Monday, January 23, 2012

Climate skeptics gathering influence in Tory Senate seats

Post Media News
January 21, 2012

Sen. M. LeBreton (R) pins new Conservative Sen. Bert Brown
Some of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s newly-appointed senators are emerging as global-warming skeptics in the wake of aggressive government positions to abandon the Kyoto Protocol, slam environmentalists and downplay potential damage caused by Canadian oil and gas exploration.

“I felt like it is kind of an insult to be a denier for a long time,” said Sen. Bert Brown, last month at a parliamentary committee studying energy policies. “It feels pretty good this morning.”

Brown made the comments as the committee heard from four well-known academics who don’t believe humans are playing a major role in warming the planet. The session took place three days after Harper’s government confirmed it would withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol, the world’s only legally-binding agreement that requires countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stephen Harper and the Big Oil Party of Canada

By Murray Dobbin
January 17, 2012

Where will you be and what will you be doing when the first giant oil tanker, (there will be two plying the waters every three days) carrying over 200,000 gallons of tar sands goop diluted with solvent, spills its load into the pristine waters of the northern BC coast? We often remember catastrophic events by recalling exactly what we were doing and where we were when we first heard the news, I guess because they were so unthinkable they brought us to a halt, emotionally and psychologically – time stopped. I was driving down a street in Waterloo, Ontario when I heard the news of the Montreal Massacre and I can still vividly recall my stomach turning as disbelief turned to revulsion. I will never forget that moment – and you will never forget the oil spill moment, if we let it happen.

When the global oil companies run your country – when they own your government – economic and environmental catastrophe are literally guaranteed. In Canada the oil companies and the Harper government know with a sinister certainty that an oil spill catastrophe is coming. The precautionary principle, rooted in the notion of the common good and established on a foundation of science, has no place in the calculations of global capital. It is replaced by risk assessment, cost/benefit analysis. But the assessment isn’t aimed at ensuring something bad won’t happen as it seems to imply. It is based on a cost/benefit analysis. How much will the oil spill cost? That it will happen is actually part of the calculation. Remember the Ford Pinto?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What's radical about the controversy over Northern Gateway?

By Jim Harding
No Nukes
January 17, 2012

The Syrian regime blames its domestic uprising on “foreign-supported terrorists”. The Harper regime joins the international chorus condemning Syria’s suppression of the democracy activists. Then the Harper regime blames “foreign-funded environmentalists” for trying to stop Canadian jobs from Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline. The oppositional activists, whether environmental, Indigenous, or ecumenical are lumped together as being “anti-Canadian radicals”.

Such phony nationalist hyperbole has been a steadfast propaganda tool for authoritarian governments and under Harper, Canada is now on a slippery slope.

This skirmish began when Harper’s Natural Resources Minister, Oliver, released an open letter attacking those opposing the Northern Gateway pipeline. He tried to backtrack a little when facing the TV cameras, saying he didn’t mean all environmentalists and Indigenous people “were radicals”, but his letter says otherwise. “…There are environmental and other radical groups that would seek to block this opportunity to diversify our trade” it reads, and continues: “Their goal is to stop any major project no matter what the cost to Canadian families and lost jobs and economic growth.”

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Darker Shade of Green: REDD and the Future of Forests (Trailer)

Climate Connections
January 12, 2012

As policies and programs to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) and to enhance forest carbon stocks (REDD+) are promoted around the world by global and national elites, Indigenous Peoples and other forest-dependent communities are raising the alarm that these programs will have serious negative impacts — and will not reduce the cascading threats of the climate crisis.

Soon to be released, this critical 28-minute documentary, introducing concerns about REDD from the perspective of the people who are most impacted, was co-produced by Global Justice Ecology Project and Global Forest Coalition.

Fighting for a Real Green Economy

By Anil Naidoo
Council of Canadians
January 12th, 2012

Dear Friends,

The Zero Draft document was released this week and this will be the starting point for negotiations at the Rio+20 Earth Summit. It is a very general document and seems to be fairly non-threatening, but please do not be fooled!

If you have been following Rio+20, you will know that the Green Economy is being heavily promoted for Rio. We understand that our current actions are unsustainable and so most of us would welcome a Green Economy, but as Maude Barlow and Pablo Solon have articulated in the book “The Rights of Nature: The Case for a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth”, this proposed Green Economy is very dangerous. Passages from both are attached below….

Leaked Rio+20 document outlines 10 sustainable development goals

By Brent Patterson
Council of Canadians
January 10th, 2012

The Guardian reports, “Countries will be asked this summer to sign up for 10 new sustainable development goals for the planet and promise to build green economies… According to a leak of the draft agenda document seen by the Guardian, they will also be asked to negotiate a new agreement to protect oceans, approve an annual state of the planet report, set up a major world agency for the environment, and appoint a global ‘ombudsperson’, or high commissioner, for future generations.”

“Governments will (also) be expected to strengthen the Nairobi-based UN Environment Programme body which is widely thought to be underfunded and unable to address the growing threats to ecosystems. UNEP is likely to be put on the same level as the World Health organisation (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). …(And) although the agenda could change in the next six months, it looks likely they will be asked to pledge to use stretched resources better and reform the subsidy system of fossil fuels which encourages climate change.”

Call for building and mobilizing for Peoples Assembly at Rio+20

Climate Connections
January 11, 2012

We call organizations, Networks and movements in the struggle for Environmental Justice, against the greening of capitalism and mercantilization of life and in defence of common goods, to join this call and the process of building and mobilizing for the Peoples Assembly at the Peoples Summit during Rio+20, between 15 and 23 June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro.

An assembly of peoples affected, oppressed and aware of the structural causes of systemic crisis and related social and environmental injustices; of peoples affected, indignant, critical and resistant to the new forms of reproduction, militarization and greening of capitalism; of peoples that mobilize and transform, protect traditional knowledge, create and recreate real solutions and no capitalist alternatives, defend the common goods and claim for the Right of Mother Earth.
To join this call, send an email with the name of the organization and country until 21/01/2012 to:
Continental Cry of the Excluded, Convergence of Movements of the Peoples of the Americas, Coordinator of Andean Indigenous Organizations, Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean, Grassroots Global Justice, Jubilee South/Americas, Oilwatch, Southern People’s Ecological Debt Creditors Alliance, La Vía Campesina, World March of Women, World Rainforest Movement

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

David Suzuki: Northern Gateway pipeline project is about profits versus environment

By David Suzuki 

The battle lines are drawn, and Northern B.C.’s pristine wilderness is the latest front. With hearings underway into the proposed $5.5-billion, dual 1,172-kilometre Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project to transport bitumen from the Alberta tar sands to Kitimat and imported condensate to dilute it from the coast back to Alberta, the fossil fuel industry and its supporters have stepped up the rhetoric. Environmentalists and people in towns, rural areas, and First Nations communities in B.C. have lined up in opposition.

It’s not just about potential damage from an oil spill along the pipeline route or from a supertanker plying the precarious fiords and waterways along our northern coast —as critical as those concerns are. The larger issues are about our continued reliance on polluting fossil fuels and the economic impact of rapidly exploiting and selling our resources and resource industries. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

PipeUp Against Enbridge Campaign

Click HERE for more information.

2012: The Coming Shift in Worldview

By Jim Harding
No Nukes
January 9, 2012

Traditional end-of-year recaps highlight events in isolation. Much is taken for granted and many stones are left unturned. This won’t do as we enter 2012. I’m not talking about cataclysmic changes because of the Mayan calendar; I’m talking about a necessary shift in how we connect things in our worldview. While the global economic downturn has been a “big story” in 2011, we enter 2012 largely ignorant of the roots of the economic crisis or its role in the ecological crisis.

Events build-up! There is a crescendo effect. The dots must be connected and history itself must be explored. We are reaching this point in our collective consciousness and it’s long overdue.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A reply to Alan Thornett's review of "Too Many People?"

By Ian Angus and Simon Butler
Climate and Capitalism
January 9, 2012

[On January 2 Ecosocialism Canada re-posted an article by Alan Thornett reviewing Too Many People? Ian and Simon's response is below]

We were pleased to learn that Alan Thornett, whose record as working class and socialist leader we respect, had reviewed our book, Too Many People? Population, Immigration, and the Environmental Crisis. We didn’t expect him to agree with all of it, but we were looking forward to an open and comradely discussion.

Unfortunately, his review misrepresents our views and issues a sweeping condemnation that ignores most of what we wrote. No one who read only his article would have any idea what the book is about.

As a result, our reply has to focus on setting the record straight, rather than, as we would prefer, on deepening and extending the debate on population and the environment.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Unethical oil and its friends

By Ian
The Real Story
January 7, 2012

A year ago Enbridge CEO Pat Daniel announced a new foreign partner for its Northern Gateway Pipeline project.

Daniels told a meeting in Whistler, BC that Sinopec, China’s second largest oil company, was investing an undisclosed amount in the pipeline approval process in return for a guaranteed place on the pipeline and the right to pony up for an equity stake in the $5+ billion project.

Enbridge’s Northern Pipeline project is a dual pipeline designed to deliver tar sands oil to tanker ports in Northern BC for delivery by tanker to refineries in China and other points east. The pipeline approval process starts next month in Kitimat and is estimated to take up to 18 months.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The march towards the abyss

By Fidel Castro Ruz
Jan 6th, 2012

It is not a matter of being optimistic or pessimistic, knowing or not knowing elementary things, of being responsible or not for events. Those who would like to be thought of as politicians should be thrown onto the trash heap of history when, as the norm goes, they have no idea about everything or almost everything related to it in that activity.

Of course I am not speaking about those who throughout the various millennia turned public affairs into instruments of power and wealth for the privileged classes, an activity where the real records of cruelty have been imposed during the last eight or ten thousand years about those we have certain traces of the social behaviour of our species, whose existence as thinking beings, according to scientists, barely covers 180,000 years.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

In Nigeria, Shell causes worst oil spill in a decade

oil spill
In Nigeria, coastal and fishing communities are worried, as Shell has admitted to causing the worst oil spill there in ten years, said a report, which was closely followed by a second disaster.

Last Wednesday, 75 miles off the coast of the Niger delta, up to 40,000 barrels of crude oil were spilled, poisoning the water, during an attempted transfer from an oil platform to a tanker.

As of that night, all production from the Bonga field - which typically produces about 200,000 barrels of oil a day - was halted.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Canada: Climate Criminal

By Rex Weyler
Green Peace International
January 4, 2012

At the dawn of the 21st century a new political regime has transformed Canada from global hero – once standing up for peace, people, and nature – to global criminal, plunging into war, eroding civil rights, and destroying environments.

What happened to Canada? Oil. And not just any oil, but the world’s dirtiest, most destructive oil. Canada’s betrayal at the Durban climate talks – abandoning its Kyoto Accord commitments – is the direct effect of becoming a petro-state.

The Biggest Story of 2011 for Me? Canada’s Failure on Climate Change

By Maude Barlow
Council of Canadians
December 26th, 2011

The biggest story of 2011 for me was the national and international attention given to the environmental dangers of Canada’s tar sands, and the failure of the Harper government to meet our obligations to combat climate change. Until this year, most criticism of Canada’s climate policy was restricted to Canadian and some international environmentalists. But three events of 2011 caused Canada’s energy and climate policies to come under intense scrutiny here in Canada and around the world.

The first was the surprisingly passionate and bitter debate in the U.S. over the Keystone Pipeline, meant to carry Alberta bitumen - the dirtiest oil on earth - over an endangered aquifer to be refined in Texas. A noisy and organized opposition that included environmentalists, Native Americans, ranchers, and even Republican politicians sounded the alarm. They made daily national and international news in the late summer when over 1,200 people got arrested in front of the White House. That inspired a more active movement in Canada. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Bolivia’s law gives nature equal rights to humans

By  Blake Deppe
People's World

Bolivia is set to pass the Law of Mother Earth, (in Spanish La Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra) which will grant nature the same rights and protections as humans, according to PV Pulse.

For the South American country's leaders, this legislation is part of an unprecedented move to promote a major shift in conservation attitudes aimed at stopping environmental destruction.

The legislation will give new legal powers to the government, allowing it to monitor and control industry in the country.

Too many people? A critical review

By Alan Thornett
Socialist Resistance
January 2, 2012

As a long-time comrade of Ian Angus, a fellow ecosocialist, and an admirer of his work on Marxism and ecology, I am disappointed by the tone he has adopted in his new book on population Too Many People?—which he has authored jointly with Simon Butler, co-editor of the Australian publication Green Left Weekly.

The thesis they advance is that the population of the planet is irrelevant to its ecology, and that even discussing it is a dangerous or even reactionary diversion—a taboo subject. They even argue that such discussion is divisive and detrimental environmental campaigning. [page 97]

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The World Left After 2011

Immanuel Wallerstein
Jan. 1, 2012

By any definition, 2011 was a good year for the world left – however narrowly or broadly one defines the world left. The basic reason was the negative economic conditions from which most of the world was suffering. Unemployment was high and becoming higher. Most governments were faced with high debt levels and reduced income. Their response was to try to impose austerity measures on their populations while at the same time they were trying to protect their banks.

The result was a worldwide revolt of what the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movements called “the 99%.” The revolt was against the excessive polarization of wealth, the corrupt governments, and the essentially undemocratic nature of these governments whether or not they had multiparty systems.