Tag Archives: energy

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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Don’t contaminate concept of clean energy

By Mary Both and Gordon Clark, Commentary

Cross-Posted from the Times-Union, Sunday, July 15, 2012

The American public has a pretty clear idea of the difference between clean energy and dirty energy. So why are our elected leaders so confused on the topic?

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As a recent survey conducted for the nonpartisan Civil Society Institute shows, the large majority of Americans agree “clean energy” should emit little or no pollution and greenhouse gases, and should protect our environment and health. Think wind, solar, geothermal and tidal.

Yet when our federal government and energy lobbyists make policy, the word “clean” represents something very different. The “Clean Energy Standard” legislation recently proposed in the Senate would incentivize industrial biomass, natural gas (fracking), and that king of oxymorons, “clean coal”.

The words clean and renewable have been transmogrified here in New York, too, as dirty fuels are increasingly subsidized under the state’s ratepayer-funded Renewable Portfolio Standard. Only two years ago, the coal-and-tire-burning Niagara Generation plant just upstream from Niagara Falls applied to the New York State Public Service Commission for ratepayer subsidies to burn supposedly “clean” construction and demolition debris that is separated from contaminated materials. Although the subsidies were granted, thus opening the door to the construction of other plants that will burn contaminated fuels, such as Taylor Biomass in Orange County, NiGen has remained so uneconomic the facility has hardly operated over the last two years.

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Pollution, Waste

Anti-fracking Blockade in Pennsylvania’s Moshannon State Forest

Cross-Posted from Marcellus Earth First!, 8 July 2012

Tree-Sitters Halt Hydrofracking Operations

Blockade at EQT frack site in Moshannon State Forest, PA.

Activists from Marcellus Earth First! have erected a slash pile blockade and two tree sits blocking an access road to an EQT hydro-fracking site in Moshannon State Forest in Clearfield County, PA., halting drilling operations set to begin this week. The blockaders were joined by 40 supporters and concerned citizens, who turned around a Halliburton truck. The blockade is trying to stop the further destruction of Pennsylvania’s state forests—more than half of which have already been leased for drilling—and call attention to the devastating effects of hydrofracking on the state’s communities. The sitters’ anchor lines are blocking the road by crossing each other and the road, and if an anchor line is cut a sitter will fall. This action has been coordinated as the post-Rendezvous action. Each Summer Earth First!ers and allies come together to skill share, take part in discussion workshops, and keep it wild in our last remaining wilderness places in the US. Following a week in the woods, we take part in an action in support of the local organizers hosting the camp out, also know as the Round River Rendezvous, or Rondy.

Today’s blockade is the latest in a series of escalating actions of resistance to the destructive impacts of hydrofracking in the Marcellus Shale. Last May, residents of Butler County occupied the office of State Representative Brian Ellis, demanding accountability for widespread contamination caused by horizontal drilling. In June, seven families, along with dozens of supporters, blocked the entrance to the Riverdale Mobile Home Community to prevent their imminent eviction at the hands of Aqua America PVR. Aqua sought to destroy their homes and construct a water withdrawal facility permitted to extract up to three million gallons of water from the Susquehanna River daily for use in fracking. Residents were able to maintain the blockade for 12 days. On June 17, 1,000 Ohioans stormed the statehouse in Columbus and passed a “people’s resolution” banning hydrofracking. Most recently, a 31-year-old landowner from Athens County, Ohio chained herself to concrete barrels and shut down operations at one of Ohio’s 170 injection wells, which contain about 95% of the toxic and radioactive fracking waste generated from Pennsylvania drilling.

Momentum in the anti-fracking battle will continue to build across the Marcellus and Utica shale regions throughout July. Next weekend, residents from Ohio and beyond will gather at an anti-fracking action camp in Youngstown and prepare to enforce the “people’s resolution” against fracking. The upcoming months show the beginnings of a national rebellion against extractive industry across the board. On July 28, anti-frackers from across the nation will gather in Washington D.C. for “Stop the Frack Attack,” the largest mobilization against fracking ever. In West Virginia, Appalachians and allies will stand together at the “Mountain Mobilization” and shut down an active strip mine the last week of July. In Montana,the “Coal Export Action”, a ten-day campaign of civil disobedience at the beginning of August will target coal shipments from strip mines in the Powder River Basin, overseas. And later in the month, Texas residents have called for the “Tar Sands Blockade” to block the recently approved southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Where the government has failed to act to protect communities and the earth from the ravages of an out-of-control energy industry, the people are rising up to resist. No matter where you live, you have the opportunity to join the fight for our future. Find your place, stand your ground, and in the words of Mother Jones, “Boogie Chilluns.”

For updates go to Marcellus Earth First!


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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Greenwashing, Hydrofracking, Pollution, Water

Tar Sands: Led by Six Nations community members, Enbridge Line 9 hearings disrupted, shut down for half a day

London, Ontario, Canada — Dozens of environmental justice activists led by Indigenous activists from Haudenosaunee successfully “mic checked” a stop to Enbridge Line 9 hearings in London early Wednesday morning. Members of the National Energy Board had travelled to London to hear presentations from major oil conglomerates as well as environmental NGOs. After successfully disrupting meeting, Haudenosaunee representatives explained that they had not been consulted about the pipeline plans, which would negatively impact their lands.

“We are not only fighting for our rights but yours too” said grandmother and long time Indigenous activist Ruby Montour, after members of the Board and lawyers from the Oil companies left the presentation room. “They need to be fair with our people, with you, your ancestors and your children. The environment is going to pay big time if these pipelines rupture and they need to listen to our concerns. They need to speak to us, the real people who need to be spoken to, whose treaties have been broken. They forced us to go to school, they forced us to learn, and we learned so now we know when they are lying or cheating. Well, they can’t anymore. They can’t force things on our lands.”

Canadian pipeline company Enbridge Inc. is proposing the Line 9 Trailbreaker Pipeline to transport tar sands oil through some of the most important natural and cultural landscapes in eastern Canada.  Under the plan, Enbridge would pump corrosive tar sands oil – the dirtiest oil on the planet – through a pipeline that was built in 1975. Enbridge has taken the first step to implement this plan by recently filing a permit application with Canada’s National Energy Board.

“This project cannot go forward without the free, prior and informed consent of the Haudenosaunee who would be directly impacted by a pipeline rupture,” said Metis activist Sakihitowin Awasis who led the mic check that was repeated by over two dozen activists in the room. The Mic Check continued: “The people believe the NEB hearings are illegitimate, inaccessible and undemocratic”

“Pipelines have been stalled or stopped going westward through British Columbia, southwards through Texas (the Keystone XL) and are now being pushed eastward through Ontario. It will be met with similar resistance,” said organizer Toban Black outside the five star Hilton Hotel after the meeting was recessed.

Awasis was arrested by London police, held for over an hour and released with a trespass ticket.

The National Energy Board public hearing was shut down for half the day, after which only the press and the official intervenors were allowed to re-enter. After submissions from intervenors inside the room, the Board ruled that members of the public could re-enter if the intervenors vouched that the people coming in would not be disruptive.

Activists stayed outside and organized a People’s Hearing where statements were read by those gathered and others who had submitted their statements online http://peopleshearing2012.wordpress.com/line9/ .

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Energy, Indigenous Peoples, Pollution, Tar Sands, Water

Fukushima Reactor 4 poses massive global risk

one year anniversary, japan, fukushima

Cranes stand around tsunami-crippled four reactors, from left, Unit 1 to Unit 4, at Fukushima Dadi-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan Sunday, March 11, 2012. (AP /Kyodo News)

By Andy Johnson, May 19, 2012

Cross-Posted from CTVNews.ca

More than a year after a devastating earthquake and tsunami triggered a massive nuclear disaster, experts are warning that Japan isn’t out of the woods yet and the worst nuclear storm the world has ever seen could be just one earthquake away from reality.

The troubled Reactor 4 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is at the centre of this potential catastrophe.

Reactor 4 — and to a lesser extent Reactor 3 — still hold large quantities of cooling waters surrounding spent nuclear fuel, all bound by a fragile concrete pool located 30 metres above the ground, and exposed to the elements.

A magnitude 7 or 7.5 earthquake would likely fracture that pool, and disaster would ensue, says Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer with Fairewinds Energy Education who has visited the site.

The 1,535 spent fuel rods would become exposed to the air and would likely catch fire, with the most-recently added fuel rods igniting first.

The incredible heat generated from that blaze, Gundersen said, could then ignite the older fuel in the cooling pool, causing a massive oxygen-eating radiological fire that could not be extinguished with water.

“So the fear is the newest fuel could begin to burn and then we’d have a conflagration of the whole pool because it would become hotter and hotter. The health consequences of that are beyond where science has ever gone before,” Gundersen told CTVNews.ca in an interview from his home in Vermont.

Worst-case scenario

There are a couple of possible outcomes, Gundersen said.

Highly radioactive cesium and strontium isotopes would likely go airborne and “volatilize” — turning into a vapour that could move with the wind, potentially travelling thousands of kilometres from the source.

The size of those particles would determine whether they remained in Japan, or made their way to the rest of Asia and other continents.

“And here’s where there’s no science because no one’s ever dared to attempt the experiment,” Gundersen said. “If it flies far enough it goes around the world, if the particles stay a little bigger, they settle in Japan. Either is awful.”

Essentially, he said, Japan is sitting on a ticking time bomb.

The damaged Reactor 4 cooling pool was reinforced by workers who went in and “jury-rigged” it after the tsunami, but the structure still contains a massive amount of fuel, Gundersen said.

Reactor 3 has less fuel inside its cooling pool, but it has not been strengthened since the disaster and poses a greater risk of failing.

“Reactor 3 has a little less consequences but a little more risk, and Reactor 4 has more consequences but…a little less risk,” he said.

Finding a fix

The solution, Gundersen said, is for the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to immediately begin the process of transferring the fuel rods from the cooling pools to dry cask storage — a massive and costly endeavour, but one he said is absolutely essential.

To even begin the removal process at Reactor 4, TEPCO would first have to construct a crane capable of lifting the 100-tonne fuel rod canister, since the original crane was destroyed in the disaster last year.

In order to do that, they would have to build a massive structure around the existing pool to support the new crane, which would then be used to lift the fuel rod canister from the water, down to the ground and into a steel and concrete dry-cask.

All this of course, has to be done in a highly contaminated area where workers must wear protective suits and limit their radiation exposure each day, adding time and expense to the process.

Still, with the consequences so high, Gundersen said there’s no time to lose.

“This is a ‘now’ problem, this is not a ‘let’s-wait-until-we-get-the-cash-flow-from-the-Japanese-government’ problem. The consequences of a 7 or 7.5 earthquake don’t happen every day, but we know it happened last year so you have to anticipate that it will happen,” Gundersen said.

‘Fate of the world’ depends on Reactor 4

He’s not alone in pressing the Japanese government to adopt a sense of urgency about the Reactor 4 dilemma.

Robert Alvarez, a former top adviser at the U.S. Department of Energy, also expressed concern in a letter to Akio Matsumura, a Japanese diplomat who has turned his focus to the nuclear calamity.

Matsumura had asked Alvarez about the risk associated with Reactor 4.

“The No. 4 pool is about 100 feet above ground, is structurally damaged and is exposed to the open elements,” Alvarez said in his response. “If an earthquake or other event were to cause this pool to drain this could result in a catastrophic radiological fire involving nearly 10 times the amount of Cesium-137 released by the Chernobyl accident.”

Mitsuhei Murata, Japan’s former ambassador to Switzerland and Senegal, has also made it his mission to convince the UN and the world that urgent action is needed.

“It is no exaggeration to say that the fate of Japan and the whole world depends on No. 4 reactor,” Murata said in a recent letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in which he urged him to back efforts to address the problem.

Last week, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said most major threats have been eliminated and “cold shutdown” status had been achieved in December.

But Noda declined to comment directly on the risk posed by Reactor 4, only telling The Wall Street Journal’s Asia edition that it was important to “remain vigilant.”

“We have passed a situation where people have to run far away or evacuate,” he said. “Ahead of us are time-consuming tasks like decontamination and decommissioning (of the plants). We will proceed with the utmost care.”

Gundersen said the remaining challenges at the Fukushima Da-Ichi site are not technological. Everyone knows what needs to be done and how to do it, he said. The challenge lies, rather, in convincing Japan that action must be taken now.

That will require international pressure, as well as international investment, on a grand scale, he said.

“We’re all in a situation of having to pray there’s not an earthquake. And there’s the other half of that, which is pray to God but row toward shore. And Tokyo’s not really rowing toward shore right now,” Gundersen said.

Read more: http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/World/20120518/fukushima-dai-ichi-risk-reactor-4-120519/#ixzz1vblvLAoV

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Filed under Climate Change, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Natural Disasters, Nuclear power, Water

Report from the International Joint People’s Summit for Social and Environmental Justice in Rio

For the unity and mobilization of the people in defense of life and the common good, social justice and environmental against the commodification of nature and “green economy”

Rio de Janeiro, May 12, 2012

A month before the UN Conference Rio +20, the world’s people do not see positive results of the negotiation process that is taking place in the lead up to the official conference. There is no discussion in the agreements reached in Rio+20 about how to change the causes of the crisis. The focus of the discussion is a package of proposals misleadingly called the “green economy” and the establishment of a new system of international environmental governance to facilitate it.

The real cause of the multiple structural crisis of capitalism, with its classical forms of domination, which concentrates wealth and produces social inequality, unemployment, violence against the people, and the criminalization of those who report it. The current system of consumption and production – maintained by large corporations, financial markets and governments – produces and deepens crises of global warming, hunger and malnutrition, loss of forests and biological and socio-cultural diversity, chemical pollution, water scarcity, increasing desertification of soils, acidification of the seas, land grabbing and the commodification of all aspects of life in cities and the countryside.

The “green economy”, contrary to what its name suggests, is another phase of capitalist accumulation. Nothing in the “green economy” questions the current economy based in the extractive and fossil fuels, nor the patterns of consumption and industrial production, but extends the economy into new areas, feeding the myth of that economic growth can be infinite.

The failed economic model, now dressed in green, aims to bring all life cycles of nature to the market rules and the domain of technology, privatization and commodification of nature and its functions, as well as traditional knowledge, increasing speculative financial markets through carbon markets for environmental services, biodiversity offsets and REDD + (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).

GMOs, agrochemicals, Terminator technology, biofuels, nanotechnology, synthetic biology, artificial life, geo-engineering and nuclear power, among others, are presented as “technological solutions” to the natural limits of the planet and the many crises, without addressing the real causes that provoke them.

The Green Economy also promotes the expansion of the agro-industrial food system, which is one of the biggest factors leading to climate change, environmental, economic and social crises; the speculation in food, and the promotion of the interests of agribusiness corporations at the expense of production local peasant family, indigenous peoples and traditional populations and affecting the health of entire populations.

As a trading strategy in the Rio +20 conference, some governments in rich countries are proposing a setback of 1992 Rio Principles, including the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, the precautionary principle, the right to information and participation, and threatening already established rights, such as the rights of  indigenous and traditional peoples, peasants, the human right to water, the rights of workers, migrants, the right to food, housing, the rights of youth and women, the right to sexual and reproductive health, education and cultural rights.

They are also trying to install so-called Sustainable Development Objectives (ODS) to be used to promote “green economy”, further weakening the already inadequate Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The official process aims to establish global environmental governance forms that serve as managers and facilitators of this “green economy”, giving prominence to the World Bank and other public or private financial institutions, international and national, which will provide a new cycle of indebtedness and structural adjustments dressed in green.

There can be no democratic global governance without ending the current corporate capture of the United Nations.

We reject this process and call for strengthening and building alternatives demonstrations around the world.

We fight for a radical change from the current model of production and consumption, solidifying our right to develop alternative models based on the multiple realities and experiences of the people that are genuinely democratic, respect human rights and are in harmony with nature and social and environmental justice.

We raise the assertion and collective construction of new paradigms based on food sovereignty, agro-ecology and the solidarity economy, the defense of life and the commons, the affirmation of all the threatened rights, the right to land and territory, the rights of nature and future generations, the elimination of all forms of colonialism and imperialism.

We call on people everywhere to support the Brazilian people’s struggle against the destruction of a major legal frameworks for the protection of forests (Forestry Code), which opens avenues for further deforestation in favor of the interests of agribusiness and enlargement of the monocultures, and against the implementation of mega hydro-electric dam–the Belo Monte, which is affecting the survival and livelihoods of forest peoples and the Amazonian biodiversity.

We reiterate the call to participate in the People’s Summit to be held from 15 to 23 June in Rio de Janeiro, which will be an important point in the trajectory of the global struggles for social and environmental justice that we are building since The first Rio Earth Summit in 1992, particularly building from Seattle, FSM, Cochabamba, where the struggles against the WTO and the FTAA were catapulted, for climate justice and against the G-20. Are also included mass mobilizations as Occupy, and Arab Spring.

We call for a global mobilization on 5 June (World Environment day), on June 18 against the G20 (which this time will focus on “green growth”) and the progress of the People’s Summit on 20 June in Rio de Janeiro and in the world, social and environmental justice, against the “green economy”, the commodification of life and nature and the defense of the commons and rights of peoples.

 

Group’s international joint People’s Summit for Social and Environmental Justice

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Forests and Climate Change, Genetic Engineering, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Rio+20

Action Alert! Help Stop Mountaintop Removal Spruce Mine!

From our allies at I Love Mountains:

Courtesy ILoveMountains.org

We won a major victory for Appalachia last year when the Environmental Protection Agency decided to veto the Spruce Mine in West Virginia — one of the largest mountaintop removal mines ever proposed.

Now that historic victory is in jeopardy.

In a controversial decision, a federal court overrode the EPA’s veto of the mine, despite the fact that it will dump 110 million cubic yards of mining waste into local waterways, generate toxic pollutants, and bury over six miles of streams — a clear violation of the Clean Water Act.

Now it is time for The White House to step up and stop the Spruce Mine.

Take action and urge the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to save our mountains and stand up for the Clean Water Act! 

  The EPA vetoed the mine because they know that destroying mountains and dumping waste in Appalachian communities’ streams is wrong. They know that having access to clean water and living in a safe environment is a basic human right.

Last week, the EPA vowed it would not let the court’s ruling interfere with its commitment to protect Appalachian communities and their access to clean water. 2

Tell the White House CEQ to support the EPA’s efforts and stop the Spruce Mine.

Last year you helped us send over 10,000 messages to the EPA urging them to veto the mine. Together we won. We can’t back down now!

Send a message to the White House CEQ today and save Logan County, WV from destructive mountaintop removal mining. 

For the Mountains,

Matt Wasson
ILoveMountains.org

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Coal, Energy, Mountaintop Removal, Politics

Critical Information Collective Offers Resources for Advancing Movement for Justice

Note: The following post regards a new organization, Critical information Collective, set up by our friends Joe Zacune and Ronnie Hall (both ex-campaign coordinators with Friends of the Earth International).  This initiative will be a very useful and powerful resource and clearinghouse for our collective struggle for social and ecological justice.  Check it out!

–The GJEP Team

From Critical Information Collective:

We really hope that you have time to read this short message introducing a new organisation, Critical Information Collective (CIC). It’s been set up by the two of us, Ronnie Hall and Joseph Zacune (ex-campaign coordinators with Friends of the Earth International), although we hope to expand it to include more researchers and advisors soon.

 CIC aims to be a resource for you all, providing social movements, NGOs and communities campaigning against corporate globalisation with a single ‘one stop shop’ of incisive, political and campaign-oriented analysis, images and tools – as well as more visibility for our collective effort to challenge the prevailing economic paradigm.

We aim to cover a broad range of critical issues related to corporate-led globalisation, including agrofuels, climate change, deforestation, food, GMOs, land, mining, poverty, rights, and trade and investment.

If you want to find the key documents on any one topic, from a range of different organisations (including your own), or easily find relevant and free/cheap images for your publications, or point your members to additional information resources and campaign tools, we hope you will visit/link to us.”

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Politics, REDD, Rio+20, UNFCCC, World Bank

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, Forests and Climate Change, KPFK, Politics, Posts from Anne Petermann