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Archive for March, 2010

Two days before Orissa Day, the Government of India Celebrates with a Bloodbath

The Indigenous and other village people in one of the most exploited provinces of India – ORISSA, are protesting.  They are resisting a mammoth steel plant proposed by the TATA group, in the ‘Democratic’ state of Orissa, India.  Orissa  has responded with police, para-military and bullets, along with Tata company-goons.

Off the tata website:

Purpose
At the Tata group we are committed to improving the quality of life of the communities we serve. We do this by striving for leadership and global competitiveness in the business sectors in which we operate. Our practice of returning to society what we earn evokes trust among consumers, employees, shareholders and the community. We are committed to protecting this heritage of leadership with trust through the manner in which we conduct our business.

Responsibility: We must continue to be responsible, sensitive to the countries, communities and environments in which we work, always ensuring that what comes from the people goes back to the people many times over.

Profits over People

From our sources;

On March 28, 2010 the ‘Bisthapan Birodhi Jan Manch’ leaders and villagers welcomed ‘Jajpur District Collector’ and had a discussion with him on the controversial ‘common corridor’, even though they were certain that the district administration had other motives. After talks with activists of ‘Bisthapan Birodhi Jan Manch’ and more than 300 villagers, the Collector assured them that there would be no construction activity for the ‘Common Corridor Road’ until the matter was resolved through dialogue. However – the administration has now gone back on its word. They commenced work on March 30th using media to provoke people. In today’s newspapers, March 31st, 2010, the SP has said ‘protestors will not be spared’ and the Collector is saying “construction of the road will happen at any cost.”

This left the ‘Bisthapan Birodhi Jan Manch’ no other alternative but to protest. Today, March 31st, 2010, 29 platoons of armed police with 60 officers and hundreds of BJD and Tata goons reached the place of dispute. They first denied media any entry, then they started attacking the peaceful protesters. Many have been injured including women and children as indiscriminate rubber bullet firing and lathi charge has taken place. They have entered the villages and unleashed a reign of terror. The villagers have tremendous patience and are still resisting peacefully. The area has become a war zone and more than a dozen people including women and children have been seriously injured.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ottawa / March 26, 2010 – The Indigenous Environmental Network, the Council of Canadians, and the Alaska based REDOIL Network have issued an open letter calling for an international moratorium on all new exploration for fossil fuel resources in the Arctic region. The letter is directed at the Foreign Ministers of Canada, Norway, Denmark, Russia and the United States who will be present at the Arctic Summit in Chelsea, Québec, March 29, 2010.

The discovery of 90 billion barrels of oil and 1,670 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Arctic region has triggered a rush to secure access that includes petroleum companies such as Shell and Exxon.

“New oil and gas development is anything but responsible in the face of a very serious climate crisis which requires governments like those meeting in Chelsea to rapidly reduce emissions,” says Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy Campaigner with the Council of Canadians. “It is no small irony that increased access to exploit reserves in the fragile Arctic Ocean ecosystem is largely the result of melting sea ice.”

“We believe that a moratorium on fossil fuel development would be a first step to addressing the climate crisis we are in. Strong actions need to be taken now by Governments of the world to effectively address climate change. Indigenous peoples worldwide bear the consequences of Global Warming daily and we want concrete action now,” states Faith Gemmill, Executive Director of the Alaska based Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL).

“Climate change is responsible for increased levels of contaminants like mercury, DDTs and PCBs in staple edible fish species near my home community,” says Daniel T’seleie, a K’asho Got’ine Dene from Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories. “Increased development of Arctic oil and gas would not only contribute to the climate crisis that is devastating Arctic communities, it would also add more direct pressure to fragile ecosystems that are already stressed by the combined impacts of climate change and existing development. This would be an unconscionable infringement on the rights of Arctic Indigenous Peoples.”

BC gov’t aims to win hearts and minds, and open province to extractives

Dawn Paley in The Dominion

VANCOUVER—Beyond rhetoric about establishing British Columbia as a centre for innovation, among the most concrete strategies suggested in the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources 2010/11-2012/13 Service Plan are government-sponsored marketing campaigns to promote the benefits of the extractive industries.

The Service Plan, released in early March, outlines the BC government’s primary strategies for the energy, mining, and oil and gas industries up to 2013. The public relations efforts articulated throughout the plan contradict the demands of Indigenous nations, in whose territories these projects would be built.

One of the objectives of the Service Plan is to increase the involvement of First Nations in the oil and gas industry. This includes “advising” First Nations on how resources can be developed in an “environmentally responsible manner” by strengthening links to industry and government and negotiating revenue-sharing agreements.

Read the rest of this entry »

By Joan Russow, Ph.D., Global Compliance Research Project

Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” has successfully raised the profile of climate change. After almost 50 years of unheeded warnings, the human-generated causes of climate change are finally being taken seriously.

At Gore’s presentation in Victoria, in 2008, Gore issued a series of admonitions: “It is a planetary emergency and we have to act”… we are in a crisis – a crisis of danger and an opportunity”, “we have heard the alarm bell and it is time to act”, “we have to get over denial and moral cowardice”, it is important for individuals to be part of the solution, but it requires the changing of laws and politics.

These announcements are not new: what would be new, however, would be an announcement that he is going to produce another film, “An Even More Inconvenient Truth: Nuclear Power is Not the Answer”, and another “The Most Inconvenient Truth: Exposition of the Full Impact of Militarism on Greenhouse Gas Emissions”.

YEARS OF UNHEEDED WARNINGS AND SPURIOUS SOLUTIONS

Al Gore is right. Laws have to be in place to compel governments to end years of procrastination and finally implement their obligations and fulfill their commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and conserve carbon sinks.

In 1988, scientists, politicians and non-government organizations (NGOs) at the Changing Atmosphere Conference in Toronto acknowledged the following:

“the stabilizing of the atmospheric concentrations of CO2 is an imperative goal. It is currently estimated to require reductions of more than 50 per cent from present [1988] emission levels. Energy research and development budgets must be massively directed to energy options which would eliminate or greatly reduce CO2 emissions and to studies undertaken to further refine the target reductions.”

They warned that:

“Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequence could be second only to a global nuclear war and that it is imperative to act now.”

Governments, coerced into inaction by industry, industry-front groups, industry-funded academics and industry-controlled states, have failed to address the urgency of the crisis through their reluctance to enact effective legislation.

If citizens are willing to do their part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, their governments, must stop subsidizing the fossil fuel and military industries; must redirect military expenses; and must discontinue the promotion of nuclear energy – the most hazardous and expensive form of energy known – as the solution to climate change.

Corporations and policy-makers are talking openly about nuclear energy as the solution to climate change. However, in 1991, a Canadian parliamentary committee, issued a report, “Out of Balance: the Risks of Irreversible Climate Change”, which affirmed the principle that a solution that is worse than the problem it is intended to solve is not a solution. Nuclear energy, with its radioactive footprint and its inextricable link to the development of nuclear arms, including depleted uranium in weapon systems, is not a solution. Gore must not be ambivalent about nuclear energy.

IMPACT OF MILITARISM ON CLIMATE CANNOT BE IGNORED

At a 2007 UN conference on climate change, several representatives of the NGO community involved in the militarism/nuclear matters and in the Peace Caucus drafted a declaration expressing concern about the failure of international bodies to address the impact of militarism on climate change.

This Declaration was presented at the end of the plenary to the Dr. Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: If leaders are to address the “challenge of climate change” they cannot ignore the impact of militarism on climate change. The statement called for the following:

Read the rest of this entry »

March 23rd, 2010

The article ‘A Necessary Reflection on the MEETING ON CLIMATE CHANGE IN BOLIVIA’ (http://accionyreaccion.com/?p=216) is not supportive of the Bolivian government’s Cochabamba conference initiative to move the international climate change agenda forward. Instead it casts doubt on the conference based on the Bolivian government’s energy development plans.

The first is discouraging when the world badly needs to see a possible way out of the current global  climate change global dead end. By all accounts from all parties we are to expect nothing out of the Mexico COP at the end of this year. Are we to placidly accept that nothing can be done to head off global environmental meltdown from changing the climate?

The latter (doubt) is a strangely disingenuous reflection. Bolivia is one the poorest and most climate change vulnerable nations. It contributes 0.03% of global heating emissions. This is mainly from extremely rapid deforestation by logging, mining and energy corporations, including a huge carbon offsetting scam. The Bolivian government is now developing community based reforestation. Bolivia’s vital glaciers are literally disappearing before their eyes and Bolivia no doubt knows that the private water corporations will be seeing it as a great free enterprise opportunity promising their return to profit from Bolivia’s economic weakness.

Remember? Cochabamba and Bechtel. (If not check out Leasing the Rain. http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/bolivia/ )

The refusal of the industrialized nations to meet their clear commitments to supply all manner and means of resources to developing nations for their industrial development with the best non fossil fuel energies under the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, has predictably led to the global tragedy of all developing nations going the fossil fuel route. The Bolivian climate  conference seeks to find a way out of irrational continued fossil fuel industrial development based on the irrational perverse free market capitalist economic model, that is now so clearly a global suicide pact. Only the most climate change  blind could fail to see this. The Stern Commission’s 2006 Review of the Economics of Climate  found that global climate change is the greatest and most far reaching market failure ever. That is economic- speak that our economics is the cause of the looming global climate catastrophe- a catastrophe that in 2006 Sir Nicolas Stern said was almost beyond our grasp to prevent. Stern has attributed the disappointing Copenhagen result (non) on the arrogance of the rich nations.

Read the rest of this entry »

by Rachel Smolker

This week, California will host the Asilomar International Conference on Climate Intervention Technologies. The conference follows hearings last week in the US House of Representatives and a report from the UK Committee on Science and Technology, as well as a recent report from the Government Accounting Office, all following on the heels of earlier reports from the Royal Society.  In short, there is a lot of high level interest in the topic.

Given the failure of Copenhagen, the sellout of US Congress to special interests and the stalemated international negotiations, the “last resort” of geoengineering is gaining support. This is especially true as many are either in a state of panic or paralysis following recent announcements of methane seeping from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, on top of the ongoing reports of emissions rising, ice melting, and temperatures reaching all time highs.

There are good reasons to be quite worried. But there may be good reasons to be even MORE worried by the climate geoengineering proponents and what is going on at Asilomar this week. Read the rest of this entry »

written by members of DC SDS after FUNK THE WAR 9


Funk that, get off it! This war is for profit!

On Friday, March 19th, the Iraq War’s 7th birthday, we gathered with over 350 students and activists from around the country at Farragut Square, decked out as cheating politicians and Lady Gaga look-alikes. We started a massive street dance party to protest the Obama administration’s continuation of the wars in the Middle East and Central Asia and the unchecked environmental damage caused by war profiteers. “Congress and the Obama administration are cheating on young people with the corporate criminals and war-makers who are wrecking our future. We’re caught in a Bad Romance,” explained Howard University student activist Brian Menifee.

No System but the Sound System!

Two bumping speakers and a mobile sound system blasting dance music brought the funk for this sunny day street party against the empire. We started the party in the middle of Farragut Square with throngs of energetic, flag-waving young students and activists. Reporters from news networks like NBC, CNN, and ABC showed up with cameras and microphones, asking to speak with organizers and involved students. Then we took to K street carrying homemade banners and signs that read “Drop Coal, not Bombs!” and “Refuse, Rethink, Rebuild.”

SDS Youth Party in the Streets Against the War.

 

protestors occupy space at the National Treasury Building in DC

 


scene from the march

 

  Read the rest of this entry »

A high-level delegation from Canada were greeted this morning by protesters with banners that read: “Canadian Tar Sands – Climate Crime”, outside Canada House in Trafalgar Square. The protest, on Thursday 18 March, is part of a growing campaign by UK groups against the tremendous human and ecological devastation caused by extracting oil from Canada’s tar sands – and is taking place in solidarity with First Nations and Canadian environmental justice organizations. The Canadian delegation is being hosted by UK Trade and Investment, a government department that exists to promote the interests of British industry.

“The Canadian and British governments should know that people in the UK are very concerned about the tar sands,” said Alice Hargreaves of the UK Tar Sands Network which has organised the protest along with members of Rising Tide and Camp for Climate Action. “The tar sands are the world’s most destructive project. Canada is ripping up an area larger than England, creating sprawling toxic lakes and ever-expanding carbon emissions. This environmental horror story is violating indigenous peoples’ rights – they are losing their traditional ways of life, and some are getting cancer from the pollution. The tar sands is a project that needs to be stopped, yet British companies like Shell, BP and RBS are involved, and with this event, UK Trade and Investment is actively promoting further British involvement.”

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“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”  These powerful words were penned in a prison cell in 1963, by one of the best-known advocates of equal rights – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Australian honours student ‘indignant’ over charges of organising violence and disorder at climate summit as trial opens.

Two environmental activists appeared in court today accused of terrorism-related offences during the Copenhagen climate summit in December.

Natasha Verco, an Australian honours student, and Noah Weiss, an American citizen who lives in Denmark, will face similar charges in a trial which is due to last all week.

Verco, who has organised non-violent direct action in her native country and who has been part of the Climate Justice Action (CJA) network in the lead-up to the summit in Copenhagen, has been charged with organising violence, organising public disorder, significant damage to property, and organising disorder during the international talks on climate change which took place in Copenhagen last year. If found guilty, Verco faces a maximum of twelve and a half years in prison.

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Hi Res Pictures

Activists Risk Arrest with Elaborate Protest at EPA HQ; Demand Immediate Action to Stop Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining

Group Erects Purple Mountain Majesty At EPA; Say “If Administrator Lisa Jackson Won’t Visit the Appalachian Mountains, They Will Bring The Mountains to Her”

In an attempt to further pressure EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to enforce the Clean Water Act and halt mountaintop removal coal mining (MTR), activists early this morning erected two 20-foot-tall, purple tripod structures in front of the agency’s headquarters. A pair of activists perched at the top of the tripods have strung a 25-foot sign in front of the EPA’s door that reads, “EPA: pledge to end mountaintop removal in 2010.” Six people are locked to the tripods and say they won’t leave unless Administrator Jackson commits to a flyover visit of the Appalachian Mountains and MTR sites, which she has never done before.

This is the latest in a series of actions and activities aimed at pressuring the EPA to take more decisive action on mountaintop removal coal mining. Today’s tactic is modeled on the multi-day tree-sits that have been happening in West Virginia to protect mountains from coal companies’ imminent blasting. Called the worst of the worst strip mining, the practice blows the tops off of whole mountains to scoop out the small seams of coal that lie beneath.

“We’re losing our way of life and our culture,” said Chuck Nelson, Read the rest of this entry »

A Green Left editorial

“Earth Hour” will be held around the world on March 27. The event is organised by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and involves participants switching off their lights for the hour as a symbolic declaration of support for environmental action.

The Earth Hour website is sponsored by, among others, Woolworths Limited, the giant supermarket and retail corporation. With the amount of waste and pollution associated with the retail industry in frivolous consumption, built-in obsolescence and so on, this would seem an odd choice for sponsor.

WWF has a shocking record for quite uncritically accepting sponsorship from polluting industries. Back in 2002, Counterpunch co-editor Jeffrey St. Clair exposed WWF’s links with logging corporation Weyerhaeuser, writing on Dissidentvoice.org that WWF “rakes in millions from corporations, including Alcoa, Citigroup, the Bank of America, Kodak, J.P. Morgan, the Bank of Tokyo, Philip Morris, Waste Management and DuPont”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Controversial Hire is an Opportunity to Start Building a Democratic Environmental Movement

Dru Oja Jay in Counterpunch

Greenpeace has come a long way since the Rainbow Warrior, the retrofitted trawler used to challenge nuclear testing and whaling, was enough of a threat that the French government dispatched commandoes to sink her in 1985.

On February 13th, Greenpeace International announced that was hiring ForestEthics founder Tzeporah Berman as director of its global climate and energy campaign. The move has provoked intense outrage among many Greenpeace supporters, staff and activists. The conflict raging within Greenpeace has the potential to be an important first step in addressing two heretofore taboo subjects in the environmental movement: the corrupting influence of corporate cash and the absence of democratic structures.

The announcement marked an acceleration of a long-term drift away from Greenpeace’s origins in direct action environmental and anti-war work. Back in 2007, Greenpeace lauded Coca-Cola for its “commitment to use climate-friendly coolers and vending machines.” (The same year, campaigns against Coke’s complicity in paramilitary assassination of union leaders in Colombia were in full swing, while a year earlier, the government of Kerala had banned Coca-Cola after a revolt over overuse and pollution of groundwater.)

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March 8, 2010

Putting a Canadian Liberal in charge of its international climate change program could put one of the world most successful environmental organizations on the fast track to corporate collaboration

by Ian Angus

I like DeSmogBlog. It does wonderful work exposing the machinations of the climate deniers and their corporate funders. Climate Cover-Up, by DeSmogBlog founder James Hoggan, should be mandatory reading for anyone who to understand that disinformation campaign.

But DeSmogBlog also supports the not-very-green Liberal machine in British Columbia. It exposes lies about global warming, but the most radical corrective measure it espouses is that province’s feeble carbon tax — a measure implemented by a government whose environmental record is otherwise appalling.

So, unfortunately, I wasn’t at all surprised that DeSmogBlog recently published a vicious and ill-informed attack on long-time radical environmentalist and anti-tar-sands campaigner Macdonald Stainsby.

Why?

Read the rest of this entry »

Environmentalists argue that what began as an initiative to clean up dirty palm oil production practices, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil has become little more than an NGO-endorsed greenwashing tool. Rebecca Zhou, of Reportage/enviro reports.

13:56 March 5, 2010

Due to an increase in worldwide demand for food, palm oil production has grown dramatically since it began in the 1970s. Image: CELCOR.

Pacific Scoop:
Special Report – By Rebecca Zhou.

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was set up by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to involve companies in creating more sustainable ways of producing palm oil. However environmental experts believe that not only is the RSPO ineffective, it has become a way to green wash poor practices.

“The RSPO gives the companies a green front and encourages more consumption, which is precisely the cause of the problem,” said Valerie Phillips, forest campaigner of the Greenpeace branch in Papua New Guinea, one of the three countries most adversely affected by the palm oil industry.

Read the rest of this entry »

  Why did America’s leading environmental groups jet to Copenhagen and lobby for policies that will lead to the faster death of the rainforests–and runaway global warming? Why are their lobbyists on Capitol Hill dismissing the only real solutions to climate change as “unworkable” and “unrealistic,” as though they were just another sooty tentacle of Big Coal?

At first glance, these questions will seem bizarre. Groups like Conservation International are among the most trusted “brands” in America, pledged to protect and defend nature. Yet as we confront the biggest ecological crisis in human history, many of the green organizations meant to be leading the fight are busy shoveling up hard cash from the world’s worst polluters–and burying science-based environmentalism in return. Sometimes the corruption is subtle; sometimes it is blatant. In the middle of a swirl of bogus climate scandals trumped up by deniers, here is the real Climategate, waiting to be exposed.

I have spent the past few years reporting on how global warming is remaking the map of the world. I have stood in half-dead villages on the coast of Bangladesh while families point to a distant place in the rising ocean and say, “Do you see that chimney sticking up? That’s where my house was… I had to [abandon it] six months ago.” I have stood on the edges of the Arctic and watched glaciers that have existed for millenniums crash into the sea. I have stood on the borders of dried-out Darfur and heard refugees explain, “The water dried up, and so we started to kill each other for what was left.”

While I witnessed these early stages of ecocide, I imagined that American green groups were on these people’s side in the corridors of Capitol Hill, trying to stop the Weather of Mass Destruction. But it is now clear that many were on a different path–one that began in the 1980s, with a financial donation.

Environmental groups used to be funded largely by their members and wealthy individual supporters. They had only one goal: to prevent environmental destruction. Their funds were small, but they played a crucial role in saving vast tracts of wilderness and in pushing into law strict rules forbidding air and water pollution. But Jay Hair–president of the National Wildlife Federation from 1981 to 1995–was dissatisfied. He identified a huge new source of revenue: the worst polluters. Read the rest of this entry »