United Nations

Tue, 2014-04-08 09:21Indra Das
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More Than 100 Scientists and Economists Call on President Obama to Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline

Keystone XL protest

More than 100 scientists and economists “concerned about climate change and its impacts” signed an open letter Monday calling on U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to reject the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project, which would transport oilsands crude from Alberta to refineries on the Gulf Coast, mainly for export.

The signers “urge [President Obama and Secretary Kerry] to reject the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline as a project that will contribute to climate change at a time when we should be doing all we can to put clean energy alternatives in place.”

The letter, signed by prominent leaders in science and economics, is the latest addition to an already strong and growing opposition to the Keystone XL project in the U.S., including 2 million public comments sent to President Obama and a previous open letter signed last month by over 200 business leaders and entrepreneurs asking for the rejection of the pipeline.

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!

Tue, 2010-11-30 23:06Emma Pullman
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Canada Already on Track to be Fossil of the Year in Cancun; Cleans up on Day One of the Talks

Canada is off to an impressive start at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, if what you’re measuring is climate inaction and environmental embarrassment. 

Today, at the first set of the Fossil of the Day awards, Canada took home not one, or two, but all three of the awards.  The dubious ‘honour’ is voted on by an international coalition of than 400 leading international environmental organizations, including Greenpeace, who vote on the countries that performed the worst during the past day’s negotiations.  Turns out if you are really committed to climate inaction, fail to have any plan to meet already weak targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, defeat a climate change bill that was already passed in your House of Commons by holding a snap vote by an unelected Senate after no debate, and are complicit in trying to weaken climate policy outside of your own national borders, you can win all three of the humiliating prizes. 

The gentleman accepting the shameful awards on behalf of Canada hopped from podium step to podium step, barely able to juggle his armful of awards.  Looks like Canada can clean up humiliating awards, but can’t clean up its act.

In the next two weeks, we’ll see if Canada will take home the Fossil of the Year for the forth year in a row.  From the look of things now, we might as well preemptively cue the Jurassic Park theme music. 

Watch this hilarious video to see Canada’s flagrant lack of commitment to climate change policy given its due recognition.  We can only hope that history does not repeat itself once more.  Prove us wrong, will you Mr. Baird? 

Tue, 2010-11-30 14:40Emma Pullman
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Cancun Showdown: Results at the UN Climate Talks More Important Than Ever

The United Nations Climate Change talks kicked off yesterday in Cancun.  For many, the mood began much more sombrely than last year.  Copenhagen attracted celebrity clout, world leader buzz, and a sense of optimism for a binding agreement.  For all Copenhagen promised, however, those who hoped for a fair and binding global deal left empty handed.  

Along with analysts, pundits and the blogosphere, the U.S., UK and EU are already downplaying the chances of a deal being reached in the next fortnight.  And as Desmogblog reported today, those fears may not be in vain with threats that the U.S. may pull out of the talks early

The talks during the next two weeks are going to focus largely on forests and finance, but also on questions about the legal status of a future agreement and emissions targets, which are expected to be tackled beginning next week when ministers arrive.

The sense of general pessimism around the talks has led some to question the viability of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to deliver, and has led others to manufacture doubt over the scientific basis for action.  A new report released by Oxfam argues that despite the disconsolate atmosphere, a year of extreme weather conditions demonstrate more than ever that a binding climate agreement under the UN auspices is imperative.  The report, More than ever: climate talks that work for those that need them most, presents the weather events that have devastated much of the planet in the last year, and the even more harrowing costs of climate inaction.  

According to the report, at least 21,000 people died due to weather-related disasters in the first nine months of this year – more than twice the number for the whole of 2009.  “This year is on course to experience more extreme-weather events than the 10-year average of 770. It is one of the hottest years ever recorded,” wrote Tim Gore, Oxfam’s EU climate change policy adviser and report’s author.

Wed, 2009-04-29 12:14Leslie Berliant
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Behind the Orange Curtain, Facts about Climate Change Can be Hard to Find

The Orange County Register managed to take their complaints about the California Air Resources Board (ARB) doing their job and twist it into a piece denying the realities of climate change and spouting one of the most absurd denier claims; that global warming is benign, even good for us.

The piece starts with an accusation against the ARB of “dictating to private enterprise” by adopting regulations that will force fuel producers to reduce their carbon footprint. The role of the ARB is “to promote and protect public health, welfare and ecological resources through the effective and efficient reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering the effects on the economy of the state”. Hey OC Register editorial board, protecting the public health and environment from harmful air pollutants is the board’s job description.

It’s sometimes called a mandate.

This is government by administrative decree from unelected ARB board members, administrators and staff, who concocted a fanciful “solution” to so-called global warming, an increasingly disputed phenomenon that hasn’t occurred for at least a decade.

You have to love the global warming denial just two paragraphs into this piece. I’m not sure where they are getting their data, but 2008 was tied with 2001 as the eighth warmest year on record using National Climatic Data Center records dating back to 1880.

Fri, 2008-05-30 11:06Ross Gelbspan
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UN Deep-Sixes Algae Seeding Scam

Nearly 200 countries agreed on Friday to a moratorium on projects to fight climate change by adding nutrients to the seas to spur growth of carbon-absorbing algae. Opponents argue the little-tested process has unknown risks which could threaten marine life, for instance by making the oceans more acidic.
Thu, 2008-05-08 10:05Bill Miller
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Solutions: Switch to faucet fuel from fossil fuel to stop global warming

Is it possible that amidst all the bogus claims, political controversy and foul cries about looming economic destruction, there’s actually a simple solution to the ravages of climate change?

A prominent Canadian engineer and scientist believes the solution – not just any solution but the only solution – rests within a tiny cell we ingest every day. And it can eliminate both carbon emissions and world conflict over oil supplies while saving the planet from global warming.

So pour yourself a glass of water and read on.

Fri, 2008-04-11 14:16Bill Miller
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Indigenous peoples seek key role in global climate talks

A climate conference in Brazil’s Amazon basin has drawn indigenous groups from 11 Latin American countries, Indonesia and Congo. In the largest gathering of its kind, they came to forge a plan whereby wealthier nations would compensate developing countries for saving tropical forests.

Scientists reckon tropical deforestation causes 20 percent of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions. An international carbon-trading plan was a central topic last December at a climate conference in Bali, Indonesia.

Mon, 2008-02-04 14:02Bill Miller
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Bush fiddles with global warming in State of the Union finale

It’s tempting, but most certainly optimistic, to view President Bush’s 2008 State of the Union as his last gasp at blocking progress on global warming. He will, after all, be gone from office before the year is out and it’s tempting to think he hasn’t sufficient time to further damage efforts to reign in climate change.

But there’s no time to lose. And continued obstructionism by the Bush Administration doesn’t just highlight its continuing failure to grasp the urgency of the problem, it also ensures far greater difficulties for its successors, who will have to arrest the problem at home while pressing other major polluters like China and India to act.

Sun, 2008-01-20 12:20Bill Miller
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Antarctic ice sheets melting at ever-faster rate due to global warming: new study

The report in last week’s Nature Geoscience, which builds on previous findings, lends greater urgency to the search for a new global agreement to limit greenhouse emissions.

Nature Geoscience has concluded that changes in water temperature and wind patterns due to global warming are melting ice sheets in western Antarctica at a much faster rate than previously detected.

Using measurements from satellites that scanned about 85 percent of Antarctica’s coasts from 1996 to 2006, the study’s authors found that West Antarctica has been losing ice 60 percent faster than 10 years ago.

 

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