Blog Posts: November 2016

November 17th, 2016

Part II: Reform of the Emissions Trading System — Nothing but patches on a broken system

By Frida Kieninger

foodandwatereuropeoncarbonemissionsIn part one of this blog, I referred to the obvious inefficiency of the European Emissions Trading System (ETS). While the ETS is praised to be the key element of the European climate policy, it fails to deliver and is less efficient than other factors such as energy prices and the overall tendency towards more sustainability.

The danger of an inefficient system — so big that it covers around 45 percent of the EU`s greenhouse gas emissions — is its potential to cancel out existing and future policies at the EU and national level that would really contribute to emission reductions. Ironically, this results in the ETS doing potentially more harm than good in the fight against global warming.

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November 15th, 2016

Part I: Get Out of the Way of Real Climate Action

By Frida Kieninger

foodandwatereuroperealclimateactionETS: Only A Side Effect

The European Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) tries to lower greenhouse gases by putting a price on carbon and trading it in the form of allowances. It is the world’s biggest trading system for emissions and was launched over 10 years ago. The big downside of the supposed fairy tale of a miraculous cap-and-trade system is that there is no proof that the ETS has actually caused reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

A study commissioned by the EU Commission finds that the ETS alone was not the driving factor in companies and sectors choosing to invest in carbon-efficient solutions. Rather, these actors were mainly influenced by other factors like the cost of energy and raw materials, as well as the growing environmental awareness of stakeholders and consumers.

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November 10th, 2016

We Cannot Be Discouraged; Let’s Keep Building Our Movement

By Wenonah Hauter

In the first US election in 50 years without the protections of the Voting Rights Act, Republicans have swept the House and Senate, and Donald J. Trump has been elected president on a platform that has featured racism and xenophobia. If his campaign is any indication of his presidency, this is a major disaster for civil rights and press freedoms.

The election of Trump is a complete repudiation of the neoliberal policies that have been the trademark of every administration and the leadership of both parties for more than 60 years. With the lowest Democratic voter turnout in decades, it’s clear that the business-as-usual policies of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic leadership were not the policies that the American people support. In many states that have voted Democratic in recent years, Democratic voters stayed home. Large segments of the American public have been left behind by corporate trade policies that have devastated former industrial areas of our nation. Since agriculture policy was deregulated in the mid-1990s, rural areas of the country have been devastated.

But sadly, while Trump campaigned as a political outsider, his transition team is filled with corporate lobbyists. His agriculture advisors are agribusiness insiders. He has called climate change a hoax, and his energy advisor is a lobbyist for the Koch Brothers. His reported top pick for energy secretary is Harold Hamm, a modern-day oil tycoon.

Unsurprisingly, the Trump administration will likely be filled with people who will benefit financially from more fracking, more industrial agriculture and factory farms, and expanded deregulation masquerading as trade policy. The people he has indicated will be in his cabinet are the same people who have advocated policies that are destroying our climate and creating a society marked by stratification and racial prejudice. We expect to see more deregulation of industry that will damage our communities, our environment, and our democracy.

We must firmly reject the neoliberal policies that brought us to today. We must redouble our efforts to build a movement that holds our elected officials accountable—and that provides a counterweight to the big business interests that continue to look out only for profits.”

November 7th, 2016

Global Frackdown All Around

By Andy Gheorghiu

Join The Global Frackdown October 2016The movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground is gaining in success stories, and we should never underestimate our impact.

The fifth Global Frackdown, an international day of action, was held on October 15 to challenge the oil and gas industry and ban fracking worldwide. Groups from around the globe rallied in solidarity under the joint banner of “Ni ici, ni ailleurs”, or “Not here or anywhere!” Numerous creative actions were conducted, some big, some small, and each one of them chipped away another brick of the fossil wall that’s keeping us from a clean, renewable energy future.

People all over the world showed their commitment to a common future that is free of fossil fuels — from the presentation in Mexico City of the report Last Frontier: Public Policies, Impacts and Resistance Against Fracking in Latin America, to the travelling photography exhibit on Polish resistance in the German village of Quakenbrück, to the screening of the Australian documentary “Frackman” in Saint-Tropez, to the joint postcard action for the EU Parliament.

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November 4th, 2016

Paris, je ne t’aime pas as much as LNG

By Andy Gheorghiu

No to LNG No to FrackingLast month the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change announced that the threshold for entry into force of the Paris Agreement was achieved, and the treaty takes effect today.

You might say hooray but there is always a wrinkle. This time, the wrinkle is natural gas. Gas has long been touted as a bridge fuel into a bright, clean, post-fossil fuel future. Now, though, climate science is clear: there’s simply no room for gas. It is too damaging for this place we call home.

Burning natural gas accounts for a huge amount of CO2 emissions. In the most recent look at the climate budget numbers, Oil Change International found that existing, developed, fossil fuel reserves put us past the 1.5 C target stated in Paris.

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