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A Different Point of View....: Climate controls ‘slip slidin’ away’ following weak Paris agreement

 “World agrees to historic climate accord” 
The Toronto Star.
“Nearly 200 countries agree to historic pact in Paris
to reduce emissions and fight climate change”

The Vancouver Sun.
 “Climate deal: World praises France’s diplomacy, showing it’s still a master of the art”
The Winnipeg Free Press.

With these headlines appearing in newspapers across the country, Canadians must have been relieved that they don’t need to worry about climate change nearly as much now that everything has been worked out in Paris.

Unfortunately, this assumption couldn’t be further from the truth.

The politicians meeting in Paris, faced with the possibility of total failure, were extremely excited to reach any kind of an agreement. As politicians will do, they convinced themselves and the compliant mainstream media that the accord all 195 countries signed was an amazing break through document.

The agreement is jam-packed with lofty language and idealistic goals. However, it is totally lacking in legally binding mechanism that will hold governments to emission limits that will stop global warming from reaching devastatingly high levels.

May & Klein have strongly different opinions

Even so, there are strong differences of opinion among environmental leaders concerning the value of the pact.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May is not concerned that the temperature goals in the agreement are not binding.

“It’s an historic and potentially life-saving agreement,” May writes in her blog.  . . . . “it may save the lives of millions.  It may lead to the survival of many small nations close to sea level.  It may give our grandchildren a far more stable climate and thus a more prosperous and healthy society.”

Two of the world’s leading climate activists disagree strongly with May.

Responding to the cheering going on in the meeting room when the deal was signed, Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org commented: “All the serious people in there in suits are playing fantasy games.”

Activist and author Naomi Klein said the agreed upon targets are far too weak. “They don’t lead us to 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2 degrees. They lead us to warming of 3 to 4 degrees Celsius, which is beyond catastrophic.”


This year global warming, compared to the pre-industrial age temperature, is expected to reach 1 degree Celsius. Scientists say that warming must be kept to 1.5 degrees if hundreds of islands are to be saved. If countries do not improve on the promises they made in Paris global warming could reach 3.5 degrees by 2100 or earlier.

In Paris, rich countries, instead of stepping forward and coming up with firm commitments to fight warming, abdicated their responsibility to powerful multi-national corporations.

Corporations were involved in just about every aspect of COP21, including helping to pay for the summit. Meanwhile, a few select non-governmental organizations were permitted only to look over the draft of the agreement at the end of each day. Organizers kept thousands of protestors away from the delegates.

Most of the actions that can come out of the agreement are left to the marketplace, and activities many will be carried out by the same corporations that have polluted the planet.

Incidentally, it was no surprise that none of the words “fossil fuels”, “oil” or “coal” appear in the agreement.

Carbon trading, which allow companies to make huge profits but that are slow to reduce emissions, are looked upon favourably. Because no action was taken against fracking, the practice, which produces highly damaging methane gas, will increase.

Financial institutions are already making large profits from financing many activities related to global warming. The most common funding is for clean energy solutions, underwriting green bonds and structuring catastrophe-linked securities to help clients manage climate change risks.

It is a bitter irony that the banks financed corporations as they destroyed our climate, and now they’ll provide the financing for many of the same companies to try to clean it up.

Rich North betrays developing nations

The lack of substantial outcomes from Paris for countries with the least ability to defend themselves from global warming has caused rifts that may not be overcome for years.

Helen Szoke, of Oxfam Australia, denounced the agreement as “a frayed lifeline to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.”

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Pacific Region contribute just 0.3 per cent   of global greenhouse gas emissions. Yet residents of many islands have had to leave their homes, and dozens of islands will disappear under water if strong actions to slow emissions in the developed world are not taken.

There was a lot of fancy talk in Paris about transporting millions of tonnes of earth to restore the most threatened islands, but residents aren’t holding their breath.

The strongest condemnation of the Paris agreement came from Kumi Naidoo, the executive director of Greenpeace, one of the world’s most influential environmental groups.

It’s “climate apartheid,” says Naidoo.

“Most of the people in the countries that emitted the most carbon are white and most people in the countries who are paying first and the most are people of colour,” says Naidoo. “There is no doubt in my mind that subliminal racism is at play in these negotiations.”

Environmentalists must pick up the slack

So with governments failing to move ahead the cause of a cleaner environment in any meaningful way, what can be done to pick up the slack?

The world’s many climate change groups need to organize a huge lobby movement – one that can match the power of the fossil fuel industry. The tobacco industry was not brought under some control until it was banned from lobbying governments, and the same needs to happen with the fossil fuel industry.

Across the globe, NGOs, civil society and all kinds of organizations need to work together lobbying all levels of government. It seems they may be the only segments of society – for now at least – willing to fight for climate justice.

-30-
CLICK HERE, to subscribe to my blog. Thanks Nick

Contact Nick Fillmore at fillmore0274@rogers.com

. . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Climate controls ‘slip slidin’ away’ following weak Paris agreement

A Different Point of View....: Climate controls ‘slip slidin’ away’ following weak Paris agreement

 “World agrees to historic climate accord” The Toronto Star.“Nearly 200 countries agree to historic pact in Paris to reduce emissions and fight climate change” The Vancouver Sun. “Climate deal: World praises France’s diplomacy,… . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Climate controls ‘slip slidin’ away’ following weak Paris agreement

A Different Point of View....: Fossil fuel lobby seen as main threat to meaningful progress in Paris

In the early-1950s, when it became widely known that smoking caused cancer, giant tobacco companies formed the Tobacco Industry Research Council (TIRC). Its main goal was to deny the harmful effects of tobacco and confuse the public.

The tobacco lobby wormed its way into the United Nations’ World Health Organization (WHO), wreaking havoc and slowing the WHO’s efforts to reduce the growing number of cancer deaths. 

Realizing that the tobacco corporations were obstructing progress, the WHO finally built a firewall between public health officials and industry lobbyists. Only then was it possible to better control tobacco.

Flash forward to Paris and the 21st annual UN Climate Conference, November 30 to December 11   The 190 participating countries are charged with trying to hold carbon emissions to liveable limits between the years 2020 and 2030.

But – just like when the tobacco lobby was powerful – the fossil fuel lobby is strongly influencing decisions to be made in Paris.

Pointing to the struggling world economic situation, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) says climate change is important, but it should not jeopardize economic growth.

Fossil fuel corporations have spent billions-of-dollars over the years funding front organizations that mislead and confuse the public by claiming that climate change is not serious threat.

But scientists say that the human race cannot continue to function in a near-normal way unless about 80 per cent of the remaining fossil fuels are left in the ground.

The corporations oppose government regulations, and their main goal is to have the marketplace determine the amount of carbon emissions. However, public interest groups believe that industry will serve its own interests for profits instead of prioritizing the reduction of carbon emissions.

The public interest group Corporate Europe Observatory, located in Brussels, has compiled information on the agenda the corporations will be pushing at COP21:  
  •  Instead of governments taxing emitters – a simple and inexpensive system to operate – corporations want to create a world market where polluters and investors can buy and sell carbon credits. They claim the system would help spur investments in low-carbon energy However, this system has worked poorly in Europe and is vulnerable to abuse.
  • The fossil fuel industry wants governments and the public to acknowledge natural gas as a “clean energy source.” This would result in significant increases of fracking in many parts of the world. It’s true that gas, when burnt, has low emissions, but the fracking process leaks methane into the atmosphere, which is 80 times worse than carbon.
  • The ‘net zero’ proposal: Rather than attempting to reduce emissions to zero, ’net zero’ means that some emissions can keep rising. The industry says this would be offset in the future via the removal of emissions from the atmosphere when yet-to-be developed technologies make the removal possible.
  • According to Shell, going to net zero would allow them to keep burning fossil fuels for the rest of this Century. This would be balanced off by the – so far – theoretical removal of carbon from the atmosphere at some point in the future.

While public interest groups will be kept mainly on the sidelines, corporations are being allowed to hold at least 10 special events for government officials. Names of some of the sessions: “Business and Climate: A positive revolution for companies?”; “The Future is Looking Up”; and “Energy for Tomorrow.”

In addition, some of France’s dirtiest corporations are official sponsors and donors for COP21.  Included are nuclear and coal giants EDF, energy utility corporation Engie, coal-financing bank BNP Paribas, and airline Air France.

Some of the very corporations driving global warming will be represented in Paris. Included will be Shell, BP, Volkswagen, Monsanto, Total, Dow Chemical, Monsanto, Syngenta, Nestles, McDonalds, Walmart and others.

Fossil fuel companies have not managed to get a much coveted seat at the actual negotiating table during COP decision-making. But they are lobbying so hard that they hope politicians will come up with pro-industry solutions.

Meanwhile, a growing number of public interest groups want the fossil fuel lobby barred from the UN process. 

“When you’re trying to burn down the table,” says HodaBaraka of the protect group 350.org, “you don’t deserve a seat at it.” 

NGOs have launched a campaign, Kick the Polluters Out  and are planning demonstrations in Paris. Close to a half-million people signed the protest document over a short period of time.

But, at the present time at least, it would be very difficult to get the fuel lobby organizations out of the climate change process.  

The corporations are so powerful in the UN climate talks process they appear to be the proverbial tail wagging the dog. Christiana Figueres, head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), scolded those who claim the fossil fuel industry is not part of the solution, telling them to “stop demonizing oil and gas companies.”

In what critics consider a betrayal of the climate control effort, after a few years inside the system, UN experts move over to the private sector. According to the Corporate Europe Observatory, this revolving door helps business to control the process in the COP process. 

At the national level, because oil, coal and other fossil fuel corporations are so wealthy and so important to national economies, corporationsare able to intimidate governments from taking the best possible carbon reduction pledges to Paris. Energy corporations are successful in compromising the policies of the U.S. government. 

In October, the European Parliament expressed concern that an early analysis government pledges indicated the temperature would increase between 2.7 and 3.5 degrees Celsius.  An increase within this range would be disastrous for humankind.

The European Parliament has now called on governments to agree in Paris to revise the projections downward before 2020 to keep the increase to 2 degrees Celsius, which is the target recommended by scientists.

-30-
CLICK HERE, to subscribe to my blog. Thanks Nick

Contact Nick Fillmore at fillmore0274@rogers.com

. . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Fossil fuel lobby seen as main threat to meaningful progress in Paris

A Different Point of View....: Fossil fuel lobby seen as main threat to meaningful progress in Paris

In the early-1950s, when it became widely known that smoking caused cancer, giant tobacco companies formed the Tobacco Industry Research Council (TIRC). Its main goal was to deny the harmful effects of tobacco and confuse the public. The tobacco lobby … . . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Fossil fuel lobby seen as main threat to meaningful progress in Paris

The Canadian Progressive: Keystone XL: The Last Six Years, By The Numbers

On the six-year anniversary of TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline proposal, 350.org highlights some of the facts and figures associated with the dangerous tar sands project.

The post Keystone XL: The Last Six Years, By The Numbers appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

350 or bust: Signs Of Change

I’ve been blogging about climate change since my conversion from being a climate change avoider to a climate activist/fossil fuel abolitionist in the fall of 2009. As a climate change avoider, I never watched An Inconvenient Truth; after all, it might be inconvenient to have to face my fear or be prodded into taking action. . . . → Read More: 350 or bust: Signs Of Change

A Different Point of View....: Corporate money preventing all-outcampaign to stop global warming

Highly-regarded former Toronto Mayor David Miller says he is “very excited” about becoming the new President and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund-Canada in September.

“They’ve made such a difference,” Miller told The Toronto Star, “and to be part of an organization that knows how to make real change is a unique opportunity.”

. . . → Read More: A Different Point of View….: Corporate money preventing all-outcampaign to stop global warming

The Canadian Progressive: Public comments prove Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is all risk, no reward

By: 350.org | Press Release: WASHINGTON – April 23, 2013 – Opponents of Keystone XL have submitted more than one million comments urging President Obama, Secretary Kerry and the State Department following the publication of the latest deficient environmental review urging that the dirty and dangerous Keystone XL tar sands pipeline be rejected. Across […]

. . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Public comments prove Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is all risk, no reward

350 or bust: This Earth Day, Let’s Focus On Saving Humans

It’s a snowy and cold Earth Day morning in northwestern Ontario. On this Earth Day, Joe Romm over at Think Progress muses about renaming Earth Day – after all, it’s really humans and our civilization that is in peril at this point by our feckless, reckless and cavalier treatment of the ecosystem that gives us . . . → Read More: 350 or bust: This Earth Day, Let’s Focus On Saving Humans

350 or bust: Let’s Stop Being Fossil Fools, And Just Say No To Bankrolling Climate Change

Via Fossil Free Canada: What do you call an industry that is planning to cook the planet? An industry responsible for destroying land, polluting the air and water, and violating the rights of people around the world? An industry who’s business model means burning over three times the amount of carbon our planetary carbon budget . . . → Read More: 350 or bust: Let’s Stop Being Fossil Fools, And Just Say No To Bankrolling Climate Change

The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis: ‘Senate’s Big Oil Benefactors’ Slammed for Keystone XL Vote

10 KXL amendment co-sponsors took $8 million from fossil fuel industry By: Jacob Chamberlain and Jon Queally | Common Dreams In a 62-37 vote late Friday, the US Senate passed a non-binding amendment calling for the approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Environmental groups and climate activists were quick to condemn […]

The post . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis: ‘Senate’s Big Oil Benefactors’ Slammed for Keystone XL Vote

The Canadian Progressive: Keystone XL pipeline: Leaders in historical act of civil disobedience in front of White House

48 environmental, civil rights, and community leaders engage in historic act of civil disobedience to stop Keystone XL pipeline. Julian Bond, Bill McKibben, Michael Brune, and others arrested in front of White House in call for action on climate. By Sierra Club | Feb. 13, 2013: WASHINGTON, D.C. – This morning, 48 environmental, civil rights, . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Keystone XL pipeline: Leaders in historical act of civil disobedience in front of White House

drive-by planet: DC rally on climate-change Feb 17: threats posed by tar sands and Keystone XL pipeline

This Sunday, February 17, one of the largest rallies ever held in the US on climate-change will take place in front of the White House. The Sierra Club, 350.org, together with over a hundred partners have helped organize the DC event. Key goals include decisive action on carbon pollution, increased commitment to the phasing . . . → Read More: drive-by planet: DC rally on climate-change Feb 17: threats posed by tar sands and Keystone XL pipeline

The Canadian Progressive: 60 Groups urge Kerry to continue strong leadership on climate change

New Secretary of State positioned to advance American climate leadership, should deny the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline By 350.org | Feb. 6, 2013: WASHINGTON – Sixty leading environmental, conservation, development, faith-based, and social justice organizations are congratulating Secretary of State John Kerry for his commitment to fight climate change and urging him to “spur . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: 60 Groups urge Kerry to continue strong leadership on climate change

The Canadian Progressive: Sierra Club to engage in civil disobedience to stop Canadian tar sands

by Sierra Club | Jan 22, 2013: San Francisco, CA – The Sierra Club Board of Directors has approved the one-time use of civil disobedience for the first time in the organization’s 120-year history. Recognizing the imminent danger posed by climate disruption, including record heat waves, drought, wildfires and the devastation of superstorm Sandy, the . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Sierra Club to engage in civil disobedience to stop Canadian tar sands

drive-by planet: 350.org divest from fossil fuels campaign: 2013 – ‘year zero’

Top: Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein during nationwide ‘Do the Math’ tour

Welcome to 2013 – “year zero” in the battle over climate change.

After the environmental disasters that marked the passage of 2012 – massive Arctic melt-off, Superstorm Sandy, devastating droughts and wildfires – 2013 “year zero” is dawning with . . . → Read More: drive-by planet: 350.org divest from fossil fuels campaign: 2013 – ‘year zero’

350 or bust: Naomi Klein: Do The Math, The Fossil Fuel Industry Is Destroying Our Future

Naomi Klein was out in the shattered neighbourhood of Rockaway Park Queens last weekend, participating in the Occupy relief efforts there. In this interview she underscores the importance of both increasing local resilience as a response to our changin… . . . → Read More: 350 or bust: Naomi Klein: Do The Math, The Fossil Fuel Industry Is Destroying Our Future

350 or bust: Fossil Fuel Industry’s Bottom Line Will Destroy Our Climate: Do The Math

Wednesday night was one to remember. After a scramble to get my passport renewed (I only noticed last week it had expired over the summer), my husband and I traveled by ferry from Victoria British Columbia to take in the first night of Bill McKibben&#8… . . . → Read More: 350 or bust: Fossil Fuel Industry’s Bottom Line Will Destroy Our Climate: Do The Math

350 or bust: The Fight Of Our Time: Breaking The Power of the Dirtiest And Richest Industry On the Planet

Reposted from Watching The Deniers, here’s a recent video from Bill McKibbon which is a call to action. In the video Mr. McKibbon: shares this call to action for what could not only be the biggest fight of our time, but of all time. The fossil fuel industry is quickly destroying the planet, and making . . . → Read More: 350 or bust: The Fight Of Our Time: Breaking The Power of the Dirtiest And Richest Industry On the Planet

DeSmogBlog: Scientists Tell US State Department Excluding Climate Impacts in Keystone XL Review ‘Neither Wise nor Credible’

Keystone XL protest.jpg

Ten of the nation’s top climate scientists penned a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today questioning why the State Department isn't considering the enormous climate change impacts of developing the Alberta tar sands in its review of the controversial Keystone XL export pipeline project. 

“At the moment, your . . . → Read More: DeSmogBlog: Scientists Tell US State Department Excluding Climate Impacts in Keystone XL Review ‘Neither Wise nor Credible’

350 or bust: Time For An #EndFossilFuelSubsidies Twitter Storm

350.org has teamed up with over a dozen other citizen advocacy groups to organize a twitter storm event to coincide with the week of the G-20 summit, followed by Rio+20: As delegates from around the world fly into town for the Rio+20 Earth Summit, the largest environmental gathering in world history, 350.org is teaming up . . . → Read More: 350 or bust: Time For An #EndFossilFuelSubsidies Twitter Storm

earthgauge: Connecting the dots on climate change

The international day of action to Connect the Dots between extreme weather and climate change took place on May 5 in locations all around the world, including many events here in Canada. Check out this great video from 350.org, which captures the highlights of some of these events.

As Bill McKibben, the founder of . . . → Read More: earthgauge: Connecting the dots on climate change

350 or bust: Connecting the Dots: Extreme Weather, First Nations Rights, And Our Addiction To Dirty Energy

There’s so much going on in the climate change world these days, it’s hard to keep up. This Saturday is 350.org’s Connect The Dots event, where thousands of people across the globe will gather to protest, educate, document and volunteer to support the communities on the front lines of the climate crisis, and make the . . . → Read More: 350 or bust: Connecting the Dots: Extreme Weather, First Nations Rights, And Our Addiction To Dirty Energy

350 or bust: Is The Climate Really Too Big To Fail?

350.org has a new campaign to bring home the reality of climate change to people in North America. They are asking people to “connect the dots ” on 5/5/12 by protesting, educating, documenting and volunteering along with thousands of people around the world to support the communities on the front lines of the climate crisis: . . . → Read More: 350 or bust: Is The Climate Really Too Big To Fail?

350 or bust: Take Time To Renew Your Spirit

“Guard your light and protect it. Move it forward into the world and be fully confident that if we connect light to light to light, and join the lights together of the one billion young people in our world today, we will be enough to set our whole planet aglow.” ~Hafsat Abiola  

. . . → Read More: 350 or bust: Take Time To Renew Your Spirit