Tag Archives: Climate Change

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, Pollution, Posts from Anne Petermann

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

Obama’s plan for the climate: Greenwash our way into oblivion

By Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project

_Obama_DSC_0005

Image captured from The Weather Channel

At 1:45 today, President Obama announced his new Climate Action Plan in a nationally televised speech.

He described the emerging climate crisis and its impacts–both past, present and future, while be suffered the heat of an abnormally warm June day in Washington, DC. His arguments for climate action were compelling and hard to argue with.  Unfortunately his actions do not match his words.

Unlike Bill McKibben, I do not believe that “the solutions agenda [Obama has] begun to advance moves the country in a sane direction.” (Did you read the actual Climate Action Plan, Bill?!?)  No, what I read in Obama’s Action Plan was a rehashing of the same old dangerous false solutions that many of us have been fighting for years and years.  But what’s really criminal is that even though Obama clearly understands both the science and implications of climate change, he still pushes an agenda that will drive us all over the climate cliff.

First the plan’s “Case for Action” reiterates Obama’s pledge to decrease carbon emissions by a paltry 17% below 2005 levels by 2020–but only if all other major economies agree to do so as well. Climate scientists are not calling for 17% reductions by 2020. In fact, countries like the US need to reduce our emissions by 80-90%.  And not in seven years, but immediately.  Last year preferably.

The main takeaway from Obama’s greenwashed nonsense? We can continue our unsustainable way of life indefinitely with just a few key tweaks.

“Deploy Clean Energy.” Ain’t nothin’ clean about this.  Obama’s “clean energy” plan includes more fracking, more oil, more nukes, more biofuels and “clean coal.”  Yes, Obama wants to stop climate change by screwing over rural communities through promotion of more hydrofracking and increased natural gas exports; expanding domestic oil production–including the hellish Bakken shale oil fields (but don’t worry, it will be clean Bakken oil­–no really, that’s in there); devoting more land to growing feedstocks for plant-based liquid fuels (i.e. less land for biodiversity, growing food or for peasant communities to survive on); protecting forests that store carbon while cutting down trees to burn for electricity production; building more nuclear power plants (apparently never heard of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl or Fukushima); and maintaining the fantasy of that wonderful oxymoron “clean coal.” Sane direction?

Spur Investment in Advanced Fossil Energy Projects. Like “clean” coal, we can burn our fossil fuels and stop climate change too!

Maintain Agricultural Sustainability. For this one, Obama wants us to trust the vehemently pro-GMO US Department of Agriculture to “deliver tailored, science-based knowledge to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.”  ‘Climate ready’ GMO crops anyone?

Negotiate Global Free Trade in Environmental Goods and Services. Right, cuz global free trade has served biodiversity, ecosystems and the 99% so well!

But the most ludicrous item is the last on the menu: “Leading efforts to address climate change through international negotiations.”  (I know, I know, stop laughing)

This section excels in Orwellian newspeak. It highlights the disastrous 2009 UN Copenhagen Climate Conference as “historic progress,” and insists that the secretly negotiated Copenhagen Accord (that was booed even by reporters when Obama announced it late in the negotiations) was a breakthrough in developing “a new regime of international transparency.” Omitted is the fact that this Accord was never actually consensed upon, but merely “noted” by the official body.  Well history is “his story” after all…

The section goes on to trumpet the accomplishments of the equally disastrous UN Climate Conference in Durban in 2011–about which Nature Magazine wrote “It is clear that the science of climate change and the politics of climate change, now inhabit parallel worlds.”

Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Friends of the Earth International similarly condemned Durban’s outcomes, “developed countries, led by the US, accelerated the demolition of the world’s international framework for fair and urgent climate action. And developing countries have been bullied and forced into accepting an agreement that could be a suicide pill for the world. An increase in global temperatures of four degrees Celsius, permitted under this plan, is a death sentence for Africa, small island states, and the poor and vulnerable worldwide. This summit has amplified climate apartheid whereby the richest 1% of the world have decided that it is acceptable to sacrifice the 99%.”

But Obama’s Climate Action Plan insists Durban was “a breakthrough”–because countries agreed to come up with some kind of new climate agreement that would not go into force until 2020.

Gee, guess who won’t be in office anymore in 2020…

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Copenhagen/COP-15, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Greenwashing, Oil, Pollution, Posts from Anne Petermann, UNFCCC

This Week’s Earth Minute: EU’s Renewable Energy Target is Destroying Forests & Worsening Climate Change

Global Justice Ecology Project partners with Margaret Prescod’s Sojourner Truth show on KPFK–Pacifica Los Angeles radio show for a weekly Earth Minute on Tuesdays and a weekly 12 minute Environment Segment every Thursday.

Go to the link below and scroll to minute 44:12 to listen to this week’s Earth Minute:

April 3, 2012 Earth Minute

Text from this week’s Earth Minute:

The European Union’s goal of providing 20% of their energy from renewable sources is coming under attack from environmentalists because of the heavy reliance on energy from burning trees.

On 29 March, a call challenging this goal was launched at the European Parliament.  It stated, “We’re paying people to cut their forests down in the name of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, yet we are actually increasing them.”

Because it is mistakenly considered ‘carbon neutral’, wood-based electricity is given numerous government subsidies in the EU, the US and elsewhere.

There is a significant gap in time, however, from when carbon is released from cutting, transporting and burning a tree–to when the carbon is re-stored by a new tree that has grown to the same size.  This carbon gap lasts for decades.

The “carbon neutral” label of wood-based energy is ironically creating intense pressure to cut and burn forests in the US and globally for energy production, threatening massive deforestation at the same time that scientists are emphasizing the crucial role forests play in stabilizing the climate.

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

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Earth Minute, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Posts from Anne Petermann

This Week’s Earth Minute: Earthquakes and Tsunamis = Climate Change

Global Justice Ecology Project partners with Margaret Prescod’s Sojourner Truth show on KPFK–Pacifica Los Angeles radio show for a weekly Earth Minute on Tuesdays and a weekly 12 minute Environment Segment every Thursday.

Go to the link below and scroll to minute 40:58 to listen to this week’s Earth Minute:

March 27, 2012 Earth Minute

Text from this week’s Earth Minute:

Earth Minute 3/27/12

On Sunday night, central Chile was violently shaken by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake–its second in two years.  In April 2011, Japan experienced a nuclear disaster following a severe earthquake and resulting tsunami.  In January 2010, Haiti was devastated by an earthquake, and in April 2010, Iceland’s volcano erupted, disrupting air travel across the Atlantic.

Are these events related?  According to a recent article in the UK Guardian, they were likely the result of climate change–in particular, the rising of sea levels.

As the polar ice caps melt, and the ice sheets on Greenland and Iceland vanish into the ocean, sea levels rise.  The enoromous weight from all of that added water causes the Earth’s crust to shift and bend.  This in turn sets off seismic shocks–including earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions–particularly along coastal areas.

As naturalist John Muir pointed out, “Whenever we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”

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

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Earth Minute: Climate Chaos Impacts the Indigenous Tarahumara People of Mexico

Global Justice Ecology Project partners with Margaret Prescod’s Sojourner Truth show on KPFK–Pacifica Los Angeles radio show for a weekly Earth Minute on Tuesdays and a weekly 12 minute Environment Segment every Thursday.

This week’s Earth Minute discusses the impacts of the climate crisis on the Indigenous Tarahumara people of Mexico who are suffering from a food crisis brought on by both a record drought and a disastrous freeze.

To listen to this week’s earth minute click the link below and scroll to minute 57:48.

KPFK Sojourner Truth Show Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012

Text from this week’s Earth Minute:

The Indigenous Tarahumara People, in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, are some of the latest victims of the climate crisis. Their crops have been destroyed by a combination of the worst drought in 70 years compounded by a record-breaking freeze.

The Tarahumara, known for extreme long-distance running in their mountainous homeland, have been an inspiring symbol of strength and self-reliance in Mexico.  The idea that these fierce people are now starving has mobilized a rapid relief effort in Mexico.

While some may think that the impacts of climate change are a problem of the future, more and more people are experiencing the impacts of extreme weather today–droughts, floods, out-of-season tornadoes, record warm spells and freezes, wildfires and severe storms.  And these impacts are only projected to get worse.

It is time we get serious about challenging the dependence on fossil fuels, industrial agriculture and over-consumption that are driving the climate crisis.  Systemic transformation is essential.   We cannot wait until it is too late.

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

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Filed under Climate Change, Earth Minute, Food Sovereignty, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Natural Disasters

KPFK Pacifica Los Angeles Interview with GJEP Executive Director Anne Petermann on the Durban Disaster

Global Justice Ecology Project Executive Director Anne Petermann was interviewed on the Sojourner Truth show with Margaret Prescod on KPFK on Thursday, January 5 about the outcomes from the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa and the civil society protests there.

To listen, click on the link below and scroll to minute 37:56:

http://archive.kpfk.org/mp3/kpfk_120105_070010sojourner.MP3

Global Justice Ecology Project partners with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Los Angeles for a weekly Earth Minute every Tuesday and weekly interviews with activists on key environmental and ecological justice issues every Thursday.  In addition, during major events such as the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa, we organize daily interviews Tuesday through Friday.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Posts from Anne Petermann, REDD, UNFCCC

Earth Minute: Daily Live Interviews from the UN Climate Talks in Durban, South Africa

Global Justice Ecology Project partners with Margaret Prescod’s Sojourner Truth show on KPFK–Pacifica Los Angeles radio show for a weekly Earth Minute on Tuesdays and a weekly 12 minute Environment Segment every Thursday.

This week’s Earth Minute discusses the connection between the financial crisis and the climate crisis, and the emergence of a call to occupy the UN Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa.  GJEP will be teaming with KPFK Los Angeles’ Sojourner Truth show to bring daily live 15 minute interviews from the UN Climate Conference from November 28 through December 9.

To listen to this week’s Earth Minute, click on the link below and scroll to minute 4:04:

Earth Minute 11/22/11

Text from this week’s Earth Minute:

As the power of the Occupy Movement continues to grow around the world, the UN climate convention is scheduled to begin next Monday in Durban, South Africa. The UN Climate Convention–the global body charged with addressing climate change–is also controlled by the 1%.

Indeed, the 1% who crashed the economy are the same ones who’ve trashed the atmosphere–clogging it with pollution that threatens all life on earth. So an Occupy movement is building there too.

We the 99% stand at a crossroads.  The Earth is fast approaching a tipping point.  Forests are falling faster than ever, oceans are poisoned, species are lost every day.  The web of life is literally falling apart.  But the power to transform this unjust and suicidal system lies with all of us.

Global Justice Ecology Project is once again partnering with The Sojourner Truth show to highlight community voices who have solutions at the UN climate convention in Durban, with daily live interviews for two weeks starting next Monday.

Please join us.

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

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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Earth Minute, Posts from Anne Petermann, UNFCCC