INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE ACTION MUST INCLUDE LIMITS ON FOSSIL FUEL SUPPLY

“Efforts to reduce demand for fossil fuels are helping, but it is now quite clear that demand-side actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are not enough,” Le Billon and Kristoffersen noted last week, as negotiations in Katowice, Poland reached a crescendo.

“Increasing carbon taxation on consumers has been relatively effective, but carbon taxes are facing increasing political resistance and can lead to a major backlash, as we are seeing with France’s current fuel riots. While the shift to renewable energy is gaining momentum, it is too slow. Per capita demand for energy has also been on the decline in the U.S. and many European countries for the past decade, but major new energy consumers such as China and India will take time to follow suit. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently pointed out, the current transition is still too slow to meet climate change targets.” MORE

Pipeline politics: Why $1.6B in aid for oil and gas industry is awkward for Canada

Hard to reconcile with the UN’s “life or death warning” for more and immediate action to limit global warming.

This morning [Dec 18] in Edmonton, Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi and International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr announced a $1.6 billion federal aid package for Canada’s oil and gas industry. The money is spread over a variety existing programs to help companies find new markets, invest in clean technology and train staff.

Throw in Ottawa’s summer purchase of the aging Trans Mountain pipeline — $4.5 billion, with a promise to spend as much as $7.4 billion more for a planned expansion — and Canadian taxpayers now find themselves on the hook for somewhere between $7.7 billion and $15 billion in new support for an industry that was already receiving more than $3.3 billion a year in government   MORE

Canada won’t perform an environmental review of most new oilsands projects. Here’s why.

The future of development in Alberta’s oilsands lies in underground, steam-assisted operations that represent some of the country’s fastest growing greenhouse gas emissions. These projects have never been subject to federal environmental reviews and that’s not expected to change with Ottawa’s new-and-improved assessment rules. MORE

 

McKenna’s global carbon market plan more charade than genuine climate action

At the conclusion of the United Nations COP24 climate talks in Katowice, Poland, federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna boasted that Canada “played a leading role in laying the groundwork for a global carbon market.”

In short, this is a corporate-friendly approach backed by the World Bank Group in which a central authority allocates or sells a limited number of credits to corporations to discharge specific quantities of carbon pollution. Polluters that want to increase their carbon emissions must buy credits from other corporations willing to sell their excess credits. MORE

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation seeks to stop Syncrude tar sands expansion project

Chief Allan Adam (left) from the Athabasca Fort Chipewyan First Nation chats with Grand Chief Serge Simon from the Mohawks of Kanesatake at a Special Chiefs Assembly in Gatineau Que. on Dec. 8, 2016. Photo by Mike De Souza

The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation is seeking to block a major oilsands expansion project, adding another Indigenous legal challenge to the region’s resource exploitation.

In a filing to the province’s energy regulator, the First Nation asked to stop the expansion of Syncrude Canada Ltd’s Mildred Lake oilsands operation.

“We can hardly get a boat through the Delta, migratory birds don’t fly over, the fish are diseased, and our people are sick,” said Chief Allan Adam of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, fighting the expansion of Syncrude’s Mildred Lake project.

If approved, the expansion would add around 184,000 barrels of oil per day to Mildred Lake’s production. Hearings on the matter are to be held by the Alberta Energy Regulator in Fort McMurray from Jan. 22-Feb. 8, 2019. MORE

The Tar Sands: It devours our land

A historically willing participant in oilsands operations, the Fort McKay First Nation is taking the Alberta government to court over its failure to protect Moose Lake, a sacred site, from rampant industrial development

Surrounded on three sides by oilsands operations, the Fort McKay First Nation has benefited tremendously from industrial development — while also experiencing firsthand its environmental consequences.

While the nation has historically supported nearby operations, when Prosper Petroleum proposed a 10,000 barrel per day oilsands project near Moose Lake, an area of sacred cultural value for the people of Fort McKay, the community reached a tipping point. MORE

 

 

Why the people of Grassy Narrows continue to eat the fish

a woman by a fireGrassy Narrows elder Judy Da Silva says that fish has always played a vital role in Anishinaabek natal traditions. (Jon Thompson)

The people of Grassy Narrows First Nation know that the fish in nearby rivers and lakes contain mercury, which can cause serious health problems. So why is walleye still a mainstay of their diet? Jon Thompson outlines the cultural, political, and economic issues that have contributed to this community’s crisis. Read more.

 

 

‘We Have Not Come Here to Beg World Leaders to Care,’ 15-Year-Old Greta Thunberg Tells COP24. ‘We Have Come to Let Them Know Change Is Coming’

“We can no longer save the world by playing by the rules,” says Greta Thunberg, “because the rules have to be changed.”

UN Secretary General António Guterres seated next to 15-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who explained that while the world consumes an estimated 100 million barrels of oil each day, "there are no politics to change that. There are no politics to keep that oil in the ground. So we can longer save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed." (Photo: UNFCC COP24 / Screenshot)UN Secretary General António Guterres seated next to 15-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who explained that while the world consumes an estimated 100 million barrels of oil each day, “there are no politics to change that. There are no politics to keep that oil in the ground. So we can longer save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed.” (Photo: UNFCC COP24 / Screenshot)

Striking her mark at the COP24 climate talks taking place this week and next in Poland, fifteen-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden issued a stern rebuke on behalf of the world’s youth climate movement to the adult diplomats, executives, and elected leaders gathered by telling them she was not there asking for help or demanding they comply with demands but to let them know that new political realities and a renewable energy transformation are coming whether they like it or not.

“Since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago,” said Thunberg, who has garnered international notoriety for weekly climate strikes outside her school in Sweden, during a speech on Monday. MORE

5 takeaways from the COP24 global climate summit

The deal’s main accomplishment is that the whole world signed up, but campaigners fear it does too little to slow global warming.

KATOWICE, Poland — The point of a compromise is that all sides have to give up something to reach a deal.

The 133-page final text of the COP24 climate summit is no exception. The major accomplishment was that 196 governments agreed on arulebook to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement, but the result left bruised feelings all around.

The poorest and most vulnerable countries felt that it demanded too little of industrialized countries, developing countries had to agree on common reporting requirements to bring their climate promises into line with those of more developed countries, and the richest countries have to be more open about their financial support to those most affected by global warming.

“You cannot cut a deal with science, you cannot negotiate with the laws of physics”— Mohamed Nasheed, former president of the Maldives

And the answer to the biggest question of all — will the agreement actually help the world avoid catastrophic climate change? — is mixed at best. MORE

Unions Should Go Big on a Green New Deal for Canada

On climate change, workers shouldn’t be left behind — they should lead the way.

New-Green-Deal.jpg
The Green New Deal, catching fire in America, is the kind of policy plan that Canadian unions could loudly champion. Photo via the Sunrise Movement.

Canada’s unions need to play a much larger leadership role on climate change, not just because it’s also about economic policy that directly affects the livelihood of their members, but also because there’s a good chance we won’t get where we need to go without them helping to get things done.

Recent job losses in Oshawa and Alberta share a common denominator — the internal combustion engine. It’s a marvellous invention that powers our society, but turns out it’s also driving our life-support systems to their breaking point. We have no choice but to replace it, and fast. MORE