Jerry Brown and Justin Trudeau: Climate Advocates, or Hypocrites?
By Andy Rowell
Two leading political figures from the U.S. and Canada, who have boasted about the need to fight climate change, are now under fire for being climate change hypocrites: saying they care about the climate, but allowing drilling and fossil fuel infrastructure to be built anyway.
On Wednesday, more than 750 public interest groups from California and around the world, including Oil Change International, started a campaign urging the governor of California, Jerry Brown, to stop building fossil fuel infrastructure, including no new exploration permits offshore.
The letter told Brown to "take immediate action to protect those most vulnerable to climate change or lose their support for the global climate action summit that he will host five months from now in San Francisco."
The campaign has sponsored billboards in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sacramento, placed adverts in local newspapers, and launched a thermal airship over San Francisco Bay to challenge Brown for falling short on plans to limit fossil fuels in the state.
The letter urged Brown, who has stated on numerous times that time is running out to solve climate change and who has stated that fighting the issue will be one of his signature acts, to "champion a vision for California that looks beyond the oil and gas industry to a future that is safe and healthy for everyone," the letter says.
It continues by urging Brown to "set a global precedent by becoming the first oil producing state to announce a phase-out of existing production in line with the Paris climate goals, with a just and equitable transition that protects workers, communities, and economies, starting in places that are suffering most from the impacts of fossil fuel extraction."
But Brown is not the only politician who has promoted their green credentials who is now under fire for failing to adequately act on climate.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is due to fly back from an overseas trip over the weekend to convene a meeting concerning the controversial Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline that will triple production of dirty tar sands going from Alberta to British Columbia.
The pipeline has been subject to sustained protests and legal action by the local community and BC government, led by John Horgan. Earlier this week, Kinder Morgan announced that it was stopping work until the end of May until political and legal opposition is sorted. Many people now see the pipeline as being on "life support."
Even the Economist argues that the pipeline is now likely to become "another flop," and noted that last week David McKay, head of RBC, Canada's largest bank, was concerned that investment was flowing out of the Canadian energy sector "in real time."
Trudeau continues to support the pipeline. Yesterday he tweeted that "I wouldn't approve major pipeline projects if I wasn't confident they could be done safely. And they can be done safely because we've made a massive investment in protecting our oceans and coastlines—in BC and across the country."
I wouldn’t approve major pipeline projects if I wasn’t confident they could be done safely. And they can be done sa… https://t.co/sIOijV30PJ— Justin Trudeau (@Justin Trudeau)1523535078.0
The tweet was accompanied by a glossy video, which was posted on Twitter and Facebook.
The reason for the meeting over the weekend, according to press reports, is that Trudeau wants to strong-arm BC Premier "John Horgan to reverse his stance." Horgan responded that he was going to "represent BC, our coast and economy."
Yesterday, 40 civil society groups sent a letter to Trudeau on behalf of their Quebec members, urging the federal government to "immediately cease supporting Kinder Morgan's pipeline. Do not turn this pipeline into your political legacy."
The letter continues:
"We remind you in particular of your government's commitment to end fossil fuel subsidies. The Trudeau government, in supporting a 20th-century sector of the economy, is failing to live up to its responsibility.
The national interest of Canada does not rest in the construction of The Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, but in the inevitable energy transition that is so urgently needed in order to counter climate change.
The support that you continue to provide to the pipeline project casts a serious cloud on your credibility as a leader in the fight against climate change.
We repeat: Do not turn this pipeline into your political legacy."
Bill Nye Confronts Justin Trudeau Over Kinder Morgan Pipeline https://t.co/EwCzoBV48n @NRDC @YEARSofLIVING… https://t.co/olSrnqvMu3— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1520448496.0
Reposted with permission from our media associate Oil Change International.
By Governor Jay Inslee
Climate Week this year coincides with clear skies in Washington state for the first time in almost two weeks.
In just a few days in early September, Washington state saw enough acres burned – more than 600,000 – to reach our second-worst fire season on record. Our worst fire season came only five years ago. Wildfires aren't new to the west, but their scope and danger today is unlike anything firefighters have seen. People up and down the West Coast – young and old, in rural areas and in cities – were choking on smoke for days on end, trapped in their homes.
Fires like these are becoming the norm, not the exception.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Bill McKibben
To understand the planetary importance of this autumn's presidential election, check the calendar. Voting ends on November 3—and by a fluke of timing, on the morning of November 4 the United States is scheduled to pull out of the Paris Agreement.
President Trump announced that we would abrogate our Paris commitments during a Rose Garden speech in 2017. But under the terms of the accords, it takes three years to formalize the withdrawal. So on Election Day it won't be just Americans watching: The people of the world will see whether the country that has poured more carbon into the atmosphere than any other over the course of history will become the only country that refuses to cooperate in the one international effort to do something about the climate crisis.
By Oliver Milman
The climate crisis is set to be a significant factor in a U.S. presidential election for the first time, with new polling showing a clear majority of American voters want decisive action to deal with the threats posed by global heating.
Do you support or oppose each of the following policies as part of the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic?<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQzODcyMC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNjg4MzY4OX0.B-bt9mltOhK0MHFbzK8G3_8sBkDAeUsAWm-AhNZYoxQ/img.png?width=980" id="acd43" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8724178274b9f96e27055f74a1bafe20" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
America's largest national forest, Tongass National Forest in Alaska, will be opened up to logging and road construction after the Trump administration finalizes its plans to open up the forest on Friday, according to The New York Times.
Aerial view of the Tongass National Forest. Alan Wu / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
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By Ruby Russell and Ajit Niranjan
Hamstrung by coronavirus lockdowns, frustrated school strikers have spent months staging digital protests against world leaders failing to act urgently on climate change.
Pandemic Stalls Protests<p>Last November, the head of the UN Environment Program was among the public and scientific figures to warn that 2020 offered a last chance to cut emissions. Then, few could have suspected this deadline would coincide with an unprecedented public health emergency.</p><p>The pandemic has <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/tough-times-ahead-for-climate-protesters-during-corona-pandemic/a-52978469" target="_blank">dealt climate activism a blow</a>. Niedeggen says that as a movement demanding that the world act on scientific advice, the school strikers took lockdown restrictions extremely seriously, halted public protests immediately and took their activism online.</p><p>On April 24, Fridays for Future organized a "digital strike," with Niedeggen hosting a that racked up close to a quarter of a million views. "We were not physically standing together, but we were all fighting together," she says.</p><p><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/climate-strikers-get-inventive-during-the-covid-19-crisis-fridays-for-future/a-53229262" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Activists also gathered thousands of placards</a> from across Germany to lay out in front of the German Bundestag around the central slogan: "Fight every crisis."</p>
Opportunity for a New Normal<p>Last September's Global Climate Strike drew young and old protestors around the world, with organizers estimating a global turnout of 7.6 million, including an estimated 270,000 people in Berlin. Activists have adjusted this year's event to account for social distancing and different levels of coronavirus restrictions in cities taking part.</p><p>They say COVID-19 also presents opportunities.</p><p>"The pandemic shows that we can change our normal daily life, and we are very able to adjust to a situation of crisis," she says. The key question is how economies get back on their feet: "We have the possibility to build a new normal, to build a renewable world order, and an environmentally just, climate-just normal for everybody."</p><p>In July, Jeng was among 20 female Fridays for Future activists from the Global South to sign an open letter to G20 finance ministers warning that their decisions in "exclusive backrooms" over stimulus packages and corporate bailouts would "lock in development pathways for decades."</p><p>"The system is not broken, it was built to be unjust. We don't need recovery, we need a reboot," the letter reads, stressing that "black people, indigenous peoples and people of color," have been disproportionately hit by the economic, climate and coronavirus crises. </p>
Policy 'Not Quite There Yet'<p>Figures on stimulus spending do not suggest their words had much impact. The ministers were criticized for failing to relieve the debt of poorer countries, and according to <a href="https://www.energypolicytracker.org/region/g20/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Energy Policy Tracker</a>, G20 countries by August had pledged $169 billion (142 billion euros) to fossil fuels since the beginning of the pandemic.</p><p>Katrin Uba, associate professor of political science at Uppsala University in Sweden, is researching Fridays for Future. She says that despite the movement raising awareness and gaining access to policymakers, real policy change "is not there yet."</p><p>Still, she stresses that social movements go through waves of mobilization as public attention on their core issues ebbs and flows. And perhaps one of Fridays for Future's biggest achievements is birthing a politically active generation that will keep the fight up long after corona becomes a memory. </p><p>"We know clearly from our research that many of the people who came to the streets hadn't done any protesting before in their lives," she told DW. "And we also know that if you do one protest, you are likely to do more."</p>
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