Friday, April 9, 2021. Today we're looking at climate change and Iraq.
At the end of last month, NASA's Sofie Bates explained:
Earth is on a budget – an energy budget. Our planet is constantly trying to balance the flow of energy in and out of Earth’s system. But human activities are throwing that off balance, causing our planet to warm in response.
Radiative energy enters Earth’s system from the sunlight that shines on our planet. Some of this energy reflects off of Earth’s surface or atmosphere back into space. The rest gets absorbed, heats the planet, and is then emitted as thermal radiative energy the same way that black asphalt gets hot and radiates heat on a sunny day. Eventually this energy also heads toward space, but some of it gets re-absorbed by clouds and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The absorbed energy may also be emitted back toward Earth, where it will warm the surface even more.
Adding more components that absorb radiation – like greenhouse gases – or removing those that reflect it – like aerosols – throws off Earth’s energy balance and causes more energy to be absorbed by Earth instead of escaping into space. This is called a radiative forcing, and it’s the dominant way human activities are affecting the climate.
Climate modelling predicts that human activities are causing the release of greenhouse gases and aerosols that are affecting Earth’s energy budget. Now, a NASA study has confirmed these predictions with direct observations for the first time: radiative forcings are increasing due to human actions, affecting the planet’s energy balance and ultimately causing climate change. The paper was published online on March 25, 2021, in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
“This is the first calculation of the total radiative forcing of Earth using global observations, accounting for the effects of aerosols and greenhouse gases,” said Ryan Kramer, first author on the paper and a researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. “It’s direct evidence that human activities are causing changes to Earth’s energy budget.”
NASA’s Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) project studies the flow of radiation at the top of Earth’s atmosphere. A series of CERES instruments have continuously flown on satellites since 1997. Each measures how much energy enters Earth’s system and how much leaves, giving the overall net change in radiation. That data, in combination with other data sources such as ocean heat measurements, shows that there’s an energy imbalance on our planet.
Saving our planet should be a global issue since it involves everyone. The Middle East has suffered through many wars -- a great deal, US-led wars -- the effects of climate change could be even more deadly -- despite how deadly the Iraq War has already been.
With actions taken by the governments of Turkey and Iran, Iraq is already at risk when it comes to water. If climate change is not addressed, this and many other issues will become even worse and that will likely lead to further armed conflicts.
The International Energy Agency's Ali Al-Saffar has a Twitter thread on climate change in the region:
Not addressing climate change will be deadly. Sadly, we have a president who didn't express any real interest in addressing this issue -- not as a US senator, not as a Vice President and not as a candidate seeking the presidency. Nothing since his inauguration in January has indicated Joe Biden has had a great awakening. Leadership is needed and it is lacking. (Leadership, please note, is not non-binding treaties and agreements that are meaningless but make various politicians look like they did something when they did nothing.)
Last month, officials from Iraq and the United States discussed climate change. Adam Gallagher of the United States Institute of Peace wrote about the meet-up:
Eighteen years after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, Iraq is still in the midst of a rocky transition, beset by governance, economic, social and security challenges. With the Biden administration setting its sights on sweeping portfolio of domestic and foreign policy issues, some fear the United States will lose focus on Iraq. But in remarks on Tuesday, the top American diplomat in Baghdad vowed continued American engagement. Ahead of a pivotal year for Iraq, “The United States is resolute in its commitment to supporting [a] stable, sovereign, democratic and prosperous Iraq,” said U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Matthew Tueller.
The Iraqi government has signaled that it is keen to step up cooperation. The White House announced on Tuesday that Iraqi officials requested a resumption of a strategic dialogue on bilateral relations and the U.S. troop presence. The talks are set to resume next month.
Tueller's remarks came during a USIP-hosted virtual event examining U.S.-Iraq relations. He was joined by Iraq’s ambassador to the United States, Fareed Yasseen, and Kurdistan Regional Government Representative to the United States Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman.
“The event demonstrated that both countries recognize that cooperation is vital to building a stable, democratic Iraq,” said Sarhang Hamasaeed, who moderated the conversation and directs USIP’s Middle East programs. “This cooperation serves shared interests on the basis of partnership, respecting Iraq’s sovereignty and strengthening its institutions.”
[. . .]
Iraqis hit the streets in unprecedented numbers in October 2019, calling for political and economic reforms, greater job opportunities for youth and better government services. Weary with the old political guard and disenchanted with the country’s political system and its sectarian partisanship, the protests demonstrated a deep societal desire for change, primarily represented by youth.
Iraq’s cratering economy figures heavily in this unrest. The COVID-induced drop in global demand for oil has hit Iraq’s oil-dependent economy especially hard. In response, Iraq’s Central Bank devalued its currency, the dinar, by 23 percent, as the country’s budget deficit grows.
“It’s really the economy,” that is driving young people’s dissatisfaction, said Rahman. “It’s the lack of jobs, it’s the lack of prospects … [a] key area that needs to be addressed is how to really improve the economy.”
Tueller indicated that the United States wants to support economic reforms efforts. He pointed to a white paper on economic reform approved by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s cabinet last October and said it provided a roadmap for reversing Iraqi’s financial and economic woes. “We hope these reforms go from paper to reality,” he said.
Another avenue for the United States and Iraq to step up cooperation is on climate change, which has devastated Iraq. This past July, Baghdad saw record-high temperatures, registering at a blistering 125 degrees. “Climate change is a real problem in Iraq, which is already affected by water scarcity and limited access to potable water,” said Tueller.
Iraq will find a welcoming partner in this endeavor, as the Biden administration is prioritizing climate change as a top domestic and foreign policy issue. “I look forward to the United States [helping] us address global challenges … first amongst those is climate change,” said Yasseen.
The US government is one of the great producers of things harmful to our planets. Long ago, the organization Another Mother for Peace popularized the slogan "War is not healthy for children and other living things." That remains true. And, yes, war creates havoc and destroys families. The Iraq War has produced a country of widows and orphans. But it's also true that the weapons used -- White Phosphorus, Depleted Uranium, etc -- are deadly to children and other living things. Like the bombs that the US and the UK regularly drop on people in Iraq, these weapons impact the environment. They -- along with burnpits -- impact global warming.
Today, in the US, Brown University's Climate Solutions Lab and the Watson Institute are conducting a webinar on climate change, water and Iraq.
Let's move over to THE CONVO COUCH.
That was a strong discussion and we've already posted the video once but I actually got to stream it -- after it was posted -- and I wanted to add one thing.
AOC's nonsense of covering for Joe Biden on his caging children?
It sounds a lot like, "No rapes is better than one rape but one rape is less than three rapes. I know who I'm going to choose. That's the guy with less rapes. It's got to be less rapes every time." Remember that? After Tara Reade came forward with her very credible allegations of being assaulted by Joe, she was attacked repeatedly. And comedian Ely Kreimendahl made the video below that perfectly captured the women justifying voring for a rapist.
The first character says, "No rapes is better than one rape but one rape is less than three rapes. I know who I'm going to choose. That's the guy with less rapes. It's got to be less rapes every time." And that's a lot like AOC's nonsense trying to justify Joe's caging children.
Also on media, this week's ON THE ISSUES WITH MICHELE GOODWIN featured journalist Brooke Baldwin -- along with being audio, this MS. MAGAZINE podcast also features a transcript.
Welcome to “On the Issues with Michele Goodwin” at Ms. Magazine, a show where we report, rebel and tell it like it is. On this show, we center your concerns about rebuilding our nation and advancing the promise of equality. Join me as we tackle the most compelling issues of our times. On our show, history matters. We examine the past as we think about and pivot to the future. On today’s show, we focus on who’s telling our stories. We are joined by CNN’s Brooke Baldwin to speak about women in the media and so much more. Brooke Baldwin is a renowned CNN anchor and author of a new book, Huddle: How Women Unlock Their Collective Power. It’s released April 6.
Huddle explores the phenomenon of huddling, when women lean on each other in politics, in Hollywood, activism, the arts, sports, and everyday friendships to provide each other support, empowerment, inspiration, and strength to solve problems or enact meaningful change. As you all know, Brooke Baldwin is a veteran journalist and Peabody Award finalist, who has served as an anchor at CNN in its newsroom for more than a decade. She played a major role in anchoring coverage of the Obama and Trump Administrations and has also reported on stories from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. She has covered gun violence, including the tragedies at Sandy Hook and too many other places to mention, and we talk about that in this interview.
As the creator and host of CNN’s digital series American Woman, she has dedicated the latest chapter of her career to shining a light on trailblazing women in politics and culture, and the book Huddle: How Women Unlock Their Collective Power, her first book, is a must-read. So, I want to welcome Brooke Baldwin to our show and thank her for joining us.
Brooke, in February, you announced that you’re leaving CNN after 13 years. You began, my goodness, you began working at CNN as a freelancer in 2008, during the Great Recession. You told a powerful story about how you scribbled your name on a post-it note and put it outside a temporary office in hopes of one day becoming a full-time CNN correspondent, and you fulfilled and exceeded that dream, hosting your own two-hour show in the afternoon by the age of 31. You’ve had quite the career at CNN. What motivated your departure after a really successful 13 years?
I wish I had held onto that post-it, by the way. I will never forget doing that. Gosh, why am I leaving my family and my home? It’s a great question. I actually think the biggest part of the answer is because of this book and because of these trailblazing women, who I have had the privilege of interviewing, kind of like when you finish this journey of holding space with women like Gloria Steinem, and Stacey Abrams, and Megan Rapinoe, and Indigenous women fighting, you know, for the planet, or the women cofounders of Black Lives Matter…
You just sort of have like…I’m from the South, so I would say you sort of have a come to Jesus with yourself, and my come to Jesus involved realizing, in a painful way, but also in a blessing sort of way, that I could not hold space with these women and be the bravest version of myself, and while my entire time at CNN has been extraordinary on a number of levels, and I do have a dream job, as evidenced by the post-it, I know that I need to move on for me, and whatever it is that I end up doing, there is no way I will be able to do it had I not had this precious time here, you know, sharing these experiences with people all around the world, and so, that’s the real answer, and I don’t totally know what I’m doing next. That’s also a very real answer, but I know that I have to be brave.
0:04:38 Michele Goodwin:
So, I want to unpack that in two ways.So, the first is some level-setting because being a woman in journalism, in TV journalism, is still doing some pioneering, even in 2021. And so, could you help our listeners understand that a little bit just in terms of women and leadership? Women being in front of and behind the scenes in journalism. What more is there left to do? I think probably a lot.
0:05:10 Brooke Baldwin:
Well, let me lift the curtain a little bit, and again, this is only my experience here at CNN, but you know, in my…so, I’ve been anchoring for 10-plus years, the majority of that time two hours in the afternoon, and in that time, you know, the most influential anchors on our network, the highest-paid, are men. My bosses, my executives are men. The person who oversees CNN Dayside is a man, and my executive producer for 10 years is a man.
So, I have been surrounded by a lot of men, and I do think it is changing. I know it is changing just by looking at some of the faces that are popping up more and more on our channel and on other channels, but that is just…and even going back to my early 20s, you know, I mean, the majority of my time spent as a cub reporter on into my 30s was spent with majority male photographers running around, shooting stories at whatever city I was living in at the time, and yes, there would be certainly women in the newsroom, but oftentimes, especially early on, they were women with very sharp elbows, and so, I was surrounded by a lot of dudes.
0:06:26 Michele Goodwin:
Yeah, and so, then, what does that mean in terms of the stories that get to be lifted out about women? I mean they’re framed, you know, when you have the camera people, the producers, all the people around you who are men, what does that mean in terms of women’s stories coming out?
0:06:40 Brooke Baldwin:
Yeah. Well, that’s a great question. I mean I think that…I know I, personally, fight for women’s stories. I did a whole series…you see the poster over my left shoulder, American Woman, but you know the reason I have that in my office isn’t because, woo, I did a series on women. It’s actually because I got told no a lot, and I still managed to do it, and we have a woman who is in charge of CNN Digital, CNN.com. We have now a woman who is in charge of most of domestic newsgathering. So, like, little by little, by having women in places of power, and I would argue behind the scenes, not just in front, but behind the scenes, you know, that is how you then have stories that reflect who they are, and not only white women, you know? We talk about intersectional, like being intersectional. There is no way we will have progress if a bunch of white women are winning, right? There’s no way.
0:07:45 Michele Goodwin:
No. You’re right.
0:07:46 Brooke Baldwin:
So, it’s brown women, Black women, Asian women. It’s across the board. It’s we have to see them reflected in our stories, and it’s getting better, but we still have a bit of a ways to go, I think.
0:08:04 Michele Goodwin:
You know I’ll say that on the day that you announced that you would be leaving, you know, I think a kind of welp was heard around the country, around the world, because you really do embody and put forward that quality of sharp news delivery at the same time matched by a graciousness and earnestness, all of that, and so, men and women across the country and the world took notice on that day. I certainly know that I did, and I followed it on Twitter with so many people saying, oh no, Brooke can’t go, she can’t leave, but you know, as a kind of level 2 of kind of level-setting, I wonder, and none of this is personalized, but I think it matters to hear about, well, what is that like, then, when you’re the only woman or one of only a few women doing what you love? How easy is it? And as you said, you had to fight for, you know, the poster, you know, what’s embodied in the poster in back of you?
So, the question is just what was it like fighting for it, or…?
Yeah, fighting for it or just as a general matter, being the only woman in the room, oftentimes.
Yeah. I want more women in the room, and I think of someone, you know, the person that’s coming to my mind, and someone like this gives me hope, Abby Phillip at CNN, younger, Black woman, her background is in, you know, journalism, newspaper, came to CNN. I think she was initially a commentator, and she’s just extraordinary, and she was one of the people that day. I mean I couldn’t believe…I don’t know. I realized I touched a few people in my 10 years, but my goodness. I was overwhelmed. I’m not comfortable being the center of attention as a journalist.
I was overwhelmed by the response when I mentioned I was leaving, and Abby was one of those, one of many women at CNN who instantly reached out to me, and I think she welped a little bit, too, and I’ll never forget her text. She said, Brooke, you’re the heart of CNN, and I said, Abby, I am passing that along to you, my dear, and I said it is a privilege, carry it dearly, and I said to her make sure that as you, your star continues to rise and your platform and your power grows, never forget to turn around and make sure you keep the door open for the next Abby Phillip, and oh, I get goosebumps even thinking about that, but you know, I am hopeful in our channel and in journalism in general because more and more women like Abby are given a voice.
0:10:52 Michele Goodwin:
Well, in announcing your exit, you said the next chapter of your life will be focused on what you love the most about your work, and that’s amplifying the lives of extraordinary Americans and putting your passion for storytelling to good use, which you’ve done, and so, I’m wondering, will part of that work include continuing to amplify the voices of women in media, both in the stories told and in the people telling the stories?
0:11:21 Brooke Baldwin:
Yes, 100 percent. So, while being at CNN has been a gift, you know, I only get an hour or two hours a day, and I know that sounds like a lot of time, but there’s a lot of news that you have to place in that amount of time, and when it comes down to it, those segments that I enterprise or the women that I want to talk to outside of what’s happening in the world that we need to cover is very small, and I would like to amplify…my favorite interviews are what I call extraordinary ordinary women, right? It’s amazing to talk to celebrities, but I really admire ordinary women in extraordinary circumstances, and so, I would love to somehow dive into the deep end of storytelling.
I am working with a production company to create what I will hope will be part of my next dream, which is an unscripted doc series that, you know, people can binge and be inspired by on fill in the blank, I’m not there yet, streaming network, where I can tell these stories of these huddles. You know what was so hard as a journalist, as a TV journalist specifically, was crisscrossing the country and having these amazing conversations, and it’s all on the beautiful pages of my book, but I would love it to come alive on camera, and so that is my dream, essentially, to create Huddle the book into “Huddle” the docuseries.
Yes. Well, let’s turn to your new book.
And your new book is dropping. It’s called Huddle: How Women Unlock Their Collective Power, and it’s a blend of journalism and personal narratives examining how women have come together in a wide variety of times and places to provide each other with support, empowerment, inspiration, and strength to solve problems or enact meaningful change, and don’t we need that in the world?
So, I’m glad that we’ve gotten to this point to really talk about what the huddle means and what inspired it. So, what got you thinking about this? And I get goosebumps thinking about your approach, which is what’s happening to everyday women where they are making a change in meaningful ways? So, tell us about the book and what inspired it.
Yes. So, I, in my bones, believe that outside of, you know, representation and access and power, women are one another’s best resource, and so, I think, you know, the biggest compliment is to be called, for me, a woman’s woman, but as I have explained, you know, I am this woman’s woman. I am a…growing up in Atlanta, surrounded by girls, was very active, led a lot of huddles, and then, all of a sudden, I get into journalism, where I am surrounded by a lot of men, and I don’t have a huddle, and I am very lonely in my 20s and in my, really, the first half of my 30s, and then cut to I’m at CNN, I’m covering the presidential election that was 2015, 2016, I’m crisscrossing the country.
My antennae are out, and they’re speaking to me, saying, wow, you know, women are showing up in this race and not just because they thought the glass ceiling would be shattered but for every candidate. You even think back to how many white women voted for Trump. My point is just women were showing up in ways I had never seen in my career, and so, there I was, January 2017, literally like balancing on the back of a flatbed truck, embedded in the Trump motorcade on his inauguration day, surrounded by MAGA hats, fresh off of the grab them by the pussy, you know, revelation.
That's an excerpt use the link to listen or to read the transcript.
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