NYC Climate Convergence adds context, depth, and significance to the Peoples Climate March

Whether or not you are in New York City this weekend for all of the climate change activities, it is important to take note of the Climate Convergence Conference that will take place starting Friday 19 September, and running through the weekend.

The stated purpose of the Climate Convergence Conference is to “explore the root causes behind our climate crisis and to strengthen movements for a world where people, peace, and planet come first”.  

People attending this event include Naomi Klein,  Jill Stein, Oscar Olivera, Chris Williams, and our own Global Justice Ecology Project’s executive director and the Campaign to STOP GE TREES  Coordinator, Anne Petermann. Petermann will speak at the at the Friday Opening Plenary at St. Peters Church, 619 Lexington Ave, Manhattan, which gets underway at 7pm.




On Saturday, at St. John’s University 51 Astor Place, Room 110 in Manhattan, our GJEP and The Campaign to STOP GE Trees partner and collaborator and Biofuelwatch co-director, Dr. Rachel Smolker,  Petermann, and Jeff Conant, will conduct a Land, Energy and the Green Economy Workshop, 2:15-3:45pm.


More about Anne Petermann:

The Need for Clear Demands at the People’s Climate March by Anne Peterman, Daily Kos August 13, 2014

Anne Peterman on Democracy Now with Amy Goodman: Is REDD the New Green? Indigenous Groups Resist Carbon Market-Based Forestry Scheme to Offset Emissions

The Green Shock Doctrine published by the Global Justice Ecology Project,


 More about Dr.Rachel Smolker:

Is Toxic Algae Good for You?  HuffPost Green 18 August 2014

Cellulosic Ethanol: Firsts, Failures, Myths and Risks  HuffPost Green 11 September 2014



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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Campaign to STOP GE Trees, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, COP21 Paris 2015, Copenhagen/COP-15, Corporate Globalization, Energy, Events, False Solutions to Climate Change, GE Trees, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Human made disasters, Independent Media

Social Movements, including Global Justice Ecology Project, representing more than 200 million people around the world denounce corporate take-over of Ban Ki-Moon Climate Summit

systemchangebanner_largerSocial movements such as La Via Campesina, OilWatch International, Migrants Rights International, Global Forest Coalition, the Indigenous Environmental Network, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, ATTAC France and more than 330 organizations (1), representing more than 200 million members around the world, including peasants and small farmers, indigenous peoples, migrants, workers, women, people of color, environmental and climate justice activists and water warriors, have publicly denounced the corporate take-over of the upcoming Ban Ki-Moon Climate Summit. In a joint statement published on September 16, they call for systemic change rather than the voluntary pledges and market-based and destructive public-private partnership initiatives that currently feature on the Summit’s agenda, like REDD+ Climate-Smart Agriculture and the Sustainable Energy for All initiative.

The statement calls for 10 concrete actions to be taken to prevent climate chaos including immediate binding commitments to keep the temperature rise to no more than 1.5degrees Centigrade. The social movements go on to warn against what they call the “false solutions” and harmful actions that the big corporations that have been invited by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to play the lead role at the upcoming Climate Summit in New York are pushing for.

“Climate change negotiations are being dominated by irresponsible states, polluters and corporations that only care about current operations and the furtherance of profits through more fossil fuel exploitation, new carbon markets and other false solutions like industrial bioenergy that are destroying forests, soils, wetlands, rivers, mangroves and oceans,” states Genevieve Azam, Spokesperson of ATTAC France.

Carlos Marentes Director of Border Agricultural Workers and Member of La Via Campesina International adds, “Ban Ki Moon’s New York Climate Summit has been surrounded by a lot of fanfare but does not call for genuine systemic actions. It instead proposes several of the false solutions of the green economy, including dangerous techno-fixes and market-based solutions that will do more harm than good. It fails to recognize that climate change is the result of an unjust economic system that is in the business of pursuing endless growth, concentrating wealth in the hands of a few and over-exploiting nature to the point of collapse.”

The social movements point out halting climate change calls for an end to the neoliberal free trade regime that promotes this pursuit of endless growth and endless profit for transnational corporations. They call for an end to the often secret negotiations on the corporate trade and investment regime of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the proposed TransPacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP) and other bilateral, regional and plurilateral agreements that seek to commodify all aspects of life and nature. Nnimmo Bassey of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Nigeria points out, “These agreements undercut domestic labor, destroy nature, and substantially reduce the capacity of nations to define their own economic, social and environmental priorities.”

The New York Summit is said to be a key milestone in the road to the 21st Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris in 2015, but the social movements supporting the statement point out that this requires firm legally binding commitments and transformative change rather than the business as usual currently proposed. ““Of course, we need real and concrete actions. But not any kind of action. No more voluntary pledges and empty promises. There will be no going back from the climate chaos if we do nothing to confront and challenge the inaction of our governments’ policy-making being taken over by polluting corporations. It is crucial for us to all strengthen our concrete struggles on the ground and focus our energies on changing the capitalist system.,” concludes Cindy Wiesner of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance.

The statement (with the list of 330 organisations) is available:

- here in english

- ici en français 

- aqui en castellano
qui in italiano

To arrange for interviews with any of the spokespersons, please contact any of the following:

Annelies Schorpion (French, English and Spanish)

Maxime Combes (French, English and Spanish)

Alberto Zoratti (Italian and English)

Sha Grogan-Brown (English and Spanish) mobile number:+1-917-586-9044



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Rising Tide Vermont Halts Gas Pipeline Construction, Two Arrested

Redmond Banner

Williston, VT - Two men were arrested yesterday afternoon after chaining themselves to pipe being laid for Vermont Gas’ fracked gas pipeline. The action took place a day before the Vermont Public Service Board begins a process which could result in the revoking of the permits required for Vermont Gas to continue construction. Construction was halted around 3:45, and did not resume for the rest of the day. The two men were charged and released.

“Vermont Gas lied,” said Will Bennington, a spokesperson for Rising Tide Vermont. “They’ve lied about the climate and environmental impacts of the project, they’ve lied to landowners and broken promises, and now they’ve lied about the cost of this project. The Public Service Board, and ultimately Governor Shumlin, have no reason to believe Vermont Gas is acting in the public good.”

In July, Vermont Gas announced a 40 percent increase in the cost of construction for Phase 1 of the fracked gas pipeline. The company hopes to pass this cost on to ratepayers, increasing the price of gas at a time when many Vermonters are already struggling to heat their homes.

Demonstrators oppose the pipeline because it will lock Vermont communities into decades more of dirty fossil fuel use, at a time when a rapid transition away from fossil fuels and extreme energy use is needed.  They are also concerned with impacts to local landowners and the lack of transparency surrounding the permitting process.

The Public Service Board is hosting a hearing tomorrow in Montpelier to decide whether or not to re-open the company’s Certificate of Public Good.

“This isn’t the beginning, and this isn’t the end,” Bennington said. “We are going to continue to do everything we can to stop this pipeline.  It is morally reprehensible to be building new fossil fuel infrastructure in this day and age, especially in a state that has already banned fracking.”

REdmond-Pipe Lockdown


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Filed under Actions / Protest, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Fracking

Does this look like sustainable energy to you?

Our friends at the Biomass Monitor have just released the September 2014 Editon and we are pleased to bring you a link to that, and the lead editorial by Josh Schlossberg.




 by Josh Schlossberg, Editor, Biomass Monitor. September 2014

The biomass incineration industry can’t expand significantly in the U.S. without raiding publicly-owned National Forests. Colorado-based Confluence Energy, the largest wood pellet manufacturer in the West, admits that they “live and breathe off that federal land” while competing with local sawmills for a limited wood source.

If you want to see an example of what National Forest logging for biomass looks like, take a gander at our exclusive photos of clearcuts in Colorado’s White River National Forest, where all of the trees are chipped and burned in the Eagle Valley Clean [sic] Energy biomass incinerator in Gypsum.

While the newly-opened 75 megawatt Laidlaw-Berlin Biopower incinerator stalks the edges of New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest, and industry itches to get its hands on the California’s Stanislaus National Forest (see “Forest Service Moves to Clearcut Rim Fire Area”), a new incinerator proposed for Stevenson, Washington would cut and burn the Gifford Pinchot National Forest — with Oregon’s Mt. Hood National Forest just a few dozen miles away.

With the lumber industry in decline due to the economy and burst of the housing bubble, the biomass industry is setting itself up to be one of the greatest threats to our public lands. But never forget: public lands belong to all Americans and we’re the ones who get to decide whether we hand them over to private industry or not.

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels

Can I get a cup of genetically modified coffee?

An article on Bloomberg Business Week reveals that scientists have cracked the genetic code for robusta, the coffee plant that provides the java for about one third of the world’s early morning pick-me-ups. According to reporter Caroline Winter, scientists can use this discovery to engineer GMO decaffeinated coffee beans, an easier alternative to extracting the caffeine from the natural beans.

Attempts at GMO coffee in the past have been thwarted by hackers (a group who definitely needs round-the-clock caffeine), not to mention rousing the anger of thousands of hipsters who eat only organic and drink out of mason jars. Coffee isn’t just a beverage; for many it’s a culture.

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 10.10.39 PM

Photo: Wikimedia

The most ironic part of the article starts when scientists claim that genetically engineering coffee beans will help the plant survive climate change. Again, with the false solutions. How can one of the very methods that accelerates climate change be considered a solution?

I guess it’s time to really make that switch to tea.

Science Cracks Coffee’s Genetic Code. Up Next: Frankencoffee

by Caroline Winter, Bloomberg Business Week, 9 Sept. 2014

Scientists have managed to sequence the java genome, a breakthrough that brings new insights into the venerated bean while also opening the door to genetic engineering.

A group of more than 60 international researchers painstakingly pinpointed all the genes that make up robusta coffee, according to an article published last week in Science, a plant variety that accounts for roughly one-third of the world’s coffee consumption. Various groups are still working on sequencing the fancier, more delicious arabica strand, which contains about twice as much genetic information.

One surprising discovery: Coffee’s mode of producing caffeine is quite different from that of its cousin, cocoa, indicating that the two plants don’t share a common ancestor. There are several reasons why unrelated plants might evolve to produce the addictive substance we love so much. “Bugs don’t chew on the coffee plant leaves because they don’t like the caffeine, but pollinators like bees do,” Victor Albert, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Buffalo and one of the study’s authors, told the Associated Press. “So pollinators come back for more—just like we do for our cups of coffee.”

Top off your cup and check out the full article here.

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Filed under Climate Change, False Solutions to Climate Change, Genetic Engineering

Climate Summit: World leaders fiddle while Planet burns

climatedis-150x150-1NEW YORK CITY, USA, September 16, 2014 – One week before world leaders gather here for their Climate Summit, Friends of the Earth International warned that the September 23 ‘talk shop’ will only see leaders fiddling with flimsy pledges instead of committing to binding carbon reductions.

“A parade of leaders trying to make themselves look good does not bring us any closer to the real action we need to address the climate crisis. This one-day Summit will not deliver any substantial action in the fight against climate change,” said Dipti Bhatnagar, Friends of the Earth International Climate Justice and Energy coordinator.

“World leaders are falling far short of delivering what we need to truly tackle climate change in a just way. Their flimsy non-binding pledges in New York will do little to improve their track record. What we urgently need are equitable and binding carbon reductions, not flimsy voluntary ones,” she added.

On September 21, hundreds of thousands of people including Friends of the Earth International members and supporters will march in New York, London, Amsterdam and many other cities around the world to demand climate justice, standing with climate and dirty energy-affected communities worldwide.

Last week the World Meteorological Organization warned that atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases hit a record in 2013 as carbon dioxide concentrations grew at the fastest rate since global records began.

The impact of increasingly common extreme weather events, such as flooding, droughts and hurricanes, are devastating the lives and livelihoods of many millions of people. 

Climate change is directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people per year, most of whom live in poorer countries. 

Without immediate action, climate change will certainly get worse and could pass a dangerous tipping point where it becomes both catastrophic and irreversible. 

The 195 States that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recognise that rich, industrialised countries have done the most to cause climate change and must take the lead in solving it, and provide funds to poorer countries.

But developed countries’ leaders are neglecting their responsibilities to prevent climate catastrophe.  Their positions are increasingly driven by the narrow economic and financial interests of wealthy elites, the fossil fuel industry and multinational corporations.  

Friends of the Earth International demands a total phase out of carbon emissions by the middle of this century in order to reverse current warming trends and minimize the chance of irreversible damage and possible runaway climate change.

NASA scientist James Hansen and others have spotlighted the need to return to 350 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide (CO2) or lower to preserve the planet and its people. The sharing of this burden must be based on historical responsibility, capacity to act and access to sustainable development in order to enable a just global transition.

Friends of the Earth International believes that industrialised countries must urgently commit to reducing their emissions domestically – without false solutions such as offsets – in line with what science and equity demand.

There are real solutions to the climate crisis. First among them is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Reductions must be agreed through a legally-binding agreement at the UNFCCC that is in line with what science and equity demand.

We also need clean sustainable community energy – the right for people to have access to energy; to decide and own their sustainable energy sources such as wind and solar and sustainable consumption patterns.

Friends of the Earth International also supports the call for a Financial Transactions Tax – or Robin Hood Tax – as a source of climate finance. Funds are urgently needed for clean, sustainable community energy and adaptation to climate change in developing countries.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Greenwashing, UNFCCC

Asthma-related ER visits on the rise

A new study out of Connecticut shows that the rates for the hospitalization of asthma has increased substantially in the last few years. In fact, in the Constitution State alone, asthma rates increased nearly 30 percent. The rates are higher in urban areas where pollution is more prevalent.

Air pollution is the leading cause of the increase in asthma rates. Photo:  Don Hammond

Air pollution is the leading cause of the increase in asthma rates. Photo: Don Hammond

Info from the U.S. Center for Disease Control shows that U.S. national rates are on the rise, too. Those at most risk live in urban areas with a low socioeconomic status. The rates of increase among children is nothing short of terrifying. The top triggers of asthma include smog, wood smoke, ash, ground level ozone (when smoke from cars combines with oxygen and sunlight), sulfur dioxide (the result of burning coal and crude oil) and nitrogen oxide (another gas emitted from pipes and smokestacks). It’s no surprise that air pollution is a leading cause of millions of Americans’ inability to breathe.

ER Visits And Hospitalizations For Asthma On The Rise

by Jodie Mozdzer, The Courant, 15 September 2014

Ava Passley covered her nose and giggled as Dr. Jacob Hen walked into an examination room at his pediatric pulmonology office in Trumbull recently.

Ava, 3, of Bridgeport, knows what to expect from a visit with Hen, having dealt with asthma since she was 1. She also spent several nights in the hospital after an attack in 2012.

“I had always heard about wheezing, but had never really heard it before that,” her mother, Beverly Passley, said.

Ava is part of a growing number of people in Connecticut who have used the emergency room for asthma symptoms, according to the most recent figures from the state Department of Public Health. Each year from 2005 to 2009, Connecticut residents with asthma symptoms on average visited the emergency room 22,000 times and were hospitalized 4,800 times.

Read the full story, with charts, tables and other visuals, here.

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Great Lakes at a Crossroads?

This is a North America centric post.  As we begin to work toward gathering our energies for the New York climate action marches and beyond, it is important to begin to think of some of the critical ecosystems that are failing or at great risk due to climate change, commoditization of resources, and just the overall failure of the system that we live within.

This past weekend the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a series of articles on the condition of the Great Lakes, including Lake Erie.

The three pieces are:

A Great Lake Goes Bad: Toxic algae cocktail brews in Lake Erie

Dead zones haunt Green Bay as Manure fuels algae blooms

and the one posted below

An early summer storm flushes loads of sediment off farmlands southwest of Green Bay. Manure-covered farm fields and big rains have proven to be a bad combination for the bay, because the phosphorus-rich runoff is causing massive algae blooms.

An early summer storm flushes loads of sediment off farmlands southwest of Green Bay. Manure-covered farm fields and big rains have proven to be a bad combination for the bay, because the phosphorus-rich runoff is causing massive algae blooms.

Changes in America’s Dairyland four the waters of Green Bay

Dan Egan  Journal Sentinel  September 13, 2014

Manure is a potent fertilizer that does wonders for the crops that feed the cows that give the milk that makes Wisconsin America’s Dairyland.

It’s also making a mess of its waters.

While Green Bay holds a mere 1.4% of Lake Michigan’s water, it receives one-third of the lake’s nutrient load — due largely to the farm fields that drip phosphorus-rich manure into the streams, creeks and rivers that flow toward the bay.

Samples taken in many of those waterways over the past decade show average summer phosphorus levels twice as high — and sometimes 4 times as high — as what scientists say is acceptable.

Phosphorus at these levels is the trigger for late-summer algae blooms that smother beaches and, when they die and decompose, burn up so much oxygen that the waters of Green Bay are now plagued with chronic “dead zones” — vast stretches in which almost nothing can live.

Read the whole article here

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