Tag Archives: Climate Change

Coal mine’s rejection on global-warming grounds has major implications

By John H. Cushman Jr., July 1, 2014. Source: InsideClimate News

Coal Mine in Gillette, Wyoming. A U.S. District Court judge recently blocked a coal exploration project in Colorado on grounds that government agencies should have considered the project's global-warming costs, instead of solely touting its economic benefits. Credit: eastcolfax, flickr

Coal Mine in Gillette, Wyoming. A U.S. District Court judge recently blocked a coal exploration project in Colorado on grounds that government agencies should have considered the project’s global-warming costs, instead of solely touting its economic benefits. Credit: eastcolfax, flickr

 

A federal judge has blocked a coal project in the wilds of Colorado because federal agencies failed to consider the future global-warming damages from burning fossil fuels.

U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Johnson’s decision halts exploration proposed by Arch Coal that would have bulldozed six miles of roads on 1,700 untrammeled acres of public land.

When the agencies touted the supposed economic benefits of expanded coal mining in the Sunset Roadless Area, Johnson ruled, they should also have considered any global-warming costs. Continue reading

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Siberian Global Warming meets lukewarm reaction in Russia

By Pavol Stracansky, June 21, 2014.  Source: IPS

Climate change will cause the Siberian permafrost to thaw. Photo by Softpedia/Celsias

Climate change will cause the Siberian permafrost to thaw. Photo by Softpedia/Celsias

People in Siberia must prepare to face frequent repeats of recent devastating floods as well as other natural disasters, scientists and ecologists are warning, amid growing evidence of the effects of global warming on one of the world’s most ecologically diverse regions.

More than 50,000 people were affected by floods in the Altai region and Khakassia and Altai republics in southern Siberia at the end of May and early June. These came just over half a year since the worst floods in Siberia in living memory.

But while floods caused by snowmelt are not uncommon to Siberia, these most recent ones were caused by excessive rainfall – a phenomenon global warming is expected to make much more frequent in future.

As the world’s fourth largest greenhouse gas producer behind the United States, India and China, and with a fossil fuel-intensive economy which the government is desperate to boost, Russia has historically been far from the vanguard of global environmental policy reform.

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Obama climate plan: too little, too late

By Bill Weinberg, June 5, 2014. Source: WW4 Report

Photo by ssppjournal.blogspot.com

Photo by ssppjournal.blogspot.com

For the first time, the US Environmental Protection Agency has proposed to limit emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from existing power plants, the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States. The response has been predictable. Environment News Service notes: “Democrats and public health and environmental groups rejoiced in the proposal of a measure they have advocated for years to fight climate change, but Republicans cried doom, warning that the rule would destroy the American economy.” The New York Times writes: “[E]nvironmental advocates praised the proposed rule for its breadth and reach while the coal industry attacked it as a symbol of executive overreach that could wreak economic havoc.” The Daily Beast‘s Jason Mark dubbed the program “Obamacare for the Air” because both plans are “numbingly complex,” “based on a market system,” “likely to transform a key sector of the economy,” and “guaranteed to be intensely polarizing.” In other words, a market-based plan is being attacked by the right as green totalitarianism. This would be perverse enough if the plan’s goals were anywhere close to sufficient to actually address the climate crisis—which, again predictably, they are not.

Power plants that burn fossil fuels account for roughly one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. There are currently no national limits on carbon dioxide emissions, although limits are in place for levels of arsenic, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particle pollution emitted by power plants. The Clean Power Plan, as it is being called, allows states various ways to meet its proposed carbon dioxide emissions cuts, including market-based carbon-trading programs such as those already in place in 10 states. The target for the cuts is 30% nationwide below 2005 levels by 2030. Continue reading

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Filed under Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Politics

From Mexico to Brazil, climate change threatens coffee growers in Latin America

By Diego Cupolo, June 3, 2014. Source: Upside Down World

Photo by Diego Cupolo

Photo by Diego Cupolo

Coffee, like gold, sugar and oil, has long been one of Latin America’s major exports, sustaining everyone from independent farmers in mountain regions to corporate bankers in capital cities, all while keeping weary minds alert throughout the world.

Yet over the last decade, changing climate patterns have intensified droughts and plagues in the region, creating conditions less suitable for coffee production and wreaking havoc on the industry that came to define, even shape, many hillsides in rural Central and South America. Today, as coffee growers struggle to recover from a string of weather-related events, some industry analysts have already foreseen a major shift in coffee production towards Asia and away from Latin America. Continue reading

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Snowden Docs: U.S. Spied on Negotiators At 2009 Climate Summit

January 29, 2014.  Source:  Huffington Post

snowden nsa surveillance obama copenhagen

WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency monitored the communications of other governments ahead of and during the 2009 United Nations climate negotiations in Copenhagen, Denmark, according to the latest document from whistleblower Edward Snowden.The document, with portions marked “top secret,” indicates that the NSA was monitoring the communications of other countries ahead of the conference, and intended to continue doing so throughout the meeting. Posted on an internal NSA website on Dec. 7, 2009, the first day of the Copenhagen summit, it states that “analysts here at NSA, as well as our Second Party partners, will continue to provide policymakers with unique, timely, and valuable insights into key countries’ preparations and goals for the conference, as well as the deliberations within countries on climate change policies and negotiation strategies.”

“Second Party partners” refers to the intelligence agencies of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, with which the U.S. has an intelligence-sharing relationship. “While the outcome of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference remains uncertain, signals intelligence will undoubtedly play a significant role in keeping our negotiators as well informed as possible throughout the 2-week event,” the document says.

The Huffington Post published the documents Wednesday night in coordination with the Danish daily newspaper Information, which worked with American journalist Laura Poitras.

The December 2009 meeting in Copenhagen was the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which brings together 195 countries to negotiate measures to address rising greenhouse gas emissions and their impact. The Copenhagen summit was the first big climate meeting after the election of President Barack Obama, and was widely expected to yield a significant breakthrough. Other major developed nations were already part of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which set emissions limits, while the United States — the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases when the protocol went into effect in 2004 — had famously declined to join. The two-week meeting was supposed to produce a successor agreement that would include the U.S., as well as China, India and other countries with rapidly increasing emissions.

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Copenhagen/COP-15, Political Repression, Politics

Obama’s State of the Union: fantasy, fact, fiction or all of the above?

by Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project

During Obama’s State of the Union address last night the presence of the star of the reality TV show Duck Dynasty might have been the most real part of a very surreal evening.

Of particular note were Obama’s comments on energy and climate change.

While the US Southeast was being hammered by a highly unusual winter storm which stranded thousands in the metro Atlanta area, (no, this does not disprove climate change you nitwits, climate scientists have warned for years that a warming globe means extreme and unpredictable weather) Obama was proclaiming a desire to address climate change so that “when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, [we can say] yes we did.”

This sounds wonderful until we consider the “all of the above” energy strategy Obama touted earlier in the speech, which gives a nod to some of the dirtiest, most polluting and destructive energy sources.  It includes shale oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota–the gas flares of which can be seen from space.  This shale oil is so extremely volatile that in the past year two trains carrying bakken oil have exploded.  It means more coal; it means more deep water offshore drilling of the type that caused the BP oil spill disaster.  It means more nukes, even in the shadow of the ongoing catastrophe at Fukushima.  And it means more fracking.  Obama made a big show of his support for natural gas “if extracted safely,” which it is not.

Obama spent exactly one paragraph on climate change.  He declared it a fact.  That anyone even needs to do that in this day and age, decades after global warming was identified as a problem, after the Northeast US was smashed by not one but two hurricanes in two consecutive years, after Super-Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, after the record droughts in Australia, Africa and the US Midwest–to name just a few climate-related catastrophes of the past 8 years–is astounding.  However, climate change is not only a fact. In my opinion it is the single greatest threat to future generations of humans and most other species.  Yet it merited only a passing mention.  One paragraph out of a 13 page speech.

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Filed under Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Oil, Political Repression, Politics, Pollution, Posts from Anne Petermann

Japan bails out on CO2 emissions target

By Stephen Leahy, November 15, 2013.  Source: Inter-Press Service
The Japanese government blames the shutdown of its 50 nuclear reactors as the reason why it must revise its target. Credit: BigstockThe Japanese government blames the shutdown of its 50 nuclear reactors as the reason why it must revise its target. Credit: Bigstock

WARSAW, Nov 15 2013 (IPS) - Japan announced Friday that it will renege on its carbon emissions pledge, likely ending any hope global warming can be kept to 2.0 degrees C.

The shocking announcement comes on the fifth day of the U.N. climate talks in Warsaw known as COP19, where more than 190 nations have agreed to a 2.0 C target and are trying to close the carbon emission gap to get there.

“It’s like a slap in the face of those suffering from the impacts of climate change such as the Philippines.” — Wael Hmaidan

Japan will increase that gap three to four percent with its new 2020 reduction target, according to the Climate Action Tracker (CAT). It amounts to a three-percent increase compared to a 1990 baseline. Japan’s 2009 Copenhagen Accord pledge was a 25 percent reduction by 2020.

“Japan is taking us in the opposite direction,” Marion Vieweg of Climate Analytics, a German climate research organisation, told IPS here in Warsaw.

“Their revision shows the bottom up approach is not working if countries can simply drop their pledges at any time,” Vieweg said.

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Audio: Will Typhoon Haiyan Affect the Debate on Global Climate Change?

Note: Anne Petermann, Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project, was featured in a press release by the Institute for Public Accuracy on the link between Typhoon Haiyan, climate change, climate justice and the upcoming UN climate conference in Poland.  The link below is to one of the interviews she gave.

–the GJEP Team

Released on Nov 12, 2013

The typhoon that laid waste to parts of the Philippines last week struck just before the 19th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change got underway in Warsaw, Poland on Monday.  But while there is general agreement that global climate change is a major factor in the increasing number and intensity of storms worldwide, there continues to be little progress toward limiting the emission of greenhouse gasses.  We speak with Anne Peterman, executive director of the Global Justice Ecology Project.

To listen to the show, go to Left Voices

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Filed under Climate Change, False Solutions to Climate Change, Natural Disasters, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, UNFCCC