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Climate, politics & money - Mar 5

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Will EDF become the Barbra Streisand of climate protest?

George Monbiot, The Guardian
Without public protest, democracy is dead. Every successful challenge to excessive power begins outside the political chamber. When protest stops, politics sclerotises: it becomes a conversation between different factions of the elite.

But protest is of no democratic value unless it is effective. It must disturb and challenge those at whom it is aimed. It must arouse and motivate those who watch. The climate change campaigners trying to prevent a new dash for gas wrote to their MPs, emailed the power companies, marched and lobbied. They were ignored. So last year 17 of them climbed the chimney of the West Burton power station and occupied it for a week. Theirs was a demonstration in two senses of the word: they presented an issue to the public that should be at the front of our minds. Prompted to act by altruism and empathy, one day they will be remembered as we remember suffragettes and anti-slavery campaigners.

Last week the operator of the power station – EDF, largely owned by the French government – announced that it is suing these people, and four others, for £5m. It must know that, if it wins, the protesters have no hope of paying. It must know that they would lose everything they own, now and for the rest of their lives. For these and other reasons, EDF's action looks to me like a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation – a SLAPP around the ear of democracy...
(25 February 2013)


US Generals warn of climate change dangers

John Parnell, RTCC
A leading group of US security experts has warned of the imminent threat of climate change in an open letter to US policymakers.

Signatories include former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, General Wesley Clark, Richard Armitage, George W. Bush’s Deputy Secretary of State and Anthony Zinni, a retired four star general in the Marine Corps.

“We, the undersigned Republicans, Democrats and Independents, implore US policymakers to support American security and global stability by addressing the risks of climate change in vulnerable nations. Their plight is our fight; their problems are our problems,” it says.

“Without precautionary measures, climate change impacts abroad could spur mass migrations, influence civil conflict and ultimately lead to a more unpredictable world...
(1 March 2013)


Is climate change next for GOP?

Stephanie Yang, UPI
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's plan to rebrand the Republican Party neglected to address a priority for the Obama administration as well as many Americans -- climate change.

After a dip in 2009, public acceptance of climate change as reality is growing. The Pew Research Center said the percentage of Americans who say they believe in global warming increased from 57 percent in 2009 to 67 percent last year. More of them also say it is caused by human activity -- up from 36 percent in 2009 to 42 percent in 2012.

Republicans seem to be trailing Democrats in addressing the issue. But some in the GOP are pushing for market-based solutions, drawn from Republican principles...
(13 February 2013)


I’m with the Tree Huggers

Michael Grunwald, Time Magazine
The respectable center has recognized that climate change is not only real and man-made but also a genuine emergency. The scientific evidence has become too stark to indulge denial or dithering. The earth is hotter; Arctic ice is melting at a terrifying rate; staid institutions like reinsurers and the CIA are sounding dire warnings about rising seas and extreme droughts. There’s an emerging consensus that fossil fuel apologists are on the wrong side of the battle of the century.

But there’s also an emerging consensus-among newspaper editorial boards, respectable-centrist pundits, even the magazine Nature- that the rabble-rousing activists who have tied themselves to the White House gate and clamored for President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline are picking the wrong fight. Stopping Keystone, these critics point out, wouldn’t prevent catastrophic warming. It might not even prevent the extraction from Canada’s dirty tar sands...

Well, I’m with the tree huggers. The pipeline isn’t the worst threat to the climate, but it’s a threat. Keystone isn’t the best fight to have over fossil fuels, but it’s the fight we’re having. Now is the time to choose sides.
(28 February 2013)


China Carbon Tax May Spur U.S. Climate Debate, CMIA Says

Mathew Carr, Bloomberg
China’s potential carbon tax may spur U.S. lawmakers to consider climate protection more seriously, according to a trader representative.

“China’s announcement that it’s considering a carbon tax may, over time, chill superficial resistance by some to the issue and spur U.S. lawmakers to more seriously consider what the appropriate U.S. actions should be on market-based climate policies,” Cameron Prell, the U.S. working group chairman of the Climate Markets & Investment Association, a London-based industry group, said by phone.

China may introduce a tax on carbon dioxide emissions at some time, Xinhua reported Feb. 19, citing a senior Finance Ministry official. The report was five days after Senators Barbara Boxer, a Democrat from California, and Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, unveiled a climate change plan that would set an initial $20-a-ton carbon fee on polluters, including manufacturers and oil and natural gas producers...
(4 March 2013)


EU lawmakers back suspension of airline carbon payments

Barbara Lewis, Reuters
International fury at the EU law led Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard last year to propose a temporary exemption for intercontinental flights.

The European Parliament's Environment Committee on Tuesday voted in favour of her proposal, dubbed "Stop the Clock". The move needs the endorsement of a full parliamentary session in April, but has so much support that it is unlikely to be overturned.

The committee strengthened the wording to underline the fact that the suspension could be prolonged beyond a year only if "clear and sufficient" progress were made at the International Civil Aviation Organization ICAO.L, the U.N. body seeking an alternative plan to curbing airline emissions...
(26 February 2013)

Change the politics - caro2francq/flickr

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