By Sean Buchanan by Inter Press Service. People of faith, civil society groups, and communities affected by climate change marched together in Rome Sunday Jun. 28 to express gratitude to Pope Francis for the release of his Laudato Siencyclical on the environment, and call for bolder climate action by world leaders. Under the banner of ‘One Earth One Family’, the march brought together Catholics and other Christians, followers of non-Christian faiths, environmentalists and people of goodwill. The march ended in St. Peter’s Square in time for the Pope’s weekly Angelus and blessing. “The truth of the matter is that all of humanity needs to stand united in addressing the crisis of our times. Climate change is an issue for everyone with a moral conscience” – Arianne Kassman, climate activist from Papua New Guinea.
By People’s Test On Climate – Governments and the Paris Summit outcome will be judged on this fundamental litmus test. But Paris will not only be about a long series of negotiations under the UNFCCC. Paris will not only be about what our governments achieve – or fail to achieve. Paris will also be the moment that demonstrates that delivering concrete actions for the global transformation will come from people and not our politicians. We see Paris as a beginning rather than an end – an opportunity to start connecting people‘s demands for justice, equality, food, jobs, and rights, and strengthen the movement in a way that will force governments to listen and act in the interests of their people and not in the vested interests of elites. Paris will launch us into 2016 as a year of action – a year when people’s demands and people‘s solutions take center stage.
By Michael B. Gerrard in Washington Post – Rather than leaving vast numbers of victims of a warmer world stranded, without any place allowing them in, industrialized countries ought to pledge to take on a share of the displaced population equal to how much each nation has historically contributed to emissions of the greenhouse gases that are causing this crisis. According to the World Resources Institute, between 1850 and 2011, the United States was the source of 27 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions; the European Union, 25 percent; China, 11 percent; Russia, 8 percent; and Japan, 4 percent. To make calculating easy, let’s assume that 100 million people will need new homes outside their own countries by 2050. (That number could be way off in either direction — we won’t know until it happens.) Under a formula based on historic greenhouse gas emissions, the United States would take in 27 million people; Europe, 25 million; and so on.
By Gan Golan in Indypendent – Pope Francis has released his long-awaited encyclical on climate change, entitled “Laudato Sii: On The Care For Our Common Home”. The 183-page “teaching letter” is vast in it’s scope, declares climate change a moral issue, and covers a broad range of global crisis from the destruction of biodiversity to the unacceptable treatment of the poor, immigrants and climate refugees. Most scathingly, the paper offers an uncompromising indictment of free markets, accusing capitalism of plundering the planet, driving global inequality, and serving only the ‘very few’ that have obstructing desperately needed action on climate change. It urges humanity to begin phasing out fossil fuels “without delay”. At moments, the unapologetic yet meticulously researched paper reads like it could have been written by a cross between St. Francis of Assisi and Naomi Klein.
By Sarah Anderson in Nation of Change – I tried to stay emotionally distanced from this one. It didn’t work. When the White House and Republican leaders got the votes they needed in the Senate to advance “fast track” Trade Promotion Authority on Tuesday, June 23, it was crushing. All observers agree that fast track will soon become law, making it easier for President Barack Obama to pass the controversial trade pacts in the works with Pacific Rim nations and the European Union. That will be a serious setback to the movements for the environment, labor rights, and affordable pharmaceuticals, among others. But after observing painful trade votes for more than 20 years, this one left me feeling that opponents should be holding their heads higher than ever before as they regroup for the next phase of the fight. Here are a few reasons why:
By Justin Gillis in New York Times – Dr. Oreskes is fast becoming one of the biggest names in climate science — not as a climatologist, but as a defender who uses the tools of historical scholarship to counter what she sees as ideologically motivated attacks on the field. Formally, she is a historian of science. Informally, this diminutive woman has become a boxer, throwing herself into a messy public arena that many career-minded climate scientists try to avoid. She helps raise money to defend researchers targeted for criticism byclimate change denialists. She has become a heroine to activist college students, supporting their demand that universities and other institutions divest from fossil fuels. Climatologists, though often reluctant themselves to get into fights, have showered her with praise for being willing to do it.
By Emma Howard in The Guardian – Beekeepers, surfers, nuns and children were among thousands of people who lined up outside the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday to speak to their MP about climate change. Some had woken up in the early hours to travel from as far as Polzeath in Cornwall and Aberdeen to take part in what organisers believe is the UK’s biggest ever lobby on climate change. Around 9,000 constituents took part in person, lobbying around 250 MPs according to the Climate Coalition, the group of charities, unions and faith groups that organised the event. London mayoral hopeful and Conservative MP, Zac Goldsmith, Caroline Lucas of the Green party and Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn were among the MPs meeting with constituents.
By Stephanie Kirchgaessner and John Hooper in The Guardian – Pope Francis will this week call for changes in lifestyles and energy consumption to avert the “unprecedented destruction of the ecosystem” before the end of this century, according to a leaked draft of a papal encyclical. In a document released by an Italian magazine on Monday, the pontiff will warn that failure to act would have “grave consequences for all of us”. Francis also called for a new global political authority tasked with “tackling … the reduction of pollution and the development of poor countries and regions”. His appeal echoed that of his predecessor, pope Benedict XVI, who in a 2009 encyclical proposed a kind of super-UN to deal with the world’s economic problems and injustices.
By Lee Stewart for Popular Resistance. WASHINGTON, DC – While the Board of the Smithsonian met at the Smithsonian Institute Building during the height of DC’s midday heat on Monday, over 100 protesters picketed outside after delivering 430,000 signatures to Smithsonian Press Secretary John Gibbons demanding David Koch be kicked off the Board. The petition delivery comes after the release of an open letter signed by the world’s top scientists, including several Nobel Prize winners, calling on museums of science and natural history to cut all ties to the fossil fuel industry. The letter specifically mentions the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in DC, where David Koch, a notorious funder of climate change denial, sits on the Board, is a donor, and sponsors exhibits.
By Staff for EnviroNews. On Monday, June 8, 2015, members of the G7, the world’s seven largest countries, met in Germany where an historic promise was made by world leaders — a pledge to rid the earth of carbon burning by the year 2100. On the same day, six tiny island nations also met with a climate agenda — in Southeast Asia — and they had a promise to make as well, as they released the People’s Declaration for Climate Justice. If the G7 is Goliath, then the six countries offering up the declaration are definitely David. Those participating nations are: Vanuatu, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Fiji, Solomon Islands and the Philippines — and they are planning to sue large transnational carbon polluters. Activists, environmentalists and climate scientists alike ridiculed the G7’s target date of 2100, saying that the proposed course of action is far too slow to prevent irreparable harm to the climate, the oceans, and the world’s ecosystems. There can be little dispute that these six countries, and other island nations like Marshall and Burma have been hit first, and hit hardest by the effects of global climate destabilization.
By Karl Mathiesen for the Guardian. Activists have occupied Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall with the aim of giving an all-night performance criticising BP’s sponsorship of the gallery. The group intend to cover the hall’s 152-metre sloping floor, which once housed the oil-fired turbines of the Bankside power station, with thousands of charcoaled words of warning about climate change. The performers said the art work would take 25 hours to complete, if they manage to remain inside the building, and is timed to coincide with a full tide cycle. Eva Blackwell, of the arts activism group Liberate Tate, said the protest was “a textual intervention”. “We’re filling the Turbine Hall with a tide of ideas and narratives of art, activism, climate change and oil,” she said.
By Clare Foran in National Journal – If House Republicans get their way, President Obama won’t be able to use any trade pact to strike a deal on climate change. Late Tuesday evening, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin offered up an amendment to a customs bill that would “ensure that trade agreements do not require changes to U.S. law or obligate the United States with respect to global warming or climate change.” The customs bill is intended to amend so-called “fast-track” trade legislation that could see a House vote as early as this Friday. Fast-track would allow Congress an up-or-down vote on trade deals negotiated by the White House. The trade legislation sets out negotiating priorities that Congress expects the White House to abide by when striking international trade deals. House Republicans have promised to reject any deal that does not meet the objectives.
By Canadians – While the New York Times editorial board says, “The Paris [climate summit] may well be the world’s last, best chance to get a grip on a problem that, absent urgent action over the next decade, could spin out of control”, most are already bracing for another massive failure by the political elite at what is being disparagingly described as the “Conference of Polluters”. Rising Tide North America is calling for a series of mass actions across the United States and Canada. They note, “From September to the end of November, Flood the System envisions an escalating series of direct actions and demonstrations targeting the economic and political systems at the root of the crisis, inspired by recent movements led by low-wage workers, immigrants, and communities responding to police brutality.”
By Nick Fillmore in Rabble – Today, when people are being treated unfairly, I see nothing wrong with us expressing our anger. It’s the powerful in society who have engineered the belief that expressing anger over social issues is, well, not nice. Remember when the Occupy movement scared the hell out of them? Unfortunately, as individuals we have felt there is nothing we can do to help bring change. But, if thousands of people join in, there is one way we can have an impact. We can begin shaming and embarrassing those in powerful positions who lack decent values and who are ruining our country. Many of them know they are guilty.