Category Archives: Oil

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…

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

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

How much will tar sands oil contribute to global warming?

Note: The article below contains urgent, alarming information regarding tar sands.  The science makes it clear: If the tar sands are extracted and burned, averting catastrophic warming will be a hope of the past (if it isn’t already).  However, there are major issues with this article.  The author fails to include voices from communities impacted from extreme energy extraction, and supports false solutions like Carbon Capture and Storage, nuclear energy and market-based mechanisms to reduce emissions and extraction.  He even implies that Shell might be taking serious steps to “clean up” tar sands extraction.

Biofuelwatch recently released a report detailing the ineffectiveness of Carbon Capture and Storage in reducing emissions, from fossil fuels and so-called “alternatives” like biomass.  Only a massive reduction in consumption will stop the extraction of extreme energy, and that massive reduction is not going to be provided by putting a price on carbon.

Kandi Mossett, an organizer with Indigenous Environmental Network, was featured on KPFK Sojourner Truth show’s Earth Segment in November, where she discussed the impacts of fracking and tar sands on Indigenous communities.  The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, who has been fighting to get Shell out of Alberta, is directly impacted from tar sands development.  There are real people and real communities behind the numbers presented in this article, and their stories need telling.

Its time to stop martyrizing the cautious white guys, and start taking leadership from the communities who have been fighting these projects – and the capitalist system that causes them – for decades.

-The GJEP Team

By David Biello, January 23, 2013.  Source: Scientific American

08sands-articleLarge-v2James Hansen has been publicly speaking about climate change since 1988. The NASA climatologist testified to Congress that year and he’s been testifying ever since to crowds large and small, most recently to a small gathering of religious leaders outside the White House last week. The grandfatherly scientist has the long face of a man used to seeing bad news in the numbers and speaks with the thick, even cadence of the northern Midwest, where he grew up, a trait that also helps ensure that his sometimes convoluted science gets across.

This cautious man has also been arrested multiple times.

His acts of civil disobedience started in 2009, and he was first arrested in 2011 for protesting the development of Canada’s tar sands and, especially, the Keystone XL pipeline proposal that would serve to open the spigot for such oil even wider. “To avoid passing tipping points, such as initiation of the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, we need to limit the climate forcing severely. It’s still possible to do that, if we phase down carbon emissions rapidly, but that means moving expeditiously to clean energies of the future,” he explains. “Moving to tar sands, one of the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fuels on the planet, is a step in exactly the opposite direction, indicating either that governments don’t understand the situation or that they just don’t give a damn.”
Continue reading

Comments Off on How much will tar sands oil contribute to global warming?

Filed under Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Hydrofracking, Indigenous Peoples, Oil, Tar Sands

One hour special on KPFK features GJEP and Indigenous Environmental Network

kpfk_logo

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.

Comments Off on One hour special on KPFK features GJEP and Indigenous Environmental Network

Filed under Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Indigenous Peoples, Natural Disasters, Oil, Tar Sands

Earth Minute: Why Doha is not where climate justice will happen

Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK Pacifica Los Angeles for a weekly Earth Minute each Tuesday and a weekly Earth Watch interview each Thursday.

This week’s Earth Minute addresses the UN climate talks in Doha, Qatar, and why many climate justice organizations have decided not to attend this year’s climate conference, and are organizing with social movements and communities instead.

Comments Off on Earth Minute: Why Doha is not where climate justice will happen

Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Earth Minute, Earth Radio, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Geoengineering, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Oil, REDD, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Synthetic Biology, UNFCCC

KPFK Sojourner Truth Earth Segment: Kandi Mossett of Indigenous Environmental Network on the struggle to stop a new refinery in Fort Berthold, North Dakota

Kandi Mossett, organizer with Indigenous Environmental Network and citizen of the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara Nation, discusses the impacts of fossil fuel extraction on her community, and their struggle to stop a new refinery on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota.

Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with KPFK’s Sojourner Truth show for weekly Earth Minutes every Tuesday and Earth Segment interviews every Thursday.

Comments Off on KPFK Sojourner Truth Earth Segment: Kandi Mossett of Indigenous Environmental Network on the struggle to stop a new refinery in Fort Berthold, North Dakota

Filed under Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Hydrofracking, Indigenous Peoples, Mining, Oil

KPFK Sojourner Truth Earth Segment: Ongoing Blockade Against the Tar Sands in Texas

Global Justice Ecology Project teamed up with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK on to discuss the ongoing blockade in Texas against a tar sands pipeline there.

Comments Off on KPFK Sojourner Truth Earth Segment: Ongoing Blockade Against the Tar Sands in Texas

Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Earth Radio, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Indigenous Peoples, Oil, Pollution, Tar Sands, Water

This Week’s Earth Minute: Chevron Executives Charged Over Oil Spill in Brazil

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 38:42 to listen to this week’s Earth Minute:

KPFK Earth Minute Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Text from this week’s Earth Minute:

On March 10th, Members of the Stop Suncor and Tar Sands Coalition, including the American Indian Movement and other groups, occupied the site of a Suncor Energy oil spill on the shore of Colorado’s Sand Creek.

Suncor Energy boasts of being the first corporation to begin extracting the tar sands in Athabasca, leading to the deforestation of thousands of square miles of Boreal forest and the destruction of First Nations cultures. Suncor produces more than 90,000 barrels of oil per day at its refinery in Commerce City, Colorado.

Tessa McLean of the American Indian Movement said, “the oil that’s being spilled here came from Athabasca, a First Nations community. My people up are suffering there because of the oil we’re refining here.”

Deanna Meyer of Deep Green Resistance Colorado added, “Suncor has so poisoned this land that oil is bubbling up through numerous burst sub-surface pipelines.  Benzene levels in this water—that fish, ducks, geese, beavers and other beings depend on—are 100 times the safety limit.”

While the spill was first reported last November 27th, it is believed to have begun in February 2011.

Comments Off on This Week’s Earth Minute: Chevron Executives Charged Over Oil Spill in Brazil

Filed under Climate Change, Earth Minute, Energy, Oil, Pollution, Posts from Anne Petermann, Water