By Arthur Neslen in The Guardian – A court in The Hague has ordered the Dutch government to cut its emissions by at least 25% within five years, in a landmark ruling expected to cause ripples around the world. To cheers and hoots from climate campaigners in court, three judges ruled that government plans to cut emissions by just 14-17% compared to 1990 levels by 2020 were unlawful, given the scale of the threat posed by climate change. Jubilant campaigners said that governments preparing for the Paris climate summit later this year would now need to look over their shoulders for civil rights era-style legal challenges where emissions-cutting pledges are inadequate. “Before this judgement, the only legal obligations on states were those they agreed among themselves in international treaties,” said Dennis van Berkel, legal counsel for Urgenda, the group that brought the suit.
By Derek Markham on TreeHugger. Los Angeles, CA – It’s admirable that people want to conserve water at home, especially in light of the severe droughts that are affecting many areas, but the amount of water used in homes pales in comparison to that used by industry. While residential water use is but a small slice of the pie (~14%), the meat and dairy industry is said to account for some 47% of all water used in the state of California. And of course, we all want to do our part to help the beef and milk producers continue to guzzle water, so a couple of smart fellows have come up with a great solution, which allows people to have their beef (and milk) while sacrificing a bit of personal hygiene for the good of industry.
By Art Edwards for KGW. PORTLAND, Ore. — The fight against drilling for oil in the Arctic has come to Portland. Climate change activists kayaked to Swan Island Friday night and then again on Saturday afternoon, to protest a drilling support ship that arrived in Portland for repairs. Some also lined up on shore, waving signs with slogans like, “Shell No, Save the Arctic.” Around 200 took to the water on Saturday and circled the ship in kayaks. They creatively referred to themselves as “kayaktivists.” The Coast Guard had enacted a so-called “safety zone” around the ship in an effort to keep space between the demonstrators and the massive boat, which is more than 300 feet long.
By Dan Monte for World Beyond War – I view this as a necessary pilgrimage for me. I want to raise awareness that climate change, which threatens our civilization, is only intensified by war, and that there is no solution to climate change that does not include peace. But we are accustomed to viewing issues as independent of each other, war and the environment as not connected. And yet our Department of “Defense” has been telling us for many years now that climate change is a serious national security threat. Indeed it is a global security threat that is destabilizing our world. We must understand that military force forgoes the international cooperation needed for solving our climate problem. War reverses all of our progress on improving environmental standards. It is extremely carbon intensive. Our task is to stand firm against the evangelists of war and to reject their fear mongering. The rejection of militarism is necessary — it is the only course towards climate solutions.
By Miyoko Sakashita in Medium – The Obama administration had approved Shell’s permits to drill for oil in the Arctic this summer. It came like a punch in the gut. How could he? Not only will this put Arctic wildlife directly in harm’s way of oil spill but it will push us deeper in the very climate crisis that President Obama has vowed time and again to finally address. More than 1 million people had urged the president to keep oil drilling out of the Arctic. Just last weekend, thousands of people around the world took to the streets and their local waterways to say “Shell No” to drilling in the far north. Obama didn’t just defy environmentalists around the world who have been calling for the Arctic to be kept off-limits to offshore drilling, he betrayed his own stated values and cast a dark shadow across the United States’ role as a world leader in transitioning the planet to the clean energy future it desperately needs.
By Lee Stewart. WASHINGTON, DC–At the Natural Gas Roundtable luncheon in DC on Tuesday, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Norman Bay announced his agency would soon issue a ‘best practices manual’ to help the gas industry win permits for fracked gas infrastructure projects. As he spoke to a packed audience of gas lobbyists, industry representatives, and their supporters in Congress, Bay echoed advice he received from a gas pipeline CEO. “While you certainly want to receive a certificate from FERC, you also want to earn a social license from the communities along the path of the pipeline,” he said.
By Sandra Steingraber of We Are Seneca Lake. Watkins Glen, NY – In an act of civil disobedience against gas storage in Seneca Lake salt caverns, 13 Finger Lakes residents, led by local members of the Ithaca Catholic Worker Movement, formed a human blockade shortly after sunrise this morning at the north entrance of Crestwood Midstream on Route 14. Carrying with them a seven-foot-tall replica of Pope Francis’ recent encyclical letter on climate change, Laudato Si! On Care for Our Common Home, they blocked all traffic from entering or leaving. Schuyler County deputies arrested the 13 shortly after 9:30 a.m. as they sang and read from the Ponitical document.
By Eric Holthaus in Slate – In what may prove to be a turning point for political action on climate change, a breathtaking new study casts extreme doubt about the near-term stability of global sea levels. The study—written by James Hansen, NASA’s former lead climate scientist, and 16 co-authors, many of whom are considered among the top in their fields—concludes that glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica will melt 10 times faster than previous consensus estimates, resulting in sea level rise of at least 10 feet in as little as 50 years. The study, which has not yet been peer reviewed, brings new importance to a feedback loop in the ocean near Antarctica that results in cooler freshwater from melting glaciers forcing warmer, saltier water underneath the ice sheets, speeding up the melting rate.
By Dr. Glen Barry in Ecointernet.org. Newspapers are full of disastrous warnings if economic growth does not return to Greece, or if it drops a couple points in China. Rarely in human history have so many been so fundamentally wrong about a matter of such importance as the desirability, and even the possibility, of perpetual economic growth. The real threat to human well-being is not that there is too little economic growth. Rather, it is that there is too much, and that we have overshot how much growth can occur without collapsing our shared environment. The industrial growth economy is ravaging natural ecosystems. Stocks of natural capital – including water, soil, old-growth forests, wild fish, etc. – are being pillaged to artificially inflate short-term economic growth numbers.
From Peaceful Uprising, Book Cliffs, Utah – Our third annual mass action camp is just around the corner, and we’re stoked to be hosting close to 100 participants who care about defending our future from tar sands mining! The camp will include workshops on climate justice and decolonization, nonviolent direct action, art, the history of the land we’re working to protect, and lots more. This large gathering helps us build needed momentum for our campaign, and prepares many new people to join us, some for the short-term and others for the long haul. We’ll also be holding subsequent trainings throughout the summer and fall, and these funds will help to support them as well. To pull this off, we need to raise $5,000. We need your support to make this gathering a huge success.
By David Suzuki for the David Suzuki Foundation – We appear to be in the early stages of something huge. Even some news outlets are shifting. The U.K.’s Guardian decided earlier this year to increase its coverage of climate change, going so far as to encourage divestment from the fossil fuel industry. The New York Times decided to use the more accurate term “denier” rather than “skeptic” to refer to those who reject the overwhelming evidence for human-caused climate change. People power is another sign of the growing shift: 400,000 at the largest climate march in history in New York in September, with 2,646 simultaneous marches in 162 countries; an unprecedented gathering of 25,000 in Quebec City in advance of a premiers’ climate change summit in April; and more than 10,000 in Toronto (including me) on July 5 for the March for Jobs, Justice and the Climate in advance of the Climate Summit of the Americas.
By Emily Schwartz Greco for Other Words – Slashing climate pollution may take something new — like suing governments for failing to shield their constituents from a climate catastrophe and prosecuting the oil, gas, and coal industries for this mess. Ultimately, climate lawyers could replicate successes scored withtobacco litigation and the legal actions that brought about marriage equality. The biggest breakthrough came right after the Washington ruling when a Dutch court ordered the government of the Netherlands to reduce that nation’s emissions by 25 percent within five years. As the low-lying nation currently aims for only a 17 percent cut, this case filed on behalf of 900 people marked a global precedent. More lawsuits are in the pipeline. One pits South Pacific islanders whose countries are threatened by rising sea levels against big oil companies. These folks from Vanuatu, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Fiji, the Solomon Islands, and the Philippines may already have Exhibit A.
By David Griffin for OpEd News – Should climate scientists tell the public how dire the climate crisis is — in particular, whether it threatens to bring civilization to an end in the not-too distant future? In the August 2015 issue of Esquire, writer John H. Richardson deals with this question in an article entitled, “When the End of Human Civilization Is Your Day Job.” The occasion for this article was a tweet about a year ago by a highly respected climate scientist, glaciologist Jason Box. After reading a report about the discovery of more than 100 new sites in the Arctic where methane is seeping out, he wrote: “If even a small fraction of Arctic sea floor carbon is released to the atmosphere, we’re f’d.” The government is very supportive of Box’s work, but it did not, in Richardson’s words, “take kindly to one of its scientists distressing the populace with visions of global destruction.” Richardson’s essay is focused on the internal struggle of Box and other climate scientists with the issue of how to deal psychologically with the devastating climate facts, which their vocation forces them to face daily.
By John Vidal in The Guardian – Six Greenpeace climate change activists have been cleared of causing £30,000 of criminal damage at a coal-fired power station in a verdict that is expected to embarrass the government and lead to more direct action protests against energy companies. The jury of nine men and three women at Maidstone crown court cleared the six by a majority verdict. Five of the protesters had scaled a 200-metre chimney at Kingsnorth power station, Hoo, Kent, in October last year. The activists admitted trying to shut down the station by occupying the smokestack and painting the word “Gordon” down the chimney, but argued that they were legally justified because they were trying to prevent climate change causing greater damage to property around the world.