Category Archives: Climate Change

U.S Coal Exports are a significant part of Obama’s Climate Action Plan

Powder River Mining- Source Greenpeace USA

Powder River Mining- Source Greenpeace USA

A new report released by Greenpeace USA, Leasing Coal, Fueling Climate Change, reveals that the United States’ federal coal leasing program promotes more coal mining and exports, and has lead to 3.9 billion metric tons of carbon pollution since the beginning of the Obama administration and is equivalent to the 3.7 billion tons of carbon that was emitted in the entire European Union in 2012. The report questions the ability to reconcile the coal leasing and export program with the Obama Climate Action Plan.

According to the report:

Without major changes, the federal coal leasing program will continue to undermine federal, state, and international efforts to reduce carbon pollution; the BLM Wyoming office plans to lease over 10 billion tons of coal in the coming years, dwarfing the emissions reductions expected from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.

The report comes to several startling conclusions including:

The carbon pollution from publicly owned coal leased during the Obama administration will cause damages estimated at between $52 billion and $530 billion, using the federal government’s social cost of carbon estimates.In contrast, the total amount of revenue generated from those coal leases sales was $2.3 billion.

and

A ton of publicly owned coal leased during the Obama administration will, on average, cause damages estimated at between $22 and $237, using the federal government’s social cost of carbon estimates – yet the average price per ton for those coal leases was only $1.03.

A July 28, 2014 post in DESMOG Blog by Steve Horn Greenpeace Report: Obama Administration Exporting Climate Change by Exporting Coal says that the policies represented by the coal development and exports

serve as major endorsements of continued coal production and export to overseas markets

and that

the report tackles the dark underbelly of a rule that only polices coal downstream at the power plant level and largely ignores the upstream and global impacts of coal production at-large.

The DESMOG article is full of jaw dropping statistics gleaned from the Greenpeace USA report and is an important read.

Other recent stories linked in the DESMOG report echo this theme. Read them here:

AP-July 28, 2014  Not in my backyard: US sending dirty coal abroad by Dina Cappiello

Rolling Stone-February 3, 2014  How the US Exports Global Warming by Tim Dickinson

Maclean’s June 10, 2014 America’s dirty secret  by Luiza Ch. Savage

 

 

 

 

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Orin Langelle responds to Rolling Stone article, “Green Going Gone: The Tragic Deforestation of the Chaco”

Orin Langelle, Board Chair, Global Justice Ecology Project

I am impressed to see attention being given to the Chaco region by Christine MacDonald’s Rolling Stone article.  I also witnessed some of the tragedy of the Chaco and Paraguay itself.

In 2009 I traveled to the Chaco with Dr. Miguel Lovera, my friend and the chairperson of Global Forest Coalition and part of the Ayoreo support group, Iniciativa Amotocodie.

Dr. Lovera became National Secretary for Plant Safety for Paraguay during Fernado Lugo’s presidency. In her article, MacDonald writes that “Lugo was swept from office in 2012 [by] an impeachment carried out by the Paraguayan Congress.” My colleagues in Paraguay would disagree with the term “impeachment.” To them it was a coup that forced Lugo out of office in 2012.

Because of the coup, Dr. Lovera lost his job as National Secretary for Plant Safety for Paraguay.  While National Secretary, Lovera was in constant battle with the soy mafia and tried to stop the introduction of GMO cotton. Lovera had armed guards in his home due to his ongoing campaign to stop GMOs. No doubt Paraguay’s agribusiness leaders and their friends at Monsanto celebrated the fact that Lovera was removed from office.

 When I was in the Chaco in 2009 it was evident that things were bad and were going to get worse.  One of the tragic realities is the ongoing hostilities against the indigenous Ayoreo People of the Chaco. I was invited by the Ayoreo community to photograph Campo Lorro, where some of the first Ayoreo People captured were sent when Mennonite farmers established settlements on their land.

Below is one of photos I shot in Campo Lorro for the photo essay “Sharing the Eye.”

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There are still uncontacted Ayoreo living in the Gran Chaco. They do not want contact with “civilization” and wish to remain in their forest home. Today, however, cattle ranches, expansion of genetically modified soybean plantations for biofuels, hydroelectric dams and mineral exploitation threaten the forests of the Chaco.

The Rolling Stone article by Christine MacDonald definitely documents the ongoing tragedy of the Chaco. A subtitle in her article, “Animal Cruelty is the Price We Pay for Cheap Meat,” highlights the policies of US-based agribusiness giants Cargill Inc., Bunge Ltd., and Archer Daniels Midland Co.

Besides reading the Rolling Stone article, you can also see more from Global Forest Coalition on the negative impact of unsustainable livestock production in South America, the continent with the highest deforestation rates on earth: Redirecting Government Support for Unsustainable Livestock Production key to Biodiversity Conservation, Claim New Report and Briefing Paper.

Read the Rolling Stone Article:  Green Going Gone: the Tragic Deforestation of the Chaco, by Christine MacDonald

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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Land Grabs, Photo Essays by Orin Langelle, South America, Uncategorized

Indigenous Mountain Farmers Unite on Climate Change

Photo: Chris Stowers/Panos

Photo: Chris Stowers/Panos

With representatives from more than 10 countries, The International Network of Mountain Indigenous Peoples formed in May as a coalition to lobby against climate change by advocating for traditional farming strategies. The group called on governments to “support climate change adaptation measures based on traditional knowledge; promote indigenous languages; and bridge local knowledge and science to create effective solutions for conservation, food security and climate adaptation.” While collaboration and shared knowledge are vital, we at GJEP are curious about the organizations behind the movement and hope that there are no hidden motives lurking beneath the curtain.

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Study finds U.S. citizens want to see government action on climate change

For U.S. politicians, taking a solid stance on climate change is like the kiss of death. They avoid it like bad breath. However, a new study shows that more than half of the voters surveyed want to see their governmental representatives taking “unilateral action” to fight against climate change. A “unilateral” stance would be rather interesting for the U.S. government, seeing as how it consistently refuses to cooperate on this issue with the rest of the world.  Unfortunately, we cannot trust the US government to decide what kind of climate action to take, as President Obama has been quite clear that he considers fracked gas and nukes part of the climate solution.  The U.S. public needs to understand which methods really constitute as clean, sustainable energy and which ones are just politically safe shams, before they can demand real, just and ecologically appropriate action.  No fossil fuels, no false solutions,  just digging in to do the real work.

–The GJEP Team

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

A massive new study shows that voters are ready for the government to forge ahead even without an international agreement

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Filed under Climate Change, Politics, Uncategorized

Earth Watch: Tom Goldtooth from the Venezuelan Social PreCOP

Tom Goldtooth presenting at the start of Mesa III: Social Participation in Decision Making

Tom Goldtooth (left, white shirt) presenting at the start of Mesa III: Social Participation in Decision Making

Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network and Grassroots Global Justice delegate to Venezuela, spoke to Margaret Prescod (KPFK) from the Social PreCOP on Margarita Island.

Goldtooth spoke about the goals for the Social PreCOP, the vital importance of the inclusion of Indigenous peoples in climate discussions and action, the Indigenous-rooted concept of good living (buen vivir), and the need for real, sustainable climate action that does not accept false solutions like REDD.

Listen to the interview here, from the July 17th Sojourner Truth show.

Read the talking points from Tom’s presentation at the start of Mesa III: Social Participation in Decision Making here.

Tom Goldtooth is a member of our New Voices Speakers Bureau.

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Earth Radio, Earth Watch, Indigenous Peoples, KPFK

Breaking Action Alert: Enbridge Blockaded

17 July 2014.  Source: Swamp Line 9 via Earth First! newswire

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Individuals from Six Nations and their allies have interrupted work on a section of Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline. The work stoppage began around 10am this morning. Individuals involved asked workers to leave, asserting that the land is Haudenosaunee territory guaranteed under the Haldimand deed, and that Enbridge’s workers were present without consent or consultation.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Indigenous Peoples, Oil, Tar Sands, Uncategorized

Earth Minute: System Change not Climate Change in Venezuela

See below for transcript.

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Transcript

I am recording this week’s Earth Minute from the Venezuelan Island of Margarita.  The Venezuelan government has assembled hundreds of organizations from around the Americas and across the world under the theme of “Changing the System, Not the Climate.”  The idea of this meeting is to begin to develop justice-based strategies and discussions to inform a peoples’ position at this year’s UN Climate Conference in Lima Peru in December.

“System Change not Climate Change” originally emerged as the demand from civil society organizations protesting the northern-dominated and pro-corporate UN Climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009. There UN delegates and observers staged a massive “Reclaim Power” march out that attempted to meet with thousands of activists marching toward the conference.  The idea was to come together for a Peoples’ Assembly, where real peoples’ solutions to the climate crisis would be advanced.  While that action was met with severe repression and violence from the Danish Police, the powerful concept of “System Change not Climate Change” continues to carry forward.

 

For the Earth Minute and the Sojourner Truth show, this is Anne Petermann from Global Justice Ecology Project reporting from Venezuela.

Photo: Climate Justice Now! Statement on Climate Change from COP-15, Copenhagen, December 2009. Photo: Neil White/Guardia

Image: noticias24.com via lainfo.es

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Filed under Climate Change, Copenhagen/COP-15, Earth Minute, Earth Radio, KPFK

On Bill McKibben’s ‘call to arms’ for the New York climate summit

By Anne Petermann, Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project, from the Venezuela Social Pre-COP

Today’s blog post is not addressing directly what is happening here in Venezuela at the SocialPreCOP, but something on the minds of many people here–the next step in the series of climate meetings/actions this year.  That is the upcoming climate march planned for New York City on September 21st, two days before UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s UN Climate Summit–a closed door session where the world’s “leaders” will discuss “ambitions” for the upcoming climate conference (COP20) in Lima, Peru. Part of the objective of the Venezuelan government at this SocialPreCOP meeting is to come away with a set of demands from people gathered here that they can take to this exclusive summit.

The September climate march was called for by Big Green NGOs 350.org and Avaaz, who have thrown copious quantities of cash at it. But many environmental and climate justice organizations and alliances based in the New York/New Jersey region and across the US have demanded a seat at the organizing table to ensure that the voices of front line and impacted communities are heard, despite their small budgets.

The demands of the march: there will be none. That’s right. The march will simply bring together an estimated 200,000 people to march through the streets of New York and then…  There will be no rally, no speakers, no strong political demands.  Just people showing up with the overarching message that the world’s leaders should take action on climate change.

Please.

What kind of climate action should be taken is a question that has long been debated by climate justice activists, organizations, social movements and Indigenous Peoples all over the world for decades.   “Climate action” can include things like geoengineering schemes–manmade manipulations of nature on such a massive scale that the impacts can’t possibly be known, but could definitely be catastrophic.  They can also include actions already taking place, such as the building of vast hydroelectric dams that flood vast expanses of land and displace thousands of Indigenous Peoples or land-based communities. Climate action can also include ongoing grabbing of land for the development of vast plantations of oil palm, GMO soy or non-native trees for so-called bioenergy.

So no, not all “climate action” is created equal.  A lack of clear justice-based and ecologically sound demands in this “historic” march will leave a vacuum.  And no vacuum remains empty for long.  It’s simple physics.  The media will not cover a march with no demands. They will find a message.  And likely, as so often happens, those with the connections and the money will win the messaging game.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Posts from Anne Petermann