Our House is on Fire: Join Jane Fonda’s Fire Drill Fridays

After 14 weeks of climate protests in Washington, D.C., Fire Drill Fridays are moving to California to continue to demand urgent climate action — and we want YOU to join us by launching your very own Fire Drill Fridays in your community!

Jane Fonda and the Fire Drill Fridays team will be holding monthly Fire Drills in different cities in CA, so stay tuned: http://bit.ly/311XKxs

Working with Jane, Greenpeace is partnering with allies across California and beyond to push for a Green New Deal, no new fossil fuels, and a rapid and just transition off of fossil fuels and toward a renewable energy economy.

Fire Drill Fridays is inspired by the global movement of youth climate strikers, who have helped reshape the narrative around climate urgency. Greta Thunberg and others put a call-out to adults to show up in a bigger way — and we’re answering that call.

Featured in the video, chronologically:

Jerome Foster II is the Executive Director & Founder of OneMillionOfUs, the National US Co-Coordinator of Greta Thunberg’s FridaysForFuture movement, and a Harvard University Dual Enrollment High School Student.

Eriel Tchekwie Deranger is a Dënesųłiné woman (ts’ékui), member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and Executive Director of Indigenous Climate Action.

Reverend William J Barber is an American Protestant minister and political activist. He is a member of the national board of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the chair of its Legislative Political Action Committee.

Dolores Huerta is an American labor leader and civil rights activist who, with Cesar Chavez, is a co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers.

Naomi Klein is a Canadian author, social activist, and filmmaker known for her political analyses and criticism of corporate globalization and of capitalism.

Annie Leonard is the Executive Director of Greenpeace USA, an independent environmental organization which uses research, creative communication, non violent direct action, and people-power to advance environmental solutions.

Jane Fonda is an American actress, writer and activist, and the founder of and spokesperson for Fire Drill Fridays. SOURCE

How to stop freaking out and tackle climate change

Here’s a five-step plan to deal with the stress and become part of the solution.

Evan Cohen

You are scrolling through the news and see yet another story about climate change.

Australia is on fire. Indonesia is drowning. At the same time, Donald Trump is trying to make it easier to build new fossil-fuel projects.

As you read, your chest tightens and a sense of dread washes over you, radiating out from your heart. You feel anxious, afraid and intensely guilty. Just this morning, you drove a gasoline-powered car to work. You ate beef for lunch. You booked a flight, turned on the heat, forgot your reusable grocery bags at home. This is your fault.

As an environmental writer, I’m often asked for guidance on coping with climate change. I have thoughts. Even better, I have a five-point plan to manage the psychological toll of living with climate change and to become part of the solution.

Step 1: Ditch the shame.

The first step is the key to all the rest. Yes, our daily lives are undoubtedly contributing to climate change. But that’s because the rich and powerful have constructed systems that make it nearly impossible to live lightly on the earth. Our economic systems require most adults to work, and many of us must commute to work in or to cities intentionally designed to favor the automobile. Unsustainable food, clothes and other goods remain cheaper than sustainable alternatives.

And yet we blame ourselves for not being green enough. As the climate essayist Mary Annaïse Heglar writes, “The belief that this enormous, existential problem could have been fixed if all of us had just tweaked our consumptive habits is not only preposterous; it’s dangerous.” It turns eco-saints against eco-sinners, who are really just fellow victims. It misleads us into thinking that we have agency only by dint of our consumption habits — that buying correctly is the only way we can fight climate change.

As long as we are competing for the title of “greener than thou,” or are paralyzed by shame, we aren’t fighting the powerful companies and governments that are the real problem. And that’s exactly the way they like it.

Step 2: Focus on systems, not yourself.

Even if we manage to zero-out our own contributions to climate change, it would be practically a full-time job, leaving us little time or energy for pushing for the systemic changes we need. And the avoided emissions would be tiny compared with the scale of the problem. Each person in the United States emitted an average of 16 metric tons of energy-related carbon dioxide in 2018, according to the Energy Information Agency. The entire country emitted 5.28 billion metric tons of energy-related carbon dioxide that year.

I have chosen to fight against a proposed gas pipeline, liquefaction facility and liquefied natural gas export terminal that the Canadian company Pembina wants to build in Oregon, where I live. If built, the project would result in emissions of over 36.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. Some 42,000 people submitted comments to a state agency asking it to deny permits for the project. If we manage to stop construction, each of those people could claim credit for preventing one forty-two-thousandth of those emissions — some 876 metric tons per person! It would take 54 years of individual zero-carbon living to make the same dent.

My point is that the climate crisis is not going to be solved by personal sacrifice. It will be solved by electing the right people, passing the right laws, drafting the right regulations, signing the right treaties — and respecting those treaties already signed, particularly with indigenous nations. It will be solved by holding the companies and people who have made billions off our shared atmosphere to account.

Step 3: Join an effective group.
These sweeping, systemic changes are complicated and will be hard won. No single person alone can make them happen. Luckily, there are already dozens, if not hundreds, of groups dedicated to climate activism. Some are local and focused on stopping particular fossil-fuel projects, like Rogue Climate in Southern Oregon, with which I am working. Others are national and focused on changing federal policy, like Zero Hour and the Sunrise Movement. Still others, like Greta Thunberg’s Fridays for Future, are international and focused on putting moral pressure on climate negotiators and governments around the world. Groups like Project Drawdown research the nuts and bolts of decarbonizing the world. Climate change is linked to income inequality and injustice, so if your passion is fighting for racial justice, the rights of the poor, or indigenous rights and sovereignty, that works, too. Or you might volunteer for a climate-focused local or national political candidate.

 

Step 4: Define your role.

The power of these groups is not simply strength in numbers. They work well because they divide up the work that needs to be done and give each task to those best suited to it. This also makes the fight less daunting. Instead of trying to become an expert in international regulatory law, global supply chains, atmospheric science and the art of protest, you can offer the skills and resources you already have, and trust that other people with complementary skills are doing what they can do, too. If you are a writer, you can write letters to the editor, newsletters and fliers. If you are strong, you can lift boxes. If you are rich, you can donate money. Only you know what and how much you can reasonably do. Take care not to overdo it at first and risk burning out. Set a sustainable level of involvement for yourself and keep it up. As a bonus, working with a group will increase the richness and diversity of your personal relationships, and may well temper your climate anxiety and depression.

Step 5: Know what you are fighting for, not just what you are fighting against.

Even though keeping global warming under 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) would absolutely be better than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) of warming, there is no threshold that means that it is “too late” or that we are “doomed.” The lower, the better. It is always worth fighting.

As we fight, it is important for our mental health and motivation to have an image in mind of our goal: a realistically good future.

Imagine dense but livable cities veined with public transit and leafy parks, infrastructure humming away to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, fake meat that tastes better than the real thing, species recovering and rewilding the world, the rivers silver with fish, the skies musical with flocking birds.

This is a future where the economic inequality, racism and colonialism that made decades of inaction on climate change possible has been acknowledged and is being addressed. It is a time of healing. Many ecosystems have changed, but natural resilience and thoughtful human assistance is preventing most species from going extinct. This is a future in which children don’t need to take to the streets in protest and alarm, because their parents and grandparents took action. Instead, they are climbing trees.

This future is still possible. But it will only come to pass if we shed our shame, stop focusing on ourselves, join together and demand it. SOURCE

LETTER, Molly Mulloy: Take Back Control of Democracy

Image result for because without a healthy earth there isn't a healthy anything

Letter to editor,

Do people who use air travel realize that every person-flight across the country (or the ocean) emits the amount of carbon we can each afford to emit in a year? All their air travel – living it up while they can – will hasten and exacerbate the climate crisis.

Experts say we all need to drastically reduce:
1) air travel
2) the amount of meat we eat
3) the number of children we have, and
4) we need to stop using fossil fuels – ie: immediately transition to renewable, sustainable energy (I add locally produced and controlled, and from diverse sources).

Tragically, the fossil fuel industry (and nuclear) has a stranglehold on the Canadian government – and worse yet; globally, many governments are puppets of the corporate military-industrial complex. The only hope, if we are to save life on the planet, is to take back control of democracy.

Climate experts who have been sounding the alarm for five decades now, say that we have a decade or less to turn things around before planetary systems – Gulf and jet streams – change and we have no control or ability to offset global warming and its exponentially increasing effects on people and ecosystems, leading swiftly to the extinction of life on Earth.

As a spiritually-focused person, I firmly believe that the Creator would be horrified at how badly we have abused this wonderful world we have been blessed to inhabit, and that we should be good stewards of. Greed, by a tiny minority of power brokers, appears to have taken the upper hand. I believe the story of Jesus turning the tables in the temple is an example of what we ought to be doing now.

I am in awe of people like Elizabeth May and my mom and Greta Thunberg and David Suzuki and Bill McKibben – they are my heroes. They are the real leaders on our planet! The millions who have taken to the streets demanding action and climate justice are also leaders.

I weep for young people today, and for indigenous peoples – they are why I persist in acting to try to get something done in our so-wealthy country to effect a rapid paradigm shift, with justice for all. We desperately need a Green New Deal plus intense retooling of our energy industries, including an immediate transition off fossil fuels. We need to achieve net zero emissions within the next couple of decades, starting NOW! We cannot afford to continue to emit more and more carbon into the atmosphere.

Alberta’s premier is in the dark ages and leading Canada down a very dark rabbit hole for political expediency. It appears he has no vision of the future or understanding of the past ‘feast and famine’ cycles that the fossil fuel industry has brought to Alberta. It’s worse than tragic.
Ontario’s premier is equally brain dead! He is committing Ontario to a nuclear future when all the evidence and financial accounting shows that nuclear energy’s financial costs are ~5X more than any other energy path! Solar and wind and other renewable energies are by far the least expensive energy options worldwide now. They are renewable and sustainable, and easily set up in about 1/14th the time it takes to get nuclear on-stream! And they do not produce long-lived toxic wastes.

I’m in awe of the lack of intelligence of our political leaders. Justin Trudeau is not acting like his father – he seems gutless to stand up to industry. I deduce that industry now runs this country, not the people we elect. We need real leadership by people who not only understand the science, but are willing to take strong action to effect change. Or we are doomed, and taking with us the rest of life on the planet.
How many people, if they understood the seriousness of the situation, would be willing to demand action from our political leaders? That’s the big question.

Molly Mulloy – Prince Edward County resident

Murray Sinclair has tried for years to shock Canada into confronting colonialism. He’s not done yet

After leading landmark inquiries on racism in Manitoba, residential schools and police discrimination in Thunder Bay, this jurist turned politician says he’s learned that shocking words are sometimes best: Genocide. Apartheid. War. Now, he has more to say.

ILLUSTRATION BY AGATA NOWICKA

The words are so shocking, so evocative of foreign atrocities, that many Canadians are still unwilling to accept that they apply to their own country – words such as “apartheid,” “genocide” and “war.”

But after decades of research from his inquiries into racial abuses in the justice system and in residential schools, Senator Murray Sinclair never hesitates to use those terms – even when he knows they might spark a backlash.

“Sometimes the shock value is worth it,” he told The Globe and Mail.

“It’s about making people sit up and take notice. It’s about getting people out of their comfortable chair and getting them to think seriously about it.”

A strong case can be made that the 68-year-old independent senator and retired judge has done more than any other Canadian to educate the country about the painful realities that have dogged its history and institutions.

As chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada from 2009 to 2015, he documented the existence of cultural genocide in Canada’s residential schools. As a leader of justice and policing investigations in Manitoba and Thunder Bay, he exposed officials who were willfully ignoring racism in their police forces. And in his personal writing and speeches, Mr. Sinclair has hit even harder, describing a web of genocidal policies and apartheid laws that Canadian governments deployed in a “war” against Indigenous people – a war he says never really ended.

Although his formal inquiries have ended, his work is far from over. As he tirelessly follows a busy schedule of speeches across the country this year – including a recent one describing how Indigenous people were excluded from Confederation’s bargains – Mr. Sinclair continues to have an outsized influence in shaping Canada’s understanding of itself.

He sees himself as struggling to dismantle the legacy of a system that can be compared, in many ways, to the apartheid of South African history. Despite frequent hate messages on Twitter and Facebook, he continues to make that point on social media, shrugging off the anonymous attacks.

“There will be people who will always resist those statements,” he said in a two-hour interview in his Winnipeg office, symbolically located on an “urban reserve” under the authority of the Peguis First Nation.

“If you say that there’s been racism by white people against Indigenous people historically, you run the risk of white people standing up and saying, ‘No, we’re not racist.’ But if the evidence is there to support your position, you will also garner a level of support among the non-Indigenous population who will say, ‘Yes, we acknowledge it, so let’s get on with it.’”

At top left, Mr. Sinclair is ceremonially welcomed as TRC chair in 2009. The commission’s task was to learn what happened at the schools, such as Wabasca Residential School, whose unmarked graveyard is shown at top right. In 2015, commissioners unveiled the final report, shown at bottom right. Since then, Canadians have honoured residential-school survivors on annual Orange Shirt Days on Sept. 30, like the one shown at bottom left in Thunder Bay this year.  THE GLOBE AND MAIL, THE CANADIAN PRESS, REUTERS

His inquiries, beginning with the pioneering Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba in the late 1980s, were prompted by tragedies and injustices: the deaths of young Indigenous people in Manitoba and Thunder Bay and in residential schools, neglected by the police and the courts and never properly investigated.

But from those tragedies, Mr. Sinclair found lessons that have shifted Canada’s public debates.

When he was appointed associate chief judge of the Provincial Court of Manitoba in 1988, he became the province’s first Indigenous judge and only the second in Canada. Within weeks, he was immersed in a hugely complex inquiry into the discrimination faced by Indigenous people in the province’s justice system. His relentless work to expose the barriers that hold back Indigenous people – and to find solutions – has scarcely paused in the three decades since then.

In interviews, he chooses his words carefully, speaking in calm and measured tones, even when his anger at historical abuses is clear. In speeches, he uses gentle humour and warm stories of his own family to make his points.

His goal is to reach Canadians who are open to learning about the country’s history – to give them “the sense that now they can talk about it, too.

“It’s not simply about confronting, it’s also about assisting. The intent from that is always, ‘So what are you going to do about it? So what should we do about it?’ Statements like ‘there’s racists in society’ that are not accompanied by ‘now what should we do about it?’ are not very helpful.”  MORE

OPINION: The most courageous climate action isn’t national, it’s in the cities and streets

Image result for OPINION: The most courageous climate action isn't national, it's in the cities and streets

High school students hold placards and shout slogans during a protest to demand action on climate change as part of the Global Climate Srike of the movement Fridays for the Future in Athens in Athens, Greece, Nov 29, 2019. REUTERS/Alixis Konstandindis

It’s time to support young people as they wake up their elders. It may be the only thing that saves us. See you in the streets. I’ll be there, marching beside my daughter.

What happened in Madrid at the U.N. climate talks seemed like a giant game of chicken with no one willing to move. Actually, it was more like collective breakdown. Leadership by the top four largest emitters was completely absent.

China and the U.S. brought no new proposals to ratchet up their reduction of emissions. India argued for a deadline extension. Europe showed signs of leadership on net zero emissions, but its member countries, notably Poland and the Czech Republic, are holding the EU hostage, waiting for a big payout for their consent.

Sure, there were important little things that happened, but not the big things we need if we’re to preserve a hospitable planet.

A courageous group of countries, including Denmark, other Nordics, and Canada, announced intentions to adopt science-based targets. That’s a start. We are told that this group, along with 15 others, are ready to announce a net zero commitment early next year and that they plan to rally others to join them. Europe’s net zero agreement could come by March.

That’s better than nothing. And, in some ways, it’s similar to the momentum-building we witnessed at the Paris climate talks in 2015. There, a coalition of countries rallied others to keep warming targets to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures, which is what scientists say is necessary to avoid the worst of climate chaos.

But we’re nowhere near that target. Current national commitments would allow for warming of 3.2-degrees Celsius. The difference between 1.5 and 3.2 degrees is the difference between livability and ongoing catastrophes for the planet, millions of its species, and human communities.

This is where Greta Thunberg’s rage – and many others’ – is spot on. This is a horrendous failure on the part of national leaders.

That’s why we hoped we could rally national governments in Madrid to commit to more ambitious measures to keep warming to no more than 1.5 degrees.

Our window is closing. This moment – between the Paris climate talks in 2015 and the end of 2020 – is when national governments are supposed to proclaim goals that collectively keep the planet to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial temps, instead of 3.2 degrees.

And the only way we’ll be able to do that is if we agree to a goal of net zero emissions by 2050. That would require all four big emitters to set stronger long-term goals.

What’s holding them back, of course – in China, the U.S., India and Europe – are their fossil fuel industry interests and fossil-invested financial partners.

Meanwhile, everyone else gets it. Cities, states, regions, businesses, and youth get it. Leaders from each rallied as hard as they could in Madrid.

The city, state, and corporate determination to act is so inspiring. (Check out the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance’s game changers as just one example of the leadership here.) This community has grown by leaps and bounds since Paris. They’ve shown creativity and purpose in proposing their own levels of ambition required to solve the climate crisis.

Most inspiring of all, though, were the hundreds of youth that demonstrated inside Madrid’s conference center, on behalf of millions of youth demonstrating globally this year, demanding their elders do better. They are a powerful rebuke to fossil fuel interests and their bankers. In Madrid, their courage – when they were forcibly removed from UN climate talks, shoved out of the building, and banned from re-entering – is deeply inspiring. Imagine if presidents and prime ministers were this courageous.

Going forward, this is where the most interesting climate action will be. Youth leaders, discouraged by the lack of government response to the climate emergency, are training their sights on bad corporate actors. Woe to fossil fuel and banking executives who face demonstrations by Greta and her peers in the coming year.

She won’t be alone. We all need to stand with Greta outside financial and fossil fuel industry corporate offices, holding their feet to the fire. And governments must listen, too, and show up at the next climate talks with plans to avoid more than a 1.5-degree level of warming. Otherwise, these kids, and the rest of us, are toast.

It’s time to support these young people as they wake up their elders. It may be the only thing that saves us. See you in the streets. I’ll be there, marching beside my daughter. SOURCE

Jane Fonda speaks to CBC’s Susan Ormiston

Actor Jane Fonda tells CBC’s Susan Ormiston who inspired her to protest again and what she learned from her earlier agitating years.

Image result for cbc: Jane Fonda speaks to CBC's Susan Ormiston

WATCH THE VIDEO

Jane Fonda talks protest, arrest — and why she wants another night in jail

‘It’s quite an experience to know that you are powerless’

Jane Fonda is arrested by U.S. Capitol Police officers during a Fire Drill Friday climate change protest Nov. 1. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters)

Jane Fonda’s hoping for an unusual birthday present — another night in a Washington, D.C., jail.

The award-winning actress and businesswoman has decamped to Washington from Los Angeles to protest against climate change.

“I decided I needed to leave my comfort zone and put my body on the line, engage in civil disobedience and risk getting arrested because we need to step up with bolder actions. It’s a real crisis,” she told CBC’s Susan Ormiston.

Fire Drill Fridays were inspired by climate activist Greta Thunberg. Since Sept. 27, Fonda has joined a group of protesters engaging in civil disobedience; she’s been arrested four times and jailed once, overnight.

“It’s quite an experience to know that you are powerless, that you have been handcuffed and that you were completely in the control of the police,” she said.

“Because I’m white and famous, I’m not going to be treated badly.”

She said her jailers couldn’t believe she was there voluntarily. She admits the power of protest will not change policy overnight but she brings “celebrity,” which is important, she says, to motivate others to act on their convictions and get out to protest the climate crisis.

Watch an excerpt of Susan Ormiston’s interview with Jane Fonda:

Jane Fonda has been arrested four times in recent weeks for protesting climate change. “I’m following in the steps of young people,” she tells The National’s Susan Ormiston. 2:09

Jane Fonda has been arrested four times in recent weeks for protesting climate change. “I’m following in the steps of young people,” she tells The National’s Susan Ormiston. 2:09

Fonda is no stranger to activism. Over 50 years she’s demonstrated for women’s and Indigenous rights, and against the Iraq war and Alberta’s oilsands.

She was first arrested in the early 1970s for her opposition to the war in Vietnam. She was dubbed Hanoi Jane after posing with the North Vietnamese and later apologized. But back then, she was seen as a disruptor and was apprehended crossing into the U.S. from Canada.

“You know, the more they attacked me, the more I dug in my heels. If they thought I was some soft Hollywood starlet daughter of Henry Fonda and they could bully me, no, I wasn’t gonna let them get me. I just kept going,” she told CBC.

Does she still feel that way?

“Oh yeah,” says Fonda, “Only see, now I’m old and so I feel even more capable of standing up.”

She just might celebrate her 82nd birthday this Saturday locked up again.

James Hansen: Fire on Planet Earth

“It is not just a climate problem. It is an energy problem. And a human rights problem.” — James Hansen
“Listen to the scientists” — Greta Thunberg

California fires are a minuscule piece of global change that will sweep through our planet this century and beyond, and the role of humans in the fires is debatable. Yet the fires are symbolic, an apt metaphor for consequences of global warming, if we do not alter our planet’s course.

I am concerned that, despite all the recent publicity about climate change, the public and policy-makers are not well-informed about the implications of climate change for energy policy.

I have a reputation for bluntly speaking truth to power, but for the last few years I minimized comments on energy policy, other than advocating a rising carbon fee & dividend. My rational: the only way I can make the basis for my conclusions really clear is to finish Sophie’s Planet.

The book is taking longer than planned, because of the need to do some science and write a science proposal. Now we enter an election year. I tried, but failed, to influence politicians and public opinion in the past. However, in a democracy, it is essential to keep trying.

Today, the potential enormity of the consequences, if we fail to communicate well the policy implications of climate change, demands that we ignore personal and institutional backwash.

Friends advise me that my assessment conflicts with deeply felt beliefs and might be interpreted as being critical of iconic individuals, which will make it difficult to obtain financial support for our group, Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions (CSAS). I hope that is not the case.

Analysis of energy and climate is a many-faceted scientific problem, which demands rigorous use of the scientific method[1] to achieve success. The objectivity of the scientific method is crucial if we are to achieve success. MORE  (PDF)

Unprecedented protest rocks ‘Kafkaesque’ COP25

UN security struggles to control an unprecedented protest inside the climate negotiations. Dec. 11, 2019. Photo National Observer

Protests led by Indigenous leaders shut down the main hall of COP25 in Madrid on Wednesday. In an unprecedented event, about 500 people stormed the area outside the high-level negotiations decrying the lack of action by assembled governments to address the climate emergency.

The state of negotiations at COP25 was described as a “Kafkaesque absurdity” by the head of Climate Action Network Canada, Catherine Abreu. On Tuesday, negotiators at one session spent 20 minutes arguing over whether to “adjourn” or “close” their meeting and an equal amount of time debating whether to display items on a projection screen.

The protests themselves had a Kafkaesque quality, taking place in the grand hall festooned with enormous UN signs declaring “#TimeforAction.”

Daira Tukano, from the Tukano nation in Northeast Brazil said the Indigenous leaders had no choice but to break the norms of international diplomacy and upset the negotiations.

Daira Tukano was somehow overlooked by UN security staff clearing the high-level negotiators’ main hall at COP25. Dec. 11, 2019. Photo National Observer 

“The Amazon is being destroyed by criminal fires, our leaders are being imprisoned and ‘disappeared.’ This is supposed to be the place where governments protect the earth and the rights of people, but we are not being heard,” Tukano said.

The protest took place just hours after Greta Thunberg addressed the delegates, accusing world leaders of “creative PR” and condemning the fact that “Since the Paris Agreement, global banks have invested $1.9 trillion in fossil fuels.”

United Nations security staff scrambled for about an hour, unsuccessfully, to contain the crowd until reinforcements were finally able to kettle the protestors and force them outside through a large rolling door in the hall.

Private security guards (foreground) and UN security (in blue) finally contained the protests in a loading dock outside the negotiations. Dec. 11, 2019. Photo National Observer 

This is the first time the UN climate negotiations have been rocked by large protests within the negotiating areas. It was not immediately clear what consequences the UN Secretariat would impose as the protestors all had to hold UN accreditation in order to access the area. MORE

 

Greta Thunberg and other youth call on Trudeau to ditch fossil fuels

Fifteen young people co-signed a Dec. 10, 2019 letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to block any new oil and gas projects and move quickly to phase out existing production. Photos compiled by Alastair Sharp via https://childrenvsclimatecrisis.org

Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg and 14 other young people are calling on Canada to block any new oil and gas projects and move quickly to phase out existing production, saying that to do so would blaze a trail that other countries reliant on fossil fuel industries could follow.

The group of youth from across the world said Canada has taken a leading role globally in pushing for climate action, but must apply the same commitment domestically, in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and dated Dec. 10, Human Rights Day.

“Canada must apply its international climate leadership to all domestic action,” the letter says. “It must demonstrate how a major fossil fuels producer and exporter can transition away from these pollutants, blazing a trail for other fossil fuel-reliant economies to follow.”

They also wrote separately to Norway, another developed economy with a major and still-expanding oil and gas industry, with similar demands.

The group — which in September filed a complaint at the United Nations against Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey — argues that climate inaction amounts to a violation of the rights of children, who will bear the brunt of the negative effects of a warming planet.

Trudeau has sought to align himself with Thunberg, who has galvanized the world’s young people to demand action on climate change after she started skipping school last year to protest outside the Swedish parliament. They met in September ahead of a massive climate march in Montreal, which they both took part in.

Canada is the world’s fourth-largest producer and exporter of oil, which mostly comes from the oil-rich province of Alberta and mostly goes to the United States. The combustion of oil and gas releases carbon and other gases into the atmosphere, creating a greenhouse effect that traps heat and is leading to more frequent and more extreme weather events and rising sea levels.

Trudeau’s government, which was re-elected with a minority in the October election despite strong opposition to its climate policies from Alberta and fellow oil and gas province Saskatchewan, has promised to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

The youth letter points out that to achieve that goal would require a block on all new projects.

Canada is currently considering an application from Teck Resources to develop the $20-billion, 260,000-barrel-per-day Frontier project abutting the Athabasca River in Alberta’s northeast, which, if approved, would be the first new open-pit petroleum-mining construction in the country’s oilpatch in many years. The government’s decision is due by the end of February.

Canada “must demonstrate how a major fossil fuels producer and exporter can transition away from these pollutants,” @GretaThunberg and other youth write in letter to @JustinTrudeau, calling for a block on all new oil and gas projects.

The letter also refers to other expansion activities, including the nearly complete 1,600-kilometre Line 3 pipeline between Alberta and Wisconsin, and the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which Ottawa bought last year and which, if built, would triple the capacity of that route from the oilsands to the British Columbia coast.

The Line 3 pipeline alone could boost Canada’s oil production by 10 per cent. Canada’s overall oil production is projected to expand by 60 per cent between 2017 and 2040, while gas production is set to expand by 34 per cent, they said.

Canada “must end the development and export of new oil and gas reserves, and set a plan to quickly phase out existing production fields,” says the letter, written by Michael Hausfeld, the youth group’s legal counsel. “It must stop prioritizing short-term economic gains over the future of its children and all children around the world.”

Four of the young people, represented by international law firm Hausfeld, come from the tiny Pacific island countries of the Marshall Islands and Palau, where rising sea levels risk inundating limited habitable lands, and where sources of freshwater used for growing food have already been infiltrated with salt.

The others come from countries across the world, namely Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia and the United States.

The pressure from Thunberg and the others adds to Canada’s growing legal challenges regarding climate inaction, with a group of 15 young Canadians filing a domestic lawsuit against Ottawa in October, while a separate group in Ontario took the Doug Ford government to court last month.

The letter was also copied to Trudeau’s new environment minister, Jonathan Wilkinson; Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations, Marc-André Blanchard; and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, David Boyd.

It asked that Trudeau respond within two weeks. His office passed a request for comment to Wilkinson’s office, which said the government had made a lot of progress over the last four years, including $63 billion of investments in green infrastructure and clean energy, while acknowledging much more still needed to be done.

“Young people and Canadians across the country are counting on us for accelerated action on climate change,” Moira Kelly, a spokeswoman for Wilkinson, wrote in an email. “We hear them, and all of the Canadians who sent a clear message this election, that continuing to fight climate change needs to be a priority.”

She said the government was committed to hitting the net-zero target for 2050, which it plans to write into law, and to exceed its 2030 targets under the Paris Agreement. To help it do so the government is pledging to plant 2 billion trees and create a $5 billion fund to electrify parts of the economy including the resource and manufacturing industries.

“We know we need to make a transition to a cleaner economy and we know that this will not happen overnight,” she said. “We are committed to taking thoughtful solutions with Canadians to ensure that the clean economy is affordable for everyone.” SOURCE

Greta Thunberg says school strikes have achieved nothing

Activist says 4% greenhouse gas emissions rise since 2015 shows action is insufficient


 Greta Thunberg holds a news conference in Madrid where the COP25 climate summit is being held. Photograph: Sergio Pérez/Reuters

The global wave of school strikes for the climate over the past year has “achieved nothing” because greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise, Greta Thunberg has told activists at UN climate talks in Madrid.

Thousands of young people were expected to gather at the UN climate conference and in the streets of the Spanish capital on Friday to protest against the lack of progress in tackling the climate emergency, as officials from more than 190 countries wrangled over the niceties of wording in documents related to the Paris accord.

In the four years since the landmark agreement was signed, greenhouse gas emissions have risen by 4% and the talks this year are not expected to produce new commitments on carbon from the world’s biggest emitters.

Thunberg, whose solo protest in Sweden in 2017 has since snowballed into a global movement, spoke at a press conference before a march through the centre of Madrid. She said that although schoolchildren had been striking around the world, this “has not translated into action” from governments.

South American indigenous people attend a protest in Madrid, Spain, over the climate
 South American indigenous people attend a protest in Madrid demanding action against climate change. Photograph: Rodrigo Jimenez/EPA Pinterest

 

“I’m just an activist and we need more activists,” she said. “Some people are afraid to change – they try so desperately to silence us.”

“I sincerely hope COP25 will reach something concrete and increase awareness among people, and that world leaders and people in power grasp the urgency of the climate crisis, because right now it does not seem that they are,” she said.

Although young people would keep striking, Thunberg said, they wanted to stop – if governments made credible promises and showed a willingness to act.

“We can’t go on like this; it is not sustainable that children skip school and we don’t want to continue – we would love some action from the people in power. People are suffering and dying today. We can’t wait any longer,” she said.

The march was scheduled to coincide with protests and youth climate strikes around the world. In the US, Bernie Sanders and Jane Fonda were among the politicians and celebrities planning to join in.

 Inside the mission to create an army of Greta Thunbergs – video

As well as the march and a sit-down protest in the conference centre, there were shows of international solidarity among young people from around the world, including a picnic in a central Madrid park. The conference centre was flooded with hundreds of schoolchildren accompanied by their parents, many with babies in prams, who were kept separate from the rooms where negotiators were working on a draft text to clarify aspects of the Paris agreement.

Young people voiced their frustration at protests inside and outside the conference centre on the outskirts of Madrid.

Brianna Fruean from Samoa, speaking for the Pacific Climate Warriors, told the conference: “World leaders need to know that people like me are watching them. The text we put down today on paper at COP is what our future will look like.”

Many of the young people joining the conference from developing nations around the world bore personal witness to suffering they had experienced or seen.

“I’ve had typhoid. I’ve had malaria. My grandmother died from cholera. I know what I’m talking about,” said Jimmy Fénelon, the national coordinator of the Caribbean Youth Environmental Network in Haiti. “We need to raise awareness among young people. We can get them to work together and send a strong message.”

Renae Baptiste, also from CYEN, said: “For us, climate change is no longer a concept or theory, it’s our new reality. It’s affecting our lives now.”

The activist Miguel van der Velden said: “These things are not games. They’re getting worse. They’re affecting millions of people around the world. I come here because I have hope that we can work together.” SOURCE

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