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Posts Tagged ‘Climate Change

Tar Sands export routes across North America – Maps

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Will this fossil fuel export proposition be the final nail in humanity’s climate change coffin or the spark for real change? It’s up to you.

Idle No More.

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Tar Sands Pipelines in North America – [From Kinder Morgan Pipeline Route Maps | Wilderness Committee]

Written by Sean Bozkewycz

February 15, 2013 at 08:55

Pissed Off Scientists: Earth Is Fucked, Commence Resistance Now « Earth First! Newswire

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If we don’t change our ways, the planet will die.

Resist or perish.

Respect Existence or Expect Resistance.


[From Pissed Off Scientists: Earth Is Fucked, Commence Resistance Now « Earth First! Newswire]

As for the big question—is Earth fucked?—Werner announced in his talk that he has done some preliminary runs of his model. At this point I could sense the audience lean forward collectively on their seats. First he simulated the global economy proceeding into the future without the drag of environmental management decisions. “What happens is not too surprising,” he told us evenly. “Basically the economy fast chews up the environmental resources, depletes those reservoirs, resulting in a significant amount of environmental damage.”

Then he factored in some environmental management, presumably of our standard, EPA cost-benefit-analysis-driven variety, and found that “it delays the environmental damage but it doesn’t prevent it.”

That’s not too surprising either. But it also implies we’re eventually, definitely fucked. Still, there’s a choose-your-own-adventure element to the story that has yet to play out. Resistance, Werner argued, is the wild card that can force dominant systems such as our current resource-chewing juggernaut onto a more sustainable path. Werner hasn’t completed that part of his model, so we’ll have to wait to find out what happens. But during the Q-and-A session, he conceded that “even though individual resistance movements might not be fast enough reacting to some of these problems, if a global environmental movement develops that is strong enough, that has the potential to have a bigger impact in a timely manner.”

In other words, according to at least one expert, maybe the Earth is not quite fucked yet after all. But the ultimate outcome may depend on how much, and how many, scientists choose to wade into the fray.

Written by Sean Bozkewycz

January 25, 2013 at 13:57

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Chomsky on Climate: We’re fucked without massive changes

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[From ZCommunications | Hitting Society With A Sledgehammer by Noam Chomsky | ZNet Article]

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First of all, there is a very broad scientific consensus on this. There are skeptics at both ends of this, bothends! If you look at the public debate it is between the consensus and a small group of people including a couple of scientists who don’t think it is that serious. There is a third group that is omitted, a much larger group of scientists. For example, the Climate Change Study Group right here [at MIT] (http://globalchange.mit.edu/). What they have been arguing for years is that the consensus is too conservative. That it is nowhere near alarmist enough. And time after time they have been proven right. Time after time the consensus has been proven much too optimistic. The consensus is bad enough, incidentally. It means we are falling over a cliff. But it is nowhere near what the likelihood is, what the serious skeptics are saying, those who say “it is a lot worse than you think.”  And the serious skeptics include people in the major international organizations and others quite mainstream, like the climate group right here…very good scientists.

We see it all the time, like a couple of weeks ago, when the arctic ice melts over the summer, and when it stopped melting there were measurements of how much it had melted, and it was dramatic enough to make the front page of the New York Times. When you read the story it tells you where we are. The first half of the story said the arctic ice is melting a lot faster than the consensus predicted, the computer models were too optimistic, and a little talk about the effects of this. It has an escalating effect. More dark waters exposed results in more absorption of sun rays and less reflection. It speeds up the process. They talked about it. That is the first half of the article. The second half of the article is what a great opportunity it is, more mining, more extraction of fossil fuels, i.e., lots of ways to make the problem worse, so let’s celebrate. If somebody was watching this from outer space they would think “you guys are insane.”  You are marching toward disaster and you are very happy because you can make it worse.

Listen to the presidential debates. Nobody talks about climate change, you don’t talk about that. But both candidates were euphoric about what they call “energy independence.”  I don’t know what is supposed to be so great about energy independence, and in fact it is mostly a joke, but what does it mean?  It means, they claim, we have a hundred years of fossil fuels domestically or in Canada that we can use to create a greater disaster. That is the excitement. What kind of world will it be in a hundred years?  Well, we don’t ask that question.

When you look at tar sands and fracking and these disputes, there is plenty of opposition. Most of it is local, “you are destroying our water supplies,” and things like that, which is all true. But the real problem is global. Unless those fossil fuels are left in the ground we’re in real trouble. And that is recognized by some groups around the world. Rather strikingly, mostly by indigenous groups. You look around the world, the indigenous societies, tribal societies and first nations, whatever you want to call them, these groups have been pressing very hard for paying attention to what is sometimes called “the rights of nature,” which is really the right of survival for species, including us. And in the countries where they have significant influence, maybe a majority, or at least they are in the political system, they are actually doing something about it. For example, in Ecuador where there is a large indigenous population, the government is pursuing a program; they are appealing to the rich industrial countries for aid to enable them to keep the oil in the ground. They have fairly substantial oil reserves and say “we’d prefer not to use them,” but of course it is cutting down our opportunities for development so help us out so we can develop without destroying the world, and destroying the Amazon, and so on.

In Bolivia there is actually a “Rights of Nature” provision in the Constitution. You go to Australia it is the same thing. I happened to be there not long ago and the indigenous groups, the remnants of the indigenous groups, mostly exterminated, they are pressing very hard not to lift uranium. There are large uranium deposits in the areas where they still have their kinds of reservations and they say “leave it in the ground.”  They have a whole history of what we call myth, I mean a kind of aural tradition about the danger of allowing the yellow plague to escape, and what will happen. And they are right. You lift that uranium and you’ll be in real trouble. In this case it is not climate change it is probable nuclear war. And it is the same everywhere.

All over the world there are wars going on over mining. In India, half the country is in flames. There is a major war in the tribal areas, basically, where there are plenty of resources to mine but there are communities who live there and don’t want to see their lives destroyed. And many of them do not want to see the species destroyed. I’ve been somewhat involved in the same things in Colombia, my daughter much more so…same kinds of problems. And they have a kind of sensibility that the sophisticated, educated people don’t have, and if we don’t get it we are in bad trouble. So that is serious.

I mean even the consensus is serious. The likelihood, which is worse than the consensus, is much more dangerous. We are very close to the point which is regarded generally as a kind of tipping point, you know, 2 degrees centigrade rise in temperature. We are very close to that now, and it won’t take long to get there. If we get there it could be irreversible. In fact, the International Energy Association (http://www.iea.org/topics/climatechange/) is predicting we are likely to get to 4 degrees centigrade, and nobody knows what that would mean. Boston would be under water, things like that.

…….

he other problem, which is also quite serious, is, first of all, there is enormous corporate propaganda, huge corporate propaganda to try to marginalize the question or suppress it, in all kinds of ways – publishing fake studies, everything. That is why the party programs, which pretty much reflect corporate propaganda, they say practically nothing about it. The Republican Party program this time around I don’t think even mentioned climate change. The Democratic program sort of had a couple of empty words about it, but no policy proposals. They say openly, it is not a secret, that they are carrying out (they don’t call it “propaganda”) publicity campaigns to try to make people understand that there is no problem. And you can see why the Koch Brothers would believe that, along with the American Petroleum Institute, the Chamber of Commerce, and so on. They themselves, the individuals themselves, may be contributing to environmental causes, but in their institutional role as business leaders they are concerned with short-term profit. And it is true that if you pay attention to things like climate change you might harm short-term profit. Incidentally, that is not obviously true; we could come back to that. Under some kinds of calculations it is true, and they do not want to bother with it. And that is having an effect on the population. The majority of the population still thinks it is a problem, but it is declining, and it is less than many other countries. It’s one of the reasons the U.S. drags its feet in international conferences, partly it is just business power, partly it is because the popular constituency isn’t as big as it should be. (So, other places like Europe are way ahead of us on this).

And they have an argument. This takes us back to our earlier discussion. And the argument is convincing. The argument is that it will cut back growth. Well, should we have growth?  Suppose you are a majority of the population which has been subjected to the neoliberal assault (that we were talking about earlier). Well, you want things to get better for you, you are in bad shape. And the mantra is “growth.”

Q:  Is growth a code word for “profits”?

NC:  When it is used by the business world, yes. But when it is used in public propaganda it says it is a way for you to have food on the table. So, it is a code word for that. But it is not the way to get food on the table. The point is there is no alternative presented. So they are given a choice between “Can I improve my circumstances, can my kid get a job, can I get food on the table, can I have some security.” That is one side. Or, shall I worry about global warming?   Given that choice, people are pretty likely to say “Look, I want the things I need and my family needs.”  It is a totally false choice, but that is the way it is presented. And that is a serious problem.

That is like the other problems, it is like “right to work” versus” right to scrounge.”  You’ve got to break through the doctrinal shackles if you want to understand these things. Alone, it is pretty hard to do that. That takes organization, association, etc., what the “Wobblies” in the old days used to call “talking to your neighbors.”  You’ve got to talk to your neighbors. You have to be with other people and think things through, and so on. That is mostly what the unions were for, including “the Wobblies.”

As that shatters, people are left on their own, and then you can easily succumb to this propaganda which has a certain level of veracity to it. Even the most vulgar propaganda systems usually have some truth in them. And this one has some truth in it, and it can sell. Under those circumstances it has been difficult to develop a popular movement on a sufficient scale to overcome the pressures that are leading us to march off the cliff.

Read the entire article here: ZCommunications | Hitting Society With A Sledgehammer by Noam Chomsky | ZNet Article

Written by Sean Bozkewycz

January 25, 2013 at 13:18

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C-45 Summary – A must-read if you are Canadian (and even if you’re not)

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A ‘MUST READ’ – IF YOU ARE CANADIAN

The Public Service Alliance of Canada has expressed concern over a raft of legislative changes being pushed through by the Canadian government that could negatively affect the environment and people’s rights, part of a drive to sell out the country to fossil fuel companies and foreign countries.

If you don’t think there is much to worry about, we suggest a trip to the Tar Sands in Alberta or any of the thousands of communities being poisoned by pollution.

The following comes from – psac-afpc.com – We suggest you take a moment to read through this.

The Conservative government is pushing through hundreds of pages of major legislative changes without consulting Canadians.
PSAC has major concerns with the latest budget implementation bill, C-45. Our concerns echo the criticism being expressed by the opposition parties, environmental, scientific and Aboriginal groups. We join the call for Bill C-45 to be split into parts and debated separately.
Many of these legislative changes will have a drastic impact on Canadians and should not be rushed through Parliament without time for careful consideration, public scrutiny and debate.

Fisheries Act

New changes to the Fisheries Act build on changes in the spring omnibus legislation which further undermines Canada’s ecology and removes legal barriers to oil, pipeline and other developers. Four former fisheries ministers as well as countless scientists have publicly opposed these amendments. Currently resource developers have to receive authorization under the Act when their projects damage lakes, rivers or other fish habitat. They must also specify the corrective action. Under these new changes, the developer will no longer be responsible for fixing the environmental and habitat damage they cause.

Indian Act

The amendments to the Indian Act are clearly designed to give the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs access over First Nations’ lands and undue influence on vulnerable communities. The key amendment to the Act gives the government authority to determine the surrender of any portion of any First Nation territory at any given time.
This clause is in direct contravention of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which calls for the “free, prior and informed consent” of all Indigenous peoples exercising their right of self-determination.

The Navigable Waters Protection Act

The Navigable Waters Protection Act will be amended to reduce its scope to less than one percent of Canadian waters. The new law will restrict federal oversight to the three oceans that border Canada and to a mere 97 lakes and 62 rivers.
The traditional territories of Aboriginal peoples’ will be at the greatest risk of environmental exploitation as the law was designed to provide quick development access to resource extraction industries, a great number of which operate on First Nations’ land.

Canada Grain Act

Bill C-45 contains amendments to the Canada Grain Act that will remove regulations that protect independent grain producers, increase self regulation, and decrease inspections.
The changes will also jeopardize the quality of Canada’s internal and external grain supply by removing the requirement for inward inspection – a process put in place to ensure producers are paid for the quality and quantity of their grain and not cheated by international grain companies.
These amendments threaten the livelihood of independent producers while further protecting the rights of the global conglomerates. For more information on these changes, see the submission made by the union to the government.

CRA Act

The Canada Revenue Agency was created in 1999 as a separate, independent employer from Treasury Board. Over time, the CRA and the Union of Taxation Employees (UTE) have worked hard to develop a harmonious working relationship, allowing the negotiation of two consecutive collective agreements before the expiry date of the previous agreement.
Changes, to the Canada Revenue Agency Act will put the CRA back under the authority of Treasury Board who will oversee CRA’s negotiating mandate as well as certain terms and conditions of employment. This change contradicts the specific reasons why the CRA was created and approved by Parliament – a better way of doing business for Canadians and creating a more beneficial labour relationship. The union will be contacting the government and the opposition parties to demonstrate their opposition to these changes.

Public Sector pensions

Unilateral amendments to public sector pension plans include increasing the normal retirement age from 60 to 65 for new hires beginning in 2013. PSAC opposes this bill because it is an attack on younger generations who make up the majority of new hires in the public service.
The increase in the retirement age will generate a two tier system, creating inequities between young and older workers in the public service, forcing younger workers to retire at an older age. The public service pension plan is sustainable and there is no reason to penalize young workers.

PSAC calls on the government to focus on strengthening pensions for all Canadians instead of weakening pension plans and retirement security for Canadians dedicated to public service.

Written by Sean Bozkewycz

January 24, 2013 at 16:10

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Idle No More: What do we want and where are we headed?

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Across the world, Indigenous and colonial peoples alike are heeding the call from Canada’s First Nations – to be Idle No More.

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But what is it exactly that they stand for?

In Canada, the Harper regime (which won a second term of ‘majority’ government with only 24% of the eligible vote amid serious and unresolved allegations of electoral fraud) has been busy compiling hundreds of pieces of legislation into Omnibus bills, ostensibly budget related, so as to sneak them past the electorate and the usual democratic processes of debate.

Within these illegitimate omnibus bills the Harper conservatives have hidden major revamps of environmental legislation that has, for example, reduced the number of protected Canadian streams, lakes and rivers from millions to just hundreds. Deep in the pocket of the oil and gas industry, Harper’s most egregious changes remove barriers and limitations on tar sands development.

It doesn’t stop there. Knowing that most economically profitable resources are buried beneath un-ceded Indigenous territory, Harper has ‘proceeded with an aggressive legislative agenda that will include upwards of 14 bills that will devastate our First Nations in various ways.’

The Indigenous response? Idle No More. Pamela Palmater explains:

‘First Nations represent Canadians last best hope at stopping Harper from unfettered mass destruction of our shared lands, waters, plants and animals in the name of resource development for export to foreign countries like China. Why? Because only First Nations have constitutionally protected Aboriginal and treaty rights which mandate Canada to obtain the consent of First Nations prior to acting. These rights are also protected at the international level with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.’

Read the entire article by Pamela Palmater here: http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/pamela-palmater/2013/01/what-idle-no-more-movement-really

How and why can you get involved with Idle No More? http://thetyee.ca/Life/2013/01/19/Idle-No-More-List/

PS. One of the comments beneath this article is worth addressing briefly:

Submitted by tdot on January 9, 2013 – 12:51pm.

Dear Madam,
You ask the government “This means Canada must respect our sovereignty and get out of the business of managing our lives.” Does this also mean the government should stop giving your nation billions of dollars? If a specific reserve in your nation after being given hundreds of millions of dollars allows its people to live in abject poverty and asks for more money (despite not accounting for the millions it did receive), the government should just give your nation more money? Isn’t this the opposite of what you want?

In response, I would say that while Canadian governments are making billions in tax revenue by allowing and assisting Canadian and foreign companies to profit from the resources on Turtle Island, I think it is fair that the people of Turtle Island receive something in return.

– S

Written by Sean Bozkewycz

January 24, 2013 at 06:36

New fossil fuel projects doom hope for a liveable planet

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A new report commissioned by Greenpeace warns that currently planned fossil fuel extraction mega-projects would commit the planet to a 20% rise in carbon emissions and 5-6 degrees of warming.

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5-6 degrees of warming would mean absolutely massive changes to the biosphere including the potential to trigger positive feedback loops that accelerate and magnify the damage. This means devastating storms and droughts, and sea level rise of between 5 and ten metres.

The Australian Government’s Climate Change department has mapped the impacts of a 1.1 metre maximum sea level rise by 2100.

“The projects in the Point of No Return report include the expansion of Indonesian and Australian coal exports, a tripling of production from the Canadian tar sands and extensive offshore drilling in Brazilian waters.”

“In 2020, the emissions from the 14 projects showcased in this report – if they all were to go ahead – would raise global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels by 20% and keep the world on a path towards 5°C to 6°C of warming,”

The way I see it these sorts of developments show that capital and governance are utterly incapable of reigning in carbon emissions.

If we want a liveable planet we must be the monkey wrench in the machine of global finance, industrial war and resource extraction.

http://www.rtcc.org/greenpeace-14-big-oil-megaprojects-will-set-off-carbon-bomb/

Written by Sean Bozkewycz

January 24, 2013 at 06:12

Australia’s Heatwave: Officially Brought To You By Climate Change | The Global Mail

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At the weekend — as roads melted in parts of Queensland, trains crawled on heat-buckled tracks and long-standing temperature records disintegrated in the outback — Australia’s climate change agency slipped out a report confirming that the warming of the planet is behind our record-breaking heatwave and severe bushfires.

It is unlike the Climate Commission — headed by Professor Tim Flannery, a scientist notably not unwilling to share his opinion on the doom of climate change — to mask its reports. But no press release announcing the report appears on the commission’s website; unhappily the commission’s report, Off the Charts: Extreme Australian Summer Heat, received only the barest media attention when it was released early on Saturday morning, an odd hour for any attention seeking.

We think it worth a fuller account — especially as another recent study shows that Australia’s media has largely failed to connect the January heatwave to climate change. Simon Divecha is the business manager at the Environment Institute of the University of Adelaide. A week ago the website The Conversation published his study which showed that fewer than 10 of the 800 articles published in the previous five days about the heatwave had mentioned climate change, global warning or greenhouse gas.

<p>Mike Bowers/The Global Mail</p>

MIKE BOWERS/THE GLOBAL MAIL

September 2012 to January 2013 were the hottest four months in recorded Australian history, according to the Climate Commission’s report.

Off the Charts: Extreme Australian Summer Heat [From This Heatwave: Officially Brought To You By Climate Change | The Global Mail]

Written by Sean Bozkewycz

January 21, 2013 at 14:34

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