Climate

The statement below was released by Tar Sands Action on October 31. The group is seeking to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, built to transport oil from the Athabasca tar sands in north-east Alberta, Canada, to refineries in the United States. Mining the Athabasca tar sands is one of the most environmentally destructive practices on the planet. For more information, visit www.tarsandsaction.org . * * * Yesterday we got some of the strongest confirmation yet that efforts to stop the Keystone XL pipeline are having a long-term impact on the tar sands industry.
A new manual by six Europe-based NGOs calls for an end to forest offsets, whereby carbon emissions in one country can be supposedly “offset” by protecting forests in another. Forest offset programs are largely organised through the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) mechanism, which receives support from the World Bank and other financial institutions. The report says there are two motivations for forest offsets: “reducing the pressure to do something about fossil fuel emissions and the short term profit motive.”
In the context of Australia’s struggling climate movement, the achievements of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) have been significant. When the Murdoch press would rather report Lord Munckton’s denialist nonsense, a group that connects more than 70,000 young Australians to raise awareness and combat climate change is commendable. However, AYCC’s politics are not without problems.
“When I meet with [climate change] minister Greg Combet next week I will be taking my prescription pad with me and I will be writing a prescription for solar thermal for Port Augusta, not just three times a day but permanently,” said Dr David Shearman of Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA) to a 120-strong crowd in Port Augusta’s Cooinda Club on October 29. Shearman was one of several speakers at the forum, which was organised by the Adelaide-based Climate Emergency Action Network (CLEAN), the Port Augusta City Council and Beyond Zero Emissions.
What if rising sea levels are yet another measure of inequality? What if the degradation of our planet’s life-support systems — its atmosphere, oceans and biosphere — goes hand in hand with the accumulation of wealth, power and control by that corrupt and greedy 1% we are hearing about from Occupy Wall Street protesters in Zuccotti Park? What if the assault on the US's middle class and the assault on the environment are one and the same? Money rules
The Philippines, one of the poorest Asian nations with a huge foreign debt ― caused by successive corrupt governments ― remains a place of simmering class tension. In the past six weeks, there have been mobilisations around a range of issues. On October 11, there was a national day of action against rising energy costs. There were protests right across the archiapelago. Residents turned off their power for half-an-hour and created a “noise barrage” with whistles and horns.
Friends of the Earth released the statement below on October 25. * * * Today’s announcement that coalmining will be allowed to continue at Anglesea is possibly the worst in a long list of bad environmental decisions since the Baillieu government was elected, according to Friends of the Earth. The government says that the supporting legislation, introduced to parliament today, will “modernise” its agreement with the Anglesea coalmine and power station and support regional jobs.
The barriers to renewable energy are many. It’s not just a matter of the draconian new Victorian laws against wind farms — the legacy of government support for fossil fuels also hangs heavily over the renewables sector.
More than 300 people of all ages gathered in Adelaide on September 24 calling for concentrating solar thermal (CST) technology to replace Port Augusta’s ageing coal fired power stations. The action was organised by several environment groups, including the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, the Climate Emergency Action Network, the Socialist Alliance, Resistance and the Young Greens. The crowd met in Adelaide’s Rymill Park and took to the streets in a colourful, rhythmic parade, featuring a moving solar thermal tower.

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