Archive for December 2014

Pope Francis moving ahead on climate justice   Leave a comment

“For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.”
James 2:26(RSV)

Theology in the Vineyard

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More indigestion for the JP ll/Ratzinger bishops who showed little or no interest in the greatest moral issue of our time: climate change. It is just reported that Pope Francis will be speaking for climate justice in the new year. Catholics will be specifically targeted with a papal encyclical after the pontiff visits Tacloban the Philippine city devastated by the typhoon Hayan in 2012. Undoubtedly there will be a fresh call to the 1.5 billion Catholics to get moving on this issue—and put the pelvic issues aside for now.

Pope Francis will have his hands full with the world’s 5,000 bishops, most chosen for their strict adherence to everything that came out of Rome in the long pontificates of Woytyla/Ratzinger. In reality this was one reactionary pontificate a pushback against the liberal reforms of Vatican ll. iI was pure Newtonoian physics, action and reaction. The reaction eventuated in massive lay…

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Posted December 30, 2014 by allanbaker in Uncategorized

Christmas Eve, 2014   Leave a comment

IMG_0027As we approach Christmas, 2014, the words of Joan Chittister are worthy of reflection:

“Christmas isn’t a holiday. Christmas is a way of being alive. “Christmas is not a time nor a season, ” Calvin Coolidge said, “It is a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” Merry Christmas to you all – every day of the year.” says Chittister.

(page 125 in her book, “The Art of Life”)

 

This wonderfully deep, spiritual writer has also crafted the following words about Christmas*:

The promise has at last been fulfilled. Everything we’ve waited for is with us. The fullness of time has come in our time. Everything we could ever want we finally have. The people rejoice. The angels sing. The truth has come. Everything is perfect. Except….
 
Except that the stables of the world still house children whom the Christ child came to raise to life. This time it is our doors before whom they stand and beg for shelter. We are the people being asked to take them into our minds and hearts and souls. 
 
Christmas moves us to recommit ourselves to re-form our minuscule worlds to take in Christ the homeless child, the outcast, the refugee; Christ the other whose strangeness frightens us but whose otherness will teach us a great deal more about the world than we know at the present time.

Christmas calls us to take our lives and break them open at the crib where Jesus waits for us today.
 
Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem because they were from the “tribe of Judah.” They had to leave home to go home, in other words. It may be a Christmas lesson for all of us. Tied up in our own little worlds, we may be missing the one Jesus came to save through us unless we reach out to the “other.”  Christmas will come to us in its fullness when we welcome into the human race all those we persistently see as lesser, and cry, “Peace to God’s people on earth.”

* http://theologyinthevineyard.wordpress.com/2014/12/22/a-palestinian-christmas/

Canada will not meet its emissions targets: audit   Leave a comment

IMG_2156On October 8, 2014, Julie Gelfand released her first report as Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. As her predecessor had done in 2012, Gelfand warned that Canada “will not meet its international greenhouse gas 2020 emission reduction target”—a 17% reduction from 2005 levels—and “does not have an overall plan that maps out how Canada will achieve this target.”

Furthermore, the commissioner said: “Canadians have not been given the details about which regulations will be developed, when, nor what greenhouse gas reductions will be expected. Finally, the federal government has not provided the necessary co-ordination so that all levels of government, working together, can achieve the national target by 2020.”

The sustainability audit drew several opposition questions in the House of Commons, with Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq responding that Canada’s emissions are lower than they were before the Conservatives took office in 2006. Prime Minister Stephen Harper even got involved, stating, “Under our government, we have lowered greenhouse gas emissions and, at the same time, been able to grow the economy.”

The Canadian Press tested these responses in an edition of its regular Baloney Meter, assigning a rating of “a little baloney,” or mostly accurate “but more information is required.”

The article quoted David McLaughlin, former head of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, who said these and other recent federal statements on emissions reductions are “a classic example of accuracy versus veracity.” In other words, it’s “accurate without being true—in the sense that it’s accurate the numbers show that, but it’s not true in showing we’re on a path to reducing overall emissions and to meet targets.”

McLaughlin explained the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession did more to lower Canadian emissions (by reducing demand for all goods, including Canadian resources) than any federal regulations. It is also due to the government’s unwillingness to go after major emitters while leaning on provincial success stories, for example Ontario’s elimination of coal power from its energy grid.

On launching her first report, Gelfand pointed out that “regulations in the oil and gas sector—where emissions are growing the fastest—are still not in place eight years after the government first indicated it would regulate this area.” There is also generally not enough consultation outside the oil and gas industry, she said.

“Given its commitment to be a world-class regulator, Environment Canada should publish its plans for future regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as the oil and gas regulations, with sufficient detail and lead time, so that consultations with interested and affected parties can be transparent and broadly based, and the parties can plan effectively.”

—The Monitor

https://www.policyalternatives.ca

This report is taken from the CCPA Monitor, November, 2014, page 21 – a publication of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Harper Rules out Crackdown on Greenhouse Gas Emissions   Leave a comment

‘We’re clearly not going to do it,’ PM tells Commons.

By Jeremy J. Nuttall, 9 Dec 2014, TheTyee.ca

Oilsands development

Oil prices recently incurred a 35 per cent drop. Oilsands image via Shutterstock.

Falling oil prices have made the possibility of placing restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions for the oil and gas sector a “crazy” endeavour according to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Harper said Canada would not unilaterally impose restrictions on the industry.

The prime minister made his assertion during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday (December 9, 2014) when, once again, he was pressed by the New Democrats on when emission limits, promised since 2007, would be introduced.

Usually the Conservatives use that question, which often occurs daily from Opposition members, to attack the Liberal Party on its greenhouse gas emissions record, but on Tuesday Harper had a different answer.

We’re clearly not going to do it,” he said to cheers of approval from his party after saying that initiating controls “under the current circumstances of the oil and gas sector, it would be crazy.”

Harper said Canada is not willing to introduce restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions, especially with oil prices recently incurring a 35 per cent drop.

“Regulating the oil and gas sector is something we would like to do, but we must do it on an integrated basis in a continental economy,” he said, in reference to working together with the U.S. on restrictions.

‘A new excuse’

But Greenpeace researcher Keith Stewart said the U.S. is already working on emission restrictions for the oil and gas sector, so all Canada needs to do is follow along, despite Harper’s insistence it’s not a good time.

“They’ve always had a new excuse as to why they’re not doing it,” Stewart said.

Stewart pointed to an internal memo sent from Environment Canada to the federal minister in 2013. That memo explained that the climate action plan, which the U.S. released in 2013, included emission restrictions for methane gas fracking.

He said the constant claims that restrictions on energy emissions would hurt the industry are blown out of proportion.

Stewart said the restrictions requested by environmentalists and Opposition parties would only result in a cost of 20 to 90 cents per barrel to the oil and gas industry, which he said is nothing compared to the recent price drop leaving oil at about US$65 per barrel.

“You’ve had a lot worse happen and it hasn’t changed things that much,” Stewart said. “What’s the cost of doing nothing?”  [Tyee]

Related

Latest UN Climate Action Plan ‘Very Weak Indeed’   Leave a comment

Nick Fillmore, writing in TheTyee reports on the recent international conflab in Lima Peru. Filmore writes that:

The corporate sector was out in full force in Lima. Shell Oil was permitted to speak at the main session about its preferred way of fighting carbon emissions — carbon capture and storage (CCS), a still unproven technology. Another oil giant, Chevron, was permitted to sponsor side events inside the negotiations.

Meanwhile, 82 NGOs and one international NGO were unable to participate in any meaningful way because they had only observer status. The various drafts of the agreement were negotiated in secret, and anyone making a statement was kept to three minutes. No Canadian NGO participated at the conference.

PHOTO2.KerryandGore-600.jpg

Al Gore and John Kerry attended the Lima talks. UNclimatechange Flickr page.

NGOs had so little status in Lima that they needed approval from the UN concerning what slogans could be placed on their protest banners. Neither countries nor corporations were allowed to be named on the banners. A march by 10,000 protesters had no impact on the proceedings.

 All of Fillmore’s report can be found at:http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2014/12/16/UN-Climate-Action-Plan-Very-Weak/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=161214

Lima – an African Perspective   Leave a comment

Reducing carbon in the atmosphere

Reducing carbon in the atmosphere

An article written by Rehana Dada presents an analysis of the agreement recently reached in Lima from an African perspective – somewhat different than that of the corporate-controlled media in North America.

Dada writes that, “The Lima text is mitigation centric, weak on finance, makes adaptation optional, excludes loss and damage from the commitments, and does not include an ex ante review. Not only does it have a low ambition on mitigation commitments prior to 2020, an unresolved technical issue in the Kyoto Protocol means that ratification of the second commitment period is likely to be pushed on a year. ”

http://www.africafiles.org/article.asp?ID=27478&ThisURL=./ecology.asp&URLName=Ecology

Clean energy provides more jobs than oilsands   1 comment

Canadians are doing well in developing alternative energy, even without serious assistance from the Harper government. Below is a report aired on CBC.

There has been $24 billion of investment in clean energy in Canada since 2009. (Canadian Press)

There has been $24 billion of investment in clean energy in Canada since 2009. (Canadian Press)

Renewable energy has experienced big growth in Canada in the last five years, so much so that employment in the sector outstrips employment in the “oilsands”.

That’s the conclusion of a report on the state of green energy technology in Canada by Clean Energy Canada, an advocate for renewables.

It estimates $24 billion has been invested in the past five years, mainly because of renewable initiatives in the power sector by Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec.

Employment in the clean energy sector – which encompasses hydro power, as well as wind, solar and biomass – is up 37 per cent to 23,700 people. That compares with 22,340 employed in the “oilsands”.

For the full report on CBC, go to: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/clean-energy-provides-more-jobs-than-oilsands-report-says-1.2857520