BP oil spill dispersants concern Nova Scotia environmentalist

29 12 2014

Bill C-22 is ‘an absolute, total abdication of regulatory responsibility’

CBC News Posted: Dec 29, 2014 9:38 AM AT Last Updated: Dec 29, 2014 9:38 AM AT

Crude oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill washes ashore in Orange Beach, Ala., on June 12, 2010.

Crude oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill washes ashore in Orange Beach, Ala., on June 12, 2010. (Dave Martin/Associated Press)

A Shelburne County environmentalist is raising concerns about a toxic chemical that could be used off Nova Scotia in the future.

When the Deepwater Horizon oil platform erupted in flames in 2010, it spewed oil into the Gulf of Mexico, but some research says the cleanup was worse because about 6.8 million litres of the chemical Corexit 9500A was used to disperse the oil.

The dispersant used by oil company BP, when mixed with crude oil, was found to be 52 times more toxic than oil alone to some microscopic plankton-like organisms called rotifers.

“When you mix this stuff with the oil, you create a compound that is substantially more dangerous than even the dangerous dispersant on its own or even the dangerous oil on its own and this is the issue that we have,” says John Davis, a founder of the No Rigs Coalition.

He says Shell has already put out bids to use Corexit if there is a spill at a well planned for the Shelburne Gully.

“The creators of CoRexit will tell you it’s less toxic than dish soap. All you have to do is read the warning label to know that it’s a highly, highly dangerous chemical.… There is no doubt in my mind that if Shell made the effort they could find ways to clean up the oil and not just be prepared to disperse it and put it under water and out of sight,” he says.

‘Total abdication of regulatory responsibility’

Davis says there is legislation in place to prevent the use of chemicals like Corexit, “but what happened here is that the federal government has decided to put forward legislation called Bill C-22 — which in fact creates a circumstance where the oil company can go and utilize the product, the dispersants, and then report after the fact to the regulatory agencies. It is an absolute, total abdication of regulatory responsibility.”

Bill C-22 was introduced by the federal minister of Natural Resources earlier this year.

It would pre-approve emergency plans for oil and gas companies to deal with spills, such as the speedy use of dispersants, or chemicals used to break oil into smaller particles in the event of an oil spill at sea.

Davis says he worries the chemical could end up on the Georges Bank, pointing out the Labrador Current would carry any material right to the fertile fishing grounds.

“It’s that [upwelling of water] that provides much of the nutrients that makes Georges Bank such an important biological place — and so important to us as an economical generator,” he says.

A publication in the February 2013 issue of the scientific journal Environmental Pollution, found that on their own, the oil and dispersant were equally toxic. But when combined, the oil and dispersant increased toxicity to one of the rotifer species by a factor of 52.

‘High and immediate human health hazards​’

Dispersants cause giant pools of spilled oil floating atop the sea to break up into tiny droplets that then dilute with water just below the surface. The process helps creatures including turtles, birds and mammals that need access to the surface, and also ensures less oil flows ashore where it can choke coastal wildlife. However, it increases the amount of oil just below the surface, potentially contaminating the organisms that live there.

Scientists at the Autonomous University of Aguascalientes in Mexico and the Georgia Institute of Technology now say Corexit 9500A is far more harmful than previously thought to a key dweller of those sub-surface depths.

An Environment Canada study states the dispersant is 27 times safer than common dish soap, but some say that figure is dangerously misleading. The study also states that five of Corexit’s 57 ingredients are linked to cancer and can pose “high and immediate human health hazards.”

In all, the British Petroleum oil leak was the largest offshore petroleum spill in U.S. history, sending 4.9 million barrels (584 million litres) of crude into the Gulf of Mexico.

UPDATED: Liberals imposing moratorium on All fracking activity

18 12 2014

T&T   DEC 18

ADAM HURAS Legislature Bureau
December 18, 2014

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant.Photo: James West/THE CANADIAN PRESS

FREDERICTON • New Brunswick’s Liberal government plans on imposing a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.

Premier Brian Gallant said the moratorium is on all hydraulic fracturing activity – water and propane included.

Gallant said that the move will require amendments to the oil and natural gas act, expected to be introduced in the legislature on Thursday afternoon.

He stressed the move is not a ban and that it could be lifted in the future.

But the moratorium has a series of conditions that need to be met before being lifted, including a process to consult with First Nations, a plan for wastewater disposal and credible information about the impacts fracking has on health, water and the environment.

“We have been clear from Day One that we will impose a moratorium until risks to the environment, health and water are understood,” Gallant said. “We believe these conditions to be very reasonable.”

Gallant said he also wants the development of a royalty structure and a “social licence’” ensuring that the public accepts fracking before the moratorium would be removed, though he acknowledged that has yet to be defined.

He said his government supports job creation but added that it needs to be done in a diversified and sustainable way.

“We’re not interested in putting all of our eggs in a single basket,” he said.

But the moratorium is strictly on hydraulic fracturing, meaning exploration for shale gas could continue.

Companies can continue work, as long as they don’t frack.

“We’ll certainly also always listen to businesses that may have concerns and try to mitigate some of the impacts if they believe (them) to be negative on their operations,” he said.

Fracking is a process whereby a pressurized fluid is injected into shale rock in order to crack the rock and release underground natural gas deposits.

In making the announcement, Gallant is carrying out another of its cornerstone commitments.

The Liberal election campaign platform pledges to impose a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing “until risks to the environment, health and water are fully understood.”

“Any decision on hydraulic-fracturing will be based on peer-reviewed scientific evidence and follow recommendations of the Chief Medical Officer of Health,” it states.

The move risks killing an industry that has already invested hundreds of millions in New Brunswick.

It also raises the danger of multi-million dollar legal action from the companies that were granted licences by both Liberal and Progressive Conservative governments in the province over the last decade.

But it erases the threat of environmental risks that have been hotly debated across the country and around the world.

New Brunswick’s move follows moratoriums in Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

It turns it back on joining provinces such as British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan with a history of hydraulic fracturing having embraced industry development.


The arguments, reports, and studies for and against the well-stimulation technique are many.

The Fraser Institute has stated the environmental risks associated with hydraulic fracturing are real but manageable with existing technologies and regulation, noting that stopping shale gas development is squandering a good economic opportunity.

A group of university and private sector analysts released a report on shale gas that included an economic study that predicted New Brunswick could create between 5,900 and 7,900 full-time jobs, both directly and indirectly, if the industry annually drilled between 150 and 200 wells.

That would translate into between $1.4 billion and $1.8 billion in economic growth.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said in September that a total of 44,266 oil and natural gas wells have been hydraulically fractured in Saskatchewan.

There were 1,380 wells fracked there last year, without incident.

“There are simply not the incidents that some who oppose fracking are pointing to,” he said.

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark maintains that her province has “never had a single incident of water contamination reported in British Columbia after doing this for 50 years.”

The David Alward Progressive Conservatives went all in on the industry in a failed re-election bid that urged New Brunswickers to “say yes” to what the Tories said would be $10 billion in short-term investment.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, Premier Philippe Couillard ruled out exploiting Quebec’s shale gas reserves.

Quebecers are largely against hydraulic fracturing and exploiting the natural resource in today’s market is not economically viable, he said.

Couillard made the comments shortly after Quebec’s environmental review board concluded the ecological and social risks associated with hydraulic fracturing outweigh the financial benefits.

Nova Scotia has moved ahead with legislation to ban high-volume hydraulic fracturing for onshore oil and gas. Only three test wells have been hydraulically fracked in Nova Scotia since 2007, all of them in the Kennetcook area, where Denver-based Triangle Petroleum failed to make the natural gas there flow.

The government there won’t consider lifting the ban until it is convinced fracking can be done safely under a set of stringent new rules and regulations.

The New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance, which represents 22 community organizations, called on the Gallant government earlier this week to “put people before politics” when it comes to the shale gas industry.

“We recognize that the government is under significant pressure from the oil and gas lobby, in both public and private, to reverse or weaken its decision (for a moratorium), and its promise to the electorate,” said alliance spokesman Jim Emberger at a news conference in Moncton. “This is no less than a direct attempt by industry to subvert the will and voice of the people and therefore, is also a direct attempt to undermine our democratic process.”

Shale gas moratorium details unveiled by Brian Gallant

18 12 2014

Five conditions will need to be met before government lifts moratorium on all forms of fracking

CBC News Posted: Dec 18, 2014 9:35 AM AT Last Updated: Dec 18, 2014 3:27 PM AT

Premier Brian Gallant and Energy Minister Donald Arseneault announced a moratorium on all forms of hydraulic fracturing in New Brunswick on Thursday.

Premier Brian Gallant and Energy Minister Donald Arseneault announced a moratorium on all forms of hydraulic fracturing in New Brunswick on Thursday. (CBC)

A moratorium on all forms of hydraulic fracturing in New Brunswick is being put in place by Brian Gallant’s government.

The bill to impose the moratorium is to be introduced in the legislature on Thursday afternoon.

“We have been clear from day one that we will impose a moratorium until risks to the environment, health and water are understood,” said Gallant.

Gallant told a news conference the moratorium will be applied to hydraulic fracturing through any means, regardless of whether the process uses water, propane or another substance to extract natural gas from shale rock beneath the earth’s surface.

The moratorium won’t be lifted until five conditions are met, said Gallant.

Those conditions include:

  • A “social licence” be established through consultations to lift the moratorium;
  • Clear and credible information on the impacts on air, health and water so a regulatory regime can be developed;
  • A plan to mitigate impacts on public infrastructure and address issues such as waste water disposal is established;
  • A process is in place to fulfill the province’s obligation to consult with First Nations;
  • A “proper royalty structure” is established to ensure benefits are maximized for New Brunswickers.

Gallant said there will be no `grandfathering’ of projects already underway that allows fracking to take place outside of the moratorium.

Shale gas companies will be permitted to continue with exploration activities such as seismic testing or drilling wells. But they will not be permitted to frack those test wells while the moratorium is in place.

Gallant had stated earlier the moratorium bill would be introduced in the legislature before Christmas. The last sitting day before Christmas for the legislature is expected to be Friday or next Tuesday.

Gallant has long promised a moratorium that would prohibit hydraulic fracturing to produce shale gas until more is known about any potential risks to people’s health, the water supply and the environment.

The moratorium announcement drew praise from the Conservation Council of New Brunswick.

“We’re proud of Premier Brian Gallant and his cabinet for standing firm to protect water and clean air,” said Stephanie Merrill, the environmental organization’s freshwater protection program co-ordinator.

“Placing a moratorium on shale gas development shows that premier Gallant is serious about protecting the environment, particularly our water.”

The moratorium was a key plank in the campaign platform that lifted Gallant’s Liberals to victory in the provincial election in September.

It was held out in contrast to the Progressive Conservative promise to pursue shale gas development and the development of other natural resources to create jobs.

Hydraulic-fracturing is a method of extracting natural gas from shale rock formations beneath the earth’s surface.

It involves injecting a mixture of sand, chemicals, and water or some other stance into the earth under high pressure to fracture the rock and capture natural gas that is otherwise not attainable.

Opponents fear the process could endanger the groundwater supply and potentially have other harmful environmental effects.

NBASGA Says Put People First in Shale Gas Moratorium

17 12 2014
Anti-Shale Gas Alliance wants government to put people first

NBSGA  2014The New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance has renewed a call for government to “put people before politics” when it comes to the shale gas industry.   “We recognize that the government is under significant pressure from the oil and gas lobby, in both public and private, to reverse or weaken its decision (for a moratorium), and its promise to the electorate,” said alliance spokesman Jim Emberger, in a press conference held Tuesday at Capitol Theatre in Moncton.“This is no less than a direct attempt by industry to subvert the will and voice of the people and therefore, is also a direct attempt to undermine our democratic process.”   Emberger noted that the alliance’s representatives from 22 community organizations have continued working to educate the public about the negative impacts of shale gas over the past four years and still continue to do so.   He said they have also talked with many MLAs who admit they don’t have a thorough understanding of the issue.   “Along with the disinformation that the industry is pushing through the media, the Liberal caucus needs to hear the compelling research coming from scientists and economists with no ties to the industry,”he said, noting the alliance has“the ability and willingness”to supply that research.   Emberger said they are pleased to see the government standing by the commitment to enact a moratorium, but said it “must be a moratorium that reflects a clear understanding of the many concerns and issues; one that protects all people in New Brunswick, particularly those who live in the targeted lease areas.”   Denise Melanson, a New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance spokeswoman, said there is a growing amount of peer-reviewed science that details the potential dangers of the shale gas industry. She highlighted the “Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking” published and updated by the concerned Health Professionals of New York, as one source of concerning information that is “very current, very appropriate.”   The alliance criticized the recently published book Shale Gas In New Brunswick, Towards a Better Understanding, released by the Canadian Institute for Research on Public Policy and Public Administration.   Melanson said this book didn’t contain enough factual evidence and peer-reviewed science and didn’t go into any detail about critical aspects like the industry’s potential impact on air quality.   “This decision is difficult to understand since air pollution has emerged as one of the greatest problems related to this industry and the one that possess the greatest immediate threat to health,”she said.   The alliance also used its press conference to tout the values of developing a clean energy sector in the province, noting there are good returns on investment available, as well as significant job creation opportunities.   Recommendations were made to the Gallant government to help kick-start such an industry, by implementing policy to have every building in the province become energy efficient over time; implement policy to generate 1,200 MW of power via renewable energy by 2020 and also to fund the Energy Institute to research and develop opportunities in the energy efficiency and renewable energy sector.   “If we pursued making every building in our province energy efficient with the same vigour the Alward government pursued shale gas, we would see gains and improvements in our fiscal situation and see significantly more people employed in this province,”said alliance spokeswoman Liane Thiboudeau .   “By ignoring the green energy sector, New Brunswick is losing out on tremendous opportunities. We can’t afford to continue missing out on these opportunities.”

Denise Melanson and Jim Emberger of the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance. PHOTO: GREG AGNEW/TIMES & TRANSCRIPT

Cuomo to Ban Fracking in New York State, Citing Health Risks

17 12 2014

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s administration announced on Wednesday that it would ban hydraulic fracturing in New York State because of concerns over health risks, ending years of uncertainty over the disputed method of natural gas extraction.

State officials concluded that fracking, as the method is known, could contaminate the air and water and pose inestimable dangers to public health.

That conclusion was delivered during a year-end cabinet meeting Mr. Cuomo convened in Albany. It came amid increased calls by environmentalists to ban fracking, which uses water and chemicals to release oiland natural gas trapped in deeply buried shale deposits.

The question of whether to allow fracking has been one of the most divisive public policy debates in New York in years, pitting environmentalists against others who saw it as a critical way to bring jobs to economically stagnant portions of upstate.

With Unresolved Health Risks and Few Signs of  an Economic Boon, Cuomo to Ban Gas Fracking

Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat who has prided himself on taking swift and decisive action on other contentious issues like gun control, took the opposite approach on fracking. He repeatedly put off making a decision on how to proceed, most recently citing a continuing — and seemingly never-ending — study by state health officials.

On Wednesday, six weeks after Mr. Cuomo won re-election to a second term, the long-awaited health study finally materialized.

In a presentation at the cabinet meeting, the acting state health commissioner, Dr. Howard A. Zucker, said the examination had found “significant public health risks” associated with fracking.

Holding up scientific studies to animate his arguments, Dr. Zucker listed concerns about water contamination and air pollution, and said there was insufficient scientific evidence to affirm the long-term safety of fracking.


Dr. Zucker said his review boiled down to a simple question: Would he want to live in a community that allowed fracking?

He said the answer was no.

“We cannot afford to make a mistake,” he said. “The potential risks are too great. In fact, they are not even fully known.”

New York has had a de facto ban on the procedure for more than five years, predating Mr. Cuomo’s election. Over the course of his first term, the governor at times sent conflicting signals about how he would proceed.

In 2012, Mr. Cuomo flirted with approving a limited program in several struggling Southern Tier counties along New York’s border with Pennsylvania. But later that year, he bowed to entreaties from environmental advocates, announcing instead that his administration would start the regulatory process over by beginning a new study to evaluate the health risks.

Polls showed public opinion divided over the issue, and the governor felt pressure from both sides.

Mr. Cuomo had focused a great amount of attention on trying to improve the economic climate upstate, and fracking appeared to offer a way to bring new life to struggling areas atop the Marcellus Shale, a subterranean deposit of trapped gas that extends across much of New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Mr. Cuomo’s Republican opponent in the election this year, Rob Astorino, the Westchester County executive, promised to allow fracking, and he accused the governor of squandering an opportunity to help upstate regions.

But the governor has also faced strong opposition from groups worried about the effects of fracking on the state’s watersheds and aquifers, as well as on tourism and the quality of life in small upstate communities.

Opponents were aided by celebrities like Yoko Ono, who drew attention to their cause. As he traveled around the state, Mr. Cuomo was hounded by protesters opposed to fracking, who showed up at his events and pressed him to impose a statewide ban.

The governor’s uncertain stance on fracking also hurt his standing with some liberal activists. Pledging to ban fracking, Zephyr Teachout, a law professor, won about a third of the vote in the Democratic primary in September, a strong showing that Mr. Cuomo later attributed in part to support from fracking opponents.

Complicating matters, dozens of communities across New York have passed moratoriums and bans on fracking, and in June, the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, ruled that towns could use zoning ordinances to ban fracking.

Recognizing the sensitivity of the issue, Mr. Cuomo both affirmed the fracking ban on Wednesday and tried to keep some distance from it, saying he was deferring to the expertise of his health and environmental conservation commissioners.

Nevertheless, environmental groups cast the governor as a hero.

Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, said Mr. Cuomo “set himself apart as a national political leader who stands up for people” over the energy industry.

Advocates of fracking accused him of giving in to environmentalists’ efforts to stoke public fears.

Brad Gill, executive director of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York, said, “While industry will find opportunity elsewhere, our hearts go out to the farmers and landowners in the Southern Tier whose livelihoods in New York State are in jeopardy.”

also: Wall Street Journal re Fracking Ban http://www.wsj.com/articles/new-york-gov-andrew-cuomos-administration-moves-to-ban-fracking-1418839033

notes the importance that a legal decision to uphold town’s rights to ban fracking played in this decision

Operation Alert Debert Dec. 28 1 PM

15 12 2014

Operation Alert Debert

Sunday, December 28 at 1:00pm
Debert, Nova Scotia in Debert, Nova Scotia

We’re heading to Debert to have a fun family friendly gathering to meet the locals and educate them on the risks of flow back frack waste. Side walk chalk and hot chocolate will be available. ❤

Fracking Waste Company Tries Again To Dump It In Colchester

AIS goes back to beginning after string of refusals

The main fracking waste holding pond at the Atlantic Industrial Services Debert facility

Colchester County approved last week an Atlantic Industrial Services application to discharge treated fracking waste water from Kennetcook to the Debert sewage treatment plant on a Bay of Fundy estuary.

If this give readers a sense of deja vu, it is probably because this is exactly the same approval process that was launched in early last year, ultimately ending in rejection by the County in May 2013. 

Two months after the rejection by Colchester County, AIS tried to shop the fracking waste water to the Town of Windsor. With Environment Department permission and supervision, the company had in 2010 and 2011 discharged over 7 million litres of untreated fracking wastes from New Brunswick. While initially attracted to the revenue stream, Windsor followed suit with Colchester and rejected the proposal.

Longer in the works was the AIS initiated proposal to evaporate the treated waste water in the cement kiln at the Lefarge plant in Brookfield. One year after the Colchester rejection, the Department of Environment gave it’s approval for that as a pilot project. The department recently approved the continuation of that project, after reviewing results from the testing of stack emissions and the cement product.

The Environment Department has declined to comment on why they did not require testing of the cement kiln dust, despite concerns about leaching from the tailings left around the plant, and used in biosolids spread on farm fields.

For reasons that are not known, while trucking wastes for disposal at the Lefarge plant, Atlantic Industrial Services has continued trying to find a municipality that would accept the discharge of the treated wastes into its sewer system.

The next attempt by AIS was to propose trucking the processed fracking waste water out of province to Dieppe. There it has rented the very small facility of a defunct waste water company, and seems to have essentially inherited the New Brunswick provincial certification for Acadia Waste Management. It appears that there is a two birds with one stone goal here: AIS solving its Nova Scotia problem, and at the same time establishing a precedent for processing New Brunswick fracking wastes that it is no longer allowed to transport to Nova Scotia.

At any rate, that AIS proposal is presently bogged down at the level of the provincial government. Municipal officials in Dieppe and Moncton do not yet have a formal proposal, but have displayed as much wariness about the prospects as have their colleagues in Nova Scotia.

So we come to the fifth stop in the saga of where does AIS unload the processed fracking waste water…. keeping in mind that we have yet to hear what the plans are for the solid form chemical and radionucleide contaminants removed from the waste water and now being stockpiled at the company’s Debert facility.

Seemingly from nowhere, the Town of Amherst emerged as the solution. The Mayor, the CAO, and several councilors were all supportive of the proposal, but the swift pushback from residents overcame the attraction of the $500,000 offered. Amherst ended negotiations with AIS 3 weeks ago.

For it’s next stop the fracking waste water saga returns to the beginning: AIS has applied once more for discharge from its facility into the nearby Debert sewage treatment plant. Council of Canadians regional organizer Angela Giles worked with Colchester residents during the 2013 process, and made a presentation at public hearings hosted by the municipality.

“How many times will the community need to fight this,” asks Giles. “And the timing of it all, with an appeals deadline during the holidays, makes it seem as though the County is trying to sneak this through.” She stresses that Colchester residents need to be contacting their Councilors, and that they consider registering to make an appeal submission before the December 29 deadline.

As with the 2013 AIS application, the current one has been approved by municipal staff. Unless Council chooses to also overturn the current approval, the company will be able to discharge the processed fracking waste water- 30 million litres at the Debert facility and at the two seven year old ‘temporary’ storage ponds in Kennetcook. Part of Colchester Council’s consideration will be reviewing appeal submissions accepted from residents and non-residents of the County, which can take any form.

“This appears like a scramble by AIS to find any community to take the waste,” said Giles. “People working on this issue are asking, why are communities being forced to find their way out of a mess someone else made? Our provincial government obviously failed us at regulating Triangle Petroleum’s operation in Hants County, and failed again at oversight when AIS was enlisted to get rid of the waste water mess. Provincial oversight has finally improved. But where is the leadership in finding an end to what Environment Minister Delorey has called our legacy issue?”

’Watered-down’ deal struck at UN climate talks

15 12 2014

T&T  DEC 15


   LIMA, PERu • Climate negotiators salvaged a compromise deal in Lima early Sunday that sets the stage for a global pact in Paris next year, but rejected a rigorous review of greenhouse gas emissions limits.

More than 30 hours behind schedule, delegates from more than 190 countries agreed on what information should go into the pledges that countries submit for the expected Paris pact.   They argued all day Saturday over the wording for the watered-down deal, with developing nations worried that the text blurred the distinction between what rich and poor countries can be expected to do.

Many developing countries, the most vulnerable to climate change’s impacts, accuse rich nations of shirking their responsibilities to curb climate change and pay for the damage it inflicts.   The final draft of the deal alleviated those concerns with language saying countries have “common but differentiated responsibilities” to deal with global warming.

“As a text it’s not perfect, but it includes the positions of the parties,” said Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, who was the conference chairman and had spent most of the day meeting separately with delegations.

In presenting a new, fourth draft just before midnight, Peru’s environment minister gave a sharply reduced body of delegates an hour to review it. Many delegates had already quit the makeshift conference centre on the grounds of Peru’s army headquarters.

It also restored language demanded by small island states at risk of being flooded by rising seas, mentioning a “loss and damage” mechanism agreed upon in last year’s talks in Poland that recognizes that nations hardest hit by climate change will require financial and technical help.   “We need a permanent arrangement to help the poorest of the world” Ian Fry, negotiator for the Pacific Island nation of Tuvalu, said at a midday session.

However, the approved draft weakened language on the content of the pledges, saying they “may” instead of “shall” include quantifiable information showing how countries intend to meet their emissions targets.   Also, top carbon polluter China and other major developing countries opposed plans for a review process that would allow the pledges to be compared against one another before Paris.

In Lima, the momentum from last month’s joint U.S.-China deal on emissions targets faded quickly as rifts reopened over who should do what to fight global warming. The goal of the talks is to shape a global agreement in Paris that puts the world on a path to reduce the heat-trapping gases that scientists say are warming the planet.

 The new draft mentioned only that all pledges would be reviewed a month ahead of Paris to assess their combined effect on climate change.

“I think it’s definitely watered down from what we expected” said Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists.   

Sam Smith, chief of climate policy for the environmental group WWF, said: “The text went from weak to weaker to weakest and it’s very weak indeed”   

Chief U.S. negotiator Todd Stern acknowledged that negotiations had been contentious but said the outcome was “quite good in the end.” He had warned Saturday that failing to leave Lima with an accord would be “seen as a serious breakdown” that could put the Paris agreement and the entire UN process at risk.

Though negotiating tactics always play a role, virtually all disputes in the UN talks reflect a wider issue of how to divide the burden of fixing the planetary warming that scientists say results from human activity, primarily the burning of oil, coal and natural gas.

Historically, Western nations are the biggest emitters. Currently, most CO2 emissions are coming from developing countries led by China and India as they grow their economies and lift millions of people out of poverty.   

During a brief stop in Lima on Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said fixing the problem is “everyone’s responsibility, because it’s the net amount of carbon that matters, not each country’s share”

According to the UN’s scientific panel on climate change, the world can pump out no more than about 1 trillion tons of carbon to have a likely chance of avoiding dangerous levels of warming — defined in the UN talks as exceeding 2 degrees centigrade (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above 19th-century averages.

It already has spent more than half of that carbon budget as emissions continue to rise, driven by growth in China and other emerging economies.

Klein: 3-Day Workweek to Save the Climate

15 12 2014

By Naomi Klein bigissue.comNo Logo author Naomi Klein says we must revolutionise our working lives if we are to combat climate change and save the free world…

Imagine an ordinary, full-time working week, one that requires just 21 hours of hard graft. Imagine a less frantic existence – three days on, four days off. Imagine more time with the family, more time strolling round the park, more time listening to your favourite music while cooking at a leisurely pace. A lovely idea – but does it really stack up?

The phrase ‘three-day week’ might, for readers of a certain age, conjure up memories of the early 1970s: electricity blackouts and TV broadcasts stopping at 10.30pm. Yet a growing number of people are advocating a 21-hour working week as the solution to the 21st century’s most pressing problems.

Naomi Klein is the latest big thinker to back the idea of a shorter working week and sees it as part of a transition toward a low-carbon economy and a move away from “shitty” long-hour, low-paid jobs, as she outlines to The Big Issue…

When did you begin to think free-market economics are a threat to life on Earth?

When I started hanging around with climate change deniers, it became clear they understood the current economic system could not survive if climate change was real. You can’t hold on to ideas like freedom from regulation and liberating profit in the face of a crisis like climate change, which clearly demands collective action and strong regulation. We need to cut our emissions so deeply that it threatens the whole growth model of free-market capitalism.

Some economists are now talking about moving beyond the idea of growth and our obsession with GDP. Is that a good thing?

It’s exciting that people are talking about these things. We know chasing endless growth doesn’t deliver well-being or economic stability and is leading to widening inequality. So it’s much easier to challenge now. It’s really about having a strategic economy, focusing on parts of the economy we want to expand or extract.

You write about “selective degrowth” and ideas like a shorter working week and a universal basic income to discourage “shitty work”. Do you think people are ready for those ideas?

I think people know they’re overworked. And overworking is intimately tied to a particularly wasteful model of consumption – you have no time after work to do anything other than grab a takeaway, and less time for low-consumption activities like cooking.

Does the environment movement need to become more radical?

The environmental movement has a history of elitism. Not the entire movement – there have been grassroots outsiders engaging in confrontation tactics – but there’s a history of conservation and hunting clubs, bringing in royalty and so on. It’s not exactly been part of the left, which is why there’s been suspicion between progressive political movements and the environmental movement. There’s a lot of work to be done between natural allies.

So it’s time to stop pretending big companies are going to change everything?

There’s been a bias among many big environmental organisations to build coalitions with other elite groups. You’d be amazed by how much time green groups in the US spend thinking about how to get the Pentagon using green energy. Really? Is that the best we can hope for?

The idea we’re all guilty is demobilising because it prevents us directing our anger at the institutions most responsible

And it’s time to get angry?

Yes – I think people should be angry. A lot of environmentalist discourse has been about erasing responsibility: “We’re all in this together… We’re all equally responsible.” Well, no – you, me and Exxon (Mobil) are not all in this together.The idea we’re all guilty is demobilising because it prevents us directing our anger at the institutions most responsible.

Do you think working people will see the connection between climate change and their own pressing struggles?

Most people don’t have good choices. They use fossil fuels because they have to – not because they love Exxon or Shell. We’re seeing an important discussion around fuel poverty. Fossil fuels aren’t delivering energy people can afford easily, if about a quarter of people in this country are choosing not to turn the heat on at times because they can’t afford the bills. I think people will start to see that action on climate change can address pressing issues.

How do you stay optimistic when the picture looks so bleak?

I don’t think you can engage with this material without being on an emotional rollercoaster. Our elites have never treated climate change as a real crisis, they only pay lip service to it. But a wide social movement can change that. Pressure from below can force recalcitrant elites to respond.

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate, by Naomi Klein (£20, Allen Lane), is out now

NB’rs for Reproductive Justice

30 11 2014
Inviting all Green Party supporters to join with other New Brunswickers who care about reproductive justice!

Join the Rally for Reproductive Health
Wednesday, December 3rd, 12pm – 1:30pm
New Brunswick Legislature (706 Queen Street, Fredericton, NB)

Reproductive Justice New Brunswick (RJNB) has invited us to rally outside the Legislature on December 3rd, the first day that the legislature will sit.

RJNB is pleased with the recent repeal of laws that prevented access to abortion services but nothing has been mentioned concerning prevention or follow up, or the need for more community health care services.

The recent announcement from the Liberal government is an important first step, but there are still many obstacles facing those seeking greater reproductive control and we need to call on the government to enact our Green party health agenda!!

There will be music, posters, placards, chants, and speakers, including Megan Mitton, Green Party Critic for Women’s Equality. Join us to show support for a future when all people can access the healthcare they need to thrive and decide if, when, and how to have or parent children with dignity and support.

To find out more, and stay updated on the event, you can join the Facebook event:

Invitation aux ami-e-s du Parti vert et à toutes les personnes s’intéressant à la justice reproductive :

Rassemblement pour la santé reproductive
Le mercredi 3 décembre, de 12h à 13h30
Assemblée législative du Nouveau-Brunswick, 706, rue Queen, Fredericton, NB

Justice Reproductive Nouveau-Brunswick organise un rassemblement à l’extérieur de l’Assemblée le 3 décembre, la première journée de la session législative, afin d’appuyer l’abrogation des règlements qui empêchent l’accès à l’avortement.

JRNB applaudit l’annonce récente de cette abrogation mais se préoccupe du fait que le gouvernement n’a rien dit au sujet de la prévention, de la suite à ce dossier, ni du besoin pour davantage de services de soins de santé communautaire.

L’annonce récente par le gouvernement Libéral est un premier pas important mais il existe d’autres obstacles à la prise de contrôle de notre propre santé reproductive, et il faut évidemment revendiquer l’adoption du programme de santé du Parti vert.

Il y aura de la musique et des chants, des pancartes et des bannières, et des discours par des gens comme Megan Mitton, porte-parole du Parti vert pour l’égalité des femmes. Nous souhaitons un avenir où les services de santé essentiels sont accessibles et où chaque personne peut choisir quand et comment elle veut être parent, avec dignité et respect.

Pour en savoir plus, voir la page Facebook de l’événement :

TransCanada and Enbridge pipelines rejected by Quebec municipalities

29 11 2014

Southern Quebec municipalities reject pipeline plans after TransCanada and Enbridge fail to provide details

CBC News Posted: Nov 27, 2014 12:23 PM ET Last Updated: Nov 27, 2014 12:23 PM ET

Denis Coderre looks on while Mascouche Mayor Guillaume Tremblay explains his position on TransCanada's Energy East pipeline plans.

Denis Coderre looks on while Mascouche Mayor Guillaume Tremblay explains his position on TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline plans. (CBC)

TransCanada and Enbridge’s pipelines won’t be welcome in southern Quebec municipalities until they respond to all of the region’s mayors’ concerns, said Denis Coderre.

Coderre, speaking as the president of the Montreal Metropolitan Community — an organization representing 82 communities in the greater Montreal region — said both pipeline companies had failed to meet all the conditions the mayors had set out.

“I truly believe in economic development, but not at any cost,” Coderre said late Thursday morning.

He and Mascouche Mayor Guillaume Tremblay held a news conference in collaboration with the Union of Quebec Municipalities (UMQ) late Thursday morning.

“We had some guidelines, some conditions that we put forward, like the respect of the environment, to make sure that we have safety because we heard about leaks,” he continued.

Instead, he and Tremblay said their most recently voiced concerns were met with an attempt to smooth things over.

“Drop the PR,” Coderre said. “We are big boys and big girls. We are able to make decisions.”

Mayors ask NEB to block projects

He and Tremblay asked the National Energy Board to not allow Enbridge to reverse its 9B pipeline between Montreal and Sarnia, as well as block TransCanada from building its Energy East pipeline until the companies can fulfill all the conditions set out by Coderre and other regional mayors.

‘Drop the PR. We are big boys and big girls. We are able to make decisions’– Denis Coderre, president of the MCC

Coderre said that although the Energy East pipeline will cross hundreds of kilometres of Quebec soil and waterways, there will be few economic benefits for the province.

Considering the potential risk to the environment and the safety of people living near the pipeline’s proposed route, Coderre said he was not willing to take a leap of faith on TransCanada or Enbridge.

He said if those companies couldn’t prove they had solid security measures and emergency plans in place, then their projects wouldn’t be rubber-stamped by the municipalities.

“That’s the deal. We have conditions. If the conditions are not fulfilled, tough luck,” Coderre said.