Archive for the ‘earth community’ Tag

The Year of Fear   Leave a comment

"Sortie"

“Sortie”

“As you know, we live in a fearful society that is devoured by anxiety. And we imagine in our anxiety that there are extreme “security” measures that will make us safe.

But if this is God’s world and if the rule of love is at work, then our mandate is not to draw into the cocoon of safety; rather it is to be out and alive in the world in concrete acts and policies whereby the fearful anxiety among us is dispatched and adversaries can be turned into allies and friends.”

Walter Brueggemann

in “Mandate to Difference: An Invitation to the Contemporary Church

Oil train trouble in Toronto: citizens demand answers   Leave a comment

A Toronto neighbourhood is taking the unusual step of asking the Auditor General of Canada to get answers to the urban community’s oil train concerns.

Oil trains in Toronto - Safe Rail Communities group
Oil trains rolling past a Toronto west end homeowner’s backyard at dusk. Photo by Safe Rail Communities.

A Toronto neighbourhood group, alarmed by what appears to be a surge in oil trains rumbling past their urban backyards, is taking the unusual step of urging the Auditor General of Canada to intervene to help it get answers to safety concerns.

The group, called Safe Rail Communities, says it has been asking basic questions to CN, CP Rail and the federal government about the safety of transporting these explosive fuels, but found the responses lacking.

“We’re getting stonewalled,” said Helen Vassilakos, co-founder of Safe Rail Communities, who lives near the train tracks.

“Transport Canada is refusing to speak with us and the minister is actually refusing to send anyone out to our meetings.”

Full story from the Vancouver Observer at: http://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/oil-train-trouble-toronto-citizens-demand-answers

How to make an earthquake   1 comment

Fox Creek, Alberta

Fox Creek, Alberta: ‘Location of earthquake consistent with being induced by hydraulic fracturing operations,’ says Alberta Energy Regulator spokesperson.

Did Alberta Just Break a Fracking Earthquake World Record?

Regulator says drilling likely triggered 4.4 temblor.

By Andrew Nikiforuk, – originally published in The Tyee

Hydraulic fracturing, a technology used to crack open difficult oil and gas formations, appears to have set off a swarm of earthquakes near Fox Creek, Alberta, including a record-breaking tremor with a felt magnitude of 4.4 last week.

That would likely make it the largest felt earthquake ever caused by fracking, a development that experts swore couldn’t happen a few years ago.

Fracking operations in British Columbia’s Montney shale generated similar seismic activity of that magnitude last year, and earthquake scientists at Ontario’s Western University are still analyzing the two events to see which is the largest.

 The full article is at:http://thetyee.ca/News/2015/01/29/Alberta-Fracking-Earthquake/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=290115

A Testament of Hope   Leave a comment

Take Responsibility

Take Responsibility

” Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his Letter from Birmingham City Jail (April, 1963)

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]

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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

Inequality in Canada   Leave a comment

When Will Bankers Take Inequality Seriously?

TD Economics pondered the trend, and just couldn’t get too worked up.

By Crawford Kilian, December 1, 2014, TheTyee.ca

IncomeInequal_600px.jpg

TD economists seem not to read writing on the wall for Canada when they say: ‘In America, there has truly been a hollowing-out of middle skill jobs.’

It’s taken three years for the issue of income inequality to filter upward from the tents of the Occupy movement to the upper reaches of Canada’s banks. But we now have a report from economists Craig Alexander and Francis Fong of TD Economics that admits inequality is indeed an issue — what’s more, an issue affecting the top one per cent.

While they provide a useful overview of Canadian inequality, the economists reveal a striking lack of interest in its causes. That in itself tells us something about the attitudes of the business class.

The complete story is at: http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2014/12/01/Inequality-Bankers/

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Suzuki comments on latest IPCC report – choices?   Leave a comment

IPCC report is clear: We must clean up our act

Wind Farm in Germany
Germany, the world’s fourth-largest economy, now gets a third of its energy from renewable sources, and has reduced carbon emissions 23 per cent from 1990 levels and created 370,000 jobs. (Credit: David via Flickr)

It’s become a cliché to say that out of crisis comes opportunity. But there’s no denying that when faced with crises, we have choices. The opportunity depends on what we decide to do.

What choices will we make when confronted with the fact that 2014 will likely be the hottest year on record? According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, global land and sea temperatures up to September’s end tie this year with 1998 as the warmest since record keeping began in 1880. “If 2014 maintains this temperature departure from average for the remainder of the year, it will be the warmest year on record,” a NOAA statement says.

The world’s warmest 10 years have all been since 1998, and last year carbon dioxide levels rose by the highest amount in 30 years.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Synthesis Report, released November 2, summarizes three reports released over the past year on the physical science; impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and mitigation. It offers a stark choice: Unless we quickly curtail our fossil fuel dependence, we face “further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.

As a broadcaster, I’ve interviewed hundreds of scientists over the years, but I’ve never heard so many speak so forcefully and urgently as climatologists today. It’s a measure of the seriousness of the crisis.

What choices will we make? Will politicians close their eyes while fossil fuel industry executives shovel money at them and enlist propagandists to spread misinformation and lies? Will we listen to those who, in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence, continue to say the global warming they once claimed never existed stopped 18 years ago, or that human activity doesn’t contribute to climate change?

Or will we heed scientists from around the world who offer evidence that we still have time to do something about this very real crisis — and that confronting the challenge presents more opportunities than pitfalls?

Believing our only choice is between a strong economy and a healthy environment is absurd. Yet that’s the false option many political leaders and fossil fuel industry proponents present. Never mind the insanity of thinking we can survive and be healthy if we destroy the natural systems on which we depend; research shows taking measured steps to address global warming would have few negative economic effects and would offer numerous benefits. Failing to act would be disastrous for the economy and environment.

Energy conservation and clean fuels offer the greatest opportunities. Conserving energy makes precious, non-renewable resources last longer, reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, saves consumers money and offers many economic benefits. More than 100,000 Canadians are directly employed in improving energy efficiency, with total wages estimated at $8.27 billion for 2014.

The fast-growing clean-energy and clean-technology sectors offer similar benefits. Improved performance and cost reductions make large-scale deployment for many clean-energy technologies increasingly feasible. By focusing on fossil fuels, Canada is clearly missing out. Worldwide spending on clean energy last year was $207 billion. Canada spent $6.5 billion — a start, but we could do much better.

Germany, the world’s fourth-largest economy, now gets a third of its energy from renewable sources, and has reduced carbon emissions 23 per cent from 1990 levels and created 370,000 jobs.

In contrast, Canada subsidizes the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $1.3 billion a year, despite a 2009 G20 agreement to phase out subsidies. The federal Environment and Sustainable Development Commissioner’s recent audit found Canada has no detailed plan to shrink carbon pollution and meet its international commitment, and has failed to release or enforce oil and gas sector emission regulations for our fastest-growing source of emissions, the oil sands, promised since 2006. Expanding oil sands and liquefied natural gas development will only make matters worse.

People around the world want leadership from elected representatives on climate change and pollution. Business leaders are getting on board. Will we take advantage of the numerous benefits of energy conservation and clean energy or remain stuck in the old way of just blindly burning our way through? The choice is clear.

By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Senior Editor Ian Hanington.