The Right To A Future

Greta Thunberg, the famous Swedish climate crisis activist, recently landed upon the American shore in a racing yacht sail boat with some solar-power on board. She did not want to fly due to the pollution caused by airplanes.

In an event produced by The Intercept in New York entitled “The Right to a Future,” Naomi Klein, Sr. Correspondent for The Intercept, spoke to and introduced “Greta,” as she has come to be known around the world. The Swedish teenager took Fridays off from school to protest the climate crisis at the Swedish Parliament with a sign that read: “School Strike for Climate.” Then she went global, becoming one of the most well known climate activists in the world.

Greta has been speaking truth to power from the beginning of her appearance on the world stage.

Some of Greta’s Remarks to World Leaders

“We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past and you will ignore us again. You have run out of excuses and we are running out of time. We have come here to let you know that change is coming whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people.” — Speaking at UN COP24 conference regarding the climate crisis

“You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden, you leave to us children.” — Speaking to the UN climate negotiators in Poland in December 2018

“Is my English okay? Is the microphone on because I’m beginning to wonder?” — Speaking to British Members of Parliament who invited her to speak

“I don’t want your hope. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear that I feel every day. I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.”
— Speaking to the rich at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland

Greta has game.

The Right to a Future Event

At the recent climate event, Naomi Klein stated: “On March 15th of this year, came the first global school strike for climate. Over 2,000 strikes [were held] in 125 countries on every continent. 1.6 million people participated on a single day.” CleanTechnica readers know the climate crisis is urgent, and more people are learning about this topic and are starting to take action.

The next school strike date is set for September 20th. The student organizers would like the adults to join the action.

When asked by Naomi Klein about how many say that dealing with the climate crisis is too expensive, Greta responded, “The money is there. If we can save the banks, then we can save the world.” She continued, “We need to have the polluters to actually pay for the damage they have caused. … What we lack now is political will and social will to do it.”

To see if there’s a StrikeWithUs event near you or to create one on September 20th, please visit that link.

Is lab-grown meat the next frontier in ethical eating?

The meatless burger is surely one of the biggest food trends of 2019. The rising popularity of options like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods burgers come as scientists implore consumers to switch to a more plant-based diet to help tackle climate change.

But there’s another option lurking on the horizon: lab-grown meat. Or, as scientists prefer to call it, “cultured” or “clean” meat. It has the potential to be better for both the environment and your health.

Amy Rowat, associate professor of integrative biology and physiology at University of California, Los Angeles, is one of six scientists who received a grant earlier this year from the Good Food Institute in Washington, D.C., to further develop cultured meat. 

Born and raised in Guelph, Ont., Rowat spent years studying cells and has years of academic experience in the science of food.

“All the food that we eat is made of cells,” Rowat said, so developing cultured meat was a natural fit. In the simplest terms, stem cells are taken from an animal’s muscle and put in a nutrient-rich broth, of sorts, to encourage them to multiply and grow into muscle fibres. So, it is real meat, but with one key difference: Animals don’t have to be raised or killed to produce it.

Rowat and her grad student, Stephanie Kawecki, determined that to produce one billion quarter-pounder burgers (113 grams each), it takes 1.2 million cows living for three years on 8,600 square kilometres of land (and then slaughtering them). The same number of cultured burgers would require the muscle stem cells of just one living cow, and they’d take only about a month and a half to grow. 

Right now, those cultured burgers would be pricey. The first lab-grown burger was produced in a Netherlands lab in 2013 at a cost of about $425,000 Cdn, although Israeli company Future Meat Technologies said last year it could bring the cost down into the range of $3.00 to $6.00 Cdn a pound (453 kg) by 2020. Rowat believes cultured meat will eventually be on par cost-wise with organic beef. 

Some believe it could be available in two to five years. But the pivotal question is: Will people eat it?

Lab-grown meat “is a foreign concept,” said Kara Nielsen, who analyzes food trends at CCD Innovation in Emeryville, Calif. But she sees a definite advantage. It will have the familiar taste and texture of farmed meat, and it’s a good alternative for people concerned with animal rights. “It certainly wins on you-didn’t-kill-a-cow-to-eat-this-burger,” she said. 

Another plausible selling point: it could be healthier than farmed beef. “Imagine modifying genetically the cellular components so that they produce healthier molecules in your cultured meat,” said Rowat. For example, to make a lower-fat meat, or one with more healthy fat.

On the environmental front, if people move away from farmed beef, there would be less need to clear cut land to raise cattle, and less methane from those gassy cows. 

recent Oxford University study, however, highlights a potential hurdle. It found that the amount of heat and electricity required to produce cultured meat could be worse, environmentally, than some cattle farming, if energy systems remain dependent on fossil fuels. 

The researchers suggested that to be more environmentally responsible, companies producing cultured meat would have to do something to mitigate carbon emissions. That could be crucial to cultured meat’s success. 

Nielsen said the potential positives may be what push people past any feelings of strangeness about eating lab-grown meat.

“It could be that we’ll leapfrog to an acceptance …  like, ‘You know what? I still want to eat my beef. And my beef just comes from a separate place.'” SOURCE

Canadians in every riding support climate action, new research shows

Image result for the conversation: Canadians in every riding support climate action, new research shows
According to new research, the majority of Canadians in all but three ridings across the country believe their province has already felt the effects of climate change. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin

Canada’s fall election is in full swing and climate policy will likely be at the centre of debate. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are trumpeting their carbon pricing policy, while Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives want to get rid of it. Meanwhile, Elizabeth May and her newly relevant Greens think Canada must do more to manage the climate crisis.

But where do Canadian voters stand on this issue?

Our research team, based at the Université de Montréal and the University of California Santa Barbara, has new public opinion data to answer this question. Using recent statistical and political science advances, we can estimate Canadian opinion in every single riding across the country (except for the less densely populated territories, where data collection is sparse). And we’ve released on online tool so anyone can see how their local riding compares to others across the country.

Canadians are concerned about climate change

Our results reinforce what is increasingly clear: climate change is on the minds of Canadians, and not just in urban or coastal communities. A majority of Canadians in every single riding believe the climate is changing. The highest beliefs are in Halifax, where 93 per cent of the public believe climate change is happening.

Percentage of Canadians, by riding, who believe climate change is happening. Author provided

And a majority of Canadians in all but three ridings think their province has already experienced the impacts of climate change. These beliefs are particularly high in Québec, where 79 per cent feel the impacts of climate change have already arrived.

Canadians also want to see the government take the climate threat seriously.

A majority of voters supports emissions tradingCarbon taxation is more divisive, yet more people support carbon taxation than don’t in 88 per cent of Canadian ridings.

And the handful of ridings that don’t support the Trudeau government’s carbon pricing policy — Fort McMurray-Cold Lake, for example — are already in Conservative hands.

n other words, the path to a majority government — or even a minority government — goes through many ridings where Canadians are worried about climate change and want the government to take aggressive action. MORE

Andrew Coyne: The question of what is Trudeau hiding is not going to go away

The issues involved in the SNC-Lavalin affair are too important to be treated flippantly. This isn’t some question of policy on which people of goodwill can differ

Another campaign begun in the shadow of scandal. The first weeks of the 2015 election campaign were dominated by the trial of Sen. Mike Duffy, at much subsequent cost to Stephen Harper’s re-election chances. Whether or not the latest revelations in the SNC-Lavalin affair prove to be as consequential to the current campaign, the implications are deeply troubling.

Not only is the RCMP reported to have been inquiring into the affair, in which the prime minister and other government officials attempted to interfere in a criminal prosecution, as a possible case of obstruction of justice, but investigators have apparently been prevented from gathering evidence from key witnesses — obstructed, if you will — by the government’s continuing refusal to release them from the bonds of cabinet confidentiality.

No, it’s not yet a formal criminal investigation, and yes, whatever else you want to call it has been “paused” until after the election — a protocol installed after the 2006 campaign, which was knocked sideways by the revelation that the RCMP was investigating the then minister of finance. No doubt that will be of some relief to the Liberal campaign, but it does leave the public in a bind: it would be a hell of a thing to re-elect the government only to have its top officials charged afterward with serious crimes.

And the questions — the first from a reporter, immediately after Justin Trudeau’s opening statement: “what is your government trying to hide?” — are not going to go away. Seven months after the scandal first came to light, they boil down to one: why not lift the obligation to keep cabinet conversations secret if it will help police get to the bottom of the matter?

This is not, after all, the first time the subject has come up. While the prime minister made a great show of waiving cabinet confidentiality earlier this year with regard to his former attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, the waiver applied only to discussions that took place while she was still in the job, and only to those in which she took part. The ethics commissioner reported last month that nine witnesses with evidence relevant to his inquiry had been kept silent by the same restriction.

Cabinet confidentiality is an important principle — ministers could not otherwise speak frankly on sensitive matters — that ought not to be taken lightly. But it is not as important as the rule of law. It might be invoked for reasons of state — or, more often, to spare governments political embarrassment — but it cannot be extended to cover discussions of potential crimes.

Or at any rate it should not. Maybe Trudeau, as he insists, did nothing wrong, legally or ethically. If so, the witnesses will presumably exonerate him. But if not, all the more reason why they should be allowed to tell police what they know.

Former Canadian Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould arrives to give her testimony about the SNC-LAVALIN affair before a justice committee hearing on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Feb. 27, 2019. LARS HAGBERG / AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Certainly it is within his power to do so. The explanation, offered both to the ethics commissioner and the RCMP, that it was a decision of the clerk of the privy council, even if true, will not wash. The clerk works for the prime minister, not the other way around. Whatever power the prime minister chooses to delegate he can also choose to take back.

The prime minister, in any event, long ago undermined any principled defence of his position by his readiness to go public with his side of the same conversations. It is no part of the doctrine of cabinet confidentiality that it should be strictly applied to material that might incriminate government officials, but may be relaxed where it shows them in a better light.

I say all this in the vain hope that the question will be considered on its merits, and not merely as a matter of optics, or polling, or tactics. We have an unfortunate tendency in our trade to cover the campaign, rather than the election — who’s up, who’s down, how the parties are or should be positioning themselves on a given issue, as opposed to what’s right, what’s wrong, and which party’s position is closest to the truth.

Cabinet confidentiality is an important principle. But it is not as important as the rule of law

But the issues involved in the SNC-Lavalin affair are too important to be treated so flippantly. This isn’t about whether to raise or lower taxes or some other question of policy on which people of goodwill can differ, but whether we are to have an impartial system of justice, or one in which powerful corporations can wriggle out of prosecution by lobbying the right politicians. MORE

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‘It’s a miracle’: Helsinki’s radical solution to homelessness

Finland is the only EU country where homelessness is falling. Its secret? Giving people homes as soon as they need them – unconditionally


A homeless woman sits outside downtown Helsinki central station in 2011. The city has since virtually eliminated rough sleeping. Photograph: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images

Tatu Ainesmaa turns 32 this summer, and for the first time in more than a decade he has a home he can truly say is his: an airy two-room apartment in a small, recently renovated block in a leafy suburb of Helsinki, with a view over birch trees.

“It’s a big miracle,” he says. “I’ve been in communes, but everyone was doing drugs and I’ve had to get out. I’ve been in bad relationships; same thing. I’ve been on my brother’s sofa. I’ve slept rough. I’ve never had my own place. This is huge for me.”

Downstairs in the two-storey block is a bright communal living and dining area, a spotless kitchen, a gym room and a sauna (in Finland, saunas are basically obligatory). Upstairs is where the 21 tenants, men and women, most under 30, live. 

It is important that they are tenants: each has a contract, pays rent and (if they need to) applies for housing benefit. That, after all, is all part of having a home – and part of a housing policy that has now made Finland the only EU country where homelessness is falling.

When the policy was being devised just over a decade ago, the four people who came up with what is now widely known as the Housing First principle – a social scientist, a doctor, a politician and a bishop – called their report Nimi Ovessa (Your Name on the Door).

“It was clear to everyone the old system wasn’t working; we needed radical change,” says Juha Kaakinen, the working group’s secretary and first programme leader, who now runs the Y-Foundation developing supported and affordable housing.

Pinterest Juha Kaakinen, CEO of the Y-Foundation, which provides low-cost flats to homeless people across Finland. Photograph: Kirsi Tuura

“We had to get rid of the night shelters and short-term hostels we still had back then. They had a very long history in Finland, and everyone could see they were not getting people out of homelessness. We decided to reverse the assumptions.”

As in many countries, homelessness in Finland had long been tackled using a staircase model: you were supposed to move through different stages of temporary accommodation as you got your life back on track, with an apartment as the ultimate reward.

“We decided to make the housing unconditional,” says Kaakinen. “To say, look, you don’t need to solve your problems before you get a home. Instead, a home should be the secure foundation that makes it easier to solve your problems.”

With state, municipal and NGO backing, flats were bought, new blocks built and old shelters converted into permanent, comfortable homes – among them the Rukkila homeless hostel in the Helsinki suburb of Malminkartano where Ainesmaa now lives. SOURCE

 

French city of Dunkirk tests out free transport – and it works


Philippe Huguen, AFP | People cross a square with a 100% free autobus parked in background in Dunkirk, northern France on October 30, 2018.

The city of Dunkirk in northern France launched a revamped bus system last year with a twist – it’s completely free. A new study shows that the programme is not only revitalising the city center but also helping the environment.

Dunkirk, which sits on the “Opal Coast” at the northernmost tip of France, is best known for the battle and evacuation of hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers to Britain during the Second World War. After the war, the port city was rebuilt as an industrial hub, with oil refineries and a major steel mill.

Now the city (population 90,000) seeks to become a beacon of a greener economy, by building infrastructure such as a large-scale wind farm off the coast and transforming its city center to be more pedestrian-friendly. Key to this effort is its free bus system, inaugurated on 1 September, 2018. The network connects Dunkirk to a cluster of neighbouring towns, with five express lines running every ten minutes throughout the day, and a dozen other lines serving less dense areas. Altogether, it serves some 200,000 residents.

For many, the effect has been nothing short of liberating, says Vanessa Delevoye, editor of Urbis, a magazine of urban politics published by the local government. To get around town, you no longer need to look at the schedules, buy tickets or worry about parking, she says. You just hop on the bus.

“It’s become a synonym of freedom,” she says, attracting those who might not otherwise have used public transport. In this largely working-class city, “people of limited means say they’ve rediscovered transport” – a prerequisite to finding a job, maintaining friendships or participating in local arts and culture. But it’s not only disadvantaged or working-class people who take the bus. It is also attracting white-collar workers, students and pensioners, according to Delevoye. MORE

Extinction Rebellion co-founder arrested over Heathrow drone plan

Climate activist Roger Hallam sought to shut down Heathrow Airport on Friday

Heathrow Pause activists with the drones they plan to fly. Reuters
Heathrow Pause activists with the drones they plan to fly. Reuters

A co-founder of the Extinction Rebellion activist group has been arrested a day before he planned to shut down London’s Heathrow Airport.

Roger Hallam and another four people were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a public nuisance. Climate change activists intend to ground flights at Heathrow on Friday morning by flying toy drones in its exclusion area, in protest at global warming and plans to build a third runway at the airport.

Heathrow Pause@HeathrowPause

We will not be silenced. Please spread this far and wide and keep the flame of Heathrow Pause alight . We are parents protecting our children @GeorgeMonbiot @GretaThunberg @ExtinctionR https://twitter.com/RaphaelThelen/status/1172151205574918144 

Raphael Thelen@RaphaelThelen

Roger Hallam, Co-Founder of Extinction Rebellion, was just arrested in front of my eyes. From what I understand because of the planned „Heathrow Pause“-Action. More soon @SPIEGELONLINE @extinctionr

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“Our policing plan is aimed at preventing criminal activity which poses a significant safety and security risk to the airport, and the thousands of passengers that will be using it,” said Laurence Taylor of London’s Metropolitan Police.
Police had already warned the Heathrow Pause, a group of individual activists with close links to Extinction Rebellion, they faced arrest if they went ahead with their plans.
“In these circumstances, we believe these arrests to be a proportionate response to preventing criminal activity that could significantly impact on a major piece of national infrastructure,” said Mr Taylor, a Deputy Assistant Commissioner.
“We remain fully prepared for the planned protest tomorrow, and will work quickly to identify criminal activity and arrest anyone committing offences.”

Members of the Pause had already said they expected to be detained but would continue with their plans regardless. It is unclear how many of them are. MORE

Heathrow protest thwarted as police use radiowaves to jam Extinction Rebellion group drones

European Green Deal portfolio handed to EU vice president, in major elevation

Dutch social democrat Frans Timmermans has been named executive vice president responsible for strategy to make the EU climate neutral by 2050


Frans Timmermans (Pic: Flickr/PES Communications)

Climate action is getting a promotion in the next European Commission, with the portfolio assigned to one of three executive vice presidents.

Dutch social democrat Frans Timmermans was nominated on Tuesday to develop the “European green deal” over the next five years. He is to directly manage the climate change directorate (DG Clima) and coordinate efforts across agriculture, health, transport, energy, cohesion and environment.

Announcing the line-up in a webcast press conference, commission president Ursula von der Leyen said she wanted to create a “flexible, agile” team to deliver on the bloc’s priorities.

“At the heart of it is our commitment to become the world’s first climate neutral continent,” she said of Timmermans’ role. “Those who act first and fastest will be the ones who grab the opportunities of the ecological transition.”

In a mission letter to Timmermans, von der Leyen tasked him with proposing a climate neutrality law within his first 100 days in office. At the same time he should plan to deepen the EU’s 2030 emissions reduction target to 50% from 1990 levels. Under the Paris Agreement, countries are expected to submit updated national contributions by 2020.

Further raising 2030 ambition to 55% should wait until 2021, contingent on action from other major emitters through international negotiations, von der Leyen indicated.

Frans Timmermans @TimmermansEU

We need an ambitious Green New Deal for Europe, which shapes the future for our children and ensures their health, prosperity and security on a green and thriving planet.

Pascal Canfin, a centre right Renew Europe MEP and chair of the European Parliament’s environment committee, said he “welcome[d] the new organisation of the European Commission… the ecological transition is dealt with as a priority”.

Ska Keller @SkaKeller

A welcome step forward to have a female president and a proposal for a gender-balanced @EU_Commission that has as a priority. We are happy to work constructively with the new commission to save the planet. We have no time to waste! (1/3)

Timmermans has emphasised his personal commitment to tackling climate change. “Green is not the sole property of the Green Party,” the socialist said during a TV debate in April.

“It is very welcome to have someone who has tried to position himself as such a green candidate to have a chance to demonstrate it,” said Suzana Carp of Sandbag.

Perhaps Timmermans’ biggest challenge will be to get sceptical eastern member states on board with faster emissions cuts. He has a tense relationship with the governments of Poland, Hungary and Romania, after clashes over the rule of law.

Part of his assignment is to establish a “just transition fund” to ease the pain for regions economically reliant on coal mining or heavy industry.

Lagarde: European Central Bank should ‘gradually eliminate’ carbon assets

The two other nominees assigned executive vice president status are Danish liberal Margrethe Vestager and Latvian conservative Valdis Dombrovskis.

Vestager is be responsible for making Europe “fit for the digital age”, while Dombrovskis engenders “an economy that works for people”. Both build on responsibilities they held in the last commission.

In her previous role as competition commissioner, Vestager ruled on several state aid cases relating to energy, generally promoting a shift to cleaner sources. Dombrovskis advocated for green finance standards to mobilise investments in the clean economy.

A draft list of commission postings leaked ahead of the announcement sparked some concern by omitting the environment. Rules to promote biodiversity, clean air and water have historically been a major part of the commission’s workload. In the final version, environment and oceans went to Lithuania’s Virginijus Sinkevičius.

Analysis: How Trump’s climate U-turn exposed the limits of European power

Comment: How von der Leyen could make a carbon border tax work

The youngest of the proposed intake aged 28, Sinkevičius comes from the Farmers and Greens Union, which runs to the right of the European Greens and has been silent on climate issues in Lithuania. But he told national broadcaster LRT climate action presented opportunities, adding “I hope that Lithuania will not shy away from climate change”.

Kadri Simson of Estonia is in line for the energy brief, Romania’s Rovana Plumb gets transport and Poland’s Janusz Wojciechowski will be responsible for agriculture.

They have been tasked with contributing to the green deal from their respective sectors, including work to bring international shipping into the EU carbon market and reduce free allowances for aviation.

While trade does not officially fall under Timmermans’ climate cluster, von der Leyen has asked commissioner Phil Hogan to design and introduce a carbon border tax – a complex and controversial tool to level the playing field with climate laggards. “You will use our trade tools to support sustainable development,” she wrote in a letter outlining his mission.

The assignment of candidates put forward by each member state to jobs is subject to approval in the European Parliament. Lawmakers start scrutinising nominees at committee level later this month and vote to confirm or reject them in October. SOURCE

 

The global assault on environmental rights behind Jason Kenney’s war


File photo of Alberta Premier Jason Kenney by Tijana Martin

MichelleBellefontaine@MBellefontaine ·

I have been updating my story all day. The quote from Kenney has been included, along with the reaction from Alex Neve, the secretary general of Amnesty International Canada. http://cbc.ca/1.5277846 

Amnesty International says Jason Kenney’s ‘fight back’ strategy violates human rights | CBC News

Amnesty International Canada says the Alberta government’s plan to fight people who criticize the oil and gas industry exposes them to threats, intimidation and violates their human rights.

cbc.ca

MichelleBellefontaine@MBellefontaine

Here is the video of @jkenney making remarks in Fort McMurray today about the jailing of Greenpeace activists is Russia

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Authoritarian governments moving in lockstep to discredit environmentalists

“Foreign funding” has emerged as a powerful propaganda cudgel for governments to turn on environmental and human rights activists around the world.

The leader of Russia’s Ecodefense sought political asylum in Germany this June to avoid imprisonment in Putin’s ruthless crackdown on environmental groups designated as “foreign agents,” a term that in Russian denotes “spy” or “traitor.”

In Narendra Modi’s India, where flooding and drought threaten more than 100 million lives, a 2014 intelligence report called dissident environmental and human rights organizations a threat to national security, accusing them of “serving as tools for foreign policy interests.”

“The world is facing the most pressing moral imperative in the history of human civilization, and Jason Kenney’s inquiry has all but criminalized opposition to fossil fuel expansion, before a single witness is called. ” @Garossino #cdnpoli #oped

Despite being praised by Stephen Harper for his visionary global leadership, Modi ​​was nothing short of brutal. Cancelling the licences of 20,000 NGOs, his government froze bank accounts and raided offices, including those of Amnesty International India and prominent human rights lawyers who had challenged his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

To prevent a Greenpeace India activist from testifying in the British parliament about the local impact of a British mining company’s Indian operations, Modi’s government blocked her from boarding her flight to the UK, then put her on a no-fly list. MORE

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Premier Jason Kenney takes aim at Amnesty International Canada in letter
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