Five years ago, when Scotland voted in a landmark referendum to remain part of the United Kingdom, the issue of North Sea oil—who owns it and how it should be administered—was a key feature of the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) independence platform. If—as seems increasingly likely in the context of Britain’s ongoing scramble over Brexit—Scots vote again on the future of their union with England, the heavy winds and tides that buffet Scotland’s coastline will play an equally critical role in the next campaign.

By some estimates, Scotland has 25 percent of Europe’s total offshore wind and tidal resources and around 60 percent of the U.K.’s onshore wind capacity. Renewable energy is worth nearly 6 billion pounds (about $7.5 billion) annually to the Scottish economy—and green electricity exports are rising every year. But in the face of an accelerating global ecological crisis, both advocates and opponents of Scottish independence think the country can go further in embracing alternative energy sources—they simply disagree on whether Scottish independence would help or hurt that goal.

Read More

Something strange and unexpected is happening in US politics.

“Under the guise of Medicare For All and a Green New Deal, Democrats are embracing the same economic theories that have stifled the liberties of millions over the past century,” GOP Vice President Mike Pence told a major gathering of the American right—the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)—outside Washington D.C. last week. “That system,” he continued, “is socialism.”

Read More

It’s early Friday evening, and Jagmeet Singh is standing under a blanket of BC rain, surrounded by a small team of activists and advisors, pitching for votes.

24 hours ago, CBC broke a nightmare story for the federal NDP leader: either he wins the upcoming by-election in Burnaby South—a diverse, suburban riding on the outskirts of East Vancouver—or his short tenure at the helm of Canada’s third largest party will be over.

Read More

It’s a dark and drizzly January afternoon in Vancouver and I’m sitting in a dimly-lit back-office with Eric, a regular user of methamphetamine.

Eric is 40 years old, articulate and unshaven, with a heaving mop of black and brown hair. A little over 12 months ago, his life fell apart. He had an apartment in the city and straddled two jobs, one in construction and another as a session musician. Things were going well.

Read More

In the fight for workers’ rights, there’s power in numbers. Not just masses of union members, but also masses of data. At least that’s what Fredrik Söderqvist, a trade union researcher in Sweden, is banking on with a new algorithm he’s developing to mine patterns to improve bargaining outcomes.

Söderqvist says his algorithm could help organizers anticipate when a company is vulnerable to bargaining, or likely to lay off workers. It could make major waves in Swedish labor; the white-collar, private sector union he works for, Unionen, has nearly 650,000 members — approximately 10 percent of Sweden’s working-age population.

Read More