UN IPCC Report Recognizes Indigenous and Community Land Rights as Vital to Slowing Climate Crisis

Image result for canada land rightsNative protesters take part in a mass sit-in in front of the British Columbia legislature in Victoria on Oct. 22, 2012 to protest the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.


Aug. 8, 2019 – Washington, DC, Aug. 8, 2019 — A United Nations (UN) report on climate change has for the first time cited strong land rights for Indigenous Peoples and local communities as a solution to the climate crisis. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Climate Change and Land, released today in Geneva, analyzes the role of land management decisions in both reducing and adapting to the worst of what climate change will throw at us—and highlighted indigenous and community land rights as key to both endeavors.

In response, indigenous and community leaders from 42 countries—spanning 1.6 billion hectares of land customarily used or managed by Indigenous Peoples and local communities and accounting for over 76 percent of the world’s tropical forests—issued a statement emphasizing the long-awaited recognition of the role of forest peoples in protecting forests. The statement also noted that the report’s findings add to a growing body of evidence showing that secure land rights for forest peoples is essential to climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.

“Finally, the world’s top scientists recognize what we have always known. We—Indigenous Peoples and local communities—play a critical role in stewarding and safeguarding the world’s lands and forests. For the first time, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released today recognizes that strengthening our rights is a critical solution to the climate crisis,” the statement reads.

“Our existence has always been threatened when our lands are desired by governments and corporations,” said Sonia Guajajara, executive coordinator of Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil (APIB). “These interests would kill us or lock us up behind bars so that our lands can be changed to fit whatever scheme has been concocted. Now with this report there is recognition that how we have safeguarded our forests and lands benefit the entire world—but our rights to exist and manage these lands need to be strengthened. Will the world listen?”

While the IPCC report emphasizes the global need to increase food production, forests are often cleared to produce agricultural commodities that do not address food security needs, such as beef, palm oil, and soybeans. In their response statement, Indigenous Peoples and local communities worldwide discuss the false choice offered between managing intact landscapes to keep carbon out of the atmosphere and clearing landscapes for economic development projects that include agro-industrial plantations.

The statement notes: “Where our rights are respected, by contrast, we provide an alternative to economic models that require tradeoffs between the environment and development. Our traditional knowledge and holistic view of nature enables us to feed the world, protect our forests, and maintain global biodiversity.” MORE


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Push to unionize Foodora could be ‘watershed moment’ for Canadian gig economy: employment lawyer

Foodora workers expressing solidarity

VIDEO :Foodora couriers may form first union of app-based workers

A union certification vote is underway for Foodora couriers in Toronto to decide whether they’d like to join the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), and with similar pushes in Canada and beyond, an employment lawyer calls this a potential watershed moment.

CUPW said if the union certification goes ahead for the food delivery workers, it would create Canada’s first certified bargaining unit for app-based workers.

Paul Willetts, a labour and employment lawyer, said the fight is very significant — and comes down to whether the workers are classified as employees under Ontario law, which affords them protections such as guaranteed minimum wage, paid vacations and leaves.

“All those protections provide you with certainty, with stability and with an ability to plan your life. So I think that’s one of the things that’s missing for people working in the gig economy, and why it’s more precarious,” Willetts said.

“The flip side of that coin is it places additional obligations on the companies now found to be employers, and the implications of that could mean significant costs.”

WATCH: Worker’s rights in the gig economy

Ivan Ostos has been a bike courier with Foodora for three years. He said his work involves a schedule that isn’t stable, working outdoors in what can often be harsh conditions, and being a target for thieves.

“Any delivery person has a fear of getting robbed when they’re in the city like this because people know we’re carrying food. Often times, we can fall victim to that as well as getting our bike stolen,” Ostos said. MORE


Image result for cartoon canada fake news
We live in a time of click-bait, deepfakes, yellow journalism, sensationalism and fake news. When it comes to consuming media, it is no wonder people are struggling to separate fact from fiction.

According to Collins Dictionary, fake news is false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting. The New York Times defines it as made-up stories with the intention to deceive, often geared toward getting clicks.

More recently, people have begun using the term “fake news” to dismiss information they do not agree with.


Fake news is not a new reality, but two key things are impacting the current landscape of untruths.

First is an increase in the number of people, politicians and fake news sites denying facts, misrepresenting information, and undermining the credibility of journalists and media outlets.

Second, the shareability of content on social media makes it easier for misinformation to spread from screen to screen, and reader to reader, at a rapid pace.

Fake news misleads and misinforms. It is seen as a threat to democracy and free debate. According to a recent Pew Research Centre study in the U.S., many Americans say made-up news and information greatly impacts people’s confidence in government institutions. About half (54%) say it is having a major impact on our confidence in each other.


The 2016 presidential election in the US brought the current realities of fake news into focus. From hoaxes, to fake accounts, and the spread of misinformation (including incorrect voting dates), the New York Times reported a variety of ways misinformation showed up on voting day.

Buzzfeed’s analysis of fake news during the last US presidential campaign, suggests that the top-performing fake election news stories on Facebook generated more engagement than the top stories from major news outlets such as the New York Times and Washington Post.

Back on home soil, Ford’s Ontario News Now raises the fake news alarm bells, and deepfakes, artificial intelligence-manipulated video clips, of political leaders are popping up.

There is no reason to believe we won’t be bombarded with misinformation and fake news ahead of the October 21 federal election.


While the debate continues as to how journalists and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter will respond to online misinformation, media consumers play an important role in the fake news drama. Some high schools are teaching media literacy courses focused on helping students spot fake news, and media outlets and libraries are sharing resources to help readers develop critical media skills.

If you’re unfamiliar with the media outlet or author, read their about and contact pages to learn more about who they are and what they do. Most trustworthy media outlets will make it clear what they are about (including disclaimers on satirical news sites). Still not sure? Some fake news sites will go so far as to copy legitimate outlets. If the URL, logo or design looks strange, if may be worth a closer look.
When something catches your attention, see what other news outlets are saying about the story and who their sources are. Take note of any similarities or differences in facts. Still not sure if the story is true? Try fact-checking sites like Factscan.ca and Snopes.com. These sites are dedicated to finding the truth.
If the content you are reading is messy, riddled with typos or grammar errors, or full of exclamation marks and all caps, it could be fake news. Most legitimate sources follow strict style guides and only publish clean, edited content. The same goes for images and videos – pay attention for signs of doctored footage.
Deceptive sites often use sensational headlines to hook readers and generate clicks. Before sharing a story, do your due diligence and read it in full. Most legitimate news outlets will include attribution and quotes from trustworthy sources as a way to add varying viewpoints to the story and enhance credibility. Chances are if you are reading a story with no sources, you are either reading an opinion piece or some form of fake news. Take heed.
Media creators and consumers are responsible for fighting fake news. If you see fake news, or questionable content, reach out to the person who shared it and start a conversation about why the content doesn’t look credible. Sharing what you know can help others avoid falling into the fake news trap.

The campaign to silence Tzeporah Berman

Environmental activist Tzeporah Berman speaks at an event in Ottawa on Nov. 6, 2017. File photo by Alex Tétreault

She looked out at the crowd “with a tremendous sense of hope” and told them to prepare for arrest if they crossed the police line at the site of the proposed Trans Mountain oil pipeline from Alberta.

“It was a very powerful day for me,” she told National Observer. “It was the first protest on Burnaby Mountain.”

Five years later, a photo of Berman on that hopeful day on the outskirts of Vancouver is being used to foment hatred against her.

A poster showing the photo of Berman with a red circle around it, and a diagonal line through it, is labelled “TZEPORAH BERMAN ENEMY OF THE OILSANDS.”

A man representing a group called Oil Sands Strong held the poster and Berman’s CV up for the cameras and denounced her as he introduced Alberta Premier Jason Kenney at a June 7 news conference to announce a $30-million government “war room” against oil and gas industry critics.

Tzeporah Berman has received threats of violence and sexual assault over her opposition to the oilsands and pipelines. She worries the organized demonization of her and other activists is putting a chill on open dialogue in Alberta on climate change.

The next day, hate messages arrived on Berman’s Twitter account, phone and email. She received death threats, anti-Semitic messages and threats of sexual violence.

‘Un-Albertan activities committee’

Berman, international program director at Stand.earth, later watched that and another news conference “in horror.” At the other one, Kenney announced an inquiry into foreign funding of groups which criticize Alberta’s oil and gas industry.

Berman is among those who call it Kenney’s “Un-Albertan activities committee,” a play on the House Un-American Activities Committee and the anti-Communist witch hunts of U.S. senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1940s and ’50s.

Based in Vancouver with her husband and children, Berman is one of Canada’s most accomplished environmentalists. She was pivotal in landmark agreements to protect B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest, Canada’s boreal forest and in the previous Alberta government’s climate change and energy policy development.

Today, Berman is concerned that the organized personal demonization of her and other activists is putting a chill on open dialogue in Alberta about climate change and fossil fuels.

Environmentalists are clearly targeted. Energy companies are silent, unwilling to “break ranks” and encourage dialogue about policies, such as a cap on oilsands greenhouse gas emissions, that they helped create under the NDP government of Rachel Notley. MORE


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Pipeline fight is not over, and Canadians everywhere have a stake

A shot of Fort McMurray, Alberta in 2012. Photo by Kris Krüg from Flickr

The Trudeau government and the petrobloc (the fossil fuel industries and their political, financial and media allies) would like you to believe that the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline (TMX), intended to triple the flow of diluted bitumen from the Athabasca Sands to the port of Vancouver, is a done deal.

But the latest approval of TMX by the Trudeau government and the industry-friendly National Energy Board does not settle the issue.

There are significant legal challenges from six major First Nations whose territories include much of the proposed pipeline route through B.C. Ecojustice is litigating in the Federal Court of Appeal to defend the critically endangered southern resident orcas. The B.C. government is taking its case for jurisdiction over the transport of diluted bitumen within B.C. to the Supreme Court.

The Indigenous-led, grassroots place-based resistance that encouraged the Texas-based multinational Kinder Morgan (founded by two former Enron executives) to walk away from the project, is re-emerging, after the construction delay imposed by the Federal Court of Appeal in August 2018.

And the federal election in October could give the balance of power to two parties – Greens and New Democrats – which are opposed to the pipeline.

Now, a new front has opened up: a national campaign to halt fossil fuel subsidies on which projects like TMX depend.

B.C. residents in the sacrifice zones of the pipeline project know of its local, regional and global environmental risks, from tank farm fires, pipeline rupture, oil tanker spills and orca deaths, to intensified planetary heating. These concerns didn’t always resonate with Canadians elsewhere, facing economic insecurity and public service cutbacks.

But the federal government’s 2018 purchase of the pipeline has added an enormous new risk to Canadian taxpayers. While the petrobloc touts TMX as a route to economic prosperity, taxpayers may see more pain than gain.

Buying the pipeline alone cost taxpayers $4.4 billion, far more than analysts said it was worth, with a further nine to 12 billion dollars needed for expanding its capacity, locking Canada further into planet-heating infrastructure while creating far fewer permanent jobs than investment in renewable energy.

Independent analysts like Andrew Nikiforuk and J. David Hughes argue that optimistic pro-pipeline estimates of Asian demand for Canadian bitumen downplay such factors as escalating construction costs, the completion of two other pipelines by 2022, high transportation costs, alternative supply sources and lower-quality product.

“Trans Mountain has been losing money since Ottawa overpaid for it, leaving taxpayers on the hook,” economist Robyn Allan told me. “Revenues from tolls on the existing line are insufficient to cover all the interest expense or any of the principal amount the government borrowed to finance the acquisition of the 66-year-old pipeline. Billions more in taxpayer-funded subsidies will be required to finance the expansion since shipper tolls will not cover the cost of building it.”

This is why Kinder Morgan walked away: capital costs were too high and Trans Mountain’s expansion ceased to be commercially viable. Any reasonable cost-benefit analysis reveals that there are no net economic benefits from the expansion, either, and the obvious environmental costs are staggering.”

So why did the feds bail out such a toxic investment?

A senior researcher at Alberta’s Parkland Institute told me that TMX has become a political symbol. Serious climate action means ending fossil fuel subsidies (as Trudeau promised in 2015) and investing directly in sustainable energy and infrastructure.

Yet Canadian governments continue to pour about $3.3 billion annually (according to the International Institute of Sustainable Development) into direct support for an industry whose business model entails knowingly jeopardizing the habitability of the planet. That amount would fund job retraining for 330,000 workers, including in greener industries with potential for exporting technology and energy. MORE

How eliminating food waste can help the fight against climate change

‘People need to be aware and learn how their choices contribute to the problems that we face,’ expert says

Food waste occurs from farm to fridge and, according to the latest IPCC report, is contributing to CO2 emissions. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

There’s a strange smell coming from your kitchen, and you finally trace the scent to its point of origin: the fridge. You dig through reusable containers full of mouldy food, toss the wilting lettuce into the compost bin, and are too afraid to open the sour cream leftover from a nacho night held months ago, so you toss the whole thing into the garbage.

This is food waste — and it’s contributing to climate change.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report Thursday, entitled Climate Change and Land, that found better land management use — from forests to agriculture — would play a significant role in mitigating climate change.

But the authors also noted that tackling food waste is a factor that could help limit warming to 1.5 C to 2 C, the point where we will be unable to adapt to the worst effects of climate change.

Reducing food loss and waste can, in turn, lower greenhouse gas emissions for an obvious reason: Less waste means less land is needed for food production.

The IPCC report notes that roughly 25 to 30 per cent of total food produced annually is lost or wasted — and that has consequences. From 2010 to 2016, global food loss and waste contributed eight to 10 per cent of human-caused GHG emissions.

Waste from land to homes

Not all the waste comes from households; much of it comes from another source: Farms.

That’s why the report’s authors suggest that improved harvesting methods, on-farm storage, better packaging and education can significantly reduce agricultural food waste.

Together with these improvements, as well as overall improvements to land use and the reduction of fossil fuels, the report’s 107 authors (who come from 52 countries) conclude that humanity will greatly benefit across the board. MORE



The Oil Giants Might Finally Pay for Pulling the Biggest Hoax of All

New York State is alleging ExxonMobil knew the risks of climate change and defrauded its investors by misrepresenting them.

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n October 23, in a federal court in New York, opening arguments will be heard in one of the most important corporate malfeasance cases of the modern era, rivaled only by the tobacco litigations of the 1990s. The state of New York is suing ExxonMobil on charges that the energy goliath consistently misled its investors about what it knew concerning the climate crisis—essentially lying to them about what it might eventually cost the company in eventual climate-related financial risks, because the company knew better than practically anyone else what those risks were. From Inside Climate News:

Exxon engaged in “a longstanding fraudulent scheme” to deceive investors by providing false and misleading assurances that it was effectively managing the economic risks posed by increasingly stringent policies and regulations it anticipated being adopted to address climate change, the lawsuit states. “Instead of managing those risks in the manner it represented to investors, Exxon employed internal practices that were inconsistent with its representations, were undisclosed to investors, and exposed the company to greater risk from climate change regulation than investors were led to believe,” the lawsuit said.

And the hardball has begun in earnest, again via ICN:

New court filings reveal that Exxon sent letters to a group of investment advisers and shareholder activists who prosecutors want to put on the stand, informing them they will be subject to subpoenas from the company seeking documents relevant to the case if they choose to testify. Because of their roles investing in and engaging with Exxon over climate change, these witnesses’ testimony could prove critical to the state’s case. With opening statements scheduled to begin Oct. 23, a lawyer in New York Attorney General Letitia James’s office wrote that the request would “impose disproportionate burdens on these witnesses in a transparent attempt to discourage them from testifying voluntarily, and threatening to upend the trial schedule.”…

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Oil companies built their rigs to account for sea-level rise.

David McNewGetty Images

While prosecutors had agreed to allow Exxon to interview the witnesses before the trial, the company went further by sending at least one witness what the attorney general described as an expansive request for documents and communications, including “all documents concerning your oil and gas holdings” and more. Exxon wrote on July 30 that it planned to send documents requests to seven witnesses.

The case is historic, especially in light of the revelations that Exxon and other energy companies knew as long ago as 30 years that carbon emissions were becoming perilous to the planet. It is possible that, if the case proceeds to trial, the energy companies may find themselves in the same spot where Brown & Williamson was on the subject of whether nicotine was addictive. MORE

Oilsands CEOs take federal election message to voters in full-page newspaper ads

Leave it in the ground! Apparently the oil companies are concerned that their complicit neoliberal governments are under attack for  not acting on climate change. Expect more greenwash to come.

‘It’s not the governments that need to change, it’s the message the people … send to those governments’

In a message to Canadian voters published in 30 daily newspapers on Aug. 1, three of the biggest oilsands companies note that oil and gas producers are the country’s single largest investors in clean energy technology. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Three of Canada’s biggest oilsands producers are going directly to voters to ask them to “influence the outcome” of big decisions concerning the oil and gas sector as a fall federal election looms.

In full-page ads in about 30 English and French daily newspapers across Canada on Thursday, the CEOs of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., Cenovus Energy Inc. and MEG Energy Corp. ask readers to call on “leaders of all political stripes” to lend their support to the energy industry.

MEG Energy CEO Derek Evans says the campaign, a rare foray into the public realm for companies that usually prefer to speak through the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, is coming out in mid-summer because that’s when politicians are meeting voters at barbecues and picnics.

The open letter agrees greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced but it defends the environmental record of the oilsands, contending that emissions intensity per barrel produced has fallen by about 30 per cent over the past two decades.

Alex Pourbaix, the CEO of Calgary-based Cenovus Energy, says the letter is part of a new strategy by the energy industry to reclaim the public narrative that has been taken over by its opponents. (Mike Symington/CBC)

The letter says Canada’s energy companies produce a product that continues to be needed despite the growth of renewable energy, adding that oil and gas producers are the country’s single largest investors in clean energy technology.

Evans says the campaign is not partisan and he, for one, won’t be unhappy if the Liberals are re-elected, despite their recent adoption — against the advice of the oilpatch — of Bill C-69 to revamp the way energy projects are approved and C-48 to ban oil tanker traffic along B.C.’s northern coast.

“It’s not the governments that need to change, it’s the message the people of the country send to those governments,” he said.

“I’m fine with having Justin Trudeau as prime minister if he embraces a philosophy with respect to energy that says that Canada has a much larger role to play on the global stage and we need to encourage that part of our sector.” MORE