May 21 2013. Source: Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation
The Hague, Netherlands - Today members of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) and the Native Village of Point Hope, Alaska attended the Royal Dutch Shell AGM to confront the Chairman and Board over Shell’s decision to pursue highly risky ‘extreme energy’ projects without adequate consultation and accommodation of Indigenous communities. Projects such as Arctic off-shore drilling and tar sands will have little long term benefit for the company, and expose it to reputational damage, political and financial risk, including litigation.
“The ACFN leadership has made a commitment to protect our lands, rights and people currently being threatened by tar sands development. Our leadership has repeatedly tried exploring amenable agreements and options with Shell regarding their current tar sands proposals for the Jackpine expansion and the Pierre River mine projects. We want to work directly with the company to adequately identify direct impacts and solutions. However, Shell has repeatedly denied our requests and we have been disappointed by their inability to make concessions to work with us,” stated Eriel Deranger, member and Communications Coordinator of the ACFN. “Today I brought forward our concerns to Shell’s Board about current and proposed tar sands projects and the lack of adequate consultation.[i] I sincerely hope the Board keeps its word to speak with their Canadian president to address our concerns and potentially adjust the environmental impact assessment process. If Shell continues to move forward in project development without working directly with our community it will continue to lead toward more delays in project approvals, litigation and severe financial risk for Shell,[ii]” continued Deranger. Continue reading
Note: As the Campaign to STOP Genetically Engineered (GE) Trees is gearing up to meet the GE trees industry head-on in Asheville, NC next week, Enviva just announced the opening of a new wood pellet facility in eastern North Carolina. Industry hopes to supply these wood pellet facilities – which are designed to manufacture pellets bound for European markets – with GE trees like loblolly pine, eucalyptus and other species in the near future. Please join us in Asheville next week, or follow updates from the protest on Climate Connections. For more info, go to treebiotech2013.org
-The GJEP Team
May 21, 2013. Source: Bioenergy Insight
A new US wood pellet production facility owned by Enviva Pellets has been officially opened in North Carolina.
The facility has a capacity of 500,000 tonnes a year and is set to support 79 full time employees and an additional 130 jobs in forestry and logistic sectors.
The pellets will be exported through Enviva’s Port of Chesapeake export terminal in Virginia to European energy utility customers.
‘Global demand for biomass energy is projected to increase substantially over the next decade,’ says Enviva CEO John Keppler. ‘Our footprint in North Carolina plays an important role in meeting that demand and in delivering environmental and economic benefits both to our customers and to the region’s related industries.’
Note: One more mega-storm in the era of extreme weather.
-The GJEP Team
By John Eligon and and Michael Schwirtz, May 21, 2013. Source: NY Times
Photo: Nick Oxford for the New York Times
Emergency crews and volunteers continued to work through the early morning hours Tuesday in a frantic search for survivors of a huge tornado that ripped through parts of Oklahoma City and its suburbs, killing at least 91 people, 20 of them children, and flattening whatever was in its path, including a hospital and at least two schools.
Much of the tornado damage appeared to be in the suburb of Moore, where rescue workers struggled to make their way through debris-clogged streets and around downed power lines to those who are feared trapped under mountains of rubble.
The risk of tornadoes throughout the region remained high Tuesday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman.
Amy Elliott, the spokeswoman for the Oklahoma City medical examiner, said at least 91 people had died, and officials said that toll was likely to climb. Hospitals reported at least 145 people injured, 70 of them children.
17 May 2013. Source: The Guardian
US National Strategy for the Arctic Region prioritises corporate ‘economic opportunities’ at the expense of everyone else
Shell’s drilling rig Kulluk aground on the southeast shore of Sitkalidak Island about 40 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Alaska, January 4, 2013. Photograph: Zachary Painter/USCG
One week ago, the Obama administration launched its National Strategy for the Arctic Region, outlining the government’s strategic priorities over the next 10 years. The release of the strategy came about a week after the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President at the White House Complex hosteda briefing with international Arctic scientists.
Despite giving lip service to the values of environmental conservation, the new document focuses on how the US can manage the exploitation of the region’s vast untapped oil, gas and mineral resources in cooperation with other Arctic powers.
US hinges success of Arctic strategy on diminishing sea ice
At the heart of the White House’s new Arctic strategy is an elementary but devastating contradiction between what President Obama, in the document’s preamble, describes as seeking “to make the most of the emerging economic opportunities in the region” due to the rapid loss of Arctic summer sea ice, and recognising “the need to protect and conserve this unique, valuable, and changing environment.” Continue reading
May 20, 2013
The Guatemala Solidarity Project strongly condemns the arrest of our good friend Alberto Choc Xe, a community leader from the indigenous q’eqchi’ village Saquimo Setana. Choc was arrested on Thursday, May 16.
We call on immediate solidarity from the international community. We know that other arrested leaders of Saquimo Setana have faced beatings, hunger, false bribes and other forms of abuse and tricks used to pressure them to admit to crimes they didn’t commit and to implicate other local and national leaders in these crimes.
For background on the conflict in Saquimo Setana please refer to our earlier videos, two of which can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXoFw87lw0Y (an overview of the conflict at Saquimo) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FN1pbixFMkc (which focuses on the case of another political prisoner from Saquimo).
We fear for Alberto’s immediate safety and we believe that the small action of calling the Guatemalan Consulate in Chicago can help protect Alberto in the coming hours and days. Please call them at 312-540-0781 or 312-540-0808 to voice your extreme concern for the safety of Alberto Choc Xe of Saquimo Setana, arrested on May 16 in Canguanic, part of Coban, Alta Verapaz, and currently being held in Coban. Please ask for the immediate release of Alberto, as well as of Pablo Sacrab, another leader from Saquimo who has been in prison since 2010.
Please also consider making a contribution to the GSP. All contributions go to our partners in Guatemala. Because of a budget shortfall we are not currently able to provide financial assistance to arrested Saquimo leaders. In the past we have been able to help purchase medical supplies, food and other important support. Contributions can be made tax deductible through our fiscal sponsor UPAVIM by writing a check to the “UPAVIM Community Development Foundation” and sending to UPAVIM, c/o Greg Norman, 713 W. Garfield, Temple, TX, 76501. Or donate on paypal at http://upavim.pursuantgroup.net/english/donate.htm (Click on “Make a Donation,” then write GSP in the description space)
By Leonor Hurtado, May 15, 2013. Source: Food First
On May 10th, the Guatemalan Court of Justice convicted the ex-dictator General Ríos Montt to 80 years in prison for the massacres of indigenous people during the 1980s . Many Guatemalans hope that the judicial process against the criminals of the country’s “dirty war” will continue .
But while the Guatemalan people celebrate the conviction, the processes of genocide initiated 30 years ago by Ríos Montt’s massacres still continue by other means.
In the last decade, the expansion of oil palm plantations and sugarcane production for ethanol in Northern Guatemala has displaced hundreds of Maya-Q´eqchi´ peasant families, increasing poverty, hunger, unemployment and landlessness in the region, confirms Alberto Alfonso-Fradejas in the new Food First report, “Sons and Daughters of the Earth: Indigenous Communities and Land Grabs in Guatemala” . There is a tremendous contradiction here: at the same time that the ex-General Ríos Montt is convicted for genocide, the state allows the oligarchy, allied with extractive industries, to displace entire populations without taking into account the human cost, and in many cases, resulting in the murder and imprisonment of rural people who resist the assault. The genocide against the indigenous peasant population in Guatemala no longer has the face of a military dictatorship supported by the United States…. Now it is the corporations, the oligarchy and the World Bank who push peasants off their lands. Continue reading
May 17, 2013. Source: The Burlington Free Press
EDWARD ALOYSIUS EVERTS – CHARLOTTE -
Ed Everts’ long, wonderful, adventure-filled life of nearly 94 years, came to a close on May 10, 2013, in the Vermont Respite House with his wife, Raven, by his side.
Born in Berkeley, Calf., on June 12, 1919, Ed grew up in and around southern California and Hawaii. He graduated with a B.S. in chemistry from UC Berkeley in 1940, and was drafted shortly afterwards to serve in W.W.II. Trained at UCLA
as a meteorologist, he served in the Army
Air Corps in the Pacific theatre as a weather officer.
Returning from a data gathering flight over Japan, Ed narrowly escaped losing his life when the plane crashed at sea. He spent three days adrift with the rest of the crew before being rescued and sent home to the states. He remained in the Air Force Reserve until 1964, retiring as a Lt. Colonel.
Ed worked in a wide variety of jobs from chemistry to TV production and Hollywood movies and commercials, to his favorite position as president of a local meat packers union where he helped lead a long and successful strike. Throughout his life he remained a strong believer in the importance of workers’ rights and solidarity. Continue reading
Note: Global Justice Ecology Project has always maintained that the only solution to prevent runaway climate chaos is to confront the root causes of the problem. Economic domination and the spread of neoliberalism, through free-trade agreements like NAFTA, are the driving forces preventing real solutions to climate change. These agreements, and the institutions like the WTO and World Bank that support them, have us in a chokehold of the entrenched powers of the global economic elite. GJEP has witnessed this dynamic of top-down control first hand, from the local level all the way to the halls of the UN climate negotiations. Until we cast away the chains of free trade agreements and the neoliberal doctrine, our communities will continue to suffer, pipelines or not.
-The GJEP Team
By Farron Cousins, May 13, 2013. Source: DeSmog Blog
As the public anxiously awaits the U.S. State Department’s final decision on the fate of the Keystone XL Pipeline, the discussion has largely ignored the elephant in the room: the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA.)
Thanks to NAFTA, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994, the State Department will likely be able to do little more than stall the pipeline’s construction. In its simplest form, NAFTA removes barriers for North American countries wishing to do business in or through other North American countries, including environmental barriers. The goal of the agreement was to promote intra-continental commerce and help the economies of all involved in the agreement.
Before diving into NAFTA, it’s important to take a look at what the State Department and the media have done so far in regards to Keystone XL. Before she left office and was replaced by John Kerry, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s ties to the project were almost too many to count. Most notable was the fact that many of her former staffers and associates were lobbyists for Keystone, and they had a direct line into both Clinton and President Obama.
It is likely a result of these connections that the State Department’s environmental assessments were strikingly flawed and inadequate. As the NRDC pointed out, many of the so-called “standards” that the State Department put in place regarding the pipeline were simple “smoke and mirror” schemes to distract the public, and they failed to do their due diligence by considering alternative paths for the pipeline. Furthermore, climate impacts from operation and construction were almost completely ignored.
By Stephen Leahy, May 16, 2013. Source: Inter Press Service
Hubbard glacier in Seward, Alaska. Photo: Bigstock
Many eyes are turning north to the Arctic, some in horror at the rapid decline of a key component of our life support system, others in eager anticipation at the untapped resources beneath the vanishing snow and ice.
“I’ve worked in the north for 21 years and the scale and speed of change up there is astonishing,” said Douglas Clark of the University of Saskatchewan.
“These changes, taken as whole, and reflected in our report, keep me awake at night,” Clark told IPS.
Rapid and even abrupt changes are occurring on multiple fronts across the Arctic, according to the Arctic Resilience Report (ARR).
And what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic.
“It’s the first international report to tell the world to buckle up, we’re on a wild roller coaster ride and we don’t know what’s coming,” he said.
Note: As the failing EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) continues its slow, agonizing death, the EU Commission is scrambling to save it…by penalizing China and India for non-compliance. The EU ETS is the model emissions trading scheme, and the model shows that carbon markets don’t work. The EU ETS has been plagued by fraud and mismanagement of permits, as the article below points out: ”The system was established eight years ago, initially to cover heavy industry in Europe, but it has lately been on the verge of collapse. That is in large part because the weak European economy has somewhat curtailed emissions- producing activity, weakening demand for the permits.”
Thats right: The cap-and-trade carbon market doesn’t work to lower emissions. In large part, this is because a shrinking industrial economy (less factories, less energy produced and consumed) is more effective than a market-based approach aimed to keep the polluting industries in business. Gee, imagine that!
-The GJEP Team
By James Kanter, May 16, 2013. Source: NY Times
Photo: Wang Zhao/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
The European Commission said Thursday that Air China and Air India were among 10 Chinese and Indian airlines facing the prospect of fines and exclusion from airports in the European Union for refusing to comply with rules aimed at regulating greenhouse emissions.
The carriers are accused of not providing emissions data, as required by the European rules, and not participating in a permit system that entitles airlines to emit greenhouse gases in European airspace.
The volume of carbon dioxide that the European Commission said the 10 carriers emitted through their jet engines in Europe last year was comparable to the emissions from burning about 130 rail cars of coal.
The commission said the eight Chinese carriers could face fines totaling €2.4 million, or $3 million, and the two Indian airlines face total fines of €30,000.