Read Full Articles
November 19, 2012 by Jennifer Brandt
Latino Groups Commend Decision By Interior Secretary to Restrict Oil Shale Operations and Protect Colorado’s Water Supply
Clean water and healthier communities scored a crucial victory in Colorado on November 9, when Interior Secretary Ken Salazar decided to protect the state from oil shale speculation.
On Nov. 9, the Department of the Interior released a plan that would require oil shale companies to provide solid proof that their activities will balance the state’s economic and environmental needs before starting any commercial exploitation. Reversing a Bush-era decision that would have given industry free reign on 2 million acres of public lands, BLM’s plan effectively protects 1.6 million acres of public land, as well as areas of critical wildlife habitat.
Latino organizations, including the Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF) and Nuestro Río, welcomed the Salazar decision and reminded the public about the Latino community’s overwhelming support for protection of public lands and the safety and reliability of their water supply.
“We needed a smart approach to oil shale development and Secretary Salazar deserves credit for making this a priority for Colorado, and for the state’s Latinos, which make up a significant portion of the state’s population and depend on the Colorado River and water supplies for their quality of life and economic opportunity,” said Maite Arce, executive director of HAF. “Costly, water-hungry oil shale speculation would put Western families’ health and safety at risk.”
According to a recent Sierra Club national survey conducted in cooperation with NCLR, more than nine in 10 (92%) Latino voters agree that they “have a moral responsibility to take care of God’s creation on this earth —the wilderness, the forests, the oceans, lakes and rivers.”
Also, the survey found that nearly seven in 10 (69%) Latino voters support presidential designations of more public land as national monuments.
“The Colorado River doesn’t just run through the Southwest, it runs through our culture and it nourishes our lives,” said Andrés Ramírez, Director at Nuestro Río. “Saving the Colorado River is about protecting our Latino heritage and promoting our future.”
Indeed, a survey by Colorado College conducted in Western states earlier this year revealed that 87 percent of Hispanics believe we can protect the environment at the same time we work for a strong economy.
In addition, the poll found that 89 percent of Hispanic respondents agreed that resources must be invested in preserving their state’s land, water and wildlife, regardless of the current budgetary crisis.
Estimates by the Government Accountability Office have projected that full-scale oil shale development could require more than 123 billion gallons of water each year, enough water for more than 750,000 households. Additionally, the mining and processing of oil shale can leach toxic metals and pollutants, such as lead and arsenic, into rivers and groundwater. BLM’s plan takes a step in the right direction by limiting the amount of public land that could be subjected to oil shale development. Rather than promoting high-risk, high-cost technologies like oil shale, we need to begin the transition to clean, efficient fuels that benefit both our economy and our land, water, and public health.
- By Javier Sierra
Article from SierraClub.org
HAF helps communities to integrate “green thinking” into their homes, workplaces, and local environments. Poverty and other factors marginalize Hispanics in this country, and as a result, Hispanics are disproportionately affected by changes in energy costs, rising food prices and other impacts of climate change.
Hispanics’ quality of life is being negatively affected by pollution. Poor air quality is disproportionately harming Hispanics.
According the American Lung Association, Hispanic-American children have a higher rate of asthma than Caucasian children. In the Northeastern United States, Hispanics have an asthma death rate more than twice the rate of Caucasians.
HAF’s beneficiaries from around the country have called in to express their interest around the following environmental issues:
- clean water
- reducing waste/ proper waste disposal
- cleaner transportation options
- green construction
- energy savings
- healthy food production and consumption
- and green jobs that grow out of the demand for all of the above.
HAF increases Hispanics’ access to information, natural resources, environmental benefits, participation in decision making, and access to justice in cases of environmental injustices.
(un-redd.org) - Deforestation and forest degradation, through agricultural expansion, conversion to pastureland, infrastructure development, destructive logging, fires etc., account for nearly 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than the entire global transportation sector and second only to the energy sector. It is now clear that in order to constrain the impacts of climate change within limits that society will reasonably be able to tolerate, the global average temperatures must be stabilized within two degrees Celsius. This will be practically impossible to achieve without reducing emissions from the forest sector, in addition to other mitigation actions.
REDD - Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries – is an effort to create a financial value for the carbon stored in forests, offering incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development.
It is predicted that financial flows for greenhouse gas emission reductions from REDD could reach up to US$30 billion a year. This significant North-South flow of funds could reward a meaningful reduction of carbon emissions and could also support new, pro-poor development, help conserve biodiversity and secure vital ecosystem services.
Further, maintaining forest ecosystems can contribute to increased resilience to climate change. To achieve these multiple benefits, REDD will require the full engagement and respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples and other forest-dependent communities.
To “seal the deal” on climate change, REDD activities in developing countries must complement, not be a substitute for, deep cuts in developed countries’ emissions. The decision to include REDD in a post-Kyoto regime must not jeopardize the commitment of Annex I countries to reduce their own emissions. Both will be critical to successfully address climate change.
To view the information from the original source click here
Amidst the usual daily bustle of hurried pedestrians and newspaper vendors at Brooklyn’s Atlantic Avenue subway station this morning, it was easy to spot the Yes Men’s latest prank.
At first blush, the newspaper, which was distributed by volunteers across NYC today, did look a lot like the New York Post. Yet any closer examination revealed that it was clearly not your run-of-the-mill Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid.
With a giant headline proclaiming “We’re Screwed” alongside an image of lighting striking Manhattan’s skyscrapers featured on the cover, the 32-page tabloid was devoted entirely to environmental issues. Check it out online here.
Even the sports section had an environmental bent, with an entire story devoted to enumerating carbon emission cutting opportunities in pro sports (such as NOGASCAR — a hybrid car version of NASCAR).
While a full-page color ad featuring a couple making out on a beach (the kind of image one frequently sees in ads for vacation packages) advertising “sex” reminded readers that that this activity has “no emissions (of the carbon variety)” (The faux travel ad’s slogan: “Why Travel? — You Just Wanted to Get Laid, Right?”)
Outside the Hoyt-Schermerhorn subway stop in downtown Brooklyn, Erica (she declined to give her last name), a young woman who’d picked up a copy of the paper with a friend earlier that morning at Union Square, stopped to talk to my friend and I about her response.
“First of all we were really scared,” she told us. She had been particularly struck by an image of a large tornado featured in the paper.
She said she soon realized “it was fake.” But she added, “It’s very possible … We need to be more environmentally conscious.”
Indeed, as Rory O’Connor points out, the fake paper’s coverage of a city report predicting “massive climate catastrophes” will hit New York City as a result of global warming is all true.
It just takes a fake NY Post to get the real story about climate change out to the city’s tabloid readers.
The United States has entered a new energy era, ending a century of rising carbon emissions. As the U.S. delegation prepares for the international climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December, it does so from a surprisingly strong position, one based on a dramatic 9 percent drop in U.S. carbon emissions over the past two years and the promise of further huge reductions.
Prominent among these carbon-cutting initiatives are stronger automobile fuel-economy standards, appliance efficiency standards, and the potential to heat, cool and light buildings with carbon-free sources of electricity. On the supply side are efforts supporting the development of U.S. wind, solar and geothermal energy resources.
Even though part of this decline in carbon emissions was caused by the recession and higher gasoline prices, part of it came from gains in energy efficiency and shifts to carbon-free sources of energy, including record amounts of new wind-generating capacity. This impressive drop in carbon emissions should enable the United States to push for a steep cut in Copenhagen.
Although Congress is considering legislation that would cut emissions only 15 or 20 percent by 2020, it’s clear to me that with just a little effort, the United States could far surpass this. Given the potentially catastrophic climate change the world is facing, we should push in Copenhagen for an 80 percent reduction by 2020.
The really big gains in fuel efficiency will come with the shift to plug-in hybrids and all-electric cars. Not only are electric motors three times more efficient than gasoline engines, but they make it possible to run cars on domestic wind-generated electricity at a gasoline-equivalent cost of 75 cents a gallon. As the low fueling cost becomes more apparent, the shift to plug-ins and all-electric cars will come far faster than most policymakers anticipate.
With carbon cuts, it’s time to stop talking about political feasibility and start talking about scientific necessity. The science is scary. We need not go beyond ice melting to see that civilization is in trouble. The Greenland ice sheet is melting. If it were to melt entirely, and that obviously would take a few centuries, sea level would rise by 23 feet. The latest reports suggest that we are looking at a rise in sea level of up to six feet this century. Such a rise would inundate part or all of many low-lying coastal cities, such as London, Miami, New Orleans, Alexandria and Shanghai, producing millions of refugees. Such a rise would also inundate the rice-growing deltas of Asia, devastating harvests in Bangladesh and Vietnam.
The melting of the glaciers in the Himalayas and on the Tibetan Plateau will deprive the Indus, Ganges, Yangtze and Yellow rivers of the ice melt that sustains their flow during the dry season and the irrigation systems that depend on them. Let us not forget that China is the world’s leading producer of wheat and rice. India is number two in each. Anything that reduces their grain harvests will raise food prices everywhere.
If the United States pushes for an 80 percent cut, will the rest of the world follow? In particular will China, now the world’s leading carbon emitter, cooperate? And what about India?
In times past, if countries resisted international initiatives, the international community could resort to trade boycotts, export embargoes or tariffs on exports from the offending countries. Bilateral penalties are also an option. The United States is, after all, China’s largest export market.
On the renewable front, China’s wind-generating potential is seven times its current electricity consumption. Although a late starter, China is building wind farm complexes on a scale the world has not seen before. In recent years, the United States has led the world in new wind generating capacity, but within the next year, China will overtake the United States, moving so fast we might not even see it go by.
Source: The Washington Post
Author: Lester R. Brown, the president of the Earth Policy Institute and author of the forthcoming “Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization.”