Category Archives: Climate Change

Colorado biomass power plant goes up in smoke

Flames erupted at a Colorado Biomass Facility on Dec. 13, 2014. Photo: Greater Eagle Fire Protection Disctrict

Flames erupted at a Colorado Biomass Facility on Dec. 13, 2014. Photo: Greater Eagle Fire Protection Disctrict

The serenity of Gypsum, a small Colorado town nestled among rolling hills and snow-capped peaks, exploded as fire crews were called in to a three-alarm blaze at a biomass power plant. According to an article in The Denver Post, the plant, which burns beetle-kill timber, was the first in Colorado, having began operation nearly one year before the fire. Currently, the plant is closed.

Fires, explosions, injuries and even death are not uncommon occurrences at bioenergy facilities. In the last few years the smoke screen has been lifted from several these “renewable” sources of energy, including a near-fatal California boiler rupture in 2013. There are many debates about the safety and sustainability of biomass and the dangers involved in wood-burning plants continues to tip the scales.

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Filed under Biiotechnology, Biofuelwatch, Climate Change

Australian climate protesters halt first coal train from Maules Creek mine

First_Rail_15-12-11


Newcastle, Australia: A peaceful blockade has halted the first train load of coal coming from the controversial Maules Creek coal mine on its way to Newcastle’s Kooragang Island coal export terminals this morning.

A group of 22 people met the train this morning. Eight people have occupied and stopped the train and are refusing to leave.

20141215_061108-e1418609338604The train was stopped during the night and delayed for over 6 hours by a protestor who locked onto locomotives needed to push the coal over the Great Dividing Range. The 58 year-old protestor, Bruce, from Northern Rivers, was arrested. Speaking about why he took action, Bruce said:

“Australia’s response to climate change is headed completely backwards. If we can stop this new coal mine we set a precedent for the rest of Australia to stand up.”

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Filed under Climate Change, Coal, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

Lima Climate COP Fails (of course)

The biggest shame about the latest round of UN talks about addressing climate change that just ended in Lima, Peru was not that it failed, but some people actually thought something useful would come of it.

Global Justice Ecology Project only attended the UN Climate COPs from 2004-2011, when we quit them for good, as it was painfully clear from the onset that these were corporate-dominated trade shows designed to promote profit-making false solutions.

Fortunately, more and more people (except for the big green NGOs) recognize that these climate COPs will never get it done and are organizing peoples’ summits where grassroots climate activists, Indigenous Peoples and impacted community members can gather to discuss what to do about climate change from the bottom up, as with the Lima People’s Climate Summit last week.  The outcomes from this event are not yet available, but we will post them when they are.

Burning the Planet, One Climate COP at a time

Mary Lou Malig, Peoples’ Forest Rights, December 13, 2014

For the third year in a row, a typhoon wreaked havoc on the Philippines during a Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In 2012, during the UNFCCC COP 18 in Doha, Qatar, Typhoon Bopha, the strongest ever to hit Mindanao, the southern area of the Philippines, left more than a thousand dead and thousands more homeless. In 2013, during the COP 19 in Warsaw, Poland, Typhoon Haiyan, a super typhoon of levels never seen before in the Philippines, made landfall and devastated millions of families, displaced an estimated 4 million people, and, left in its wake at least 6,100 dead, making it the deadliest typhoon to ever hit the country. Storm surges brought by the super typhoon violently washed away entire communities. This year, 2014, during the COP 20 in Lima, yet again another super typhoon made its way to the Philippines. Initially a category 5 super typhoon, Typhoon Ruby, weakened to a category 3 once it made landfall. Its path however included the communities still reeling from devastation of Typhoon Haiyan the year before.

Although the Philippines is no stranger to typhoons, seeing 15-20 typhoons a year, the scale of these recent super typhoons hitting the country has inflicted damage never before seen. Scientists have been making these warnings for several years now, warmer waters and warmer air temperatures are combining to produce more volatile and extreme weather including super typhoons of record-breaking magnitudes. One would think that with the vivid and horrific reality of massive loss and damage in countries like the Philippines, happening exactly at the same time as representatives of 192 governments come together to discuss actions needed to address the crisis of climate change, that these decision-makers would at least be compelled to take genuine action. Instead, it has been the complete opposite.

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, COP21 Paris 2015, False Solutions to Climate Change, UN, UNFCCC

Indigenous Amazon Leader Denounces REDD on Democracy Now!

Another blow to REDD: a false solution to climate change that is giving big polluters license to continue polluting, as well as displacing Indigenous Peoples around the world from their lands. For more on the dangers and impacts of REDD on Indigenous Peoples, watch this important interview on Democracy Now!

Brazilian Indigenous Leader: Carbon Trading Scheme “REDD” a False Solution to Climate Change

Democracy Now!, 11 December 2014

The controversial carbon trading scheme known as REDD, or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, has set off protests not only in Africa, but also in South America, especially in the Amazon region. We speak to Chief Ninawa Huni Kui, president of the Federation of the Huni Kui, an indigenous group in Brazil. He has traveled to the U.N. climate summit in Lima to voice his opposition to REDD.

Click here to view the interview on Democracy Now!

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Filed under Biodiversity, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD

On Human Rights Day: Marching for Justice at UN Climate COP

With the corporate control of the UN Climate Conference in plain view to all, peoples’ movements from around the planet are creating alternative spaces to discuss real, bottom up and grassroots solutions to the climate crisis.  Today, on Human Rights Day, the Peoples’ Summit on Climate Change will be marching in support of these real solutions.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Frontline Communities, UNFCCC

Zero Net Emissions – The latest fad in false solutions

At the Lima, Peru, climate talks, Jim Yong Kim, head of the World Bank, called for countries and corporations to reduce the impact of climate change by committing to a long-term strategy of “Zero Net Emissions,” also known as carbon neutrality. An article on Responding to Climate Change highlights Kim’s speech, while also explaining some of the details of the process, the likelihood it can be achieved and positions of other global leaders.

Photo: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Photo: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

So how does Kim think the world can get to Zero Net Emissions? Current tactics used by the World Bank and other global corporations include land grabbing, deforestation, wood burning and palm oil plantations — all known to promote, perpetuate and, in most cases, even worsen climate change.

There’s a comments section on this article, folks. At the time of writing, it’s at 0. Let’s use our voices to make it known that carbon neutrality is not the solution to climate change. The planet deserves better options; the world deserves better leaders.

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Filed under Biofuelwatch, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, World Bank

BREAKING – Murdered before Lima climate protest: Ecuadoran indigenous anti-mining activist José Isidro Tendetza Antún

Photograph: Pete Oxford/Corbis via The Guardian

Photograph: Pete Oxford/Corbis via The Guardian

The killing of José Isidro Tendetza Antún highlights the risks facing environmental activists in Ecuador. Earlier this week, a group of campaigners travelling in a “climate caravan” were stopped six times by police on their way to Lima and eventually had their bus confiscated. The activists said they were held back because president Correa wants to avoid potentially embarrassing protests at the climate conference over his plan to drill for oil in Yasuni, an Amazon reserve and one of the most biodiverse places on earth.

Once lauded for being the first nation to draw up a “green constitution,” enshrining the rights of nature, Ecuador’s environmental reputation has nosedived in recent years as Correa has put more emphasis on exploitation of oil, gas and minerals, partly to pay off debts owed to China.

– Patrick Bond in Durban, South Africa

Ecuador indigenous leader found dead days before planned Lima protest
By  and , The Guardian. 6 December 2014

The body of an indigenous leader who was opposed to a major mining project in Ecuador has been found bound and buried, days before he planned to take his campaign to climate talks in Lima.

The killing highlights the violence and harassment facing environmental activists in Ecuador, following the confiscation earlier this week of a bus carrying climate campaigners who planned to denounce president Rafael Correa at the United Nations conference.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Forests and Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Political Repression, UNFCCC

Another industry scam, this time Alberta tar sands investors left high and dry!

As the Saudi’s continue to flood the market with cheap oil in an attempt to break the economic back of Russia, investors in the Canadian tar sands (Hello Koch Brothers?) are in a bit of a first world pinch. This excellent expose published in The Ecologist shows how fossil fuel companies ware misleading investors and potential investors by greatly understating the risks of lower oil prices, higher costs for environmental damages, and new green house gas regulations. Something has to give, right?

The Syncrude Aurora Oil Sands Mine, north of Fort McMurray, Canada. Photo: Elias Schewel via Flickr.

The Syncrude Aurora Oil Sands Mine, north of Fort McMurray, Canada. Photo: Elias Schewel via Flickr.

 

Tar sands industry faces ‘existential’ $246 billion loss
By Gregory McGann, The Ecologist. 27th November 2014

The exploitation of Canada’s tar sands is more than just an environmental catastrophe, writes Gregory McGann. It’s also an turning into an economic disaster, with massive investments at risk as falling oil prices leave the tar sands stranded.

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Filed under Climate Change, Energy, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Frontline Communities, Keystone XL, Oil, Tar Sands