Volume 12 Issue 10 June 2014
Carolyn Baker, Damian Carrington, Stephen F. Cohen, Susan Cosier, Countercurrents (4), Margaret Flowers,
Nicolas J.S. Davies,Suzanne Goldenberg,
Chris Hedges, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Dave Levitan, DAOUDA MBOUOBOUO, Celito MEDEIROS, Evelyn Nieves(2),
James Petras, Jon Queally, Cliff Weathers, Sophie Yeo, Kevin Zeese,
Carolyn Baker, What Does It Mean To ?Do Something? About Climate Change?
Damian Carrington, IPCC Report: World Must Urgently Switch to Clean Sources of Energy
Stephen F. Cohen and Katrina vanden Heuvel, Cold War Against Russia - Without Debate
Susan Cosier, Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Countercurrents, Secrets About The Origin Of Life Revealed
Countercurrents, Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Levels Are The Highest In 3 Million Years
Countercurrents, Agriculture's GHG Emission On The Rise
Countercurrents, Climate Crisis Hotspots In Africa
Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, How Major Grassroots Campaigns Are Holding the Silent Killers Of Environmental Destruction Accountable
Nicolas J.S. Davies, Fiery Chaos in Odessa: 42 Perish After Ukrainians Launch Waco-Like Assault
Suzanne Goldenberg, U.N. Report: At-risk Cities Hold Solutions to Climate Change
Chris Hedges, Chris Hedges: We're Losing the Last Shreds of Legal Rights to Protect Ourselves from Oligarchy
Katrina vanden Heuvel and Stephen F. Cohen, Cold War Against Russia - Without Debate
Dave Levitan, Why Wave Power Has Lagged Far Behind as Energy Source
DAOUDA MBOUOBOUO, The miseries of the war everywhere and in Central Africa.
Celito MEDEIROS, Reality or just a fiction ?
Evelyn Nieves, Meet the Lakota Tribe Grandmother Teaching Thousands How to Get Arrested to Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline
Evelyn Nieves, 5 Key Selling Points of the Keystone XL Pipeline Project, Debunked
James Petras, The Kiev Putsch: Rebel Workers Take Power In The East
Jon Queally, Humanity's Destruction of Earth's Climate In Ninety Seconds
Cliff Weathers, 'Cowboy and Indian' Alliance Marches Against Keystone XL Pipeline
Sophie Yeo, Campaigners Release ?Hit List' Of 200 Largest Fossil Fuel Companies
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|May 5, 2014||
Fiery Chaos in Odessa: 42 Perish After Ukrainians Launch Waco-Like Assault
by Nicolas J.S. Davies, AlterNet
The death toll in Odessa stands at 42 people killed, most of them burned to death or suffocated by smoke inhalation in the inferno at the Trade Unions House. There is no dispute over who were the victims and who were their killers. The victims were pro-Russian protesters who had occupied the building. The attackers who set fire to it with petrol bombs were members of Right Sector, the ultra-Nationalist strike force of the U.S.-backed coup that overthrew the elected government of Ukraine in February.
Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh told Newsweek on March 19th that the Western-backed coup regime in Kiev has organized Right Sector militia members into new paramilitary forces for a "war" to "cleanse the country" of pro-Russian protesters. So it is not clear whether the militiamen responsible for the mass murder in Odessa were in fact newly recruited Ukrainian "National Guard" troops or just "civilian" Right Sector thugs, nor whether they were locals from Odessa or forces sent in from Kiev, Lviv or elsewhere in Western Ukraine.
For Americans, a more serious question hangs over Ukraine's Waco in Odessa and indeed over the entire U.S. role in the crisis in Ukraine. The earliest media reports of Right Sector's existence date only from January 2014 as it took charge of the protests in Kiev, and the earliest article on Right Sector's web site dates from November 25th 2013. Right Sector was created less than six months ago, as the U.S. State Department and the CIA was already laying the groundwork for the coup in Ukraine. So what role has the U.S. played in the recruiting, training and direction of this group that now has so much blood on its hands?
Dmytro Yarosh, Right Sector's leader, joined the Stepan Bandera All-Ukrainian Tryzub (Trident)paramilitary organization in 1994. He became the head of the militia in 2005. Like the neo-Nazi Svoboda Party, one of three parties in the coup government, Tryzub drew inspiration from the World War II-era Ukrainian leader Stepan Bandera and his Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, who massacred tens of thousands of Poles and Jews during World War II and supported German campaigns that killed many more.
Despite his early collaboration with the Nazis, Bandera soon fell foul of the German occupiers in Ukraine and spent most of the war in the Zellenbau prison for political prisoners at Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Like his hero, Yarosh speaks fiercely of Ukrainian independence from both Russia and the West, although most of his venom is directed at Russia and Russians in Ukraine. As in Syria andthroughout the world, the violent, dangerous forces the U.S. recruited and deployed to overthrow Ukraine's government are not entirely under U.S. control but are more easily directed toward violence and chaos than toward any constructive purpose.
So, in the wake of Right Sector's inferno in Odessa, we have to ask a second question, "What role is the CIA still playing today in directing or advising Right Sector as it commits mass murder in Odessa and wages war on pro-Russian protesters across the country?"
NATO leaders formally declared in Bucharest on April 3rd 2008 that Ukraine and Georgia "will become members of NATO." U.S. coup manager Victoria Nuland flew back from Kiev to tell the National Press Club in Washington on December 13th 2013 that the U.S. had spent $5 billion to "help Ukraine," and that it had not spent all that money for nothing. Then Mrs. Kagan flew back to Kiev to oversee the transition from the recruitment and movement building phase of the coup to the unleashing of Right Sector street violence in the Hrushevskoho Street riots in Kiev on January 19th. As America's angel of death flew back and forth across the Atlantic in taxpayer-funded comfort, the 42 victims of Ukraine's Waco in Odessa were living their lives and minding their own business, with no inkling of the unfolding scheme that would lead to their horrific deaths.
Routinely omitted from the Western propaganda narrative on Ukraine is the fact that Russia has had a reasonable proposal for the future of Ukraine on the table all along, since before the emergence of Right Sector, before the coup in Kiev and before Russia reclaimed Crimea in response to the coup.
Russia's proposal is for a neutral and federal Ukraine. NATO leaders would abandon their plans to absorb Ukraine into NATO, and the different regions of Ukraine would be granted greater autonomy under a new federal constitution. This offers the hope of ending the back-and-forth all-or-nothing power struggle that has turned the people of Ukraine into pawns of Russian- and Western-backed oligarchs and their foreign allies since 1991.
The main obstacle to the Russian proposal is its reasonableness. It's really the only sensible framework for a solution to the crisis. But the U.S., its NATO allies and the coup government in Kiev have staked out extreme positions, calling pro-Russian Ukrainians "terrorists", threatening them with military force and blaming Russia for everything. This makes it difficult for the U.S. and its allies to accept Russia's proposal without very obviously and publicly backing down.
Former US Ambassador to Moscow Jack Matlock has urged the Obama administration to stop making aggressive public statements and to engage in quiet diplomacy to resolve the crisis, before matters get any worse for the people of Ukraine or for U.S.-Russian relations. Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) has urged the president to ask NATO to formally rescind the 2008 Bucharest declaration that Ukraine will become a member of NATO, and to work in good faith to implement the April 17th Geneva agreement to de-escalate the crisis. Above all, VIPS writes, Obama must "let cooler heads prevail."
However, if Right Sector leaders and the coup government are still getting very different advice and direction from their CIA case officers at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, none of this will work and we can expect further escalation, more Right Sector atrocities and the rising danger of an unthinkable war between the U.S. and Russia. It will be no comfort to recognize that none of that had to happen.
Nicolas J. S. Davies is the author of "Blood On Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq." Davies also wrote the chapter on "Obama At War" for the book, "Grading the 44th President: A Report Card on Barack Obama's First Term as a Progressive Leader."
|May 5, 2014||
Chris Hedges: We're Losing the Last Shreds of Legal Rights to Protect Ourselves from Oligarchy
by Chris Hedges, Truthdig, AlterNet
The U.S. Supreme Court decision to refuse to hear our case concerning Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which permits the military to seize U.S. citizens and hold them indefinitely in military detention centers without due process, means that this provision will continue to be law. It means the nation has entered a post-constitutional era. It means that extraordinary rendition of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil by our government is legal. It means that the courts, like the legislative and executive branches of government, exclusively serve corporate power — one of the core definitions of fascism. It means that the internal mechanisms of state are so corrupted and subservient to corporate power that there is no hope of reform or protection for citizens under our most basic constitutional rights. It means that the consent of the governed — a poll by OpenCongress.com showed that this provision had a 98 percent disapproval rating — is a cruel joke. And it means that if we do not rapidly build militant mass movements to overthrow corporate tyranny, including breaking the back of the two-party duopoly that is the mask of corporate power, we will lose our liberty.
“In declining to hear the case Hedges v. Obama and declining to review the NDAA, the Supreme Court has turned its back on precedent dating back to the Civil War era that holds that the military cannot police the streets of America,” said attorney Carl Mayer, who along with Bruce Afran devoted countless unpaid hours to the suit. “This is a major blow to civil liberties. It gives the green light to the military to detain people without trial or counsel in military installations, including secret installations abroad. There is little left of judicial review of presidential action during wartime.”
Afran, Mayer and I brought the case to the U.S. Southern District Court of New York in January 2012. I was later joined by co-plaintiffs Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, journalist Alexa O’Brien, RevolutionTruth founder Tangerine Bolen, Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jonsdottir and Occupy London activist Kai Wargalla.
Later in 2012 U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest declared Section 1021(b)(2) unconstitutional. The Obama administration not only appealed — we expected it to appeal — but demanded that the law be immediately put back into effect until the appeal was heard. Forrest, displaying the same judicial courage she showed with her ruling, refused to do this.
The government swiftly went to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. It asked, in the name of national security, that the court stay the district court’s injunction until the government’s appeal could be heard. The 2nd Circuit agreed. The law went back on the books. My lawyers and I surmised that this was because the administration was already using the law to detain U.S. citizens in black sites, most likely dual citizens with roots in countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen. The administration would have been in contempt of court if Forrest’s ruling was allowed to stand while the federal authorities detained U.S. citizens under the statute. Government attorneys, when asked by Judge Forrest, refused to say whether or not the government was already using the law, buttressing our suspicion that it was in use.
The 2nd Circuit overturned Forrest’s ruling last July in a decision that did not force it to rule on the actual constitutionality of Section 1021(b)(2). It cited the Supreme Court ruling in Clapper v. Amnesty International, another case in which I was one of the plaintiffs, to say that I had no standing, or right, to bring the NDAA case to court. Clapper v. Amnesty International challenged the secret wiretapping of U.S. citizens under the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. The Supreme Court had ruled in Clapper that our concern about government surveillance was “speculation.” It said we were required to prove to the court that the FISA Act would be used to monitor those we interviewed. The court knew, of course, that the government does not disclose whom it is monitoring. It knew we could never offer proof. The leaks by Edward Snowden, which came out after the Supreme Court ruling, showed that the government was monitoring us all, along with those we interviewed. The 2nd Circuit used the spurious Supreme Court ruling to make its own spurious ruling. It said that because we could not show that the indefinite-detention law was about to be used against us, just as we could not prove government monitoring of our communications, we could not challenge the law. It was a dirty game of judicial avoidance on two egregious violations of the Constitution.
In refusing to hear our lawsuit the courts have overturned nearly 150 years of case law that repeatedly holds that the military has no jurisdiction over civilians. Now, a U.S. citizen charged by the government with “substantially supporting” al-Qaida, the Taliban or those in the nebulous category of “associated forces” — some of the language of Section 1021(b)(2) — is lawfully subject to extraordinary rendition on U.S. soil. And those seized and placed in military jails can be kept there until “the end of hostilities.”
Judge Forrest, in her 112-page ruling against the section, noted that under this provision of the NDAA whole categories of Americans could be subject to seizure by the military. These might include Muslims, activists, Black Bloc members and any other Americans labeled as domestic terrorists by the state. Forrest wrote that Section 1021(b)(2) echoed the 1944 Supreme Court ruling in Korematsu v. United States, which supported the government’s use of the military to detain 110,00 Japanese-Americans in internment camps without due process during World War II.
Of the refusal to hear our lawsuit, Afran said, “The Supreme Court has left in place a statute that furthers erodes basic respect for constitutional liberties, that weakens free speech and will chill the willingness of Americans to exercise their 1st Amendment rights, already in severe decline in this country.”
The goals of corporate capitalism are increasingly indistinguishable from the goals of the state. The political and economic systems are subservient to corporate profit. Debate between conventional liberals and conservatives has been replaced by empty political theater and spectacle. Corporations, no matter which politicians are in office, loot the Treasury, escape taxation, push down wages, break unions, dismantle civil society, gut regulation and legal oversight, control information, prosecute endless war and dismantle public institutions and programs that include schools, welfare and Social Security. And elected officials, enriched through our form of legalized corporate bribery, have no intention of halting the process.
The government, by ignoring the rights and needs of ordinary citizens, is jeopardizing its legitimacy. This is dangerous. When a citizenry no longer feels that it can find justice within the organs of power, when it feels that the organs of power are the enemies of freedom and economic advancement, it makes war on those organs. Those of us who are condemned as radicals, idealists and dreamers call for basic reforms that, if enacted, will make peaceful reform possible. But corporate capitalists, now unchecked by state power and dismissive of the popular will, do not see the fires they are igniting. The Supreme Court ruling on our challenge is one more signpost on the road to dystopia.
It is capitalism, not government, that is the problem. The fusion of corporate and state power means that government is broken. It is little more than a protection racket for Wall Street. And it is our job to wrest government back. This will come only through the building of mass movements.
“It is futile to be ‘anti-Fascist’ while attempting to preserve capitalism,” George Orwell wrote. “Fascism after all is only a development of capitalism, and the mildest democracy, so-called, is liable to turn into Fascism.”
Our corporate masters will not of their own volition curb their appetite for profits. Human misery and the deadly assault on the ecosystem are good for business. These masters have set in place laws that, when we rise up — and they expect us to rise up — will permit the state to herd us like sheep into military detention camps. Section 1021(b)(2) is but one piece of the legal tyranny now in place to ensure total corporate control. The corporate state also oversees the most pervasive security and surveillance apparatus in human history. It can order the assassination of U.S. citizens. It has abolished habeas corpus. It uses secret evidence to imprison dissidents, such as the Palestinian academic Mazen Al-Najjar. It employs the Espionage Act to criminalize those who expose abuses of power. A ruling elite that accrues for itself this kind of total power, history has shown, eventually uses it.
Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, writes a regular column for Truthdig every Monday. Hedges also wrote 12 books, including the New York Times bestseller “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt (2012)," which he co-authored with the cartoonist Joe Sacco. Hedges's most recent book is "Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle."
|April 12, 2014||
IPCC Report: World Must Urgently Switch to Clean Sources of Energy
by Damian Carrington, The Guardian, AlterNet
The report produced by hundreds of experts and backed by almost 200 world governments, will detail the dramatic transformation required of the entire globe's power system, including ending centuries of coal, oil and gas supremacy.
Currently fossil fuels provide more than 80% of all energy but the urgent need to cut planet-warming carbon emissions means this must fall to as little as a third of present levels in coming decades, according to a leaked draft of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report seen by the Guardian.
There is heavy emphasis on renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, and cutting energy waste, which together need hundreds of billions of dollars of investment a year.
But despite the scale of the challenge, the draft report is upbeat: "Since , many renewable energy technologies have substantially advanced in terms of performance and cost and a growing number have achieved technical and economic maturity, making renewable energy a fast growing category in energy supply," the report says.
It also highlights that the benefits of clean energy, particularly in reducing deadly air pollution and providing secure energy supplies, "outweigh the adverse side effects". The IPCC report is the last part of a trilogy compiled by thousands of the world's most eminent scientists which gives the most definitive account of climate change to date.
The first report, released in September, showed climate change was "unequivocally" caused by human activity and prompted Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, to say: "The heat is on. Now we must act."
The second, published in March, warned that the impact of global warming, from extreme weather to reduced food production, posed a grave threat to humanity and could lead to wars and mass migration. The International Energy Agency said the IPCC's work showed "the urgent need of enabling a global transition to clean energy systems".
The report will address how to avert the worst dangers by cutting carbon emissions, which have been rising despite the global recession of 2007-08.
Nuclear power is cited among the low-carbon energy sources needed, but the draft report warns it "has been declining since 1993" and faces concerns about "safety, nuclear weapon proliferation risks, waste management security as well as financial and regulatory risks".
Another way to produce low-carbon energy is to burn fossil fuels but capture and bury the carbon emissions.
The IPCC experts note that, unlike renewable energy, this technology "has not yet been applied at a large, commercial scale".
The draft report concludes that increasing carbon emissions are due to rising coal use, along with increasing demand for energy from the world's growing population. But it notes that policies implemented to cut carbon emissions will also cut the value of fossil fuel reserves, particularly for coal. It also says increased use of gas could cut emissions in the "short term", if it replaces coal.
China's vast coal burning represents a huge challenge but a new analysis from Greenpeace, published on Friday, suggests it may have reached a turning point. "The range of coal caps and anti-smog measures put in place by the Chinese authorities could see the country cut its carbon emissions by more than twice the UK's annual footprint by 2020, making it possible for global carbon levels to peak before climate change spirals out of control," said Li Shuo, Greenpeace East Asia's climate and energy campaigner.
On Thursday, Nobel peace prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutucalled in the Guardian for an anti-apartheid-style campaign against fossil fuel companies. "It is clear that [the companies] are not simply going to give up; they stand to make too much money," he wrote.
Over half a trillion dollars a year are spent subsidising fossil fuels – six times more than spent supporting renewable energy – and US president Barack Obama and other leaders have pledged to phase these out. The draft IPCC report states this could be done without harming the poor: "Many countries have reformed their tax and budget systems to reduce fuel subsidies, that actually accrue to the relatively wealthy, and used other mechanisms that are more targeted to the poor."
The draft report runs counter to some of the UK's key energy policies. It states that decarbonising electricity is key to cost-effective cuts in emissions, but the coalition government voted down a plan to do this by 2030. The report also warns that building high-carbon energy infrastructure developments will lock societies into high emissions and may be "difficult or very costly to change", but UK ministers are strongly pushing shale gas exploration. The UK's carbon plan includes significant burning of biofuels and biomass (usually wood), which is supposed to be carbon neutral. But the IPCC report says scientific debate about whether biofuels cut emissions "remains unresolved" and that without policy safeguards "large scale bioenergy deployment could increase emissions".
Friends of the Earth's executive director, Andy Atkins, said: "We can only avoid catastrophic climate change if we reduce our dependency on fossil fuels – we're already on track for four degrees warming, which will be impossible for human society to adapt to. We have the technology to prevent dangerous climate change. What we lack is the political will of our leaders to strongly champion renewable power and energy efficiency."
Li said: "We stand at a fork in road. One way leads to more dependence on dwindling fossil fuels that are wrecking our climate and damaging our health; the other to a world powered by a booming clean energy sector that is already driving growth and creating jobs. The sooner we act, the cheaper it will be."
|April 11, 2014||
U.N. Report: At-risk Cities Hold Solutions to Climate Change
by Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, AlterNet
It is already taking shape as the 21st century urban nightmare: a big storm hits a city like Shanghai, Mumbai, Miami or New York, knocking out power supply and waste treatment plants, washing out entire neighbourhoods and marooning the survivors in a toxic and foul-smelling swamp.
A draft report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), obtained by the Guardian, says smart choices in urban planning and investment in public transport could help significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions, especially in developing countries.
The draft is due for release in Berlin on Sunday, the third and final instalment of the IPCC's authoritative report on climate change.
"The next two decades present a window of opportunity for urban mitigation as most of the world's urban areas and their infrastructure have yet to be constructed," the draft said.
Around 1 billion people live in cities and coastal areas at risk of sea-level rise and coastal flooding – and those figures are expected to rise in the coming decades.
Most of the high-risk areas are in Asia, but the US east coast, where the rate of sea level rise is three or four times faster than the global average, is also a "hotspot", with cities, beaches and wetlands exposed to flooding.
But those at-risk cities also produce a large and growing share of emissions that cause climate change – which makes them central to its solution.
"They are at the frontlines of this issue," said Seth Schultz, research director for the C40 group of mega-cities taking action on climate change. "And on the whole cities have extraordinarily strong power to deliver on these things."
Even in America, where Republican governors and members of Congress deny the existence or have rolled back action on climate change, cities are moving ahead.
South-east Florida faces a triple threat – flat, built on porous rock, and in line for high sea-level rise. Planners in four south-eastern counties are preparing for 24 inches of sea-level rise by 2060 – which could put a large area around Miami underwater.
Beaches and barrier islands are already starting to disappear. Miami and other towns flood during heavy rain storms and full-moon high tides, and saltwater is already seeping into the network of canals in the Everglades.
"Sometimes it is tempting to think those impacts just occur in small coastal areas, but they are more extensive than that," said Jennifer Jurado, director of natural resources for Broward county.
Her nightmare scenario in a future of rising sea level would be flooding from both directions – the coast and inland – with saltwater contaminating groundwater reserves, and saturating farmland.
Jurado and officials in three other south-eastern counties of Florida have teamed up on a plan to cut emissions and protect populations from future sea-level rise.
Officials started with computer modelling to draw up details plans of what Florida would look like under future sea-level rise.
Broward county is now restricting development in areas at risk of two feet of sea-level rise. Water districts in Sweetwater and other towns south of Miami are installing pumps at $70m each to divert storm run off water and pump it back into the ocean.
And while Florida's Republican governor, Rick Scott, has put climate change efforts on hold, Broward county last month committed to getting 20% of electricity for county from renewable sources and increasing energy efficiency by 20%. Homeowners are being offered rebates on their property taxes to install solar panels.
The county has also pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050.
Across the country in another Republican-controlled state, Salt Lake City in Utah has also been dealing with climate change.
Salt Lake City, which is at risk of running out of water because of climate change, set ambitious targets to cut emissions, and was the first city in America to commit to offsetting emissions from official travel.
Meanwhile, Utah's state legislature this month passed bills offering new financial incentives for solar panels and plug-in vehicles. The bills also require Utah to convert 50% of state transport vehicles to alternative fuels or plug-ins by 2018.
Such initiatives are becoming more common across America as city officials take future climate change into account for planning, zoning and land use, said Christina DeConcini, director of government affairs for the World Resources Institute.
"I think there is a growing focus on climate change," she said. "A lot of cities have sustainability departments and people focusing on it, and more and more of the work they are doing is focused on climate and climate impacts."
The reason, she said, was transparent. "Cities that are more at risk are definitely paying more attention."
|April 11, 2014||
Meet the Lakota Tribe Grandmother Teaching Thousands How to Get Arrested to Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline
by Evelyn Nieves, AlterNet
On March 29, a caravan of more than 100 cars plodded along the wide open roads of the Rosebud reservation in South Dakota, stopped at a forlorn former corn field and prepared for battle.
Leaders from eight tribes in South Dakota and Minnesota pitched their flags. Participants erected nine tipis, a prayer lodge and a cook shack, surrounding their camp with a wall of 1,500-pound hay bales. Elders said they would camp out indefinitely. Speakers said they were willing to die for their cause.
This spirit camp at the Sicangu Lakota Rosebud reservation was the most visible recent action in Indian Country over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. But it was hardly the first ... or the last.
On the neighboring Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Debra White Plume, an activist and community organizer involved in Oglala Lakota cultural preservation for more than 40 years, has been leading marches, civil disobedience training camps and educational forums on the Keystone XL since the pipeline was proposed in 2008.
White Plume, founder of the activists groups Owe Aku (Bring Back the Way), the International Justice Project and Moccasins on the Ground, has crisscrossed the country, marched on Washington and testified at the United Nations against the environmental devastation of tar sands oil mining and transport. Now, perhaps only weeks before President Obama is set to announce whether to allow a private oil company, TransCanada, to plow through the heartland to transport tar sand crude from Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries for export, White Plume is busier than ever.
White Plume is leading a galvanized, international coalition of grassroots environmental activists, the largest and most diverse in decades, in the last fight against the Keystone XL. The coalition is planning massive actions against the Keystone XL in Washington, D.C. and in local communities from April 22 (Earth Day) through April 27. In what is a first in decades, indigenous tribes from the heartland will be joined with farmers and ranchers along the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route in the actions. The "Cowboy and Indian Alliance" is inviting everyone in the country to their tipi camp on the National Mall in the hopes that a show of strength will steel President Obama's resolve to be the "environmental President."
Since the State Department implicitly signed off on the Keystone XL pipeline in February by announcing that its environmental impact statement had found no "significant" impacts to worry about, White Plume and other environmental leaders concerned about the Keystone XL's impact on climate change have also stepped up their plans for direct, non-violence civil disobedience. Those plans are under wraps, but blockades will surely be a major weapon in their arsenal.
White Plume talked about why the Keystone XL pipeline has become such a firestorm.
* * *
Evelyn Nieves: Why is it so important that the Keystone XL pipeline NOT become a reality?
Debra White Plume: The tar sands bitumen inside the KXL pipeline is hazardous, flammable, a carcinogen — and deadly. When it gets into our drinking water and surface water, it cannot be cleaned up. These pipelines further the development of the tar sands sacrifice area in Alberta.
EN: Who is involved in the activism surrounding the opposition to the pipeline? Stories talk about this as a women's movement, an elders movement and a youth movement. That means it's pretty much everyone's movement except for middle-aged men.
DWP: That might be true elsewhere, but all of our people are engaged to protect sacred water. I can’t speak for any middle-aged American men, but I know there are hundreds of American ranchers and farmers in South Dakota and Nebraska ready to defend their rights. Our Lakota warriors are opposing the KXL — this includes men and women.
EN: What sorts of direct action are you willing to take and what kind of support are you receiving from Indian Country in general?
DWP: We will blockade TransCanada’s KXL to protect our lands and waters if we have to. Many tribal governments and Red Nations people have committed to blockade. Our Oglala Lakota Tribal Council is meeting soon to discuss declaring war on the KXL, as is the Rosebud Lakota Tribal Council.
EN:What kind of support are you receiving from outside of Indian Country?
DWP: We have support from all over the big land (so-called U.S.A.) and so-called Canada. We do not recognize these manmade borders. Our people were here from time immemorial, this is our ancestral land, people to the north and south are our relatives. We are connected through prophecy.
EN:Where is the state of South Dakota on this?
DWP: The South Dakota state government wants the pipeline, the state government is pro-mining. They see Mother Earth as a warehouse of resources they can extract. They have no respect. The citizens are divided. The ranchers and farmers along the corridor have had their lands taken by eminent domain in South Dakota. They don’t like that. We have made allies with the S.D. citizens who want to protect sacred water. Many have come to our Lakota ceremonies.
EN: What about non-Indian border towns?
DWP:People who live in the border towns are divided about the KXL. Some hope to get a job, some hope it never comes here, many are working in alliance with us to stop it.
EN: Why is the blockade at Rosebud?
DWP: The camp at Rosebud is not a blockade camp. The camp is on their own tribal land and no one can make them leave. It is near the location of a proposed man camp. We do not want any part of the KXL, including the badman camps.
EN:Is it because that's the direct path on the pipeline route?
DWP: No, it is not in the KXL pipeline corridor. It is there because it is near to where TransCanada wants to put a badman camp. We refer to those camps as badman camps because of the horrendous experience the Mandan, Hidtatsa, and Arkikara Nation (in western North Dakota, where tracking reigns) is enduring because of the thousands of strangers among them, committing many crimes against women and children, and by the nature of their work, destroying Mother Earth for tar sands mining — which has to exit the sacrifice zone through the black snake of the KXL and other pipelines proposed by corporations.
EN: What are your next steps?
DWP: We continue to provide NVDA (non-violent direct action) training to communities in Indian Country that request for us to come. This is our Moccasins on the Ground Tour of Resistance that we have been doing for three years now.
EN: What do you hope to achieve with your large gathering later this month?
DWP: We will provide training to communities who are sending their people, increase opposition to the kxl, expand our network, strengthen alliances, teach people about the sacredness of water. Allies are coming from all over to help us train community people, and other folks who are coming from all over the big land. We have many more Moccasins on the Ground Tour of Resistance training camps scheduled. We will keep training until the decision is made. We hope President Obama will be green. Revolutionary green, and say no to the KXL and all other tar sands pipelines. Who wants to live over a snake pit?
Evelyn Nieves is a senior contributing writer and editor at AlterNet, living in San Francisco. She has been a reporter for both the New York Times and the Washington Post.
|April 22, 2014||
5 Key Selling Points of the Keystone XL Pipeline Project, Debunked
by Evelyn Nieves, AlterNet
The battle lines are drawn. On one side stands Big Oil, most of Congress, the Tea Party and the Canadian government — and a majority of Americans, according to the polls. On the other stands environmentalists, progressives, a coalition of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, Western U.S. ranchers and farmers and tribes across Indian Country.
What's all the fuss about?
The Keystone XL Pipeline Project would extend an existing pipeline from Alberta, Canada to export crude oil extracted from tar sands under Canada's Boreal Forest to refineries along the U.S. Gulf coast in Texas and Louisiana for export.
Tar sands oil crude is dirtier and more corrosive than conventional oil, emitting more greenhouse gas emissions that add to climate change, which is why it has impassioned a new environmental activism.
President Obama, faced with pressure from environmentalists and his Democratic base, has said he would approve the Keystone XL only if it did not significantly impact the environment. The State Department, which has jurisdiction over the project since the pipeline would cross an international border, concluded just that--that the pipeline would have no "significant impact"--in an environmental impact statement.
Opponents of the Keystone XL have reason to be worried. The environmental impact statement concluded that the Keystone XL would not greatly increase carbon emissions mainly because Canada would develop the energy-intensive, toxic oil sands in Alberta with or without the pipeline.
That would make it more likely that Obama would approve the project.
But opponents of the project say the environmental impact statement is suspect because it was written in part by a consultant for TransCanada, the company that wants the XL built. An investigation by the State Department's inspector general found that there was no conflict of interest in a TransCanada consultant writing an impact statement for a project TransCanada wants. This despite a Mother Jones investigation that found that the State Department had redacted the biographies of the environmental impact statement's authors, concealing extensive ties to the fossil fuel industry.
With Obama expected to announce his decision within the next several weeks (or after the 2014 elections, according to some reports), here are five key selling points for the project--debunked!
Selling Point 1: The Keystone XL will create jobs, jobs and more jobs.
Reality: It will create fewer than 2,000 temporary jobs and a few dozen permanent ones, most likely for Canadians.
When the Keystone XL first became a national story in 2008, in the midst of the Great Recession, jobs were the main selling point. Several members of Congress testified that the pipeline would generate thousands of new jobs; estimates ranged between 20,000, 40,000, or even 100,000 new jobs in the jobs-hungry heartland.
Revised estimates of the jobs that pipeline would generate have dropped precipitously. The State Department's own report listed 1,950 temporary (two-year) construction jobs and 50 permanent jobs.
But that news has not reached the public. Polls show a majority of Americans support the project based on the perception that it would boost the economy. An ABC/Washington Post poll released in March found Americans support constructing the pipeline by a nearly 3 to 1 margin. Eighty-five percent say the pipeline would create a significant number of jobs, and 62 percent "strongly" believed so.
As for overall economic benefits, over its lifetime, the Keystone XL would cost billions more than it brings in, according to an analysis by a coalition of more than 200 high-tech business owners, venture capitalists and academics known as the Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2). In March, the group sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asserting that the Keystone XL's costs would be borne by U.S. citizens, business and taxpayers, while the profits from the pipeline will add to private corporations, many of which are foreign interests. E2 also argued that without the pipeline, it is highly unlikely that Canada would try to ship its dirty crude by rail as the extra costs of such transport would eat into the already tight profit margin for the tar sands oil in a glutted market.
Selling Point 2: The XL will help the United States gain energy independence.
Reality: The United States is already set to become the world's largest oil producer by 2015, if not sooner.
Proponents say the XL pipeline would help the United States gain energy independence and rely less on oil exporting countries with which the United States has fractious relationships, such as Venezuela. It would also strengthen the nation's relationship with its largest trading partner and best buddy to the north, Canada.
But in part because of fracking in the Bakken shale oil reserve in Western North Dakota, oil inventories in the United States are at a 21-year high...and counting. A glut of unrefined oil sits in Cushing, Okla., waiting to be processed. With Texas and North Dakota, the United States is now producing two million barrels of oil more per day than it was when Keystone XL was first proposed.
Not to mention that the Albert tar sands that the XL will transport to Texas refineries is not meant to serve the United States' oil needs. Its purpose is to refine oil for export. Environmentalists say that the country most likely to gain energy independence from the Middle East would be China.
Selling Point 3: The Keystone XL Pipeline will not significantly adversely affect the environment.
Reality: The Keystone XL will reverse efforts to combat climate change and make it easier to extract and export the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive way of producing oil such that it will make polluting the atmosphere cheaper and easier.
A Washington Post study found that anywhere from 271,000 to 5,709,000 cars would have to drive on U.S. roads to release the equal amount of carbon dioxide that would enter that atmosphere from 830,000 barrels of oil moving through the pipeline each day.
Selling Pont 4: The Keystone XL would be a safe, clean way to transport oil.
Reality: Spills and leaks, kept from public awareness, have plagued TransCanada's projects.
In January, a TransCanada pipeline exploded in Manitoba, leaving 4,000 people without heat in frigid conditions. One of the largest pipeline explosions in a decade happened on July 20, 2009, when the Peace River mainline in northern Alberta, on a First Nations reserve, blew up, razing a two-hectare area, but the Canadian public was never made aware of it, according to an investigative report by the Canadian Broadcast Corporation released in February.
In a 2011 report on the explosion, Canada's National Energy Board criticized TransCanada for "inadequate" inspections and "ineffective" management and found that the pipeline section was 95 percent corroded. The Canadian Broadcast Corporation, which received the 2011 report through an access-to-information request, questioned why the National Energy Board (N.E.B.) report was not made public, as is the rule, the N.E.B. blamed an administrative error.
Spills are routine. TransCanada's first Keystone pipeline spilled 14 times in the U.S. in its first year of operation (2010) alone, and Enbridge, another pipeline operator, spilled more than one million gallons in the Kalamazoo River in 2010.
Selling Point 5: The Keystone XL would not pose a threat to the public health.
Reality: Accidents are already happening with pipelines (see Selling Point 4, above) and the State Department's environmental impact statement did not check the possible consequences of accidents and increased greenhouse gas emissions on public health.
Senator Barbara Boxer, (D.-Calif.), chairwoman of the Environment Committee, has publicly called on the Obama administration to conduct an investigation into the impact of the pipeline on public health. In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, she wrote: “The Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement was woefully inadequate regarding human health impacts, and we believe it is critically important that peer-reviewed research on these issues is fully considered before any decision is made on the Keystone XL pipeline."
Evelyn Nieves is a senior contributing writer and editor at AlterNet, living in San Francisco. She has been a reporter for both the New York Times and the Washington Post.
|April 26, 2014||
How Major Grassroots Campaigns Are Holding the Silent Killers Of Environmental Destruction Accountable
by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, AlterNet
The findings of the most recent IPCC report are sobering. We have 15 years to mitigate climate disaster. It is up to us to make a major transition to a carbon-free, nuclear-free energy economy within that timeframe. Big Energy and our plutocratic government are not going to do it without effective pressure from a people-powered movement.
Earth Day is no longer about celebration. We are making Mother Earth sick by using extreme methods to extract fuels from her mountains and from beneath her surface and by massive spills of oil, chemicals and radiation. We must mobilize ourselves to take action now to create clean renewable energy and to restore the damage we have done.
More people are getting this concept. This year, there are several major campaigns around Earth Day, for example the Global Climate Convergence and the Cowboy Indian Alliance camp in Washington, DC. We celebrated Earth Day by launching a new national campaign to clean up the thousands of abandoned uranium mines (AUMs) scattered throughout the Great Plains and West Coast.
Uranium: The Invisible Killer
In the days leading up to the launch of Clean Up the Mines campaign, our team of eleven organizers toured Southwest South Dakota to learn more about the AUMs. Our tour was led by Charmaine White Face, a scientist and coordinator of Defenders of the Black Hills, who took us to various sites and brought her Geiger counters. There are 272 AUMs in South Dakota that continue to emit radiation, radon and toxic elements into the air, water and land. The mines were abandoned by corporations like Kerr McGee and Atlantic Richfield who walked away from them when the Uranium Rush that started in the early 1950s was over. We described this in more detail in our previous article about how uranium mines are poisoning the breadbasket of America.
The Northern Great Plains Region of Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota contain more than 3,000 AUMs. There are more than 1,000 AUMs in Arizona and New Mexico. In total, in the 15 western states there are estimated to be more than 10,000 AUMs. One in 7 people in the western US live within 50 miles of an AUM, according to the EPA. This is a national environmental crisis – a silent Fukushima – for which responsibility needs to be taken.
Researchers have found that the Madison Aquifer, which provides drinking water to 90% of South Dakota's population, has been contaminated by uranium. In addition to South Dakota, the Madison Aquifer is beneath the ground in parts of Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, and Nebraska. It is not only aquifers that are impacted, the water run-off from AUM’s affect the Grand River, Moreau River, Belle Fourche River, Cheyenne River and Missouri River.
Due to uranium contamination in the Colorado River, the drinking water supply for half of the population of the Western US may already be radioactive. Mining near the Colorado River, which flows through the Grand Canyon, threatens the drinking water supplies of millions of people in cities like Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. Samples from 15 springs and 5 wells in the Grand Canyon exhibited dissolved uranium concentrations greater than the EPA maximum for drinking water.
Toxic, radioactive substances from AUMs take the form of dust which travels with the wind for hundreds of miles. Uranium is a silent health threat. As it breaks down, it releases radon, an odorless gas that causes lung disease and cancer. It also emits gamma radiation and radioactive alpha and beta particles, which can cause severe damage to cells if they are released from within the body after when a person drinks contaminated water or inhales contaminated dust. The dust can blow into streams or mix with nearby soil, spreading radioactive contamination.
The adverse health impacts of radiation include cancer and other organ damage, especially during fetal development and in young children. Higher incidences of childhood leukemia, respiratory failure and kidney disease have been recorded near uranium mine sites. Uranium in water has been associated with increased kidney disease.
The health impacts of this silent killer are widespread. Yet, where is the accountability for the corporations who profited from these mines? Where are the federal and state governments responsible for the environment and the health and safety of the population? Those responsible are not being held sufficiently accountable.
South Dakota Tour
Our first stop on the tour was Mount Rushmore which has 169 AUMs within a 50 mile range. We pulled over at a scenic area outside of the monument and measured the radioactivity in the soil which was 15 microrems/hour (52.5 Counts/minute). We entered the park and interviewed White Face in view of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln. She told us that the more than 2 million people who visit Mt Rushmore each year are unaware that they are being exposed to radiation. In order to raise awareness, we donned hazardous material suits and walked with a large banner that said “It’s time to clean up the mines!”
The next day we visited Riley Pass, located on National Forest Service land; it is one of the largest AUMs in South Dakota. The deadly effect of the mine was apparent from a distance. As we approached the bluff, the tree line ended abruptly at the edge of the mine. When we parked and walked towards the mine, we encountered a warning sign which said “Danger!” and “Stay out, Stay alive.”
The Forest Service acknowledges the risks at Riley Pass, writing that approximately 250 acres have been identified for needing reclamation and clean-up. They describe the site as containing elevated radioactive materials, and heavy metals including onsite mine waste, fine-grained particles which are readily dispersed by wind and surface water erosion. Concentrations of these dangerous toxins range up to “ten times higher for sediment samples in impacted drainages and several hundred times higher for mine waste samples.” They also note that livestock drink water and eat grasses that are toxic from the uranium mine.
A 2007 action memorandum on Riley Pass done by the Forest Service found that the site posed “an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health, or welfare or the environment.” There has been minimal inadequate action taken to contain the toxins from the AUMs. The actions taken do not prevent leaching into the groundwater and are more akin to landscaping than to the type of action that is needed. A recent settlement of a lawsuit against Tronox, the corporations responsible for the AUM, will provide $179 million for Riley’s Pass clean-up. This inadequate amount is the only funding for South Dakota out of the $5.2 billion settlement. It leaves the other 271 mines without any provisions for clean-up.
From Riley’s Pass we went to Ludlow, a nearby town. An elementary school is located a short 200 meters from an AUM. We could see the high rounded wall of the open pit. Using the Geiger counter we measured radioactivity throughout the school are, the highest were in the soil next to a small picnic table at the children’s playground. It read 44 microrems/hour (154 Counts/minute) and the air tested at 34 microrems/hour when the wind was still. We calculated that the radioactivity is close to four times the level allowed for families to return to Fukushima.
During the tour, we met people at road stops and during our visits to the mine areas. People from every community spoke of health problems which are commonly related to uranium exposure and their high level of concern over the lack of information about the AUMs and action to remediate them. Many said they had been reassured that the risks were low. However, based on the presence of the mines, the numerous reports of high rates of cancer and disease and the high readings that we measured, we believe that independent studies should be performed to accurately assess the magnitude of the risk and the health impacts.
The People Need to Mobilize to Clean Up The Mines!
On Earth Day, the launch of the Clean Up The Mines! campaign took place near Red Shirt Village on the banks of the dead and poisoned Cheyenne River. The 295 mile long Cheyenne River which runs through Wyoming and South Dakota is damaged by thousands of AUM’s in Wyoming according to a 2006 study by the South Dakota Department of Environmental and Natural Resources Water Monitoring Program. The residents can't use the river and can't drink the water from their wells because of uranium and arsenic contamination.
White Face told us that she tested the river water previously for life and found one crayfish after dragging a net for a hundred feet. A local resident pointed to the dead Cotton Wood trees on the river banks and ranchers told us of their difficulty obtaining clean water for their livestock.
Dozens from the community joined with members of organizations including Defenders of Black Hills, Clean Water Alliance, Dakota Rural Action, Peace Pagoda, Veterans for Peace, the Global Climate Convergence and Popular Resistance at the Cheyenne River Bridge. We posted signs stating “Warning, Radioactive River” to raise awareness of the toxic contamination of the Cheyenne River caused by AUMs because there are no permanent signs.
White Face said: “For the American public to be exposed to radioactive pollution and not be warned by federal and state governments is unconscionable; shame on the American federal and state governments for allowing their citizens to be placed in such danger for more than 50 years and not stopping the source of the danger. It is a national travesty.”
In reaction to the Clean Up The Mines! project, a spokesperson for the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, told the Associated Press the state doesn’t have an abandoned mine program. He refused to comment on the health impacts but claimed the uranium levels were low in South Dakota water. His statements are inconsistent with the experience of people living in the state.
Sandra Cuny Buffington, from the Red Shirt community, a rancher with cattle in the Bad Lands, lived at the river until it wasn’t possible anymore because of contamination. She spoke of high rates of cancer in the area. “We know we are contaminated but where are we going to go? I don’t know of any other life than the one that I have lived.”
“Abandoned uranium mines are devastating to the health of local populations,” explained Dr. Jill Stein, former Green Party presidential candidate who is a physician specializing in environmental health issues, “The mines threaten not only our health but our economies and ecosystems as well.” Stein, who participated in the Earth Day event as part of the kick-off of the ten day Global Climate Convergence, went on to say “We are here to insist on cleaning up the mines and transitioning to a clean renewable energy system. This transition can put American back to work while vastly improving our health. The health savings alone will pay for the costs of this transition.”
Tarak Kauff, a member of the Board of Directors of Veterans for Peace described uranium mining as part of a “war on Mother Earth” and said “It is up to us, an awakened public, ordinary black, brown, white and red people working together to demand, to insure that these toxic highly radioactive abandoned mines be cleaned up – for us and for future generations.”
Helen Jaccard, volunteer with Clean Up The Mines, described uranium, as a problem from “cradle to grave” saying “From mining, to milling and processing, to nuclear bombs and energy, with the left-over depleted uranium turned into weapons and the waste products that have no grave, the only safe place for uranium is in the ground.”
White Face concluded, “Currently no laws require clean-up of these dangerous abandoned uranium mines. We are letting Congress know: It is time to clean up the mines! We value persistence. We will employ a variety of tactics including legislative and judicial avenues to hold the government and corporations accountable for their negligence and community-based actions to raise awareness and clean up the mines.”
The legal precedence set by the recent settlement with Tronox adds more legitimacy to this struggle. There needs to be greater accountability. You can get involved by joining Clean Up the Mines! Take action to spread awareness of the problem and write to your members of Congress to demand that accurate studies are performed, the mines and water supplies are cleaned up with citizen oversight and those who have been sickened receive the treatment they require.
Accountability for Silent Killers
Exploring the legacy of uranium mining – for Earth destroying weapons of mass destruction and risky nuclear energy – reminded us how far humans have come in environmental destruction. It also showed, once again, how all is related. The Gaia theory of the Earth as a living being where all is connected is evident in the uranium toxicity that spreads through water, air and food
There is a growing movement that links native peoples with the descendants of those who colonized them. Now, many non-natives follow the lead of native peoples against fossil fuel and mineral extraction throughout the continent. It is this kind of solidarity and unity that will not only clean up the mines but will also make even greater changes in our economy, environment and government.
The toxicity of AUMs also reminds us of the cost of living under the rule of an illegitimate government where money, not the people, rule; of big finance capitalism that puts profit ahead of people and planet – and is enabled by the corrupt corporate government. The experience of the uranium mines shows us that even if it means people will die younger than they should, profit is king when we live under the ‘rule of money.’ It shows us we have an even larger task – ending a plutocratic oligarchy and creating a real democracy where the people rule.
AUMs are one example of many. This week expert testimony before the National Transportation Safety Board said that oil train tanker leaks were inevitable. And, the nation is being covered in tar sands, gas and oil pipelines – all with terrible records of leaks. Yet, the federal agency that regulates pipelines and railroad transit of oil is cutting its already too small staff by 9%. The plutocrats will get their profits and the Earth will be plundered and polluted.
And, of course it is not only environmental destruction. This week we are seeing Obama’s new chairman of the FCC, who has served as a telecom industry lobbyist for two decades, pushing the end of net neutrality and a tiered system of Internet access, one for those with the money to pay for fast service and a slow lane for those who cannot. (Take action to stop the destruction of the Internet here; the next two weeks are critical.) The plutocrats will get wealthy while the Internet as we know it will be undermined.
Earth Day, which started out as part of an environmental movement that helped create major changes, has become a celebration of picnics, co-opted by corporations rather than education and mobilization to confront the environmental crisis. Even the Petroleum Institute pushes further environmental destruction under the Earth Day banner. We need to remember how the first Earth Day linked labor to the environment and realize that the necessities of the people are connected to a healthy planet. At a time when we are seeing mass species die-off, destruction of the ocean and other water sources as well as a planet threatened by climate change, Earth Day needs to become about urgent transformation.
Robert Koehler writes about what we need to do in his reflection on how we have lost a decade of environmental collapse and cannot afford to lose another one:
“We need intense activism along with structural analysis and the building of alternative, sustainable lifestyles. We need wisdom, reverence and creativity that we pull up from the depths of our uncertainty. Author Joanna Macy calls it ‘the Great Turning.’ It’s a shift in consciousness that aligns social healing, economic fairness and an end to war with environmental sustainability. And the time to make it happen is running out. We can’t afford to lose another decade, or another twenty minutes.”
It is time to face the destruction wrought by the human species on the planet; and take responsibility by mobilizing to reverse the destruction of Gaia. Together, is the only way we can do it.
This article is produced by Popular Resistance in conjunction withAlterNet. It is a weekly review of the activities of the resistance movement.Sign up for the daily news digest of Popular Resistance, here.
Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers are participants in PopularResistance.org. They also co-direct It’s Our Economy and are co-hosts of Clearing the FOG, shown on UStream TV and heard on radio. They tweet at @KBZeese and MFlowers8.
|April 28, 2014||
UPDATE: Score one for public shaming! Shortly after our story was published, the Oregonian reported that state officials have backed down on their plan to limit disclosure of oil train shipments. Details here.
Rail cars are carrying a lot more crude through Oregon these days thanks to the U.S. fracking boom—250 percent more last year than the year before. The intrepid reporters at the Oregonian newspaper wanted to know if that increase in rail traffic poses a risk. After all, at least one rail car on average slips off the tracks in this country every day, and an oil train derailment in Canada last year killed 47 people and incinerated the center of a small town (see “ An Accident Waiting to Happen”).
So the reporters asked the state transportation department for reports detailing crude oil shipments through Oregon, including their location and volume. The reports are required annually by state law and must be shared with first responders, so that local officials can prepare for hazardous materials spills.
Instead of turning over the 2013 reports, as ordered by the state’s Department of Justice, transportation officials decided to simply stop asking for them, in order to protect the railroad’s secrets. From theOregonian:
Railroads “provided us courtesy copies with the understanding we wouldn’t share it—believing it might be protected,” ODOT spokesman David Thompson said in an email. “We now know that the info is NOT protected; so do the railroads.”
Get it? As long as it remained secret, railroads were fine with turning over the info. But now that it’s clear the public should have it, they don’t want to, so the transportation department is fine with ignoring state law and not asking the railroads to comply. As the paper puts it: “The decision typifies the unusual lengths to which ODOT goes to accommodate the railroads it regulates. Though it is supposed to be an independent safety watchdog, ODOT’s rail division treats the companies it oversees as cooperative stakeholders.”
We’re not just pointing out this story to hail the Oregonian’s crusading journalism (though, yay!). It’s important because crude-by-rail shipments are an increasing concern all over the country. The amount of U.S. oil shipped by rail has quadrupled since 2005, with a corresponding increase in large derailments and spills. The head of the National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday that the spate of oil train accidents shows that “far too often, safety has been compromised.”
So it’s hard to square those concerns with an Oregon officials’ statement that “the exact quantity of those specific shipments doesn’t impact our work.” It seems that government oversight in Oregon has gone a bit off the rails. Let's hope no oil trains will follow.
Susan Cosier is OnEarth.org's managing editor. She previously worked at magazine, and has written for a number of science and environmental publications. She has a degree in environmental science from Wesleyan University.
|April 29, 2014||
'Cowboy and Indian' Alliance Marches Against Keystone XL Pipeline
by Cliff Weathers, AlterNet
Thousands of environmental activists joined the farmers, ranchers and tribal leaders of the 'Cowboy and Indian Alliance' for to protest the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline earlier this week. Organizers say that the ceremonial procession was the largest event of the five day “Reject and Protect” encampment in Washington, DC.
The Reject and Protect protest highlights the opposition to Keystone XL among those who live along the pipeline route.
“Today, boots and moccasins showed President Obama an unlikely alliance has his back to reject Keystone XL to protect our land and water,” said Jane Kleeb, executive director of Bold Nebraska, one of the organizers of the event.
Protestors presented a hand-painted tipi to the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian as a gift to President Obama. The tipi represented the Cowboy and Indian Alliance’s hopes for protected land and clean water. The tipi was named “Awe Kooda Bilaxpak Kuuxshish” and “Oyate Wookiye,” two titles given to President Obama by the Lakota and the Crow Nations upon his visit to the region in 2008. The title translates from the Lakota and Crow languages, respectively, as “Man Who Helps the People” and “One Who Helps People throughout the Land.”
“Keystone XL is a death warrant for our people,” said Oglala Sioux Tribal President Bryan Brewer, who helped lead the presentation of the tipi to the Smithsonian. “President Obama must reject this pipeline and protect our sacred land and water. The United States needs to respect our treaty rights and say no to Keystone XL.”
The five-day encampment began with an Earth Day march and ceremony. On Wednesday, members of the Cowboy and Indian Alliance met with Obama administration officials to voice their concerns about Keystone XL and tar sands expansion.
One of the more notable protests happened at the Lincoln Memorial where a Sioux nation member and a rancher risked police arrest by walking into the reflecting pool with a sign that read, “Standing in the water could get me arrested, TransCanada pollutes drinking water and nothing happens.”
The Keystone XL Pipeline Project would extend an existing pipeline from Alberta, Canada to export crude oil extracted from tar sands under Canada's Boreal Forest to refineries along the U.S. Gulf coast in Texas and Louisiana for export.
Tar sands oil crude is dirtier and more corrosive than conventional oil, emitting more greenhouse gas emissions that add to climate change.
President Obama, faced with pressure from environmentalists and the progressive base, has said he would approve the Keystone XL only if it did not significantly impact the environment. The State Department, which has jurisdiction over the project since the pipeline would cross an international border, concluded just that--that the pipeline would have no "significant impact"--in an environmental impact statement.
Opponents of the project say the environmental impact statement is suspect because it was written in part by a consultant for TransCanada, the company that wants the XL built. An investigation by the State Department's inspector general found that there was no conflict of interest in a TransCanada consultant writing an impact statement for a project TransCanada wants. This despite a Mother Jones investigation that found that the State Department had redacted the biographies of the environmental impact statement's authors, concealing extensive ties to the fossil fuel industry.
Cliff Weathers is a senior editor at AlterNet, covering environmental and consumer issues. He is a former deputy editor at Consumer Reports. His work has also appeared in Salon, Car and Driver, Playboy, and Detroit Monthly among other publications. Follow him on Twitter @cliffweathers.
|April 28, 2014||
Why Wave Power Has Lagged Far Behind as Energy Source
by Dave Levitan, Yale Environment 360, AlterNet
It’s not difficult to imagine what wind energy looks like — by this point we have all seen the towering turbines dotting the landscape. The same goes for solar power and the panels that are spreading across rooftops worldwide. But there is another form of renewable energy, available in huge quantities, that doesn’t really call to mind anything at all: What does wave power technology look like?
Wind and solar power have taken off in the past decade or two, as costs have come down rapidly and threats from climate change have made clear the need to transition away from fossil fuels. Meanwhile, numerous studies have concluded that wave power — and to a lesser extent, tidal power — could contribute massive amounts to the overall energy picture. But while the industry has made halting progress, experts agree that it remains decades behind other forms of renewables, with large amounts of money and research required for it to even begin to catch up.
power-generatinproject, a 62.5-megawatt installation slated for the coast of Australia that would produce enough power for 10,000 homes. Scotland, surrounded by the rough waters of the Atlantic and the North Sea, has become a hotbed of wave-energy research and development, with the government last year approving a 40-megawatt wave energy installation in the Shetland Islands.
Lockheed Martin’s Australia project, which will use a buoy technology that generates electricity from the rising and falling of waves.
Dave Levitan is a freelance journalist based in Philadelphia who writes about energy, the environment, and health. His articles have been published by Scientific American, Discover, IEEE Spectrum, Grist, and others.
|May 8, 2014||
The Kiev Putsch: Rebel Workers Take Power In The East
by James Petras, James Petras Website, Countercurrents
Introduction: Not since the US and EU took over Eastern Europe, including the Baltic countries, East Germany, Poland and the Balkans and converted them into military outposts of NATO and economic vassals, have the Western powers moved so aggressively to seize a strategic country, such as the Ukraine, posing an existential threat to Russia.
Up until 2013 the Ukraine was a ‘buffer state’, basically a non-aligned country, with economic ties to both the EU and Russia. Ruled by a regime closely tied to local, European, Israeli and Russian based oligarchs, the political elite was a product of a political upheaval in 2004, (the so-called “Orange Revolution”) funded by the US. Subsequently, for the better part of a decade the Ukraine underwent a failed experiment in Western backed ‘neo-liberal’ economic policies. After nearly two decades of political penetration, the US and EU were deeply entrenched in the political system via long-standing funding of so-called non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), political parties and paramilitary groups.
The strategy of the US and EU was to install a pliant regime which would bring Ukraine into the European Common Market and NATO as a subordinate client state. Negotiations between the EU and the Ukraine government proceeded slowly. They eventually faltered because of the onerous conditions demanded by the EU and the more favorable economic concessions and subsidies offered by Russia. Having failed to negotiate the annexation of the Ukraine to the EU, and not willing to await scheduled constitutional elections, the NATO powers activated their well-financed and organized NGOs, client political leaders and armed paramilitary groups to violently overthrow the elected government. The violent putsch succeeded and a US-appointed civilian-military junta took power.
The junta was composed of pliant neo-liberal and chauvinist neo-fascist ‘ministers’. The former were hand-picked by the US, to administer and enforce a new political and economic order, including privatization of public firms and resources, breaking trade and investment ties with Russia, eliminating a treaty allowing the Russian naval base in Crimea and ending military-industrial exports to Russia. The neo-fascists and sectors of the military and police were appointed to ministerial positions in order to violently repress any pro-democracy opposition in the West and East. They oversaw the repression of bilingual speakers (Russian-Ukrainian), institutions and practices – turning the opposition to the US-NATO imposed coup regime into an ethnic opposition. They purged all elected opposition office holders in the West and East and appointed local governors by fiat – essentially creating a martial law regime.
The Strategic Targets of the NATO-Junta
NATOs violent, high-risk seizure of the Ukraine was driven by several strategic military objectives. These included:
1.) The ousting of Russia from its military bases in Crimea – turning them into NATO bases facing Russia.
2.) The conversion of the Ukraine into a springboard for penetrating Southern Russia and the Caucasus; a forward position to politically manage and support liberal pro-NATO parties and NGOs within Russia.
3.) The disruption of key sectors of the Russian military defense industry, linked to the Ukrainian factories, by ending the export of critical engines and parts to Russia.
The Ukraine had long been an important part of the Soviet Union’s military industrial complex. NATO planners behind the putsch were keenly aware that one-third of the Soviet defense industry had remained in the Ukraine after the break-up of the USSR and that forty percent of the Ukraine’s exports to Russia, until recently, consisted of armaments and related machinery. More specifically, the Motor-Sikh plant in Eastern Ukraine manufactured most of the engines for Russian military helicopters including a current contract to supply engines for one thousand attack helicopters. NATO strategists immediately directed their political stooges in Kiev to suspend all military deliveries to Russia, including medium-range air-to air-missiles, inter-continental ballistic missiles, transport planes and space rockets (Financial Times, 4/21/14, p3). US and EU military strategists viewed the Kiev putsch as a way to undermine Russian air, sea and border defenses. President Putin has acknowledged the blow but insists that Russia will be able to substitute domestic production for the critical parts within two years. This means the loss of thousands of skilled factory jobs in Eastern Ukraine.
4.) The military encirclement of Russia with forward NATO bases in the Ukraine matching those from the Baltic to the Balkans, from Turkey to the Caucasus and then onward from Georgia into the autonomous Russian Federation.
The US-EU encirclement of Russia is designed to end Russian access to the North Sea, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. By encircling and confining Russia to an isolated landmass without ‘outlets to the sea’, US-EU empire builders seek to limit Russia’s role as a rival power center and possible counter-weight to its imperial ambitions in the Middle East, North Africa, Southwest Asia and the North Atlantic.
Ukraine Putsch: Integral to Imperial Expansion
The US and EU are intent on destroying independent, nationalist and non-aligned governments throughout the world and converting them into imperial satellites by whatever means are effective. For example, the current NATO-armed mercenary invasion of Syria is directed at overthrowing the nationalist, secular Assad government and establishing a pro-NATO vassal state, regardless of the bloody consequences to the diverse Syrian people. The attack on Syria serves multiple purposes: Eliminating a Russian ally and its Mediterranean naval base; undermining a supporter of Palestine and adversary of Israel; encircling the Islamic Republic of Iran and the powerful militant Hezbollah Party in Lebanon and establishing new military bases on Syrian soil.
The NATO seizure of the Ukraine has a multiplier effect that reaches ‘upward’ toward Russia and ‘downward’ toward the Middle East and consolidates control over its vast oil wealth.
The recent NATO wars against Russian allies or trading partners confirm this prognosis. In Libya, the independent, non-aligned policies of the Gadhafi regime stood out in stark contrast to the servile Western satellites like Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia. Gadhafi was overthrown and Libya destroyed via a massive NATO air assault. Egypt’s mass popular anti-Mubarak rebellion and emerging democracy were subverted by a military coup and eventually returned the country to the US-Israeli-NATO orbit – under a brutal dictator. Armed incursions by NATO proxy, Israel, against Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon as well as the US-EU sanctions against Iran are all directed against potential allies or trading partners of Russia.
The US has moved forcefully from encircling Russia via ‘elections and free markets’ in Eastern Europe to relying on military force, death squads, terror and economic sanctions in the Ukraine, the Caucasus, the Middle East and Asia.
Regime Change in Russia: from Global Power to Vassal State
Washington’s strategic objective is to isolate Russia from without, undermine its military capability and erode its economy, in order to strengthen NATO’s political and economic collaborators inside Russia – leading to its further fragmentation and return to the semi-vassal status.
The imperial strategic goal is to place neo-liberal political proxies in power in Moscow, just like the ones who oversaw the pillage and destruction of Russia during the infamous Yeltsin decade. The US-EU power grab in the Ukraine is a big step in that direction.
Evaluating the Encirclement and Conquest Strategy
So far NATO’s seizure of the Ukraine has not moved forward as planned. First of all, the violent seizure of power by overtly pro-NATO elites openly reneging on military treaty agreements with Russia over bases in Crimea, had forced Russia to intervene in support of the local, overwhelmingly ethnic Russian population. Following a free and open referendum, Russia annexed the region and secured its strategic military presence.
While Russia retained its naval presence on the Black Sea … the NATO junta in Kiev unleashed a large-scale military offensive against the pro-democracy, anti-coup Russian-speaking majority in the eastern half of the Ukraine who have been demanding a federal form of government reflecting Ukraine’s cultural diversity. The US-EU promoted a “military response” to mass popular dissent and encouraged the coup-regime to eliminate the civil rights of the Russian speaking majority through neo-Nazi terror and to force the population to accept junta-appointed regional rulers in place of their elected leaders. In response to this repression, popular self-defense committees and local militias quickly sprang up and the Ukrainian army was initially forced back with thousands of soldiers refusing to shoot their own compatriots on behalf of the Western –installed regime in Kiev. For a while, the NATO-backed neo-liberal-neo-fascist coalition junta had to contend with the disintegration of its ‘power base’. At the same time, ‘aid’ from the EU, IMF and the US failed to compensate for the cut-off of Russian trade and energy subsidies. Under the advise of visiting US CIA Director, Brenner, the Kiev Junta then dispatched its elite “special forces” trained by the CIA and FBI to carry out massacres against pro-democracy civilians and popular militias. They bussed in armed thugs to the diverse city of Odessa who staged an ‘exemplary’ massacre: Burning the city’s major trade union headquarters and slaughtering 41, mostly unarmed civilians who were trapped in the building with its exits blocked by neo-Nazis. The dead included many women and teenagers who had sought shelter from the rampaging neo-Nazis. The survivors were brutally beaten and imprisoned by the ‘police’ who had passively watched while the building burned.
The Coming Collapse of the Putsch-Junta
Obama’s Ukraine power grab and his efforts to isolate Russia have provoked some opposition in the EU. Clearly US sanctions prejudice major European multi-nationals with deep ties in Russia. The US military build-up in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Black Sea raises tensions and threatens a large-scale military conflagration, disrupting major economic contracts. US-EU threats on Russia’s border have increased popular support for President Putin and strengthened the Russian leadership. The strategic power grab in the Ukraine has radicalized and deepened the polarization of Ukrainian politics-between neo-fascist and pro-democracy forces.
While the imperial strategists are extending and escalating their military build-up in Estonia and Poland and pouring arms into the Ukraine, the entire power grab rests on very precarious political and economic foundations- which could collapse within the year – amidst a bloody civil war/ inter-ethnic slaughter.
The Ukraine junta has already lost political control of over a third of the country to pro-democracy, anti-coup movements and self-defense militias. By cutting off strategic exports to Russia to serve US military interests, the Ukraine lost one of its most important markets, which cannot be replaced. Under NATO control, Ukraine will have to buy NATO-specified military hardware leading to the closure of its factories geared to the Russian market. The loss of Russian trade is already leading to mass unemployment, especially among skilled industrial workers in the East who may be forced to immigrate to Russia. Ballooning trade deficits and the erosion of state revenues will bring a total economic collapse. Thirdly, as a result of the Kiev junta’s submission to NATO, the Ukraine has lost billions of dollars in subsidized energy from Russia. High energy costs make Ukrainian industries non-competitive in global markets. Fourthly, in order to secure loans from the IMF and the EU, the junta has agreed to eliminate food and energy price subsidies, severely depressing household incomes and plunging pensioners into destitution. Bankruptcies are on the rise, as imports from the EU and elsewhere displace formerly protected local industries.
No new investments are flowing in because of the violence, instability and conflicts between neo-fascists and neo-liberals within he junta. Just to stabilize the day-to-day operations of government, the junta needs a no-interest $30 billion dollar handout – from its NATO patrons, an amount, which is not forthcoming now or in the immediate future.
It is clear that NATO ‘strategists’ who planned the putsch were only thinking about weakening Russia militarily and gave no thought to the political, economic and social costs of sustaining a puppet regime in Kiev when Ukraine had been so dependent on Russian markets, loans and subsidized energy. Moreover, they appear to have overlooked the political, industrial and agricultural dynamics of the predictably hostile Eastern regions of the country. Alternately, Washington strategists may have based their calculations on instigating a Yugoslavia-style break-up accompanied by massive ethnic cleansing amidst population transfers and slaughter. Undeterred by the millions of civilian casualties, Washington considers its policy of dismantling Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya to have been great political-military successes.
Ukraine most certainly will enter a prolonged and deep depression, including a precipitous decline in its exports, employment and output. Possibly, economic collapse will lead to nationwide protests and social unrest: spreading from East to West, from South to North. Social upheavals and mass misery may further undermine the morale of the Ukrainian armed forces. Even now, Kiev can barely afford to feed its soldiers and has to rely on neo-Fascist volunteer militias who may be hard to control. The US-EU are not likely to intervene directly with an Libya-style bombing campaign since they would face a prolonged war on Russia’s border at a time when public opinion in the US is suffering from imperial war exhaustion, and European business interests with links to Russian resource companies are resisting consequential sanctions.
The US-EU putsch has produced a failing regime and a society riven by violent conflicts – spinning into open ethnic violence. What, in fact, has ensued is a system of dual power with contenders cutting across regional boundaries. The Kiev junta lacks the coherence and stability to serve as a reliable NATO military link in the encirclement of Russia. On the contrary, US-EU sanctions, military threats and bellicose rhetoric are forcing Russians to quickly rethink their ‘openness’ to the West. The strategic threats to its national security are leading Russia to review its ties to Western banks and corporations. Russia may have to resort to a policy of expanded industrialization via public investments and import substitution. Russian oligarchs, having lost their overseas holdings, may become less central to Russian economic policy.
What is clear is that the power grab in Kiev will not result in a ‘knife pointed at the heartland of Russia’. The ultimate defeat and overthrow of the Kiev junta can lead to a radicalized self-governing Ukraine, based on the burgeoning democratic movements and rising working class consciousness. This will have to emerge from their struggle against IMF austerity programs and Western asset stripping of Ukraine’s resources and enterprises. The industrial workers of Ukraine who succeed in throwing off the yoke of the western vassals in Kiev have no intention of submitting themselves to the yoke of the Russian oligarchs. Their struggle is for a democratic state, capable of developing an independent economic policy, free of imperial military alliances.
May Day 2014: Dual Popular Power in the East, Fascism Rising in the West
The predictable falling out between the neo-fascists and neo-liberal partners in the Kiev junta was evidenced by large-scale riots, between rival street gangs and police on May Day. The US-EU strategy envisioned using the neo-fascists as ‘shock troops’ and street fighters in overthrowing the elected regime of Yankovich and later discarding them. As exemplified by the notorious taped conversation between Assistant Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland and the US Ambassador to Kiev, the EU-US strategists promote their own handpicked neoliberal proxies to represent foreign capital, impose austerity policies and sign treaties for foreign military bases. In contrast, the neo-fascist militias and parties would favor nationalist economic policies, retaining state enterprises and are likely to be hostile to oligarchs, especially those with ‘dual Israeli-Ukraine’ citizenship.
The Kiev junta’s inability to develop an economic strategy, its violent seizure of power and repression of pro-democracy dissidents in the East has led to a situation of ‘dual power’. In many cases, troops sent to repress the pro-democracy movements have abandoned their weapons, abandoned the Kiev junta and joined the self-governing movements in the East.
Apart from its outside backers-the White House, Brussels and IMF – the Kiev junta has been abandoned by its rightwing allies in Kiev for being too subservient to NATO and resisted by the pro-democracy movement in the East for being authoritarian and centralist. The Kiev junta has fallen between two chairs: it lacks legitimacy among most Ukrainians and has lost control of all but a small patch of land occupied by government offices in Kiev and even those are under siege by the neo-fascist right and increasingly from its own disenchanted former supporters.
Let us be absolutely clear, the struggle in the Ukraine is not between the US and Russia, it is between a NATO-imposed junta composed of neo-liberal oligarchs and fascists on one side and the industrial workers and their local militias and democratic councils on the other. The former defends and obeys the IMF and Washington; the latter relies on the productive capacity of local industry and rules by responding to the majority.
James Petras is the author of more than 62 books published in 29 languages, and over 600 articles in professional journals, including the American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Social Research, and Journal of Peasant Studies. He has published over 2000 articles in nonprofessional journals such as the New York Times, the Guardian, the Nation, Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, New Left Review, Partisan Review, TempsModerne, Le Monde Diplomatique, and his commentary is widely carried on the internet. His publishers have included Random House, John Wiley, Westview, Routledge, Macmillan, Verso, Zed Books and Pluto Books. He is winner of the Career of Distinguished Service Award from the American Sociological Association’s Marxist Sociology Section, the Robert Kenny Award for Best Book, 2002, and the Best Dissertation, Western Political Science Association in 1968. His most recent titles include Unmasking Globalization: Imperialism of the Twenty-First Century (2001); co-author The Dynamics of Social Change in Latin America (2000), System in Crisis (2003), co-author Social Movements and State Power (2003), co-author Empire With Imperialism (2005), co-author)Multinationals on Trial (2006).
|May 2, 2014||
Cold War Against Russia - Without Debate
by Katrina vanden Heuvel, Stephen F. Cohen , The Nation, AlterNet
Future historians will note that in April 2014, nearly a quarter-century after the end of the Soviet Union, the White House declared a new Cold War on Russia — and that, in a grave failure of representative democracy, there was scarcely a public word of debate, much less opposition, from the American political or media establishment.
The Obama administration announced its Cold War indirectly, in a front-page New York Times story by Peter Baker on April 20. According to the report, President Obama has resolved, because of the Ukraine crisis, that he can “never have a constructive relationship” with Russian President Vladimir Putin and will instead “ignore the master of the Kremlin” and focus on “isolating…Russia by cutting off its economic and political ties to the outside world…effectively making it a pariah state.” In short, Baker reports, the White House has adopted “an updated version of the Cold War strategy of containment.” He might have added, a very extreme version. The report has been neither denied nor qualified by the White House.
No modern precedent exists for the shameful complicity of the American political-media elite at this fateful turning point. Considerable congressional and mainstream media debate, even protest, were voiced, for example, during the run-up to the U.S. wars in Vietnam and Iraq and, more recently, proposed wars against Iran and Syria. This Cold War — its epicenter on Russia’s borders; undertaken amid inflammatory American, Russian and Ukrainian media misinformation; and unfolding without the stabilizing practices that prevented disasters during the preceding Cold War — may be even more perilous. It will almost certainly result in a new nuclear arms race, a prospect made worse by Obama’s provocative public assertion that “our conventional forces are significantly superior to the Russians’,” and possibly an actual war with Russia triggered by Ukraine’s looming civil war. (NATO and Russian forces are already mobilizing on the country’s western and eastern borders, while the U.S.-backed Kiev government is warning of a “third world war.”)
And yet, all this has come with the virtually unanimous, bipartisan support, or indifference, of the U.S. political establishment, from left to right, Democrats and Republicans, progressives (whose domestic programs will be gravely endangered) and conservatives. It has also been supported by mainstream media that shape and reflect policy-making opinion, from the Times and The Washington Post to The Wall Street Journal, from The New Republic to The Weekly Standard, from MSNBC to Fox News, from NPR to commercial radio news. (There are notable exceptions, including this magazine, but none close enough to the mainstream to be “authoritative” inside the Beltway.)
To be more specific, not one of the 535 members of Congress has publicly expressed doubts about the White House’s new “Cold War strategy of containment.” Nor have any of the former U.S. presidents or presidential candidates who once advocated partnership with post-Soviet Russia. Before the Ukraine crisis deepened, a handful of unofficial dissenters did appear on mainstream television, radio and op-ed pages, but so few and fleetingly they seemed to be heretics awaiting banishment. Their voices have since been muted by legions of cold warriors.
Both sides in the confrontation, the West and Russia, have legitimate grievances. Does this mean, however, that the American establishment’s account of recent events should not be questioned? That it was imposed on the West by Putin’s “aggression,” and this because of his desire “to re-create as much of the old Soviet empire as he can” or merely to “maintain Putin’s domestic rating.” Does it mean there is nothing credible enough to discuss in Moscow’s side of the story? That twenty years of NATO’s eastward expansion has caused Russia to feel cornered. That the Ukraine crisis was instigated by the West’s attempt, last November, to smuggle the former Soviet republic into NATO. That the West’s jettisoning in February of its own agreement with then-President Viktor Yanukovych brought to power in Kiev an unelected regime so anti-Russian and so uncritically embraced by Washington that the Kremlin felt an urgent need to annex predominantly Russian Crimea, the home of its most cherished naval base. And, most recently, that Kiev’s sending of military units to suppress protests in pro-Russian eastern Ukraine is itself a violation of the April 17 agreement to de-escalate the crisis.
|April 16, 2014||
What Does It Mean To “Do Something” About Climate Change?
by Carolyn Baker , Carolynbaker.net, Countercurrents
When I speak about catastrophic climate change and the likelihood of near-term human extinction, I am often accused to “giving up” or choosing to “do nothing” about climate change. Even more charged for some is the notion of “living in hospice” which I argue is now the unequivocal predicament of our species. The typical rebuttal goes something like, “Instead of contemplating our navels or rolling over and preparing for death, we have to do something about climate change!”
Thus, I feel compelled to genuinely ask: What does it mean to actually “do something”?
First, I want to clarify that when I speak of preparing for near-term extinction by surrendering to the severity of our predicament or adopting a hospice attitude, I do not mean that we put on our favorite pair of pajamas, ingest a large dose of Ambien, draw the shades, lie down and set the electric blanket on “womb,” and then proceed to play dead and become comatose as we approach our demise. In fact, there is far too much we can do, both externally and internally to succumb to such meaningless sloth.
Each of us, whether we contemplate near-term extinction or not can consciously reduce our personal carbon footprint. We can drastically curtail our consumption and waste; we can grow our own food and eat local, organic food. Some individuals choose not to have cars or travel by air. Some people choose not to have children; some choose to unplug from empire as much as humanly possible. And yes, we can become climate activists—we can march in protests against the Keystone XL pipeline, we can join the Great March For Climate Action, we can write letters, and as a last resort, move to an area of the planet, such as the Southern Hemisphere, where it appears that the impacts of global climate change may not be as severe as in other regions–maybe. We owe these actions to ourselves, to other humans, and to the plethora of other species that are going and will go extinct. As my friend and colleague, Francis Weller, notes, this is a time to develop really good manners toward other species and make their demise as easy for them as possible. In summary, there is much within our power as individuals that we can do to lessen greenhouse gas emissions and lower the impact of catastrophic climate change.
However, the tragic reality of our personal efforts, as noble or as fervent as they may be, is that they are not enough to prevent near-term human extinction. Why?
In the first place, the impacts of catastrophic climate change are routinely minimized by the scientific community as Guy McPherson points out:
What is more, despite the efforts of some nations to “do something” about climate change, the harsh, cold (no pun intended) reality is that it is too little too late. Halldor Thorgeirsson, Senior Director of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change remarked in September, 2013, stated, “We are failing as an international community. We are not on track.” Now realizing the dire state of warming due to inaction on climate change, the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) asserts that “Global warming is irreversible without massive geoengineering of the atmosphere’s chemistry.” Of course, we already know that there is probably nothing that geo-engineering cannot make worse—for example the radical altering of rainfall patterns and the assertion by Live Science that “Current schemes to minimize the havoc caused by global warming by purposefully manipulating Earth’s climate are likely to either be relatively useless or actually make things worse, researchers say in a new study.” And earlier this month, Skeptical Science published an article entitled, “Alarming New Study Makes Today’s Climate Change More Comparable To Earth’s Worst Mass Extinction.” Moreover, according to the National Academy of Sciences “A Four-Degree Rise Will End Vegetation ‘Carbon Sink’ Research Suggests.”
For those who “don’t like” Guy McPherson’s analysis, Dr. Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University earlier this month penned an article in Scientific American “Earth Will Cross The Climate Danger Threshold By 2036” in which he stated in protest of the voices who assert that global warming has ‘paused,’:
Yes, Michael Mann is hoping that we can still “do something” about catastrophic climate change, but his assertion more closely aligns with Guy McPherson’s projection that even if we “do something” about climate change there are likely to be few habitable places on the planet by 2030 at the earliest and 2050 at the latest.
Less widely discussed in the mainstream climate conversation is the ghastly rate of Arctic melting and the resulting release of methane into the atmosphere. In the video Arctic Death Spiral And The Methane Time Bomb, David Wasdell, Director of the Apollo-Gaia Project explains the absolute runaway nature of Arctic melting. Self-reinforcing feedback loops, he asserts, have taken over, and it is now becoming increasingly obvious that the Arctic will be mostly ice-free by the end of 2015. Other presenters in this video further clarify that we are approximately fifty years ahead of the worst case scenario in terms of Arctic melting. Dr. Peter Wadhams of the University Of Cambridge states that the effect of an ice-free Arctic on the world is enormous because it goes far beyond the Arctic itself in terms of the methane that is released as the ice retreats. Due to self-reinforcing feedback loops, once the melting process generates more CO2 than humans do, it will not matter what humans do to reverse the melting. In Arctic Methane: Why Sea Ice Matters, Dr. Natalia Shakhova notes that Arctic permafrost is losing its ability to seal in the methane, and even more troubling is the increase in seismic activity in the Arctic which creates additional pathways for methane to be released.
“Doing something” implies that developing nations of the world and the fossil fuel industry will come together and: 1) Agree that climate change is actually happening; 2) Understand that the situation is so dire that humanity’s living arrangements must be radically altered; 3) Sacrifice their economic security and industrial profits to significantly reduce carbon emissions; 4) Agree to the reality of climate change and the altering of their living arrangements in time to prevent another 2 degree C rise in temperature.
I dare say that the same people who believe this is going to happen would vehemently protest a belief in Santa Claus, but nevertheless, they cling to this chimera.
Meanwhile, Dr. Tim Garrett, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Utah tells us that “rising carbon dioxide emissions – the major cause of global warming – cannot be stabilized unless the world’s economy collapses or society builds the equivalent of one new nuclear power plant each day.”
Collapse of industrial civilization? Lovely idea; I’ve been applauding it for years. However, there’s just one small fly in the ointment. The collapse of industrial civilization means no food in grocery stores, no fuel at the gas station, and the breakdown of electrical power grids. According to Physics Forums, here’s what happens when a nuclear power plant loses electricity:
There are more than 400 nuclear power plants around the world. The collapse of industrial civilization, attractive notion that it may be, necessarily means a host of Fukushimas around the planet which in itself would be an extinction event.
On myriad levels, humanity is in territory it has never before navigated. Of this, blogger Robert Scribbler writes:
My question to climate “doers” is: What do you genuinely, realistically believe can be “done” on the real, external, national and international scene to reverse or end catastrophic climate change? At this point in the progression of catastrophic climate change, it is rapidly becoming impossible to keep up with the self-reinforcing feedback loops related to the release of greenhouse gases. These, of course, are the mechanisms within the progression of global warming that accelerate its severity, and humans have created at least 30 of those in our lifetime–and counting.
I am a two-time survivor of cancer. The first time a doctor gave me a diagnosis, I really didn’t like him. The second time, I liked the doctor even less. And yes, I got second opinions both times. Then I had four doctors I didn’t like.
It seems to me that we can yammer incessantly about how we don’t “like” the deliverers of bad news, or we can critically think their information. We can also consider that some situations like Stage Four cancer, Ebola, and cobra bites are terminal. And rather than responding like the heroic, hopeful, “there must be something we can do” puppets of empire, we might pause to consider that life frequently presents us with existential dilemmas about which there is nothing we can “do” except open to what the dilemma might want us to learn, feel, and experience— and to the relationships it might want us to deepen, evaluate, treasure, or eliminate from our lives. To this end, I wrote “Preparing For Near-Term Extinction” in 2013 and recently published Zhiwa Woodbury’s wonderful article “Planetary Hospice: Rebirthing Planet Earth” on my website. They encapsulate what I am doing and intend to do about catastrophic climate change.
I’ve admitted myself to hospice, and I’m doing something about catastrophic climate change. I support those who join the Great March For Climate Action, but I will not be marching, nor will I write letters or sign petitions with the hope that omnicidal politicians and corporate profiteers will notice. What I will do is commit to a life of service, a life of creating extraordinary moments of beauty and love; I will immerse myself in nature, art, poetry, music, and really good stories. I will practice good manners with all beings; I will nourish my body with nutritious food and restorative movement. I will make every attempt to practice gratitude as often as humanly possible in one day, and I will give from the depths of my soul all of the love I can muster–to the earth and to every living being.
Carolyn Baker, Ph.D., was an adjunct professor of history and psychology for 11 years and a psychotherapist in private practice for 17 years. (She is not, and never has been, a licensed psychologist.) Her latest book Sacred Demise: Walking The Spiritual Path of Industrial Civilization’s Collapse, is unique in its offering of emotional and spiritual tools for preparing for living in a post-industrial world. Carolyn’s forthcoming book is Navigating The Coming Chaos: A Handbook For Inner Transition. Her other books include: Coming Out From Christian Fundamentalism: Affirming Sensuality, Social Justice, and The Sacred (2007) , U.S. History Uncensored: What Your High School Textbook Didn’t Tell You (2006) and The Journey of Forgiveness, (2000) All may be purchased at this site. She is available for speaking engagements and author events and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her blog is http://carolynbaker.net
|May 3, 2014||
Secrets About The Origin Of Life Revealed
by Countercurrents , Countercurrents
How the first organisms on Earth could have become metabolically active? Researchers from the University of Cambridge have published the details of the answer to the question.
The results permit scientists to speculate how primitive cells learned to synthesize their organic components -- the molecules that form RNA, lipids and amino acids. The findings also suggest an order for the sequence of events that led to the origin of life.
A reconstruction of Earth's earliest ocean in the laboratory revealed the spontaneous occurrence of the chemical reactions used by modern cells to synthesize many of the crucial organic molecules of metabolism (bottom pathway).
Whether and how the first enzymes adopted the metal-catalyzed reactions described by the scientists remain to be established. Credit: Molecular Systems Biology / Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial License (CC BY-NC 3.0)
The research results are reported in the journal Molecular Systems Biology.
A reconstruction of Earth's earliest ocean in the laboratory revealed the spontaneous occurrence of the chemical reactions used by modern cells to synthesize many of the crucial organic molecules of metabolism.
Previously, it was assumed that these reactions were carried out in modern cells by metabolic enzymes, highly complex molecular machines that came into existence during the evolution of modern organisms.
Almost 4 billion years ago life on Earth began in iron-rich oceans that dominated the surface of the planet.
An open question for scientists is when and how cellular metabolism, the network of chemical reactions necessary to produce nucleic acids, amino acids and lipids, the building blocks of life, appeared on the scene.
The observed chemical reactions occurred in the absence of enzymes but were made possible by the chemical molecules found in the Archean sea.
Finding a series of reactions that resembles the "core of cellular metabolism" suggests that metabolism predates the origin of life.
This implies that, at least initially, metabolism may not have been shaped by evolution but by molecules like RNA formed through the chemical conditions that prevailed in the earliest oceans.
"Our results demonstrate that the conditions and molecules found in the Earth's ancient oceans assisted and accelerated the interconversion of metabolites that in modern organisms make up glycolysis and the pentose-phosphate pathways, two of the essential and most centrally placed reaction cascades of metabolism," says Dr. Markus Ralser, Group Leader at the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge and the National Institute for Medical Research. "In our reconstructed version of the ancient Archean ocean, these metabolic reactions were particularly sensitive to the presence of ferrous iron that helped catalyze many of the chemical reactions that we observed."
From the analysis of early oceanic sediments, geoscientists such as Alexandra V. Turchyn from the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge , one of the co-authors of the study, concluded that soluble forms of iron were one of the most frequently found molecules in the prebiotic oceans.
The scientists reconstructed the conditions of this prebiotic sea based on the composition of various early sediments described in the scientific literature. The different metabolites were incubated at high temperatures (50-90oC) similar to what might be expected close to a hydrothermal vent of an oceanic volcano, a temperature that would not support the activity of conventional protein enzymes. The chemical products were separated and analyzed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry.
Some of the observed reactions could also take place in water but were accelerated by the presence of metals that served as catalysts.
"In the presence of iron and other compounds found in the oceanic sediments, 29 metabolic-like chemical reactions were observed, including those that produce some of the essential chemicals of metabolism, for example precursors of the building blocks of proteins or RNA," says Ralser. "These results indicate that the basic architecture of the modern metabolic network could have originated from the chemical and physical constraints that existed on the prebiotic Earth."
The detection of one of the metabolites, ribose 5-phosphate, in the reaction mixtures is particularly noteworthy. Its availability means that RNA precursors could in theory give rise to RNA molecules that encode information, catalyze chemical reactions and replicate.
Whether and how the first enzymes adopted the metal-catalyzed reactions described by the scientists remain to be established.
The story is based on materials provided by European Molecular Biology Organization.
Markus A Keller, Alexandra V Turchyn, Markus Ralser. Non - enzymatic glycolysis and pentose phosphate pathway - like reactions in a plausible Archean ocean. Molecular Systems Biology, 2014; DOI: 10.1002/msb.20145228
European Molecular Biology Organization. "Reconstructed ancient ocean reveals secrets about the origin of life." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 April 2014 . <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140425075235.htm>
|May 3, 2014||
Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Levels Are The Highest In 3 Million Years
by Countercurrents , Countercurrents
Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are the highest in 3 million years. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere averaged more than 400 parts per million throughout April, the first time the planet's monthly average has surpassed that threshold.
The data from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California , San Diego , shows how world leaders are failing to rein in greenhouse gases that climate scientists say are warming the planet.
?We're running out of time, but not solutions,? Ed Chen, a spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in an e-mail. ?The next big step is to limit, for the first time, carbon pollution being spewed by our power plants.?
The average value for April was measured at 401.33 ppm at the Mauna Loa monitoring station in Hawaii , according to an announcement on Twitter disclosing the finding by the institution's Keeling Curve program. It was named for the scientist who began the measurements in 1958 and shows that temperatures are rising more quickly.
The finding adds to concerns that a buildup of carbon dioxide is damaging the atmosphere, making storms more intense, melting glaciers and putting at risk the future of seaside cities such as Miami .
The level of CO2 broke 400, as a daily average, for the first time last May. Less than a year later, the average for a month has exceeded a threshold not seen in the measured record dating back 3 million years.
Concentrations of CO2 are rising at about 2 to 3 ppm a year. The United Nations has said that in order to maximize our chances of limiting the global temperature rise since 1750 to the internationally agreed-upon target of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), the concentration of all greenhouse gases should peak at no higher than 450 ppm this century.
That includes methane and nitrous oxide, gases not included in the Scripps measurement.
The atmospheric concentration of all greenhouse gases, including methane and nitrous oxide, was equivalent to a CO2 level of 430 ppm in 2011, according to the UN intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The annual average concentration of CO2 that year was about 391 ppm, according to the UN's World Meteorological Association.
|May 6, 2014||
Agriculture's GHG Emission On The Rise
by Countercurrents , Countercurrents
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture, forestry and fisheries have nearly doubled over the past fifty years and could increase an additional 30 percent by 2050, without greater efforts to reduce them.
Citing new FAO estimates of GHG data a FAO news release said:
Agricultural emissions from crop and livestock production grew from 4.7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents* (CO2 eq) in 2001 to over 5.3 billion tonnes in 2011, a 14 percent increase.
The increase occurred mainly in developing countries, due to an expansion of total agricultural outputs.
# 5 billion tonnes CO2 eq/yr from crop and livestock production.
# 4 billion tonnes CO2 eq/yr due to net forest conversion to other lands (a proxy for deforestation).
# 1 billion tonnes CO2 eq/yr from degraded peatlands.
# 0.2 billion tonnes CO2 eq/yr by biomass fires.
In addition to these emissions, some two billion tonnes CO2 eq/yr were removed from the atmosphere during the same time frame as a result of carbon sequestration in forest sinks.
This is the first time that FAO has released its own global estimates of GHG emissions from agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU), contributing to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Sources of agricultural emissions
Figures for energy use
Better data means better responses
Launched in 2012, the FAOSTAT emissions database has been for the first time a key source of GHG emissions data analysis of agriculture, forestry and other land use activities for the fifth IPPC Assessment Report, which is currently undergoing finalization.
|May 7, 2014||
Campaigners Release ‘Hit List' Of 200 Largest Fossil Fuel Companies
by Sophie Yeo , Countercurrents
Fossil fuel divestment campaigners have released a hit list of 200 companies from which investors should remove their money.
The new Fossil Free Index identifies the 200 largest public fossil fuel companies, based upon the potential CO2 emissions embedded in their reserves. These reserves are growing, as companies continue to explore for new sources of fossil fuels.
The list ranks oil and gas companies separately from coal. Gazprom and Coal India top the lists respectively.
?We're very pleased that this first step of releasing The Carbon Underground 200 provides concrete operational support to the growing divestment movement,? said Stuart Braman, founder of Fossil Free Indexes.
The report, called ?The Carbon Underground', updates previous research by the Carbon Tracker Initiative, released in 2011, which concluded that the reserves of the top 200 companies exceeded the amount of CO2 they could fairly emit by 340%.
The new research increases this to 400%, based upon the latest reports from the UN's climate science body, the IPCC, which quantified exactly how much carbon the world has left to burn before it exceeds 2C of warming, the limit agreed by governments across the world.
But to stay within this so-called ?carbon budget' between 60 and 80% of the fossil fuel reserves owned by publicly listed companies must stay in the ground, says Carbon Tracker.
The divestment movement is trying to achieve this end by persuading investors to remove their money from fossil fuel companies, starving them of finance and sending out the message that they do not condone their actions.
The movement has gained a number of high profile supporters, including Desmond Tutu who recently called for an ?apartheid-style boycott? of the industry. A number of cities, colleges and religious institutions have already agreed to stop funding fossil fuels.
?The fossil fuel industry has gone even more rogue since we launched the divestment campaign in 2012,? said Jay Carmona, Divestment Campaign Manager at 350.org.
?Our carbon budget is shrinking, but fossil fuel companies keep loading more coal, oil and gas reserves onto the books. This is bad news for the economy and a catastrophe for the planet. Divestment makes more sense than ever.?
The divestment movement registered another success yesterday, with the announcement that BlackRock, the world's largest fund manager, and the FTSE Group were launching the first set of indices that would specifically exclude companies linked to fossil fuels.
?We are increasingly seeing demand from our clients for indices that reflect their overall business culture and values,? said Mark Makepeace, CEO of FTSE Group.
?Innovation is at the core of all our products and we are pleased to develop this global benchmark to implement total exclusion of companies linked to this theme.?
© RTCC, May 1, 2014
|May 7, 2014||
Humanity's Destruction of Earth's Climate In Ninety Seconds
by Jon Queally , Countercurrents
Data visualization that compresses thousands of years of historic atmospheric data presents frightening prospects for humanity's future
As carbon emissions concentrate in the atmosphere, the planet is burning up... and fast.
That is the well-known bottom line when it comes to human-caused global warming and climate change.
Over the course of April, according to the world's premiere atmospheric monitoring station Mauna Loa, Hawaii, which is run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the concentration of carbon averaged more than 400 parts per million for the entire month for the first time in human history.
For those looking for a short, visual expression of what that means and looks like, an animation from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) provides a ninety-second, jaw-dropping look at the history of these concentrations and the "unparalleled" rise that has occurred over the last several decades:
As Climate Central's Brian Kahn notes, the visualization "makes clear that though there have been variations over time, the current rise is unparalleled."
"Over the course of the past 2,000 years," Kahn continues, "CO2 has stayed roughly around 280 ppm until the Industrial Revolution kickstarted a carbon emissions bonanza, driving levels higher and higher."
Humanity soared past the 350 ppm milestone in 1989 and the pace of increase has only gained momentum since.
According to NOAA’s latest Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI), released last Friday, the warming influence from human-emitted greenhouse gases continues to increase.
Driven in large part by rising levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), the AGGI showed worldwide increases of 1.5 percent between 2012 and 2013. This means the combined heating effect of human-emitted, long-lived greenhouse gases currently in the atmosphere has increased by 1.5 percent in one year, and 34 percent since 1990.
In other words, despite the consistent and increasingly dire warnings from the scientific community, humanity is making the problem worse not better.
"We continue to turn the dial up on this ‘electric blanket’ of ours without knowing what the resulting temperatures will be,” said James Butler, Ph.D., director of the Global Monitoring Division of NOAA’s Boulder-based Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL). “We know that the world is getting warmer on average because of our continued emissions of heat-trapping gases. Turning down the dial on this heating will become increasingly more difficult as concentrations of the long-lived greenhouse gases continue to rise each year.”
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
|May 8, 2014||
Climate Crisis Hotspots In Africa
Sorghum harvesting in Nyala , Sudan . Credit: UN Photo/Fred Noy
Overlapping impacts of climate change such as drought or flooding, declining crop yields or ecosystem damages create hotspots of risk in specific parts of Africa . These are for the first time identified in a study now published by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
The uncertainties in assessing the impacts do not necessarily hamper but can inform development strategies, according to the scientists. Likelihood and potential severity of impacts can be weighed to decide on suitable adaptation measures.
"We found three regions to be amongst those most at risk in a couple of decades: parts of Sudan and Ethiopia, the countries surrounding lake Victoria in central Africa, and the very southeast of the continent, including most notable parts of South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe," says lead-author Christoph Müller.
These are projected to see more severe dry seasons and reduced growth of plants, and near Lake Victoria floodings.
These regions are the ones in sub-Saharan Africa where, by the end of the century, a combination of high likelihood and possibly severe climate change impacts hits territories with relatively high population and high poverty rates. "We tried to identify the places where climate change really hurts most," Müller says.
Climate crisis impacts vary widely
"The good news is that large countries such as Nigeria and the tropical forests of the Congo region are likely to be much less affected," Müller stresses.
While climate change certainly is a global challenge, as GHGs from the use of fossil fuels disturb ecosystems worldwide, the impacts vary widely over space and time.
Up to now, most studies address singular aspects of climate change impacts only, even though multiple stresses amplify the vulnerability. Hence the importance of identifying hotspots -- and a composite impact measure that explicitly addresses the issue of uncertainty.
"It's all about risks," says Hermann Lotze-Campen, co-chair of PIK's research domain Climate Impacts and Vulnerability. "We have to live with uncertainties: we don't have perfect data about future impacts of climate change, but computer simulations can help to understand likelihoods and possible impacts. Climate change clearly threatens people's livelihoods and thus cannot be ignored. Based on likelihoods and values at stake, we have to make decisions now -- as we always do when we're building a dike or for instance pass regulations on flight safety.
Likely impacts, such as more intensive drought periods in the Southern Sahel , clearly demand for developing coping strategies for croppers and herders, even if it remains uncertain how intense this change will be. On the contrary, there is only moderate risk of increased flooding in East Africa, but possibly with severe impacts -- especially in countries like Tanzania that are subject to severe floods already today.
These must be evaluated case-by-case, judging options to increase resilience and possible damages.
Adaptation measures could include improved access to international agricultural markets to for instance sell cattle before droughts, insurance systems to balance increased variability in crop yields from one year to another, or water storage systems such as underground cisterns.
"This study provides the people on the ground with information they can hopefully use to then decide what to do," says Lotze-Campen. "A continental scenario analysis like this one can never be a blueprint for adaptation, as it of course lacks the local expertise. Yet it can help to decide where to best put the limited resources in the countries most affected by climate change."
The story is based on materials provided by Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
Christoph Müller, Katharina Waha, Alberte Bondeau, Jens Heinke. Hotspots of climate change impacts in sub-Saharan Africa and implications for adaptation and development. Global Change Biology, 2014; DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12586
F. Piontek, C. Muller, T. A. M. Pugh, D. B. Clark, D. Deryng, J. Elliott, F. d. J. Colon Gonzalez, M. Florke, C. Folberth, W. Franssen, K. Frieler, A. D. Friend, S. N. Gosling, D. Hemming, N. Khabarov, H. Kim, M. R. Lomas, Y. Masaki, M. Mengel, A. Morse, K. Neumann, K. Nishina, S. Ostberg, R. Pavlick, A. C. Ruane, J. Schewe, E. Schmid, T. Stacke, Q. Tang, Z. D. Tessler, A. M. Tompkins, L. Warszawski, D. Wisser, H. J. Schellnhuber. Multisectoral climate impact hotspots in a warming world. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013; 111 (9): 3233 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1222471110
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). "Hotspots of climate change impacts in Africa : Making sense of uncertainties." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 May 2014. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140506094812.htm
|April 28, 2014||
Cercle Universel des Ambassadeurs de la Paix
Universal Ambassador Peace Circle
Fw: Réalité ou juste une fiction ? - Realidade ou apenas mais uma ficção? - Realidad o simplemente una ficción ? - Reality or just a fiction ?
by Celito MEDEIROS, BRESIL
Réalité ou juste une fiction ?
Il ya plusieurs années , j'ai découvert que la paix est une réalisation de chacun . Nous pouvons avoir la paix dans un lieu ou d'une situation , mais il peut être difficile .
J'ai réalisé que l'être humain n'aura pas de paix réelle , réalisation de la sérénité , l'amour inconditionnel sans connaître la pleine liberté nécessaire sur sois-même et la véritable histoire de l'humanité .
C'est alors que j'ai comme conclusion que nous étions en paix, là-bas avant la création de l'univers physique et ainsi rester jusqu'à ce qu'ils ont été trahis . Ce n'était pas un acte isolé, mais une véritable organisation sous un seul commandement à dominer toutes les autres.
J'ai trouvé que ce traître d'esprit ayant une telle structure était nécessaire et aiderait beaucoup, ce sont ses premiers «prisonniers» de l'esprit. Fit tout le monde d'admirer le statut et le pouvoir en promettant la vie éternelle. Et ainsi réussi à mettre presque tous les esprits sous son commandement le déploiement de leurs manœuvres .
Et ils ont encore dominé même sans le savoir parce qu'ils ne savent même pas qui ils sont de leurs origines mais aimeraient savoir ce qu'ils font ici et au-delà de cette vie physique où ils allaient !
C'est une prison spirituelle à n'importe quelle heure à n'importe quel endroit ...
Heureusement il y avait au moins quelques-uns qui ont refusé d'être dominés et ce sont ceux qui pourraient indiquer la vraie façon , la vérité et la vie , parce qu'ils des AMIS POUR TOUJOURS !
Lorsque ce travail de fourmi comme le cite le poète éducateur ambassadeur universel de la paix Ammar Banni Algérien à travers ses écrits y compris ceux du cercle universel .
C'est seulement alors que la vraie paix entre tous les peuples et toutes les nations de l'univers physique sera un terrain de jeu pour tant d'expériences et à l'avenir il n'y aura pas de gagnants ou de perdants , alors oui nous serons unis et nous aimererons même nos ennemis , car Je vous aime déjà vous tous!
Realidade ou apenas mais uma ficção?
Há muitos anos atrás eu descobri que a PAZ é uma conquista de cada um. Nós podemos ter Paz em qualquer lugar ou situação, por mais difícil que seja.
Percebi que um Ser Humano não terá uma paz verdadeira, alcançando a serenidade, amor incondicional liberdade total sem conhecer o necessário sobre si mesmo e a história real desta humanidade.
Foi então que tive a conclusão que TODOS nós estávamos em PAZ, bem lá atrás, antes da criação deste Universo Físico e assim permanecemos até que fomos traídos. Não foi um ato isolado, mas uma verdadeira organização sob um só comando, para dominar todos os demais.
Descobri que para este Espírito traidor ter uma estrutura tão grande, era preciso que muitos o ajudassem, estes foram seus primeiros ‘prisioneiros’ em espírito. Fazia com que todos o admirassem, prometia status e poder pela vida eterna. E assim conseguiu colocar quase todos os espíritos sob seu comando, implantando suas manobras.
E estes continuam dominados, mesmo sem saber, pois nem sabem quem são e nem suas origens, mas gostariam de saber o que fazem aqui, e além desta vida física para onde iriam!
É uma prisão espiritual, não importa em que tempo, em que lugar...
Felizmente houve pelo menos uns poucos que não se deixaram dominar, e estes são os que nos poderiam indicar o real caminho, verdade e vida, pois AMIGOS SEMPRE SE ENCONTRAM!
Quando este trabalho formiguinha, como bem citou o poeta, educador e embaixador universal da paz, o Argelino Ammar Banni, através de seus escritos, incluindo neste círculo universal.
Só então conseguiremos a Paz verdadeira entre todos os povos e todas as nações deste Universo Físico, um campo de jogo para tantas experiências, e no futuro, não terá vencedores ou vencidos, aí sim estaremos unidos, e poderemos amar até nossos inimigos, pois eu, eu já vos amo a todos!
Realidad o simplemente una ficción ?
Hace muchos años descubrí que la paz es un logro de cada uno. Podemos tener paz en cualquier lugar o situación , por difícil que sea.
Me di cuenta de que un ser humano no tendrá paz real , logrando la serenidad, amor incondicional sin conocer la plena libertad necesaria acerca de ti mismo y la verdadera historia de la humanidad .
Fue entonces cuando tuve TODA la conclusión de que estábamos en PEACE , allá atrás antes de la creación del universo físico y así permanecerá hasta que fueron traicionados . No fue un acto aislado, sino una organización real bajo un solo mando , para dominar a todos los demás .
Me pareció que este Espíritu traidor que tenga una estructura tan grande, que era necesaria para ayudar a muchos, éstas fueron sus primeros "prisioneros" en espíritu. Hecho todo el mundo para admirar , estatus y poder con la promesa de la vida eterna. Y así logró poner casi todos los espíritus bajo su mando , el despliegue de sus maniobras.
Y siguen dominados , aunque sea inconscientemente , porque ni siquiera saben quiénes son y de sus orígenes, pero le gustaría saber lo que hacen aquí, y más allá de esta vida física donde iban !
Es una prisión espiritual, no importa a qué hora , en qué lugar ...
Afortunadamente había por lo menos unos pocos que se negó a ser dominar, y estos son los que podrían indicar el camino real, la verdad y la vida, porque los amigos es SIEMPRE !
Cuando este trabajo de hormigas , así como citado poeta , educador y embajador universal de la paz, el argelino Ammar Banni , a través de sus escritos , incluyendo este círculo universal.
Sólo entonces puede la verdadera paz entre todos los pueblos y todas las naciones del universo físico , un campo de juego para tantas experiencias , y en el futuro no tendrá ganadores ni perdedores , entonces sí vamos a estar unidos , y amar incluso a nuestros enemigos , porque yo yo ya quiero a todos !
Reality or just a fiction ?
Many years ago I discovered that PEACE is an achievement of each. We can have peace in any place or situation , however difficult it may be.
I realized that a Human Being will not have real peace , achieving serenity, unconditional love without knowing the full freedom necessary about yourself and the real history of mankind.
It was then that I had ALL the conclusion that we were in PEACE , back there before the creation of the Physical Universe and so remain until they were betrayed . It was not an isolated act but a real organization under one command , to dominate all others.
I found that this Spirit traitor having such a large structure , it was necessary that would help many , these were his first ' prisoners ' in spirit . Made everyone to admire , status and power by promising eternal life. And so managed to put almost all the spirits under his command , deploying their maneuvers .
And they still dominated , even unknowingly, because not even know who they are and their origins , but would like to know what they do here, and beyond this physical life where they were going !
It is a spiritual prison, no matter what time, in what place ...
Fortunately there were at least a few who refused to be dominate , and these are the ones that could indicate the real way, truth and life, because FRIENDS ALWAYS IS !
When this ant work, as well as quoted poet, educator and universal peace ambassador , the Algerian Ammar Banni , through his writings , including this universal circle.
Only then can true peace among all peoples and all nations of the Physical Universe , a playing field for so many experiences , and in the future will have no winners or losers, then yes we will be united , and we love even our enemies , for I I already love you all !
|May 2, 2014||
Cercle Universel des Ambassadeurs de la Paix
Universal Ambassador Peace Circle
Fw: Les misères de la guerre partout et en Centrafrique. As misérias da guerra em todos os lugares e na África Central The miseries of the war everywhere and in Central Africa. Las miserias de la guerra en todas partes y en el África Central.
by DAOUDA MBOUOBOUO, Cameroun
Les misères de la guerre partout et en Centrafrique.
Pourquoi tant d’aigreur, pourquoi tant de rancœur
Pourquoi tant d’animosité, pourquoi tant d’inimitié
Pourquoi tant de contusion, Pourquoi tant d’horreur
Pourquoi tant de contorsion, pourquoi tant de convoitise
Mais pourquoi tant de haine !
Heureusement que j’ai ma plume qui me conduit vers ce cœur.
L’homme avec son petit cœur. L’homme avec son gros cœur
Mais pourquoi tout cela en Centrafrique ?
Pourquoi tout cela en Afrique ?
Pourquoi tout cela dans le monde ?
Heureusement que j’ai ma plume.
De ces seuls clivages de religions qui gouvernent nos égos
Dont on ne sait même ni d’Adam, ni d’Eve
De ces seuls clivages alimentaires dont on ne sait même l’issue
De cette petite jalousie qui embrase nos cœurs.
Heureusement que j’ai ma plume.
Dites leur que Dieu c’est la paix ! Allez leur dire que Dieu c’est l’amour.
Répétez leur que Dieu c’est la vie, la lumière et non la mort, les ténèbres.
Si vous voulez précisez encore que le visage de Dieu c’est le jour et non la nuit.
Arrêtons de nous cacher derrière les religions pour semer le malheur
Arrêtons de nous cacher derrière l’absolu pour phagocyter la terreur.
Arrêtons de masquer nos instincts grégaires sous le prisme des religions.
Heureusement que j’ai encore ma plume.
Ce qui se fait la nuit poindra un jour
Ce qui se fait le jour dura éternellement
De nos vastes prairies, de nos vastes pâturages
Des rigueurs du temps, de nos sentiers de paix.
Ils on semé la haine et voilà.
Heureusement que j’ai ma plume.
L’opprobre c’est toujours les autres, l’ivraie c’est encore les autres
Comme la paille qui fourmille dans nos yeux
Mais dont nous ne voyons que celle du voisin.
Allez leur dire partout de cesser car ils sont misérables.
As misérias da guerra em todos os lugares e na África Central.
Por que tanta acidez, porque tanto rancor
Por que tanta animosidade, por que tanta inimizade
Por que tantos contusão, por que tantos horror
Por que tanto contorcionismo, por que tantos luxúria
Mas por que tanto ódio!
Felizmente tenho minha caneta que leva-me a este coração.
O homem com seu pequeno coração. O homem com o coração grande
Mas por que tudo isso na África Central?
Por que tudo isso na África?
Por que tudo isso no mundo?
Felizmente eu tenho a minha caneta.
Destas divisões de religiões única que governam nossos egos
Não sabemos ainda nem Adão nem Eva
Destas divisões único alimento conhecido mesmo depois
Este pequeno ciúme que embrase nossos corações.
Felizmente eu tenho a minha caneta.
Diga a eles que a paz de Deus! Vá dizer a eles que Deus é amor.
Repeti-los que Deus é vida, luz e não a morte, a escuridão.
Se você desejar especificar que o rosto de Deus é o dia e não à noite.
Vamos nos esconder atrás de religião para semear a infelicidade
Deixe-nos esconda o absoluto para phagocytize o terror.
Pare de esconder nossos instintos gregários sob o prisma das religiões.
Felizmente eu ainda tenho a minha caneta.
O que é a noite para a frente um dia
O que é o dia durou para sempre
Nossas vastas pradarias, nossas vastas pastagens
Os rigores do tempo, os nossos caminhos de paz.
Eles foram semeados ódio e voila.
Felizmente eu tenho a minha caneta.
O estigma ainda é o outro, o joio é ainda outras
Como a palha que está nos nossos olhos
Mas temos que ver que do vizinho.
Vá dizer a eles em todos os lugares para parar, porque eles são miseráveis.
The miseries of the war everywhere and in Central Africa.
Why so much sourness, why so much rancor
Why so much animosity, why so much enmity
Why so many contusion, why so many horror
Why so much contortion, why so many lust
But why so much hate!
Luckily I have my pen which leads me to this heart.
The man with his little heart. The man with the big heart
But why all this in Central Africa?
Why all this in Africa?
Why all this in the world?
Luckily I have my pen.
Of these only religions divisions that govern our egos
We do not know even neither Adam nor eve
Of these only food divisions known even after
This small jealousy that embrase our hearts.
Luckily I have my pen.
Tell them that God's peace! Go tell them that God is love.
Repeat them that God is life, light, and not death, darkness.
If you want to specify that the face of God it is the day and not at night.
Let us hide behind religion to sow the misfortune
Let us hide behind the absolute to phagocytize the terror.
Stop hiding our gregarious instincts under the prism of religions.
Luckily I still have my pen.
What is the night forth one day
What is the day lasted forever
Our vast prairies, our vast pastures
The rigours of time, our paths of peace.
They were sown hatred and voila.
Luckily I have my pen.
The stigma is still the other, the chaff is still other
As the straw that is in our eyes
But we see that that of the neighbor.
Go tell them everywhere to stop because they are miserable.
Las miserias de la guerra en todas partes y en el África Central.
¿Por qué tanta acidez, por qué tanto rencor
¿Por qué tanta animosidad, por qué tanta enemistad
¿Por qué tantos contusión, por qué tantos horror
¿Por qué tanta contorsión, por qué tantos lujuria
Pero por qué tanto odio!
Por suerte tengo mi pluma que me lleva a este corazón.
El hombre con su corazoncito. El hombre con el corazón grande
Pero ¿por qué todo esto en el África Central.
¿Por qué todo esto en África?
¿Por qué todo esto en el mundo?
Por suerte tengo mi pluma.
De estas divisiones únicas religiones que rigen nuestros egos
No sabemos ni siquiera ni Adán ni Eva
De estas divisiones único alimento conocidas incluso después
Este pequeño celos que embrase nuestros corazones.
Por suerte tengo mi pluma.
Les digo la paz de Dios! Ve y diles que Dios es amor.
Repito que Dios es vida, luz y no la muerte, la oscuridad.
Si desea especificar que el rostro de Dios que es el día y no por la noche.
Permítanos esconderse detrás de la religión para sembrar la desgracia
Déjenos escudarse en lo absoluto que fagocitan el terror.
Dejar de ocultar nuestros instintos gregarios bajo el prisma de las religiones.
Por suerte todavía tengo mi pluma.
¿Qué es la noche en adelante un día
¿Qué es el día duró para siempre
Nuestras extensas praderas, nuestras dehesas
Los rigores del tiempo, nuestros caminos de paz.
Sembraron odio y voila.
Por suerte tengo mi pluma.
El estigma sigue siendo la otra, la paja es aún otros
Como la paja que está en nuestros ojos
Pero vemos que el de la vecina.
Ve y diles por todas partes que para parar porque son miserables.
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