The uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East are unprecedented in many ways. There are no sufficiently comparable historical cases to help explaining them. They show a degree of spontaneous mobilization that can seldom be detected in social movements and political rebellions. Often political movements are characterized by high levels of militancy and the mediation of political organizations such as political parties and unions. Instead of a well defined political agenda, they have a clear, yet loosely articulated, set of primary demands: freedom; respect for human rights; jobs; income. More »
Climate change: G20’s meaningful silence
Who can influence the most climate change policies? Top economic policy-makers or environmental authorities? In any country of the world, economic policy-makers have far more power to lead us to a low carbon economy, than environmental policy-makers, both public and private. Hence the silence of Finance ministers on climate change is far more meaningful than the eloquence of environment ministers. More »
Today I saw a Retweet that reminded me of something I thought, and afterwards wrote about, many years ago. The RT by @paulegina (a.k.a Paule Wendelberger), a US citizen born in Haiti, living and working for more than 20 years in Germany (www.wendelberger.com), quoted a Tweet by @wsteffie (a.k.a Stefanie W) conveniently located in “Cyberspace”. Her bio is both a demand and a statement of belief: “human rights for all, and social democracy can work if we all act responsibly.” Her Tweet reads: “@TIME is just teaching us about American Democracy: Ask the people to vote & then screw them!” More »
Politics and climate are often at odds with each other. The best scientific evidence shows a continuous and accelerating trend towards climate change. Each year of inaction represents higher costs in the future. More »
The leaders of the G20 have pledged that they “will spare no effort to reach a balanced and successful outcome in Cancun.” Will this really come through? More »
The election of Dilma Rousseff, Lula’s personal pick and former top aide, as next President of Brazil will trigger several important political shifts in the country.