Daily Archives: April 25, 2016

GOP Megadonor Charles Koch Suggests He Could Back Clinton

April 25, 2016 Headlines

Republican megadonor Charles Koch has said he could support Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton over a Republican nominee in November. In an interview with ABC News, Koch said he would only support Republican candidates Donald Trump or Ted Cruz if they change certain proposals, including Cruz’s vow to carpet-bomb ISIS and Trump’s plan to ban Muslims from entering the United States. Koch spoke to journalist Jonathan Karl.

Jonathan Karl: “Am I hearing you correctly: You think Bill Clinton was a better president than George W. Bush?”

Charles Koch: “Well, in some ways. In other ways, I mean, he wasn’t an exemplar.”

Jonathan Karl: “Yeah.”

Charles Koch: “But as far as the growth of government, the increase in spending, on restrictive regulations, it was two-and-a-half times under Bush than it was under Clinton.”

Jonathan Karl: “So is it possible another Clinton could be better than another Republican—”

Charles Koch: “It’s possible.”

Jonathan Karl: “—the next time around?”

Charles Koch: “It’s possible.”

Jonathan Karl: “You couldn’t see yourself supporting Hillary Clinton, could you?”

Charles Koch: “Well, I—that—her—we would have to believe her actions would be quite different than her rhetoric. Let me put it that way.”

Global Climate Change
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Germany: Up to 90,000 Protest TTIP U.S.-EU Trade Deal Ahead of Obama Visit

Ahead of Obama’s visit to Germany, tens of thousands of people took to the streets to protest a massive trade deal between the United States and European Union. Critics say the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, would undermine safety and environmental regulations to serve corporate interests. Organizers said 90,000 people attended the rally in the northern city of Hanover Saturday. Protests continued on Sunday.

April 25, 2016 Headlines

Ivo Ivancic: “We should be part of the negotiations. They are creating a second judicial system, sitting in secret rooms with business delegates, deciding behind our backs. And putting governments under pressure with court cases worth billions of dollars because they claim they lose money, that is something which is not OK. And that’s why I am totally against TTIP.”

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Judge Exonerates Mike Duffy, Indicts Stephen Harper And Senate

E120, e130,

The Future Of News Online | On Point

Some say Facebook will completely re-shape the news industry and publishing. In this file photo, a computer screen displays a social media posting by Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

April 25, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Layoffs and shakeups at online news sites, and what that means for the uncertain future of journalism.

How we get the news in the digital era is still a question up for grabs. Newspapers have suffered and shrunk. The latest round of worry? That even digital natives in the news business– Mashable, Yahoo, Buzzfeed Salon and more– are stumbling now. Struggling to find a business model for the news as social media, Facebook, Google suck up eyeballs and ad dollars. This hour On Point: Now, online news cuts. And how exactly is journalism supposed to survive?


John Herrman, David Carr Fellow at the New York Times. Former co-editor and media reporter for The Awl. (@jwherrman)

Mitra Kalita, managing editor for editorial strategy at the Los Angeles Times. Former executive director for Quartz. (@mitrakalita)

Ken Doctor, news industry analyst. Writes the Newsonomics column for Nieman Journalism Lab. Author of Newsonomics: Twelve New Trends That Will Shape the News You Get. (@kdoctor)

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Urgenci: The International Network for Community Supported Agriculture

Community Supported Agriculture, as a way to contribute to a greater solidarity between urban and rural communities, is equally empowering for both the community and the farmers and offer solutions to common problems facing producers and consumers worldwide:

1. Fair local food systems are an efficient tool to restore local food sovereignty for all regions and communities worldwide.

One of the main roots for the current food crises, as well as for social unrests more generally, is that farmers alone have been shouldering the risks of the increasingly ruthless global market, which has forced millions of them from the land.

CSA offers one of the most hopeful alternatives to this downward spiral, and is the only model of farming in which consumers consciously agree to share the risks and benefits with the farmers.

2. With other short supply chains, CSA schemes are a very efficient way to defend health through food and to fight against many forms of malnutrition.

In establishing direct and trusting relationships between farmers and consumers, people have access to fresh food from an accountable source: organic farmers producing healthy, safe, nutritious and minimally processed food without pesticides and various additives, at an affordable price. This was what first motivated Japanese women in the 1960s, confronted with the dangers of industrial and agro-chemical pollution, to get together with small-scale farmers to create the first Teikeis to distribute food locally.

3. CSA represents a relevant locus for triggering civic responsibility in economic relations and for setting up a social network of solidarity between farmers and consumers, building more socially just and sustainable communities trading on fair terms both with neighbours and with people in distant regions.

Indeed, for CSA to be more than just another direct marketing scheme, the growers and the eaters, as they sometimes call themselves, need to work together to create local social/economic forms, based on trust, which encourage initiative and self-reliance, share the risks of agricultural production, share information, are human-scale and efficient, charge according to needs/costs (not market).

4. Addressing environmental and climate change issues seems to be an almost natural outgrowth of the CSA concept, which is based on cooperation and harmony with nature.

CSAs are part of the economy relocation movement for fewer food miles, less packaging and ecologically sensitive farming, reducing energy waste and pollution. Consumers are supporting the blossoming of organic family-run farms that do not depend on fossil or imported energy, encouraging proper land stewardship by farmers towards low or no chemical inputs, greater biodiversity, conservation of landscapes and cultural heritage, in particular for future generations.

Urgenci’s members are strongly convinced that the flexibility of CSA allows for many inventive and meaningful combinations, building sustainable communities and constructive alliances among as many different groups and perspectives as possible.

Translating CSA to other landscapes and mentalities, which are vastly different in scale, available resources and culture, is a challenge.

The model has certain core principles based on sustainable, fair and ecological practises that are similar no matter where or how it is practiced but at the same time, it is largely an evolving and highly adaptative process.

Especially, Urgenci is eager to engage cooperation with sustainable agriculture/small-scale farming movements from the global South, where shared goals are to empower even the poorest and smallest-scale farmers to become active contributors to and beneficiaries of local sustainable development and to offer continuous education to farmers and other stakeholders in the system.

Global Climate Change
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10 Years of Fracking: Its Impact on Our Water, Land and Climate

Fracking wells across the country released at least 5.3 billion pounds of the potent greenhouse gas methane, as much global warming pollution as 22 coal-fired power plants. Photo credit: Environment America Research & Policy CenterEnvironment America | April 14, 2016 9:30 am
|In a single year, fracking wells across the country released at least 5.3 billion pounds of the potent greenhouse gas methane, as much global warming pollution as 22 coal-fired power plants.

The statistic is one of many in a new study by Environment America Research & Policy Center that quantifies the environmental harm caused by more 137,000 fracking wells permitted since 2005.

“The numbers in this report don’t lie,” Rachel Richardson, director of Environment America’s Stop Drilling program and co-author of the report, said. “For the past decade, fracking has been a nightmare for our drinking water, our open lands and our climate.”

Today’s analysis, an update of a similar 2013 study, paints a frightening picture of fracking’s harms in addition to its global warming pollution—including toxic chemical use and destroyed land.

“In just the last two and a half years, the number of fracked oil and gas wells has increased by 55,000,” Elizabeth Ridlington, policy analyst with Frontier Group and co-author of the report, said. “That growth in fracked wells means more polluted water, more toxic chemicals and more communities at risk.”

The major findings of Fracking by the Numbers: The Damage to Our Air, Water and Climate from a Decade of Dirty Drilling include:

  • During well completion alone, fracking released 5.3 billion pounds of methane in 2014, a pollutant 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over the course of 20 years.
  • Fracking wells produced at least 14 billion gallons of wastewater in 2014. Fracking wastewater has leaked from retention ponds, been dumped into streams and escaped from faulty disposal wells, putting drinking water at risk. Wastewater from fracked wells includes not only the toxic chemicals injected into the well but also can bring naturally occurring radioactive materials to the surface.
  • Between 2005 and 2015, fracking used at least 23 billion pounds of toxic chemicals. Fracking uses of vast quantities of chemicals known to harm human health. People living or working nearby can be exposed to these chemicals if they enter drinking water after a spill or if they become airborne.
  • At least 239 billion gallons of water have been used in fracking since 2005, an average of 3 million gallons per well. Fracking requires huge volumes of water for each well—water that is often needed for other uses or to maintain healthy aquatic ecosystems.
  • Infrastructure to support fracking has directly damaged at least 675,000 acres of land since 2005, an area only slightly smaller than Yosemite National Park. Well pads, new access roads, pipelines and other infrastructure built for fracking turn forests and rural landscapes into industrial zones.

…(read more).

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Nuclear: 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Chernobyl

Celine Mergan, Greenpeace International | April 15, 2016 10:30 am

In the early morning of April 26, 1986, reactor four of the Chernobyl nuclear station exploded. It caused what the United Nations has called “the greatest environmental catastrophe in the history of humanity.”

Chernobyl was the accident that the nuclear industry said would never happen.

Twenty-five years later the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan reminded us that the risk of another Chernobyl remains wherever nuclear power is used.The long-lived radionuclides released by Chernobyl means the disaster continues 30 years later. It still affects the lives of millions of people. Here are 15 facts you may not know about the disaster:

….(read more).

Global Climate Change
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Josh Fox: It’s Time for Coastal Cities to Wake Up

What sea level rise could look like at the Statue of Liberty in New York City. Photo credit: Climate Central
Josh Fox | April 18, 2016 9:38 am

The climate science is uncompromising. We’ve already warmed the earth 1 degree Celsius. And we have enough carbon and methane and other greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere and enough heat in the oceans to warm the earth another half a degree Celsius already. So if we stop all greenhouse gas emissions right now, we’ve already reached the 1.5 degree threshold. The current 1 degree rise has already increased extreme weather, caused mammoth floods and unprecedented drought, it has gotten the ice caps to start a menacing thaw. The consequences of 1 degree have been far more severe than we ever imagined and we are on our way to 1.5 no matter what we do.

Now here’s the really tough part: At 2 degrees of warming, this gets much much worse. We are at an apocalyptic vision of the planet that few people want to imagine. We see worsening ocean acidification and other habitat loss that will kill off 30-50 percent of the species on the planet, we will see tropical diseases explode out of control and perhaps most damaging the slow thaw of the ice caps enters a critical and irreversible phase leading to between 5-9 meters of sea level rise.

At 7 meters of sea level rise, the greenhouse that just held the democratic debate in Brooklyn, where we saw the most robust discussion on climate change and fracking ever in presidential politics, will be under water. This kind of sea level rise will render New York City mostly uninhabitable. Sure, the Brooklyn Bridge won’t be underwater, but the on-ramp will be. Subways will be submerged, the Lower East Side, the Financial District, Red Hook, The Rockaways, the coast of Williamsburg, disappear under the east river and life in the Big Apple is nothing like what it was before.

And this is not just trouble for New York city—most of our major coastal cities would suffer the same watery fate, including Philadelphia, Boston, Washington DC, Charleston, Miami, New Orleans, San Francisco and Oakland. All will face a crisis of sea level rise, not to mention the millions of toxic sites that are on the coast lines that will need to be moved or remediated if we are not to contaminate the oceans in a nightmare of drowning refineries, nuclear plants, chemical factors, gas stations and the like.

It is clear that we have not done enough thinking on this subject and the political system has not done anywhere near enough to address the issue or inform the public.

It’s time for New York City and the rest of the coastlines to wake up to climate change.

Join me for an emergency climate discussion each night after the screening of my new film How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change, April 20-28 at the IFC Center in New York City.

(read more).

Global Climate Change
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Editorial : Blocking the path of corporate governance of food systems

Editorial : Blocking the path of corporate governance of food systems

(Illustration : Daniel Pudles, danielpudles.co.uk)

From our oceans and seashores, crossing our lands and reaching deep into the minerals of our earth, there is a dangerous threat dominating our current political and economic relations around the world : the so-called private corporate capture of policy-making public spaces. For decades, civil society and social movements have been struggling to democratically strengthen these spaces in order to achieve the so needed peoples’ food sovereignty. But this process is under a severe threat these days.

In this Nyéléni Newsletter, we raise our voices against the growing power transnational corporations (TNCs) are gaining and the negative impact this is having on people’s lives. In times we witness the reproduction of colonial relations, where private actors – especially TNCs – have weakened and blurred the role of states, particularly within intergovernmental policy-making spaces – including the UN – every attempt to establish a global “multi-stakeholder governance” must rapidly be ruled out.

Water, seeds, land and other essential natural resources are becoming, more and more, part of the business of a small group of TNCs. This “corporatization” has been developed within the context of global initiatives such as the Global Redesign Initiative (GRI), spearheaded by the World Economic Forum (WEF). This represents a growing privatization of the governance of peoples’ food systems and nutrition, and initiatives based on this GRI logic, such as the Scaling-Up Nutrition (SUN), Coastal Fisheries Initiative (CFI) or the G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition for Africa, are definitely “no-go” solutions for the peoples.

Such initiatives also represent the erosion of the role of states at international political fora – and therefore of people’s sovereignty, as they put private speculation above public interests. This leads to a kind of “corporate colonialism”, where even seeds’ genetic mapping – as proposed by “DivSeek” – happens to be a form of dispossessing peasants.

On top of that, the absence of public policies and states’ commitment to their human rights obligations have led to the TNCs pursuing their activities with impunity. As echoed in this edition, crimes committed by TNCs against communities in Nigeria or the privatization of cities in Honduras, show the urgent need for states to start urgently regulating TNC’s actions. This is also why civil society call for an international binding instrument to fully regulate and sanction TNCs’ activities as a very first step to protect and reaffirm peoples’ sovereignty globally. Together with social movements and civil society organizations, we must work to reinvent and rebuild public policy spaces at the local, national, regional and international levels. Only through a strong linkage between these spheres, can peoples’ sovereignty be exercised worldwide.

…(



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Scientists Start to Look at Ground Beneath Their Feet for Solution to Climate Change

Four-fifths of annual emissions from fossil fuel combustion could be retained by soil.
Photo credit: Ron Nichols/NRCS / Flickr

Tim Radford, Climate News Network | April 17, 2016 9:50 am

Climate scientists anxious to find ways to limit atmospheric greenhouse gases have started to look at the ground beneath their feet.

They calculate that although the world’s soils already hold 2.4 trillion tonnes of gases in the form of organic carbon, there’s room for more.

Scientists from the U.S. and Scotland report in Nature journal that with a few changes to agricultural practice, there would be room for another 8 billion tonnes.

“In our fight to avoid dangerous climate change in the 21st century, we need heavyweight allies,” Dave Reay, a geoscientist and specialist in carbon management at Edinburgh University, said. “One of the most powerful is right beneath our feet. Soils are already huge stores of carbon, and improved management can make them even bigger.”

Data Availability

“Too long they have been overlooked as a means to tackle climate change,” Reay continued. “Too often have problems of accurate measurement and reporting stymied progress towards climate-smart soil management.

“With the surge in availability of big data on soils around the world, alongside rapid improvements in understanding and modeling, the time has come for this big-hitter to enter the ring.”

In fact, researchers have been conscious for years that the soils have a powerful role to play. They have identified the agencies that control a soil’s capacity for carbon. They have tested climate models to check on emissions from soils. They have experimented with techniques for conserving soil carbon. And they have repeatedly sounded the alarm about the stores of organic carbon in the permafrost.

In addition, they have established that man-made greenhouse gas releases coincide with the spread of global agriculture thousands of years ago. Land use, the scientists now calculate, accounts for perhaps a quarter of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions, and between 10 percent and 14 percent directly from agriculture.

…(read more).

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