Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez pressure Congress to declare climate change a national emergency

(CNN)Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont teamed up with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Oregon’s Rep. Earl Blumenauer on Tuesday to unveil a new resolution that would declare climate change a national emergency.

“There is a climate emergency which demands a massive-scale mobilization to halt, reverse, and address its consequences and causes,” the bill’s authors wrote. While it does not call for specific action, the legislation states in sharp terms that climate change is a human-made problem that threatens the fortunes of millions of Americans and demands immediate political action.”
The largely symbolic legislation has little chance of making any headway in the Republican-held Senate, but it provides Sanders — who has proposed radical steps to effectively wipe out the fossil fuel industry — with a tangible example of his efforts to take on major problems of particular concern to young voters.
While the Senate resolution originates out of Sanders’ Capitol Hill office, it has obvious implications in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. The Vermont independent has found himself lagging behind former Vice President Joe Biden, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a progressive ally who recently rolled out a preview of her vision for the Green New Deal, is surging. Sen. Kamala Harris of California, too, is enjoying a post-debate bump. Sanders and his team have projected confidence despite the bouncing poll numbers, plowing ahead with policy rollouts and proposals designed to highlight his progressive credentials and priorities. MORE
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Why the CBC needs to hold a climate debate


Students of all ages and their supporters marched to the offices of Environment and Climate Change Canada in Vancouver on March 15, 2018, demanding stronger climate policies. Photo by Brenna Owen

On June 19, the Canadian government declared a climate emergency in Canada. But, if we’re in an emergency, why aren’t we acting like it?

The same government that declared the emergency is standing behind a climate plan that would ensure devastating global heating of 4 C or more. At the provincial level, premiers from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario took the federal government’s inadequate carbon price to court, trying to weaken action further. And, all the while, the fossil fuel industry has been ramping up its plans to try to use the federal election to further gut climate action.

But it’s not just the government and big oil falling short of emergency-level action. Our public institutions, including the media, have a responsibility to respond to the climate emergency.

It’s past time we held them accountable.

With the federal election a mere four months away, the most important information for people to have is a clear sense of which federal parties have a real plan to tackle the climate crisis ⁠— and we need it before heading to the polls on October 21.

According to the CBC’s Journalistic Standards and Practices, it’s the public broadcaster’s role to make “itself available to get important information to Canadians in a timely fashion” in the event of national emergencies. That’s why the CBC should commit to hosting a federal leaders debate on climate change ahead of election day: to ensure people in Canada have important climate information in a critical, timely fashion.

In 2015, over the course of five federal leaders debates, there wasn’t a single serious conversation about climate action. The few times it did come up, the conversation didn’t give voters the information they needed to truly understand each party’s climate plan. With climate consistently landing near the top of the issues people are thinking about before heading to the polls this fall, we need a dedicated climate debate to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

Hosting a leaders debate would also make it clear the CBC is taking climate change seriously. It was, after all, only a few weeks ago when Paul Hambleton, the CBC’s director of journalistic standards, argued using the words climate “crisis” and “emergency” might “sort of imply, you know, something more serious” is happening with climate change. The CBC faced a public backlash for the comments, with hundreds of tweets to the broadcaster, such as writer Derrick O’Keefe’s comment that the “CBC embarasses itself” and Elizabeth May’s comment that “the CBC needs to get a briefing on #IPCC 1.5 degree C report.” The CBC was forced to affirm its commitment to reporting responsibly on climate change. They did so by quickly rolling out a special climate series as a direct response to people “asking the media to do a better job by providing more facts about what is happening and more coverage of possible solutions.”

There will, of course, be those who argue against the idea of a specific debate on climate change. Some won’t want it because they continue to downplay the importance — or existence — of a climate crisis. Others will argue it’s just one issue among many.

However, as demonstrated by the thousands of people who turned out to still-growing conversations about a made-in-Canada Green New Deal, people concerned about climate change refuse to see it as a single issue. That’s because it isn’t a single-issue crisis. MORE

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Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez move to declare climate crisis official emergency

Exclusive: Democrats to introduce resolution in House on Tuesday in recognition of extreme threat from global heating


Sanders with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Pramila Jayapal. Data shows nations are not on track to limit the dangerous heating of the planet significantly enough. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

A group of US lawmakers including the 2020 Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders are proposing to declare the climate crisis an official emergency – a significant recognition of the threat taken after considerable pressure from environment groups.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic congresswoman from New York, and Earl Blumenauer, a Democratic congressman from Oregon, plan to introduce the same resolution in the House on Tuesday, their offices confirmed.

A Sanders spokesperson said: “President Trump has routinely declared phoney national emergencies to advance his deeply unpopular agenda, like selling Saudi Arabia bombs that Congress had blocked.

“On the existential threat of climate change, Trump insists on calling it a hoax. Senator Sanders is proud to partner with his House colleagues to challenge this absurdity and have Congress declare what we all know: we are facing a climate emergency that requires a massive and immediate federal mobilization.”

Climate activists have been calling for the declaration, as data shows nations are not on track to limit the dangerous heating of the planet significantly enough. The UN has warned the world is experiencing one climate disaster every week. A new analysis from the economic firm Rhodium Group today finds the US might achieve less than half of the percentage of pollution reductions it promised other countries in an international agreement. MORE

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PEC Residents ask council to rewind turbine decision

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Turbine piece being moved through Picton  before the project was cancelled.  Photo: County Live

Several residents addressing council’s committee of the whole Thursday afternoon want the County to change its industrial wind turbine designation from “unwilling” to “willing” host.

Don Chisholm addressed wind energy in relation to the County’s recently-declared climate emergency.

“We’re in times of climate emergency without the wind in our sails,” he stated.

“Energy is central to our problem, energy is central to its resolution. We are in one of the best areas of Ontario to capture the free flowing wind energy. Surely it’s time for PEC leaders to reverse unfortunate decisions of the past and to state that we acknowledge the climate emergency; we are now willing hosts for wind energy development; and we petition our province to re-engage the intent of the Green Energy Act.”

Rod Holloway added his support for council to change to an unwilling host and support the development of turbines, purchase electric cars, or fuel-efficient, for County use, and get moving on the environmental action committee.

“Now we need to act,” he said. “We have to stop dumping carbon into the atmosphere… We have about 10 years to change and you have to lead us. The other levels of government have dropped the ball.”

There are four turbines erected of the nine that had been approved for the White Pines development in South Marysburgh before the provincial government terminated the project last July.

“Tell the government you’ve changed your mind and will accept wind energy in the County,” said Holloway. “Allow the completion of all nine turbines. This will do a significant amount stopping carbon from going into the atmosphere. If we activate turbines at Milford, it will create affordable, clean renewable energy, reducing our reliance on carbon.” MORE

 

LETTER: Comments concerning climate emergency require clarification

Image result for white pines wind farm
“If we are serious about making changes here that will help with the climate change emergency,  you cannot be an unwilling host for a green energy wind farm and tear it down.”

I want to thank the Picton Gazette for their on going coverage of the White Pines wind farm  saga;  the most recent article published in the June 20, 2019 edition of the Picton Gazette was  really appreciated and well written.

I was however a bit taken aback when I read the last part of the article.

Since the reporter , Desiree Decoste  and I were talking casually about the situation for at least an hour  as she enjoyed the tour of the wind farm, it seems some of the comments need further clarification by me.

There are a huge amount of wind energy supporters in Prince Edward County and beyond, so when I read the line saying  that I was going to the East coast to live by a wind farm where people care,  it sounded like I meant that nobody in the County cares, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

So many people have called me to thank me for my ongoing efforts and have been clear on where they stand in the wind debate, there are far more wind farm supporters than there are  anti -wind people.

When I was talking about the climate emergency that the County of Prince Edward just declared, I certainly did say the County was an embarrassment when it comes to that because we say the words but don’t act the part.

If we are serious about making changes here that will help with the climate change emergency,  you cannot be an unwilling host for a green energy wind farm and tear it down. The devastating environmental impact of such actions would be huge. also, we can’t keep approving and building non-stop on wildlife habitat and agricultural land, caring only about a dollar and not the lives these decisions are destroying.

So yes, if this County makes choices against the environment and for the economic growth by destroying our natural resources, then this place is an embarrassment to the rest of Canada.

How can a person not feel  ashamed to be a part of a place that works against the need to change?

A place that ignores the warnings of climate change  and destroys a wind farm that should  have been producing clean energy for months now.

The other clarification needed in the article was about the leadnow petition which was completed months ago so people can not sign there.

There are 19,000 names and comments from people who care about their children’s future and the fate of all that share this suffering  planet, but the best thing we the supporters can do is to keep voicing your opinion to MPP Todd Smith and Premier Doug Ford.

If this wind farm comes down  I don’t know how any one who fought against it can feel good when they look in their children’s eyes and tell them ‘I am proud to be a part of destroying your healthy future and taking away your hope’.

Jen Ackerman
Milford

SOURCE

Eight Hard Questions for the PM of Pipelines and Climate Emergency

He says Canadians can have it both ways. The facts say otherwise.

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What Trudeau’s Liberals have done cannot be reconciled. Photo via Justin Trudeau Flickr.

As the planet slowly stews in its increasingly sultry juices, sled dogs are walking on water, but Justin Trudeau no longer is.

Polar bears are starving, the Arctic permafrost is melting, and glaciers are retreating faster than the PM on electoral reform and government transparency. And oh yes, as of yesterday, Canada is expanding the Trans Mountain Pipeline. That is called renovating the outhouse when indoor plumbing is the answer.

I picture Sheriff Jason Kenney’s posse, spurs ajingle and six guns flapping on their chaps, saddling up and galloping off to their war room at my imagery.

They do that now when they hear any “radical environmentalist” rearing his pesky head as opposed to those petrol Pollyannas of the energy sector who, as everyone knows, are full of philanthropy, mercenary science, and boffo marketing. The guys who make profits and tailings ponds.

But even those with their heads buried in bitumen have to resolve the latest development in what’s left of their social conscience. The Liberals and the rest of parliament have declared that Canada is experiencing a climate emergency. (There was one notable dissenter — those permanent campers in Jurassic Park on all matters touching the environment, the Conservative Party of Canada. Emergency, what emergency?)

Yet on the same day the “emergency” is declared by everybody but the fossil heads, the government says yes to the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion. As Shakespeare observed in Macbeth “Such welcome and unwelcome things at once. ’Tis hard to reconcile.”

Eight questions for Justin Trudeau

So a few blunt questions for the PM, who continues to publicly peddle the dubious line that Canadians can have it both ways, while privately linking arms with the CEOs.

1. Since Canada is already on track to miss its emission targets set in Paris by 79 megatonnes (only Gambia and Morocco are on target), how do you justify greenlighting a project that will add 20 per cent to carbon emissions from the Alberta tar sands?

2. You once said that only communities could issue the social license for mega projects like this. So what do you say to the Squamish Nation, and the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby who have not granted that social license?

3. If expanding Trans Mountain is such an economic winner, why did Kinder Morgan happily unload this project on the Canadian people? Where were the rugged captains of private industry when this “jewel” went up for sale? MORE

Climate change is driving rapid shifts between high and low water levels on the Great Lakes

Image result for the conversation: Waves on Lake Superior crash against the Duluth, Minn. waterfront Sept. 10, 2014. Randen Pederson
Waves on Lake Superior crash against the Duluth, Minn. waterfront Sept. 10, 2014. Randen Pederson

The North American Great Lakes contain about one-fifth of the world’s surface fresh water. In May, new high water level records were set on Lakes Erie and Superior, and there has been widespread flooding across Lake Ontario for the second time in three years. These events coincide with persistent precipitation and severe flooding across much of central North America.

As recently as 2013, water levels on most of the Great Lakes were very low. At that time some experts proposed that climate change, along with other human actions such as channel dredging and water diversions, would cause water levels to continue to decline. This scenario spurred serious concern. Over 30 million people live within the Great Lakes basin, and many depend directly on the lakes for drinking water, industrial use, commercial shipping and recreation.

But since 2014 the issue has been too much water, not too little. High water poses just as many challenges for the region, including shoreline erosion, property damage, displacement of families and delays in planting spring crops. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently declared a state of emergency in response to the flooding around Lake Ontario while calling for better planning decisions in light of climate change.

As researchers specializing in hydrology and climate science, we believe rapid transitions between extreme high and low water levels in the Great Lakes represent the “new normal.” Our view is based on interactions between global climate variability and the components of the regional hydrological cycle. Increasing precipitation, the threat of recurring periods of high evaporation, and a combination of both routine and unusual climate events – such as extreme cold air outbursts – are putting the region in uncharted territory.


Recent monthly water levels on Lake Superior and Lake Erie (black dots). Blue bars are the record high for each calendar month, and black bars are the record lows. Water levels for May 2019 are presented as a red bar for clarity. Image developed using the online Great Lakes Dashboard (https://www.glerl.noaa.gov/data/dashboard/GLD.html) maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) and the University of Michigan Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR)CC BY-ND

MORE

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