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→
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
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.
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 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.
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.
The Paris climate talks are looming. What – if anything – can we hope for? Jess Worth and Danny Chivers investigate.
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 is facing its worst drought since 1982, with more than 2.7-million households facing water shortages across the country.
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.
ANKARA, Turkey, Nov 5 2015 (IPS) – Some 135 million people could be displaced by 2045 as a result of land desertification, according to a recent UK ministry of defense report. This figure could rise to 200 million who are displaced by other climate change impacts like natural disasters by 2050, said British environment refugee specialist Norman Myers.
These could have been little more than debatable numbers until Syria’s civil war refugees rose exponentially to over 4 million, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, in a span of a little over 24 months, with more than 7.6 million internally displaced, together accounting for half of Syria’s population. As much distress and unrest that these figures have caused, they pale in comparison to the number of displaced that will likely occur due to desertification and climate change. Continue reading Urgently Needed: Studies Linking Land Degradation, Migration, Conflict and Political Instability→
MANAGUA, Nov 3 2015 (IPS) – The international scientific community’s fears about the damage that will be caused by Nicaragua’s future inter oceanic canal have been reinforced by the environmental impact assessment, which warns of serious environmental threats posed by the mega project.
The report “Canal de Nicaragua: Executive Summary of Environmental and Social Impact Assessment” was carried out by the British consulting firm Environmental Resources Management (ERM) and commissioned by the Hong Kong Nicaragua Canal Development (HKDN Group), the Chinese company that won the bid to build the canal.
The 113-page executive summary sums up the study, whose unabridged version has not been made publicly available by the government, ERM or HKND.
In the study, ERM says the mega project could be of great benefit to the country as long as best international practices on the environmental, economic and social fronts are incorporated at the design, construction and operational stages, for which it makes a number of recommendations.