Prominent Indigenous Environmental Leader Tom Goldtooth Blocked from U.N. Climate Talks
One of the most prominent North American indigenous activists attending the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Cancún was blocked from entering the summit on Wednesday, one day after he publicly criticized the U.N. process. Tom Goldtooth, the executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, who had received credentials from the United Nations, was denied entry and then removed from the summit grounds.
Statement By Tom Goldtooth, Leader of the Indigenous Environmental Network Delegation to UNFCCC COP-16 Negotiations, December 9, 2010
On the Wed December 8th when I returned to the Moon Palace to continue my role in the negotiations I was denied entry, informed that my accreditation had been suspended and then removed from the grounds. I also learned that over a dozen of my brothers and sisters from other accredited civil society organizations were also denied entry. I am pleased to report that due to the support of both government and civil society allies who advocated on my behalf, that as of this morning, my accreditation has now been re-instated. To everyone who assisted the Indigenous Environmental Network and myself we issue our deepest thanks and gratitude.
However, even though I have been fortunate enough to regain my personal access to the negotiations, the treatment I received is indicative of a larger and disturbing pattern in which the voices of civil society are being silenced within the United Nations process. The UNFCCC has drastically limited the number of civil society representatives allowed inside the talks and increasingly our freedom of speech and right to peaceful protest is being withdrawn. We must stand united against this type of censorship that is designed to silence the massive opposition to the co-optation of the UN process by an unholy alliance of short-term thinking, denial and greed. I have included below a statement from the members of our delegation who were ejected on the 7th of December and continue to be denied access to the talks.
Both inside and outside the UN process the voices of Indigenous peoples, social movements and the communities most directly affected by our fossil fuel dependency must continue to be heard as we reject false solutions like the carbon market mechanisms of REDD. We demand that the Cochabama People’s Agreement be acknowledged as a path forward towards addressing the real solutions to the climate crisis based in traditional Indigenous knowledge, community-based practices, Indigenous and human rights and the rights of Mother Earth.
Tom Goldtooth the Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) a network of Indigenous Peoples empowering Indigenous Nations and communities towards sustainable livelihoods, demanding environmental justice and maintaining the Sacred Fire of our traditions. IEN has brought 17 Indigenous leaders to Cancun as part of the Grassroots Solutions for Climate Justice -- North America Delegation uniting representatives from fossil fuel impacted communities who are on the frontlines of solving the climate crisis. To book interviews or get further background information on North American climate justice organizing contact the IEN Media Hotline: +52 998 108 0748 http://redroadcancun.org
Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) releases its Four Principles for Climate Justice
Indigenous Peoples must call for the most stringent and binding emission reduction targets. A growing body of western scientific evidence now suggests what Indigenous Peoples have expressed for a long time: Life as we know it is in danger. Western scientists tell us that climate change is accelerating, and that changes are happening faster than expected. New scientific information made available since the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report shows that changes in ocean acidification, melting of permafrost, and ice melting are happening much faster than projected by the IPCC. Objectives must be made to reach stabilization of GHG concentrations at 300 ppm and to limit temperature rise to 1.0 degrees centigrade, based on pre-industrial levels, noting that emissions must peak in 2015.
Statement from members of Global Grassroots Justice Alliance and Youth for
Climate Justice Who were expelled from COP-16
We are representatives of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance and Youth 4 Climate Justice who were a part of an organized and peaceful demonstration inside the Moon Palace on Dec. 7, to draw attention to the serious dangers of false solutions such as REDD and the carbon market. In response the UNFCCC, silenced our voices and ejected us from the Convention. All three of us are representatives of
communities who are already being disproportionately impacted by climate change and the unjust social and economic conditions that have created this crisis. By penalizing and ejecting us as individuals the UN is also silencing the collective voices of our communities. We stand firmly rooted in our principles to lift the voices of women, young people, and Indigenous peoples throughout the world and to advance the real solutions to cooling the planet found in our grassroots movements. We stand in solidarity with the thousands of people who took action on Dec. 7, as part of the Global Day of Action.
Quotes from the 3 Banned Climate Justice Organizers:
“Our delegation came to the UNFCCC to bring forward our communities'
solutions to the climate crisis, to give testimony about the shifts
happening to create local, place-based economies and reconnect to our mother
earth. What we found were negotiations that excluded our participation so we
took action to ensure our voices were heard." -- Joaquin Sanchez Jr. Youth
for Climate Justice, Oakland, CA, USA
“How am I supposed to register the concerns of hundreds of Asian families
poisoned by the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, CA when the UN has
selectively denied me access to the convention? The UN is systematically
silencing the voices of impacted communities. We are experts in our own
right, we know these issues all too well. Those who are on the front line of
the problem also need be on the front line of the solutions.” -- Mari Rose
Taruc, Asian Pacific Environmental Network and Grassroots Global Justice
Alliance, Richmond, CA USA
“I came to COP16 representing the public health concerns of low-income
communities of color living in Los Angeles being impacted by toxic
emissions. Throughout the past two weeks I have seen how the UNFCCC meeting
has systematically limited and suppressed voices of dissent to programs
being promoted through the UN such as REDD which will only increase the
poising of the communities I represent back home.” -- Sunyoung Yang, Bus
Riders Union and Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Los Angeles, CA USA
Published on June 18th, 2009
They are everywhere. We can’t see them, but little by little they are destroying our way of life. But for the first time ever, they are being caught red-handed. They are greenhouse gases. And June 18 2009 Deutsche Bank unveiled the world’s first real-time carbon counter to measure these microscopic murderers.
Deutsche Bank’s 70-foot-tall digital billboard was unveiled today at 33rd Street and 7th Avenue in the heart of New York City. It stands right outside Madison Square Garden and Penn Station, displaying the running total of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Kevin Parker, Global Head of Deutsche Bank’s Asset Management division (DeAM) and a member of Deutsche Bank’s Group Executive Committee, switched on the counter at a ceremony this morning.
The belief that information acts as a catalyst for action plays the muse for the Carbon Counter’s creation. The number displayed on the scientifically-valid Counter is based on measurements that come from scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The measurements track all long-lived greenhouse gases covered under the Kyoto and Montreal Protocols (24 gases excluding ozone and aerosols).
“It will be a huge task to bring global emissions under control and my hope is that putting this data in the public view will spur both governments and markets to move us more quickly to a low-carbon economy,” said Parker.
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June 3, 2009 | 6:00 am
What are green jobs and where are they? Californians can begin to find out thanks to a new mapping website from the Environmental Defense Fund that allows them to search out companies that retrofit homes for energy efficiency, manufacture parts for renewable energy systems, build electric cars or process advanced fuels. And they can search by city, county or congressional district.
Why congressional district? Well, that would be so constituents could tell their representatives how much green business is at stake when they decide how to vote on American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, the sweeping legislation that seeks to control global warming emissions while creating green jobs. The bill, sponsored by Reps. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), is expected to reach the floor of the House of Representatives by July 4.
Click on the congressional district of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Orange) for instance, and one can count more than 40 green businesses, including Catalina Solar & Wind in Avalon, Clean Energy Fuels Corp. in Seal Beach, and Doran Electric Vehicles in Huntington Beach.
This would be the same Congressman Rohrabacher who sent out a press release this week calling climate legislation "The Biggest Power Grab in History" and touting himself as "among Congress' most outspoken opponents of global warming alarmism."
"Public officials, environmentalists and businesses have not been effective in conveying the message that green is going to be good for the economy," said Derek Walker, director of EDF's California Climate initiative. "Everyone is worried where the next jobs are going to come from. These maps tell us."
The maps are "a work in progress," Walker said. More businesses will be added to the 2,200 counted so far, and others can be added by contacting EDF through their web page.
So far, among counties, Los Angeles ranks at the top, with 398 green businesses, followed by San Diego with 208, Orange with 202, Santa Clara with 173 and Alameda with 131.
-- Margot Roosevelt
Photo: Solar panels atop the Anaheim Convention Center. Credit: Los Angeles Times
BP clashes with scientists over deep sea oil pollution
Obama team 'incensed at being kept in the dark' as company denies existence of underwater oil clouds
Chris McGreal in Washington
The Guardian, Tuesday 1 June 2010
A used oil boom part is disposed of in Louisiana. Photograph: Reuters
BP has challenged widespread scientific claims that vast plumes of oil are spreading underwater from its blown-out rig in the Gulf of Mexico. The denial comes as the oil giant prepares for a new operation to put an end to the worst oil spill in US history – which could see the leak get worse before it gets better.
The company's challenge to several scientific studies is likely to put it further at odds with an increasingly angry Obama administration, which has accused it of playing down the size of the leak in an effort to limit possible fines.
BP's chief executive, Tony Hayward, said it had no evidence of underwater oil clouds. "The oil is on the surface," he said. "Oil has a specific gravity that's about half that of water. It wants to get to the surface because of the difference in specific gravity."
Hayward's assertion flies in the face of studies by scientists at universities in Florida, Georgia and Mississippi, among other institutions, who say they have detected huge underwater plumes of oil, including one 120 metres (400ft) deep about 50 miles from the destroyed rig.
BP's claim is likely only to further anger environmentalists and the White House, which has grown increasingly suspicious of the company's claims to be frank and transparent on developments. The president's environmental adviser and director of the Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, Carol Browner, has accused BP of misstating the scale of the leak.
"BP has a vested financial interest in downplaying the size of this," she said on CBS television. "They will pay penalties at the end of the day, a per-barrel per-day penalty."
Ed Markey, chairman of the House of Representatives environment committee, has also accused BP of underplaying the scale of the disaster and suggested that it may have a criminal liability.
"The fine that can be imposed upon them is based on how many barrels [pour in to the sea]. It could wind up in billions of dollars of fines," said Markey. "They had a stake in low-balling the number right from the beginning. They were either lying or they were incompetent."
In the White House, under increasing criticism for not taking charge of the effort to stop the spill, some officials are saying they have been misled by the company or kept in the dark at key moments.
The Politico website reported that the Obama team was incensed that the company failed to inform it for a day and a half after suspending the failed "top kill" operation to plug the spill using rubber tyres and mud.
Obama is expected to hold his first meeting today with the leaders of an oil spill commission he established to make policy recommendations about US offshore oil drilling. The commission will be similar to those that looked into the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986 and the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in 1979.
Also today, US attorney general Eric Holder will meet federal prosecutors and state attorneys general in New Orleans. It will be Holder's first trip to survey the damage before what legal experts believe will be a criminal investigation into the disaster.
The dispute between the administration and BP comes as the company readies its latest effort to contain the flow of oil in to the sea, following the failure of top kill. The new plan involves an intricate operation to cut the top off the damaged riser that brought oil to the surface of the destroyed rig. The intention is to create a flat surface to which to attach a valve that would divert the oil into a pipe and on to a ship.
But slicing the top off the damaged pipe may result in oil flowing into the sea at a faster rate until the new valve is fitted. Even if successful, the operation would only limit, not entirely stop, oil from flowing into the sea. If this measure failed, BP's best hope of halting the oil would remain the drilling of a relief well that would ease the pressure on the damaged one. But the US government has warned that the spill could continue into August.
The attempts to stop the oil flow have been given added urgency by the start of the hurricane season tomorrow.
Forecasters are predicting an unusually high number of storms over the next six months. If the oil is still spread across the sea, a hurricane is likely to disperse it over a much wider area and push it deeper into marshlands and other inland areas, making the environmental disaster even worse.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting between eight and 14 hurricanes this season, with perhaps a similar number of smaller storms.
The US military has ruled out taking charge of the operation to stem the flow of oil from the blown-out BP rig. The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, today said that military chiefs had looked at the available equipment and concluded that "the best technology in the world, with respect to that, exists in the oil industry".
A day earlier, the former US secretary of state, Colin Powell, said the military should step in because the crisis was now "beyond the capacity" of BP to stop.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
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