Category Archives: Climate Change

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.

 

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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 annelies.schorpion@viacampesina.org (French, English and Spanish)

Maxime Combes maxime.combes@gmail.com (French, English and Spanish)

Alberto Zoratti azoratti@yahoo.it (Italian and English)

Sha Grogan-Brown sha@ggjalliance.org (English and Spanish) mobile number:+1-917-586-9044

 

 

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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

Why the UN is useless on Climate Change–from the BBC

Okay, so much for binding climate change agreements.  As we’ve mentioned previously, the UN Climate Convention is worse than useless.  It is controlled by corporate interests while pretending to do something useful–which in turn eliminates the space for real, effective (and justice based) action on climate change.  Yet another reason for more direct action at the People’s Climate March in NYC on the 21st of this month, and the Flood Wall Street action on the 22nd.

Greenhouse gas levels rising at fastest rate since 1984

atmosphere
A surge in atmospheric CO2 saw levels of greenhouse gases reach record levels in 2013, according to new figures.

Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere between 2012 and 2013 grew at their fastest rate since 1984.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) says that it highlights the need for a global climate treaty.

But the UK’s energy secretary Ed Davey said that any such agreement might not contain legally binding emissions cuts, as has been previously envisaged.

The WMO’s annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin doesn’t measure emissions from power station smokestacks but instead records how much of the warming gases remain in the atmosphere after the complex interactions that take place between the air, the land and the oceans.

About half of all emissions are taken up by the seas, trees and living things.

According to the bulletin, the globally averaged amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 396 parts per million (ppm) in 2013, an increase of almost 3ppm over the previous year.

“The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin shows that, far from falling, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere actually increased last year at the fastest rate for nearly 30 years,” said Michel Jarraud, secretary general of the WMO.

“We must reverse this trend by cutting emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases across the board,” he said.

“We are running out of time.”

Read the complete story here

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests and Climate Change, Oceans, Pollution, Uncategorized, UNFCCC

Flood Wall Street, Social Media Action Today

MonopolyA massive direct action protest in Wall Street has been planned for Monday, September 22nd.

For the inspiration, organizers credit Our Power campaign’s call for action in solidarity with the frontline communities affected by climate change and pollution. In the call, the Our Power campaign makes clear the stark contrasts for New York next week:

On September 23rd, political and corporate leaders are meeting at the United Nations in New York City for the Climate Summit 2014. This summit represents yet another step towards the corporate takeover of the UN climate negotiations, and the privatization of land, water and air resources under the guise of a global climate compact. Meanwhile, as communities on the frontlines of climate change, we are the ones cultivating real, place-based solutions to address the global ecological crises. Indigenous peoples’ communities, communities of color and working-class white communities that are the first and most impacted by the storms, floods and droughts, are organizing to create millions of family-supporting jobs in clean energy, public transportation, zero waste, food sovereignty, community housing and ecosystem restoration.

This protest will bring people right to the heart of  neoliberal capitalism and have them take part in a nonviolent sit-in during business hours. Those organizing the protest ask everyone to wear blue, as a flood headed right for one of the most significant engines for our ecological catastrophe.

Here’s the schedule:

  • 9 AM – Gather @ Battery Park – Breakfast and Music from Rude Mechanical Orchestra
  • 9:30 AM – Speakers – including frontline community leaders of the Climate Justice Alliance, Naomi Klein, Rebecca Solnit and Chris Hedges
  • 11 AM — Nonviolent Direct Action Training & March
  • 12 PM — Flood Wall St. and mass Sit-in at the New York Stock Exchange

On the event’s website, the organizers make their call:

As world leaders meet in New York for a historic summit on climate change, communities across the globe will flood financial centers to confront the corporate and economic systems that are causing the climate crisis. Join a united global movement to attack the root causes of the climate crisis and build an economy based on justice and sustainability. We need climate justice. 

And here’s what you can do today! Flooding Facebook – The Basics:

Today, organizers are asking supporters to invite their Friends to the Facebook event for Flood Wall Street. This has advantages over traditional social media blitzes because event invites:

  • Are more visible in the Facebook stream
  • Are immediately quantifiable — it’s like a game!
  • Allow us more ways to follow up with people who express interest

Here is the event page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/832215646797522/

Short link: http://bit.ly/floodwallstreet

Sharing the Event:

There are a few options for sharing the event. One is to go to the Event, click RSPV and then Invite Your Friends, then and share from there.

You can also drop the link in the normal Share box as you would any other link.

Short link: http://bit.ly/floodwallstreet


Full call to action and information here:  http://floodwallstreet.net

Sign up for updates and more information:  http://www.beyondthemarch.org/floodwallstreet

Join the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/832215646797522/?ref=br_tf

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Forests in three major U.S. parks facing extinction

A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization found that forests in Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Glacier National Park are facing annihilation from the skyrocketing incidents of heat, wildfires, tree-killing insects and drought.

Photo: Climate Progress

Photo: Climate Progress

The culprit behind it all?

“No obvious cause.”

That’s right. The study basically concluded with a collective shoulder shrug.

According to the article, “Trees Are Dying From ‘No Obvious Cause’ In Rocky Mountains, Report Says”, by Ari Phillips (@re_ari) on Climate Progress, the scientists only slightly allude to these changing conditions being the result of climate change.

Trees Are Dying From ‘No Obvious Cause’ In Rocky Mountains, Report Says
By Ari Phillips, Climate Progress, September 11, 2014

The Rocky Mountain forests that traverse the West are under unprecedented danger from climate-related impacts according to a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization. The Rockies include national parks like Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Glacier National Park, and are facing a “triple assault — tree-killing insects, wildfires, and heat and drought — that could fundamentally alter these forests as we know them.”

According to the report, titled “Rocky Mountain Forests at Risk,” many western trees are dying from “no obvious cause” like the bark beetle epidemic or increasing threat of wildfire, with scientists suggesting that these deaths are due simply to the hotter and drier conditions associated with climate change. The mortality rate for old-growth trees in undisturbed forests has doubled recently, with a sharp increase in recent years, and there’s been no compensating increase in the number of seedlings.

Read the rest of the study’s findings at Climate Progress.

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Filed under Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Human made disasters

Half of North American Bird species face disruption,decline

The National Audubon Society released a report this past Tuesday, September 9, indicating that 314 North American Bird species are on the brink, due to shifting and shrinking ranges that have a fundamental cause in climate change.  This includes loss of habitat caused by a number of factors including climate shifts and commodification of natural resources such as forests.  126 species are identified in the report that will lose more than 50% of their current ranges, some up to 100% by 2050.  Another 188 species face catastrophic loss of range by 2080. The Bald Eagle is expected to loose 73% of its range by 2080.  Familiar birds like the Baltimore Oriole, Common Loon, the Purple Finch, and the Wood Thrush may  will be significantly effected.  Some like the Trumpeter Swan will not survive.

 

Warblers such as this Yellow-throated Warbler are vanishing. Photo by Jay Burney 2014

An article published tuesday in the New York Times tells the story of the Audubon Report.

Climate change will Disrupt Half of North America’s Bird Species, Study Says.

Felicity Barringer   New York Times  September 8, 2014

The Baltimore oriole will probably no longer live in Maryland, the common loon might leave Minnesota, and the trumpeter swan could be entirely gone.

Those are some of the grim prospects outlined in a report released on Monday by the National Audubon Society, which found that climate change is likely to so alter the bird population of North America that about half of the approximately 650 species will be driven to smaller spaces or forced to find new places to live, feed and breed over the next 65 years. If they do not — and for several dozen it will be very difficult — they could become extinct.

The four Audubon Society scientists who wrote the report projected in it that 21.4 percent of existing bird species studied will lose “more than half of the current climactic range by 2050 without the potential to make up losses by moving to other areas.” An additional 32 percent will be in the same predicament by 2080, they said.

Read the New York Times Story

Read the Audubon Report

 

 

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Filed under Biodiversity, BREAKING NEWS, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Forests and Climate Change, Great Lakes, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Human made disasters, Industrial agriculture, Latin America-Caribbean, Oceans, Pollution, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Uncategorized