BREAKING: Tar Sands Pipeline Shut Down


activists-tar-sands

By Afrin Sopariwala, Tim DeChristopher’s Website – 12 October 16

Source: Reader Supported News

This morning, by 7:30 PST, 5 activists have successfully shut down 5 pipelines across the United States deliverying tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada in support of the call for International Days of Prayer and Action for Standing Rock. Activists employed manual safety valves, calling on President Obama to use emergency powers to keep the pipelines closed and mobilize for the extraordinary shift away from fossil fuels now required to avert catastrophe.

192 nations have agreed that average global temperature should not increase 1.5C° above baseline in order to avert climate change cataclysm. This objective cannot be met, and any hope of keeping temperature below even 2.0°C depends on a total ban on new fossil fuel extractions and an immediate end to oil sands and coal use. In the absence of any political leadership or legal mechanisms for accomplishing this, these individuals feel duty bound to halt the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels by personal direct action.

Ken Ward, 59, of Corbette OR said, “There is no plan of action, policy or strategy being advanced now by any political leader or environmental organization playing by the rules that does anything but acquiesce to ruin. Our only hope is to step outside polite conversation and put our bodies in the way. We must shut it down, starting with the most immediate threats — oil sands fuels and coal.”

Emily Johnston, 50, of Seattle WA said, “For years we’ve tried the legal, incremental, reasonable methods, and they haven’t been enough; without a radical shift in our relationship to Earth, all that we love will disappear. My fear of that possibility is far greater than my fear of jail. My love for the beauties of this world is far greater than my love of an easy life.”

Annette Klapstein, 64, of Bainbridge Island, WA said “Like mothers everywhere, I act from a deep love that extends to all children and young people, and all living beings on this planet. I have signed hundreds of petitions, testified at dozens of hearings, met with most of my political representatives at every level, to very little avail. I have come to believe that our current economic and political system is a death sentence to life on earth, and that I must do everything in my power to replace these systems with cooperative, just, equitable and love-centered ways of living together. This is my act of love.”

Michael Foster, 52 of Seattle WA said, “I am here to generate action that wakes people up to the reality of what we are doing to life as we know it. All of our climate victories are meaningless if we don’t stop extracting oil, coal and gas now.”

Leonard Higgins, 64, of Eugene, OR said, “Because of the climate change emergency, because governments and corporations have for decades increased fossil fuel extraction and carbon emissions when instead we must dramatically reduce carbon emissions; I am committed to the moral necessity of participating in nonviolent direct action to protect life.”

WHERE. Enbridge line 4 and 67, Leonard, MN; TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline, Walhalla, ND; Spectra Energy’s Express pipeline, Coal Banks Landing, MT; Kinder-Morgan’s Trans-Mountain pipeline, Anacortes, WA.

WHO. Climate Direct Action is Emily Johnson, 50 and Michael Foster, 52, of Seattle, WA, Annette Klapstein, 64, of Bainbridge Island, WA, Ken Ward, 59, of Corbett, OR, and Leonard Higgins, 64, of Eugene, Oregon, with the support of Climate Disobedience Action Fund.

Environmental Terrorists Meet In Paris


 

Activists of global anti-poverty charity Oxfam, wearing masks depicting some of the world leaders, stage a protest ahead of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, known as the COP21 summit, in Paris, France, November 28, 2015. (photo: Benoit Tessier/Reuters)

Activists of global anti-poverty charity Oxfam, wearing masks depicting some of the world leaders, stage a protest ahead of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, known as the COP21 summit, in Paris, France, November 28, 2015. (photo: Benoit Tessier/Reuters)

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News – 03 December 15

 

World “leaders” hold world hostage, no release seen soon

 

Maybe that sub-head is too bleak, maybe it’s unjustified, maybe there is an invisible political will to survive more than the next fiscal quarter or election. If COP21, the UN climate conference that began November 30, actually manages to provide some reason to believe the world will not continue to stumble deliberately toward self-incineration, that would beat present expectations. But even that unlikely result would be far short of the profound changes needed to prevent the world from heating more than the 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) already considered inevitable – and calamitous.

COP21 stands for the 21st session of the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), an international treaty established in 1992 (at the Rio Earth Summit) “to consider what they could do to limit global temperature increases and the resulting climate change, and to cope with its impacts.” Like the UN, UNFCCC is dominated by the richest and most powerful countries, whose perceived interests give little weight to the needs of the poorest or most vulnerable countries. 

That underlying structural problem of power imbalance is amplified at COP21 by sheer numbers. COP 21 has at least 36,276 registered individual participants. Of these, 23,161 people represent 198 countries (two of which are only observers). There are another 1,236 observer organizations, including 36 units of the UN, 71 intergovernmental organizations, and 1,109 non-governmental organizations, altogether represented by 9,411 people. And there are 1,366 media organizations with 3,704 registered participants. All of them (and all of us) will have to slog through jargon and Orwellian language which have the effect of obscuring meaning, not exposing it. 

The official goal of this gathering of world leaders is: “COP21, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, will, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.”

COP21 is theatre of the absurd, diverting the frogs as the water boils

What passes for global “leadership” has already pissed away more than three decades since climate change was identified as a clear and present danger to life on earth. Even now the world’s leaders appear content to lounge in their comfortable bubbles of denial of reality and conflicts of interest that reinforce that useful denial. We live in a time when shameful leaders almost everywhere appear to lack the capacity for shame, much less the capacity to change their shameful behavior.

They aim to achieve a legally binding agreement on climate? If they wanted a legally binding agreement, or even an agreement that worked, they would have had one long since. 

They aim to achieve a universal agreement on climate? They don’t need a universal agreement on climate, they need only to agree among the powerful few and the agreement would then be universal.  

Those making a globe-saving agreement unlikely, if not impossible, are the ones who brought the globe to the climate brink in the first place. These are the governments that have for decades subsidized their oil and coal companies, whose social conscience is exemplified by Exxon. Almost 40 years ago, in 1977, Exxon learned that carbon dioxide produced by burning oil and gas was warming the planet and could threaten humanity. Exxon immediately blew the whistle – on sharing that information. Continuing to accept government subsidies, Exxon poured millions of dollars into a decades-long disinformation campaign debunking the climate change it knew to be real. In effect, even after the government knew through other sources about global warming, government continued to subsidize Exxon’s possibly criminal lies to the government and the public. Forbes magazine defends Exxon, arguing that Exxon was right because global warming has increased more slowly than predicted by some.

Corporate polluters embedded in UNFCCC (go ahead, pronounce it)

Exxon and its ilk have long had a heavy hand in UN activities to address climate change and they are well-represented at COP21. It is not in their interest to have the conference reach an enforceable and universal agreement, because most of their corporate assets are oil and coal in the ground and they can’t cash in on the value of those assets without burning them, no matter what they do to the planet. 

When a society, in this case a global society, sets out to confront criminal behavior, if they’re serious, they don’t convene a conference of criminals. Assuming that planetary destruction is at least a crime against humanity (this is controversial in some circles) what earthly sense does it make to have the world’s global plunderers, governmental and corporate, choose themselves to figure out how to reduce their plunder without reducing their profits and power?

Having absolute authority to take ameliorative steps on their own initiative, the plunderers swamp the credulous media with claims that an unwieldy conference with a track record of 23 years of failure is the only possible way to find a solution to the dangers of climate change. To emphasize that opinion, the plunderers exclude the most articulate voices against plunder from their conference. Those are the lucky ones. The less lucky are deposed by military coup and jailed, while the US is quick to recognize the coup government of the Maldives as it promptly issues offshore oil leases, showing their willingness to see their own people drown sooner or later. Like the Marshall Islands (under US “protection”), the Maldives are a looming test case of whether the world prefers long term humanity over short term profit. 

The Marshall Islands were the subject of a long, lavishly illustrated page one piece in the December 2 New York Times fatalistically headlined “Pacific Island Nation Struggles Against Relentless Rising Sea (and worse online: “The Marshall Islands Are Disappearing”). The story is strangely disconnected from COP21, as if assuming there’s nothing that can be done to save the Marshall Islands. The Times even characterizes foreign minister Tony A. deBrum as somewhat unconcerned with saving his country:  

Mr. deBrum’s focus is squarely on the West’s wallets – recouping “loss and damage,” in negotiators’ parlance, for the destruction wrought by the rich nations’ industrial might on the global environment. Many other low-lying nations are just as threatened by rising seas.… But the Marshall Islands holds an important card: Under a 1986 compact, the roughly 70,000 residents of the Marshalls, because of their long military ties to Washington, are free to emigrate to the United States, a pass that will become more enticing as the water rises on the islands’ shores.

Speaking, as it typically does, in the voice of the plundering class, the Times frames the destruction of a sovereign nation in terms of issues that matter to the plunderers: they want our money, and they want to come here – the horror. But the full moral squalor of the Times as plunderer mouthpiece comes later. The Times describes neighborhoods in the Marshall Islands that already suffer periodic flooding with salt water and raw sewage, followed by sickness and disease, fever and dysentery, in a cycle that will only repeat more quickly as warming continues. Such health conditions would be forbidden in the US. The Times, sounding like Marie Antoinette with the monstrous detachment of the rich and unaffected, worries only that Marshall Islanders “could see their homes unfit for human habitation within the coming decades.”

“If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu”

The plunderers also ban peaceful protest against plundering, using the “terrorism” threat as an excuse to prevent protest against the eco-terrorism of the plunderers. When the plunderers’ gag on free speech is met with non-violent protest, the plunderers’ police respond with a violent put down and 200 arrests. This is Paris now. The local police state also used the “terrorism” smear to raid the homes of climate change activists, putting them in house arrest without charges. French President François Hollande, a head of a leading plunderer state, lied about the police actions this way:

This is why these protests are not authorized. We knew there would be troublemakers, who by the way have nothing to do with climate activists, or those who want the conference to succeed, and who are there only to create problems. That’s why they were put under house arrest. And it’s doubly unfortunate, I’d even say scandalous, Place de la Republique, where there are all these flowers and also candles placed in memory of those who were killed by the bullets of terrorists.

While Hollande’s first remarks are commonly dishonest, unprovable smears of unnamed and uncharged citizens, his last remark is a callous, demagogic lie. Video of the police attack shows that the memorial at the Place de la Republique was protected by the protesters and trashed by the police.

As with past UN climate meetings, peaceful protesters have been kept away from the eyes and ears of registered participants. What does it say about the participants’ arguments about climate change to see that they need police to protect them from counter-arguments? As one protester said, commenting on their exclusion from any meaningful part in the process: “If you’re not at the table, you are on the menu. So, we want to be at the table.”

Do the people at the table care what happens after they’re dead?

If the people at the table actually thought and felt in global terms, if they actually thought and felt in generational terms, they could not possibly act as they do, fecklessly, ineffectively, self-servingly and soullessly. Their terrorism is magnitudes larger than the “terrorism” they pretend to “protect” us against with their creeping totalitarian controls. If it were otherwise, there would not be so many casualties among climate change action advocates. Another such excluded expert is Pablo Solon, a former chief negotiator for Bolivia, now denied a seat at the table. He went to Paris to protest against the scripted charade of COP21, where there is no negotiation of unenforceable national promises to reduce emissions. Perhaps the conference would be better named COP-OUT21, if Solon is right:  

There is an official document from the UNFCCC that says,… we are going to be increasing the temperature between 2.7 to 3.9 degrees Celsius…. And now to be speaking about [global warming of] four degrees or five degrees Celsius is, to put it in other terms, to burn the planet. So the Paris agreement is an agreement that will see the planet burn.

For that prediction to be wrong, our global “leaders” need to change their behavior in radical ways that they have so far shown every intention of resisting. More likely Paris is another sham. It’s as if a ship captain with a vessel taking on water demands that the crew bail faster, and viciously punishes anyone trying to plug the hole. Faced with the need to reverse course to avoid calamity, the captains of our ships of state have gathered to discuss only the possibility of slowing down, while maintaining the same course.

    • 50% of the world’s population, the poorer half, cause only 10% of greenhouse gas emissions.

 

  • 10% of the world’s population, the richest 10%, cause almost 50% of greenhouse gas emissions.   

The plunderers show little interest in sacrificing their wealth to save the poor, or the planet. Among US presidential candidates so far, only Bernie Sanders has acknowledged that climate change is the most serious national security issue this (or any other) country faces. His campaign is predicated on the possibility of a political revolution from below, which might allow the possibility of US actions consistent with protecting the planet. It’s not that the ways to protect the planet are unknown or unachievable. But the best ways to protect the planet – especially keeping fossil fuels in the ground – are fundamentally unacceptable to those whose present interests are in conflict with efforts to keep the planet from burning. And the plunderers still control the game at the top.

Climate Movement Across Movements


Climate- Coalition climat
By: Patrick Bond
Published 26 March 2015
Will a “climate movement across the movements” produce Seattle-style shutdowns or a Paris cul de sac?
TUNIS —Looming ahead in eight months’ time is another Conference of Polluters, or COP (technically, the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). The last twenty did zilch to save us from climate catastrophe. Judging by early rough drafts of the Paris COP21 agreement recently leaked, another UN fiasco is inevitable.The Coalition Climat21 strategy meeting on March 23-24 began in Tunis just before the World Social Forum. I had a momentary sense this could be a breakthrough gathering, if indeed fusions were ripe now, to move local versions of “Blockadia” — i.e. hundreds of courageous physical resistances to CO2 and methane emissions sources — towards a genuine global political project. The diverse climate activists present seemed ready for progressive ideology, analysis, strategy, tactics and alliances. Between 150 and 400 people jammed a university auditorium over the course of the two days, mixing French, English and Arabic.It was far more promising than the last time people gathered for a European COP, in 2009 at Copenhagen, when the “Seal the Deal” narrative served to draw activist lemmings towards — and over — a cliff: first up the hill of raised expectations placed on UN negotiators, before crashing down into a despondency void lasting several years once leaders of the US, Brazil, South Africa, India and China did a backroom deal that sabotaged a binding emissions follow-up to the Kyoto Protocol. In “Hopenhagen,” even phrases like “System change not climate change” were co-opted, as green capital educated by NGO allies agreed that a definition of “system” (e.g. from fossil fuels to nuclear) could be sufficiently malleable to meet their rhetorical needs.

That precedent notwithstanding, the phrase “A climate movement across the movements” used here seemed to justify an urgent unity of diverse climate activists, along with heightened attempts to draw in those who should be using climate in their own specific sectoral work.

Unity – without clarity, responsibility and accountability?

Over the last nine months, since an August gathering in Paris, a great deal of coalition building has occurred in France and indeed across Europe. The proximate goal is to use awareness of the Paris COP21 to generate events around the world in national capitals on both November 28-29th – just before the summit begins – and onDecember 12, as it climaxes. There was consensus that later events should be more robust than the first, and that momentum should carry into 2016. (The December 2016 COP22 will be in Morocco.)

Christophe Aguiton, one of Attac’s founders, opened the event: “In the room are Climate Justice Now! (CJN!), Climate Action Network (CAN), international unions, the faith community, and the newer actors in the global movement, especially 350.org and Avaaz. We have had a massive New York City march and some other inspiring recent experiences in the Basque country and with the Belgium Climate Express.”

But, he went on, there are some serious problems ahead that must be soberly faced:

” there is no CJ movement in most countries;
grounded local CJ organisations are lacking;
we need not just resistances but alternatives; and
there are some important ideological divisions.”

Still, he explained, “We won’t talk content because in the same room, there are some who are moderate, some who are radical — so we will stress mobilisation, because we all agree, without mobilisation we won’t save the climate.”

But this unity-seeking-minus-politics was reminiscent of a process four years in South Africa known as “C17,” a collection of 17 civil society organisations that did local preparatory work before the UN’s COP17 Durban climate summit. Actually, fewer than a half-dozen of the 17 representatives really pitched in throughout, and the moderate organisations which had promised to mobilise financial resources, media attention and bodies ultimately did none of these. South Africa’s Big Green groups and trade unions failed to take C17 ownership, to commit resources and to add the institutional muscle needed.

The Durban counter-summit messaging was vapid and virtually no impact was made on the COP or on South Africa’s own reactionary emissions policy. The final rally of 10,000 activists midway through the COP17 unfortunately presented UN elites and local politicians with a legitimating platform. Nor did we use the event to build a South African climate justice movement worthy of the name. So my own assessment of the “state failure, market failure and critic failure” in Durban strongly emphasised the problem of excessiveunity, without ideological clarity, institutional responsibility or political accountability.

At COP21, radicals outside and only moderates left standing inside

Maybe it will be different in France, because their movements are mobilising impressively, with projects like November 27-29 mass actions aimed at municipalities; a Brussels-Paris activist train; a “run for life” with 1000 people running 4km each from northern Sweden to Paris; the “Alternatiba” alternatives project with 200 participating villages from the Basque country to Brussels which will culminate on September 26-27; and getting warmed up, onMay 30-31, an anticipated 1000 local climate initiatives around the country.

Yet the local context sounds as difficult in 2015 as it was in South Africa in 2011. As Malika Peyraut from Friends of the Earth-France pointed out, national climate policy is “inconsistent and unambitious” and the country’s politics are poisoned by the rise of the far right to 25 percent support in municipal elections. French society will be distracted by regional elections from December 6-12 and “there is a high risk of co-optation,” she warned.

Indeed there are no reliable state allies of climate justice at present and there really are no high-profile progressives working within the COPs. It’s a huge problem for UN reformers because it leaves them without a policy jam-maker inside to accompany activist tree-shaking outside. Although once there were heroic delegates badgering the COP process, they are all gone now:

Lumumba Di-Aping led the G77 countries at the Copenhagen COP15 — where in a dramatic accusation aimed at the Global North, he named climate a coming holocaust requiring millions of coffins for Africa — and so was lauded outside and despised inside, but then was redeployed to constructing the new state of South Sudan;

President Mohamed Nasheed from the Maldives — also a high-profile critic at Copenhagen — was outed by WikiLeaks for agreeing to a $50 million deal to get support for the Copenhagen Accord, was couped by rightwingers in 2012 and, earlier this month, was illegitimately jailed for a dozen years;

Bolivia’s UN Ambassador Pablo Solon was booted from his country’s delegation after the 2010 Cancun COP16, where, solo, he had bravely tried to block the awful deal there;

an Amazon jungle road-building controversy divided Evo Morales’ supporters, and in 2013 the COP’s progressive leadership void grew wide after the death of Hugo Chavez and the battle by Rafael Correa against green-indigenous-feminist critics for his decision that year to drill for oil in the Yasuni Amazon (after having once proposed an innovative climate debt downpayment to avoid its extraction); and

Filippino Climate Commissioner Yeb Saño had a dramatic 2013 role in Warsaw condemning COP19 inaction after his hometown was demolished by Super Typhoon Haiyan, but he was evicted by a more conservative environment ministry (apparently under Washington’s thumb) just before the Lima COP in 2014.

If you are serious about climate justice, the message from these COP experiences is unmistakeable: going inside is suicide.

Framing for failure

It is for this reason that the original protest narrative suggestions that CAN’s Mark Raven proposed were generally seen as too reformist. Acknowledging the obvious — “People losing faith in the broken system, corporations sabotaging change” and “We need a just transition” — his network then offered these as favoured headline memes: “Showdown in 2015 leads to a vision of just transition to fossil-free world” and “Paris is where the world decides to end fossil fuel age.”

Yet with no real prospects of reform, the more militant activists were dissatisfied. Nnimmo Bassey from Oilwatch International was adamant, “We need not merely a just transition, but an immediatetransition: keep the oil in the soil, the coal in the hole, the tar sands in the land and the fracking shale gas under the grass.” That, after all, is what grassroots activists are mobilising for.

Added Nicola Bullard: “This narrative is too optimistic especially in terms of what will surely be seen as a failed COP21.” Bullard was a core Focus on the Global South activist in the 2007 Bali COP13 when Climate Justice Now! was formed. The movement’s principles were further fleshed out at the April 2010 World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Bolivia, to include emissions cut targets — 45 percent below 1990 levels in the advanced capitalist economies by 2020 — plus a climate tribunal and the decommissioning of destructive carbon markets which have proven incapable of fair, rational and non-corrupt trading. Dating to well before the CJN! split from CAN in Bali, that latter fantasy — letting bankers determine the fate of the planet by privatising the air — remains one of the main dividing lines between the two ideologies of climate justice and climate action.

The necessity of a radical narrative

Concrete actions against the emitters themselves were suggested, including more projects like the Dutch “Climate Games” which saw a coal line and port supply chain disrupted last year. There are coming protests over coal in Germany’s Rhineland and we will likely see direct actions at Paris events such as Solution 21, a corporate ‘false solutions’ event where geoengineering, Carbon Capture and Storage, and carbon trading will be promoted.

Likewise, ActionAid’s Teresa Anderson reported back from a Narrative Working Group on lessons from Copenhagen: “Don’t tell a lie that Paris will fix the climate. People were arrested in Copenhagen for this lie. No unrealistic expectations — but we need to give people hope that there is a purpose to the mobilisation.”

Most important, she reminded, “There is Global North historical responsibility, and those who are most vulnerable have done the least to cause the problem.” This is vital because in Durban, UN delegates began the process of ending the “common but differentiated responsibility” clause. As a result, finding ways to ensure climate “loss & damage” invoices are both issued and paid is more difficult. The UN’s Green Climate Fund is a decisive write-off in that respect; a different approach to climate debt is needed.

Looking at more optimistic messaging, Anderson concluded the report-back: “Powerful positive actions are in play. We are life — fossil fuels are death. Paris is a moment to build movements, to show we are powerful and will fight into 2016 and beyond to solve the climate crisis. It takes roots to weather the storm ahead.”

Responding, said former Bolivian negotiator Solon (now Bangkok-based director of Focus on the Global South), “I think we need a clearer narrative: let’s stop an agreement that’s going to burn the climate. We are against carbon markets, geoengineering and the weak emissions targets.”

But the clearest message of all came from veteran strategist Pat Mooney of the research network called the etc group, describing to the mass meeting what he wanted to see in Paris: “It should start like New York and end like Seattle. Shut the thing down.”

Back in 2009, just weeks before he died, this was what Dennis Brutus — the mentor of so many South African and international progressives — also advised: “Seattle Copenhagen!” The Paris Conference of Polluters also needs that kind of shock doctrine, so that from an activist cyclone a much clearer path can emerge towards climate justice in the months and years ahead.

Patrick Bond directs the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society in Durban.

Source: teleSUR