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Sierra Club Canada News Release
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Four Fossil Awards for Canada at UN Climate Conference
OTTAWA—Today, during international climate talks in Poznan, Poland, Canada was given an unprecedented four “Fossil of the Day” awards by the international community.
The awards are given to governments taking positions that stall or block the progress of climate negotiations. At the climate talks, the Canadian delegation has failed to take a constructive approach to negotiations – at the same time as the Harper government prorogued Parliament, shutting down debate until next year.
“Canada must take a more constructive approach to international climate talks. With ever-increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, time is running out,” said Mike Buckthought, National Climate Change Campaigner. “We need deep reductions in emissions to avoid the most dangerous consequences of climate change.”
Canada tied for first place with Japan and Russia in failing to support deep reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases. Reductions of at least 25-40% are needed by 2020, in order to avoid dangerous global warming that threatens most of the world’s plant and animal species.
For the second place Fossil of the Day Award, the international community awarded Canada two awards of shame – an unusual tie for second place. Canada’s negotiators argued that the country should get a break on its emissions targets, because the tar sands release a lot of carbon.
“The tar sands should not be exempted from targets for reductions. Quite the contrary, Canada and the international community need to apply disincentives for the burning of dirty oil from the tar sands,” said Stephen Hazell, Executive Director.
Canada also insisted that rich countries should get special treatment for “welfare loss” – the “hardship” of using smaller cars, or public transit.
Canada picked up a third place award, for a total of four prizes of shame in arguing that special “national circumstances” (i.e., Canada is cold and big) are the reason for Canada being 29% above its Kyoto target. This argument ignores the fact that other cold countries such as Sweden have been able to meet their Kyoto targets.
“Canada is missing the chance to create thousands of new green jobs in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors,” said Hazell. “Other countries with northern climates have invested in a sustainable economy, and the investments have paid off – with the creation of thousands of new jobs.”
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For more information contact:
Stephen Hazell, Executive Director 613-241-4611 ext. 238 or 613-724-1908 (cell)
Mike Buckthought, National Climate Change Campaigner, 613-241-4611 ext. 235
It’s been a curious experience, each evening recently, turning on the NBC or ABC nightly news, with historic levels of flooding in Iowa as the lead story. (“Uncharted territory,” National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Pierce called these floods.) After all, there are those stunning images of Cedar Rapids, a small city now simply in the water. The National Weather Service has already termed what’s happened to the city an “historic hydrologic event,” with the Cedar River topping its banks at, or above, half-millennium highs. (That’s an every 500 year “event”!)
But here’s the special strangeness of this TV moment: Network news loves weather disasters, and yet, as with historic droughts in the Southeast or Southwest, as with the hordes of tornadoes coursing through the center of the country, as with so many other extreme weather phenomena of recent times, including flooding in Southern China and the Burmese cyclone, when it comes to the Midwestern floods, night after night no TV talking head seems ever to mention the possibility that climate change/global warming might somehow be involved. (Nor, by the way, are our major newspapers any better on the subject.) As an omission, it’s kinda staggering, really, for an event already being labeled “a Midwestern Katrina.”
All that soggy Iowa acreage and an estimated 20% of the corn and soya crops in the region already lost — forget ethanol, but think soaring food prices — and yet not a word. Of course, it’s true that no single weather catastrophe like this one can be simply and definitively linked to climate change — and undoubtedly some may have nothing to do with it. But when the weather is this extreme, wouldn’t you want, as a reporter or news editor, to make sure the subject was at least raised and considered? Or is it simply: been there, done that?
My theory of life is that, when you see a four-legged, black-and-white striped horse-like animal on a savannah, you should call it a zebra until evidence proves otherwise. You would certainly think that, this late in the game, this post-Al Gore, this post-all those melting icebergs, icecaps, iced-over seas, and glaciers, such levels of denial might have abated a bit, but no such luck, it seems.
And in this case, where the mainstream media leads, Americans seem inclined to go. So, can we be truly surprised that an April poll from the Pew Research Center actually found a modest decline since January 2007 in “the proportion of Americans who say that the earth is getting warmer”? Or that, while a majority of the world, in Pew’s latest Global Attitude Study, blames the U.S., at least in part, for accelerating global warming, we are one of the countries “where majorities do not define global warming as a very serious problem.”
Fair warning, then. Think of this as the Tomdispatch equivalent of the Surgeon General’s caveat on a cigarette pack: If you value the health of your state of denial, you will read the following remarkable piece by John Feffer, co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus and Tomdispatch regular, slowly, carefully, and at your peril. Tomdispatch takes no responsibility for what may happen. Tom
Mother Earth’s Triple Whammy
By John Feffer
You are invited to attend the next
Know Nukes Film Night
featuring a special exclusive Chicago premiere showing of
“KILOWATT OURS — Updated Version”
An energy odyssey documentary
by Jeff Barrie
a 50-minute film, followed by a discussion of
the Low-Carb(on) Diet: How to lose 5000 pounds in 30 days!
Monday, June 16, 2008
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
NEIS Office Conference Room
3411 W. Diversey, Chicago, IL
(intersection of Diversey, Milwaukee, Kimball)
(at CTA Blue Line Logan Square stop)
(4 blocks south of I-90/94 Kimball exit.)
light refreshments and beverages served
PLEASE RSVP attendance by phone or e-mail
Recent political events make it clear: In the fight against catastrophic climate change, YOU will make the difference! Not the government; or the G8; or the foundations. You. But — how? Come see how one young couple living in an apartment in Nashville set out to answer this question — and succeeded beyond their wildest dreams! And then find out how you can do the same — while saving between $300 to $600 per year on your energy bills.
The updated edition of this award-winning documentary is being shown for the first time in the Chicago area at the next Know Nukes Series session. We are planning a second screening in Evanston; and are pleased to say that we are working on bringing the filmmaker, Jeff Barrie, to Chicago in late-August/early-September.
We will also be discussing the “Low-Carb(on) Diet,” a short course on how to remove 5000 pounds of atmospheric carbon in 30 days — while reducing your monthly energy bills. Trainings are being scheduled all over Chicago. Come hear about the program, and how you can get involved. Copies of the LCD book are available for $12.95 from NEIS, and will be available at these sessions.
ABOUT THE SERIES: The Know-Nukes Series is a monthly film/presentation/discussion series held on the third Monday of each month. Each session will consist of a presentation on selected nuclear-related issues followed by discussion. Those wishing to host similar showings in their community should contact NEIS for more information. Please publicize this event, and pass this flier along to interested individuals and groups.
We hope to see you at this special event!
Do great things,
–Dave Kraft, Director–
David A. Kraft, Director
Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS)
Mail & Street Address:
3411 W. Diversey, Ste. 16
Chicago, IL 60647 USA
(773)342-7650; -7655 fax