• Shifting smoke

    How wildfires ravaging the U.S. West Coast are sending smoke between continents and up to record heights in the atmosphere.

    Last week, smoke from the fires covered the entire U.S. West Coast before spreading west out over the Pacific Ocean. This week the smoke has travelled thousands of miles east, turning skies from New York to Washington D.C. hazy and reaching as far as the skies above Britain.

    In the animation above, Reuters visualises organic carbon released into the atmosphere during the fires. The smoke contains a substantial portion of fine particulate matter known by the particles’ size as PM2.5, which can have a major impact on people’s health.

    Smoke can hurt the eyes, irritate respiratory systems, and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It can make healthy people sick if there is enough in the air.

    Smoke traveling with air currents high in the atmosphere, however, is unlikely to alter air quality on the ground in faraway places, said Santiago Gassó, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Maryland who works on contract for NASA.

    But that does not mean high-altitude smoke has no impact. Wildfire smoke, made up largely of dark carbon particles, can block some sunshine from reaching the ground. And that solar dimming can affect ground temperatures as well as how much energy plants can convert through photosynthesis, or how certain animals might behave, Gassó told Reuters.

    “If these smoke layers stayed up there for a month, you would see changes in temperatures, weather patterns, just because you’re putting something up there that doesn’t belong there. You’re changing the dynamics of the atmosphere,” Gassó said.

    High-altitude smoke may also have a heating impact. Being dark, carbon particles absorb solar radiation, effectively warming a thin layer in the atmosphere. The net effect on Earth’s climate of these two processes – solar dimming and particle heating – is still a matter of scientific debate.
    At ground level

    The wildfires – burning across a record total of some 4.8 million acres (1.9 million hectares) as of Thursday – have destroyed towns in Oregon while also devouring forests in California, Washington and Idaho. The ground-level blanket of ash and smoke has made the region’s air quality among the worst in the world.

    “Air quality this poor causes health issues for everyone, not just those with existing respiratory conditions,” said Ryan Stauffer, a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

    He described pollution levels across the region, and as far as British Columbia, Canada, as “unprecedented.” “Parts of California, Oregon and Washington state have recorded hazardous air quality for over a week straight,” Stauffer said.
    Reaching new heights

    Smoke from the fires has also pushed the limits vertically, reaching altitudes previously unseen, according to NASA. When extreme fires generate enough heat, it is propelled into the atmosphere creating thunderstorms.

    With more fuel to burn, fires also can become hot and energetic enough for the smoke cloud to punch through the natural atmospheric layers above if conditions are right.

    That happened on Sept. 7, when huge storm clouds – known as pyrocumulonimbus – rose to a height of more than 15 kilometers, pushing into the stratosphere, as illustrated by data from NASA’s CALIPSO satellite.

    The CALIPSO satellite sends laser pulses to measure light scattered back to it from particles in the atmosphere. The data shows a cross section of the atmosphere and distinguishes what the particles are, such as aerosol smoke, clouds, or ice particles.

    “The fact that it punched through that layer is very unusual,” Gassó said. “That’s what volcanoes do.”

    In the stratosphere, where the ozone layer resides, wildfire smoke particles can spread globally and can take several years, rather than months, to dissipate. Inject enough particles into that layer, and you could be blocking sunshine for a longer time period.

    “Whether those particulates would lead to net warming or cooling is a bit of an open question,” Gassó said. “The only experience we have so far has been with volcanoes.” And the evidence from volcanoes is only so helpful, because unlike wildfires, volcanoes send up particles that also reflect and scatter light, rather than absorb it.

    The fires across much of Australia in 2019 and 2020 also reached stratospheric levels, NASA reported in January. And smoke from fires in British Columbia in 2017 broke through, too.

    “When you have these events so frequently, you start to get concerned,” Gassó said.

    Another pyrocumulonimbus cloud was spotted in satellite imagery on Sept. 9, towering above fires around California’s Mendocino National Forest, though to what height is unclear. Those data are not available.

    Another tall plume of smoke, possibly a pyrocumulonimbus cloud, was also captured in satellite imagery on Sept. 9. This one was east of San Francisco, further south than the one above.

    The fire-induced clouds essentially create their own weather systems. The clouds form from the smoke plume, as the fire’s intense heat warms the surrounding air, causing it to rise rapidly, drawing in cooler air.

    The smoke cloud cools as it climbs into the chilly upper atmosphere, colliding with ice particles and building up electrical charge, which can sometimes be released as lightning.

    Fire tornadoes

    The warm updrafts can pull in so much air lower down that strong winds develop at the ground level, fanning the fire even further so it burns hotter and spreads farther. On rare occasions, these strong and sometimes erratic surface winds can swirl into a dangerous fire tornado.

    A fire tornado tore through neighborhoods in Redding, California, during the 2018 Carr Fire. In January this year, an Australian firefighter in New South Wales was killed when a fire tornado flipped over the fire truck he was in.

    During this year’s West Coast wildfires, images shared on social media show a tornado funnel appearing on Aug. 16 in a thick plume of smoke from the Loyalton Fire in Lassen County, California.
    The challenge for science

    Scientists’ understanding of these high-energy fire clouds and how they behave is still an area of active research, now being aided by satellites and other new technologies.

    “What’s fascinating about these events is that we’re getting a prime-time view of everything from space,” Gassó said. “We have so many excellent satellite systems right now, and actually this is just the beginning. It’s going to get better.”

    In fact, with so much new data pouring in, the challenge is now finding enough researchers to work on analyzing, debating and coming up with new ideas to understand it. For example, what are the physical and chemical results of these smoke particles getting into the stratosphere, where moisture and temperature conditions are very different than in the lower, warmer troposphere?

    Studying such effects would likely require duplicating the conditions in laboratory experiments.

    With climate change expected to exacerbate fires in the future, by worsening droughts and warming surface ocean temperatures, wildfire research is becoming especially important. Over the last year, the world has seen record fires in Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Siberia and now the U.S. West.

    “I’m concerned that we are starting to see these phenomena more often … everywhere in the world,” Gassó said. “If it’s one year like this, it’s fine, as long as it doesn’t keep repeating itself like this.”

    https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-WILDFIRE/POLLUTION/xlbpgjgervq/index.html
    #visualisation #cartographie #fumée #incendie #dispersion #USA #Etats-Unis

  • EXCLUSIVE-U.S. to slap sanctions on over two dozen targets ...
    https://news.trust.org/item/20200920153951-37fi7
    by Reuters - Sunday, 20 September 2020 16:30 GMT
    By Steve Holland and Arshad Mohammed

    WASHINGTON, Sept 20 (Reuters) - The United States on Monday will sanction more than two dozen people and entities involved in Iran’s nuclear, missile and conventional arms programs, a senior U.S. official said, putting teeth behind U.N. sanctions on Tehran that Washington argues have resumed despite the opposition of allies and adversaries.

    Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said Iran could have enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon by the end of the year and that Tehran has resumed long-range missile cooperation with nuclear-armed North Korea. He did not provide detailed evidence regarding either assertion.

    The new sanctions fit into U.S. President Donald Trump’s effort to limit Iran’s regional influence and come a week after U.S.-brokered deals for the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to normalize ties with Israel, pacts that may coalesce a wider coalition against Iran while appealing to pro-Israel U.S. voters ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

    The new sanctions also put European allies, China and Russia on notice that while their inclination may be to ignore the U.S. drive to maintain the U.N. sanctions on Iran, companies based in their nations would feel the bite for violating them.

    A major part of the new U.S. push is an executive order targeting those who buy or sell Iran conventional arms that was previously reported by Reuters and will also be unveiled by the Trump administration on Monday, the official said.

    #Iran #USAIran

  • Ginsburg Vigil Draws Tears, Protests Against McConnell (https://www...
    https://diasp.eu/p/11677028

    Ginsburg Vigil Draws Tears, Protests Against McConnell

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren forcefully condemned the Senate Majority leader at the vigil: “What Mitch McConnell does not understand is this fight has just begun.”

    #news #npr #publicradio #usa posted by pod_feeder_v2

  • L’#Université, le #Covid-19 et le danger des #technologies_de_l’éducation

    La crise actuelle et la solution proposée d’un passage des enseignements en ligne en urgence ont accéléré des processus systémiques déjà en cours dans les universités britanniques, en particulier dans le contexte du Brexit. Même si l’enseignement en ligne peut avoir une portée radicale et égalitaire, sa pérennisation dans les conditions actuelles ouvrirait la voie à ce que les fournisseurs privés de technologies de l’éducation (edtech d’après l’anglais educational technology) imposent leurs priorités et fassent de l’exception une norme.

    Mariya Ivancheva, sociologue à l’université de Liverpool dont les recherches portent sur l’enseignement supérieur, soutient que nous devons repenser ce phénomène et y résister, sans quoi le secteur de l’enseignement supérieur britannique continuera d’opérer comme un outil d’extraction et de redistribution de l’argent public vers le secteur privé.

    *

    Avec la propagation mondiale du coronavirus et la désignation du COVID-19 comme pandémie par l’Organisation mondiale de la santé le 11 mars, les universités de nombreux pays ont eu recours à l’enseignement en ligne. Rien qu’aux États-Unis, dès le 12 mars, plus de 100 universités sont passées à l’enseignement à distance. Depuis, rares sont les pays où au moins une partie des cours n’est pas dispensée en ligne. Les prestataires de services d’enseignement privés ont été inondés de demandes de la part des universités, qui les sollicitaient pour faciliter le passage à l’enseignement à distance.

    Au Royaume-Uni, la réticence initiale du gouvernement et des directions de certaines institutions d’enseignement supérieur à imposer des mesures de distanciation sociale et à fermer les établissements ont mené plusieurs universités à prendre cette initiative de leur propre chef. Le 23 mars, lorsque les règles de confinement et de distanciation sociale ont finalement été introduites, la plupart des universités avaient déjà déplacé leurs cours en ligne et fermé la plus grande partie de leur campus, à l’exception des « services essentiels ». Si un débat sur les inégalités face à l’université dématérialisée a eu lieu (accès aux ordinateurs, à une connexion Internet sécurisée et à un espace de travail calme pour les étudiant.e.s issus de familles pauvres, vivant dans des conditions défavorables, porteurs de responsabilités familiales ou d’un handicap), l’impact sur le long terme de ce passage en ligne sur le travail universitaire n’a pas été suffisamment discuté.

    Ne pas laisser passer l’opportunité d’une bonne crise

    Étant donnée la manière criminelle dont le gouvernement britannique a initialement répondu à la crise sanitaire, un retard qui aurait coûté la vie à plus de 50 000 personnes, les mesures de confinement et de distanciation prises par les universités sont louables. Toutefois, la mise en ligne des enseignements a également accéléré des processus déjà existants dans le secteur universitaire au Royaume-Uni.

    En effet, surtout depuis la crise de 2008, ce secteur est aux prises avec la marchandisation, les politiques d’austérité et la précarisation. Désormais, il doit également faire aux conséquences du Brexit, qui se traduiront par une baisse des financements pour la recherche provenant de l’UE ainsi que par une diminution du nombre d’étudiant.e.s européens. Entre l’imminence d’une crise économique sans précédent, les craintes d’une baisse drastique des effectifs d’étudiant.e.s étranger/ères payant des frais de scolarité pour l’année académique à venir et le refus du gouvernement de débourser deux milliards de livres pour renflouer le secteur, la perspective d’une reprise rapide est peu probable.

    Le passage en ligne a permis à de nombreux étudiant.e.s de terminer le semestre et l’année académique : pourtant, les personnels enseignants et administratifs n’ont reçu que de maigres garanties face à la conjoncture. Pour les enseignements, les universités britanniques dépendent à plus de 50% de travailleurs précaires, ayant des contrats de vacation souvent rémunérés à l’heure et sur demande (« zero-hour contract » : contrat sans horaire spécifié). Si certaines universités ont mis en place des systèmes de congé sans solde ou de chômage partiel pour faire face à la pandémie, la majorité d’entre elles envisage de renvoyer les plus vulnérables parmi leurs employés.

    Parallèlement, les sociétés prestataires d’edtech, qui sollicitaient auparavant les universités de manière discrète, sont désormais considérées comme des fournisseurs de services de « premiers secours » voire « palliatifs ». Or, dans le contexte actuel, la prolongation de ces modes d’enseignements entraînerait une précarisation et une externalisation accrues du travail universitaire, et serait extrêmement préjudiciable à l’université publique.

    Les eaux troubles de l’enseignement supérieur commercialisé

    Au cours des dernières décennies, le domaine universitaire britannique a connu une énorme redistribution des fonds publics vers des prestataires privés. Les contributions du public et des particuliers à l’enseignement supérieur se font désormais par trois biais : les impôts (budgets pour la recherche et frais de fonctionnement des universités), les frais d’études (frais de scolarité, frais de subsistance et remboursement des prêts étudiants) et par le port du risque de crédit pour les prêts étudiants (reconditionnés en dette et vendus aux investisseurs privés)[1].

    Lorsque les directions des universités mettent en œuvre des partenariats public-privé dont les conditions sont largement avantageuses pour le secteur privé, elles prétendent que ces contrats profitent au « bien public », et ce grâce à l’investissement qu’ils permettraient dans les infrastructures et les services, et parce qu’ils mèneraient à la création d’emplois et donc à de la croissance. Mais cette rhétorique dissimule mal le fait que ces contrats participent en réalité à un modèle d’expansion de l’université fondé sur la financiarisation et le non-respect des droits des travailleurs dont les conditions de travail deviennent encore plus précaires.

    À cet égard, les retraites des universitaires ont été privatisées par le biais d’un régime appelé Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), dont il a été divulgué qu’il s’agissait d’un régime fiscal offshore. Par ailleurs, les universités britanniques, très bien notées par les agences de notation qui supposent que l’État les soutiendrait le cas échéant, ont été autorisées à emprunter des centaines de millions de livres pour investir dans la construction de résidences étudiantes privées, s’engageant à une augmentation exponentielle du nombre d’étudiant.e.s.

    Le marché de la construction des résidences universitaires privées atteignait 45 milliards de livres en 2017, et bénéficiait souvent à des sociétés privées offshores. Les étudiant.e.s sont ainsi accueillis dans des dortoirs sans âme, fréquentent des infrastructures basiques (par exemple les installations sportives), alors qu’ils manquent cruellement d’accès aux services de soutien psychologique et social, ou même tout simplement de contact direct avec leurs enseignants, qu’ils voient souvent de loin dans des amphithéâtres bondés. Ces choix ont pour résultat une détérioration dramatique de la santé mentale des étudiant.e.s.

    Avec des frais universitaires pouvant aller jusqu’à £9 000 par an pour les études de premier cycle et dépassant parfois £20 000 par an en cycle de masters pour les étudiant.e.s étranger/ères (sans compter les frais de subsistance : nourriture, logement, loisirs), la dette étudiante liée à l’emprunt a atteint 121 milliards de livres. La prévalence d’emplois précaires et mal payés sur le marché du travail rend à l’évidence ces prêts de plus en plus difficiles à rembourser.

    Enfin, le financement de la recherche provient toujours principalement de sources publiques, telles que l’UE ou les comités nationaux pour la recherche. Candidater pour ces financements extrêmement compétitifs demande un énorme investissement en temps, en main d’œuvre et en ressources. Ces candidatures sont cependant fortement encouragées par la direction des universités, en dépit du faible taux de réussite et du fait que ces financements aboutissent souvent à des collaborations entre université et industrie qui profitent au secteur privé par le biais de brevets, de main-d’œuvre de recherche bon marché, et en octroyant aux entreprises un droit de veto sur les publications.

    Les edtech entrent en scène

    Dans le même temps, les sociétés d’edtech jouent un rôle de plus en plus important au sein des universités, profitant de deux changements du paradigme véhiculé par l’idéologie néolibérale du marché libre appliquée à l’enseignement supérieur – ainsi qu’à d’autres services publics.

    D’abord, l’idée de services centrés sur les « utilisateurs » (les « apprenants »selon la terminologie en cours dans l’enseignement), s’est traduite concrètement par des coûts additionnels pour le public et les usagers ainsi que par l’essor du secteur privé, conduisant à l’individualisation accrue des risques et de la dette. Ainsi, la formation professionnelle des étudiant.e.s, autrefois proposée par les employeurs, est désormais considérée comme relevant de la responsabilité des universités. Les universitaires qui considèrent que leur rôle n’est pas de former les étudiant.e.s aux compétences attendues sur le marché du travail sont continuellement dénigrés.

    Le deuxième paradigme mis en avant par les sociétés edtech pour promouvoir leurs services auprès des universités est celui de l’approche centrée sur les « solutions ». Mais c’est la même « solution » qui est invariablement proposée par les sociétés edtech, à savoir celle de la « rupture numérique », ou, en d’autres termes, la rupture avec l’institution universitaire telle que nous la connaissons. En réponse aux demandes en faveur d’universités plus démocratiques et égalitaires, dégagées de leur soumission croissante aux élites au pouvoir, les sociétés edtech (dont la capitalisation s’élève à des milliards de dollars) se présentent comme offrant la solution via les technologies numériques.

    Elles s’associent à une longue histoire où le progrès technologique (que ce soit les lettres, la radio, les cassettes audio ou les enregistrements vidéo) a effectivement été mis au service d’étudiant.e.s « atypiques » tels que les travailleurs, les femmes, les personnes vivant dans des zones d’accès difficile, les personnes porteuses de handicap ou assumant des responsabilités familiales. L’éducation ouverte par le biais par exemple de webinaires gratuits, les formations en ligne ouvertes à tous (MOOC), les ressources éducatives disponibles gratuitement et les logiciels open source suivaient à l’origine un objectif progressiste d’élargissement de l’accès à l’éducation.

    Toutefois, avec le passage en ligne des enseignements dans un secteur universitaire fortement commercialisé, les technologies sont en réalité utilisées à des fins opposées. Avant la pandémie de COVID-19, certaines universités proposaient déjà des MOOC, des formations de courte durée gratuites et créditées et des diplômes en ligne par le biais de partenariats public-privé avec des sociétés de gestion de programmes en ligne.

    Au sein du marché général des technologies de l’information, ces sociétés représentent un secteur d’une soixantaine de fournisseurs, estimé à 3 milliards de dollars et qui devrait atteindre 7,7 milliards de dollars d’ici 2025 – un chiffre susceptible d’augmenter avec les effets de la pandémie. Le modèle commercial de ces partenariats implique généralement que ces sociétés récoltent entre 50 à 70% des revenus liés aux frais de scolarité, ainsi que l’accès à des mégadonnées très rentables, en échange de quoi elles fournissent le capital de démarrage, la plateforme, des services de commercialisation et une aide au recrutement et assument le coût lié aux risques.

    L’une des différences essentielles entre ces sociétés et d’autres acteurs du secteur des technologies de l’éducation proposant des services numériques est qu’elles contribuent à ce qui est considéré comme le « cœur de métier » : la conception des programmes, l’enseignement et le soutien aux étudiant.e.s. Une deuxième différence est que, contrairement à d’autres prestataires d’enseignement privés, ces sociétés utilisent l’image institutionnelle d’universités existantes pour vendre leur produit, sans être trop visibles.

    Normaliser la précarisation et les inégalités

    Le secteur de la gestion des programmes en ligne repose sur une charge importante de travail académique pour les employés ainsi que sur le recours à une main-d’œuvre précaire et externalisée. Ceci permet aux sociétés bénéficiaires de contourner la résistance organisée au sein des universités. De nombreux MOOC, formations de courte durée et des diplômes en ligne en partenariat avec ces sociétés font désormais partie de l’offre habituelle des universités britanniques.

    La charge de travail académique déjà croissante des enseignants est intensifiée par les enseignements en ligne, sans rémunération supplémentaire, et alors même que de tels cours demandent une pédagogie différente et prennent plus de temps que l’enseignement en classe. Avec la transformation de l’enseignement à distance d’urgence en une offre d’« éducation en ligne », ces modalités pourraient devenir la nouvelle norme.

    L’université de Durham a d’ailleurs tenté d’instaurer un dangereux précédent à cet égard, qui en présage d’autres à venir. L’université a conclu un accord avec la société Cambridge Education Digital (CED), afin d’offrir des diplômes entièrement en ligne à partir de l’automne 2020, sans consultation du personnel, mais en ayant la garantie de CED que seules six heures de formation étaient nécessaires pour concevoir et délivrer ces diplômes.

    Dans le même temps, les sociétés de gestion de programmes en ligne ont déjà recruté de nombreux·ses travailleur/euses diplômé·e·s de l’éducation supérieure, souvent titulaires d’un doctorat obtenu depuis peu, cantonné·e·s à des emplois précaires, et chargés de fournir un soutien académique aux étudiant.e.s. Il s’agit de contrats temporaires, sur la base d’une rémunération à la tâche, peu sécurisés et mal payés, comparables à ceux proposés par Deliveroo ou TaskRabbit. Ces employés, qui ne sont pas syndiqués auprès du même syndicat que les autres universitaires, et qui sont souvent des femmes ou des universitaires noirs ou issus de minorités racisées, désavantagés en matière d’embauche et de promotion, seront plus facilement ciblé·e·s par les vagues de licenciement liées au COVID-19.

    Cela signifie également qu’ils/elles seront utilisé·e·s – comme l’ont été les universitaires des agences d’intérim par le passé – pour briser les piquets de grève lors de mobilisations à l’université. Ce système se nourrit directement de la polarisation entre universitaires, au bénéfice des enseignant·e·s éligibles aux financements de recherche, qui s’approprient les recherches produites par les chercheur/ses précaires et utilisent le personnel employé sur des contrats uniquement dédiés à l’enseignement [pour fournir les charges d’enseignement de collègues déchargés]. Il s’agit là de pratiques légitimées par le mode de financement de l’UE et des comités nationaux pour la recherche ainsi que par le système de classements et d’audits de la recherche.

    Avec le COVID-19, le modèle proposé par les entreprises de gestion de programmes en ligne, fondé sur l’externalisation et la privatisation des activités de base et de la main-d’œuvre de l’université, pourrait gagner encore plus de terrain. Ceci s’inscrit en réalité dans le cadre d’un changement structurel qui présagerait la fin de l’enseignement supérieur public. Le coût énorme du passage en ligne – récemment estimé à 10 millions de livres sterling pour 5-6 cours en ligne par université et 1 milliard de livres sterling pour l’ensemble du secteur – signifie que de nombreuses universités ne pourront pas se permettre d’offrir des enseignements dématérialisés.

    De plus, les sociétés de gestion de programmes en ligne ne travaillent pas avec n’importe quelle université : elles préfèrent celles dont l’image institutionnelle est bien établie. Dans cette conjoncture, et compte tenu de la possibilité que de nombreux/ses étudiant.e.s annulent (ou interrompent) leur inscription dans une université du Royaume-Uni par crainte de la pandémie, de nombreuses universités plus petites et moins visibles à l’échelle internationale pourraient perdre un nombre importante d’étudiant.e.s, et le financement qui en découle.

    En dépit de tous ces éléments, l’appel à une réglementation et à un plafonnement du nombre d’étudiant.e.s admis par chaque institution, qui permettraient une redistribution sur l’ensemble du secteur et entre les différentes universités, semble tomber dans l’oreille d’un sourd.

    Un article sur le blog de Jo Johnson, ancien ministre de l’Éducation et frère du Premier ministre britannique, exprime une vision cynique de l’avenir des universités britanniques. Sa formule est simple : le gouvernement devrait refuser l’appel au soutien des universités moins bien classées, telles que les « instituts polytechniques », anciennement consacrés à la formation professionnelle et transformés en universités en 1992. Souvent davantage orientées vers l’enseignement que vers la recherche, ceux-ci n’ont que rarement des partenariats avec des sociétés de gestion de programmes en ligne ou une offre de cours à distance. Selon Johnson, ces universités sont vouées à mourir de mort naturelle, ou bien à revenir à leur offre précédente de formation professionnelle.

    Les universités du Groupe Russell[2], très concentrées sur la recherche, qui proposent déjà des enseignements dématérialisés en partenariat avec des prestataires de gestion des programmes en ligne, pourraient quant à elles se développer davantage, à la faveur de leur image institutionnelle de marque, et concentreraient ainsi tous les étudiant.e.s et les revenus. Ce qu’une telle vision ne précise pas, c’est ce qu’il adviendrait du personnel enseignant. Il est facile d’imaginer que les nouvelles méga-universités seraient encore plus tributaires des services de « soutien aux étudiant.e.s » et d’enseignement dispensés par des universitaires externalisés, recrutés par des sociétés de gestion des programmes en ligne avec des contrats à la demande, hyper-précaires et déprofessionnalisés.

    Lieux de lutte et de résistance

    Ce scénario appelle à la résistance, mais celle-ci devient de plus en plus difficile. Au cours des six derniers mois, les membres du syndicat « University and College Union » (UCU) ont totalisé 22 jours de grève. L’une des deux revendications portées par cette mobilisation, parmi les plus longues et les plus soutenues dans l’enseignement supérieur britannique, portait sur les retraites.

    La seconde combinait quatre revendications : une réduction de la charge de travail, une augmentation des salaires sur l’ensemble du secteur (ils ont diminué de 20% au cours de la dernière décennie), s’opposer à la précarisation, et supprimer les écarts de rémunération entre hommes et femmes (21%) et ceux ciblant les personnes racisées (26%). Les employeurs, représentés par « Universities UK » et l’Association des employeurs « Universities and Colleges », n’ont jusqu’à présent pas fait de concessions significatives face à la grève. La crise du COVID-19 a limité l’option de la grève, alors que l’augmentation de la charge de travail, la réduction des salaires et la précarisation sont désormais présentées comme les seules solutions pour faire face à la pandémie et aux crises économiques.

    Dans ce contexte, le passage vers l’enseignement en ligne doit devenir un enjeu central des luttes des syndicats enseignants. Toutefois, la possibilité de mener des recherches sur ce processus – un outil clé pour les syndicats – semble limitée. De nombreux contrats liant les universités et les entreprises de gestion de programme en ligne sont conclus sans consultation du personnel et ne sont pas accessibles au public. En outre, les résultats de ces recherches sont souvent considérés comme nocifs pour l’image des sociétés.

    Pourtant, un diagnostic et une réglementation des contrats entre les universités et ces entreprises, ainsi que celle du marché de l’edtech en général, sont plus que jamais nécessaires. En particulier, il est impératif d’en comprendre les effets sur le travail universitaire et de faire la lumière sur l’utilisation qui est faite des données collectées concernant les étudiant.e.s par les sociétés d’edtech. Tout en s’opposant aux licenciements, l’UCU devrait également se mettre à la disposition des universitaires travaillant de manière externalisée, et envisager de s’engager dans la lutte contre la sous-traitance du personnel enseignant.

    Bien que tout cela puisse aujourd’hui sembler être un problème propre au Royaume-Uni, la tempête qui y secoue aujourd’hui le secteur de l’enseignement supérieur ne tardera pas à se propager à d’autres contextes nationaux.

    Traduit par Céline Cantat.

    Cet article a été publié initialement sur le blog du bureau de Bruxelles de la Fondation Rosa Luxemburg et de Trademark Trade-union.
    Notes

    [1] La réforme de 2010 a entraîné le triplement des droits d’inscriptions, qui sont passés de 3000 à 9000 livres (soit plus de 10 000 euros) par an pour une année en licence pour les étudiant.e.s britanniques et originaires de l’UE (disposition qui prendra fin pour ces dernier.e.s avec la mise en œuvre du Brexit). Le montant de ces droits est libre pour les étudiant.e.s hors-UE, il équivaut en général au moins au double. Il est également bien plus élevé pour les masters.

    [2] Fondé en 1994, le Russell Group est un réseau de vingt-quatre universités au Royaume-Uni censé regrouper les pôles d’excellence de la recherche et faire contrepoids à la fameuse Ivy League étatsunienne.

    https://www.contretemps.eu/universite-covid19-technologies-education

    #le_monde_d'après #enseignement #technologie #coronavirus #facs #UK #Angleterre #distanciel #enseignement_en_ligne #privatisation #edtech #educational_technology #Mariya_Ivancheva #secteur_privé #enseignement_à_distance #dématérialisation #marchandisation #austérité #précarisation #Brexit #vacation #précaires #vacataires #zero-hour_contract #externalisation #ESR #enseignement_supérieur #partenariats_public-privé #financiarisation #conditions_de_travail #Universities_Superannuation_Scheme (#USS) #fiscalité #résidences_universitaires_privées #immobilier #santé_mentale #frais_universitaires #dette #dette_étudiante #rupture_numérique #technologies_numériques #MOOC #business #Cambridge_Education_Digital (#CED) #ubérisation #Russell_Group

  • How Climate Migration Will Reshape America. Millions will be displaced. Where will they go?

    August besieged California with a heat unseen in generations. A surge in air-conditioning broke the state’s electrical grid, leaving a population already ravaged by the coronavirus to work remotely by the dim light of their cellphones. By midmonth, the state had recorded possibly the hottest temperature ever measured on earth — 130 degrees in Death Valley — and an otherworldly storm of lightning had cracked open the sky. From Santa Cruz to Lake Tahoe, thousands of bolts of electricity exploded down onto withered grasslands and forests, some of them already hollowed out by climate-driven infestations of beetles and kiln-dried by the worst five-year drought on record. Soon, California was on fire.

    This article, the second in a series on global climate migration, is a partnership between ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine, with support from the Pulitzer Center. Read Part 1.

    Over the next two weeks, 900 blazes incinerated six times as much land as all the state’s 2019 wildfires combined, forcing 100,000 people from their homes. Three of the largest fires in history burned simultaneously in a ring around the San Francisco Bay Area. Another fire burned just 12 miles from my home in Marin County. I watched as towering plumes of smoke billowed from distant hills in all directions and air tankers crisscrossed the skies. Like many Californians, I spent those weeks worrying about what might happen next, wondering how long it would be before an inferno of 60-foot flames swept up the steep, grassy hillside on its way toward my own house, rehearsing in my mind what my family would do to escape.

    But I also had a longer-term question, about what would happen once this unprecedented fire season ended. Was it finally time to leave for good?

    I had an unusual perspective on the matter. For two years, I have been studying how climate change will influence global migration. My sense was that of all the devastating consequences of a warming planet — changing landscapes, pandemics, mass extinctions — the potential movement of hundreds of millions of climate refugees across the planet stands to be among the most important. I traveled across four countries to witness how rising temperatures were driving climate refugees away from some of the poorest and hottest parts of the world. I had also helped create an enormous computer simulation to analyze how global demographics might shift, and now I was working on a data-mapping project about migration here in the United States.

    So it was with some sense of recognition that I faced the fires these last few weeks. In recent years, summer has brought a season of fear to California, with ever-worsening wildfires closing in. But this year felt different. The hopelessness of the pattern was now clear, and the pandemic had already uprooted so many Americans. Relocation no longer seemed like such a distant prospect. Like the subjects of my reporting, climate change had found me, its indiscriminate forces erasing all semblance of normalcy. Suddenly I had to ask myself the very question I’d been asking others: Was it time to move?

    I am far from the only American facing such questions. This summer has seen more fires, more heat, more storms — all of it making life increasingly untenable in larger areas of the nation. Already, droughts regularly threaten food crops across the West, while destructive floods inundate towns and fields from the Dakotas to Maryland, collapsing dams in Michigan and raising the shorelines of the Great Lakes. Rising seas and increasingly violent hurricanes are making thousands of miles of American shoreline nearly uninhabitable. As California burned, Hurricane Laura pounded the Louisiana coast with 150-mile-an-hour winds, killing at least 25 people; it was the 12th named storm to form by that point in 2020, another record. Phoenix, meanwhile, endured 53 days of 110-degree heat — 20 more days than the previous record.

    For years, Americans have avoided confronting these changes in their own backyards. The decisions we make about where to live are distorted not just by politics that play down climate risks, but also by expensive subsidies and incentives aimed at defying nature. In much of the developing world, vulnerable people will attempt to flee the emerging perils of global warming, seeking cooler temperatures, more fresh water and safety. But here in the United States, people have largely gravitated toward environmental danger, building along coastlines from New Jersey to Florida and settling across the cloudless deserts of the Southwest.

    I wanted to know if this was beginning to change. Might Americans finally be waking up to how climate is about to transform their lives? And if so — if a great domestic relocation might be in the offing — was it possible to project where we might go? To answer these questions, I interviewed more than four dozen experts: economists and demographers, climate scientists and insurance executives, architects and urban planners, and I mapped out the danger zones that will close in on Americans over the next 30 years. The maps for the first time combined exclusive climate data from the Rhodium Group, an independent data-analytics firm; wildfire projections modeled by United States Forest Service researchers and others; and data about America’s shifting climate niches, an evolution of work first published by The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last spring. (See a detailed analysis of the maps.)

    What I found was a nation on the cusp of a great transformation. Across the United States, some 162 million people — nearly one in two — will most likely experience a decline in the quality of their environment, namely more heat and less water. For 93 million of them, the changes could be particularly severe, and by 2070, our analysis suggests, if carbon emissions rise at extreme levels, at least four million Americans could find themselves living at the fringe, in places decidedly outside the ideal niche for human life. The cost of resisting the new climate reality is mounting. Florida officials have already acknowledged that defending some roadways against the sea will be unaffordable. And the nation’s federal flood-insurance program is for the first time requiring that some of its payouts be used to retreat from climate threats across the country. It will soon prove too expensive to maintain the status quo.

    Then what? One influential 2018 study, published in The Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, suggests that one in 12 Americans in the Southern half of the country will move toward California, the Mountain West or the Northwest over the next 45 years because of climate influences alone. Such a shift in population is likely to increase poverty and widen the gulf between the rich and the poor. It will accelerate rapid, perhaps chaotic, urbanization of cities ill-equipped for the burden, testing their capacity to provide basic services and amplifying existing inequities. It will eat away at prosperity, dealing repeated economic blows to coastal, rural and Southern regions, which could in turn push entire communities to the brink of collapse. This process has already begun in rural Louisiana and coastal Georgia, where low-income and Black and Indigenous communities face environmental change on top of poor health and extreme poverty. Mobility itself, global-migration experts point out, is often a reflection of relative wealth, and as some move, many others will be left behind. Those who stay risk becoming trapped as the land and the society around them ceases to offer any more support.

    There are signs that the message is breaking through. Half of Americans now rank climate as a top political priority, up from roughly one-third in 2016, and three out of four now describe climate change as either “a crisis” or “a major problem.” This year, Democratic caucusgoers in Iowa, where tens of thousands of acres of farmland flooded in 2019, ranked climate second only to health care as an issue. A poll by researchers at Yale and George Mason Universities found that even Republicans’ views are shifting: One in three now think climate change should be declared a national emergency.

    Policymakers, having left America unprepared for what’s next, now face brutal choices about which communities to save — often at exorbitant costs — and which to sacrifice. Their decisions will almost inevitably make the nation more divided, with those worst off relegated to a nightmare future in which they are left to fend for themselves. Nor will these disruptions wait for the worst environmental changes to occur. The wave begins when individual perception of risk starts to shift, when the environmental threat reaches past the least fortunate and rattles the physical and financial security of broader, wealthier parts of the population. It begins when even places like California’s suburbs are no longer safe.

    It has already begun.

    Let’s start with some basics. Across the country, it’s going to get hot. Buffalo may feel in a few decades like Tempe, Ariz., does today, and Tempe itself will sustain 100-degree average summer temperatures by the end of the century. Extreme humidity from New Orleans to northern Wisconsin will make summers increasingly unbearable, turning otherwise seemingly survivable heat waves into debilitating health threats. Fresh water will also be in short supply, not only in the West but also in places like Florida, Georgia and Alabama, where droughts now regularly wither cotton fields. By 2040, according to federal government projections, extreme water shortages will be nearly ubiquitous west of Missouri. The Memphis Sands Aquifer, a crucial water supply for Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana, is already overdrawn by hundreds of millions of gallons a day. Much of the Ogallala Aquifer — which supplies nearly a third of the nation’s irrigation groundwater — could be gone by the end of the century.

    It can be difficult to see the challenges clearly because so many factors are in play. At least 28 million Americans are likely to face megafires like the ones we are now seeing in California, in places like Texas and Florida and Georgia. At the same time, 100 million Americans — largely in the Mississippi River Basin from Louisiana to Wisconsin — will increasingly face humidity so extreme that working outside or playing school sports could cause heatstroke. Crop yields will be decimated from Texas to Alabama and all the way north through Oklahoma and Kansas and into Nebraska.

    The challenges are so widespread and so interrelated that Americans seeking to flee one could well run into another. I live on a hilltop, 400 feet above sea level, and my home will never be touched by rising waters. But by the end of this century, if the more extreme projections of eight to 10 feet of sea-level rise come to fruition, the shoreline of San Francisco Bay will move three miles closer to my house, as it subsumes some 166 square miles of land, including a high school, a new county hospital and the store where I buy groceries. The freeway to San Francisco will need to be raised, and to the east, a new bridge will be required to connect the community of Point Richmond to the city of Berkeley. The Latino, Asian and Black communities who live in the most-vulnerable low-lying districts will be displaced first, but research from Mathew Hauer, a sociologist at Florida State University who published some of the first modeling of American climate migration in the journal Nature Climate Change in 2017, suggests that the toll will eventually be far more widespread: Nearly one in three people here in Marin County will leave, part of the roughly 700,000 who his models suggest may abandon the broader Bay Area as a result of sea-level rise alone.

    From Maine to North Carolina to Texas, rising sea levels are not just chewing up shorelines but also raising rivers and swamping the subterranean infrastructure of coastal communities, making a stable life there all but impossible. Coastal high points will be cut off from roadways, amenities and escape routes, and even far inland, saltwater will seep into underground drinking-water supplies. Eight of the nation’s 20 largest metropolitan areas — Miami, New York and Boston among them — will be profoundly altered, indirectly affecting some 50 million people. Imagine large concrete walls separating Fort Lauderdale condominiums from a beachless waterfront, or dozens of new bridges connecting the islands of Philadelphia. Not every city can spend $100 billion on a sea wall, as New York most likely will. Barrier islands? Rural areas along the coast without a strong tax base? They are likely, in the long term, unsalvageable.

    In all, Hauer projects that 13 million Americans will be forced to move away from submerged coastlines. Add to that the people contending with wildfires and other risks, and the number of Americans who might move — though difficult to predict precisely — could easily be tens of millions larger. Even 13 million climate migrants, though, would rank as the largest migration in North American history. The Great Migration — of six million Black Americans out of the South from 1916 to 1970 — transformed almost everything we know about America, from the fate of its labor movement to the shape of its cities to the sound of its music. What would it look like when twice that many people moved? What might change?

    Americans have been conditioned not to respond to geographical climate threats as people in the rest of the world do. It is natural that rural Guatemalans or subsistence farmers in Kenya, facing drought or scorching heat, would seek out someplace more stable and resilient. Even a subtle environmental change — a dry well, say — can mean life or death, and without money to address the problem, migration is often simply a question of survival.

    By comparison, Americans are richer, often much richer, and more insulated from the shocks of climate change. They are distanced from the food and water sources they depend on, and they are part of a culture that sees every problem as capable of being solved by money. So even as the average flow of the Colorado River — the water supply for 40 million Western Americans and the backbone of the nation’s vegetable and cattle farming — has declined for most of the last 33 years, the population of Nevada has doubled. At the same time, more than 1.5 million people have moved to the Phoenix metro area, despite its dependence on that same river (and the fact that temperatures there now regularly hit 115 degrees). Since Hurricane Andrew devastated Florida in 1992 — and even as that state has become a global example of the threat of sea-level rise — more than five million people have moved to Florida’s shorelines, driving a historic boom in building and real estate.

    Similar patterns are evident across the country. Census data show us how Americans move: toward heat, toward coastlines, toward drought, regardless of evidence of increasing storms and flooding and other disasters.

    The sense that money and technology can overcome nature has emboldened Americans. Where money and technology fail, though, it inevitably falls to government policies — and government subsidies — to pick up the slack. Thanks to federally subsidized canals, for example, water in part of the Desert Southwest costs less than it does in Philadelphia. The federal National Flood Insurance Program has paid to rebuild houses that have flooded six times over in the same spot. And federal agriculture aid withholds subsidies from farmers who switch to drought-resistant crops, while paying growers to replant the same ones that failed. Farmers, seed manufacturers, real estate developers and a few homeowners benefit, at least momentarily, but the gap between what the climate can destroy and what money can replace is growing.

    Perhaps no market force has proved more influential — and more misguided — than the nation’s property-insurance system. From state to state, readily available and affordable policies have made it attractive to buy or replace homes even where they are at high risk of disasters, systematically obscuring the reality of the climate threat and fooling many Americans into thinking that their decisions are safer than they actually are. Part of the problem is that most policies look only 12 months into the future, ignoring long-term trends even as insurance availability influences development and drives people’s long-term decision-making.

    Even where insurers have tried to withdraw policies or raise rates to reduce climate-related liabilities, state regulators have forced them to provide affordable coverage anyway, simply subsidizing the cost of underwriting such a risky policy or, in some cases, offering it themselves. The regulations — called Fair Access to Insurance Requirements — are justified by developers and local politicians alike as economic lifeboats “of last resort” in regions where climate change threatens to interrupt economic growth. While they do protect some entrenched and vulnerable communities, the laws also satisfy the demand of wealthier homeowners who still want to be able to buy insurance.

    At least 30 states, including Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Texas, have developed so-called FAIR plans, and today they serve as a market backstop in the places facing the highest risks of climate-driven disasters, including coastal flooding, hurricanes and wildfires.

    In an era of climate change, though, such policies amount to a sort of shell game, meant to keep growth going even when other obvious signs and scientific research suggest that it should stop.

    That’s what happened in Florida. Hurricane Andrew reduced parts of cities to landfill and cost insurers nearly $16 billion in payouts. Many insurance companies, recognizing the likelihood that it would happen again, declined to renew policies and left the state. So the Florida Legislature created a state-run company to insure properties itself, preventing both an exodus and an economic collapse by essentially pretending that the climate vulnerabilities didn’t exist.

    As a result, Florida’s taxpayers by 2012 had assumed liabilities worth some $511 billion — more than seven times the state’s total budget — as the value of coastal property topped $2.8 trillion. Another direct hurricane risked bankrupting the state. Florida, concerned that it had taken on too much risk, has since scaled back its self-insurance plan. But the development that resulted is still in place.

    On a sweltering afternoon last October, with the skies above me full of wildfire smoke, I called Jesse Keenan, an urban-planning and climate-change specialist then at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, who advises the federal Commodity Futures Trading Commission on market hazards from climate change. Keenan, who is now an associate professor of real estate at Tulane University’s School of Architecture, had been in the news last year for projecting where people might move to — suggesting that Duluth, Minn., for instance, should brace for a coming real estate boom as climate migrants move north. But like other scientists I’d spoken with, Keenan had been reluctant to draw conclusions about where these migrants would be driven from.

    Last fall, though, as the previous round of fires ravaged California, his phone began to ring, with private-equity investors and bankers all looking for his read on the state’s future. Their interest suggested a growing investor-grade nervousness about swiftly mounting environmental risk in the hottest real estate markets in the country. It’s an early sign, he told me, that the momentum is about to switch directions. “And once this flips,” he added, “it’s likely to flip very quickly.”

    In fact, the correction — a newfound respect for the destructive power of nature, coupled with a sudden disavowal of Americans’ appetite for reckless development — had begun two years earlier, when a frightening surge in disasters offered a jolting preview of how the climate crisis was changing the rules.

    On October 9, 2017, a wildfire blazed through the suburban blue-collar neighborhood of Coffey Park in Santa Rosa, Calif., virtually in my own backyard. I awoke to learn that more than 1,800 buildings were reduced to ashes, less than 35 miles from where I slept. Inchlong cinders had piled on my windowsills like falling snow.

    The Tubbs Fire, as it was called, shouldn’t have been possible. Coffey Park is surrounded not by vegetation but by concrete and malls and freeways. So insurers had rated it as “basically zero risk,” according to Kevin Van Leer, then a risk modeler from the global insurance liability firm Risk Management Solutions. (He now does similar work for Cape Analytics.) But Van Leer, who had spent seven years picking through the debris left by disasters to understand how insurers could anticipate — and price — the risk of their happening again, had begun to see other “impossible” fires. After a 2016 fire tornado ripped through northern Canada and a firestorm consumed Gatlinburg, Tenn., he said, “alarm bells started going off” for the insurance industry.

    What Van Leer saw when he walked through Coffey Park a week after the Tubbs Fire changed the way he would model and project fire risk forever. Typically, fire would spread along the ground, burning maybe 50 percent of structures. In Santa Rosa, more than 90 percent had been leveled. “The destruction was complete,” he told me. Van Leer determined that the fire had jumped through the forest canopy, spawning 70-mile-per-hour winds that kicked a storm of embers into the modest homes of Coffey Park, which burned at an acre a second as homes ignited spontaneously from the radiant heat. It was the kind of thing that might never have been possible if California’s autumn winds weren’t getting fiercer and drier every year, colliding with intensifying, climate-driven heat and ever-expanding development. “It’s hard to forecast something you’ve never seen before,” he said.

    For me, the awakening to imminent climate risk came with California’s rolling power blackouts last fall — an effort to pre-emptively avoid the risk of a live wire sparking a fire — which showed me that all my notional perspective about climate risk and my own life choices were on a collision course. After the first one, all the food in our refrigerator was lost. When power was interrupted six more times in three weeks, we stopped trying to keep it stocked. All around us, small fires burned. Thick smoke produced fits of coughing. Then, as now, I packed an ax and a go-bag in my car, ready to evacuate. As former Gov. Jerry Brown said, it was beginning to feel like the “new abnormal.”

    It was no surprise, then, that California’s property insurers — having watched 26 years’ worth of profits dissolve over 24 months — began dropping policies, or that California’s insurance commissioner, trying to slow the slide, placed a moratorium on insurance cancellations for parts of the state in 2020. In February, the Legislature introduced a bill compelling California to, in the words of one consumer advocacy group, “follow the lead of Florida” by mandating that insurance remain available, in this case with a requirement that homeowners first harden their properties against fire. At the same time, participation in California’s FAIR plan for catastrophic fires has grown by at least 180 percent since 2015, and in Santa Rosa, houses are being rebuilt in the very same wildfire-vulnerable zones that proved so deadly in 2017. Given that a new study projects a 20 percent increase in extreme-fire-weather days by 2035, such practices suggest a special form of climate negligence.

    It’s only a matter of time before homeowners begin to recognize the unsustainability of this approach. Market shock, when driven by the sort of cultural awakening to risk that Keenan observes, can strike a neighborhood like an infectious disease, with fear spreading doubt — and devaluation — from door to door. It happened that way in the foreclosure crisis.

    Keenan calls the practice of drawing arbitrary lending boundaries around areas of perceived environmental risk “bluelining,” and indeed many of the neighborhoods that banks are bluelining are the same as the ones that were hit by the racist redlining practice in days past. This summer, climate-data analysts at the First Street Foundation released maps showing that 70 percent more buildings in the United States were vulnerable to flood risk than previously thought; most of the underestimated risk was in low-income neighborhoods.

    Such neighborhoods see little in the way of flood-prevention investment. My Bay Area neighborhood, on the other hand, has benefited from consistent investment in efforts to defend it against the ravages of climate change. That questions of livability had reached me, here, were testament to Keenan’s belief that the bluelining phenomenon will eventually affect large majorities of equity-holding middle-class Americans too, with broad implications for the overall economy, starting in the nation’s largest state.

    Under the radar, a new class of dangerous debt — climate-distressed mortgage loans — might already be threatening the financial system. Lending data analyzed by Keenan and his co-author, Jacob Bradt, for a study published in the journal Climatic Change in June shows that small banks are liberally making loans on environmentally threatened homes, but then quickly passing them along to federal mortgage backers. At the same time, they have all but stopped lending money for the higher-end properties worth too much for the government to accept, suggesting that the banks are knowingly passing climate liabilities along to taxpayers as stranded assets.

    Once home values begin a one-way plummet, it’s easy for economists to see how entire communities spin out of control. The tax base declines and the school system and civic services falter, creating a negative feedback loop that pushes more people to leave. Rising insurance costs and the perception of risk force credit-rating agencies to downgrade towns, making it more difficult for them to issue bonds and plug the springing financial leaks. Local banks, meanwhile, keep securitizing their mortgage debt, sloughing off their own liabilities.

    Keenan, though, had a bigger point: All the structural disincentives that had built Americans’ irrational response to the climate risk were now reaching their logical endpoint. A pandemic-induced economic collapse will only heighten the vulnerabilities and speed the transition, reducing to nothing whatever thin margin of financial protection has kept people in place. Until now, the market mechanisms had essentially socialized the consequences of high-risk development. But as the costs rise — and the insurers quit, and the bankers divest, and the farm subsidies prove too wasteful, and so on — the full weight of responsibility will fall on individual people.

    And that’s when the real migration might begin.

    As I spoke with Keenan last year, I looked out my own kitchen window onto hillsides of parkland, singed brown by months of dry summer heat. This was precisely the land that my utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, had three times identified as such an imperiled tinderbox that it had to shut off power to avoid fire. It was precisely the kind of wildland-urban interface that all the studies I read blamed for heightening Californians’ exposure to climate risks. I mentioned this on the phone and then asked Keenan, “Should I be selling my house and getting — ”

    He cut me off: “Yes.”

    Americans have dealt with climate disaster before. The Dust Bowl started after the federal government expanded the Homestead Act to offer more land to settlers willing to work the marginal soil of the Great Plains. Millions took up the invitation, replacing hardy prairie grass with thirsty crops like corn, wheat and cotton. Then, entirely predictably, came the drought. From 1929 to 1934, crop yields across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri plunged by 60 percent, leaving farmers destitute and exposing the now-barren topsoil to dry winds and soaring temperatures. The resulting dust storms, some of them taller than skyscrapers, buried homes whole and blew as far east as Washington. The disaster propelled an exodus of some 2.5 million people, mostly to the West, where newcomers — “Okies” not just from Oklahoma but also Texas, Arkansas and Missouri — unsettled communities and competed for jobs. Colorado tried to seal its border from the climate refugees; in California, they were funneled into squalid shanty towns. Only after the migrants settled and had years to claw back a decent life did some towns bounce back stronger.

    The places migrants left behind never fully recovered. Eighty years later, Dust Bowl towns still have slower economic growth and lower per capita income than the rest of the country. Dust Bowl survivors and their children are less likely to go to college and more likely to live in poverty. Climatic change made them poor, and it has kept them poor ever since.

    A Dust Bowl event will most likely happen again. The Great Plains states today provide nearly half of the nation’s wheat, sorghum and cattle and much of its corn; the farmers and ranchers there export that food to Africa, South America and Asia. Crop yields, though, will drop sharply with every degree of warming. By 2050, researchers at the University of Chicago and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies found, Dust Bowl-era yields will be the norm, even as demand for scarce water jumps by as much as 20 percent. Another extreme drought would drive near-total crop losses worse than the Dust Bowl, kneecapping the broader economy. At that point, the authors write, “abandonment is one option.”

    Projections are inherently imprecise, but the gradual changes to America’s cropland — plus the steady baking and burning and flooding — suggest that we are already witnessing a slower-forming but much larger replay of the Dust Bowl that will destroy more than just crops. In 2017, Solomon Hsiang, a climate economist at the University of California, Berkeley, led an analysis of the economic impact of climate-driven changes like rising mortality and rising energy costs, finding that the poorest counties in the United States — mostly across the South and the Southwest — will in some extreme cases face damages equal to more than a third of their gross domestic products. The 2018 National Climate Assessment also warns that the U.S. economy over all could contract by 10 percent.

    That kind of loss typically drives people toward cities, and researchers expect that trend to continue after the Covid-19 pandemic ends. In 1950, less than 65 percent of Americans lived in cities. By 2050, only 10 percent will live outside them, in part because of climatic change. By 2100, Hauer estimates, Atlanta, Orlando, Houston and Austin could each receive more than a quarter million new residents as a result of sea-level displacement alone, meaning it may be those cities — not the places that empty out — that wind up bearing the brunt of America’s reshuffling. The World Bank warns that fast-moving climate urbanization leads to rising unemployment, competition for services and deepening poverty.

    So what will happen to Atlanta — a metro area of 5.8 million people that may lose its water supply to drought and that our data also shows will face an increase in heat-driven wildfires? Hauer estimates that hundreds of thousands of climate refugees will move into the city by 2100, swelling its population and stressing its infrastructure. Atlanta — where poor transportation and water systems contributed to the state’s C+ infrastructure grade last year — already suffers greater income inequality than any other large American city, making it a virtual tinderbox for social conflict. One in 10 households earns less than $10,000 a year, and rings of extreme poverty are growing on its outskirts even as the city center grows wealthier.

    Atlanta has started bolstering its defenses against climate change, but in some cases this has only exacerbated divisions. When the city converted an old Westside rock quarry into a reservoir, part of a larger greenbelt to expand parkland, clean the air and protect against drought, the project also fueled rapid upscale growth, driving the poorest Black communities further into impoverished suburbs. That Atlanta hasn’t “fully grappled with” such challenges now, says Na’Taki Osborne Jelks, chair of the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, means that with more people and higher temperatures, “the city might be pushed to what’s manageable.”

    So might Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, Boston and other cities with long-neglected systems suddenly pressed to expand under increasingly adverse conditions.

    Once you accept that climate change is fast making large parts of the United States nearly uninhabitable, the future looks like this: With time, the bottom half of the country grows inhospitable, dangerous and hot. Something like a tenth of the people who live in the South and the Southwest — from South Carolina to Alabama to Texas to Southern California — decide to move north in search of a better economy and a more temperate environment. Those who stay behind are disproportionately poor and elderly.

    In these places, heat alone will cause as many as 80 additional deaths per 100,000 people — the nation’s opioid crisis, by comparison, produces 15 additional deaths per 100,000. The most affected people, meanwhile, will pay 20 percent more for energy, and their crops will yield half as much food or in some cases virtually none at all. That collective burden will drag down regional incomes by roughly 10 percent, amounting to one of the largest transfers of wealth in American history, as people who live farther north will benefit from that change and see their fortunes rise.

    The millions of people moving north will mostly head to the cities of the Northeast and Northwest, which will see their populations grow by roughly 10 percent, according to one model. Once-chilly places like Minnesota and Michigan and Vermont will become more temperate, verdant and inviting. Vast regions will prosper; just as Hsiang’s research forecast that Southern counties could see a tenth of their economy dry up, he projects that others as far as North Dakota and Minnesota will enjoy a corresponding expansion. Cities like Detroit, Rochester, Buffalo and Milwaukee will see a renaissance, with their excess capacity in infrastructure, water supplies and highways once again put to good use. One day, it’s possible that a high-speed rail line could race across the Dakotas, through Idaho’s up-and-coming wine country and the country’s new breadbasket along the Canadian border, to the megalopolis of Seattle, which by then has nearly merged with Vancouver to its north.

    Sitting in my own backyard one afternoon this summer, my wife and I talked through the implications of this looming American future. The facts were clear and increasingly foreboding. Yet there were so many intangibles — a love of nature, the busy pace of life, the high cost of moving — that conspired to keep us from leaving. Nobody wants to migrate away from home, even when an inexorable danger is inching ever closer. They do it when there is no longer any other choice.

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/09/15/magazine/climate-crisis-migration-america.html?smid=tw-share

    Quelques cartes:

    #migrations_environnementales #USA #Etats-Unis #réfugiés_climatiques #climat #changement_climatique #déplacés_internes #IDPs

  • Get a Yellow Cab License - TLC
    https://www1.nyc.gov/site/tlc/vehicles/get-a-yellow-cab-license.page
    So ruiniert man sich in New York

    Yellow cab vehicle owners must either own or lease a Yellow Taxicab Medallion.

    To learn how to become a medallion owner visit the Medallion Owners and Agents.

    If you would like to lease a medallion review the List of Medallion Agents (xls) to find a TLC-licensed agent.

    Tan Kin Lian’s Blog: Scam involving taxi licence in New York
    http://tankinlian.blogspot.com/2019/06/scam-involving-taxi-licence-in-new-york.html

    The call came from a prominent businessman who was selling a medallion, the coveted city permit that allows a driver to own a yellow cab instead of working for someone else. If Mr. Hoque gave him $50,000 that day, he promised to arrange a loan for the purchase.

    After years chafing under bosses he hated, Mr. Hoque thought his dreams of wealth and independence were coming true. He emptied his bank account, borrowed from friends and hurried to the man’s office in Astoria, Queens. Mr. Hoque handed over a check and received a stack of papers. He signed his name and left, eager to tell his wife.

    Mr. Hoque made about $30,000 that year. He had no idea, he said later, that he had just signed a contract that required him to pay $1.7 million.

    Corruption and Bubbles in New York: How the Taxi Medallion Scam Ruined Thousands – Mother Jones
    https://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2019/05/corruption-and-bubbles-in-new-york-how-the-taxi-medallion-scam-ruined-t

    The New York Times has a good piece today about the price of taxi medallions, which act as permission to operate a yellow cab in the city. Here’s what prices look like over the past few decades:

    The crash starting in 2014 is almost universally described as the “Uber effect,” and it certainly makes sense that the growth of Uber would make the value of a yellow cab decline. But if you look more closely, the real question is different: why did prices for medallions go up in the first place? Between 2002 and 2014 the population of New York City didn’t grow much; the number of medallions didn’t change appreciably; and the average income from driving a cab didn’t go up. So why would the price of a medallion quintuple? According to the Times, the answer is corruption:¹

    Much of the devastation can be traced to a handful of powerful industry leaders who steadily and artificially drove up the price of taxi medallions, creating a bubble that eventually burst. Over more than a decade, they channeled thousands of drivers into reckless loans and extracted hundreds of millions of dollars before the market collapsed.

    ….The practices were strikingly similar to those behind the housing market crash that led to the 2008 global economic meltdown: Banks and loosely regulated private lenders wrote risky loans and encouraged frequent refinancing; drivers took on debt they could not afford, under terms they often did not understand….Some industry leaders fed the frenzy by purposefully overpaying for medallions in order to inflate prices, The Times found.

    ….As in the housing crash, government officials ignored warning signs and exempted lenders from regulations. The city Taxi and Limousine Commission went the furthest of all, turning into a cheerleader for medallion sales. It was tasked with regulating the industry, but as prices skyrocketed, it sold new medallions and began declaring they were “better than the stock market.”…At the market’s height, medallion buyers were typically earning about $5,000 a month and paying about $4,500 to their loans, according to an analysis by The Times of city data and loan documents.

    The victims of this scam were largely low-income, of course, and also largely immigrants. They were sold on medallions as an entry to the middle class: hard work, sure, but it would pay off. After all, medallions always increased in value.

    But that was never true, something which had nothing to do with Uber. It’s true that after Uber and Lyft entered the New York market the average income of taxi drivers declined. By about 10 percent. That’s a lot for a low-income immigrant family, but obviously not enough to account for a price drop for medallions from $1 million back to $200,000. Mostly that happened because lenders and fleet owners engineered a massive, artificial bubble that was never sustainable.

    In the end, then, we have an old story: basically a Ponzi scheme enabled by lots of money sloshing around and a lack of regulation from the people who should have been protecting the victims. The story about Uber and Lyft is mostly just a fairy tale invented to hide what really happened.

    ¹Corruption comes in all forms and sizes. This scam was small and local, but otherwise it was much the same as the housing bubble that wrecked the global economy in 2008. That’s why it’s important to root it out, no matter where it happens.

    #Taxi #USA #New_York #Betrug

  • Des stérilisations massives de femmes migrantes sont dénoncées aux États-Unis | Le Club de Mediapart
    https://blogs.mediapart.fr/e-lopez/blog/150920/des-sterilisations-massives-de-femmes-migrantes-sont-denoncees-aux-e

    Divers groupes de défense et de soutien juridique des États-Unis ont déposé une plainte ce lundi 14 septembre contre le personnel embauché par le Service de lutte contre l’Immigration (Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service, ICE), non seulement pour avoir ignoré les protocoles visant à freiner la propagation du #COVID- 19 dans ses locaux, mais aussi pour avoir procédé à des #stérilisations massives et injustifiées de #femmes #migrantes #détenues.

    #stérilisations_forcées

  • Un collectif « African American Expat Singers In Paris » chante un mix de You’ve Got a Friend, What’s Going On et Lean On Me, au moment du confinement et de Black Lives Matter :
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMMebGf48TQ

    Ajouter sur ma compile #coronavirus et #musique :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/832339

    Mais aussi ajouter à la liste de #musique autour de #George_Floyd ici :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/856449

    #Musique_et_politique #ACAB #Violence_policière #Violences_policières #brutalité_policière #Assassinats_policiers #racisme #racisme_systémique #USA #Black_Lives_Matter

  • Whistleblower : There Were Mass Hysterectomies at ICE Facility
    https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/like-an-experimental-concentration-camp-whistleblower-complaint-alleges

    The full statement : U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not comment on matters presented to the Office of the Inspector General, which provides independent oversight and accountability within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ICE takes all allegations seriously and defers to the OIG regarding any potential investigation and/or results. That said, in general, anonymous, unproven allegations, made without any fact-checkable specifics, should be treated with the (...)

    #ICE #DHS #violence #femmes #santé

    ##santé

  • Staggering Number of Hysterectomies Happening at ICE Facility, Whistleblower Says
    https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/93578d/staggering-number-of-hysterectomies-happening-at-ice-facility-whistleblower-sa

    A whistleblower complaint filed Monday by several legal advocacy groups accuses a detention center of performing a staggering number of hysterectomies on immigrant women, as well as failing to follow procedures meant to keep both detainees and employees safe from the coronavirus.

    The complaint, filed on behalf of several detained immigrants and a nurse named Dawn Wooten, details several accounts of recent “jarring medical neglect” at the Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia, which is run by the private prison company LaSalle South Corrections and houses people incarcerated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In interviews with Project South, a Georgia nonprofit, multiple women said that hysterectomies were stunningly frequent among immigrants detained at the facility.

    “When I met all these women who had had surgeries, I thought this was like an experimental concentration camp,” said one woman, who said she’d met five women who’d had hysterectomies after being detained between October and December 2019. The woman said that immigrants at Irwin are often sent to see one particular gynecologist outside of the facility. “It was like they’re experimenting with their bodies.”

  • Un nuage de moustiques tueurs balaie le sud des États-Unis | Slate.fr
    http://www.slate.fr/story/194996/un-nuage-de-moustiques-tueurs-balaie-le-sud-des-etats-unis


    2020  : cuvée exceptionnelle  !

    Pour venir à bout d’un cheval ou d’un cerf, les moustiques rassemblés en essaims piquent sans relâche la bête jusqu’à ce qu’elle se vide de son sang. Épuisé à force de bouger constamment pour chasser les milliers d’insectes, l’animal finit par abandonner et, allongé sur le sol, il se laisse dévorer par les moustiques jusqu’à son dernier souffle.

    Les bêtes qui survivent doivent également faire face à de nombreuses séquelles. Plusieurs vaches en gestation ont par exemple perdu leurs veaux à cause du stress provoqué par ces attaques.

  • Les mesures contre Khalil et Fenianos, des messages de haute tension - L’Orient-Le Jour
    https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1232098/les-mesures-contre-khalil-et-fenianos-des-messages-de-haute-tension.h

    Scarlett Haddad explique que lorsque les médias disent « chiites » dans cette affaire, il faut comprendre Amal et non pas Hezbollah (en tout cas pas directement). Article pour « libanologues »...

    C’est dans ce sens que les sanctions annoncées hier ont constitué une véritable surprise. Les milieux proches d’Amal établissent justement un lien entre cette décision du Trésor américain et les négociations sur le tracé des frontières, dans le sens d’exercer des pressions sur le président de la Chambre, en charge de ce dossier, afin d’accélérer l’aboutissement d’un accord qui permettrait aux Israéliens d’exploiter les ressources pétrolières et gazières dans la zone conflictuelle en toute sérénité.

    D’autres milieux politiques estiment que la décision américaine est destinée à compliquer les négociations pour la formation du gouvernement et représente ainsi un coup porté à l’initiative française notamment au niveau du calendrier-programme annoncé par le président Macron. Mais, pour certains, au contraire, les sanctions seraient peut-être destinées à pousser les chiites à renoncer au portefeuille des Finances.

    Quelle que soit l’interprétation faite de la portée de la décision américaine, celle-ci a mélangé les cartes internes libanaises. À ce sujet, les condamnations hier sont restées plutôt timides, exception faite de celles du mouvement Amal et du mufti jaafarite..

    #liban

  • Netanyahou a approuvé en privé le plan étasunien de vente d’armes aux EAU, disent de hauts responsables
    Mark Mazzetti, Edward Wong et Michael LaForgia, The New-York Times, le 3 septembre 2020
    https://agencemediapalestine.fr/blog/2020/09/09/netanyahou-a-approuve-en-prive-le-plan-etasunien-de-vente-darme

    #israel #USA #Émirats_arabes_unis #armes #F35

    Un article qui n’est pas tendre avec les administrations israéliennes, américaines et émiraties, et qui émane encore une fois du New-York Times dont la ligne pro-israélienne ne cesse de connaître des accrocs...

    A rajouter à ma recension sur l’évolution du #New-York_Times vis à vis de la Palestine :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/793061

  • The long, complicated history of “people analytics”
    https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/08/19/1006365/if-then-lepore-review-simulmatics

    If you work for Bank of America, or the US Army, you might have used technology developed by Humanyze. The company grew out of research at MIT’s cross-disciplinary Media Lab and describes its products as “science-backed analytics to drive adaptability.” If that sounds vague, it might be deliberate. Among the things Humanyze sells to businesses are devices for snooping on employees, such as ID badges with embedded RFID tags, near-field-communication sensors, and built-in microphones that track (...)

    #BankofAmerica #Humanyze #USArmy #DoD #IBM #algorithme #capteur #RFID #militaire #compagnie #élections #prédiction #son #comportement #surveillance #travail (...)

    ##voix

  • Peru Locked Down Early. Now It Battles One Of The Worst Coronavirus...
    https://diasp.eu/p/11618680

    Peru Locked Down Early. Now It Battles One Of The Worst Coronavirus Outbreaks

    Peru’s per capita COVID-19 mortality rate is higher than any nation except for tiny San Marino. The government’s awareness campaign slogan is “COVID does not kill by itself. Let’s not be accomplices.”

    #news #npr #publicradio #usa posted by pod_feeder_v2

  • BBC - Travel - The mystery of Central Asia’s ‘desert kites’
    https://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20200907-the-mystery-of-central-asias-desert-kites

    Desolate lands

    Rising between the Caspian and Aral seas and stretching across Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, the Ustyurt plateau is an ultra-remote expanse of scorched clay-desert valleys that surge into rust-red pinnacles and mesas. This otherworldly 200,000 sq km expanse is roughly the size of England and Scotland combined, but with fewer than 13cm of annual rainfall and extreme seasonal temperatures that swing between 40°C and −40°C, the arid region is only home to a few sparsely populated semi-nomadic tribes.

    #asie_centrale

  • Les exportations d’armes russes se tournent vers une nouvelle clientèle
    https://www.franceculture.fr/geopolitique/les-exportations-darmes-russes-se-tournent-vers-une-nouvelle-clientele

    « Par ailleurs, la Russie est connue pour ne pas exiger de conditions, en matière de droits de l’homme par exemple, lorsqu’elle vend », poursuit l’expert.

    Ah les vilains, ben oui parce que c’est bien connu que les autres demandent des garanties sur les droits de l’homme avant de signer leur contrats.

    https://www.rusarmyexpo.com
    https://www.sipri.org
    https://seenthis.net/messages/425094
    #armement #france #usa #urss #marchands_de_canons