Daily Archives: August 11, 2015

Why Shell is “Breaking Up” w/ALEC


The Big Picture RT

Published on Aug 11, 2015

Angela Ledford Anderson, Climate & Energy Program-Union of Concerned Scientists (UCSUSA) joins Thom. Dutch Shell and its relationship to the American Legislative Exchange Council. Shell announced last week that it won’t renew its relationship with ALEC. In its statement Shell claimed that “we have long recognized both the importance of the climate challenge and the critical role energy has in determining quality of life for people across the world” The move is important – and Shell is not alone in leaving ALEC because of ALEC’s rampant climate denial and disinformation campaigns. But ALEC doesn’t just fund climate denial – ALEC has also been fighting against renewable energy standards.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Is There False Leadership in Black Lives Matter?


The Big Picture RT

Published on Aug 11, 2015

America’s Lawyer Mike Papantonio, Ring of Fire Radio joins Thom. Bernie Sanders was forced off the stage in Seattle this weekend by protesters claiming to be from the Black Lives Matter movement. What should Bernie do to respond?

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Scientists Speak Out On the Iran Nuclear Deal


The Big Picture RT

Published on Aug 11, 2015

Stephen Young, Global Security Program-Union of Concerned Scientists (UCSUSA) joins Thom. Democratic senator Chuck Schumer has come out against the international agreement to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.But the international community supports this deal – and so does the scientific community.

Global Climate Change
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Nuclear

Is the Carbon-Divestment Movement Reaching a Tipping Point?

 Divest Harvard rally with the theme “The Tide is Turning” on April 17, 2015. (350.org/CC BY 2.0)

Interviews with Harvard professors Naomi Oreskes and James Anderson about universities’ moral imperative to join the fight against fossil fuel.

By Wen Stephenson

In the fall of 2012, when the global campaign to divest university endowments from fossil fuel holdings was just getting underway, the idea behind it, as Bill McKibben told me at the time, was “to a get a fight started, and to get people in important places talking actively about the culpability of the fossil fuel industry for the trouble that we’re in.”

Two and a half years later, it’s fair to say that the fight McKibben wanted has been engaged, in earnest, and that those conversations about the industry’s role in our impending catastrophe are now happening in elite precincts—even, dare I say, going mainstream. Last spring, Stanford University, under pressure from students, alumni, and faculty, announced that it would begin to divest, starting with coal. It joins more than twenty US colleges and universities that have committed to divest, most recently Syracuse and The New School.

In September, the Rockefeller siblings, heirs to the Standard Oil/Exxon fortune, announced that they would divest their philanthropic fund—having tried and failed in their efforts at shareholder engagement. In a first among media companies, The Guardian announced last month that it would divest, and then joined with 350.org in a campaign to persuade the world’s two largest charitable funds, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the US and the Wellcome Trust in the UK, that fossil fuel holdings are no longer morally and financially tenable. Just last week, the University of Edinburgh—alma mater of Charles Darwin and Adam Smith—announced a recommendation by senior managers to divest from coal and tar sands. It followed Glasgow University, which announced in October that it would divest. And so the honor roll grows.

Speaking at Harvard University last Friday, McKibben told a boisterous standing-room crowd, “When arguably the first family of fossil fuel has lost confidence in coal and gas and oil, and says this is not what John D. Rockefeller would be doing, then we’re at the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel age. The question is how quickly we can make it end.”

Not everyone is getting the message. McKibben and I were back on the Harvard campus last week, along with a couple hundred other alums—including Cornel West and former Senator Tim Wirth of Colorado—because those who run the world’s richest university have refused to engage in an open debate on the issue, despite the relentless efforts of the student-led Divest Harvard campaign (in which I’ve been engaged since 2012). In fact, last year the Harvard Corporation increased seven fold its direct holdings in fossil-fuel companies. So we were there to join the students in a week of direct action (dubbed “Heat Week”), successfully shutting down Massachusetts Hall, where President Drew Faust has her office, and University Hall, the main administration building (even occupying the Harvard Alumni Association office for two straight nights). The students’ weeklong protest was part of a spring wave of escalation on campuses around the country, from Tulane to the University of Mary Washington to Swarthmore and Yale.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Climate Plans in the Lead-up to Paris: Where Do We Stand? | World Resources Institute

A new international climate agreement will be negotiated in Paris later this year. Photo by Mauro/Flickr

by Taryn Fransen, Mengpin Ge, Kelly Levin, Eliza Northrop and Heather McGray – August 04, 2015

Halfway through the year in which the world is slated to adopt a new international climate agreement, countries responsible for more than half of global greenhouse gas emissions have now released their post-2020 climate action plans. The rest of the world’s nations are expected to submit their own plans, or “intended nationally determined contributions” (INDCs) between now and December, with many expected before October 1st.

So the big questions are: How do these INDCs stack up, and what impact will they have in reining in climate change?

We’ve been tracking INDCs as they come in, attempting to understand what they mean for the Paris negotiations, and evaluating whether they are transparent enough to allow us to gauge global progress on climate action. Here’s a comprehensive look at progress so far on mitigation, equity and transparency. A separate blog post takes stock of progress on adaptation.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

Forest fires: are some being started deliberately?


euronews (in English)

Published on Aug 11, 2015

*Forest fires are raging across the northwestern Iberian peninsula, threatening homes and livelihoods.*

A large fire in Mangualde in Portugal has now been brought under control.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
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Noam Chomsky: What Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Is Doing to the Democratic Party

Photo Credit: AFP

With video from the time Bernie brought Chomsky to Vermont.

By Zaid Jilani / AlterNet  August 11, 2015

The linguist and political analyst Noam Chomsky is one of the most quoted individuals in the world, and one the globe’s most prominent thinkers.

Although he has a sizable following, he is rarely seen in mainstream media, and has only been called to testify before Congress once (during the Vietnam War).

Yet today Chomsky finally has a mutual admirer in the political system, and he happens to be out-polling every GOP contender.

In May of 1985, then-Mayor Bernie Sanders of Burlington, Vermont brought Noam Chomsky to talk about the U.S. military intervention in Latin America. “At a time when many intellectuals…find it more comfortable to be silence and to go with the flow as it were, it is comforting to find on occasion individuals who have the guts to speak out about the important issues of our time, and certainly Professor Chomsky has been the person to do it,” he said.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
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The Earth’s Battery Is Running Low | The Tyee

We’ve drained our planet’s stored energy, scientists say, with no rechargeable plug in sight.

‘We have a limited amount of biomass energy available on the planet, and once it’s exhausted, there is absolutely nothing to replace it.’ Earth photo via Shutterstock.

By Andrew Nikiforuk, Yesterday, TheTyee.ca

In the quiet of summer, a couple of U.S. scientists argued in the pages of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that modern civilization has drained the Earth — an ancient battery of stored chemical energy — to a dangerous low.

Although the battery metaphor made headlines in leading newspapers in China, India and Russia, the paper didn’t garner “much immediate attention in North America,” admits lead author John Schramski, a mechanical engineer and an ecologist.

And that’s a shame, because the paper gives ordinary people an elegant metaphor to understand the globe’s stagnating economic and political systems and their close relatives: collapsing ecosystems. It also offers a blunt course of action: “drastic” energy conservation.

It, too, comes with a provocative title: “Human domination of the biosphere: Rapid discharge of the Earth-space battery foretells the future of humankind.”

The battery metaphor speaks volumes and then some.

In the paper, Schramski and his colleagues at the University of Georgia and the University of New Mexico compared the energy state of the Earth to “the energy state of a house powered by a once-charged battery supplying all energy for lights, heating, cooling, cooking, power appliances and electronic communication.”

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

#BlackLivesMatter Protesters Shut Down Bernie Sanders Campaign Speech

In Seattle, Black Lives Matter protesters interrupted Bernie Sanders during a campaign speech Saturday to call for a commemoration of Michael Brown’s death and to demand Sanders do more for racial justice. Seattle activist Marissa Janae Johnson took the microphone and said that if Sanders is really part of a grassroots movement, then he will be more vocal in his support for Black Lives Matter.

Marissa Janae Johnson: “Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the ruthless murder of Michael Brown. It is time that we honor that here and now. Bernie says that he’s about the people, about grassroots movement. The biggest grassroots movement in this country right now is the Black Lives Matter movement.”

Following the interruption, Sanders published a statement saying he was “disappointed” by the interruption. The following day, he published a racial justice platform on his campaign website. It includes demilitarizing the police, addressing voter disenfranchisement, banning private prisons and ending the war on drugs.

See also:

Global Climate Change
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Pap and Thom Hartmann: Outside Agitators Causing Real Harm to Black Lives Matter


Ring of Fire Radio

Published on Aug 11, 2015

The two women who interrupted a Bernie Sanders rally this past weekend have co-opted the legitimacy and title of Black Lives Matter to further their own selfish agenda. They don’t realize the harm that they’ve caused to the movement, and it appears that they don’t care, either.

Mike Papantonio and Thom Hartmann talk about the damage that these two women are doing to a vital organization.

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice