Climate

Stop Signs: Cars & Capitalism ― On the Road to Economic, Social & Ecological Decay By Bianca Mugenyi & Yves Engler RED Publishing & Fernwood Publishing 2011, 259 pages, $27.95 (pb) The car, say Canadian authors Bianca Mugyenyi and Yves Engler, who took a bus ride across the United States, is a doomed jalopy going nowhere. It fails, especially in the “home of the car”, on every green count. Cars are the single largest contributor to US noise pollution and 40,000 people in the US die from car accidents each year (one million across the globe).
The small town of Kerry, located on the Scenic Rim in Queensland's Beaudesert, is a prime food-producing area one hour from Brisbane. The land is now the site of a coal seam gas (CSG) exploration well. The community hasn't let this happen quietly. The property on which the drilling occurred has also been the site of a significant protest. A community blockade against foreign-owned CSG company Arrow Energy stopped work on the site for almost 10 days, until the company's trucks broke through by driving over dozens of hats laid down in protest on January 21.
Wind farms might appear controversial in the media, but they enjoy an overwhelming 83% support in affected communities, say several recent reports. The only noise worth worrying about is that from the small minority who vocally oppose them. Unfortunately, that noise is drowning out other voices in the public arena.
If you are an activist peacefully campaigning for a clean energy future, the federal Labor government believes you are a legitimate target for secret surveillance. Fairfax News’ Phillip Dorling reported on January 7 that resources and energy minister Martin Ferguson had asked for federal police help to spy on anti-coal campaigners. Even worse, documents released to Fairfax after a Freedom of Information request showed Ferguson acted after urging from coal industry lobbyists.
Green Left Weekly’s Chris Peterson spoke to Melanie Sluyter, an environmental activist from the United States who took part in Occupy Wall Street and is visiting Melbourne. * * * How did you get involved in the Occupy movement?
On December 12, Claire Anterea, a representative from Kiribati, and Good Samaritan sister Geraldine Kearney — members of the Edmund Rice Centre’s Pacific Calling Partnerships delegation to the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban — addressed a forum on the outcomes of the talks. Joining them was Edmund Rice Centre director Phil Glendenning. Claire Anterea expressed pride and admiration for her fellow Pacific Island people, who have campaigned hard to push the international community to listen to their needs. Low-lying Pacific Island Countries are the most vulnerable to climate change.
The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP17) was held in Durban from November 28 to December 11. The statement below was published on December 11 in response to the conference's outcomes by Climate Justice Now!, a network of organisations and movements from across the globe committed to the fight for social, ecological and gender justice.
A task of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, now under way in Durban, South Africa, is to extend earlier policy decisions that were limited in scope and only partially implemented. These decisions trace back to the U.N. Convention of 1992 and the Kyoto Protocol of 1997, which the U.S. refused to join. The Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period ends in 2012. A fairly general pre-conference mood was captured by a New York Times headline: “Urgent Issues but Low Expectations.”
A year has gone by since the results of the climate change negotiations in Cancun were imposed, with the objection of only Bolivia. It’s time to take stock and see where we are now. In Cancun, the developed countries listed their greenhouse gas emission reduction pledges for the 2012-2020 period. The US and Canada said they would reduce emissions by 3% based on 1990 levels, the European Union between 20% and 30%, Japan 25%, and Russia from 15% to 25%.
The World Bank Out of Climate Finance coalition issued the statement below on December 1 from Durban, South Africa. * * * Today, 163 civil society organisations from 39 countries released a letter exposing an attempt led by the US, Britain and Japan to turn the Green Climate Fund into a “Greedy Corporate Fund” at UN climate talks in South Africa. The Green Climate Fund was created to support people in developing countries — people who are the most affected by the climate crisis but are the least responsible for it.

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