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Showing posts from December, 2018

Cancer and climate change

When I was growing up in Michigan, the man who lived across the street would tell me my dad saved his life. Walt and his wife were surrogate grandparents for my brother and I growing up; our grandparents lived across the country in California. Dad would always disagree about saving Walt’s life, try to deflect, talk about how it’s a team effort and he’s just one part. Walt was always insistent. 

My father is a world-renowned medical physicist. He works on how best to treat cancer with radiation, a pioneer in treating cancer in three dimensions. Hearing his colleagues talk about him, you can tell that he spent his career working primarily on two fronts: to make radiation treatment safer for both patients and the people who work with them, and to make that treatment more effective. My dad has spent his entire life harnessing a field of science with incredible destructive power to save people. 

Radiation physics started, in essence, with death. It was first self-inflicted, as prolonged expo…

COP24: ten years on from Lehman Brothers, we can’t trust finance with the planet

Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy on September 15, 2008. The investment bank’s collapse was the drop that made the bucket of global finance overflow, starting a decade of foreclosures, bailouts and austerity.

The resulting tsunami hit the global economy and public sector, discrediting finance and its attempts to extract large rents from every aspect of the economy, including housing and food. An alternative was urgently needed.

Ten years later, private finance and large investors will play a central role at the COP24 in Katowice, Poland, and in the full implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Representatives from pension funds, insurance funds, asset managers and large banks will attend the meeting and lobby governments, cities and other banks to favour investments in infrastructure, energy production, agriculture and the transition towards a low-carbon economy.
Has finance cleaned up its act? There is a US$2.5 trillion gap in development aid which needs to be filled if poor …