Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Nebraska Governor Calls on Obama to Deny Permit for Keystone XL Pipeline

Grant Schulte-Associated Press-08/31/2011
WASHINGTON - The governor of a midwestern state that would be affected by a pipeline proposed to go from Canada to Texas urged President Obama to deny a federal permit for construction of the pipeline. Details here.



PLT: Isn't it sad that the world is so short of enlightened politicians such as this!

Save the Amazon - Sign the Petition! (Avaaz)

The Amazon forest is at risk. The Brazilian Congress has watered down strict forest protection laws and brave Brazilian activists are being murdered for speaking out. It’s time for us to take this critical battle global -- if we all call on President Dilma to veto the bill, we could save the Amazon.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Tropical Storm Warnings for Eastern Canada as Irene Approaches From U.S.

Canadian Press - Aug 28 - 2011
Courtesy Yahoo! News
HALIFAX - Up to 180,000 homes were without power in Quebec on Sunday as hurricane Irene steamed northward as a tropical storm...Details here.

Obama Administration Backs Oil Pipeline From Alberta to Texas

Campaigners disappointed as White House says 1,700-mile pipeline will not cause significant environmental damage. Details here.
=====

The Alberta tar sands - source of "product" for the pipeline
PLT: As pessimistic as I am about President Obama actually stopping this thing, I think the gist of this story is a tad misleading. It is the President, and only the President (not the "White House" or "State Department"), who must sign off on the actual permit that will allow it to proceed. And that has yet to take place.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Climate-Change Scientist Cleared in U.S. Data-Altering Inquiry

By Jim Efstathiou Jr. - Bloomberg - Aug 22, 2011

Michael Mann, a Pennsylvania researcher who’s been a target of climate-change skeptics, was cleared of wrongdoing by U.S. investigators in the flap surrounding e-mails hacked from a U.K. university. Details here.

The CBC Gives Belated - but Appreciated Coverage of an Issue Critical to Canada and the World!

CBC.ca | The Current
The Keystone XL project is a proposed pipeline that would carry crude oil from Alberta to Texas. Critics call it a disaster in waiting ... saying the pipeline would pass through many environmentally sensitive areas, and there's little doubt that at some point, there would be big spill. Proponents say the line would give oil hungry Americans a safer supply of oil. And create a lot of jobs in a time where help wanted signs are desperately needed. Click headline for details.

Please read update, *below.
PLT: Below is a message I sent this morning to "The Current," (with a copy to "The National.)"
=====
Dear Piya, Anna-Maria et al,

As a faithful listener and environmentalist, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your coverage of the anti-pipeline protests in Washington!

To me, these are nothing less than a critical battle against the ravages of climate change. At the heart of this struggle is a Canadian project. The demonstrations and subsequent arrests therefore richly deserve more coverage from the CBC than they are getting...i.e. on "The National" along with hourly radio newscasts. There has been little or nothing of this, so far (altho I missed last night's show), much to the shame of the Corporation's news department!

If I were a conspiracy theorist, I might swear these programs are being cowed into suppressing this news by a "strong, majority, Conservative government," Hell-bent on development at any cost.

(Might this also explain the "friendly" coverage of Harper's northern junkets...where apparently nary a soul living there is concerend any longer about the fact their whole world, including the snow, ice and permafrost, is melting around them! I guess it's all good!)
Once again, my sincere and heartfelt thanks!

Larry Powell
Roblin, Manitoba.

====
*Last night (Fri.) "The National" finally got around to covering the demos in question, almost a week after they began. Did PLT play a role?

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A Comment "PLT" Left on an American Website

See update, *below.
If you enjoy this blog, please consider 
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Thanks! - Larry
                                                                                                      

PLT: I have just posted the following in the "comments" section of "Common Dreams," an alternative online media in the US. The story was about the critical protests taking place at the White House. Hundreds are there to demand President Obama not allow the proposed Canadian pipeline to carry Alberta tar to the Texas Gulf coast and the profound implications it would have for the environment and climate change:
"I just want the world to know from up here in Canada that our flagship TV newscast, CBC's, 'The National,' is studiously avoiding any coverage of the protests so far. Shame on the CBC and the rest of the media for its undercoverage of this critical juncture in the environmental history of our planet. My worst fear is that Stephen Harper's new, majority, right-wing, heavy-handed government here is somehow coercing the CBC into not giving this event the coverage it deserves. As I see it, this is a seminal struggle to avoid reaching a tipping point with climate change. And a Canadian project is at its heart. Earth's foremost climatologist, James Hansen, warns it will be "game over for the climate" if this misguided project is allowed to proceed!"
==

And it seems the CBC is not the only delinquent "mainstream" media, suppressing the news about these important demonstrations. Similar things are happening in the 'States. Here is another comment posted in the same space by someone else:
"Not a word of this in the MSM (mainstream media) - so we would never know people were protesting if not for alternative news. Corporate owned media only reports what they think will shape public opinion to their ends.
"
===
* "The National" finally got around to covering the demos last night (Fri.), almost a week after they began.

Jack Layton's Last Letter

"My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world."
  Read the whole letter here.




Jack with his wife, Olivia Chow
BBC photo

Monday, 22 August 2011

A RUDE AWAKENING: THE NORTHERN WALK TO REGINA FOR A NUCLEAR WASTE BAN

For Aug. 26, 2011 R-Town papers
BY Jim Harding
On August 16th several hundred people walked the green mile along Regina’s Albert Street, taking their call for a provincial nuclear waste ban to the government. They want an end to the industry group, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), negotiating with northern communities to “host” a nuclear dump without the people of Saskatchewan having any say.
This was the completion of a 20-day, 820 km walk started July 27th from Pinehouse. Along the way walkers made new friendships and networks that bring the north and south closer together. At the front of the colourful parade was a big, blue balloon “earth” encircled by cutouts of the world’s children holding hands. There was much magic as I watched, over the heads of the block-long string of people in front of me, as “the earth” bobbed up and down as its carriers led the way.
And then I remembered a similar walk, thirty-two years ago, on February 22, 1979. Then, walkers carried a huge white elephant, made of paper-mache, to symbolize what they thought of the government’s uranium policies of the day. How much longer, I thought, will it take for us to learn the hard lessons about the toxic economy and start to seriously make the shift towards sustainability?

Climate Science References for the (US) Campaign Trail

WASHINGTON - August 22 
Given that a number of presidential hopefuls have been voicing their opinions recently on climate science, the Union of Concerned 
Manitoba's unprecedented, catastrophic floods of 2011 - 
the costliest in the province's history. Wpg. Free Press photo.
Scientists (UCS) thought it would be helpful to provide a short list of authoritative scientific assessments on climate science...Details here.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Growth of Cities Endangers Global Environment, According to New Analysis

ScienceDaily (Aug. 20, 2011)  The explosive growth of cities worldwide over the next two decades poses significant risks to people and the global environment, according to a meta-analysis Vancouver. PLT photopublished August 19 in PLoS ONE. Details here.

Salmon Inquiry to Wade Into Contentious Issues of Fish Farms and Disease

The Canadian Press - Au 20-'11
VANCOUVER - After months of hearings in relative obscurity, the public inquiry into the decline of sockeye along British Columbia's fabled Fraser River is finally bound to grab some headlines. Details here.
Courtesy, National Geographic.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Dozens Arrested Outside White House in Keystone Pipeline Protests

The Canadian Press - Au 20'11                                                                     CBC photo
WASHINGTON - 65 protesters were arrested Saturday as they participated in a peaceful protest outside the White House aimed at pressuring President Obama to block TransCanada's controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Details here. 
=====
PLT: Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, John Baird, left something out whilst peddling this filthy project in the 'States recently. He said it would be "good for the Canadian economy." What he failed to say is that it will also be rather good for the pocketbooks of Tory "bagmen" like Derek Burney, once Canada's Ambassador to the U.S., and Canadian Senator Pamela Wallin. Both have their snouts in the trough as officials of companies involved in the tar sands. These are facts the two would obviously rather not have the public know about.  Otherwise, the praises they sing in public in support of the pipeline while bad-mouthing the peaceful opponents of it, might sound rather self-serving, indeed! 
====
Here is a complaint I sent to The National today: (While the story appeared on CBC Online, The National breathed not a word of it last night.) "What is WRONG with you people? A seminal struggle is underway in Washington, DC, where peaceful protesters are trying to protect our very planet from a massive, destructive CANADIAN project and all you can give us are BODY TATTOOS? Did Stephen tell you not to cover this?"

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Not in our Backyard; Northern Saskatchewan Residents Protest Nuclear Waste Dump

By: Jennifer Graham, The Canadian Press - 08/16/2011

REGINA - Some northern Saskatchewan residents say they're drawing a line in the sand to protect the environment from nuclear waste. Details here.

North Sea Oil Spill: Shell Struggles To Shut Down Second Leak

By MEERA SELVA   08/16/11 Huff Post Green
LONDON -- Royal Dutch Shell has shut down the main leak at one of its North Sea oil rigs but said Tuesday it is struggling to stop a secondary spill....Details here.

PLT: Isn't it odd how oil companies have no problem in sucking oil from remote places....just problems repairing the leaks that happen!

The New Harper Government Sharpens its Claws on "The Enemy"

If you enjoy this blog, please consider 
donating to the author to keep it going. 
Just click on the link below.
Thanks! - Larry
                                                                                                      
PLT: I guess Prime Minister Harper's pledge to be a government "for all Canadians," should have contained a caveat…."except for asbestos widows." Harper's kinder, gentler regime has sent a threatening letter to a woman whose husband had died of an asbestos-related ailment for using the Conservative party logo on her website. The site consists of a personal essay telling of her husbands struggle with his disease and a reminder of Canada's shameless refusal to attach warnings to our asbestos exports. 
Please also read; "Harper Disgraces us all, Once Again," and "Help Convince Canada to do the Right Thing About Asbestos!"

Monday, 15 August 2011

Oil Consumption Hits All-Time High

Economic Recession a Blip on Oil Consumption's Upward Climb


World Consumed 87.4 Million Barrels Per Day in 2010

Washington, D.C.----Global oil consumption reached an all-time high of 87.4 million barrels per day in 2010, according to a new Vital Signs Online report from the Worldwatch Institute. The 3.1 percent increase more than makes up for the brief decline in consumption caused by the economic crisis.



"Between the recession, the BP oil spill, and instability in the Middle East and North Africa, oil markets have been on a roller coaster the last few years," said Worldwatch Sustainable Energy Fellow Saya Kitasei, who co-authored the report along with Worldwatch researcher Natalie Narotzky. "When the dust settles, however, it is clear that the momentum of future market growth has moved to the developing world, where oil consumption did not miss a beat during the recession and shows no sign of slowing."



Key findings from the report, which can be found at vitalsigns.worldwatch.org, include:

  • After falling 1.5 percent between 2008 and 2009 due to the global financial crisis, global oil consumption recovered by 3.1 percent in 2010 to reach an all-time high of 87.4 million barrels per day.

  • Oil consumption in countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) was more than 7 percent lower in 2010 than in 2005, while consumption in non-OECD countries is up 20 percent since then.

  • In 2010, oil remained the largest source of primary energy use worldwide, but its share of this use fell for the eleventh consecutive year, to 37 percent. Responding to this falling demand, global oil production fell 2.1 percent to 80.3 million barrels per day in 2009.

  • One third of the increase in consumption came from China, which now uses over 10 percent of the world's oil.

  • Political unrest in the Middle East-North Africa region and uncertainty about new regulations on deepwater offshore oil drilling have both further contributed to volatility in the global oil market.

  • The Middle East remains the largest exporter of oil with 35.3 percent in 2010, followed by the former Soviet Union and the Asia Pacific region.

  • Global proved oil reserves have been increasing since 1980 and reached an estimated 1,526 billion barrels in 2010.

  • Canadian oil sands now contribute around half of that country's crude oil production and are expected to provide a growing share, but they are energy- and water-intensive to develop. In the case of pit mining, they can lead to extensive landscape alteration and large waste streams of toxic mining tailings.



For more information, including charts, trends, and graphs, please visit http://vitalsigns.worldwatch.org/vs-trend/global-oil-market-resumes-growth-after-stumble-2009



Note to media: For a complimentary PDF of the full report, please email nnarotzky@worldwatch.org.



About the Worldwatch Institute: Worldwatch Institute delivers the insights and ideas that empower decision makers to create an environmentally sustainable society that meets human needs. Worldwatch focuses on the 21st-century challenges of climate change, resource degradation, population growth, and poverty by developing and disseminating solid data and innovative strategies for achieving a sustainable society. The Institute's State of the World report is published annually in more than 20 languages. For more information, visit www.worldwatch.org

Why You Should Care About the Oilsands

By Clare Demerse , Pembina Institute - Au 8 '11
Anyone who works on climate change policy in Canada, like I do, ends up talking about the oil sands on a daily basis. Details here.

Coal Power Plant Races Against Regulation

Shawn Mccarthy — Globe and Mail - Aug. 07 
Maxim Power Corp. is racing to beat proposed federal emission regulations that could derail its plan to build a 500-megawatt coal-fired power plant in the mountains of western Alberta. Details here.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Worldwatch Mourns the Passing of Ray Anderson: Board Member, Champion of Sustainability, and Dear Friend

WorldWatch Institute Aug 11 '11
Washington, D.C.–The Worldwatch Institute is mourning the loss of Institute Board member and visionary business leader Ray Anderson, who died this week after a 20-month battle with cancer. Details here. 

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Climate of Denial - Can Science and the Truth Withstand the Merchants of Poison?

Rolling Stone Politics - by Al Gore
The first time I remember hearing the question "is it real?" was when I went as a young boy to see a traveling show. Details here.

The River Always Wins

Aug 8 The Dominion  Miles Howe
FREDERICTON—Over 1,500 people from across New Brunswick & beyond take to the streets to oppose fracking... Details here.

PLT: Gee I don't recall seeing any coverage of this in the mainstream media (MSM)! Surprise!

Help Convince Canada to do the Right Thing About Asbestos!


   
Dear Larry ,
We are asking you to show solidarity with asbestos victims in the Third World and support the campaign to demand the Canadian government ban asbestos mining and exports. Asbestos kills over 100,000 people every year, and Canada is a major player in the death-dealing industry.
In a change of tactics, we’re not targeting all Conservative Members of Parliament (MPs) - but just one. A number of other like-minded organizations are also ‘adopting’ a MP and focusing their efforts on convincing him/her what their party is doing is wrong, unethical and immoral.
In our case – we have chosen to focus our efforts on the Federal Environment Minister, the Hon. Peter Kent, MP for Thornhill, Ontario.
Peter is an intelligent guy and knows what his government is doing is wrong. We need to encourage him to support an end to Canada’s mining and export of asbestos. Peter and his government can prevent thousands of cases of cancer if they only do what’s right.
Here is what we’re asking you to do:
  1. Send a letter to Peter Kent (peter.kent@parl.gc.ca). See “Key Messages” below.
  2. Mail a copy of your letter to his office: House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6 (no postage is required).
  3. Twitter him also (@mppeterkent). His Twitter stream is here.
  4. Post your thoughts on his Facebook Wall
  5. Call his Ottawa office (613-992-0253) and ask to speak with him. Keep calling until he, or a representative from his office, returns your call.
  6. If you live in the Toronto area, call and ask to schedule a meeting with him (905-886-9911). Don’t take no for an answer! You can also visit his constituency office: 7600 Yonge St., Thornhill, Ontario, L4J 1V9
Please keep us informed of your efforts – we’d really appreciate it!
Key Messages:
  • According to the World Health Organization, more than 107,000 people die each year from asbestos-related disease.
  • Asbestos is the "perfect carcinogen" as it acts as both a promoter and initiator of cancer.
  • Exposure to asbestos has been linked to several diseases including asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.
  • At the recent conference of the UN Rotterdam Convention in Geneva, the Harper government single-handedly prevented asbestos from being put on the Convention’s list of hazardous substances.
  • Newly released documents show that back in 2006 the Canadian government rejected advice from Health Canada that asbestos be added to the UN list of hazardous substances.
  • Billions of dollars will be spent over the next 20 years to remove asbestos from our Parliament Buildings because it's a cancer-causing substance.
  • Canada mines and ships the majority of its asbestos to the Third World, particularly Asia. The world's leading experts predict that the sharp increase in asbestos use in Asia will see a surge of mortality and morbidity in the decades ahead.
Thank you for your consideration!
Sincerely,
John Bennett, Executive Director
Sierra Club Canada
jb@sierraclub.ca

Follow John Bennett on Twitter
======
PLEASE ALSO READ: "Harper Disgraces us all Once Again."

Food Safety is Leaving Town - Please Sign Petition!

Food Safety First Aug 10'11
PLT photo  After decades of protecting consumers against dangerous products, federal food safety inspectors are being pulled out of meat plants that produce for local citizens in BC, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Details here.

An Enlightened U.S. Senator Warns us About the Ill-Conceived Keystyone XL Pipeline (Video)

Feds Fund Cargill for Waste Processing at High River

Manitoba Co-Operator
The federal government has announced a grant of $10 million to Cargill Meat Solutions for its plant at High River, Alberta. Details here.          PLT photo 
PLT: While one might welcome the fact that this money will go toward pollution control, it is one more indication that Canada has no plan whatsoever to embrace the "polluters pay" principle. Why should Canadian taxpayers be paying for what Cargill ought to be doing itself? What is even worse - Canada is poised to slash the number of food inspectors  in the name of Harper's holy crusade to hack and slash the deficit. I wonder if the situation described in my earlier blog post, "Cargill Meat Recall in the 'States," will now become even more common here?

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Extreme Weather Threatens the World's Forests - United Nations

Improved forest management needed.
9 August 2011, Rome - Extreme weather events and natural disasters will pose an increasing threat to the world's forests…Details here.

PLT photo

The Secret Minds of Bees

By Kim Tingley - OnEarth - a Survival Guide for the Planet - Jul.29/11
These insects may experience emotions similar to our own. Details here.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Block the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline

RAINFOREST Action Network  If TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline is approved, close to 1 million barrels of thick tar sands crude will flow each day at high pressure from Canada through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and all the way to Texas, threatening countless communities and over 2000 waterways, including America's largest under ground water source—the Ogallala Aquifer. Tell President Obama to block the Keystone XL oil pipeline. TAKE ACTION HERE.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

The Mounting Cost of Doing Nothing

 by Larry Powell
If you enjoy this blog, please consider 
donating to the author to keep it going. 
Just click on the link below.
Thanks! - Larry
                                                                                                      
A tractor located in a market garden east of Lumsden, Saskatchewan, sits in water in the Qu'Appelle Valley town northwest of Regina on April 17, 2011. Water-logged Prairie farmers and ranchers are to receive $448 million to help deal with devastating flood damage, Thursday Aug 4, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Roy Antal

Texas In Worst Ever Drought, Hottest Ever Heat Wave

Green/ThinkProgress - 08/4/11
Texas is now in its worst-ever one-year drought, according to John Nielsen-Gammon, the Texas State Climatologist…details here.

An underweight longhorn 
(Jay Janner/AP) Washington Post.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Cargill Meat Recall Heightens Fears Budgets Cuts Will Weaken Oversight, Threaten Public Health

Democracy Now 08/05/11
In one of the largest meat recalls in U.S. history, this week the food giant Cargill ordered the recall of 36 million pounds of ground turkey. Details here.

Friday, 5 August 2011

What’s Up With Conservative White Men and Climate Change Denial?

by Chris Mooney - DeSmogBlog
They come at you at public events, wanting to argue. They light up the switchboards whenever there’s a radio show about climate change. They commandeer your blog comments section. They have a seemingly insatiable desire to debate, sometimes quite aggressively.

Canadian Government Accused of 'Unprecedented' Tar Sands Lobbying



Guardian.co.UK  Aug 5 '11
Friends of the Earth Europe claims ministers have attempted to undermine European fuel legislation that would affect exports.
Details here.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

UN: Oil Spills Leave Widespread Ecological Damage in a Region of Nigeria's Crude-Rich Delta

By: Jon Gambrell, The Associated Press - 08/4/201
LAGOS, Nigeria - A region of Nigeria's oil-rich southern delta suffers widespread ecological damage as spilled oil seeps into its drinking water, destroys plants and remains in the ground for decades at a time, according to a United Nations report. Details here.

PLT Launches Formal Complaint About Former Ambassador & Tar Sands Bigwig, Derek Burney

by Larry Powell 
If you enjoy this blog, please consider 
donating to the author to keep it going. 
Just click on the link below.
Thanks! - Larry
                                                                                                      
Below is a complaint I launched with the CBC Ombudsman, Kirk LaPoint (l.).  It arose from an interview on the CBC Radio program, The House. (Read "PLT" Takes Former Ambassador to Task for Bullshit Comments on the Keystone XL Pipeline") l.p.
=====
Kirk LaPoint, Ombudsman,
CBC.
Dear. Mr. LaPoint,

Please consider this a formal complaint about a program aired on "The House" on Sat. July 23rd, 2011.

In it, a former Canadian ambassador to the US, Derek Burney, strongly defended the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which is scheduled to carry tar sands oil from Alberta, to the Texas Gulf Coast. Burney accused environmentalists opposed to the project of being "emotional" and "violent," although he was never challenged to give examples of what he meant.

It turns out,(according to Wikipedia) Mr. Burney is on the board of Trans Canada Pipelines, builders of the project. This, however, was never revealed during the interview. I consider this not only a serious lack of proper disclosure by the CBC and Mr. Burney himself, but a contravention of CBC's statement of Missions and Values with regard to the following;

a) "..correct any mistake when necessary." (I drew this matter to the CBC's attention in an email to The House, but it was never aired.)

b) "treat individuals and organizations with openness and respect..we treat them even-handedly."  (There was no follow-up, disclosing Mr. Burney's vested interest in this matter.)

c) "On issues of controversy, to ensure that divergent views are reflected respectfully."  (There was no follow-up interview with any environmental organizations in response to his accusations.)

I would ask you to use your good offices to convince the CBC, since I have failed, to make a public statement on "The House," clarifying Mr. Burny's vested interest in this matter and offering the right of response to a major environmental organization which has been directly involved in this controversy.)

Many thanks for your consideration,
Yours truly,
Larry Powell

====
Please read the happy ending at; "The House" Aplogizes Over an Interview on the Keystone Pipeline."