northern Manchuria is still occupied by Russia, which isn’t exactly something China likes). However, in return, China has no need of keeping Central and Eastern European countries independent, as long as they get to keep the Russian core area from getting too well connected with the Northern Sea and through it, the Atlantic ocean.
The best chance for China to win over Russia? Stopping America’s ability to prove that it can make Russia rich. How will they do it? By stopping global warming, or at least reducing it drastically. You may not know about this, but the Middle Kingdom is the biggest producer and spender on renewable energy in the world. They are sincerely trying to balance economic growth and global warming regulations. This is being done in an effort to stop Russia from becoming independent, trade-wise. What’s more, China is re-foresting it’s North, planting a “Green Great Wall”. The purpose of the project is to stop the expansion of the Gobi desert (it is, of course a secondary reason to do it, nevertheless), to stop the destruction of Chinese agriculture. This is, to anyone who knows the demographics of China, not something that the Chinese government would care about in itself, at least enough to take such major steps. Ironically, China’s wall of trees is the thinnest in it’s strategically most important regions- the ones bordering the Yellow river estuary, including Beijing, which is full of Han people. Some may say that inner Mongolia is already forested enough, but this would definitely not be true- the region is called “the rusting belt” because of their dying out industries- these people would love to work, and the industry prior had definitely destroyed many forests for the production of goods.
Russia views alliance with America very skeptically. Yet, Russia is historically known for creating alliances to better the motherland. In turn, the USA knows that only a Russia with access to the world’s Oceans would even think of preferring the USA to China. Russia thinks strategically, and knows that spheres of influence are best upheld whilst close to home, so if they had to choose to either divide up America with China, or divide China with America, they’d decide on the latter.
Of course, the USA doesn’t want to let Russia be free to do whatever it likes. Subsequently, the chief strategists in Washington decided to:
1. Destroy potential new silk road routes via destabilizing the Middle-East.
2. Make threats on Tehran, and likely support for any uprising there.
3. Support the Kurdish bid for independence, until realizing that a weaker Turkey would cause a power vacuum in the Caucasus (which Russia would naturally fill in), and potentially make a Chinese controlled Greece stronger.
4. Encourage the creating of the Intermarium- an economic and diplomatic coalition of countries between the Baltic, Black and Mediterranean Seas, with a potentially militaristic edge. This was done to create a possible blockade for the Chinese Silk Road initiative. The best proof for this theory, is that the Intermarium included Ukraine, until Russian separatists rendered it useless for the USA by making it very vulnerable to be cut away from the sea.
It is important to note that there were two main lines of thought before the last presidential election in the USA, in regards to Russia. The first, practiced by Obama and proposed by Hillary Clinton, was what we can call “floppy hostility”, or “the school shooter mentality”. Good examples of this were the cuts in military spending, the drawback from a plan to build an anti-missile system in Poland, yet disagreeing to any proper alliance with Russia. Sequentially, only threats of retaliation were issued after Russian nuisances such as flying over NATO air space- this is why the situation was comparable to a school shooter. Threats are made after many non-lethal attacks from the enemy, after which an out of proportionate blow (the shooting, or in the case of Obama and Hillary a possible war) come. It is very much possible, that because of the Thucydides trap, the Democrat establishment planned to actually go to war with both, China and Russia at the same time, to solve the potential danger via “minimising” damage. How do we know of this? As the Bible says (Mt. 7:15-20), “You will know them by their fruits”- the German government, as well as local governments in major Russian cities asked their citizens to stockpile food and water in November and October 2016. Why? During those months, the American election was around the corner, and Clinton had a 7-8% lead, making her seemingly unstoppable, and with it, world war three.
Like it or not, the President Trump is a very intelligent person- it is impossible to maintain such a good fortune with just sheer luck. Of course, he has his advisors helping him, yet he constantly manages to push his own line of defense against China’s rise- using the method that was used by the USA against the Soviet Union- instead of an open conflict, he wants a geopolitical version of Reagan’s military buildup. This caused the Soviets who wanted to out compete America, to go bankrupt and ultimately collapse.
Using this method, Trump wants to giving all of China’s potential allies better deals. China proposed building a new silk road? Trump gave Central Europe the support for the Intermarium. China proposed being the arbitrator of Israel-Palestine talks? Trump acknowledged Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. China wants a good deal with Duterte? The Trump administration has been trying to schedule Duterte’s visit to the White House since May 2017, and recently had the US Ambassador to Manila said that the US have “strong interest” in pursuing Duterte’s visit to Washington. North Korea is China’s closest ally in East Asia? Trump manages to secure peace talks with Kim Jong Un, and pushes for reunification, just to move the Chinese sphere of influence back to it’s border.
Russia must try to hit the sweet spot in time, right when its and America’s combined strength is still much larger than China’s (and China’s allies). For this reason, America pulled out of the Paris Agreement- to secure that Russia makes its more likely choice, of allying with the US, before China’s tentacles reach too far into Russia’s politics. Is it possible that the federal government planned some wildfires, in order to increase global warming? Who knows. What we do know though, is that interesting times are awaiting us, and ones that are potentially the most influential in history for Russia.
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