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Women in Circularity: Valentina Rappa

Resource Recycling News - Mon, 01/30/2023 - 13:52

Women in Circularity: Valentina Rappa

In this series, we spotlight women moving us toward a circular economy. Today, we meet Valentina Rappa, circular economy strategist at Rheaply.

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The post Women in Circularity: Valentina Rappa appeared first on Resource Recycling News.

Aluminum recycler pleads guilty to air pollution crime

Resource Recycling News - Mon, 01/30/2023 - 13:51

Aluminum recycler pleads guilty to air pollution crime

Aluminum recycling company Hydro Extrusion USA pleaded guilty to an air pollution crime and agreed to over half a million dollars in penalties. Federal prosecutors in August 2022 charged the company, which is part of Oslo, Norway-headquartered aluminum giant Norsk …

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The post Aluminum recycler pleads guilty to air pollution crime appeared first on Resource Recycling News.

The other ‘big one’: How a megaflood could swamp California’s Central Valley

Skeptical Science - Mon, 01/30/2023 - 13:37

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Jeff Masters

When early settlers came to the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers before the California Gold Rush, Indigenous people warned them that the Sacramento Valley could become an inland sea when great winter rains came. The storytellers described water filling the valley from the Coast Range to the Sierra during these rare events.

And their warnings became realized when Great Flood of 1861-62 hit. A six-week onslaught of at least 10 powerful Pacific storms in December and January carried mighty “atmospheric rivers” of subtropical moisture into California, dumping torrential rains in the valleys and prodigious snows in the mountains. When an unusually warm storm struck in January, heavy rains fell on the enormous Sierra snowpack, melting it.

A cataclysmic flood ensued, inundating the Central Valley and transforming it into a lake 300 miles long and over 20 miles wide; much of the now densely populated coastal plain in present-day Los Angeles and Orange counties was also inundated. As summarized in a 2013 Scientific American overview, the flood killed thousands of people, drowned one-quarter of the state’s estimated 800,000 cattle, and submerged downtown Sacramento under more than 10 feet of brown water laden with debris from countless mudslides. With the state’s capital city paralyzed, the California legislature was forced to move to San Francisco until the summer of 1862. By that point, the state was bankrupt, as one-third of its taxable properties had been destroyed.

California’s long history of megastorms

Sediment research has found that six storms similar to or even more severe than the 1861-62 storm hit California in the past 2,000 years, arriving about every 200 to 400 years. One study estimated the arrival dates as 212, 440, 603, 1029, 1418, and 1605 AD; the dates vary by a century or more from study to study, but the data makes clear that such megastorms have recurred regularly. The storm that occurred around 1605 appears to have been the mightiest of them all — and far stronger than storm that brought the Great Flood of 1861-62.

Given this history, it is inevitable that another great flood will hit the state someday, and climate change is thought to boost the odds of such an event. And when the next great flood comes, the damages could well dwarf those of any previous global weather disaster, adding up to more than $1 trillion — an extraordinary catastrophe with triple the cost of the feared great quake on the San Andreas fault.

According to a 2011 government scenario, waters, winds, and landslides from such a megastorm would likely overtop dozens of levees, flood nearly a quarter of the square footage of the state’s buildings, wipe out key roads for weeks to months, and leave some communities without power for months.

In this first of a three-part series on California’s vulnerability to a megaflood, we examine the results of this 2011 study, called the “ARkStorm” scenario, which simulated what a repeat of the Great Flood of 1861-62 might do. Part Two looks at the poor state of the U.S. dam infrastructure in general, and more specifically at the California dams at the highest risk of failure in a megaflood. And since the ARkStorm research is more than a decade old, a new study that presents an “ARkStorm 2.0” scenario will be covered in Part Three, which will discuss the future of California megafloods and how climate change likely increases their odds.

California is highly vulnerable to a great flood

Many of the prosperous cities and fertile farmlands of California are built on the flood plains of the rivers that once inundated the valleys every few hundred years. Now the rivers are dammed and lined with levees and drainage channels, protecting the critically important development on California’s flood plains.

A megaflood would be a catastrophe for two main reasons:

What is the ARkStorm scenario?

Were the Great Flood of 1861-62 to recur, it might resemble the ARkStorm scenario — a plausible hypothetical storm conjured up in a 2011 study by 117 experts led by the United States Geological Survey, or USGS. In the acronym, the “AR” stands for atmospheric river, and the “k” stands for the number 1,000 because the storm could be expected to bring 1-in-1000-year rains to some locations.

The storm modeled by these experts could flood up to 25% of all buildings in the state, breach approximately 50 levees, and force the evacuation of 1.5 million people. The hypothetical ARkStorm would flood about 4,000 square miles, much of it agricultural, with a population of about 6.5 million, including much of Sacramento, Silicon Valley, and Stockton. Along with the mammoth evacuation required in the inland region and delta counties, over 220,000 people would need short-term shelter.

Since there is little data on the meteorological conditions during 1861-62, the USGS ARkStorm scenario used a computer-modeled hybrid storm that combined two actual storms that hit California: a Southern California storm from Jan. 19-27, 1969, which killed 115 people and caused inflation-adjusted damages of $3.3 billion, followed by a northern California storm from Feb. 8-20, 1986, which killed 13. An additional tweak was applied to produce a sufficient amount of precipitation to approximately match the limited observations of 1861-62.

The simulated USGS ARkStorm did $725 billion (in 2007 dollars) in damage. Approximately 55% of the damage was to buildings, infrastructure, and agriculture (of which just 5-8% would be covered by insurance), while 45% of the damage resulted from business interruption. Adjusted for inflation, the ARkStorm would cost about $1.1 trillion in 2023 dollars, and additional costs would occur because of increases in wealth and population. In recent decades, wealth on the West Coast has increased by about 3.3% per year (using GDP growth stats); the population of California has increased by about 6% since 2007. This suggests that the ARkStorm would cost approximately $1.7 trillion today (about 7% of U.S. GDP). Complicating this estimate is the fact that many billions of dollars in levee improvements have occurred in California since the ARkStorm report was issued, which would likely lead to a modest decrease in damages.

The authors cautioned that the impacts modeled were not exhaustive, since they did not consider tourism and recreation or loss of cultural value as a result of damage to historic artifacts and sites. And a repeat of one of the stronger storms documented in the past 2,000 years might cause damages much higher.

Much of the rest of this post covers the specific sectors considered in the ARkStorm scenario, demonstrating the extraordinary danger such a flood would likely pose to people, infrastructure, agricultural lands, and property. All costs are in 2007 dollars; adjusting for inflation would make these costs about 50% higher in 2023 dollars.

Figure 1 of 3. Anticipated flooding in the San Jose area from the 2011 ARkStorm scenario. (Image credit: USGS) Figure 2 of 3. Anticipated flooding in the Los Angeles area from the 2011 ARkStorm scenario. (Image credit: USGS) Figure 3 of 3. Anticipated flooding in the Sacramento area from the 2011 ARkStorm scenario. (Image credit: USGS) A megastorm would breach levees and flood buildings

The ARkStorm scenario generated flooding with an estimated return period of 100 to 500 years over many critical California watersheds, in addition to some 1-in-1000-year flooding. A 100-year return period means that a flood has a 1% probability in any given year, or a 26% probability over a 30-year time span. Similarly, flooding with a 500-year return period has a 0.2% probability of occurrence in any given year, or 6% over a 30-year period.

Nearly one-quarter of the total building square footage in California was affected by flooding in the ARkStorm scenario. Most flooded buildings were not a total loss, but rather experienced damage requiring repair costs between 10-50% of replacement cost. (Just one inch of water in a 2,500-square-foot home can cause $27,000 in damage, and 12 inches can cause $72,000 in damage, according to FEMA.) Residential buildings dominated the flood-related building repair costs. Total flood damage to buildings was estimated at $195 billion, with another $103 billion in damage to building contents. Business interruption from building downtimes of one to three years would cost an additional hundreds of billions of dollars.

The scenario hypothesized that urban levees might be threatened or overtopped at 60 to 75 critical sites and that 15-20 breaches might realistically occur. In addition, 30 breaches of levees protecting the islands of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta were considered realistic, with two to three breaches occurring per island. The Delta is about 73% farmland, with much of the land lying 10-25 feet below sea level; these fields are some of the most productive agricultural land in the nation. The Delta’s levees have experienced one major breach in the past 30 years, a June 2004 event that flooded the entire island of Jones Tract.

Urban levees in California are generally constructed to withstand a flood with a 1-in-200-year recurrence interval. There are, however, a few levees protecting urban areas near Sacramento and Stockton that offer protection at lower flood thresholds. For example, the levee protecting the community of Woodland (population of 9,000, property value $1.6 billion) offers protection against only a 1-in-20-year flood — one that has an 80% chance of occurring over a 30-year period (Figure 4). Fortunately, the state and federal governments are partway through the construction of a $1.85-billion flood protection project that will help shore up levees in the Sacramento area. About 361 miles of urban and 120 miles of non-urban levees have been repaired or improved since 2007, according to the state’s Central Valley Flood Protection Plan.

The city of Stockton, a disadvantaged community whose metro-area population of nearly 800,000 is almost 80% nonwhite, has a particularly high flood risk because of inadequate levees. The city lies on the San Joaquin River, and a 2018 study by the Army Corps found that much of the city could flood to depths of 10-20 feet if the city’s levees were breached. According to the National Levee Database, the main levee protecting the city offers only 1-in-100-year flood protection. The levee protects over 129,000 people and property worth over $16 billion.

Levees protecting rural areas in California have much lower failure thresholds, with some privately-owned ones offering only 1-in-10-year protection. Multiple levees of this nature failed in the Stockton region and on the Salinas River near Monterey during the January 2023 floods (see Tweet above). And until they are tested against a 1-in-100-year level flood, we should not be overconfident that levees rated to that level of protection will perform as designed. Extreme floods are notorious for exposing the unforeseen flaws in levees. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Jeffrey Mount, a geomorphologist and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California, said, “There are two kinds of levees: Those that have failed, and those that will fail.”

Figure 4. Sacramento area levee system (red lines). The figures within each levee area show the value of property protected, the level of protection offered by the levee, and the number of people living behind the levee. For example, the levee surrounding downtown Sacramento protects 384,000 people and $6.8 billion in property and is rated to withstand a 1-in-500-year flood. (Image credit: National Levee Database, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

Would a California megaflood cause dams to fail?

The ARkStorm study did not foresee any of California’s approximately 1,500 dams failing, though minor spillway damage and downstream erosion were plausible, it found. As will be discussed in Part Two of this series, there is reason to question this finding in light of the serious damage caused to the spillways of America’s tallest dam, the Oroville Dam in California, during flooding in 2017.

Important roads closed for weeks to months

The ARkStorm could cause tens of thousands of landslides, the vast majority of them being debris flows. These would cost on the order of $3 billion, including $1 billion in damage to private property, $1 billion to state highways, and $1 billion to other infrastructure. Indirect costs because of disruption of infrastructure were not considered in the estimate.

The damage to roads would be long-lasting in many cases, particularly along mountain roads in regions subject to landslides, such as coastal Highway 1 in Big Sur and near Santa Cruz (see Tweet above). Important roads would be closed for weeks or months, significantly slowing recovery efforts. The ARkStorm largely cut off traffic from Los Angeles to the north and east for one to two weeks, with gradual recovery. For Sacramento, traffic to the north, south, and west was largely cut off for one week or so, with gradual recovery thereafter.

Road damage from landslides could hinder repairs of critical water pipelines and limit access to repair wastewater treatment plants like the one in Long Beach. Water supply systems and wastewater treatment plants rely on supplies of chemicals that are carried on railways and trucks every few days, which might be cut off. One possible preparation effort: stockpiling Bailey bridges, which are portable, prefabricated trusses, primarily used by military engineering units to bridge gaps up to 200 feet. They do not require heavy equipment for construction, can be brought to the job site in trucks, and are strong enough for heavy traffic.

Figure 5. Road restoration percentages in northern California 30 days after the ARkStorm and 17 days after the ARkStorm in southern California. (Image credit: USGS)

Power outages for months in some areas

Damage to the power infrastructure by wind and flooding was estimated at $1 billion, with long restoration times of months predicted in mountainous areas experiencing high winds. Business interruption costs from lack of power were estimated at $18 billion. Flood damage to power infrastructure was also cited as a major concern. While most power plants are located out of the areas predicted to flood, some are inside, especially in Santa Clara County and Los Angeles.

High-voltage substations and generating plants have high-voltage transformers that can be damaged by flooding – for example, by flood-borne debris impacting the transformer. These transformers are custom-made, designed to operate only at that location, and serve a large population, often in excess of 200,000 people. The transformers are not interchangeable and are too expensive to stockpile beyond those available for normal operational redundancy. If one of these large transformers were damaged, it could take six months or more to replace.

Figure 6. Power restoration curves at a few key locations in California, showing the percentage of customers capable of receiving power at selected times, assuming the onset of the storm on Jan. 27, 2011. Mountainous areas experiencing higher winds, like Mono County in the Sierras (light blue curve), were modeled to have significant power outages lasting months. (Image credit: USGS)

Contaminated and interrupted water supplies

An ARkStorm would wreak serious damage on the water supply systems for California, causing an estimated $3 billion in damage. Restoration of service would take days, weeks, or months; the report suggested that the water treatment plant serving the entire city of Sacramento would be inoperative for up to three to six months. The costs of business interruption because of water system failures were put at a massive $54 billion.

About half of southern California’s water comes from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, where multiple levee failures were anticipated, leading to a lengthy interruption in water transport. The levee repairs necessary to restore water transport to southern California might take three months, but that region would have other sources of water. In fact, water quality might be a far more significant problem than quantity, because of runoff carrying sediments into reservoirs and from erosion of the banks of reservoirs. Contaminants from runoff could potentially require extended boil-water orders.

Raw sewage in the water

The ARkStorm scenario had 21 of the 113 wastewater treatment plants in California experiencing flooding, at a cost of $300 million, taking days or weeks to repair. The resulting business interruption would cost an additional $28 billion. In Los Angeles, the scenario imagines that the Donald C. Tillman and Terminal Island wastewater treatment plants are flooded, putting raw sewage into the central and western San Fernando Valley and into the Los Angeles River. This causes a hazardous-material condition that could trigger evacuation of homes and businesses that were not otherwise flooded and could shut down roads through the affected area.

Billions in damage to agriculture

Damages to crops, livestock, and fields were estimated to range between $4 and $7 billion, and damages to farm structures and equipment were estimated separately at $13 billion. The scenario hypothesized that 31 of the approximately 60 islands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta would flood and that it could take up to 1.5 years to remove that water because many of these islands lie 10-25 feet below sea level.

Wind damage in mountainous areas

Wind-related building repair costs are estimated to be $6 billion – small in comparison with the nearly $300 billion loss from flood damage. Wind damage contributes such a small fraction of the overall loss because the areas of highest winds (higher elevation mountainous areas) are relatively sparsely populated.

Coastal flooding would cause damage, too

While the vast majority of the flood damage California would experience from an ARkStorm would be from inland flooding from heavy rains, coastal flooding from large storm surges riding in on elevated sea levels would also cause significant damage. Coastal storms that hit California during strong El Niños are particularly problematic; ocean warming, wind patterns, and runoff from heavy rains inland have brought sea levels up to one foot above average during the past three strong El Niños (Figure 7).

Figure 7. Monthly mean water levels in San Francisco during the past three strong El Niño events (1982-83, 1997-98, and 2015-16), compared to average. (Image credit: Abe Doherty, updated with data from Reinhard Flick)

Even a 1-in-100-year flood would be devastating in California

It wouldn’t take a California flood event as severe as an ARkStorm to cause one of the most expensive disasters in U.S. history. A 2022 study estimated a lesser flood with a 1-in-100-year return period affecting only the Los Angeles area would likely inundate property — worth $56 billion with a population of about 425,000 — to a depth of a foot or more, with the risks disproportionately higher for non-Hispanic Black and disadvantaged populations.

The other two parts of this three-part series:
Part Two: If a megaflood strikes California, these dams might be at risk
Part Three: Climate change is increasing the risk of a California megaflood

Categories: I. Climate Science

North Carolina Clean Energy Advocates Give State Carbon Plan a Failing Grade — News Release from People Power NC

NC WARN - Mon, 01/30/2023 - 13:25

Today, People Power NC, a coalition of clean energy and social justice organizations, released a report card< assessing the state’s new carbon plan.

On Dec. 30, 2022, the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) issued an order establishing the state’s first Carbon Plan. Unfortunately, the NCUC adhered closely to a proposal by Duke Energy that continued to put profit before people and our environment. The Commission ignored alternative proposals that were submitted by intervenors which would meet North Carolina’s statutory emission reduction goals and cost less for the North Carolinians Duke Energy serves. The final carbon plan puts goals to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 70% below 2005 levels by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 in jeopardy. The NCUC has failed the people of North Carolina.

The People Power NC coalition graded the NCUC’s decision against the 12 Principles for a Carbon Plan in the public interest, which was released early last year. “The purpose of creating these twelve principles was to provide the NCUC a roadmap toward a resilient, equitable, clean energy future for North Carolinians,” says Jake Duncan, Regulatory Director, Southeast for Vote Solar. “It is disappointing that the NCUC chose to not listen to public input and move forward with an almost entirely Duke-driven plan that actively opposes the interests of the public.”

Duke’s carbon plan received failing grades in 5 of 12 criteria, including its inability to set an ambitious timeline for coal plant closure and reducing reliance on costly fossil fuels. In fact, the final carbon plan greenlights extending the life of multiple coal-fired power plants beyond what is necessary and it makes additional new investments in fossil gas.  

“The North Carolina League of Conservation Voters believes the initial carbon plan is a failure overall because it doesn’t provide the cheapest and most reliable path to carbon reduction — clean solar and wind energy with battery storage. Instead of relying on Duke Energy’s claims that it needs to build more gas-fired plants to best serve the people of North Carolina, the NC Utilities Commission should look at the facts,” says Robin Smith, Director of Policy and Enforcement with North Carolina League of Conservation Voters. “Duke Energy failed us with its dependence on gas and coal that proved unreliable in extreme weather and resulted in rolling blackouts statewide at Christmas. Duke Energy’s primary interest is serving their stockholders, not the people of NC or our climate. NCLCV hopes the Utilities Commission won’t allow Duke Energy to ignore their record or the growing case for affordable, reliable clean energy in the next round of this plan.” 

The report card also criticizes the plan’s  lack of urgency regarding climate issues directly affecting North Carolinians, noting “if the NCUC truly wants to ensure that our energy decisions are ‘reasonable and prudent,’ it should quickly phase out fossil fuels and make a much more robust and rapid commitment to renewables, battery storage, and energy efficiency.”

People Power NC has criticized the NCUC for ceding authority to Duke Energy, rather than shouldering responsibility for the carbon plan’s development. “The commission’s carbon plan ruling was disappointing in that it failed to take account of the comments, concerns and robust suggestions presented by intervenors and members of the public,” says Maddy Koch, Energy Democracy Field Coordinator with Appalachian Voices. “It was especially disappointing that the commission allowed Duke Energy to continue planning to build increasingly expensive and unreliable methane gas plants just days after these fuels contributed to rolling blackouts across Duke’s territories.” 

“With its Carbon Plan, the North Carolina Utilities Commission ceded its authority to Duke Energy. In so doing, the NCUC failed in its responsibilities to the residents of North Carolina and beyond,” says Jerome Wagner, lead organizer for 350 Charlotte. “More important than what the plan does is what it fails to do. The present plan fails to guarantee attainment of the legislated 2030 goal. It fails to prioritize urgent deployment of existing renewable generation over reliance on “imaginary technology” which might be available in the future. It fails to avoid the build-out of new fossil gas generation. It fails to make use of supplemental generation opportunities such as residential rooftop solar and community solar. And it fails to advance equity and environmental justice.”

The People Power NC coalition is keeping their eyes on developments with Duke Energy and the NCUC, working to ensure future iterations of the North Carolina carbon plan include significant improvements. The NCUC has requested that Duke Energy prepare a new draft of the Carbon Plan, in conjunction with its Integrated Resource Plan (now referred to as the CPIRP) by September 1 of this year. While we are yet again disappointed that Duke Energy will have the first say, we are counting on the NCUC, after listening to the public and the many intervenors, to have the last word, and provide a safe, reliable, resilient, least cost, clean energy future for us all.

The post North Carolina Clean Energy Advocates Give State Carbon Plan a Failing Grade — News Release from People Power NC appeared first on NC WARN.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

2SLGBTQI+ caucus a parliamentary first

Rabble - Mon, 01/30/2023 - 13:01

Lawmakers from across the political spectrum have banded together to form Canada’s first 2SLGBTQI+ caucus.

In many ways, the Canadian Pride Caucus cements the protection of 2SLGBTQI+ individuals in the country.

Not only would this kind of governmental body be illegal in different jurisdictions around the world, there would not even be space for 2SLGBTQI+ people in politics.

NDP MP Blake Desjarlais made history in 2021 when he became the first Two-Spirit Member of Parliament in Canada. He’s making history again by co-chairing the unprecedented caucus.

“We have thousands, if not millions, of people in Canada who are members of the 2SLGBTQI+ community,” Desjarlais said in a mid-January interview with “And it’s not such a far stretch to know that every single human society in the world, that we exist, no matter if governments allow it to exist or not.”

Homosexuality has been legal in Canada for less than half of the country’s existence. Married gay couples in the United States will not even be able to celebrate their tenth anniversary until 2025.

But as Desjarlais noted, it wasn’t until people like professor and activist Michael Phair stood up and said, “I’m done waiting around and watching my friends die of AIDS and HIV.”

Phair’s outspokenness about the AIDS crisis helped him become the first openly gay politician elected in Alberta’s history in 1992. He remained a city councillor for 15 years.

“If they’re not going to do it for us, we’re going to do it ourselves,” Desjarlais said of Phair’s leadership.

Now, the fight for dignity and equality continues as Desjarlais warned “our safety isn’t guaranteed.”

“We have to continuously work together to make sure we don’t fall down a slippery slope, because it’s possible,” he said.

Pointing out the trans community is undergoing a historic level of hatred, Desjarlais added solidarity, cooperation, and unity among the 2SLGBTQI+ community is more important than ever.

“We are a part of the world here. We are part of this land — part of this world as anyone else and any living thing is,” Desjarlais said. “To diminish us and take us out of this world is to hurt our ecosystem and to hurt our environment for all of us.”

Creating the Canadian Pride Caucus

The caucus, which will bring together members of the Canadian House of Commons and Senate, was announced in December 2022 before parliament adjourned for the holiday season.

Co-chaired by Senator René Cormier and Desjarlais, the Canadian Pride Caucus will consist of eight MPs from three federal political parties and two independent senators. 

Desjarlais noted the goals of the caucus include working with civil society organizations while also raising awareness and advocating for 2SLGBTQI+ issues in a non-partisan way. 

Other MPs on the caucus include New Democrats Lisa Marie Barron and Randall Garrison and CPC member Melissa Lantsman.

There are also three federal ministers in the caucus. They include Minister of Labour Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge, and Minister of Tourism Randy Boissonnault. The Liberal members are joined by Robert Oliphant, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Rounding out the group of ten is a second independent senator, Kim Pate.

In a joint statement issued last month, Cormier and Desjarlais noted the creation of the caucus came one year after Canada banned so-called conversion therapy practices, also known as acts of torture against 2SLGBTQI+ individuals.

“Current events are a constant reminder that the rights of 2SLGBTQI+ communities are eroding and far from achieved around the world,” the co-chairs said.

The creation of the caucus comes in the footsteps of the global Equality Caucus, which first met with politicians in 2020.

In December, Sen. René Cormier tweeted about the creation of the Canadian Pride Caucus.

“The non-partisan approach between parliamentarians has been proven elsewhere in the world,” said Cormier, Caucus co-chair. “Now it’s Canada’s turn to provide united leadership on this matter.”

Caucus will help ‘create a better Canada’

For Desjarlais, the caucus has the ability to reshape perceptions about 2SLGBTQI+ people in Canada, while debunking myths and countering the hyper-divisiveness endangering queer and trans communities.

“I hope that the community sees it as a fair chance for us to try to create a better Canada — one that isn’t as scary as it seems on TV or on TikTok or on Twitter,” Desjarlais said.

Desjarlais hopes the caucus can conduct enough substantial work to present it to a parliamentary committee. But in the meantime, he added, there are mandates and planning items to decide on.

“I think this next year is going to be about the community,” he said, noting he hopes the caucus will provide a platform for as many stakeholders as possible to bring their priorities to the House floor. 

According to Desjarlais, the caucus is slated to hold its first event in February.

“We’re the folks who are going to help contribute to a greater society and a greater peace in this place,” Desjarlais said. “Because we have in the past and that’s our record.”

The post 2SLGBTQI+ caucus a parliamentary first appeared first on

Categories: F. Left News

Looking Back at 1983

Editor’s note: This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights (IREHR). As part of our celebration of this milestone, each month we’ll look back at different chapters in the unique history of the organization, share personal stories, and dig deep into the archives. One of IREHR’s founders, Leonard Zeskind, gives us our first installment.- DB



Looking Back at 1983

By Leonard Zeskind

The Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights was founded forty years ago by a small group of people who saw danger on the near horizon and wanted everyone to prepare to meet it head-on. In all honesty, our small group of volunteers initially formed the organization to get a non-profit mailing permit for a periodical we published out of our own pockets, called The Hammer. At the time, we had no idea that IREHR would be around for four decades.

Across the country, white supremacists were organizing and growing. Racist, anti-Semitic, and bigoted violence blossomed hard. We had watched the white supremacist of the 1950s try and preserve Jim Crow. Then, five anti-Klan activists were murdered in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1979. Now they wanted to destroy democracy and revolutionize society. And while a fight-back was being waged, a broader, deeper investigation of white supremacists was needed.

So, we did what we could.

Even before we officially became IREHR, we were conducting meaningful research. In 1982, we were researching paramilitarism in Missouri and Kansas when we uncovered a survivalist expo held at the Kansas City convention center. The Liberty Lobby, by then the largest anti-Semitic organization on the far right, had a booth. They distributed Spotlight tabloids, which had a subscription rate of about 300,000 at the time. The Covenant, Sword, and Arm of the Lord (CSA) also had a booth promoting a manual for its survivalist school down in the Ozarks. (The group was eventually shut down when the FBI rounded up members of The Order in 1985.) The media treated the expo as a trade show. We covered it in the first issue of our magazine for what it was: a white supremacist paramilitary recruiting exhibition.

The second issue, published in February 1983, had an article on a cult, The Way, and its international campus in Emporia, Kansas. In addition to the old-style far-right invective against Jews and Catholics, its libraries and classrooms carried Holocaust-denial books “for balance,” they said. Community members wanted to know the extent of the problem, so we found out.

We researched a split in the leadership of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. David Duke led this Klan group in the 1970s. It had grown quickly and had strong second-rank leadership. Duke quit the leadership top spot in 1980 and appointed his Alabama state leader, Don Black, to the post. But by 1983, Black was in prison for his plot to invade the island nation of Dominica. One leadership faction, including Thom Robb of Arkansas, was angling for more power. This was important news. So we covered it.

We also did stories in the magazine on Nazi war criminals receiving justice, incidents of bigotry-motivated violence, and the Christian Identity movement, which provided a theological justification for racism and anti-Semitism.

We were investigating, doing research, for facts that were beyond the naked eye. We knew that white supremacists felt no compunction about telling the truth. We knew that certain organizations had plans to kill Black people, Jews, Mexicans, Asians, gays and lesbians, and those of us who opposed them. But they did not talk about it on street corners. They complained about the lack of “white rights” but wanted “white power.”  They had to be exposed.

That is what the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights has been doing since Day One. To do that, we dug up data. Real facts. Not phony baloney.

In 1983, we incorporated, applied for, and received 501(c)3 non-profit status. With help from a special grant, we raised enough money to pay for mailing the magazine to over a thousand people and some newsstands in New York City and elsewhere.

As our work spread through the magazine’s distribution, we began to hear from other groups and individuals looking to know more about growing white supremacist activity and how to respond. We realized we needed to adapt to these changes quickly.

In our next installment exploring IREHR’s first forty years, we’ll look at how we rose to meet the challenge of the farm crisis and the advance of the Posse Comitatus.

Stay tuned.


We need your help to keep IREHR alive and thriving for years to come. Consider a tax-deductible contribution today. 


The post Looking Back at 1983 appeared first on Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights.

Categories: D2. Socialism

Oath Keepers Second Seditious Conspiracy Trial Finds Four Guilty

Two years after the infamous January 6, 2021 invasion of Capitol Hill by Trump-supporting bigots, the second trial of four Oath Keeper militia members ended in verdicts of guilt for seditious conspiracy.  In the first trial, Oath Keepers boss Stewart Rhodes and Florida bigwig Kelly Megs were convicted of seditious conspiracy, and three members escaped the ultimate verdict, although they did not go completely free.

Joseph Minuta, an Oath Keeper from New Jersey; Joseph Hackett, an Oath Keepers recruiter from Florida; David Moerschel from Florida; and Edward Vallejo, an Arizona-based member of a “Quick Response Team” who sat in Virginia hotel during the Capitol riot, were all convicted of seditious conspiracy. All four were also convicted of “obstructing Congress.”

Edward Vallejo bring bins into a Virginia Comfort Inn on January 6, 2021 (left) and attends the Crossroads Gun Show in Phoenix in December 2021 (right) (Source: Homefront Battle Buddies)

Brian Ulrich from Georgia and Joshua James from Alabama pled guilty to seditious conspiracy charges in April 2022.

Prior to the verdicts, the Oath Keepers 38,000 members had spread its militia message throughout the gunners and far right movement.  The National Rifle Association added an Oath Keepers member, Donald Bradway, to its Board of Directors in August 2021.  Indeed, 70 Oath Keepers members are NRA-certified firearms instructors, according to Rolling Stone magazine.   The ADL found that there were 373 Oath Keepers who were active in law enforcement, 117 active military members and 81 who were pubic officials or running for office in 2020.

What will happen to them? A few may decide that their self-possessed conservativism has led them into an outfit whose leadership was anything but lawful and wanted change, not conservation. More might go over to organizations like the Constitutional Sheriffs and Police Officers Association, in an attempt to maintain the façade of constitutional obligation.   And others might go to one of the many explicitly white nationalist shops.  The end result will likely be a growth and further radicalization of the white-world.

In the end, the string of defeats in the courts has definitely weakened the Oath Keepers and will possibly hurt the Proud Boys.  But the broader far right, led in part by explicitly white nationalist organizations and individuals, has continued to grow.  For example, at the time of the Oath Keepers verdict, Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist known for his leadership of the annual America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC) created a Twitter account. Within less than a day he had 130,000 followers, before he was shut down again for spewing antisemitism.  Nevertheless, the number and that speed is larger and faster than at any point in the last 40 years.

The momentum built by this movement will not abate on its own. They must be fought by everyone, not just the courts!

The post Oath Keepers Second Seditious Conspiracy Trial Finds Four Guilty appeared first on Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights.

Categories: D2. Socialism

News from Cascades, O-I Glass and more

Resource Recycling News - Mon, 01/30/2023 - 12:28

News from Cascades, O-I Glass and more

Cascades launched a closed produce basket made of recycled and recyclable corrugated cardboard.  The Los Angeles Board of Public Works awarded composting contracts to WM, Recology and Athens Services for its citywide organics collection. These contracts are collectively worth up …

Continue Reading→

The post News from Cascades, O-I Glass and more appeared first on Resource Recycling News.

Energy & Environment — GOP governors call for delay on waters rule

PEER - Mon, 01/30/2023 - 12:20

The Agriculture Department’s integrity policy includes similar language saying that scientists shouldn’t make policy judgments.

In a press release complaining about the measure on Monday, the group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility described the provision against policy judgments as a “gag rule.”

  • Jeff Ruch, the group’s Pacific director, said that restricting federal scientists from commenting on policy is the opposite of what a scientific integrity policy is supposed to do.
  • “Any time a scientist wrote something that had any policy implications, it could be suppressed, which runs counter to the whole idea of a scientific integrity policy,” Ruch said.

Read the PEER Story…

The post Energy & Environment — GOP governors call for delay on waters rule appeared first on

Categories: A2. Green Unionism

Nicola Mining plans to restart Cariboo gold mill

Mining.Com - Mon, 01/30/2023 - 11:39

Nicola Mining (TSXV: NIM) is completing final preparations to commence gold mill near Merritt, BC, by the end of the first quarter of 2023.

Nicola announced on Jan. 9 that it had signed a mining and milling profit share agreement with Osisko Development (TSXV: ODV; NYSE: ODV). Under the agreement, Osisko may transport material to Nicola’s mill site. It is the only facility in the province permitted to accept third party gold and silver mill feed from throughout the province.

Currently, the company has received more than 16,000 tonnes of gold ore from the Cariboo gold project. The company has also hired employees to fill key positions required for gold production. 

Nicola expects to receive results from its 2022 soil sampling program at its wholly owned New Craigmont copper property 14 km from Merritt and is preparing for an extensive exploration program in 2023.

Soil results will be published upon receipt, along with results from its district-wide airborne geophysical Z-axis tipper electromagnetic (ZTEM) survey to finalize drill hole locations. The ZTEM survey included inversion modelling carried out across the New Craigmont property has imaged the electrical conductivity signature of various mineral occurrences.

On Jan. 3, Osisko shared results from a feasibility study done on Cariboo that indicated 163,695 oz. average annual gold production over a 12-year mine life, bulk tonnage and initial probable mineral reserves of 2 million oz. of gold (16.7 million tonnes at 3.78 g/t), an after-tax net present value at 5% discount of C$502 million, and a 20.7% internal rate of return.

“We are very excited to re-commence gold production and to utilize operational cash flow towards funding exploration on New Craigmont, which we consider to be our flagship asset. The 2023 exploration program will extend to known, but never-before-drilled, locations on the property,” said Peter Espig, CEO of Nicola.

Hazel McCallion: Clean Air Champion, 1921-2023

Ontario Clean Air Alliance - Mon, 01/30/2023 - 11:35

This weekend, we lost a clean air and climate champion with the passing of former Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion. Mayor McCallion was a key ally in our campaign to phase-out dirty coal power and had the vision to see that we all would be better off without the giant Lakeview coal plant spewing pollution on

The post Hazel McCallion: Clean Air Champion, 1921-2023 appeared first on Ontario Clean Air Alliance.

Categories: G2. Local Greens

Teck Resources launches podcast on sustainable mining

Mining.Com - Mon, 01/30/2023 - 11:22

Teck Resources announced on Monday the release of a six-episode podcast called Why We Mine: A Podcast About Sustainable Mining to help people make the connection between the world we have today, the future we want for tomorrow, and how mining is helping us get there.

Through interviews with industry experts inside and outside Teck, Why We Mine explores the landscape of modern mining, highlights our industry’s critical role in the green economy and explains how vital mining is in our daily lives.

Hosted by veteran journalist Robin Stickley, the episodes focus on the products of mining, how they are used in everyday life, and the critical role they’ll play in the world transition to a low-carbon future.

The first episode of Why We Mine – featuring Brett Gilley, geology professor, University of British Columbia; Greg Brouwer, SVP, technology and innovation, Teck; and Jillian Lennartz, manager sustainability reporting, Teck – is available now, with new episodes following every two weeks.

Letter From Northern New Mexico: Birthplace of the Atomic Bomb

La Jicarita - Mon, 01/30/2023 - 11:09

By Suzanne Schwartz, Norteños for Peaceful and Livable Futures, El Prado, NM

Dear Editor:

As we celebrated Entry into Force Day of the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and honored the legacy and courageousness of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his commitment to speaking truth to power, I urge us all to take a closer look at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), right here in our backyard and its planned mission of industrial-scale plutonium pit production.

The new Cold War commenced during the Obama administration when it committed nearly a trillion taxpayer dollars to the so called “modernization” of the entire United States nuclear weapons arsenal, including 80 new pits per year by 2030. Plutonium pits are a key component in triggering the nuclear explosion of thermonuclear weapons. A “pit” is required for each nuclear warhead to detonate its payload “effectively.”

Research shows that plutonium pits have reliable lifetimes of at least 80 years, maybe more. The oldest pit in the arsenal is forty-three years old. The US has tens of thousands of usable pits in storage at the Pantex Plant in Texas and thousands of usable warheads, enough to destroy all life on earth hundreds of times over.

Why on earth is our government trying to make thousands of unnecessary new plutonium pits, while spending billions upon billions of US taxpayer dollars for its US/NATO proxy war in Ukraine and beating the drums of war by using provocative statements about its goal to “weaken Russia” and cause regime change there, all while ramping up militaristic rhetoric portraying China’s economic rise as an existential threat to the United States? I think this behavior is insane.

Our New Mexico Senators and Representatives in DC like to cite that LANL has a multi-billion dollar economic impact on New Mexico. But if this is so, why does New Mexico remain one of the most impoverished states in the country, while Los Alamos County is among the four wealthiest counties in the entire nation?

While New Mexico’s government and many non-governmental organizations are working on mitigating the climate crisis, they appear to ignore the undeniable fact of LANL’s enormous carbon footprint and the massive quantities of our precious and finite water resource it needs to pursue its plutonium pit production goals. In fact, the growing climate movement will fail utterly in its efforts to secure a livable future unless it recognizes that the gigantic United States war economy negates all climate action.

What could bring real hope is for the climate movement to join the tiny, marginalized peace movement, which at one time was large enough, informed enough, and powerful enough to help end the Vietnam War and obstruct nuclear weapons proliferation and US wars of aggression worldwide. We could use its strength and its voice to grow and become the new resistance that ends the United States government’s wars of aggression and subvert its drive to maintain global hegemony. They call this domination the “Rules Based World Order,” meaning the US makes up the rules and enforces them through violence.

This is only possible, of course, if we can avoid the immediate existential threat of thermonuclear war, in which case there will be no winners and no one left to judge.

If we agree with Pope Francis and Archbishop Wester that nuclear weapons are immoral, do we in Northern New Mexico have an obligation to acknowledge and speak out against the uncomfortable truth of the nuclear weapons enterprise’s primary mission at LANL, which it justifies under the false names of “national security” and “keeping us safe?” I say, “Not in my name!”  

“The greatest purveyor of violence in the world: “My own Government, I can not be Silent.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And then they killed him.

Let us speak out!


Categories: G2. Local Greens

Ivanhoe outlines Phase 3-4 Kamoa-Kakula expansion

Mining.Com - Mon, 01/30/2023 - 11:09

Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN) has included is 2023 integrated development plan, including a prefeasibility study (PFS) for the Phase 3 and 4 expansions at its Kamoa-Kakula copper complex in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Also included is a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for a life-of-mine extension.

The complex produced 333,500 tonnes of copper in 2022, more than double its output a year earlier. The project is owned 39.6% by Ivanhoe, 39.6% by Zijin Mining, 0.8% by Crystal River Global, and the balance (20%) by the DRC government.

When the Phase 3 expansion is complete in 2024, copper production will average 620,000 t/y over 10 years at a cash cost of $1.22 per pound. This phase includes the construction of a new 5 million t/y concentrator located at Kamoa.

The replacement of turbine #5 at the hydroelectric power station is underway. The new equipment will supply an additional 178 MW of power to the national grid and provide electricity for Phase 3. A 500,000 t/y direct-to-blister flash copper smelter is also to be completed by the end of next year.

Another nine years is added to mine life, bringing production to 2060 at least. The pre-production capex for Phase 3 is $3.04 billion. After the third phase of expansion, the Kamoa-Kakula project will have a $19.1 billion after-tax net present value at an 8% discount rate.

Phase 4 is planned for later this decade and will include another 5 million t/y concentrator, also at Kamoa. That will bring annual mineral processing capacity up to 19.2 million tonnes and maintain copper output at about 600,000 t/y for a further 10 years.

A new tailings storage facility will also be brought online by 2040. Cost for Phase 4 is estimated at $1.55 billion. The after-tax NPV (8%) of Phase 4 will be $20.2 billion.

By 2050, Ivanhoe intends to position Kamoa-Kakula as the world’s fourth-largest copper producer with costs in the lowest quartile.

The resource estimate published in 2022 for mines in both the Kamoa and Kakula areas included 90 million measured tonnes with a grade of 3.13% copper, 1.3 billion indicated tonnes at 2.70% copper and 310 million inferred tonnes at 1.68% copper. Respectively, those resource categories contain 6.2 billion lb., 77.4 billion lb. and 11.5 billion lb. of copper.

‘Get a grip’ Shell told, as it racks up the most broadband complaints (again)

Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com - Mon, 01/30/2023 - 11:02
THE SUNDAY TIMES ‘Get a grip’ Shell told, as it racks up the most broadband complaints (again) Extracts from an article by Ellie McDonald published on Sunday 29 Jan 2023 (Page 15) Shell Energy has been told to “get a grip” after a surge in broadband and landline complaints. The telecoms regulator Ofcom also said it was monitoring the firm’s performance because its complaints volume remains far higher than its rivals.

Shell Energy, which started providing broadband in 2016, had 27 complaints per 100,000 broadband customers between July and September 2022 and 20 complaints per 100,000 landline customers. It was also the worst in the previous three months, when it received 31 and 23 complaints per 100,000 customers respectively.

Shell Energy Broadband said: “Ofcom’s table reflects our position up to six months ago. Since then we have invested heavily and made big strides in our processes.

We’re confident that these will be reflected when Ofcom releases its results for the current period.”

Extracts end.

In fact, Shell is considering exiting its energy and broadband businesses because of useless management. 

‘Get a grip’ Shell told, as it racks up the most broadband complaints (again) was first posted on January 30, 2023 at 8:02 pm.
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Off the Hill: Will 2023 be a year of competing crises? On climate and the economy

Rabble - Mon, 01/30/2023 - 10:53

From rabble’s January 2023 ‘Off the Hill: Will 2023 be a year of competing crises? On climate and the economy’ panel. Join guests MP Leah Gazan, Jim Stanford, Clayton Thomas-Müller and Karl Nerenberg. With co-hosts Robin Browne and Nick Seebruch.

This month, Off the Hill explored the politics of cooling the economy – and the planet – as Parliament returns. Canadian parliament returns on January 30. The spotlight is on the economy and the impact on Canadians. Our panel discussed the critical issues related to the economic outlook and the climate emergency. 

Off the Hill is a fast-paced live panel on current issues of national significance. It features guests and a discussion you won’t find anywhere else, centred on the impact politics and policy have on people, and on ways to mobilize to bring about progressive change in national politics — on and off the hill.

Meet our guests

Robin Browne is Off the Hill’s co-host. Robin is a communications professional and the co-lead of the 613-819 Black Hub, living in Ottawa. His blog is The “True” North.

Nick Seebruch acted as Off the Hill’s co-host this month. Seebruch has been the editor of since April 2022.

Leah Gazan is the member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre. She is currently the NDP critic for Children, Families, and Social Development, as well as the critic for Women and Gender Equality, and the deputy critic for Housing. Leah is a member of Wood Mountain Lakota Nation, located in Saskatchewan, Treaty 4 territory.

Jim Stanford is an economist and the director of the Centre for Future Work, a labour economics research institute with operations in Canada and Australia. He previously served as economist and director of policy with Unifor.

Clayton Thomas-Müller is a member of the Treaty #6-based Mathias Colomb Cree Nation, also known as Pukatawagan, located in Northern Manitoba. He is an Indigenous activist, campaigner and public speaker. Thomas-Müller has been recognized by Yes Magazine as a Climate Hero and is featured as one of ten international human rights defenders in the National Canadian Museum for Human Rights. He is also the author of Life in the City of Dirty Water.

Karl Nerenberg is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster and filmmaker, working in both English and French languages. He is rabble’s parliamentary correspondent and a regular panelist on Off the Hill.

The post Off the Hill: Will 2023 be a year of competing crises? On climate and the economy appeared first on

Categories: F. Left News

US Bank and Wells Fargo Smashed for Tortuguita and Tyre Nichols

Earth First! Newswire - Mon, 01/30/2023 - 10:33

from Scenes from the Atlanta Forest


In response to the murders of Tyre Nichols and Tortuguita by fascist pigs, militants from occupied Dakota/Lakota/Anishinaabe land -so called Minneapolis- attacked two banks on the south side. US Bank and Wells Fargo were chosen due to their funding of “cop city” in the Weelaunee forest.

Militants tagged bank windows with “defend the forest”, “fuck 12”, “eat shit Frey” and “rest in peace Tortuguita and Tyre Nichols”.

Our message of solidarity extends past written words to the shattered windows and broken ATMs in our wake.

We appreciate the work of the bloc tonight in Minneapolis. Drawing the attention of and keeping distracted an entire city’s pig department is no easy task in these freezing temperatures. Your bravery is radiant.

Long Live the Forest
Rest in Power Tyre Nichols and Tortuguita
Eat Shit Frey
This is only the beginning <3

Submitted anonymously over email

Categories: B4. Radical Ecology

Never under any circumstances get Shell broadband

Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com - Mon, 01/30/2023 - 10:22

Never under any circumstances get broadband with this company. After at least 15 phone calls, multiple transfers per call, and over two months of waiting, the broadband I ordered is still not working.

30 Jan 2023

The content below is sourced from current verifiable customer reviews of Shell Energy published on Trustpilot.

Never under any circumstances get…

Never under any circumstances get broadband with this company. After at least 15 phone calls, multiple transfers per call, and over two months of waiting, the broadband I ordered is still not working. They’ve tried their best to resolve complaints, but the inconvenience they’ve caused will not be resolved easily. I could forgive that if my broadband at least works, but due to a technical issue, it has still not been done. They expect it wont be working for a total of 3 months after my order date. Additionally, the customer website never works, meaning I can’t check any of my payment details or other information. Never use this company’s broadband.

Worst company I have ever dealt with

Without doubt worst company I have ever had to deal with. 5 weeks of hell and still not fixed. They deny things even though you have emails as evidence. How on earth is this company allowed to trade. Avoid at all costs

Utterly disgraceful company

Utterly disgraceful company
5 times an engineer has visited to fit a smart meter and still they have been unsuccessful
I need to occasion the engineer arrives he seems to have no idea what he’s doing and wants to know from me what the instructions are
Each of the five occasions I have taken half a day off work to meet him.
Shell have no idea what’s going on even when I call them
Shell I have totally refused compensation for all my lost time over 5 half days of work

The above are extracts from negative customer reviews about Shell Energy posted during the last few days on Trustpilot.  Visit the Shell Energy page on Trustpilot to view all reviews in their entirety, positive and negative (and Shell Energy responses). Watch out for any fake reviews. Note the reoccurring themes in the negative reviews, including difficulty in communicating with the company. Shell Plc CEO Ben Van Beurden (now retired) openly admitted at the Shell AGM held in London on 23 May 2022 that all is not well at Shell Energy. 

Never under any circumstances get Shell broadband was first posted on January 30, 2023 at 7:22 pm.
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