Voices on the Left: 5 blogs from the left you need to read this week

A roundup of progressive news…

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1. Kemi Badenoch Gifted Tory Gala Ticket by Climate Denial Funder-DeSmog

Tory leadership hopeful Kemi Badenoch who has refused to commit to the current net zero target, received a £1,000 gift from a funder of the UK’s main climate science denial group.

Badenoch received £1,000 from Michael Hintze for a ticket to a Conservative Party fundraiser in November, according to the register of interests, DeSmog has revealed.

The site reveals: “Hintze, an Australian hedge fund manager who is set to join the House of Lords, is one of the few known funders of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).”

The GWPF has a history of questioning climate science. The UK based think tank was founded by former Conservative Chancellor Nigel Lawson with the purpose of combating what it describes as “extremely damaging and harmful policies” designed to mitigate climate change.

Lawson has also previously said that global warming is ‘not a problem’.

2. Banks are incentivised to fund climate chaos. Here’s how to change that-openDemocracy

‘The world’s largest banks are investing billions into heavily polluting industries, despite publicly endorsing measures intended to combat the climate crisis’, Thomas Perrett writes for openDemocracy.

Perrett highlights how despite the rhetoric and PR campaigns, the 60 largest private banks in the world had poured $4.6tn (£3.8tn) into fossil fuels since the 2015 Paris Agreement.

He states: “Barclays Bank, according to the report, had provided the equivalent of £4.1bn for new fossil fuel projects between January 2021 and the COP26 summit in November 2021. JP Morgan Chase, however, was named as the most egregious polluter, with over $382bn in new fossil fuel investments between 2016 and 2021. The bank had set a number of misleading decarbonisation targets the previous year, pledging to reduce the intensity of its emissions, a measure that still permitted overall future fossil fuel investments to increase.”

A brilliant read for all who are interested in how the financial sector remains in thrall to the fossil fuel industry.

3. The Hardline Forces Shaping the Conservative Leadership Contest-Byline Times

Sam Bright and Max Colbert write for Byline Times on how hardline pressure groups and forces such as the now resurrected Conservative Way Forward (CWF) group are pushing the Tory party further to the right and influencing the party’s future direction.

Steve Baker hosted the relaunch of CWF on 11 July attended by Conservative leadership hopefuls Suella Braverman and Nadhim Zahawi. The CWF was set up to build on Thatcher’s legacy and Baker has made it clear that its ultimate objective is to “redefine the territory on which the Conservative Party operates” – cementing the ultra-libertarian wing as the new “centre ground” of the party.

Byline reports: “The CWF pamphlet calls for expansive tax cuts, reductions in fuel VAT, and the suspension of green levies on energy bills designed to fund renewables. The CWF, as extensively reported by DeSmog, also has deep links to climate-scepticism”.

Neil Record, chair of the climate sceptic GWPF (and the IEA), donated £5,000 to Steve Baker in February for a ‘media and strategic campaign consultant’.

4. How we developed a right to food campaign tailored to the needs of Brent –LabourList

LabourList features a piece on the Brent right to food campaign which aims to enshrine a right to food into legislation in order to “end the scandal of hunger and food banks once and for all”.

The authors outline how the campaign linked up existing food-related initiatives in the borough. “The declaration of Brent as a right to food borough brings with it a commitment to co-design a Brent food justice strategy with relevant stakeholders, to prioritise cash-first solutions to emergency food aid and to improve access to urban agriculture, community food gardens, social supermarkets and community kitchens among other initiatives. It is just the start of a process that aims for a Brent beyond food banks.”

5. We Shouldn’t Be Working In This-Tribune Magazine

The TUC’s Health, Safety & Wellbeing Officer Shelley Asquith writes for Tribune Magazine on why we need a maximum working temperature in law to stop work becoming fatal and posing a risk to the health and wellbeing of workers.

Shelley writes: “Anyone working in extremely hot weather faces heat hazards ranging from dizziness and headaches to fainting and heat stress. When our blood temperature reaches 39°C, we’re at risk of a stroke or loss of consciousness, with delirium or confusion setting in above 41°C. Blood temperatures at this level can be fatal or cause irreparable organ damage.”

Spain has strict guidelines on working temperature: it must not go beyond 27°C indoors or 25°C for physical activity. In China, when temperatures reach 37°C, outdoor work is banned during the hottest three hours of the day, and at 40°C it must stop altogether. In the UAE, outdoor work is banned entirely between the hours of 12:30 and 15:00, when it’s hottest.

Britain’s current regulations state that temperatures should not drop below 16°C, but there’s no guidance on what a maximum should be.

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