De Caprio & 200,000 Climate Guardians March For Change

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On April 29th, Leonardo DiCaprio joined the more than 200,000 people who took to the streets in Washington, D.C. calling for action on climate change. The People’s Climate March had sister marches across the country and around the world, demonstrating a strong sense of unity for climate justice in the face of an American president who denies the existence of climate change. 

Prior to the march, DiCaprio and LDF met with Indigenous leaders from North and South America who shared stories of their efforts to protect their lands, waters, and people from the impacts of fossil fuel extraction. Chairman Dave Archambault from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe talked about their ongoing commitment to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, which has shifted from protest to a battle in the courts.  Manari Ushigua, President of Sápara Nation, asked for LDF’s support of his community’s fight against rapid expansion of oil drilling across the tribe’s territory in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The meeting closed with a powerful prayer for protection of the planet led by Mati Waiyu of the Chumash Nation.

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DiCaprio helped kick off the march down Pennsylvania Avenue towards the White House with the Indigenous block. The group held signs with powerful messages including “Keep It [oil] In the Ground” and “Protect – Defend – Resist.” The march was organized by the 900-group-strong People’s Climate Movement, which included non-profit environmental and social justice groups, as well as labor unions and companies committed to taking action on climate change.

The march culminated in a rally led by Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network, a Diné and Dakota leader who was prominent during the Dakota Access fight, and Carrie Fulton, an environmental justice organizer in D.C. “What do we do when our communities are under attack? Stand up, fight back!” said Goldtooth.

The weather in D.C. reached a sweltering 91 degrees Fahrenheit, which only emboldened the march against global warming.

Approximately 370 sister marches took place worldwide, including marches in almost every U.S. state, as well as the U.K., Germany, New Zealand, Mexico, Greece, Japan, Kenya, and the Philippines.

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Ratification Of The Paris Agreement Delayed

Michael Gove on a school visit

It’s now nine months since the COP21 climate treaty was agreed in Paris. At the time,I met the agreement with both celebration and condemnation: it marked an important global moment for collective action on climate change but lacked the ambition and detail on how even a 2ºC target could be met. Many observers recognised that the proof of its success would be in the national policy commitments made by governments and ministers in the months and years that followed.

Other Than That Everything's Perfect

Other Than That Everything’s Perfect

Importantly, the Paris agreement will not enter into force until 55 countries representing 55% of total global emissions have ratified it. As it stands, 26 states have completed this, totalling 39.06 % of total global greenhouse gas emissions. Notably, this includes China and the United States, who last week jointly announced their ratification of the Paris Agreement, marking a very important step in the treaty’s journey.

Sadly, the UK has dawdled on Paris ratification and has not yet made any announcement of when it intends to do so. Since December, the stock response of both the Prime Minister and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (and formerly the Department for Energy and Climate Change) has been that the government will do so ‘as soon as possible’.

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In Parliament today, I asked the Prime Minister if she will commit to ratifying the agreement before the follow up negotiations in November of this year. She sidestepped the question and refused to give a firm date. With 2016 set to be the hottest year on record, this casual approach is at odds with ever more serious warnings about the severity of the climate crisis.

At the national level, it has been a terrible year for climate and energy policy. With the ongoing reckless obsession with fracking, the failure to embrace energy efficiency as a national infrastructure priority, and the delay in new subsidy announcements for offshore wind, it should come as no surprise that the Committee on Climate Change announced in June that the government lacks half the policies it needs to meet its 2030 emissions targets.

Indeed, it is clear that UK energy and infrastructure policy is going in completely the wrong direction – cutting support for renewables and efficiency, locking in high-carbon gas for decades to come, and squandering taxpayers’ money on new nuclear and runways.

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In a further sign of government neglect, yesterday, the new Minster for Climate Change, announced a probable delay in the publication of the vital Carbon Plan. The plan will detail how the UK will meet its targets under the Climate Change Act. This delay comes at a time when the UK’s attractiveness as a destination for investment in renewable energy has reached an all-time low. The responsibility for this lies solely with chaotic and unpredictable government policy. The dismal failure of the Treasury and the Energy Department to halt the potentially catastrophic Business Rate rises to schools, businesses and community organisations with solar panels on their rooftops is a further example of that.

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Without a global step change in ambition, global temperatures will likely rise by 3.7°C and beyond. The consequences of this kind of change are unimaginable – indeed, we do not know the full implications of breaching planetary boundaries in this way. As a nation with an historic responsibility for carbon emissions, as well as the skills, expertise and resources to help create the solutions, the UK must take responsibility.

Delaying the ratification of the Paris Agreement – never mind dodging the ongoing questions about how we meet our own carbon reduction targets – demonstrates a dangerous and reckless approach to the most important issue of our time.

With much of the real detail of the Paris agreement being discussed at the follow-up COP22 negotiations in Marrakech in November, it would send all the wrong signals for the UK to turn up without having ratified it.

(This is an excerpt from Caroline Lucas MP’s blog)

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Bernie Sanders, Native Americans say oil pipeline will poison drinking water

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WASHINGTON — Sen. Bernie Sanders called on President Obama to take action against the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline during a protest outside the White House on Tuesday with members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribal nations.

The Vermont independent is seeking a full environmental and cultural impact analysis of the four-state, $3.8 billion project, designed to carry crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois. Federal officials last week temporarily halted part of the project, but Sanders wants the administration to go further, saying the pipeline threatens the environment and water resources and exploits Native Americans.

Protesters say the pipeline’s route under the Missouri River will endanger the water supply and sacred sites of the Sioux reservation located on the North Dakota-South Dakota border. A thorough analysis, Sanders said, will ultimately kill the pipeline.

“We cannot allow our drinking water to be poisoned so that a handful of fossil fuel companies can make even more in profits,” the former Democratic presidential candidate told the cheering crowd, estimated at 3,000 by organizers. “We stand united in saying, ‘Stop the pipeline, respect Native American rights and let us move forward to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels.”

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The protest was one of about 200 “#NoDAPL” events Tuesday, mostly in the United States, according to the environmental group 350.org. 

It followed Tuesday’s release of an internal memo from Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the Dakota Access pipeline, saying concerns about the pipeline’s impact on the water supply are “unfounded.” Kelcy Warren, the company’s chairman and CEO, also wrote that multiple archaeological studies conducted with state historic preservation offices found no sacred items along the route.

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The Paris climate change summit is one small step for humankind

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Is the Paris agreement a breakthrough in the struggle to limit the risks of climate change, as weary negotiators claim? Or is it just another way station on the road to calamity, as critics insist. At this stage it is neither. It is far more than the world could have reasonably expected a year or two ago. But it is also far less than the world needs.As it stands, it will at best slow the pace at which the world reaches a possible disaster. Whether it averts disaster depends partly on how the climate system works, on which much uncertainty remains.

But it also depends on what happens in the near future. Is the agreement the beginning of revolutions in policy, as well as the energy system? Or is it yet another piece of paper that promises far more than it delivers? The answer depends on what happens now.

The achievements of the negotiators, ably chaired by the French government, are far from nothing. They showed that it is possible to get the world’s countries to agree to action in response to a shared danger, even one that seems both remote and uncertain to many of those now living.

These agreed that all countries must participate in the effort. They agreed that the rich should help the poor meet their decarbonisation objectives. They also agreed on the goal of keeping global temperature rises well below 2C and even to “pursue efforts” to keep them below 1.5C

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Yet these are, on the face of it, largely hollow achievements. The provision of needed finance is an aspiration, not a bankable commitment. No limits are to be imposed on emissions from aviation or shipping.

No mechanism is to be established for setting a global carbon price. Countries are above all committed only to communicate and maintain plans — described, in slippery language, as “nationally determined contributions”.

No sanctions will fall on any country that fails to live up to these intentions. Worse, the intentions themselves, even if implemented (on which much doubt must be expressed) fall far short of what is needed to deliver the 2C goal, let alone a lower one. Average global temperatures have risen by nearly 1C since the industrial revolution and limiting warming to 1.5C would require another revolution.

So why should an agreement that is not only toothless, but falls far short of what is needed to reduce the risks to manageable proportions, be taken seriously? One answer is that it forces each country into a process of peer review.

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Every country will need to resubmit their plans every five years. Moreover, the reporting and monitoring system is to be more transparent and comprehensive than ever before. In particular, emerging and developing countries that now dominate emissions (China, above all) will be part of that system. In the end, it was decided, monitored aspirations would be more effective than any binding commitments that could (or, more probably, could not) be achieved.

Above all, with everybody committed to producing a plan (because everybody agrees the challenge is important), it will be far more difficult for any country to argue that failure to meet its promises does not matter.

(An FT Extract 2015)

May 22, 2013

Climate talks chef Marc Veyrat fined for razing forest

Inequality

A French chef hired to work at the Paris climate change talks has been fined for razing 7,000 sq metres (75,000 sq feet) of protected forest near his restaurant.

Marc Veyrat illegally destroyed the trees near the La Maison des Bois (House of the Trees) in the Alps.

The court in Annecy also heard Mr Veyrat ordered a large portion of protected wetlands to be dried up.

He was one of five chefs picked to cook for world leaders at the Paris talks.

He was ordered by the court to pay a fine of €100,000 (£73,000; $108,000) and to restore the wetlands within three months.

Mr Veyrat, who has twice obtained three Michelin stars, told the court he acted with the best of intentions, as he built an educational centre for children.

He also built a botanical garden, beehives and greenhouses at the site, near the town of Manigod in the Haute-Savoie region.

After the hearing, Mr Veyrat apologised, saying: ” I am not above the law. Anyone can make a mistake, even me.”

At the end of the talks in Paris, countries agreed to a firm goal of keeping temperature rises well below 2C, and will strive for 1.5C.

But one study claims that deforestation is the second-largest man-made contributor of C02 into the atmosphere, which is seen as a major contributory factor to temperature rises.

(Taken from the BBC website)

Other Than That Everything's Perfect

Other Than That Everything’s Perfect

Three Babies Hooked On Heroin or Crack Born Every Day

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Here’s a thought for the drug dealer raising a healthy hale and hearty family off the profits of his drug dealing, THREE babies a day born in Britain are addicted to heroin, crack cocaine and other drugs, shock figures published last year reveal.

Junkie mothers over the last five years have given birth to 5,500 children who were already hooked.

Department of Health statistics show the newborns all showed “neo-natal withdrawal symptoms” within the first few hours of life.

These are the same terrible symptoms experienced by hardened addicts when they come off drugs.

The babies need specialised care to cope with severe vomiting, seizures, fever and breathing difficulties.

They became hooked in the womb because their mums continue taking drugs during pregnancy.

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Tory MP Nick de Bois — who uncovered the statistics through Parliamentary questions — said: “These figures are shocking.

“It is difficult to comprehend that in Britain we consistently have more than 1,000 babies born every year addicted to drugs.”

“We are clearly failing to prevent the most vulnerable in society — and I cannot think of anyone more vulnerable than a newborn baby — from being harmed by drug use.”

Mr de Bois urged ministers to do more to get treatment for addicts to kick their habit. But he said they should also start giving drug dealers tougher sentences.

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The statistics come only weeks after Deputy PM Nick Clegg called for an overhaul of drug laws. He told The Sun the war on drugs had been a spectacular failure.

The Commons home affairs select committee also called for ministers to consider de-criminalising drugs.

But critics warn that watering down the law could see more youngsters sucked into addiction. A total of 596 people were killed by heroin in England and Wales in 2011.

Former cop Norman Brennan, who campaigns to help victims of crime, hopes the figures will make Lib Dem leader Mr Clegg rethink his recent comments.

He said: “For 31 years as a police officer I saw first-hand how drugs destroyed the lives of users and their families — and devastated whole communities.”

“I am fed up with the liberal elite talking about legalising drugs when they haven’t the first idea about the consequences or scale of the problem.”

Liberals being easy on drugs eh? But who set up the system of commerce, that makes drug dealing such a palatable professional choice, to far too many would be businessmen I wonder?

(Extracts of this post were printed in The Sun Newspaper in 2014)

DrugTrade

DrugTrade

Symantec, Levi Strauss & Co., Mars, Dignity Health, and Autodesk Join Dozens of Companies Supporting California’s Sweeping Climate Change Bills

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SACRAMENTO, CA Aug 25, 2015

With barely two weeks left in the state legislative session, more than two-dozen California companies today announced their support for two major climate bills – SB 32 and SB 350 – that would set new ambitious state goals for reducing climate-changing pollution, boosting renewable energy and decreasing petroleum use over the next 15 years.

“Our support is firmly grounded in economic reality,” wrote the companies in letters delivered today to legislative leaders. “We know that tackling climate change is one of America’s greatest economic opportunities of the 21st century and we applaud the California State Legislature for taking steps to help seize that opportunity.”

Company executives also held in-person meetings with legislators and joined the bills’ lead sponsors, Senator Fran Pavley and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, at a news conference. The letters and meetings were organized by the nonprofit sustainability advocacy group Ceres.

SB 32, which builds on the progress made by Senator Pavley’s 2006 landmark climate bill AB 32, sets a climate pollution reduction target of 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. SB 350, referred to as Golden State Standards 50-50-50, calls for Californians to increase energy efficiency in existing buildings by 50 percent, obtain half their electricity from renewable sources and reduce petroleum use by 50 percent by 2030.

“The power is in our hands today to make a difference in stemming the release of harmful greenhouse gas emissions that we know are already negatively impacting human health, the environment and our economy,” said Rachelle Reyes Wenger, Director, Public Policy and Community Advocacy for Dignity Health, one of the nation’s largest health care companies with 32 hospitals in California, speaking at today’s news conference. “SB 32 and SB 350 are common sense policies that our state needs now. That’s why Dignity Health is standing with Senator Pavley and Senator de Leon today in support of these measures.”

“Moving ahead with these bills will solidify California’s stake as a global leader in addressing climate change,” added Anna Walker, Senior Director for Global Policy and Advocacy for Levi Strauss & Co., which is headquartered in San Francisco. “SB 32 and SB 350 will not only help our state advance its climate change goals—which are critical to the long-term prosperity of California businesses, residents and the environment—they will also help our state continue to do one of the things it does best – innovate.”

“SB 32 and SB 350 create a positive environment for companies like Autodesk, and the design community as a whole, to develop innovative solutions around low-carbon technologies, buildings and vehicles that can empower industries and communities to address climate change,” said Ben Thompson, Senior Manager Sustainability at Autodesk.

For the full letters and complete list of companies supporting each of the bills, see: www.ceres.org/files/sb32-company-sign-on-letter and www.ceres.org/files/ca-sb350-sign-on-letter.

“These companies recognize that both SB 350 and SB 32 are vital next steps in California’s leading-edge plan to cut carbon pollution and accelerate low-carbon technologies at the pace and scale called for by climate scientists,” said Ceres president Mindy Lubber, whose group with its recently opened California office is mobilizing companies to support strong climate policies through its business network, Business for Innovative Climate & Clean Energy Policy (BICEP), and the Ceres’ Climate Declaration. “Many of these supporting companies have set their own aggressive renewable energy and energy efficiency goals that will be more achievable with enactment of these two climate bills.”

About Ceres
Ceres is a nonprofit organization mobilizing business and investor leadership on climate change, water scarcity and other sustainability challenges. Ceres directs the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), a network of over 100 institutional investors with collective assets totaling more than $13 trillion. Ceres also directs Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP), an advocacy coalition of 34 businesses committed to working with policy makers to pass meaningful energy and climate legislation. For more information, visit www.ceres.org or follow on Twitter @CeresNews