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Bloomberg article with comments by Bellona draws sharp reaction from Kremlin

Bellona.org - Thu, 12/21/2023 - 07:34

While Russian troops poured into Ukraine in February 2022, Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear corporation was quietly grappling with a major and potentially embarrassing problem emerging in its flagship export reactor in Belarus, internal documents reviewed by the Bloomberg news agency show.

The article, published December 18, includes comments from Bellona nuclear expert Dmitry Gorchakov — who, among the nuclear experts cited, was the only one to agree to have his name published. The report raises concerns about a best-selling reactor that Rosatom has built in numerous countries beyond Belarus, including Hungary and Egypt, and within Russia itself.

Bellona, too, reported on findings by Lithuania’s special services in its March nuclear digest, which indicated several flaws in both reactors at the Belarus plant were being hushed up by Rosatom and Belarusian nuclear authorities.

Тhe Bloomberg report further suggests that international sanctions against Russia for its attack on Ukraine could be complicating Rosatom’s ability to manage a sprawling portfolio of international projects that brings the Kremlin revenue and political influence.

The article drew sharp reactions from Russian officials, including Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, as well as Mikhail Mikhadyuk, the Belarusian deputy minister of energy.

At issue at the Belarus nuclear plant at Ostrovets was a mysterious and exceedingly rare problem: resin was seeping into the primary circuit of the VVER-1200 reactor, threatening to seize up critical components, the internal corporate documents reviewed by Bloomberg show.

The problem was detected in February 2022 as Rosatom was preparing to launch the the new 1,200-megawatt unit, and the discovery caused the launch to be delayed by more than a year.

The resin leak, had it persisted, could have led to disruption of heat exchange in the reactor core, overheating and damaging the nuclear fuel, and jamming control and protection rods. If such a scenario were to develop in an operating reactor, it would require immediate shutdown and work to diagnose and correct the problem — a time consuming process.

In the worst case, Bloomberg reported, accumulation of so-called ion-exchange resin, which regulates the purity of water flowing through plant channels and pipes, could impede reactor control, elevating the risk of a meltdown if something went wrong once it was online.

The Ostrovets plant has been the focus of wary observation for years. Several mishaps during its construction — including the dropping of an entire reactor vessel — have drawn rebukes and alarm from European officials, many of whom assert to Bloomberg that the plant was built with a lack of skilled labor, with many critical processes rushed under pressure from Rosatom.

At the time the resin leak was discovered, the reactor had not yet been put into operation. By February 2022, the reactor’s nuclear fuel had been loaded and work was underway to prepare for first criticality— the start of the first controlled chain reaction.

Usually, several months pass from the moment of the first loading of fuel into the reactor to the physical start-up, when the reactor first begins to operate at a minimum level as a nuclear power plant. At other VVER-1200 reactors, including the first unit of the Belarusian NPP and four VVER-1200 units built in Russia at the Novovoronezh and Leningrad NPPs, this process took from one to two months.

Problems at the second unit of the Belarusian NPP extended the period of physical commissioning to 15 months – from December 27, 2021 to March 25, 2023. ”

The Belarusian plant’s second unit is now online and was commissioned in November. But the problems with the plant — located just 51 kilometers from the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius — are relevant because the Belarus plant is the foreign debut of Rosatom’s new reactor design. Similar VVER-1200 units are set for commissioning in Bangladesh and Turkey within the next year.

Putin spokesman Peskov, answering questions on the Bloomberg article, focused solely on commissioning work on the unit during the incident.

“The fact is that this cannot be called an emergency situation, because we are talking about commissioning work — this nuance is the most important,” he told reporters.

Undoubtedly, during commissioning work shortcomings can and should be identified. But identifying a problem that requires such a protracted period to correct can hardly be called a normal situation — especially in light of the fact that the Belarusian unit is the sixth VVER-1200 that Rosatom is building.

Mikhadyuk, the Belarusian deputy energy minister, characterized the Bloomberg report as political provocation.

“This attack, which appeared in the media today, is another attempt to denigrate our joint project with Russia — the [Belarusian nuclear power plant],” he said. “Time will tell, and it is already showing, the station is working reliably.”

However, the fact remains: after the launch of the Belarusian plant’s first unit, technical problems were identified that required frequent shutdowns and downtime, the result being that during the first two years of its operation, it was only fully operational half the time. The second unit, as documented by Bloomberg, encountered serious delays already at the start-up stage.

Bellona nuclear project expert Gorchakov, who was a source for the Bloomberg article, again comments on the reaction of Belarusian and Russian officials to the publication:

“The problem with the Belarusian nuclear power plant is not only that we are seeing frequent technical problems and delays in the implementation of this project,” he said.

“Such events often occur at any large and complex projects, including nuclear ones, in different countries. The fact is that in the case of Russia and Belarus, there are several additional factors that increase potential nuclear and radiation risks: this is not only the traditional secrecy of the nuclear industry and its reluctance to openly talk about its problems, but also the politicization of any criticism,” Gorchakov added.

With the outbreak of the war unleashed by Russia in Ukraine, the Kremlin has closed or squeezed out from Russia most independent media and environmental NGOs — organizations that could offer objective information on events of public importance at dangerous sites.

As a result, this vacuum of is filled exclusively by information deemed acceptable by authorities.

Bellona was named an undesirable organization by Kremlin authorities and has since closed its offices in Russia, relocating its staff to Vilnius.

We do not have access to reliable information about the goings on at the Belarusian nuclear power plant. But obvious delays in important stages of plant construction, plus information from numerous unofficial sources, allow us to conclude that not all is going as smoothly as Russian and Belarusian authorities would lead us to believe. On those rare occasions that they admit to difficulties, they do not go into detail.

Bellona’s nuclear project today aims to increase transparency in understanding the processes associated with the Russian nuclear industry, both within Russia and at the level of Rosatom’s foreign projects. We regularly monitor and comment on important events, including those at the Belarusian nuclear power plant. We also analyze nuclear developments in Ukraine, with special emphasis on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which was captured by Russian forces. These investigations form the content of our monthly atomic digests and our numerous reports. They also form the backbone of our work with Russian and foreign media.

It is critically important in the context of the political and military confrontation between Russia and the West to have a more objective picture of what is happening at nuclear-hazardous facilities — one that does not tolerate either excessive alarmism or false reassurance.

You can subscribe to Bellona’s atomic digest here. You can read the latest issue here.

 

 

 

The post Bloomberg article with comments by Bellona draws sharp reaction from Kremlin appeared first on Bellona.org.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Resolve to make your 2024 diet more environmentally friendly

Environmental Working Group - Thu, 12/21/2023 - 06:31
Resolve to make your 2024 diet more environmentally friendly rcoleman December 21, 2023

New year, new you – but the same, if not worsening, climate crisis we’ve been experiencing. As you think ahead to resolutions and fresh starts in 2024, you can improve your own well-being and that of the environment. 

One way to achieve this is by adopting or leaning into a plant-based diet. This not only has substantial health benefits, but does astronomical wonders at reducing your carbon footprint. Two birds, one stone! Or rather, two tofurkys, one stone! (Sorry.)

The food we eat, how it’s produced, and how we consume it all have differing impacts on the environment, with some particularly bad for the climate. Below are new year’s resolutions, both big and small, you could consider to make those impacts less harmful.

Eat less beef

Plant-based diets are environmentally friendly and great for your overall health. But you might not want to fully cut animal protein from your diet. If that’s the case, you can still make a positive impact by reducing the amount of animal protein you eat and opting for poultry and seafood options over red meat.

Beef is the worst agricultural culprit for the climate crisis with production of this meat emitting eight times as much carbon per kilogram as fish, 10 times as much as poultry and 32 times as much as tofu. Beef production is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than air travel in the United States – so reducing demand for beef could help to reduce emissions.

Next time you’re cooking a bolognese, consider swapping in ground turkey, or if you’re craving a burger, try a plant-based alternative. The less beef in your diet, the better. 

Hold the dairy

Reducing dairy consumption also shrinks your carbon footprint. Plant-based milks, like almond, soy and oat are great alternatives to cow milk and use about a third of the amount of water. Of those three, almond milk has the smallest carbon footprint, so consider splashing some of that in your morning coffee or cereal rather than traditional milk. 

Prep your food

Planning your meals ahead of time not only makes it easier to stick to a plant-based or plant-centric diet, it also reduces food waste. Roughly 38 percent of all food, about 80 million tons, goes uneaten and discarded. The time, money and energy that was put into producing that food is therefore also wasted. 

Buying the correct amount of food and prepping your meals saves you money and stops harmful overproduction of food that will never be eaten. 

Educate yourself

There’s no shortage of information available on environmentally friendly diets and recipes or research into the negative environmental impact of agricultural farming.

Make more climate-conscious purchases by getting in the habit of checking your food for third party labels and certifications. For example, the Marine Stewardship Council label indicates your seafood is sourced from environmentally stable fisheries.

The more knowledgeable you are about how your food choices affect the world around you, the better equipped you are to make better choices. By reading this article, you’ve already started this good habit – a great way to begin the new year!

Areas of Focus Food & Water Food Farming & Agriculture Meat and Dairy Alternatives Disqus Comments Guest Authors Kady Ruth Ashcraft December 21, 2023
Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Short-rotation coppicing: No credible option for fuelling new biomass plants in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Biofuel Watch - Tue, 12/19/2023 - 22:00
Click here to download the briefing Summary:

Elektroprivreda BiH (EPBiH) is proposing to at least partly convert two coal plant units in Bosnia and Herzegovina to biomass. The company has stated that it would rely largely on Short-Rotation Coppicing (SRC), namely fast-growing willow plantations, grown primarily on former opencast coal mine sites, but with
additional purchases from farmers when required. The possibility of establishing Paulownia plantations for biomass sourcing has also been mentioned.

Paulownia tree plantations have not been successfully established anywhere in the world, and larger-scale plantings in Australia and New Zealand ended in failure and, for some farmers, loss of livelihoods. An economic analysis of a small-scale trial in Italy suggests that Paulownia could only be economic if grown  or high-value timber products, with only the residues used for energy. There are no credible reasons to assume that large-scale plantations of a tree species never successfully grown in plantations anywhere in the world could be established in Bosnia & Herzegovina in the near future.

In some European countries, willow and poplar have been grown in SRC plantations for several decades, but only on a very limited scale and with government
subsidies. IEA [International Energy Agency] Bioenergy states that, based on case studies from seven countries, the average yield of SRC willow grown on farmland is 7 oven dried tonnes per hectare per year. Based on that figure, the proposed 50 MWe biomass unit in Tuzla would require around 29,000 hectares  of land, which is more than twice the size of the city of Sarajevo.

Furthermore, SRC willow requires more water than conventional arable crops, i.e. it is far from drought resistant. An EPBiH trial to grow SRC willow on a former opencast mining site appears to have failed. A similar trial in the Appalachians in the USA was more successful in so far as most of the saplings
survived after two years, however, harvesting that willow was still not economically viable and yields were lower than for SRC willow grown on farmland.

Furthermore, according to EPBiH, less than 800 hectares of suitable former coal mine sites would be available – a small proportion of the land needed to grow
sufficient willow to fuel even one 50 MWe plant.

In practice, and based on experiences across Europe, there is no realistic possibility of fuelling even one, let alone three of the proposed biomass projects
with wood from SRC. Once built or converted, those units will have to burn biomass that is readily available – and that will almost certainly mean burning forest
wood, in a region where intensive and often illegal logging is already rampant.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Plantažni zasadi kratke ophodnje: nema isplative opcije za razvoj novih postrojenja na plantažnu biomasu u Bosni i Hercegovini

Biofuel Watch - Tue, 12/19/2023 - 22:00
Kliknite ovdje za preuzimanje Sažetak:

Elektroprivreda BiH (EPBiH) predlaže da se dvije elektrane na ugalj u Bosni i Hercegovini u jednom dijelu konvertuju u postrojenja na biomasu. EPBIH je navela da će se u velikoj mjeri oslanjati na zasade iz plantaža kratke ophodnje (eng. SRC – short rotation coppicing), odnosno brzorastuće plantaže vrbe. Takođe je spomenuta mogućnost uspostavljanja plantaža Paulovnije za izvor biomase.

Zasadi Paulovnije nisu uspješno uspostavljeni nigdje u svijetu, veći zasadi u Australiji i Novom Zelandu završili su neuspjehom, dok za neke poljoprivrednike i gubitkom sredstava za život. Ekonomska analiza manjeg eksperimentalnog zasada u Italiji sugeriše da bi Paulovnija mogla biti ekonomski isplativa samo ako se uzgaja za visokovrijedne drvne proizvode, s tim da se za proizvodnju energije koriste isključivo njeni drvni ostaci.

U nekim evropskim zemljama vrba i topola se uzgajaju u plantažama kratke ophodnje već nekoliko decenija, ali u vrlo ograničenom obimu i uz državne subvencije. Dostupno je vrlo malo informacija o prosječnim prinosima sa plantaža kratke ophodnje po hektaru u stvarnom svijetu, a ne u optimalnim eksperimentalnim uslovima. Međutim, podaci koje je objavila švedska energetska kompanija Vattenfall pokazuju da njihovi plantažni zasadi kratke ophodnje u Njemačkoj i Poljskoj postižu prosječne prinose od samo 5,15 tona osušenih u peći po hektaru godišnje. Na osnovu te brojke, čak i termoelektrana manja od najmanjeg obima predloženog za jedinicu na biomasu u elektrani Tuzla zahtijevala bi površinu plantažnih zasada kratke ophodnje većih od područja Sarajeva. Nadalje, plantažni zasadi kratke ophodnje vrba zahtijevaju više vode od konvencionalnih ratarskih kultura, odnosno daleko od toga da se mogu klasifikovati kao otporni na sušu.

U praksi, a na osnovu iskustava širom Evrope, ne postoji realna mogućnost da se tri jedinice od 50 MW ili čak velike jedinice na biomasu napajaju drvetom iz SRC-a. Kada se jednom izgrade ili preurede, te jedinice će morati da sagorevaju biomasu koja je lako dostupna – a to će gotovo sigurno značiti sagorevanje šumskog drveta, u regionu u kojem već raste intenzivna i često nelegalna sječa.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Lawsuit aims to halt destructive clearcutting in grizzly country on Yellowstone’s doorstep

Western Environmental Law Center - Mon, 12/18/2023 - 11:28

Conservation groups filed a lawsuit today against the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for authorizing a massive logging and road-building project adjacent to Yellowstone National Park that would hinder threatened grizzly bear recovery in the region and destroy huge swaths of mature forests.

The South Plateau Landscape Area Treatment Project (SPLAT) would clearcut more than 5,500 acres (more than six square miles) and log another 6,600 acres of mature forests over the next approximately 15 years near West Yellowstone, Montana—a tourism hub and gateway to Yellowstone National Park. The project would also construct more than 56 miles of temporary roads, including on remnants from past timber sales where the roads were abandoned. While the agency says it will again remove these roads at an unspecified time in the future, roads like these often persist on the ground for years.

“This project proposes new clearcuts and more roads in an especially vulnerable area for Yellowstone grizzly bears,” said Matthew Bishop, senior attorney at the Western Environmental Law Center. “The location of the project in some of the most deficient grizzly bear areas in the region is troubling. This area is already considered a population sink for bears – where grizzly bear mortality is already too high and habitat security too low. This project will make an already bad situation worse.”

“Yellowstone grizzlies need more habitat to recover, not less. Building more roads that reduce bear habitat will only add more casualties to the 50 Yellowstone bear deaths we have suffered just this year,” said Adam Rissien, ReWilding manager with WildEarth Guardians. “Grizzly bears must be able to freely roam and connect to new habitats in order to truly recover, and the SPLAT project makes that harder to achieve.”

“It is time for resource management agencies to adhere to the best available and most recent science when it comes to the management of grizzly bears,” said Clint Nagel, president of the Gallatin Wildlife Association. “Current guidelines used in their protection are outdated, actually worsening habitat fragmentation rather than aiding in bear habitat protection. It is time that grizzly bear management principles reflect those true conditions, conditions necessary for their secure habitat.”

Represented by the Western Environmental Law Center, WildEarth Guardians, the Gallatin Wildlife Association, and Native Ecosystem Council contend the project violates the Endangered Species Act by impacting threatened populations of grizzly bears that require wild, connected habitat to recover. The groups are also challenging the Forest Service for failing to take a hard look at the environmental consequences of the project in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act.

“Nearly 4 million people visit West Yellowstone, Montana, annually for the opportunity to observe wildlife and see the wild lands of the Rocky Mountains. This project has the potential to impact the recreation economy of the region, and at a minimum the perception of the wild that visitors to Yellowstone seek,” said Andrew Rothman, Wild Places Program director at WildEarth Guardians.

Contacts:

Matthew Bishop, Western Environmental Law Center, 406-324-8011, bishop@westernlaw.org

Adam Rissien, WildEarth Guardians, 406-370-3147, arissien@wildearthguardians.org

Clint Nagel, Gallatin Wildlife Association, 406-600-1792, clint_nagel@yahoo.com

Background:

On August 7, 2023 the Custer-Gallatin National Forest issued a final decision for its South Plateau Landscape Area Treatment Project (SPLAT) that authorizes clearcutting on more than 5,500 acres (more than six square miles) and commercial logging of another 6,600 acres of mature forests near West Yellowstone, Montana. The project would construct 56.8 miles of temporary roads through old forests and remove more than 83 million board feet of commercial timber.

Logging and road construction would take place in critical habitat for Canada lynx and the Greater Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone. The Custer-Gallatin National Forest relies on maintaining conditions for grizzly bear habitat security as they existed in 1998 to demonstrate it is contributing to the bear’s recovery. The lawsuit challenges this reliance as insufficient since it fails to account for numerous other factors that affect the ability of grizzly to recover including climate change effects, loss of food sources, and a sharp escalation in grizzly bear mortalities. According to government figures, 50 grizzly bears from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem alone were confirmed or assumed dead in 2023 as of Nov. 13.

The Forest Service did not specify the location and timing of where the agency would log the forest and construct roads due to its use of conditions-based management, where the agency waits until after it issues a project decision to collect site-specific information. The agency explains that temporary road construction may occur on old remnants of past temporary roads that were abandoned or others left from past decades, called “jammer roads,” but it did not disclose the specific conditions or locations of the new construction. The lawsuit challenges this approach to National Environmental Policy Act compliance for failing to take a “hard look” at the potential environmental consequences as the law requires.

The lawsuit also challenges the Forest Service for its failure to account for the loss of carbon storage benefits from logging mature and old growth trees. On Earth Day 2022, President Biden issued this executive order titled “Strengthening the Nation’s Forests, Communities, and Local Economies” (EO 14072) requiring the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to conserve mature and old-growth forests on federal lands. On April 20, 2023, the Forest Service and BLM issued the first-ever national inventory of mature and old growth forests, the first step for complying with EO 14072. The inventory classifies lodgepole pine greater than 120 years old as old growth and about half that age for reaching maturity. The SPLAT project would clearcut 5,551 acres of lodgepole stands more than 80-90 years old.

The post Lawsuit aims to halt destructive clearcutting in grizzly country on Yellowstone’s doorstep appeared first on Western Environmental Law Center.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Abbie Gibbs

Environmental Working Group - Mon, 12/18/2023 - 08:56
Abbie Gibbs rcoleman December 18, 2023 Abbie Gibbs Vice President, Development

Abbie brings a 20-year track record of securing revenue, building strategic partnerships and achieving growth at national and global organizations including Oceana, the National Park Foundation and the Center for American Progress.

Abbie graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in Agriculture, and grew up on a sustainable cattle ranch in Arkansas. With this background, she understands first-hand how environmental issues affect all parts of our economy, society and well-being. She has lived in Washington, D.C., for more than 20 years and is an avid animal-lover and beachgoer.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

The Oldest Trees in the South

Dogwood Alliance - Mon, 12/18/2023 - 05:00

Have you ever wondered about the oldest giant trees? Those that have stood tall for centuries in the Southern region of the United States? These remarkable trees are key to our natural history. They provide valuable insights into the past. But what makes a tree “ancient”? Age, of course! We can figure out the age […]

The post The Oldest Trees in the South first appeared on Dogwood Alliance.
Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Talking climate: tips for the holidays

350.org - Mon, 12/18/2023 - 03:32

With holiday celebrations fast approaching for many of us, it means we might soon be seeing folks we don’t always agree with.

From political divides to what we’re interested in, it can be hard to connect on the topic with some. But, as we both know, we need as many people as possible to join our fight for climate justice.

So if it does come up, we’ve put together some tips – backed up by science – to help you have better conversations over the holidays. And hopefully get people on board. 

  • Speak to lived experiences 

As tempting as it is to launch into facts about tipping points, melting ice caps or polar bears – they don’t speak to what most people see in their everyday lives.

A better way to get someone interested is to speak about what you’re experiencing directly.

Perhaps it’s the record-breaking extreme temperatures, the frequent flooding, droughts or wildfires you experienced this year. Whenever it is, root your conversation in familiar experiences.

  • Connect with emotion and tap into shared values

There’s so much scientific evidence that shows stories and emotion persuade people – not facts. So use your story to talk about the climate crisis.

Think about sharing when you first became concerned or why you took action. Sharing this will help you connect deeply with whoever you are talking with. Share your own story into climate activism – what drove you to take action?

Parents love hearing about their children’s passions, so if you’re talking to your mum or dad, show them exactly how much this means to you.

When we try to persuade someone on an issue we care about we often use moral arguments. But people have different morals. When you talk to someone about climate change, ask yourself, am I presenting this in a way that will resonate with them?

For example, if you are talking to someone who enjoys walking or the outdoors, you could center your conversation around the importance of protecting nature and keeping the environment healthy.

  • Listen

Ask your friends and family questions about their own experiences.

Make listening your most important task in any conversation. You are not a preacher, you are here to listen and offer a chance to channel what they feel into something powerful, if they want to.

  • Offer hope

The writer and activist Rebecca Solnit, said that, sometimes, we’re really bad at celebrating our victories. She’s right.

But our movement has had lots of victories. They are strong reminders that we are not powerless. By remembering and talking about them, we can have hope. And hope that things can change can inspire action.

There’s also a huge amount of research that hope is actually good for us. So share some inspiring stories with whomever you are talking to.

If you’re looking for some, check out our Power Up actions around the world. 

I hope some of these prove helpful for you. But remember, sometimes, you just won’t persuade people – and that’s ok. So practice empathy and understanding on yourself too. We could all do with being a bit kinder to ourselves sometimes. You’ve done your best no matter what!

Whatever your celebrations look like this end of year, from all of us at 350, we wish you safe, hopeful and happy times.

More reading:

Personal Climate Stories Can Persuade | Yale Climate Communications 

The Role of Narrative in Science | Advanced Science News.

How to talk about climate change with family and friends over the holidays | Climate Outreach

The power of framing: It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it | Science | The Guardian

How to talk about climate change: Ask questions | Yale

Ten ways to confront the climate crisis without losing hope | The Guardian

How Hope Can Keep You Happier and Healthier

The post Talking climate: tips for the holidays appeared first on 350.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Closing Gender Gaps in Biodiversity Conservation Demands Robust Indicators

Global Forest Coalition - Mon, 12/18/2023 - 00:55

By Valentina Figuera Martinez, Gender Justice and Forests Campaign Coordinator, Global Forest Coalition

The last trimester of 2023 brought important international developments in the conservation of forests, ecosystems, and biodiversity, and their intersection with gender justice. 

Almost one year after the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KMGBF), negotiators met to discuss its implementation at the 25th Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical, and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 25) in Nairobi from 15–19 October. This was a pivotal moment in determining the practical way forward, identifying challenges, and developing future actions to support the implementation of the framework.

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KMGBF) was a historic agreement for gender justice

The negotiations in Nairobi

The meeting addressed several aspects of the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework from a scientific, technical, and technological perspective, including the monitoring framework, biodiversity and climate change, invasive alien species, and sustainable wildlife management. 

Plenary meeting of Intergovernmental Consultations on Nature-based Solutions, Nairobi, Kenya, 12 October 2023, ©UNEP Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Other agenda items included mechanisms for planning, monitoring, reporting, and review, and the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR6) on KMGBF implementation.

The meeting was preceded by a final round of Intergovernmental Consultations on Nature-based Solutions (NbS) hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The outcomes of this global consultation were not negotiated; there is no multilaterally-agreed document, but rather a ‘Co-chairs summary’ that fails to address in a balanced manner all the divergences expressed by member states, civil society organisations, and stakeholders during the meeting. Some of the concerns include offsetting schemes, greenwashing practices, human rights violations, gender-differentiated impacts, and the reproduction of colonial models of control and use of land, forests, ecosystems, biodiversity, and livelihoods.

 

The importance of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework

The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KMGBF) was a historic agreement for gender justice not only because it recognizes the need to have a human rights-based approach to biodiversity conservation, use, and benefit sharing but also because of the adoption of targets 22 and 23 to support the gender-responsive implementation and ensure gender equality in the Global Biodiversity Framework. 

In parallel, another important instrument to achieve women’s and girls’ empowerment is the Gender Plan of Action (GPA), which encourages parties and relevant organisations to include gender-specific indicators and gender-disaggregated data in their national biodiversity reporting, as well as provide support for a national gender and biodiversity focal point for negotiations. This step would mean a starting point for more participatory negotiation processes. 

 

Indicators for monitoring progress

The 15th Biodiversity COP, held in Montreal in December 2022, adopted a monitoring framework for the KMGBF, composed of ‘headline indicators,’ ‘global-level indicators,’ ‘component indicators,’ and ‘complementary indicators’, which serve as a tool for assessing progress and ensuring that parties uphold their commitments under the KMGBF. 

Indicators help detect trends relevant to the components of the goals and targets of the framework, and headline indicators are set to be the most ambitious reporting methodology tool to track national, regional, and global progress on national biodiversity strategies and action plans. The headline indicators, which have been the subject of lengthy debates, are the pillars of the KMGBF’s implementation, serving as a comprehensive tool for assessing progress.

Global-level indicators, also known as ‘binary indicators’ since they are derived from binary reporting and collated from binary (yes/no) responses in national reports, will only demand countries to provide quantitative data – a count of the number of countries having undertaken specified activities – without any robust capture of the overall scope of the framework’s goals and targets. 

 

Simplified reporting weakens indicators

All rightsholder CBD constituencies (including the Women’s Caucus, International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity, and Global Youth Biodiversity Network), several civil society organisations, and stakeholders have been demanding the inclusion of headline indicators for all targets to ensure substantive reporting in national biodiversity strategies and action plans. 

Nevertheless, during the negotiation process at SBSTTA 25, some parties called for “simplified” reporting to assess the state of progress. Tracking biodiversity outcomes with binary indicators through simplified “yes” or “no” answers will not be sufficient to measure biodiversity loss, human rights violations, and gender, social, racial, and intergenerational inequalities. Nor will it allow for robust monitoring progress in the implementation of the framework.

A majority “yes” response to whether a country has certain legislation supporting the KMGBF or a Gender Plan of Action (GPA) does not measure the effectiveness of such legislation nor adequate financial and technical resources to implement a GPA. Biodiversity and frontline communities engaged in conservation efforts are dynamic actors, and thus, identifying challenges and trends requires indicators that enable biodiversity and ecosystem management supported by effective strategies.

Targets 22 and 23 call for ensuring effective gender-responsive participation in decision-making and gender equality in the implementation of the framework, and both targets are included in the monitoring framework negotiated document. As one of the agenda items in SBSTTA 25, this text required a long negotiation process, with parties deliberating until midnight in Nairobi on the background on global indicators, methodologies for computing global indicators, and draft recommendations. 

There is still a long way to go to ensure gender equality in the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework as we head to a new round of negotiations in 2024. 

The way forward

Ensuring that headline indicators are included to track targets 22 and 23, along with gender-disaggregated data collection of all 21 other targets, must be the priority to address gender-biodiversity data gaps, in line with the Gender Plan of Action. 

One of the inclusions in the monitoring framework document was the proposed binary indicator text for target 23: It now includes significant language on the allocation of financial resources to ensure that all women and girls have equal opportunities and capacity to contribute to the objectives of the convention, including by ensuring women’s equal rights and access to land and natural resources. The text also includes language to report on the number of countries with legal, administrative or policy frameworks, including the Gender Plan of Action, to ensure gender equality.    

At the current state of the monitoring framework, having a comprehensive methodology through headline indicators for targets 22 and 23 (and even for all targets) is actually the right path to close the biodiversity gaps and ensure an effective and inclusive, gender-responsive implementation — specifically, one that considers the rights of Indigenous Peoples, women in all their diversity, youths, local and Afro-descendant communities. 

 

There’s progress to be made in Nairobi in 2024

The negotiations on the monitoring framework will continue at SBSTTA 26 in 2024, once again in Nairobi. Developing a comprehensive methodology for headline indicators will be a significant challenge. The process takes time and expertise, so advocacy efforts to include a rights-based and gender-responsive approach (currently in bracketed text) must continue. 

We need comprehensive reporting based on biodiversity data that also includes elements to integrate human rights and gender equality considerations into national biodiversity strategies and action plans. There is still a long way to go to ensure gender equality in the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework as we head to a new round of negotiations in 2024. 

The post Closing Gender Gaps in Biodiversity Conservation Demands Robust Indicators appeared first on Global Forest Coalition.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Mass civil disobedience at Belgium airports and protests against destructive mega projects in Mexico highlighting aviation as the pinnacle of climate injustice

Stay Grounded - Sat, 12/16/2023 - 10:21
  • Activists from across Europe took action at Liège Airport
  • Hundreds of activists have been arrested in Antwerp after being targeted by police
  • In Mexico, several actions are taking place against the new Tulum International Airport

16th December 2023: Today, supporters of Code Rouge/Rood from several European countries have entered Lìege Airport in a peaceful direct action to denounce the injustice and climate impact of aviation and demand a drastic reduction of flights.

This happened just after hundreds of activists were arrested around Antwerp, while preparing to block Antwerp International airport, one of the biggest private jet airports in Belgium. Despite police targetting activists, a large group managed to enter Antwerp Airport and achieved success: no private jets took off from Kortrijk or Antwerp today.

Ruth Marie, spokesperson for the Code Rouge movement, said: “Private jets are the pinnacle of climate injustice and there is absolutelly no reason for their existance in a climate and cost of living crisis. The frequent flying habits of the super-rich are a huge driver of collapse and the opitomy of this injustice: 1% of the global population is responsible for 50% of aviation emissions. It’s time for the super-rich to quit their destructive toys and luxury habits and stop burning up our planet. It’s time to ban private jets.”

Image credits: Code Rouge/Rood

At Liège Airport, Europe’s fastest growing cargo airport and the main European logistics hub for e-commerce firm Alibaba, 600 activists are preventing planes from unloading the imported cargo onto distribution trucks. They are denouncing the expansion of the airport and the growth of air freight for mass consumption, with major impacts on health, the local economy and the climate.

Leo Tubbax, spokesperson for Stay Grounded member Stop Alibaba & co, said: “Liège Airport is the fastest growing cargo airport in Europe and they still want to continue expanding it. This is madness: airport expansion must stop, here and everywhere, and air traffic needs to be drastically reduced, through a process of just transition that prioritises workers’ safety and livelihoods. At the same time, we need to shift towards an economy of short distances that enables the reduction of air freight.”

Image credits: Code Rouge/Rood

The protests are part of a mass civil disobedience action announced by Code Rouge targeting the aviation industry. Their demands, include a ban on private jets and short haul flights, the end of subsidies for the aviation sector and its greenwashing, the decrease of air freight and an end to all airport expansion in Belgium – measures that need to be paired with a just transition for workers and wide investment in public and affordable grounded transport.

In Mexico, another wave of protests shows a different face of airport conflicts: activists are denouncing the new International Tulum airport, highlighting its connection to military projects and US presence. They condemn the fact that it’s marketed as a ‘green airport’ despite its huge environmental impacts and the way it disregards and jeopardises Mayan people’s interests.

Angel Sulub, spokesperson for Permanecer en la Tierra, said: “This airport and connected megaprojects, such as the Tren Maya, are ecocidal enterprizes, having led to the cutting of 5.7 millon trees. It is increasing the presence of military forces in the region and violates the right to free, prior and informed consent of the Mayan peoples. It illustrates dramatically the scope of neocolonial global injustice that is part of the aviation and tourism sectors and of a world of globalized hypermobility.”

These actions take place days after another UN Climate Change Conference, which world leaders swarmed to on private jets to discuss solutions for the climate crisis. Besides failing, once again, to establish binding commitments to phase out fossil fuels, COP28 continued to leave international aviation emissions out of the agreements, making clear how much a strong climate justice movement is needed to push for real solutions.

In Belgium, the action will be followed by a march on 17th December. The protests mark the end of a year full of diverse and impactful actions opposing aviation and demanding it’s reduction, particularly around private jets and luxury emissions, entering 2024 with a growing international movement.

High-quality photos and videos available here.

Contacts
Stay Grounded press office: Hannah, press@stay-grounded.org, (+43) 0670 550 09 34

Der Beitrag Mass civil disobedience at Belgium airports and protests against destructive mega projects in Mexico highlighting aviation as the pinnacle of climate injustice erschien zuerst auf Stay Grounded.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Court denies livestock industry attempt to immediately halt wolf reintroductions

Western Environmental Law Center - Fri, 12/15/2023 - 18:44

Today, a U.S. District Court Judge denied a request by the Colorado livestock industry to block imminent wolf reintroductions to the state. Gunnison County Stockgrowers’ Association and Colorado Cattlemen’s Association filed a lawsuit on Monday against Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeking to stop wolf releases that are slated to occur this month. The livestock groups also requested an immediate restraining order against the reintroduction effort, which has been years in the making and results from a voter-approved ballot measure in November 2020.

The court ruled against the restraining order, citing “[d]ata submitted to the Court by the Conservation Groups, and not rebutted by Petitioners, demonstrat[ing] that in other states with hundreds or thousands of wolves, predation affects mere fractions of a percent of total livestock populations” (order at 16). Conservation and animal welfare groups who moved to intervene in the lawsuit praised the court’s decision and vowed to continue fighting the industry’s lawsuit.

“We are looking forward to wolves being returned to their rightful place in Colorado,” said Delaney Rudy of Western Watersheds Project. “The agencies went through the full and proper process, and while none of us are 100 percent happy with the management plans for wolves in Colorado, trying to thwart the will of the voters with this last minute maneuver was poor form. We’re glad the court saw through it.”

“Livestock interests hostile to wolf coexistence are abusing the law to get their way, even when the state bent over backward to accommodate them in how wolf reintroduction — scientifically supported and democratically decided through a ballot measure — is accomplished,” said Kelly Nokes, attorney at the Western Environmental Law Center. “The court made the right call here denying the livestock associations’ request to block wolf releases before the case is even heard. I will work on behalf of our clients to move wolf reintroduction forward in Colorado.”

“Rejecting this unfounded restraining order request is excellent news,” said Lindsay Larris, wildlife program director at WildEarth Guardians. “Colorado Parks and Wildlife and U.S. Fish and Wildlife staff have spent thousands of hours on this process, hundreds of them to ensure that livestock owner interests are heard. We’re more than happy to intervene on behalf of those agencies and wolves against this ill-intentioned lawsuit.”

“I’m relieved that the court saw right through the livestock industry’s self-serving and meritless arguments,” said Allison Henderson, Southern Rockies director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Both science and Colorado voters have very clearly told us that wolves belong here. Once wolves are reintroduced, they’ll help restore balance to our state’s ecosystems.”

“This meritless lawsuit is nothing more than a desperate attempt by those hostile to wolves to circumvent the will of Colorado voters at the eleventh hour,” said Nicholas Arrivo, managing attorney for the Humane Society of the United States. “Wolves belong in Colorado, and we stand ready to ensure their restoration can continue as planned.”

“The court’s opinion vindicates that the lawsuit ignores reality,” said Tom Delehanty, an attorney with Earthjustice’s Rocky Mountain office. “State and federal personnel put years of work into preparing for wolves’ return to Colorado, and this misguided attack on that process has rightly failed.”

The non-profit organizations are represented in this litigation by Earthjustice and the Western Environmental Law Center.

Contacts:

Kelly Nokes, Western Environmental Law Center, 575-613-8051, nokes@westernlaw.org

Lindsay Larris, WildEarth Guardians, 720-468-0842, llarris@wildearthguardians.org

Allison Henderson, Center for Biological Diversity, 970-309-2008, ahenderson@biologicaldiversity.org

Delaney Rudy, Western Watersheds Project, 970-648-4241, delaney@westernwatersheds.org

Perry Wheeler, Earthjustice, 202-792-6211, pwheeler@earthjustice.org

Nicholas Arrivo, The Humane Society of the United States, 202-961-9446, narrivo@humanesociety.org

Background:

Colorado’s livestock owners have several revenue streams to underwrite non-lethal conflict reduction and for compensation. Most are unlikely to incur rare livestock losses.

  • In May 2023, the state Legislature passed SB23-255, the Wolf Depredation Compensation Fund, which appropriates $525,000 for two years to cover costs as a result of livestock losses caused by wolves.
  • Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s wolf management plan, approved by the CPW Commission, gives livestock owners up to $15,000 for losses or to pay for injuries of domestic livestock and working animals such as cattle dogs. That level of compensation is unprecedented.
  • Wolf license plate: Legislation (SB 1265) to create the Born to be Wild specialty license plate was signed by Governor Polis in mid-May 2023. The proceeds from this plate will fund nonlethal conflict prevention and reduction tools and initiatives. The plate will be available in early 2024, and all funds raised from the plate will go directly to CPW.
  • Wolf-license-plate holders help fund conflict prevention between livestock owners and wolves. Front Range wolf lovers can help those on the Western Slope mitigate rare, potential livestock conflicts.
  • Colorado State University is setting up its own Wolf Conflict Reduction Fund.

The post Court denies livestock industry attempt to immediately halt wolf reintroductions appeared first on Western Environmental Law Center.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

NEWSLETTER DEC 2023

Biofuel Watch - Fri, 12/15/2023 - 06:17
Welcome to our final newsletter of 2023 full of updates about campaigns that we – and you – have been supporting, and policy developments.  Click here to sign up to our mailing list 

1. Reflection on the year

2. MP Pledge

3. Fundraising appeal 

4. Update from California 

5. Big biomass appears in an invisibility cloak in the COP28 decision

1.Reflection on the year

We started the year by sharing our 15 year report which looked back at some of our campaigning over the years in the UK, Europe, USA and beyond. Our reflection has inspired us to document the amazing work which is ongoing through an annual review, the first of which we published early this year. Thank you to everyone who has taken part in our calls to action, online and in person. We will continue to challenge climate wrecking companies, and the false solutions promoted by Drax, and Lynemouth, to help protect communities and forests across the globe.  

Campaigning in the UK: We joined and hosted a number of actions this year including The Big One and Drax AGM, we have added a selection of photos and videos of this to our website which you can see by clicking here. On the 15th and 16th of September Biofuelwatch joined campaigners from around the world for a weekend of action calling for an end to climate wrecking fossil fuels and tree burning. Actions included rallies in London, Leeds and Edinburgh, a two day Barclays protest in Liverpool, and online photo actions. Following the actions in September we turned our attention to mobilise for the International Day of Action Against Big Biomass on the 19th October. We were part of a network of over 200 NGOs globally taking action to highlight the negative environmental and social impacts of large scale biomass energy. We were joined by activists in London, Liverpool and York outside Barclays to highlight the bank’s financing of biomass, and calling on it to “Drop Drax”. We also took part alongside other organisations in challenging Drax’s application for consent to develop BECCS at its Selby plant. We have also continued to host and present at webinars and workshops. Thank you to everyone who has joined us, if you missed any you can find all our webinars and videos on our YouTube channel here.

Stop Burning Trees: It’s been a busy year for the Stop Burning Trees Coalition! From coalition members working tirelessly on objecting to Drax’s BECCS application, to organising protests outside DESNZ, Drax’s AGM, Barclays and around the UK – the coalition has been doing everything it can to resist Drax’s greenwash. Alongside Biofuelwatch and other coalition members we’ve launched e-actions, putting pressure on politicians around the country to stop the subsidy regime. In Yorkshire, SBT has been part of a number of campaigns including calling on York Pride to cut ties with Drax; calling on universities to #DropDrax from careers fairs; and working on a local outreach strategy to help raise awareness of the harm Drax is committing and, most importantly, the green transformation we could have if we redirected tree burning subsidies to genuine renewables and green jobs.

US campaigning: In the Western US our colleague has played an active role alongside other groups working in coalition to stop the arrival of the global wood pellet industry to California. Our education and advocacy has also aimed to address and mitigate the harms of a dangerous turn to liquid biofuels which we are seeing in the state. Biofuelwatch also continues to serve on the steering committee for the Campaign to Stop GE Trees. This past year has seen ongoing efforts to raise awareness about the underlying motivations for genetically engineering trees. 

Campaigning in Europe: We continue our campaigning work outside of the UK in other European countries through networking with and supporting NGOs and grassroots groups in Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Estonia, Portugal and the west Balkans, you can see more in our annual report. 

Thank you again to everyone who has supported our campaigns throughout the year globally, while we have given a brief reflection here there is so much more we have included in our annual report. 

2. MP Pledge

Our MP pledge is still ongoing, if you have not done so already please email your MP about the pledge here, if you have already contacted your MP and have received a reply please email the reply to us at biofuelwatch@gmail.com as we can help you with a response. Better still, one of the most effective ways to engage with your MP is to meet with them. If you have written to your MP and not received a reply you can call them asking for a response to your email or you can ask to meet them face to face. We have prepared lots of resources here which can help you. 

3. Fundraising Appeal

As the cost-of-living crisis and energy crisis soar leaving many people vulnerable this year we are asking if you can support Fuel Poverty Action who campaign to protect people from fuel poverty. They challenge energy companies and unfair policies that leave people to endure cold homes and take action for warm, well-insulated homes and clean and affordable energy, under the control of people and communities, not private companies.

Click here to donate 4. Update from California

Our colleague in California has added a new blog addressing concerns about authorities in California continuing their push for liquid biofuels despite a series of red flag warnings about public safety and climate impacts. You can read the full blog below:

Read Gary’s full blog here 5. Big biomass appears in an invisibility cloak in the COP28 decision

Our Colleagues at EPN released a PR this week on COP28 decision text which heightens concern over big biomass energy expansion, its high carbon emissions and community impacts. You can read more here.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

California regulators greenlight PG&E bid to extend aging Diablo Canyon nuclear plant’s life

Environmental Working Group - Thu, 12/14/2023 - 14:04
California regulators greenlight PG&E bid to extend aging Diablo Canyon nuclear plant’s life rcoleman December 14, 2023

SAN FRANCISCO – California regulators today granted Pacific Gas & Electric’s misguided and dangerous request to extend the operation of its aging Diablo Canyon nuclear plant five years beyond the originally scheduled closure, in 2025.

“This ill-conceived decision will further escalate financial strain on California ratepayers and extend the threat of a catastrophe at Diablo Canyon,” said Environmental Working Group President and Bay Area resident Ken Cook.

“With California's annual renewable energy additions exceeding Diablo Canyon’s output, there is zero reason to keep it running,” he added.

Today’s decision by members of the California Public Utilities Commission, or CPUC, was set in motion more than a year ago. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), fearing political backlash to the rolling blackouts of summer 2022, at that time pushed state lawmakers to approve Senate Bill 846 – legislation to keep the plant running until at least 2030, five years beyond its original target closure date.

"The commission might need to take stock of its supply of PG&E rubber stamps and place that order sooner rather than later, especially before the holiday rush really picks up,” said Cook. "A fresh batch will likely be needed for the anticipated giveaways in 2024."

The CPUC has spent much of 2023 greenlighting a host of PG&E plans that cumulatively are driving up electricity bills and stifling clean energy, including significant rate hikes for the utility’s captive customers and its recent plot to unravel the state's rooftop solar incentives.

A 2023 analysis by EWG estimates it could cost California ratepayers an additional $20 to $45 billion to keep Diablo Canyon operating well beyond 2025, as PG&E plans.

Diablo Canyon generates between 6 and 8 percent of California’s electricity annually, which could easily come from renewable sources like solar. The billions of dollars that would be wasted to keep the nuclear plant running for several more years would be better invested in new renewable power and other clean energy options that can benefit both the environment and ratepayers.

Noted energy analyst Amory Lovins told the California Energy Commission in 2022 that state data show that within two years of closing Diablo Canyon, the electricity generated by renewable and distributed energy could fully replace the power generation lost by closing the plant.

Mark Jacobson, director of the Atmosphere and Energy Program at Stanford University, recently noted that the California Independent System Operator – which oversees the operation of the state’s bulk electric power system – said the state added 2,500 megawatts of renewable power capacity and output in just over a year, equal to Diablo Canyon’s maximum output alone.

The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, or NRC, has also weighed in to help. 

On March 2, ignoring long-standing precedents, statutes and regulations, the NRC gave PG&E the green light to operate Diablo Canyon  for up to 20 more years without a safety review or license renewal. 

In its decision, the NRC exempted PG&E from regulations that required a license renewal review by the NRC before the two Diablo Canyon reactors could operate beyond their operating license expiration dates in 2024 and 2025.

The NRC’s own rules recognize that continued operation of a reactor past that limit poses safety risks that are different from the operational risks of a facility’s first 40 years in operation and require a separate review.

In June, Mothers for Peace, Friends of the Earth, and EWG filed a lawsuit with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, objecting to the NRC’s decision to extend PG&E’s operating licenses of Diablo Canyon without first conducting the comprehensive safety and environmental review or offering a public hearing. Both are required by the federal Atomic Energy Act  and National Environmental Policy Act  as conditions of renewal of PG&E’s operating licenses for the twin reactors. Oral arguments in the case will occur on January 10, 2024.

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The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.

Areas of Focus Energy Utilities Federal & State Energy Policy Fossil & Nuclear Regional Issues California Disqus Comments Press Contact Alex Formuzis alex@ewg.org (202) 667-6982 December 14, 2023
Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Wildlife groups sue BNSF Railway over grizzly killings

Western Environmental Law Center - Thu, 12/14/2023 - 11:15

Today, wildlife conservation groups sued Burlington Northern Railway Company (BNSF) for operating trains and authorizing use of its tracks by other companies that have killed many federally protected grizzly bears in or near the Northern Continental Divide and Cabinet-Yaak grizzly bear recovery zones in Montana and Idaho, respectively. Pending the completion of processes begun in 2004 to develop a habitat conservation plan (HCP) with mitigation measures and to obtain an incidental take permit, trains have continued to kill grizzly bears, including three more threatened grizzlies on the company’s tracks in 2023. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has not yet issued a decision on BNSF’s request for an incidental take permit or its proposed HCP.

BNSF operates 206 miles of railway in key grizzly habitat known as the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE), crossing multiple national forests and along the southern border of Glacier National Park. Trains operated by BNSF or under its authority have killed or contributed to the deaths of approximately 52 grizzlies between 2008 and 2018. Trains on BNSF railways killed eight grizzly bears from the NCDE recovery zone in 2019 and three more in fall of 2023.

“We are extremely disappointed that, after all these years, BNSF has refused to change its business practices to prevent the unnecessary deaths of Montana’s iconic grizzlies, resulting in the tragic deaths of three bears just this fall,” said Sarah McMillan, Wildlife and Wildlands Program director at the Western Environmental Law Center in Missoula, Montana. “When a company chooses to operate in the epicenter of key habitat for a threatened species, it must take some responsibility to adapt practices to minimize its impacts on these animals.”

The company’s proposed, long-delayed HCP fails to include any measures to change train operating schedules or speeds, which could prevent the deaths of threatened grizzlies from trains, and would allow BNSF to continue its operations as usual.

“The Burlington Northern railway runs right alongside Glacier National Park, some of the most prime grizzly habitat in the world, so the railway should be expected to slow down and take precautions to ensure grizzly bears aren’t put at risk from train operations,” said Erik Molvar of Western Watersheds Project. “With the addition of Montana Rail Link, BNSF now has additional responsibilities to protect grizzly bears in the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem.”

“Burlington Northern Railway has been given carte blanche to run trains through core grizzly bear habitat for far too long,” said Lizzy Pennock, carnivore coexistence attorney at WildEarth Guardians. “Enough is enough. BNSF must be held responsible for the dozens of federally protected bears it has already killed, and for the dozens more it will predictably kill if the company refuses to change.”

“It is truly ludicrous for BNSF to kill at least 63 threatened grizzly bears with no tangible action from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency in charge of protecting endangered and threatened species,” said McMillan. “The draft incidental take permit allowing BNSF to kill even more bears annually than it has on average to date is appalling.”

Contacts:

Sarah McMillan, Western Environmental Law Center, 406-549-3895, mcmillan@westernlaw.org

Pete Frost, Western Environmental Law Center, 541-543-0018, frost@westernlaw.org

Erik Molvar, Western Watersheds Project, 307-399-7910,  emolvar@westernwatersheds.org

Lizzy Pennock, WildEarth Guardians, 406-830-8924, lpennock@wildearthguardians.org

Thick red line in north shows BNSF railways; thinner red line in south is Montana Rail Link railways

The post Wildlife groups sue BNSF Railway over grizzly killings appeared first on Western Environmental Law Center.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Snow joke: Food additives stocked in festive candies

Environmental Working Group - Thu, 12/14/2023 - 08:11
Snow joke: Food additives stocked in festive candies Iris Myers December 14, 2023

Regardless of the seasonal holidays you celebrate, one winter symbol is ubiquitous across the United States: the snowman. So it’s no surprise you can find snowman-themed products, from plush toys to books and movies, in stores from November to March. 

Confectionery companies have also taken advantage of the popularity of this universal icon and created lots of snowman-themed items – including Peeps, the marshmallow confection. 

What might surprise you is that your snowman-shaped confections could contain harmful food colorants and dyes.

Titanium dioxide

One harmful additive found in many of these snowman treats is titanium dioxide

Products like Hilco Sweets strawberry snowman swirls pops and Frosty the Snowman frosted sugar cookies use it to create their traditional white coloring and enhance their other bright hues. 

But due to its potential toxicity, European food safety regulators have labeled titanium dioxide no longer safe for human consumption. 

Animal studies show exposure to titanium dioxide is linked to immunotoxicity, inflammation and neurotoxicity. 

A European Union ban of titanium dioxide in food took effect in 2022, but it is still legal for use in food in the U.S.

Artificial food dyes

Another group of food chemicals to avoid are synthetic food dyes, which are used to give festive candies and other treats their colorful appearance. 

Dyes like Red Dye No. 40, Yellow Dye No. 5 and Blue Dye No. 1, can all be found in Peeps marshmallow snowmen and Wondershop Santa Claus & snowman sugar figurines and have been linked to an array of health harms. They can make children vulnerable to behavioral difficulties, including decreased attention, according to a 2021 study by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. 

The California health agency also found that current federal safe intake levels of these dyes might not protect children’s brain health. Current legal levels were set by the Food and Drug Administration decades ago and do not take recent research into account. 

Human studies have also linked synthetics dyes to learning difficulties and restlessness in sensitive children. In the EU, products containing Red Dye No. 40 and Yellow Dye No. 5 must contain the warning “May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children.”

Some children may be especially sensitive to artificial dyes and show behavioral difficulties, such as reduced attentiveness, after exposures as low as 1 milligram. And just one serving of many brightly colored candies or cookies can contain more than this amount. 

How can I avoid these harmful ingredients?

For those wishing to limit or avoid exposure to titanium dioxide and synthetic food dyes, here are some steps to take: 

  • Check food product labels and avoid those with titanium dioxide and synthetic food dyes. Food companies must list these on packaged food ingredient labels. In some instances, titanium dioxide may simply be listed as “artificial color” or “color added.”
  • Consult EWG’s Food Scores database to find products without titanium dioxide or harmful food dyes. When you’re on the go, use our Healthy Living app to find products without toxic chemicals.
  • Choose packaged foods that are certified organic, whenever possible. These products must meet strong standards that protect consumers from exposure to potentially harmful artificial additives. 
  • Try to avoid ultra-processed foods. Many contain concerning ingredients, including other synthetic colorants and dyes. 
Areas of Focus Food & Water Food Toxic Chemicals Food Chemicals Disqus Comments Authors Iris Myers December 14, 2023
Categories: G1. Progressive Green

COP28 - what happened

Campaign against Climate Change - Thu, 12/14/2023 - 05:46

A ‘historic agreement’? COP28 was the first such summit in three decades of UN climate negotiations to agree the necessity of moving away from fossil fuels. Which frankly says more about the failures of the process as a whole than the success of COP28. So what are the key outcomes from Dubai that we need to understand?

The final text, the ‘Global Stocktake’ did not in the end agree the ‘phase out’ of fossil fuels which more than 100 countries had called for, with oil producing nations, notably Saudi Arabia, implacably opposed. Instead, it called on countries to contribute to global efforts to transition “away from fossil fuels in energy systems in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade, so as to achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the science”.

The overwhelming message from Global South countries was that while language might be significant, at COP28 it was much less important than the failure of richer nations to put money on the table. Poorer countries face three overwhelming costs they are unable to meet without this:

  • Adaptation: In a heated and unstable world, preventative investment in climate-resilient food production, coastal flood adaptation, management of scarce water resources is essential, but climate finance for this has been minimal. The adaptation finance gap is estimated at $194-366 billion. At COP28 an adaptation framework was agreed but not the money needed to deliver.
  • Loss and damage: Extreme weather events are increasingly causing severe losses, and those in poorer countries who have done least to cause the climate crisis are least able to bear the cost. At COP27, countries finally agreed to set up a fund to pay for this loss and damage, after a 30-year fight led by small island states and developing countries. On the very first day of COP28, the fund was formally adopted, and by the end of COP28 $770m had been pledged. Some countries, such as the UK, re-pledged funding already announced. Notably the US pledged a measly $17.5m. By comparison, estimates for the annual cost of climate damage have varied from $100bn-$580bn - the fund so far covers less than 1% of what is needed.
  • Transition: Richer nations built their economies on exploiting fossil fuels. The Paris agreement includes a commitment from developed countries to transfer funds not just for adaptation to climate impacts but so that poorer countries are able to develop without reliance on fossil fuels and meet their emissions targets. The commitment to provide $100bn a year by 2020has not been met. The governments of countries such as Uganda say they cannot be expected to forgo the billions that exploiting their oil reserves would bring in when no alternative funding is forthcoming. Many countries are locked in a debt trap, forced to keep drilling to service their debts. 'Climate finance' as further loans is a bitter irony.

There are clear loopholes in the text, such as the call for the acceleration of carbon capture & storage, a technology which is unproven and expensive but can be used as a fig leaf for fossil fuel expansion. ‘Transitional fuels’ are ‘recognised’ for ensuring energy security, a clear reference to the idea that gas could be used as a ‘bridge fuel’ - which is not compatible with staying below 1.5C.

COP28 was supposed to finalise rules on carbon markets (Article 6). However, talks ended in deadlock. Despite multiple scandals around carbon trading, the US had been pushing for ‘light touch’ regulation, which would allow secrecy and potentially double counting of emissions cuts. This was blocked by countries demanding greater scrutiny as well as human rights and environmental safeguards. However this leaves the existing ‘voluntary’ carbon market unregulated for at least another year.

When it comes to climate breakdown, the bottom line is not politics but physics, which is not affected by words but only by the reality of cumulative global greenhouse gas emissions which continue to rise. The nations facing the most immediate existential threat, the Alliance of Small Island States, were clear in their statement, “It is not enough for us to reference the science and then make agreements that ignore what the science is telling us we need to do. This is not an approach that we should be asked to defend.”

A few hours after the agreement, Shell announced it would be boosting oil production in the US Gulf of Mexico. Other headlines that day underlined that it remained business as usual for the oil industry.

The COP process has been co-opted by fossil fuel corporations and governments doing their bidding. Next year COP29 will be held in Azerbaijan, another petrostate with a poor record on human rights and democracy. Yet this is the only existing framework for global climate negotiations. Reforms are badly needed, but it is hard to see how these reforms could be forced through. Stronger solutions such as a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty have as yet only a dozen countries backing them.

What of our own government’s role? Rishi Sunak dropped by, spending less time at COP28 than he did on the plane. Sunak's speech was confused and damaging, on the one hand urging climate action, on the other highlighting his own net zero rollback, boasting “we have scrapped plans on heat pumps and energy efficiency”. In contrast with other delegations, he and other UK ministers avoided meeting with the press. At these summits, most countries are represented by the equivalent of cabinet minister rank, however the UK’s delegation was headed by a junior minister, Graham Stuart. Who was then summoned back to the UK in a round trip of over 6000 miles to help vote through the Rwanda bill, possibly the worst piece of UK legislation in modern times.

Finally a quote from our friend and climate justice campaigner Asad Rehman: "Those of us who fight for climate justice are often told we are on the fringe, or that we are being unrealistic. But it is the people with the most power at the moment who are being unrealistic. We are the ones who actually know this is a life-and-death fight. We are the realistic ones, and so we are the only hope for the future. So we will come back, stronger and more powerful, until it is the interests of people and not of profit that shapes the climate talks."

You can read more about the details of negotiations here

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Court Orders, Refinery Fires and Deforestation Drivers: California Push for Liquid Biofuels Ignores Red Flag Warnings

Biofuel Watch - Wed, 12/13/2023 - 19:04

Despite a series of dramatic red flag warnings about public safety and climate impacts, compounded by errors in governance, California authorities continue to push hard for completing the conversion of refineries in the San Francisco Bay Area to operate as the largest liquid biofuel manufacturing facilities in the world.

Starting in the summer of 2020, in the wake of the demand destruction of the pandemic slow down, two of five refineries in the SF Bay Area have pursued ‘repurposing’ to manufacture ‘drop in’ diesel and aviation fuels from high deforestation risk commodities like animal tallow and soy.

The two refinery conversion projects are the Marathon biofuels joint venture with Neste at the Marathon Martinez refinery and the Phillips 66 biofuel project at the Rodeo refinery, both on the shores of San Francisco Bay. Though there are subtle differences between the two refineries, both would be operating with nearly identical fossil gas and hydrogen intensive refining processes for manufacturing liquid biofuels.

The Marathon Martinez biofuels refinery is located on the edge of the San Francisco Bay Delta in Contra Costa County and was the site of a serious fire in November 2023.

Both biofuel refineries have been subject to litigation due to their irregular and inadequate environmental review, but it was the Marathon Martinez refinery that was thrust into the public view when fires broke out in November, including one very serious fire incident that resulted in an injured worker being helicoptered off the refinery grounds to the burn center at UC Davis. Concerns around this fire were extensive enough that an investigation of the incident and of the conditions at the refinery has been initiated by the US Chemical Safety Board.

Safety concerns with refining biofuels have been central to community stakeholder and independent expert engagement on the environmental review processes for both the Marathon and Phillips 66 refinery conversion projects since the beginning of public participation. As things have progressed, concerns have only mounted. During the summer and fall of 2023 the local independent consultancy Community Energy Re-Source had shared with Biofuelwatch and other community stakeholders alarming findings based on data from flaring reports from the Marathon Martinez biofuels facility that had been submitted to and recorded by the local Bay Area Air Quality Management District. The data is clear that flaring was occurring at an exceptionally high rate at the refinery that in January 2023 had started up operations for making ‘renewable diesel’ from lipid feedstocks like animal tallow and soy.

The fire at the Marathon Martinez biofuel refinery, as tragically unfortunate as it is, was also an incident that was predicted by informed and experienced local advocates — but the permitting authorities with Contra Costa County, responsible for local land use decision making and acting as the lead agency on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review of the refinery conversions, have continued to ignore community concerns and stonewall robust public participation in the environmental review of the projects.

As an example of how the County has tried to minimize these public safety issues, when the November incidents at the Marathon Martinez refinery erupted, the County was in the process of taking public comment on the court ordered Draft Revised Environmental Impact Report (Draft REIR) of the Phillips 66 project. The court had ordered a revision of the original 2022 environmental review as an outcome of year long litigation by Communities for a Better Environment and the Center for Biological Diversity challenging the approval of the CEQA review by the County. After a year of briefing and a series of court hearings, the Court ruled in August 2023 that the CEQA review of the Phillips 66 project was seriously flawed, due to illegal piece mealing of the project and the failure to do adequate cumulative impact analysis.

The Court ordered that the previous Final EIR be decertified, and that a Revised EIR for the Phillips 66 project be circulated for public comment, which happened in late October 2023. Immediately after the November 2023 fire at the Marathon facility local stakeholders began requesting of County staff an extension in the public comment period on the Draft REIR for the Phillips 66 project, arguing that, because of the extensive similarities between the projects, the information from the investigation of the root causes of the Marathon Martinez biofuel refinery fire would be relevant to the quality of the environmental review of the Phillips 66 project.

These requests for an extension in public comment were not frivolous. Community Energy Re-Source articulated to the County that a California Public Records Act request made to the Contra Costa County Hazard Materials Programs regarding the Marathon Martinez November refinery fire would not be completed until Dec 21, nearly two weeks after the close of the Phillips 66 comment period.

The request was made to the County to extend the public comment period to insure that the findings from the investigations by all relevant authorities of what happened at the Marathon Martinez biofuel project could be integrated into the review of the Phillips 66 project. For Biofuelwatch, this logic is impeccable.

These requests for an extension of the public comment period on the Phillips 66 project fell on deaf ears. Apparently the issues of public safety and the clear indication that this is a matter of heightened public interest are not sufficient for County regulators to try to get as much information as possible before advancing the refinery conversion project. The County denied all requests for an extension of the recent Phillips 66 public comment period, diminishing the seriousness of the court ruling that the original CEQA review was deficient, callously playing down community concerns after the dramatic emergency at the Marathon Martinez biofuel refinery, and offering hollow assurances that public safety is of utmost concern, and thus, in the eyes of the County, no extension of the public comment period to wait crucial information regarding the recent refinery accident was necessary.

Despite the lack of time, and the rushed nature of the public comment period, Biofuelwatch did offer comment on the Draft REIR of the Phillips 66 project before the December 8, 2023 deadline, as did many other community stakeholders and independent experts.

The Phillips 66 refinery in Rodeo has been getting lucrative incentives for making biofuels even though the environmental review of the project was found deficient by a judge.

Another dynamic that is indicative of the backwards governance of these refinery conversion issues is related to how the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is facilitating the awarding of lucrative Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) incentive credits for these biofuel refineries, even with their irregular CEQA reviews and ongoing litigation. One of the incongruent dynamics around the governance of the Phillips 66 biofuel refinery project is how CARB awarded Phillips 66 LCFS credits for making ‘renewable diesel’ in December 2021 — while the original environmental review was still in draft form.

Again, now in December 2023, despite the obvious problems with the environmental review of the biofuel refinery project, and in the context of the court order prohibiting the actual operation of the biofuel project until the CEQA process is legally complete, CARB is again preparing to lavishly award Phillips 66 lucrative LCFS credits for making ‘renewable diesel’ — this time with high deforestation risk soy oil sourced from Argentina and brought to the San Francisco Bay Area by tanker.

Local authorities have still done nothing to evaluate what the repercussions would be of a large scale industrial spill of vegetable oil or animal tallow in the Bay. Nor have state authorities taken seriously the abundant evidence exposing the climate damage arising from crop-based biofuels. Biofuelwatch did provide comment to CARB opposing the approval of the current Phillips 66 application for LCFS credits from making liquid biofuels from soy imported from Argentina.

As the governance irregularities continue to pile up around the conversion of SF Bay Area refineries to making liquid biofuels Biofuelwatch will continue to work with partners to highlight the red flags that should at the very least put the brakes on these problematic energy projects receiving incentives from California markets-based climate policy mechanisms like the Low Carbon Fuel Standard.

Whether it be court orders, refinery fires or evidence about soy-based biofuels as a driver of global deforestation, the red flags about the public risks and environmental threats of these biofuel refinery projects are increasingly easy to see — for those who have their eyes open to see them. Unfortunately, state and local authorities in California are trending towards a ‘heads-in-the-sand’ approach to the evidence about public safety concerns and environmental problems with the aggressive pivot to biofuels in the California refinery sector. Agency representatives and elected officials alike are dismissing informed community concerns about the refinery conversions and the resultant predictable threats to the local environment, public health and community safety — as well as ignoring the risks to global forests and the climate.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Our movement held the line at COP28

350.org - Wed, 12/13/2023 - 15:15

This year’s UN Climate Conference wrapped up today, leaving a bittersweet taste for the climate movement: while the final text made some strides in the right direction, acknowledging the need of move away from fossil fuels and setting support for tripling clean energy and doubling energy efficiency by 2030, it feel short on crucial aspects as how to fairly fund the energy transition. Now, these targets must be backed up with quantifiable timelines and equitable finance, particularly for the Global South.

Our movement held the line for a full fossil fuels phaseout and a fast and fair energy transition at COP28 and with Global Power Up‘s actions worldwide – and that made a difference! We know we have the tools and resources to make a world powered by the wind, the sun and the people a reality, and we will keep pushing for it! As 350’s executive director, May Boeve, said earlier today: “The energy revolution is already underway, as we stand by to build our own power!

“Hold the Line” action at the last day of COP28 in Dubai. Photo credit: Konrad Skotnicki

 

But I also have some other and more personal news to share: this will be my last Fossil Free News edition. As I write this email, I reflect on my journey since taking over this newsletter in 2021. Our collective efforts have been dedicated to showcasing the strides made in our mission against the fossil fuels giants, working closely with all partners and communities on the ground. It’s been incredibly fulfilling to know that we’ve contributed to pushing the needle in our favor – toward a more sustainable future powered by accessible renewable energy.

This isn’t goodbye, it’s more of “I’ll see you around”. I’m shifting gears to a new role, but I’m still part of the fantastic 350 team. From January on, you’re going to be in Mallika Singhal’s excellent hands!

With love, Christine

In Case You Missed It

Tripling renewable energy

COP28 started with hopeful news: more than 130 countries pledged to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030 – a great step toward the goal of keeping global heating under 1.5 ºC, and a sign that global leaders are listening yo us. However, it’s not enough. We don’t need more pledges and promises, we need real action and commitments.

Tripling renewables needs to be part of a comprehensive energy package, including a decision to support the transition with meaningful climate finance. COP28 didn’t deliver on that. We will take this win and we will keep fighting! It is crucial that the global renewable energy transition happens at the scale and speed needed, and that it is rooted in justice.

Moments before U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, started his press briefing at #COP28. Photo credit: 350.org

 

Fossil Fuels Phase Out Day at COP28

During the second week of COP28, on December 8th, we rallied for a global #PowerUp of renewables and an urgent phaseout to fossil fuels. Led by 350.org and the Pacific Climate Warriors, the actions amplified the voices of all of the 15,000 people who joined the Power Up month of actions, pushing for a swift and fair shift towards a world powered by renewables. The message was clear: we demand a fast and fair energy transition! It’s time to shut the door on false solutions.

Action at COP28 demanding global #PowerUp of renewable energy. Photo credit: 350.org

 

Total Report puts people at the center

Amid the high-stake talks at COP28, 350.org and the Multinationals Observatory dropped a fresh report diving into why it’s vital to take back control from the big fossil fuel companies if we’re serious about switching to clean energy. The report “This is what a Total phaseout looks like” report uses TotalEnergies as a case study to call on policymakers to dare to imagine a shut down of the fossil fuel industry, and puts forward concrete pathways to make it happen.

This is a must read, an invitation to shake things up. Dive into the report and let’s get the conversation going!

Check our 2022 highlights! Download the full report

Stop EACOP / Total HQ action in Paris, on December 8th. Photo credit: Lea Garson

 

One to Watch

During the first week of COP, our team and StopEACOP activists went straight to Total’s CEO Patrick Pouyanné, urging him to support the release of seven imprisoned Ugandan StopEACOP activists. Pouyanné responded, saying “that’s our focus for today.” – and that’s a commitment we will follow up!

Earlier this year, seven youths were arrested for peacefully opposing the East Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), a project led by TotalEnergies. A recent press release states their bail was denied, forcing them to remain in deplorable prison conditions at least until December 19th.

Check our 2022 highlights! Watch the video

 

Use Your Power

As we wave goodbye to 2023, let’s shake things up a bit! We’re not just saying farewell to the year, we’re asking you to help us spread the word. Be the ripple effect! Invite your friends and family to join the climate movement and to stay looped on all the incredible work we’re doing worldwide. Ask them to sign up to our newsletter:

Check our 2022 highlights! Sign Up Here Skill Up Your Activism

Despite COP28 delivering a text riddled with loopholes, communities persist in holding the line for the future we want to see – and we already have exciting plans for the upcoming year! The “Our Own Power” toolkit for Community-led Renewable Energy is about to launch, and we need your energy too!

Become part of our global network of activists leading community-led renewable energy projects worldwide! Whether you have a project in mind, are already involved in one, or simply want guidance to kickstart a local initiative, we’ve got you covered:

Check our 2022 highlights! Resgister Now Quote of the month

“Every year, we travel across oceans to come to these negotiations and we continue to get only drops of ambition. So we will return home, and continue to build up resilience in our communities, but it is evident that we may do so without the strong backing of the international community.”

– Joseph Sikulu, Pacific Managing Director at 350.org

IN OTHER NEWS

The post Our movement held the line at COP28 appeared first on 350.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

COP28 is running into overtime, but your time is up to deliver climate justice

Demand Climate Justice - Tue, 12/12/2023 - 08:15
Statement from global climate justice groups

As we sit in the now nearly empty halls of COP28 in Dubai, governments are locked up in rooms, secretly negotiating texts that will either protect millions of lives or effectively sign the death warrant for so many around the world—communities of color, Indigenous Peoples, frontline and local communities, small peasant farmers, youth, and women. We are shut out, silenced, and left in the dark, even though it is many of our communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis that will be most directly impacted by what those in these halls do, or do not, deliver.  

But we know enough from what we have witnessed play out over the past two weeks during this round of UN climate talks to guess what is underfoot. And we know enough from having attended 28 COPs, all of which have failed to deliver the action needed to curb global emissions to Real Zero and implement a just transition along with the needed climate finance. We know enough, because we travel from around the world every year to stand for justice and to resist, while those in power, the political elite, and polluting corporations use this process to orchestrate their ‘get out of jail free’ card.

COP28 is in overtime, but we are here to say—time’s up. 

Time’s up to spend hours upon hours “taking stock” when we know we are grotesquely off track and nowhere near the mark. 

Time’s up to deliver the fast, fair, funded, false solutions-free fossil fuel phase out—of all fossil fuels—alongside the needed finance and technology for implementation, and without the use of adjectives like ‘unabated’ that mask the intent to actually ramp up fossil fuels.

Time’s up to announce the long overdue delivery of climate finance that those on the frontlines are owed. Finance that is public, community-controlled, and in line with each government’s fair share of climate action. There’s no point having ambition and setting lofty targets without a means for implementation for the Global South. 

Time’s up for Global North governments like the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, Norway, Japan, and Australia to cease their climate bullying while proclaiming themselves climate champions, and to stop denying doing their fair share of climate action as the actors that are overwhelmingly responsible for the climate crisis. 

Time’s up to reject dangerous distractions and false solutions that are unproven, risky, do not meaningfully reduce emissions, cause great harm, and delay the needed end to the fossil fuel age. No more carbon markets, offsets, geo-engineering, nature-based solutions, nuclear, carbon capture and storage, and hydrogen—all of which continue to enable the extractivist, racist, colonial, capitalist system that has perpetuated the climate crisis. 

Time’s up to finally enact just transitions that meet the urgent needs of the Global South and respects workers rights. A just transition that does not take into account historical responsibilities means nothing. 

Time’s up for Big Polluters, including the fossil fuel industry and industrial agriculture, to no longer be given the pen to write the rules of climate action, or the power to bankroll these talks and manipulate what happens here. We can no longer allow this process to be poisoned from the inside with Big Polluters’ profit and greed-driven motive. 

Time’s up on the complicit silence of the world while not far from Dubai, children, women, elderly, and men are being murdered by heinous acts of crimes against humanity, enabled by the same Global North actors that are here blocking every meaningful outcome these talks could and must deliver. We are over having to shout reminders that there is no climate justice without human rights, and no climate justice on occupied land. 

There is no more time for delaying and stalling. There is now only time for acting—urgently, fairly, and justly. The words “fossil fuels” in a text are meaningless if the rest of those pages are riddled with loopholes that not only enable but exacerbate the era of fossil fuels. Climate action is weakened if those who are most responsible are not held to account to lead by example. A phaseout is useless without the tools needed to actually achieve it. Climate action is pointless if it condemns billions to death and destruction. 

The Global North as perpetrators of the climate crisis are painting themselves as the victims trying to deliver a package here in Dubai. But what good is a package of false solutions, empty finance, and meaningless promises? COP28, now in overtime, risks setting a death trap for communities around the world. 

Climate Justice Now.  

From the undersigned organizations:

ActionAid International 

Alianza Socioambiental Fondos del Sur

Alliance Nationale de lutte contre la Faim et la Malnutrition ACFM Niger 

Artivistnetwork.org

Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD)

Association Nigerienne des Scouts de l’Environnement ANSEN 

Biofuelwatch

Casa Socio-Environmental Fund • Fundo Casa Socioambiental Brasil

Climate Emergency Fund

Climate Justice Alliance 

Colectivo VientoSur (Chile) 

Connected Advocacy for Empowerment and Youth Development Initiative 

Corporate Accountability

Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa 

Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO)

Debt Justice UK

Debt Observatory in Globalisation (ODG) (Barcelona)

[Earth]

EcoEquity

Ecologistas en Acción (Spain)

Emerger Fondo Sociambiental Colombia

Entertainment & Culture Foundation

ETC Group

Fondo Ñeque Ecuador

Fondo Tierra Viva Centro América

Fondo Socioambiental Semilla Bolívia

Friends of the Earth International

Friends of the Earth U.S.

Fridays for Future Spain – Juventud x Clima

Fridays for Future USA

Fundação Grupo Esquel Brasil 

Gaia Coalition Network

Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA)

Global Forest Coalition

Global Justice Now

Grupo Ambientalista da Bahia

Help Initiative for Social Justice and Humanitarian Development 

Hivos 

IBON International 

Indigenous Climate Action

Indigenous Environmental Network

Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL)

International Student Environmental Coalition

ISPN – Instituto Sociedade, População e Natureza-Brasil

Konsorsium Pendukung Sistem Hutan Kerakyatan (KPSHK)

Oil Change International

Oil Watch Africa

PFC Family Office

Reacción Climática (Bolivia)

RedTailed Hawk Collective

Re:wild Your Campus

Pudú

The Zetkin Collective

Third World Network

TierrActiva Peru (TAP)

Viernes por el Futuro Perú

UKYCC

War on Want

WhatNext?

Women Donors Network

Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN)

World Animal Protection

Zero Hour

350 Côte d’Ivoire

350.org

7 Directions of Service

Photo Credit: Ja Valenzuela, APMDD

The post COP28 is running into overtime, but your time is up to deliver climate justice appeared first on Global Campaign to Demand Climate Justice.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

Tripler la capacité des énergies renouvelables d’ici 2030 : un triomphe pour le 1,5 degré à la COP28

350.org - Tue, 12/12/2023 - 07:49

Alors que la poussière retombe sur la COP28, les défenseurs du climat du monde entier, y compris ceux de 350.org, célèbrent une avancée significative dans la lutte contre le changement climatique suite à l’engagement de 130 pays de tripler leur capacité en énergies renouvelables d’ici 2030, ce qui conduit à une réduction de la dépendance aux combustibles fossiles et à une limitation du réchauffement climatique à 1,5 degré Celsius.

Du 4 novembre au 9 décembre, 350.org et ses partenaires sont descendus dans les rues du monde entier sous la bannière du “PowerUp”, exhortant les gouvernements à tripler leurs investissements dans les énergies renouvelables et exigeant que les grands pollueurs assument la responsabilité des dommages qu’ils ont causés. Les résultats de la COP28 suggèrent que ces efforts n’ont pas été vains, alors continuons sur notre lancée.

Pourquoi 1,5 degré Celsius est important : on va la jouer simple!

Vous avez peut-être entendu parler de l’objectif de 1,5 degré Celsius, mais qu’est-ce que cela signifie vraiment ? En termes simples, il s’agit d’un seuil crucial fixé par la communauté internationale pour limiter la hausse des températures mondiales. Pourquoi ? Parce qu’au-delà de 1,5 degré, les effets du changement climatique deviennent plus graves et plus étendus. Il s’agit de vagues de chaleur plus intenses, de l’élévation du niveau des mers, de phénomènes météorologiques extrêmes et de menaces pour nos écosystèmes et nos communautés.

Imaginons maintenant un monde où nous limiterions le réchauffement de la planète à 1,5 degré Celsius. C’est un monde où nous atténuons les pires effets du changement climatique, en préservant un environnement plus sûr et plus stable pour les générations futures.

Tripler la capacité des énergies renouvelables : Un changement de cap

L’une des grandes victoires de la COP28 est l’engagement pris par 130 pays de tripler les capacités en matière d’énergies renouvelables d’ici à 2030. Mais pourquoi cet engagement est-il si important pour maintenir le réchauffement de la planète à 1,5 degré ?

La réponse se trouve dans la source de notre énergie. À l’heure actuelle, une grande partie de notre énergie provient de la combustion de combustibles fossiles tels que le charbon, le pétrole et le gaz. Ces activités libèrent d’énormes quantités de gaz à effet de serre, qui emprisonnent la chaleur dans l’atmosphère et provoquent une hausse des températures mondiales.

Les énergies renouvelables, en revanche, proviennent de sources telles que le soleil, le vent, l’eau et la chaleur géothermique. Lorsque nous investissons dans ces sources propres et durables, nous réduisons notre dépendance à l’égard des combustibles fossiles, ce qui diminue les émissions à l’origine du changement climatique.

L’Afrique peut jouer un rôle important dans cette fête de l’énergie propre, car elle regorge de potentiel d’énergie renouvelable sous forme de vent, de soleil et d’autres sources. Le triplement de la capacité ne réduit pas seulement notre dépendance aux combustibles fossiles, mais exploite également les ressources renouvelables de l’Afrique pour un développement économique et social généralisé, comme l’accès à l’électricité, l’emploi et l’amélioration des conditions de vie.

Nous demandons aux décideurs d’investir plus d’argent pour soutenir les plans visant à tripler les énergies renouvelables. Cela signifie qu’il faut tripler l’argent déjà investi dans la construction de fermes solaires, de turbines éoliennes et d’autres équipements géniaux qui nous donnent accès à l’électricité.

C’est comme si nous disposions d’une grande boîte à outils remplie de solutions intéressantes pour produire de l’énergie sans nuire à notre planète. Pour exploiter le potentiel de l’Afrique et tripler les énergies renouvelables, un financement substantiel est nécessaire pour soutenir la transition.

Le pouvoir de la pression publique et de la mobilisation sociale

Les décisions prises lors de la COP28 reflètent non seulement les efforts des décideurs politiques, mais aussi le pouvoir des personnes qui se rassemblent pour exiger un changement. La mobilisation PowerUp, menée par 350.org et ses partenaires, illustre la manière dont la pression publique peut influencer les décisions politiques et économiques. Lorsque nous descendons dans la rue, que nous élevons la voix et que nous exigeons des mesures, les décideurs s’en rendent compte.

Quelles sont les prochaines étapes ? Éliminer progressivement le pétrole, le charbon et le gaz

Si l’engagement de tripler les capacités en matière d’énergies renouvelables constitue une avancée majeure, il reste encore beaucoup à faire. Le développement des énergies renouvelables doit également s’accompagner d’une volonté et de plans concrets pour l’élimination progressive du charbon, du pétrole et du gaz. La société civile demande que la COP 28 aboutisse à une décision d’élimination progressive des combustibles fossiles d’ici 2050 et que cette décision soit reflétée dans les résultats officiels de la conférence. Pourquoi ? Parce que nous ne pouvons pas limiter le réchauffement de la planète à 1,5 degré si nous ne nous affranchissons pas des combustibles fossiles.

En outre, il est essentiel que les grands pollueurs soient tenus responsables des dommages qu’ils ont causés et du rôle qu’ils ont joué dans la crise climatique. Cela signifie qu’il faut s’assurer que ceux qui ont le plus contribué au problème assument la responsabilité d’engager des fonds pour soutenir la transition équitable vers les énergies renouvelables dans les pays en développement, aider ces pays à s’adapter au changement climatique et les dédommager pour les pertes subies.

Alors que nous célébrons les victoires de la COP28, n’oublions pas que notre voix et notre action collectives sont des outils puissants dans la lutte contre le changement climatique. En continuant à promouvoir des mesures audacieuses et ambitieuses, nous pouvons créer un monde où l’objectif de 1,5 degré Celsius n’est pas seulement une aspiration mais une réalité, sauvegardant ainsi la planète pour les générations à venir.

The post Tripler la capacité des énergies renouvelables d’ici 2030 : un triomphe pour le 1,5 degré à la COP28 appeared first on 350.

Categories: G1. Progressive Green

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