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
Featuring the Tar Sands, Hurricane Sandy, climate justice and genetically engineered trees
Global Justice Ecology Project teamed up with the Sojourner Truth show in LA for a series of events in late-November, including the following one-hour in-studio interview featuring Clayton Thomas-Muller, Tar Sands Co-Director with the Indigenous Environmental Network; Orin Langelle, Board Chair for Global Justice Ecology Project, and Anne Petermann, GJEP Executive Director. They discussed the link between Hurricane Sandy, climate change, social justice and extreme energy. To listen, click the link below.
Filed under Climate Change, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Doha/COP-18, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Indigenous Peoples, Natural Disasters, Oil, Tar Sands
It was beautiful, the hurricane. On the website, it was a white spiral as if someone unplugged a drain in the sky and the clouds swirled down. It spun over the Caribbean, leaving a trail of dark battered islands in its wake. I watched the tally of the dead rise; in Jamaica, one dead; in Haiti, 54 dead and Cuba, 11 dead.
And yet, I didn’t take it seriously. It’ll peter out. The window-shaking wind seemed like fun. I laughed with Mom over the phone as the sky darkened and rain scraped the street like a Brillo pad. She was going to the evacuation center but had to waterproof things in her apartment first. And then her phone cut off.
Note: It’s not just fossil fuel burning that will bring us more catastrophic weather, but the large-scale development of “false solutions” like biomass-based electricity, agrofuels and hydro-electric dams that also release huge quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. In going after fossil fuels, we must also expose and oppose these false solutions or we will merely be trading one source of the problem for another.
–The GJEP Team
by Steve Leahy, 30 October 2012. Source: HurricaneSandySpeaks.com
Sea water floods the Ground Zero construction site, Monday in New York
There are estimates that I might cause $20 billion in damages in the US in addition to the $2+ billion in costs in the Caribbean. That’s a lot of money — enough to give every human on the planet $3. But it is only a fraction of the $600 billion the oil and gas industry is spending this year alone [2012 Harvard study, pg 8] in exploration and new production. That $600 billion investment in fossil fuels will bring far greater storms than I.
It will bring extreme weather no human has ever witnessed. And it will be an “investment” in extreme weather lasting more than a hundred years.
So don’t curse me if your home is flooded, your life disrupted or worse. Hurricanes and tropical storms are the nature’s pressure relief valves. It’s not our fault we’ve been amped up on fossil-fuel ‘steroids’ you’ve put into the atmosphere. Everyday millions more tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) are added trapping ever more of the sun’s heat. A tonne of CO2 is about three barrels of oil.
Every tonne of CO2 ‘lives’ in the atmosphere for 100 years. That means every barrel of oil, tonne of coal or cubic foot of gas burned adds more CO2, trapping more and more of the sun’s heat for the next 100 years.
It’s curious you’d spend $600 billion on additional sources of fossil fuel when there is already more than enough production capacity to push CO2 levels from current the 390 parts per million (ppm) to far above 450 ppm. It’s a curious investment when your experts and leaders say they want to return to a safer level of 350 ppm.
by Steve Leahy, 29 October 2012. Source: Hurricanesandyspeaks.com
Hi, this is Sandy. People are calling me ‘Frankenstorm’, ‘Superstorm’ and even ‘Weatherbomb’.
I don’t mean to hurt anyone but the record moisture in the atmosphere and heat in the ocean has given me uncontrollable power. I probably will cause billions of dollars of damage in Washington, New York City Boston and other parts of the Northeast. And I will kill some people, I already have. At least 66 people died when I swept through Jamaica and Cuba a few days ago.
I am a force of nature but you have to understand this is not all my fault.
I was born a only a week Monday in the warm waters of the southwestern Caribbean sea as a cluster of thunderstorms — what you call a tropical depression, the first stage of a hurricane. One unusual thing about my birth was that it was so late in the hurricane-tropical storm season. But this is happening more and more often as the climate becomes warmer and large parts of the ocean stay warmer longer. Continue reading
By Naomi Klein, October 27, 2012. Source: New York Times Sunday Review
FOR almost 20 years, I’ve been spending time on a craggy stretch of British Columbia’s shoreline called the Sunshine Coast. This summer, I had an experience that reminded me why I love this place, and why I chose to have a child in this sparsely populated part of the world.
It was 5 a.m. and my husband and I were up with our 3-week-old son. Looking out at the ocean, we spotted two towering, black dorsal fins: orcas, or killer whales. Then two more. We had never seen an orca on the coast, and never heard of their coming so close to shore. In our sleep-deprived state, it felt like a miracle, as if the baby had wakened us to make sure we didn’t miss this rare visit.
The possibility that the sighting may have resulted from something less serendipitous did not occur to me until two weeks ago, when I read reports of a bizarre ocean experiment off the islands of Haida Gwaii, several hundred miles from where we spotted the orcas swimming.
By Daniel Burdon, 21st August 2012. Source: Gatton Star
Note: Clicking through to the source here will allow you to see the huge sidebar ad for the Rio Tinto mining company that accompanies this article. “We’ve got big plans for expansion,” they say. Good luck going green Australia!
AUSTRALIANS have the worst carbon emission record in the developed world, the Climate Commission reported on Tuesday.
In its third major report on climate change, the commission found Australia had the highest carbon emission level per person of all the developed nations.
While Australia was among a group of 20 “carbon heavyweights” in emissions, it ranked only 15th for overall emissions of developed nations.
The report also highlighted action around the globe, including some 33 countries and “18 sub-national jurisdictions” which were expected to introduce a carbon tax-like scheme by 2013.
It also said that technology already was available to cut global emissions by up to 65% of the cuts needed by 2035.
By Carey L. Biron, Aug 21 2012. Source: IPS
WASHINGTON – Five months behind schedule, the board of the newest and largest international financing mechanism aimed at dealing with the effects of climate change, the Green Climate Fund, is finally slated to meet this week, just ahead of a late-summer deadline.
On Monday, however, insiders admitted that funding plans for the ambitious initiative – 100 billion dollars a year after 2020, in addition to dealing with a massive shortfall until then – remain unclear.
“We are expecting no serious discussion about the 100 billion dollars at this meeting,” Omar El-Arini, an Egyptian member of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board, told journalists Monday, speaking from Geneva.
By Walden Bello, August 17, 2012. Source: Nation of Change
This past month was the hottest July in the United States ever recorded. In India, the monsoon rains are long delayed, resulting in the country’s second drought in four years. Triple-digit temperatures in New Delhi and other cities have already provoked the worst power outages in the country’s history and the expected bad harvest is likely to slice at least 5 percent from GDP growth.
In Beijing, which usually suffers from a shortage of water, a storm on July 21 resulted in the worst flooding since recordkeeping began in 1951, according to theEconomist. Meanwhile, here in the Philippines, a protracted, weeklong rainstorm plunged Metropolitan Manila into a watery disaster that is probably the worst in recent history.
If there is any doubt that the abnormal is now the norm, remember that this is shaping up to be the second straight year that nonstop rains have wreaked havoc in Southeast Asia. Last year, the monsoon season brought about the worst flooding in Thailand’s history, with waters engulfing Bangkok and affecting over 14 million people, damaging nearly 7,000 square miles of agricultural land, disrupting global supply chains, and bringing about what the World Bank estimated to be the world’s fourth costliest disaster ever.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing about the unceasing rainstorms is that we Filipinos could do little to prevent them. We could have made them less calamitous by resettling informal settlers away from the floodways to Manila Bay and reforesting the hills and mountains that border the metropolitan area. We could have passed the Reproductive Health Bill much earlier and propagated family planning to reduce the human impact on the upland, rural, and urban environments. We could have, in short, taken measures to adapt to changing climate patterns. But to prevent the fundamental shifts in regional and global climate was something we could not do. This is the dilemma of most countries in the South: we are victims and our weapons are few and limited.
By Deodatus Mfugale, 15th August 2012. Source: IPP Media
About 80 percent of Tanzanians are farmers most of whom are small-scale, who struggle to meet their basic needs and are thus likely not happy with their trade.
Khamis Issa Mohamed, a Board Member of Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement (TOAM), shows journalists equipment used to treat soil using steam
Even when the weather is kind enough to provide them with the amount of rainfall they need to produce food and cash crops, the joy is short-lived because the timing of the following rainy season might be unpredictable, the amount of precipitation might go down and, in any case, the conventional farming method most of them still use does not guarantee them a good crop. The situation is further complicated by emerging challenges such as climate change, which has not only strained agricultural water supply but also reduced soil fertility through prolonged dry seasons and flash floods, among other things.
However, Sharji Shaaban Khamis of Bungo Village in Zanzibar’s Kusini Region is among few small farmers who are generally happy with the fruits of their sweat, thanks to engaging in alternative farming method, organic farming, which has seen him beat the challenges brought about by changing weather patterns and earn enough money to meet the needs of his family.