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Thu, 2012-11-01 09:43Steve Horn
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Merchants of Doubt Deny Climate Change Connection to Hurricane Sandy

Many serious, thought-provoking post-mortems have ensued in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which recently tore through the heart of the financial capital of the world. The disaster will cost the city roughly $60 billion to repair, according to an Associated Press report

Figures such as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, former President Bill Clinton, writer and activist Bill McKibben, environmental reporter Mark Hertsgaard, and numerous others all have connected the dots between the tragedy in New York City and its excerbation at the hands of climate change.  

On the other side of the spectrum, no matter how bad the tragedy, it seems, climate change denial will continue apace by the “merchants of doubt.” Hurricane Sandy was no exception this time around.

Patrick Michaels of the Koch-funded Cato Institute - who recently authored a report described by Greenpeace USA's Connor Gibson as a “Counterfeit Climate Report to Deceive Congress” - denied any connection between climate change and Sandy, going so far as to raise the specter of “global cooling.” 

Mon, 2011-12-12 14:52Brendan DeMelle
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BREAKING: Canada Pulls Out of Kyoto Protocol

Canada is pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol, the cornerstone of international climate negotiations, in the wake of the failed COP17 climate talks in Durban. Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent announced Canada's bail-out of Kyoto as he returned from Durban.

The Kyoto Protocol was ratified by Canada in 2002, when the agreement became legally binding. Canada's decision to turn its back on its international obligations confirms yet again that Stephen Harper and his carbon cronies are securing a hellish future for generations to come.  Canada's 'leaders' are brashly choosing pollution-based profiteering over public health and cooking the climate to make a killing in the tar sands. 

BBC reports: 

Peter Kent said the protocol “does not represent a way forward for Canada” and would have forced it to take “radical and irresponsible choices”.

The move, which is legal and was expected, makes it the first nation to pull out of the global treaty.  …

“Kyoto, for Canada, is in the past, and as such we are invoking our legal right to withdraw from Kyoto,” Mr Kent said in Toronto.

CBC has details on Kent's timing, as well as a news poll showing 62% disapproval of the decision (as of 3pm PST) on CBC's Inside Politics Blog: 

Kent returned to Ottawa from Durban Monday afternoon and made the announcement about two hours after landing.

He said he waited to formally pull out of the Kyoto Protocol because he'd promised a top UN official in Durban not to distract from the talks.

Greenpeace Canada climate and energy campaigner, Mike Hudema, reacts:

“The Harper government has imposed a death sentence on many of the world's most vulnerable populations by pulling out of Kyoto. The decision to leave Kyoto behind destabilizes the promise of action on the climate crisis. This is a further signal that the Harper government is more concerned about protecting polluters than people.”

Fri, 2011-12-09 19:48Brendan DeMelle
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Youth Delegate Anjali Appadurai Speaks Truth to Power at Conclusion of COP17 in Durban

Perhaps the most powerful speech made in all of COP17 at Durban came at the very end, a statement by Anjali Appadurai, a student at the College of the Atlantic in Maine, who addressed the conference on behalf of the youth delegates.

Her scornful depiction of the utter failure of the international community to act on climate change - a failure chiefly owned by the largest polluting nations who have caused most of the damage to the global climate - is spot on.

Watch coverage of Ms. Appadurai's statement, courtesy of Democracy Now!

Thu, 2011-12-08 16:25Brendan DeMelle
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Small Island States Fear "Annihilation" From Failed Climate Negotiations, Protests Mark COP17 Closing Hours

Karl Hood, Grenada's Minister of Foreign Affairs and chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), responded to a question from veteran ABC correspondent Bill Blakemore about the fact that climate scientists believe it is impossible to keep global warming below 1.5C above pre-industrial levels: “If they're saying that 1.5 isn't possible, are you asking us then to accept annihilation?”

Watch Hood respond to Blakemore's question:

H/T ThinkProgress for the news and the video

Thu, 2011-12-08 12:37Guest
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Will Durban Climate Talks Leave Us On the Wrong Side of History?

Guest post by Heather Libby of TckTckTck.org, originally published on Huffington Post.

Whatever happens, the next 48 hours will change the world.

The Durban climate negotiations dance on a wire. Sway but a little, and everything falls.

For the past ten days scientists, politicians, faith leaders, health leaders, artists and unions have formed an urgent choir calling on the negotiators to act. Our partners in the TckTckTck alliance have sung, danced, protested and marched. In solidarity, 400,000 (and counting) people worldwide have signed the latest Avaaz call to action urging the European Union, Brazil and China to take these negotiations forward.

And yet, here we are. Not much further than we started last week.

Over the past few days, I've traveled to speak to people directly affected by climate change. I’ve visited both the OccupyCOP17 assembly and the Kennedy Road informal settlement (home of the Abahlali baseMjondolo shack dwellers movement).

The faces of climate change do not take shuttle buses from pristine hotels. They do not sit in air-conditioned plenary rooms and eat catered food. As you can see in this video, their reality is much different.

Wed, 2011-12-07 16:27Guest
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U.S. 2020 climate treaty proposal isn’t a delay—it’s a death sentence

Ed note: Originally published by our friends at Grist.org.

by Jamie Henn of 350.org
 
The U.N. climate talks desperately need a crisis. For the last 10 days, negotiations here in Durban, South Africa, have made little progress on the fundamental challenge these talks were set up to confront: how the world can come together to avoid catastrophic climate change.
 
Instead, the pace of negotiations has been set by the one country the rest of the world should be turning their back on: the United States.
 
The U.S. never signed the Kyoto Protocol, the only legally binding international agreement designed to reduce emissions, but it is allowed to take part in the negotiations in a separate track dedicated to securing a long-term climate agreement. After President Obama's election, the international community had high hopes the new administration would bring a new sense of ambition and commitment to talks.
 
Instead, the only thing the U.S. brought to the table was a wrecking ball. Rather than standing out of the way and letting the rest of the world get on with setting up an international architecture to facilitate cutting emissions, stopping deforestation, and investing in renewable energy, the U.S. has spent the years since Copenhagen attempting to systemically dismantle the U.N. process.
 
Highest on the U.S. hit list is the Kyoto Protocol, an imperfect treaty (thanks in large part to U.S. recalcitrance), but currently the best instrument in the global climate toolbox. Next on the list is the very idea of legally binding commitments – the U.S. would prefer a “pledge and review” world where countries make their own voluntary commitments and then report out on what they've decided.
 
Here in Durban, however, the U.S. has taken on an even more insidious role by pushing a proposal that the international community adopt a “mandate” to negotiate a new climate treaty that will take effect in – wait for it – 2020.
Wed, 2011-12-07 10:06Brendan DeMelle
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The Sky Is Falling! Climate Deniers Parachute Into COP17 In Durban

What’s that falling from the sky?  A bird?  A plane?   No!  

It’s just crazy climate denier Christopher “Lord” Monckton! Apparently trying to one-up himself after the “Hitler Youth” debacle in Copenhagen in 2009.

Monckton and his compatriots from the climate-denying, pollution-loving Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) skydived onto the beaches of Durban yesterday in another failed attempt to flog the dead “Climategate 2.0” horse.  

The image of Monckton dropping from the sky, eyes closed, destined to decry his well-worn “U.N. world-domination conspiracy” is just priceless. Witness the great non-Lord's descent unto the masses, assisted by a hunky “paratrooper” to guide him to dry land since he couldn't bear to watch himself: 

 
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