BREAKING: Tar Sands Pipeline Shut Down


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.


Fossil Fuel Reserve Must Stay Buried to Prevent Climate Change

Coast Guard continues response to allision, oil spill south of New OrleansNew research is first to identify which reserves must not be burned to keep global temperature rise under 2C, including over 90% of US and Australian coal and almost all Canadian tar sands
By Damian Carrington, Guardian UK 08 January 14

Vast amounts of oil in the Middle East, coal in the US, Australia and China and many other fossil fuel reserves will have to be left in the ground to prevent dangerous climate change, according to the first analysis to identify which existing reserves cannot be burned.

The new work reveals the profound geopolitical and economic implications of tackling global warming for both countries and major companies that are reliant on fossil fuel wealth. It shows trillions of dollars of known and extractable coal, oil and gas, including most Canadian tar sands, all Arctic oil and gas and much potential shale gas, cannot be exploited if the global temperature rise is to be kept under the 2C safety limit agreed by the world’s nations. Currently, the world is heading for a catastrophic 5C of warming and the deadline to seal a global climate deal comes in December at a crunch UN summit in Paris.

“We’ve now got tangible figures of the quantities and locations of fossil fuels that should remain unused in trying to keep within the 2C temperature limit,” said Christophe McGlade, at University College London (UCL), and who led the new research published in the journal Nature. The work, using detailed data and well-established economic models, assumed cost effective climate policies would use the cheapest fossil fuels first, with more expensive fuels priced out of a world in which carbon emissions were strictly limited. For example, the model predicts that significant cheap-to-produce conventional oil would be burned but that the carbon limit would be reached before more expensive tar sands oil could be used.

It was already known that there is about three times more fossil fuel in reserves that could be exploited today than is compatible with 2C, and over 10 times more fossil fuel resource that could be exploited in future. But the new study is the first to reveal which fuels from which countries would have to be abandoned. It also shows that technology to capture and bury carbon emissions, touted by some as a way to continue substantial fossil fuel use in power stations, makes surprisingly little difference to the amount of coal, oil and gas deemed unburnable.

Major fossil fuel companies face the risk that significant parts of their reserves will become worthless, with Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Exxaro owning huge coal reserves and Lukoil, Exxon Mobil, BP, Gazprom and Chevron owning massive oil and gas reserves.

If the world’s nations keep their pledge to combat climate change, the analysis finds the prospects are bleakest for coal, the most polluting of all fossil fuels. Globally, 82% of today’s reserves must be left underground. In major coal producing nations like the US, Australia and Russia, more than 90% of coal reserves are unused in meeting the 2C pledge. In China and India, both heavy and growing coal users, 66% of reserves are unburnable.

While the prospects for gas are better, the study still found 50% of global reserves must remain unburned. But there are stark regional variations, with the giant gas producers in the Middle East and Russia having to leave huge quantities underground, while the US and Europe can exploit 90% or more of their reserves to replace coal and provide local power to their large cities. Some fracking for shale gas is consistent with the 2C target, according to the study, but is dominated by the existing industry in the US, with China, India, Africa and the Middle East needing to leave 80% of their potential shale gas unburned.

Oil has the lowest proportion of unburnable fuel, with a third left unused. However, the Middle East is still required to leave 260bn barrels of oil in the ground, an amount equivalent to Saudi Arabia’s entire oil reserve. The study’s conclusion on the exploitation of Canada’s oil sands is blunt, finding production must fall to “negligible” levels after 2020 if the 2C scenario is to be fulfilled. The research also finds no climate-friendly scenario in which any oil or gas is drilled in the Arctic.

The new analysis calls into question the gigantic sums of private and government investment being ploughed into exploration for new fossil fuel reserves, according to UCL’s Professor Paul Ekins, who conducted the research with McGlade. “In 2013, fossil fuel companies spent some $670bn (£443bn) on exploring for new oil and gas resources. One might ask why they are doing this when there is more in the ground than we can afford to burn,” he said.

“The investors in those companies might feel that money is better spent either developing low-carbon energy sources or being returned to investors as dividends,” said Ekins.

“One lesson of this work is unmistakably obvious: when you’re in a hole, stop digging,” said Bill McKibben, co-founder of which is campaigning to get investors to dump their fossil fuel stocks. “These numbers show that unconventional and ‘extreme’ fossil fuel – Canada’s tar sands, for instance – simply have to stay in the ground.”

“Given these numbers, it makes literally no sense for the industry to go hunting for more fossil fuel,” McKibben said. “We’ve binged to the edge of our own destruction. The last thing we need now is to find a few more liquor stores to loot.”

Financial experts, including the Bank of England and Goldman Sachs, have begun taking seriously the risk that expensive fossil fuel projects will be rendered worthless by future climate action. James Leaton, research director at the Carbon Tracker Initiative (CTI) said: “Investors are already using the detailed CTI cost curves to start identifying how low demand and price scenarios could play out.”

The research also highlights the contradiction of governments seeking to maximise their nation’s fossil fuel extraction, as in the UK, while simultaneously pledging to limit global warming to 2C. Ekins said if governments approved new fossil fuel production, they should be asked what resources elsewhere would not be exploited.

“If some UK shale gas resources turn out to be economically viable, and provided the local environmental impacts can be made acceptable, I would say we should use them,” he said. “But the caveat is what fossil fuels should we then not be using from somewhere else, if we are going to keep within the carbon budget. That is a question I have never heard asked by a policy maker in this country.”

If a global deal is signed in December to keep most fossil fuels in the ground, then compensating the losers will be key, according to Michael Jakob, a climate change economist at the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change in Berlin. “If you really want to convince developing countries to leave their coal in the ground, you have to offer something else and I don’t think the Saudis will leave that oil in the ground if they get nothing for it,” he said, citing green technology including CCS, as well as financial compensation.

Jakob said the challenge was enormous, but that it provided benefits as well as costs: “There are huge sums at stake, but not just on the losers’ side but also on the winners’ side. Some assets will lose value, but others will gain value, like solar and wind power and land for biomass production.” In 2014, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded that tackling global warming by diverting hundred of billions of dollars from fossil fuels into renewable energy and cutting energy waste would shave just 0.06% off expected annual economic growth rates of 1.3%-3%.

Source: Reader Supported News

Also read:
Denmark Sets New World Record for Renewable Energy in 2014, Powering 39 Percent of Country With Wind
Here’s Why Keystone XL Is the Wrong Choice for Our Nation-By Robert Redford
This Fix Is (Almost) In on the Keystone XL Pipeline

US Accused of Forcing EU to Accept Tar Sands Oil


By Carey L. Biron, Inter Press Service (Source: RSN)

18 July 14 

Newly publicised internal documents suggest that U.S. negotiators are working to permanently block a landmark regulatory proposal in the European Union aimed at addressing climate change, and instead to force European countries to import particularly dirty forms of oil.

Environmentalists, working off of documents released through open government requests, say U.S. trade representatives are responding to frustrations voiced by the oil and gas industry here. This week, U.S. and E.U. officials are in Brussels for the sixth round of talks towards what would be the world’s largest free-trade area, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) [article in greek].

“These documents show that the U.S. is simply not interested in an open, transparent [negotiation] process,” Bill Waren, a senior trade analyst with Friends of the Earth U.S., a watchdog group, told IPS. “Rather, U.S. representatives have been lobbying on the [E.U. regulatory proposal] in a way that reflects the interests of Chevron, ExxonMobil and others.”

The oil industry has repeatedly expressed concern over the European Union’s potential tightening of regulations around transport fuel emissions, first proposed in 2009 for what’s known as the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD). Yet according to a report released Thursday by Friends of the Earth Europe, the sector now appears to have convinced the U.S. government to work to permanently block the implementation of this standard.

Current negotiating texts for the TTIP talks are unavailable. But critics say the negotiations are forcing open the massive E.U market for a particularly heavy form of petroleum known as tar sands oil, significant deposits of which are in the Canadian province of Alberta.

“Since the adoption of the revised Fuel Quality Directive in 2009, the international oil companies … petroleum refiners, the Cana­dian government and the Albertan provincial government have spent enormous resources and used aggressive lobbying tactics to delay and weaken the implementation proposal,” the new report, which is being supported by a half-dozen environmental groups, states.

“The oil industry and the Canadian government … are afraid that the FQD could set a precedent by recognising and labelling tar sands as highly polluting and inspire similar legislation elsewhere.”

Safeguarding investments

At issue is the mechanism by which the European Union would determine the greenhouse gas emissions of various types of oil and gas. As part of Europe’s broader climate pledges, the FQD was revised to reduce the emissions of transport fuels by six percent by the end of the decade.

In 2011, the E.U. proposed that tar sands and other unconventional oils be formally characterised as having higher greenhouse gas “intensity” than conventional oil, given that they require more energy to produce – 23 percent higher, according to a study for the European Commission.

Yet tar sands have received massive interest from oil majors in recent years. Some 150 billion dollars were invested in Canadian tar sands between 2001 and 2012, according to Friends of the Earth, a figure expected to grow to nearly 200 billion dollars through 2022.

“Major oil investors want to immediately move as much tar sands oil as possible to Europe,” Waren says. “Over the longer term, they want to get the investments that will allow them to develop the infrastructure necessary to ship that exceptionally dirty fossil fuel to Europe.”

Many investors likely assumed the Canadian tar sands oil would have a ready market in the United States. But not only is the U.S. economy reducing its dependence on oil – particularly imports – but the trans-national transport of Canadian tar sands oils has become a major political flashpoint here, and remains uncertain.

So, last year, oil lobbyists here began to push U.S. trade representatives to use the nascent TTIP talks to safeguard the E.U. market for unconventional oils.

“[I]f the EU approves the proposed amendment to the FQD … it would adversely affect the U.S.-EU relationship, potentially eliminating a $32 billion-a-year flow of trade,” David Friedman, a vice-president with American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, a major trade association, wrote in a May 2013 letter to the top U.S. trade official.

Now, according to an internal European Commission e-mail uncovered by Friends of the Earth Europe and outlined in the new report, U.S. trade representatives appear to be echoing this analysis.

“[T]he US Mission informed us formally that the US authorities have concerns about the transparency and process, as well as substantive concerns about the existing proposal (the singling out of two crudes – Canada and Venezuela,” the letter, said to be from October 2013, reportedly states.

Canada and Venezuela have the world’s largest deposits of tar sands oil.

The letter also notes that the U.S. negotiators would prefer a “system of averaging out the crudes”, meaning that all forms of oil would simply receive one median score regarding their emissions intensity. This would effectively lift any E.U. bar on unconventional oils – and, according to the Friends of the Earth analysis, add an additional 19 million tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

‘Threatening’ climate policies

The new revelations come just a week after the leaking of a TTIP paper on E.U. energy policy, which would push the United States to abolish restrictions and automatically approve crude oil exports to the European Union. The document offered a rare glimpse into notoriously secret talks.

“We strongly oppose attempts by the E.U. to use this trade agreement, negotiated behind closed doors, to secure automatic access to U.S. oil and gas,” Ilana Solomon, director of the Responsible Trade Program at the Sierra Club, a conservation and watchdog group, told IPS. “I think there’s strong support for continued restrictions on this issue among both the public and policymakers, due to the implications for both energy security and the climate.”

The new disclosures have indeed caught the attention of the U.S. Congress. Last week, 11 lawmakers renewed a line of questioning from last year about Washington’s influence on E.U. tar sands policy.

“We reiterate that actions pressuring the EU to alter its FQD would be inconsistent with the goals expressed in President Obama’s Climate Action Plan,” the lawmakers wrote to the U.S. trade representative, Michael Froman, “and we remain concerned that trade and investment rules may be being used to undermine or threaten important climate policies of other nations.”

Yet such concerns may already be too late.

Last month, media reports suggested that the European Commission is now considering a proposal to go with the U.S.-pushed “averaging” approach to its fuel-emissions calculation. The same week, Europe’s first shipment of tar sands oil – 570,000 barrels from Canada – reportedly arrived on Spanish shores.

Read also:

Leaked Memo Reveals TTIP Would Export Fracked Gas Restriction-Free From US to EU

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP): A charter for deregulation, an attack on jobs, an end to democracy by John Hilary. February 2014 (pdf, 3mb)

Free Trade – Project of the Powerful : TTIP EU-USA Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership by Ulrike Herrmann. April 2014 (pdf, 2 mb)

EU Gets Ready to Open Canadian Tar Sands Floodgate


By Sarah Lazare, Common Dreams

Despite protest, lawmakers poised to give legislative handout to industry that peddles one of world’s dirtiest fossil fuels


After years of lobbying to break into European markets, Canada’s tar sands oil industry is poised to score a victory from EU lawmakers who have signaled willingness to drop a requirement that labels tar sands oil as dirtier than other fossil fuels.

The EU agreed five years ago to a piece of climate legislation called the ‘Fuel Quality Directive,’ which was to go into effect in 2010 with the aim of cutting transport fuel emissions by 6 percent by 2020. Yet thanks to heavy industry lobbying and government stalling, the plan still has not gone into effect years later.

Both the Financial Times and Reuters reported Thursday that the EU is likely to weaken the language of the not-yet-implemented plan by scrapping a requirement that bitumen—oil extracted from tar sands—be labeled as high-emissions diesel. The higher rating would have discouraged, but not prevented, imports.

A draft document drawn up by the European Commission will, if implemented, allow companies to sidestep penalties on tar sands imports. “Under the new methodology, companies would only have to make their emission cuts based on EU averages for the ‘output’ fuels – the petrol or diesel – regardless of whether it was originally made from heavy crude or not,” the Financial Times explains.

One of the world’s dirtiest fossil fuels, bitumen produces up to five times more carbon than conventional crude oil. The extraction process is extremely energy-intensive, destructive to ecosystems, and creates large reservoirs of toxic waste. Environmental groups have argued that proposed regulations in previous drafts of the Fuel Quality Directive were already too lax, and that tar sands should simply stay in the ground.

The government of Canada and the oil industry have aggressively opposed potential EU penalties on bitumen imports, and Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford pressed the issue in sideline conversations at the G7 meetings in Rome last month.

Meanwhile, environmental protesters rallied this week against what is believed to be the first large shipment of bitumen to Europe, which arrived in Spain from Canada.

“Tar sands are deadly for our climate and must be kept in the ground and out of Europe,” said Colin Roche of Friends of the Earth in a statement about the delivery. “To give a lifeline to this dangerous industry is to set us up for climate disaster.”

Source: RSN

Tar Sands Emissions Linked to Serious Health Problems in Alberta


By Andy Rowell, Oil Change International, 02 April 14

 In a landmark report to Alberta’s energy regulator, a panel of experts has concluded that odors from a controversial tar sands processing plant are linked to human health impacts.

The report, which was published yesterday, examined the emissions from Baytex Energy’s Peace River plant, which has been the subject of a number of health complaints from local residents over the last few years. The situation has been so bad that seven families have been forced to leave.

The residents have complained that the plant—which essentially boils bitumen—has been making them sick, and they have been suffering symptoms such as severe headaches, dizziness, sinus problems, vomiting, muscle spasms and fatigue, amongst others.

Now the report by the Albertan Energy Regulator (AER) has called on the odors to be stopped. The report concludes: “odors caused by heavy oil operations in the Peace River area need to be eliminated to the extent possible as they have the potential to cause some of the health symptoms of area residents.”

The Panel also recommended “that further study be conducted to examine linkages between odors and emissions and health effects.”

Meanwhile the report gives the company four months to capture all the odors.

It has been welcomed by local landowners who have been experiencing health problems. “This validates what we have been saying for years—that the tank-top emissions are causing health problems,” said one such landowner Brian Labrecque. “It’s been a very long road and we are relieved the AER is showing some teeth and holding industry accountable.”

He is backed up by environmental groups. Mike Hudema of Greenpeace said the panel’s report “reaffirms what the local residents have known for years—that the emissions were part of the reasons the families were getting sick.”

However Baytex’s spokesman Andrew Loosley belligerently replied that studies undertaken by the company “tell us the air is safe,” although the company is moving to install technology that captures the odors.

Environmental groups are also now calling for technologies to ensure that odors are captured to be applied across the wider tar sands region. Simon Dyer of the Pembina Institute told the Globe and Mail, “The same technological solution can be used to prevent odors, health risks and greenhouse-gas emissions throughout the province.”

Meanwhile legal action against the plant trying to force a temporary injunction also continues. A judgement is expected sometime this month.

Source: Reader Supported News

Recommended: in the oil sands:alberta-consequences (Noor Foundation)
                              in the oil sands canada (multimedia) Jon Lowenstein (Noor Foundation)

Students to Obama: If You Won’t Lead on Climate Action, We Will


XL Dissent protest this weekend at White House could be largest youth-led civil disobedience action in a generation

Μore than a thousand students from over 200 colleges and universities are descending on Washington, D.C. this weekend to deliver a stern message to a president they are not yet convinced is listening to dire warnings about climate change, the destructive impacts of a completed Keystone XL pipeline, and the fossil fuel paradigm overall.

And just to be sure President Obama cannot easily ignore their demand that he prove himself serious about tackling global warming and ending the nation’s obsessive reliance on coal, oil, and gas – over 300 of those traveling to the nation’s capitol have vowed to put their bodies on the line Sunday, participating in what they say will be the largest student-led civil disobedience action at the White House in a generation.

In his efforts to combat climate change, Michael Greenberg, a 20-year-old sophomore at Columbia University, told Common Dreams he has “lobbied, fundraised, petitioned, written letters to the editor, and organized his peers.” But now, he says, he’s ready to go further. “What we face is a crisis,” said Greenberg, “which is why I will be getting arrested for the first time in my life this weekend.”

Like Greenberg, other student organizers for the weekend summit and protest – which they’re calling XL Dissent – told Common Dreams that this weekend’s action is neither the beginning nor the end of their involvement in the climate justice movement. For them, however, the specific moment is an important time for them (and others) to increase the pressure on Obama as he enters what appears to be the final stretch of his decision-making process on approving or rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline.

Earlier this week, Obama told the nation’s governors that they could expect a final decision on the pipeline within “a couple of months.” The official public comment period on the State Department’s overall assessment of the project ends next week on Friday, March 7.

“Our message to President Obama is that if he is serious about acting on climate, he will block the Keystone XL Pipeline,” said Aly Johnson-Kurts, 20, of Smith College. If the president won’t stop it, she added, “people power will.”

The students also agree that their activism – both on their respective campuses and this weekend at the White House – goes beyond a singular focus on Keystone XL, saying their concerns go deeper than just one pipeline or one presidential decision.

“This protest is about so much more than just one pipeline,” said Greenberg. “For me XL Dissent is about young people standing together and engaging in a bold act of civil disobedience, and through this, demonstrating our commitment to making this world a more humane, peaceful, and inclusive place to live.”

And Matthew Goodrich from Bowdoin College in Maine told Common Dreams: “The protest shows how serious the youth of the nation are about holding President Obama accountable on his promise to not betray future generations – our generation – by dooming the planet to climate change.”

For Johnson-Kurts, the student-led protest is also about standing in solidarity with others in the U.S., Canada, and around the world who are fighting for environmental justice in the places they live. Citing First Nations, those living near refineries, ranchers and farmers along the proposed pipeline route, and all those fighting tar sands expansion in various frontline communities, she says XL Dissent is “about turning up the heat on Obama to live up to his promises to protect us from a future of environmental catastrophe, as these people are already experiencing.”

Though all the students that spoke with Common Dreams acknowledged that Keystone XL has been a galvanizing symbol of the climate movement over the last few years, they say the pipeline is not the sole focus of their own work on the issue of climate change. All three have been involved in the student-led divestment movement at their own schools, urging administrators and trustees to withdraw endowments investments from fossil fuel-related companies and industries.

“Rejecting the pipeline is an important step, but stopping Keystone on its own will not solve climate change,” acknowledged Greenberg.

And Goodrich added, “Obama needs to protect human lives, not oil profits. Climate change was not the change we voted for.”

As they made their way towards Washington on Friday, older members of the climate justice movement – more veteran organizers with groups like Sierra Club and – were cheering them on in anticipation of the weekend.

“All Americans deserve to live safe and healthy lives that aren’t shadowed by worsening superstorms, droughts, floods, and wildfires brought on by dirty fossil fuels,” said Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune in a statement in which he offered the XL Dissent students and participants his organization’s full support.

It’s America’s youth and student-aged adults, declared Brune, “who have the greatest stake in the Keystone XL tar sands decision.”

Jamie Henn, a co-founder of, writing for Common Dreams on Friday, reflected: “I’ve had the chance to talk with some of the students involved in XL Dissent and the thing that continues to strike me is how level-headed and pragmatic they are. They’re risking arrest this weekend not because they’re wild-eyed radicals, but because they agree […] that power responds to a demand, and that getting that demand heard often requires working outside traditional channels.”

The fight over the Keystone XL pipeline, continued Henn, is more than an environmental issue, but a test of character. “The young people taking part in XL Dissent are demonstrating theirs,” he wrote. “Now, it’s time for the President to show his.”

As for the students and their relationship to the only president they’ve known as young adults: It seems they are, in fact, reclaiming some of the “hope” they offered over to Obama, and putting it back in themselves.

“Our generation is going to be stuck with the reality of decisions made now about whether to invest in destruction or the future,” said Johnson-Kurts. “We are realizing we cannot sit idly by, or we will not have a future to fight for”.

By Jon Queally, Common Dreams
01 March 14
Source: Reader Supported News

Νόαμ Τσόμσκι: Στην περίπτωση του περιβάλλοντος, δεν υπάρχει κανένας να μας διασώσει

Οι ντόπιοι όπου γης που αντιστέκονται στην εξόρυξη ορυκτών καυσίμων ηγούνται στη μάχη ενάντια στην κλιματική αλλαγή

noam chomsky in canada

«Καναδάς και ΗΠΑ είναι αφιερωμένοι στην προσπάθεια να εξάγουν κάθε σταγόνα υδρογονανθράκων απ’ όλη τη γη. Ο Καναδάς είναι, επίσης, αφιερωμένος στην καταστροφή άλλων χωρών με τις εξορυκτικές επιχειρήσεις του σε όλον τον κόσμο. Κινητήρια δύναμη είναι προφανώς το οικονομικό μοντέλο που βάζει πολλά δολάρια στις τσέπες των ανθρώπων οι οποίοι σχεδιάζουν και ελέγχουν την κοινωνία».
Αυτά, μεταξύ άλλων, είπε ο Νόαμ Τσόμσκι στη διάρκεια επίσκεψής του στο Μόντρεαλ πριν μια εβδομάδα, καθώς παραχώρησε συνέντευξη σε δημοσιογράφο του «Guardian» και σε καναδικό ραδιοφωνικό σταθμό, στις οποίες άσκησε κριτική στις ενεργειακές πολιτικές της κυβέρνησης του συντηρητικού πρωθυπουργού Στίβεν Χάρπερ.

«Η βιασύνη του Καναδά να εκμεταλλευτεί τα πετρελαϊκά πεδία και τα αποθέματα φυσικού αερίου, θα καταστρέψει το περιβάλλον. Είναι σαν να παίρνεις κάθε σταγόνα υδρογονάνθρακα από το έδαφος, είτε πρόκειται για φυσικό αέριο στο Νιου Μπρούνσβικ ή για πισσώδη άμμο στην Αλμπέρτα και να προσπαθείς να καταστρέψεις το περιβάλλον όσο το δυνατόν πιο γρήγορα, χωρίς καν να αναρωτιέσαι για το πώς θα μοιάζει ο κόσμος ως αποτέλεσμα», είπε ο αμερικανός γλωσσολόγος και συγγραφέας.
«Όμως οι αυτόχθονες του Καναδά που εμποδίζουν την ανάπτυξη των ορυκτών καυσίμων, ηγούνται στη μάχη για την κλιματική αλλαγή», συνέχισε, αναφερόμενος στην αντίσταση των ιθαγενών καναδών και εκφράζοντας ανησυχία για την εισβολή βαριά οπλισμένων αστυνομικών στον καταυλισμό κατοίκων του Νιου Μπρούνσβικ.
«Αποτελεί ειρωνεία το γεγονός οτι οι αποκαλούμενοι «λιγότερο προηγμένοι» άνθρωποι, είναι εκείνοι που αναλαμβάνουν τον ηγετικό ρόλο στην προστασία όλων μας, ενώ οι πλουσιότεροι και οι ισχυρότεροι απ’ όλους, είναι εκείνοι που προσπαθούν να οδηγήσουν την κοινωνία στην καταστροφή».
Διατύπωσε την άποψη οτι οι προοδευτικοί «θα πρέπει να εργαστούν για την κλιματική αλλαγή στα πλαίσια των προσπαθειών τους για οργάνωση», αλλά με τρόπο που να δίνει έμφαση στο πώς η αντιμετώπιση της κλιματικής αλλαγής μπορεί να βελτιώσει και όχι να χειροτερέψει τις ζωές των ανθρώπων.
«Εάν πρόκειται για προφητεία καταστροφής, θα αμβλύνει τις αντιδράσεις -εγώ ο ίδιος θα απολαύσω ένα-δυο χρόνια ακόμα όσο υπάρχει ευκαιρία. Όμως, ως επίκληση για δράση, θα πρέπει να ενεργοποιεί. Όπως, για παράδειγμα: θέλετε τα παιδιά σας και τα εγγόνια σας να έχουν μια αξιοπρεπή ζωή;»
Υποστήριξε τις αρχές του κινήματος «απο-ανάπτυξης» που στοχεύει στη χαλιναγώγηση της υπερπαραγωγής και της υπερκατανάλωσης και επικαλέστηκε τις μαζικές μεταφορές, τις τοπικές καλλιέργειες και τη βελτίωση της ενεργειακής επάρκειας, ως χρήσιμες μορφές ανάπτυξης που μπορούν να μετριάσουν την κλιματική αλλαγή και να βελτιώσουν την ποιότητα ζωής.
Ως «μείζον ζήτημα» πίσω από την κλιματική αλλαγή, ο Τσόμσκι εντόπισε τις ανεπάρκειες του συστήματος της αγοράς. «Οι αγορές είναι θανάσιμες, μόνο και μόνο επειδή αγνοούν τις επιδράσεις προς τα έξω, τις επιπτώσεις των συναλλαγών τους στο περιβάλλον», είπε. «Όταν στρέφεται στην παραγωγή ενέργειας, στις συναλλαγές της αγοράς, κάθε συμμετέχων αναρωτιέται: Τί μπορώ να κερδίσω απ’ αυτό; Δεν σκέφτεται ποιο είναι το κόστος για τους άλλους. Σε αυτήν την περίπτωση, το κόστος για τους άλλους είναι η καταστροφή τους περιβάλλοντος. Άρα, οι επιδράσεις προς τα έξω, δεν είναι ασήμαντες.»
Επισήμανε χαρακτηριστικά ότι, στη διάρκεια της οικονομικής κρίσης του 2008, οι τράπεζες μπορούσαν «να ξεχάσουν την πίστη στις αγορές, να σπεύσουν γονυπετείς στην κυβέρνηση και να ζητήσουν διάσωση.
Στην περίπτωση του περιβάλλοντος, δεν υπάρχει κανένας να μας διασώσει».

«Όχι πλέον αδρανείς»

Η εκμετάλλευση του αργού πετρελαίου από τις αχανείς πισσώδεις εκτάσεις στην Αλμπέρτα του Καναδά, περιλαμβάνουν την εκσκαφή, τη μεταφορά και το διαχωρισμό του καυσίμου που υπάρχει σε παχύρρευστη μορφή αναμεμειγμένη με άμμο. Τα κοιτάσματα ορυκτών καυσίμων, που αποτελούν τη σοβαρότερη πηγή εκπομπών διοξειδίου του άνθρακα, προγραμματίζονται για τεράστια εκμετάλλευση, παρά τις διεθνείς επικρίσεις και διαμαρτυρίες. Τα συνολικά αποθέματά του σε αργό πετρέλαιο -περιλαμβανομένων των εδαφών πίσσας τα οποία υπολογίζονται σε περισσότερα από 1,5 τρισεκατομμύρια βαρέλια- τοποθετούν τον Καναδά στην τρίτη θέση παγκοσμίως μετά τη Σαουδική Αραβία και τη Βενεζουέλα.
Οι καταστροφικές για το περιβάλλον εξόρυξη, μεταφορά και καύση, σε συνδυασμό με τις σεισμικές δοκιμές για τον εντοπισμό και την άντληση των αποθεμάτων σχιστολιθικού αερίου (φυσικού αερίου εντός σχιστολιθικών γεωλογικών σχηματισμών), που ανακαλύφθηκαν πρόσφατα, υποβαθμίζουν και θέτουν σε κίνδυνο τη ζωή των κατοίκων του Καναδά και απειλούν το περιβάλλον παγκοσμίως.

Idle No More

Idle No More (Photo credit: dkantoro)

Idle No More (Photo credit: dkantoro)

Η κοινότητα Πρώτο Έθνος γηγενών Ελσιπογκτόγκ και Μίκμακ συνεχίζει επί μήνες τις διαμαρτυρίες εναντίον των ερευνών για το αέριο στην επαρχία του Νιου Μπρούνσβικ.
Στις αρχές Οκτωβρίου εκδόθηκε διαταγή που απαγόρευε τον αποκλεισμό της πρόσβασης στις εγκαταστάσεις τής -αμερικανικών συμφερόντων- εταιρίας SWN Resources Canada και κορυφώθηκε με την επέμβαση ισχυρής αστυνομικής δύναμης, τη σύγκρουση με τους διαμαρτυρόμενους και τη σύλληψη 40 ατόμων, στις 17 Οκτωβρίου. Οι συγκεκριμένες διαμαρτυρίες αποτελούν συνέχεια του κινήματος «Όχι Πλέον Αδρανείς» [Idle No More (βλ.] το οποίο καλεί σε «ειρηνική επανάσταση», στην προστασία της πατρογονικής γης και σε εναντίωση στις αποικιοκρατικές πολιτικές. Δραστηριοποιήθηκε στα τέλη 2012 ως αντίδραση σε «πολυνόμους» που καταργούσαν περιβαλλοντικές προστασίες και προωθούσαν την εκμετάλλευση των ενεργειακών πηγών σε εδάφη αυτοχθόνων πληθυσμών.

Τα δύο άκρα του Καναδά

Η κυβέρνηση Χάρπερ, από το 2008, επιχειρεί να εμποδίσει τους κρατικά χρηματοδοτούμενους επιστήμονες να συνεργάζονται, να ανταλλάζουν και να δημοσιοποιούν πληροφορίες σχετικά με τις έρευνες για την κλιματική αλλαγή, την αλιεία και οτιδήποτε σχετίζεται με τα εδάφη της Αλμπέρτα και τον αμφιλεγόμενο πετρελαιαγωγό Keystone XL.
«Προτεραιότητα της κυβέρνησης, μοιάζει να είναι η απρόσκοπτη λειτουργία των επιχειρήσεων στα πετρελαϊκά εδάφη, ακόμα και με απόκρυψη των προβλημάτων ρύπανσης και με απομόνωση ερευνητών και επιστημόνων», σύμφωνα με τους «New York Times».
Επιπλέον, πιέζει τις ΗΠΑ για την έγκριση της διέλευσης του Keystone XL που θα μεταφέρει το αργό πετρέλαιο από την Αλμπέρτα σε διυλιστήρια στο Τέξας και στον Κόλπο του Μεξικού, απ’ όπου θα φορτώνεται προς εξαγωγή. Ωστόσο, ένα ευρύ περιβαλλοντικό και πολιτικό κίνημα υποστηρίζει οτι ο πρόεδρος Ομπάμα πρέπει να «ορθώσει το ανάστημά του» στα πετρελαϊκά συμφέροντα. Αλλά και ο αρχηγός των φιλελευθέρων Τζάστιν Τριντό, έχει υποστηρίξει δημοσίως την εκμετάλλευση των πετρελαϊκών εδαφών και τον αγωγό Keystone XL, ενώ παράλληλα «προσπαθεί να παρουσιάσει τους φιλελεύθερους ως το κόμμα που μπορεί να γεφυρώσει τα δύο άκρα -την εκμετάλλευση των ενεργειακών αποθεμάτων με το διάλογο για την κλιματική αλλαγή», σύμφωνα με τοπικά ΜΜΕ.

Νομπελίστες εναντίον ορυκτών καυσιμών

Ο Καναδάς, που βρίσκεται στις πρώτες θέσεις παγκοσμίως στις εκπομπές διοξειδίου του άνθρακα,  αποσύρθηκε τον Δεκέμβριο 2012 από τις δεσμεύσεις της 2ης περιόδου (2013-2020) του Πρωτοκόλλου του Κιότο του ΟΗΕ για μείωση των εκπομπών, επικαλούμενος το κόστος για τους πολίτες του.
Όπως αποδεικνύεται, η «προστασία» αφορούσε στο κόστος που θα υφίσταντο οι μεγάλες πετρελαϊκές εταιρείες εξόρυξης και εκμετάλλευσης των αποθεμάτων και η καναδικών συμφερόντων κατασκευάστρια του αγωγού, Trans Canada.
Εξακολουθεί, ωστόσο, να υποχρεούται σε μείωση των εκπομπών κατά 17% από τα επίπεδα του 2005, μέχρι το 2020, όπως και οι ΗΠΑ, από τα οποία έχει επιτύχει μόνο 4,8% μέχρι το 2011, σύμφωνα με την Ομοσπονδιακή Στρατηγική Βιώσιμης Ανάπτυξης του Καναδά 2013-2016 που δημοσιεύτηκε στις αρχές Νοεμβρίου.
Με επιστολή προς τον πρόεδρο της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής Χοσέ Μανουέλ Μπαρόζο, 21 Νομπελίστες, μεταξύ των οποίων και ο νοτιοαφρικανός  αρχιεπίσκοπος, ακτιβιστής για τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα, Ντέσμοντ Τούτου, καλούν την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση να θεσπίσει νομοθεσία με την οποία το πετρέλαιο από τα πισσώδη εδάφη θα χαρακτηρίζεται περισσότερο ρυπογόνο από τις συμβατικές μορφές αργού πετρελαίου.
Σύμφωνα με το Reuters, υποστηρίζουν την αναγκαιότητα σχετικού νόμου επειδή «η εξόρυξη μη συμβατικών καυσίμων -όπως τα πετρελαϊκά εδάφη και το σχιστολιθικό αέριο- έχουν ιδιαίτερα καταστροφικές συνέπειες στην κλιματική αλλαγή».
Η ΕΕ έχει μεν εγκρίνει  απο το 2009 την -αόριστη- Οδηγία Πετρελαϊκής Ποιότητας με στόχο τη μείωση των εκπομπών αερίων από καύσιμα μεταφορών κατά 6% μέχρι το 2020, ωστόσο ο Καναδάς ασκεί πιέσεις επειδή «κάνει διάκριση εις βάρος του καναδικού πετρελαίου».
Η κάτοχος Νόμπελ Ειρήνης Τζόντι Γουίλιαμς δήλωσε οτι η κλιματική προστασία «οπωσδήποτε επηρεάζει την πιθανότητα να δημιουργήσουμε έναν ειρηνικό κόσμο».

Ελισάβετ Πετρίδου
ΠΗΓΗ: Εφημερίδα “Η Εποχή” Κυριακή 10.11.2013
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