President Obama rejects Keystone XL pipeline

National Catholic Reporter

Brian Roewe

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 3.08.18 PM
President Barack Obama rejected Friday the construction of the Keystone XL transnational pipeline, in part on grounds that approving the politically contentious project would have undercut U.S. leadership on the world stage in addressing climate change.

The proposed Keystone XL pipeline sought to move daily as many as 830,000 barrels of Canadian crude oil from Alberta tar sands fields to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. The proposed project would have stretched 1,100 miles, crossing the U.S.-Canadian border in Montana before linking with already-constructed Keystone pipelines. Unlike the southern leg, the northern leg, due to crossing an international border, required federal approval. Continue reading President Obama rejects Keystone XL pipeline

With rare unity, Catholic leaders urge ‘transformation’ climate deal

Christian Science Monitor

An international group of Catholic leaders has appealed to the United Nations to forge a strong climate agreement that is fair to poorer nations.

By Henry Gass, Staff writer

Cardinal Oswald Gracias (c.) signs an appeal next to Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez (2nd l.) during a news conference at the Vatican, Monday. Roman Catholic leaders from around the world on Monday made a joint appeal to a forthcoming United Nations conference on climate change to produce a 'fair, legally binding and truly transformational' agreement. Al­essandro Bianchi/Reuters
Cardinal Oswald Gracias (c.) signs an appeal next to Cardinal Ruben Salazar Gomez (2nd l.) during a news conference at the Vatican, Monday. Roman Catholic leaders from around the world on Monday made a joint appeal to a forthcoming United Nations conference on climate change to produce a ‘fair, legally binding and truly transformational’ agreement. Al­essandro Bianchi/Reuters

Following in the footsteps laid by Pope Francis in June, Roman Catholic leaders from around the world have issued an unprecedented joint appeal to an upcoming United Nations conference on climate change to produce “a truly transformation” agreement to stem global warming.

The group, which included Catholic cardinals, patriarchs, and bishops from five continents, signed the 10-page appeal at the Vatican on Monday. The document, based on the Pope’s landmark encyclical “Laudato Si”, says that any climate agreement must be fair to the poorest and most vulnerable nations. Continue reading With rare unity, Catholic leaders urge ‘transformation’ climate deal

Red Tape Slows U.S. Help for Children Fleeing Central America

New York Times

By MICHAEL D. SHEAR

Between Borders: American Migrant Crisis From Central America, thousands of children fleeing poverty and danger make multiple attempts to reach the United States despite increased efforts by Mexico to turn them back. By BRENT RENAUD and CRAIG RENAUD o Watch in Times Video »
Between Borders: American Migrant Crisis
From Central America, thousands of children fleeing poverty and danger make multiple attempts to reach the United States despite increased efforts by Mexico to turn them back. By BRENT RENAUD and CRAIG RENAUD o
Watch in Times Video »

WASHINGTON — President Obama vowed a year ago to give Central American children fleeing violence a new, legal way into the United States by allowing them to apply for refugee status while in their own countries instead of accepting help from smugglers or resorting to a dangerous trek across Mexico.

But not a single child has entered the United States through the Central American Minors program since its establishment in December, in large part because of a slow-moving American bureaucracy that has infuriated advocates for the young children and their families.

More than 5,400 children, most of them trying to escape street gangs, extortion and sexual assault in El Salvador, have applied to join their parents, who are already in the United States legally. So far the Department of Homeland Security has interviewed only 90 of them, and lengthy procedures for getting airplane tickets and processing paperwork have delayed those whose applications were approved. Continue reading Red Tape Slows U.S. Help for Children Fleeing Central America

Brazil dam burst engulfs homes in Minas Gerais

BBC

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-34742272
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-34742272

More than a dozen people are feared dead after a dam holding back waste water from an iron ore mine in Brazil burst, flooding nearby homes.

Officials in south-eastern Minas Gerais state say one person is confirmed dead. But there are reports that up to 16 have died and others are missing.

Rivers of thick red mud surged down the valleys of the hilly area outside the old colonial city of Mariana.

It engulfed cars and lorries, and destroyed homes.

Authorities in Mariana said the dam had ruptured on Thursday afternoon and sent torrents of mud and debris into the small town of Bento Rodrigues, about 7km (four miles) away.

The BBC’s Julia Dias Carneiro in Rio de Janeiro said the area affected is home to about 500 people.

The rescue operation has been hampered by fears of landslides but helicopters have taken several stranded people to safety, she adds.
Authorities have warned that the water mixed with residue from mining operations could be toxic.

A spokesman for the Samarco mining company, which owns the dam, said the cause of the breach was not yet known.

1.4 million Brazilians sign zero deforestation bill

2012 The Awakening

Campaigners deliver 1.4 million signatures supporting the zero deforestation bill to the Brazilian congres Photo © Marcos Oliveira/Agência Senado.
Campaigners deliver 1.4 million signatures supporting the zero deforestation bill to the Brazilian congres Photo © Marcos Oliveira/Agência Senado.

For the past three years, Greenpeace Brazil has been collecting signatures in support of a bill to establish a zero deforestation law in the country. As a result, the group were able to present draft legislation to the Brazilian congress last week

On 7 October, accompanied by senators, religious leaders, celebrities and other supporters of a ban on the felling of Brazil’s forests, Greenpeace Brazil formally presented the draft legislation to the Brazilian congress – signed by 1.4 million Brazilians.

“We submit this bill to congress and now it’s time for them to reflect on the will of the people,” Cristiane Mazzetti of Greenpeace Brazil said in a statement. Continue reading 1.4 million Brazilians sign zero deforestation bill

Forget Paris?

New Internationalist

The Paris climate talks are looming. What – if anything – can we hope for? Jess Worth and Danny Chivers investigate.

You Shell not pass: First Nations activist and singer Audrey Siegl confronts the oil giant’s drilling rig on its way to the Arctic. © Emily Hunter / Greenpeace
You Shell not pass: First Nations activist and singer Audrey Siegl confronts the oil giant’s drilling rig on its way to the Arctic. © Emily Hunter / Greenpeace

At the end of September, something Earth-shaking happened. After 10 years and $7 billion, Shell abandoned its plans to drill in the Alaskan Arctic.

Shell’s U-turn wasn’t driven by government action or international climate agreements. It was years of public protest, direct action, online organizing and legal challenges – particularly by Indigenous communities – that delayed the project and ratcheted up the costs.

Add the global oil price slump and the technical difficulties of Arctic operations, and suddenly the entire project hinged on the success of a few months’ drilling. When that failed, Shell was done. In one swoop, the campaign to save the Arctic has succeeded in keeping more fossil fuel in the ground than 23 years of international climate negotiations.

Listening to the mainstream media, you might be tempted to believe that this is all about to change at the Paris climate talks, and that a ‘good deal’ on climate is finally within grasp. Continue reading Forget Paris?

South Africa in midst of ‘epic drought’

Mail & Guardian

South Africa is facing its worst drought since 1982, with more than 2.7-million households facing water shortages across the country.
AZAD ESSA

Some 6 500 rural communities across four provinces face water shortages. (Reuters)
Some 6 500 rural communities across four provinces face water shortages. (Reuters)

Lennox Mabaso, spokesperson for the Department of local government in KwaZulu-Natal, told Al Jazeera that the drought, concentrated in provinces of Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, was beginning to impact on livelihoods and draining the economy.

“The dams are at an all-time low. This is an epic drought and government is doing the best it can do. As you can imagine, it requires a lot of resources and its impacting everyone, rich and poor,” Mabaso said.

The ministry declared the KwaZulu-Natal and Free State provinces as disaster areas and warned that some 6 500 rural communities across four provinces face water shortages. Continue reading South Africa in midst of ‘epic drought’