Fresh revelations that yet another round of United Nations climate talks—this time the upcoming negotiations in Paris—will be sponsored by some of the very corporations driving global warming have been met with outrage and alarm that the global process continues to be “captured by big polluters.” Pierre-Henri Guignard, Secretary-General of the UN Conference of the Parties 21 (COP21), unveiled the list of corporate sponsors on Wednesday. “We are building a very business friendly COP which will show the commitment of the private sector to the spirit of the convention,” hestated. But climate justice advocates say that by being “business friendly,” the conference is, in fact, hostile to the public good—and the planet itself.
FERC has been the target of protests by anti-fracking activists and members of communities adversely affected by pipelines, compressor stations and gas storage facilities which the agency approves. Recently the gas industry has been in the process of upgrading and enlarging its vast network of infrastructure to deliver gas obtained by hydraulic fracturing. Protesters held a 50-foot banner, painted with scenes illustrating various gas infrastructure projects around the country, using it to block the entrances to FERC. Most of them originated from the Mid-Atlantic region or the Northeast, but some had come from as far away as Iowa and California. The morning blockade came after twenty protesters spent the night on the sidewalk in front of the building beside a canvas reading, “FERC Destroys Communities.”
2014 was the hottest year in recorded history. 2015 is on track to be even hotter — and yet, before the most important international climate talks of the decade, even the most ambitious promises of action will fall short of what science demands. At the same time, the movement to stop climate change is also making history — last year the United States saw the biggest climate march in history, as well as the growth of a fossil fuel divestment movement (the fastest growing divestment campaign ever), and a steady drumbeat of local victories against the fossil fuel industry. In short, the climate movement, and humanity, is up against an existential wall: Find ways to organize for decisive action, or face the end of life as we know it. This is scary stuff, but if you think no movement has ever faced apocalyptic challenges before, and won, then it’s time you learned about the Nuclear Freeze campaign.
Protests against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission heated up as more than 80 activists blocked the doors and streets in front of and behind the agency, delaying employees from entering the building for a few hours. They also blockaded North Capitol St. directly behind the agency by erecting an 18-foot metal tripod from which a woman was suspended by a climbing harness. They held large banners saying, “No Fracking #StopGasExports” and “The United States of Fracking.” Department of Homeland Security officers, who were assembled in front of the building, seemed caught by surprise by the blockade on North Capitol St. and were slow to react. After several warnings, protesters removed the tripod before arrests were made. The protest was part of a campaign called “Stop the FERCus,” organized by coalition group Beyond Extreme Energy.
BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Two people have chained themselves to a support ship that is part of Royal Dutch Shell’s exploratory oil drilling plans and currently moored in Washington state. Eric Ross of the Backbone Campaign said on Saturday morning that Matt Fuller joined student activist Chiara D’Angelo in suspending themselves from the anchor chain of the Arctic Challenger, which is in Bellingham Bay. D’Angelo suspended herself from the ship with a climbing harness on Friday night. “We’re doing really good, yeah. Our spirits are really high. We’ve got enough food. We’ve got enough to keep warm. Yeah, we feel really good about things right now,” Fuller said in a telephone interview on Saturday afternoon. “I’m up here… I’ll speak for myself…
The boss of Nestlé Waters has said the company wants to increase the amount of water it bottles in California despite a devastating drought across the state that has triggered demonstrations at the corporation’s bottling plant. Tim Brown, chief executive of Nestlé Waters North America, said the company would “absolutely not” stop bottling in California and would actually like to “increase” the amount of ground source water it uses. Asked in a local radio interview if Nestlé would consider following Starbucks’ lead and stop bottling water in California during the drought, Brown said: “Absolutely not. In fact, if I could increase it, I would. “The fact is, if I stop bottling water tomorrow, people would buy another brand of bottled water,” Brown said in a discussion with a Nasa hydrologist on 89.3 KPCC radio. “People need to hydrate. As the second largest bottler in the state, we’re filling a role many others are filling.
Portland police arrested a man who locked himself to a concrete barrel at a Northwest Portland fuel terminal Friday morning. He was protesting the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and the export of fossil fuels. Tim Oscar Norgren, 41, of Stevenson, Washington, a member of Teamsters Local 320, locked himself to the barrel on railroad tracks outside the Arc Logistics Partners’ terminal at 5044 N.W. Front Ave. on Thursday. Police arrived to remove him at around 9:30 a.m. A spokesman for the Portland Rising Tide said Norgren timed his protest to coincide with President Obama’s visit to Oregon. Portland Rising Tide was formed, according to its website, to “promote community-based solutions to the climate crisis” by direct action. At the same time as Norgren was being removed by Portland police, more than 50 protesters from groups such as the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign and unions like Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757 gathered outside the Nike World Headquarters campus in Washington County, where Obama was speaking. “I’m locked down today in part because climate change is an issue of survival inextricably linked to so-called ‘free trade’ globalization efforts like the TPP,” Norgren.
If we want climate justice — not just adaptation to or even mitigation of climate change — then it’s important to understand the structural drivers of the crisis. I’m thinking about those drivers today, and I’m thinking about Baltimore. The story of Baltimore doesn’t start with the wrongful death of Freddie Gray. It didn’t start with the wrongful deaths of Mike Brown or Eric Garner. The deep anger that the citizens of Baltimore are expressing in the streets is rooted in a long history of oppression. And it’s that same history of oppression that has landed us in this historical moment — with an overheating climate, a politics of cynicism, and unrest bubbling up across the globe.
The Schuyler County district attorney has decided not to dismiss trespass charges against 84 protestors arrested at the gates of Crestwood Midstream Partners, We Are Seneca Lake said Thursday. Those protesters were part of a civil disobedience campaign organized by We Are Seneca Lake in opposition to plans by Crestwood to expand natural gas storage and add liquefied petroleum gas storage on the lake’s western shore. District Attorney Joseph Fazzary rescinded his support for dismissing charges againt the 84 protesters that was to take place Thursday, We Are Seneca Lake said. “We understand that the district attorney says that he has withdrawn the promised offer because 19 new community members blocked the gates of Crestwood in a peaceful act of civil disobedience on Earth Day (April 22),” the group said in a news release. Those 19 protesters, ages 49 to 76, had not been arrested before and were not part of the dismissal agreement, the group said. “There has never been any promise that there would be no more protests or even more arrests,” the group said.
16 percent. Remember that number. If climate change continues unabated, 16 percent — one in six — plant and animal species will go extinct, according to a new study published in Science. The report, “Accelerating Extinction Risk From Climate Change,” analyzed 131 other studies that diverged widely in their estimates of the rate of extinction that will occur if climate change continues unabated. Some of the underlying studies found that very few, if any, species would disappear, while others placed the number close to 54 percent. Humans still have time to prevent widespread extinction caused by climate change, but the window of opportunity is closing, said Mark Urban, a professor at the University of Connecticut and the study’s lead author.
Though we don’t have big numbers now, it is more important than ever that we speak the truth about what is happening in the wars in Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen, in the drone warfare program, and in looking at ways in which the climate crisis is exacerbated by the military. There are so many ways in which the military is destroying our planet through the use of fossil fuels, nuclear weapons, depleted uranium, spraying poisonous chemicals on fields in the “War on Drugs” in South America, and through the several hundred military bases around the world. Agent Orange, used during the Vietnam War is still affecting the environment. According to Joseph Nevins, in an article published by CommonDreams.org, Greenwashing the Pentagon, “The U.S. military is the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels, and the single entity most responsible for destabilizing the Earth’s climate.”
hy would you ignore all the negative consequences of rapidly changing the Earth’s climate, and insist that instead of doing anything about it, we ought to meet a vague list of other problems with an even vaguer gesture toward supposed solutions (e.g., “There is also a lot he could do to take the reins and provide American leadership around the world”)? Well, maybe you’re paid to do just that. The Post‘s bio for Rogers notes that he “is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group,” but it doesn’t give any clue who his clients are. Luckily, lobbyists are required by law to disclose their clients . . . BGR got another $590,000 from Chevron, and $450,000 in 2012. In 2011, they got a million dollars form Gas Natural SDG, a Spanish methane-burning utility. And on and on. What do you get when you give BGR that kind of money? Among other things, you get an employee who has a regular platform in the Washington Post, and has no qualms about advancing opinions that boost his clients’ profits. Don’t think that isn’t mentioned when the agency is soliciting business.