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South Miami just made a huge rooftop solar decision

Climate Central by Bobby McGill / July 20, 2017

South Miami this week became the first city outside of California to require all new homes to install solar panels on their roofs. Six cities in the Golden State began requiring solar to be installed on new homes over the past few years. But in Florida, where voters killed proposed solar restrictions last year, South Miami is now a pioneer.

This week, the South Miami City Commission in a 4-1 vote approved a law requiring solar panels to be installed on all new homes built in the city.

Mayor Philip Stoddard says the city is trying to cut its carbon footprint because the region will be deeply affected by climate change, especially as sea levels rise.

“We’re down in South Florida where climate change and sea level rise are existential threats, so we’re looking for every opportunity to promote renewable energy,” Stoddard said. “It’s carbon reduction, plain and simple. We have a pledge for carbon neutrality. We support the Paris Climate Agreement.”

Stoddard said he expects only a few new homes and other buildings to be built in South Miami this year because the city of about 11,000 is surrounded on all sides by dense urban development and has very little space for new construction. But the requirement for new homes complements the city’s push for existing homeowners to put solar on their roofs.

The new law won’t put solar panels on all the region’s homes and it won’t significantly cut climate pollution, but it is the first concrete step by a city outside of California to require renewable energy to be considered as part of the design of any new home.

It also sets an example for other cities that may be considering doing the same thing.

Action to expand renewables on the local level is critical at a time when the federal government has stepped back from advocating for renewable energy, said Jeremy Firestone, director of the Center for Carbon-free Power Integration at the University of Delaware.

Rooftop solar helps wean America’s electric power system off coal and natural gas power plants that pollute the atmosphere with large amounts of carbon dioxide. President Obama made support for rooftop solar a part of his Climate Action Plan, which the Trump administration has abandoned.

“These mandates will have an effect locally,” Firestone said. “As to the larger effect, they would hopefully move states to increase the fraction of (electricity) generation that has to be dedicated toward renewable energy.”

Solar installation mandates would also help accelerate the acceptance of rooftop solar across the country, said K Kaufmann, spokeswoman for the Smart Electric Power Alliance, a nonpartisan renewable energy education organization in Washington, D.C.

As solar panel costs have fallen in recent years, a growing number of homes have installed them, often with the assistance of companies such as SolarCity, which helps to finance and install photovoltaic panels.

Rooftop solar makes up only a tiny fraction — less than 1 percent — of all the electricity generated in the U.S.. The amount of electricity generated by solar panels installed on homes and businesses across the country is expected to grow by 70 percent by the end of next year.

So far, the largest city in the country to mandate rooftop solar panels is San Francisco, which began requiring them on most new buildings beginning in January. The city mandates that solar panels, a “living roof,” or a combination of the two occupy between 15 and 30 percent of the surface area of a new rooftop. A “living roof” is covered with grass, trees or other vegetation.

Other California cities that have mandated solar panel installations include Culver City, San Mateo, Lancaster, Sebastopol and Santa Monica.

In Florida, the rooftop solar mandate didn’t come easily for South Miami.

Florida utilities and other groups launched a ballot initiative last year in an attempt to limit the expansion of rooftop solar. The proposed amendment to the state constitutional would have allowed utilities to charge fees to solar panel owners as a way to make up for the loss of revenue when homeowners generate their own electricity, according to Politifact.

The state’s largest utilities spent more than $20 million to support the ballot initiative, but the measure failed at the polls in November. South Miami’s electric utility, Florida Power and Light, which supported the ballot measure, did not respond to a request for comment.

In June, the South Miami solar mandate was opposed by the Washington, D.C. lobbying group Family Businesses for Affordable Energy, which says on its website that homeowners expose themselves to “predatory companies” that hide various costs associated with solar installations. The group did not respond to requests for comment.

“Despite all our sunshine, public utilities have spent tens of millions of dollars to fight solar,” Stoddard said. The measure’s defeat helped clear the way for the city to push solar panel installations for both new and existing homes.

“I expect to see a lot more residents voluntarily putting solar on houses,” he said.

See article here…….

 


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France Declares All New Rooftops Must Be Topped With Plants Or Solar Panels

All new buildings in commercial zones across the country must comply with new environmental legislation.

CSGlobe By Liam S. Whittaker  :

A new law recently passed in France mandates that all new buildings that are built in commercial zones in France must be partially covered in either plants or solar panels.

Green roofs, as they are called, have an isolating effect which helps to reduce the amount of energy needed to heat a building during the winter or cool it in the summer.

They are capable of retaining rainwater and reducing problems with runoff, and also offer birds a place to call home in the urban jungle.

French environmental activists originally wanted to pass a law that would make the green roofs cover the entire surface of all new roofs. However, partially covered roofs make for a great start, and are still a huge step in the right direction.

Some say the law that was passed is actually better, as it gives the business owners a chance to install solar panels to help provide the buildings with renewable energy, thereby leaving even less of a footprint.

Green roofs are already very popular in Germany and Australia, as well as Canada’s city of Toronto! This  by-law was adopted in 2009, by the city of Toronto which mandated green roofs on all new industrial and residential buildings.

Benefits of Green Roofs


There are so many benefits to green roofs. Here are just a few:

  • Adding natural beauty and major aesthetic improvement to buildings, which in turn increases the investment opportunity.
  • Helping contribute to landfill diversion by prolonging the life of waterproofing membranes, using recycled materials, and prolonging the service of heating, ventilation, and HVAC systems through decreased use.
  • Green roofs assist with storm water management because water is stored by the substrate, then taken up by plants, and thus returned to the atmosphere through transpiration and evaporation. They also retain rainwater and moderate the temperature of the water and act as natural filters for the water that does run off. They delay the time at which runoff occurs, which results in decreased stress on sewer systems during peak periods.
  • The plants on green roofs do a great job of capturing airborne pollutants and other atmospheric deposition. They can also filter noxious gasses.
  • They open up new areas for community gardens, commercial and recreational space in busy cities where this space is generally quite limited.

France is definitely on the right track, but it should be a mandate that all new buildings being built in North America, and even worldwide, adopt this amazing idea to reap all of the potential benefits.

Sadly though, for fans of green infrastructure and renewables alike, this news is more wishful thinking than reality, for now.

Backed by French environmentalists and born out of France’s National Biodiversity Strategy, the proposed law had potential to push the nation into the next phase of sustainability. The idea received applause across social media, blogs, and green news websites.

From reducing stormwater runoff, providing energy efficiency, wildlife habitat, and minimizing the urban heat island effect, the reasons to be excited about green roofs were clear.

During the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, France signed the Biological Diversity treaty, an international effort to develop strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.

In 2010 the Nagoya Protocol was adopted; an action plan for preserving biodiversity through 2020. By 2011, France developed its National Biodiversity Strategy, and the green roof policy was one of its results. Its roots therefore reach back to the early 1990s.

In 2015, these long standing efforts appeared to be coming to fruition. The biodiversity initiative that aimed to make France a nation of excellence for green and blue development was under review.

See also: Asia’s First-Ever Vertical Forest Will Produce 132 Pounds Of Oxygen Each Day

At the time, 564 propositions were examined, and then sent back with 225 amendments. The green roof policy (Article 36), although popularized, was merely one proposal among hundreds, and along with many others, was ultimately struck down.

The requirement to install green roofs or solar panels in France was thus deleted. The French green roof industry, ADIVET, is currently lobbying to revive Article 36, but it faces opposition from the commercial industry.

Building owners are refusing to bear the additional construction expenses, threatening to simply pass them along onto consumers if the policy is passed. The proposed green roof policy therefore remains a project at this point.

Originally the policy solely mandated green roofs, but then morphed to include the option of installing solar panels instead. This amendment has sparked discussion amongst those few who understand that solar arrays and green roof systems aren’t mutually exclusive.

Contrary to their usual rivalry in the marketplace, the two technologies don’t necessarily have to compete for photons or rooftop real estate; they can actually be configured to work together synergistically.

Around the globe, cities are working to become more sustainable through green, white, and blue roofs, solar and wind energy, and an array of carbon offsetting incentives. What’s unique about the French law is that it is not isolated to Paris or Lyon, but rather the whole nation.

Regardless of never actually having become a law though, the idea remains a sensation around the globe where it is falsely believed to be an actively implemented policy.

Around the world cities are taking steps toward a more sustainable future. From individuals enjoying fresh produce, to the public experiencing less pollutants in their water, and buildings that save on electric bills, it’s clear that investing in green roofs is a wise decision.

It’s still up in the air if incentives, as opposed to mandates, ultimately lead to more cities embracing green roofs. In France, business owners want the path of least resistance. To invest their own money in a cost not shared with the government has caused a huge pushback on the green roof law.

If the law does pass, France will pioneer a new frontier of nationwide green roof policy. Only time will tell if this will trump the results found in the current format of city-run programs.


See article here…….

 


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Two-thirds of Canada’s electricity now comes from renewable energy

The National Energy Board says renewables are responsible for 66 per cent of Canadian electricity, with 60 per cent of all power n Canada coming from hydro.

A young male grizzly bear peers over his feeding grounds in the Great Bear Rainforest’s Mussel Inlet on Aug. 31, 2016. File photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey

Inside the story:

  • How climate change, resource development and trophy hunting threaten salmon, whales and bears
  • Which legislative loopholes leave the Great Bear Rainforest at risk
  • How provincial government decisions have left B.C. wildlife in the lurch
  • What kind of action is needed to preserve the province’s northwest coast

Stimo’on. Misoo. Gyne’es. Ye’ee. Uuux.

These are the names of the five species of Pacific salmon in Sm’algyax, the language of the Gitga’at First Nation on the northwest coast of British Columbia.

It’s a territory they’ve occupied for thousands of years, long before the names ‘pink,’ ‘sockeye,’ ‘chum,’ ‘chinook,’ and ‘coho,’ were conceived by scientists.

The salmon are the lifeline of the First Nation, says Gitga’at Councillor Cameron Hill. As the salmon go, they go.

“Salmon keep us connected to our language and culture,” he tells National Observer. “This whole ecosystem is our way of life. We depend on it so much that we can’t do without it.”

The Gitga’at, who live in the remote community of Hartley Bay, harvest 90 per cent of their food from the land, sea, rivers and streams. Their territory encompasses roughly 7,500 square kilometres of mainland, water and coastal islands, and is the permanent home of nearly 200 of the nation’s members.

They have watched “disheartened” and “devastated” for decades, says Hill, as the rainforest’s wildlife has been ravaged by industry, climate change, trophy hunting, and weak environmental policy.

The great natural bounty of the region, known today as the Great Bear Rainforest, has never failed them before, but for the first time in their lives, they’re worried it will.

The Gitga’at will not let the Great Bear Rainforest go down without a fight: As stewards of the territory, they will “fiercely defend and protect” their land and way of life, says Hill.

Coastal Guardian Watchmen, Gitga'at First Nation, Great Bear Rainforest, Gribbell Island, spirit bearCoastal Guardian Watchmen from the Gitga’at First Nation watch over Gribbell Island, home to some of the Great Bear Rainforest’s moved beloved Spirit Bears. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey

The beating heart of the rainforest

The Great Bear Rainforest is the largest coastal temperate rainforest on Earth, stretching 64,000 square kilometres from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to Alaska. It’s a rare and remarkable ecosystem roughly twice the size of Belgium, whose misty fjords, glassy waters, mossy mountains and thundering waterfalls paint a landscape of overwhelming natural beauty.

For thousands of years, the rainforest has sustained indigenous populations as one of the richest and most productive ecosystems on the planet. Its spectacular circle of life includes grizzly bears, orcas, sea wolves, Sitka deer, and the elusive white Spirit Bear — a bear found nowhere else in the world.

And the heart of it all, says B.C. biologist Alexandra Morton, are the salmon.

“They are a blood stream, a power cord,” she says from her home in Echo Bay, where she has studied Pacific salmon and their habitat for more than 30 years.

“They feed everybody. If we pull them out, this coast will go dim.”

Salmon are what’s known as a ‘keystone species’ in the Great Bear Rainforest, Morton explains, a creature whose impact on an ecosystem is disproportionately large compared to its biomass.

Their carcasses are rich in nitrogen, sulfur, carbon and phosphorus, and when bears and wolves drag them through the forest, these nutrients are deposited in the soil and landscape. From there, scientists estimate they find their way into more than 190 species of the rainforest’s food chain — from moss to mink and seals to Spirit Bears.

Isotopes from salmon who return to spawn in the rainforest have even been found in its old-growth trees, says Morton. And the bigger the salmon run, the bigger the trees grow.

Mussel Inlet, salmon, pink salmon, chum salmon, salmon forest, Great Bear RainforestA Pacific salmon passes its nutrients on to the Great Bear Rainforest’s ecosystem during spawning season in August 2016. Photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey

Warming waters wearing down salmon

But Pacific salmon — even those who spawn in the far away Great Bear Rainforest — are in trouble.

According to scientists from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, exceptionally warm conditions partnered with extreme climate events like El Niño have compromised their diet by bringing smaller, less nutritious plankton into B.C. waters.

With them come migratory predators like shark and mackerel that feed on salmon — a dangerous combination of events that has resulted in lower river flows and higher water temperatures that make it difficult for the fish to spawn and survive.

That in turn, he adds, weakens the resilience, density and diversity of salmon forests like the Great Bear Rainforest. It has a particularly strong impact on the ecosystem’s vulnerable and threatened predators, including grizzly bears and northern resident killer whales, whose diet mainstay is salmon.Just south of the rainforest, a decrease in salmon stocks also threatens to obliterate their southern resident killer whale neighbours — a distinct species of orca whose population has dwindled to fewer than 90 members. The southern resident feeds almost exclusively on chinook salmon, which are declining rapidly across both the Salish Sea and Columbia River basins.

But it’s not only climate change that threatens salmon and the animals that rely on them for food — it’s liquified natural gas (LNG) projects, pipeline proposals, forestry, and fish farming as well.

As British Columbia inches closer to its provincial election on May 9, all four have been thrust into the spotlight as jobs, economy, and resource development dominate political conversations.

Great Bear Rainforest, Andy Wright, grizzly bear, Greenpeace protests, B.C. rainforest, timber industry, B.C. forestry, coastal temperate rainforest, spirit bear
A rare Spirit Bear — a black bear whose recessive genes give it stark white fur — enjoys a wriggling salmon snack in the Great Bear Rainforest. File photo by Andrew S. Wright

Can tankers tank the Great Bear’s wildlife?

BC Liberal Premier Christy Clark has vowed that the province will see its LNG heyday.

Despite low global oil prices and an increasing supply of natural gas that has depressed its value on the international market, she has campaigned in communities inside the Great Bear Rainforest, promising not to give up on LNG because “quitters can’t be leaders.”

The party did not respond to requests for comment on this story and the premier’s office declined to comment. But the B.C. Ministry of Energy Mines has touted LNG as a source of clean energy, and an “opportunity to achieve significant GHG emissions reductions” while boosting provincial jobs and revenues.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), Canada’s oil and natural gas industry advocate, declined to say whether it felt LNG or crude oil projects could be done safely in the Great Bear Rainforest or on B.C.’s northwest coast at large. Instead, it said the onus is on governments to decide whether a project is “acceptable to proceed” in an email statement to National Observer:

“Any major development must undergo a rigorous environmental assessment prior to construction… We’ve seen several projects in northern B.C. meet the environmental requirements and gain approval.”

As it stands, there are 19 LNG export proposals in various stages of development in the province, about two thirds of which include infrastructure or shipping routes that would plough through or beside the Great Bear Rainforest.

The $36-billion Pacific NorthWest LNG project, for example — already given the green light by the B.C. and federal governments — aims to build a natural gas pipeline that would cut straight through the rainforest to get to a proposed terminal on Lelu Island.

This will bring it right next door to Flora Bank, a sensitive and ancient underwater habitat in northwestern B.C. where new research indicates all five species of Pacific salmon feed and grow for weeks at a time.

According to Pacific NorthWest’s consultants, Flora Bank is a temporary stop for juvenile salmon, not a rearing site. Federal conditions placed on the project also require the company to monitor the area, and ensure that its marine terminal does not result in adverse effects on Flora Bank and its salmon. If constructed, the project is expected to generate roughly $2.5 billion in tax revenue for governments and 4,500 jobs during peak construction.

But according to whale researcher Janie Wray, LNG infrastructure — and the fracking that accompanies it — pose an enormous risk to wildlife that in many cases, cannot be mitigated. Add in the tanker traffic for its overseas shipments, she says, and it could spell catastrophe.

A humpback whale dives to the depths of a channel in the Great Bear Rainforest after surfacing for air near a tour boat. File photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey

“When these tankers go through, the wave action hitting the shoreline has got to be having an effect on the environment forage fish may be spawning in,” she explains. “There’s just so many factors to think about beyond the incidence of a spill, which is devastating no matter what.”

To reduce the risks of a disastrous oil spill in the Great Bear Rainforest, the federal government is enacting a crude oil tanker moratorium for B.C.’s north coast. But there is little legislation to protect the ecosystem from LNG tankers, whose most egregious impact may be acoustic pollution, says Wray.

Wray, stationed at Cetacea Lab in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, has been listening to the songs of humpbacks, orcas, and fin whales for more than 20 years. They return to the region annually, she says, likely because they know the waters to be safe, quiet, and full of prey.

Whales use vocalization not only to hunt and herd their food, she explains, but also to court one another, play, and navigate through the Great Bear’s dark waters. Other reasons for their melodic cries are “still a beautiful mystery,” she says, describing resident orcas as “chatty,” and humpbacks as having “a lot of culture.”

Experts agree that if tankers start roaring through this habitat, the noise disturbance would seriously disrupt whale communication, resulting in symptoms ranging from deafness to death. They would also dramatically increase the odds of a whale-vessel collision, says Wray: tankers can’t turn on a dime to avoid whales, which have a habit of surfacing unexpectedly.

And while landmark conservation agreements protect much of the terrestrial habitat in the Great Bear Rainforest, she says the lack of protection for its marine inhabitants is “embarrassing.”

Janie Wray and her team research whales from Cetacea Lab on Gil Island in the Great Bear Rainforest. Photo by Jorge Amigo

Critical habitat for whales

“There’s no coastline like this on the planet,” she insists. “I think we need to seriously think about setting aside an area along the coast of B.C. that is ‘critical habitat for whales.’”

Under the federal Species at Risk Act, a critical habitat designation could help prevent large-scale industrial development that produces intense noise, contaminates or alters the habitat, as it has done for Canada’s North Atlantic right whale.

It’s especially important for the southern resident killer whale, which hunts just below the Great Bear Rainforest, as it faces a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic through its favourite feeding grounds.

The proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion — whose Alberta-B.C. pipeline and crude oil tanker traffic has already been approved by governments — will almost certainly drive them into extinction, says Jason Colby, a University of Victoria professor and expert on orca-human conflict.

It’s impossible to claim you are serious about saving the species, he adds, if you also support projects that result in increased tanker traffic through their habitat.

“Those are absolutely, fundamentally, contradictory positions,” he says in an interview. “We need to ask ourselves what this place will look like, and what our identity is if we lose the southern resident killer whale.

“What will have we lost in our regional and cultural identity, along with our tourist economy?”

Southern resident Killer whale, Pacific Ocean, British Columbia, Trans Mountain
A pod of southern resident killer whales swims through Admiralty Inlet off Washington State before migrating north to British Columbia. File photo by The Canadian Press

An issue of jurisdiction

When it comes to the matter of marine protection, says Colby, it’s important to note that the B.C. government has limited powers. Oceans fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government, which in addition to a crude oil tanker ban for the north coast, has announced a new Oceans Protection Plan to help protect whales from tanker traffic.

According to the plan, researchers will locate and track marine mammals in high tanker traffic areas and relay that information to mariners. They will identify and assess the most pressing local environmental issues, along with the effectiveness of existing mitigation measures.

This plan would be in place by the time Trans Mountain’s tankers roll through, as will the company’s own Marine Mammal Protection Program, which is due to the federal National Energy Board regulatory agency three months before the pipeline starts its operations.

None of that will change the fundamental issue facing the whales, says Colby: a massive increase in tanker traffic is bound for their hunting grounds, carrying either oil or LNG.

While it may not have jurisdiction over marine protection, the B.C. government could have commissioned more intense study not only of endangered whale populations, he argues, but the reason their favourite salmon stocks are declining as well. That would strengthen B.C.’s position in lobbying the federal government for increased protection for marine wildlife, he says, and better equip them to make decisions on the LNG projects to come.

“If you lose healthy salmon runs, you’re not just talking about lost fishing jobs, which has been happening for a long time,” he tells National Observer. “You’re talking about profound ecological change in the water sheds, rivers and forests.”

As it stands, approval of both the Trans Mountain expansion and the Pacific NorthWest LNG project has been taken to court by local First Nations, who say they threaten vital salmon runs throughout their traditional territory.

Meantime, if governments want to start protecting this keystone species — and by extension, the entire Great Bear Rainforest — salmon aficionado Alexandra Morton recommends starting with a crack down on net-pen fish farming.

Farmed salmon a danger to wild Pacific stocks

According to the BC Salmon Farmers Association, there are 109 salmon farms spread throughout the B.C. coastline. Dozens are located in the Great Bear Rainforest, raising Atlantic salmon from Campbell River to Klemtu, home of the Kitasoo/ Xai’xais First Nations.

In total, says the association, these farms occupy half a per cent of B.C.’s coastal waters and at each and every one of them, fish hygiene and safety is a top priority.

“Pen nets are cleaned regularly from top to bottom,” says the unnamed narrator of a promotional video on the association’s website. “Operators are consistently striving to improve farming practices, and underwater monitors guard against overfeeding, ensuring a lower impact on the ocean floor and a cleaner, safer habitat for the fish.”

Oversight of the industry — which generates more than $1.1 billion for the province every year — is a shared responsibility of the B.C. and federal governments. In order to keep their licenses, salmon farmers must adhere to a strict set of rules designed to protect wild salmon by minimizing their contact with farmed fish and stopping the spread of disease and bacteria.

But according to Morton, these measures are failing. While the threat of commercial fishing has largely been extinguished, she says deadly viruses have been detected in B.C.’s open-net cage farms that can make wild Pacific salmon extremely sick.

Compounded with the warming waters and ocean acidification brought on by climate change, she says net-pen farming may push some Pacific salmon runs to the breaking point.

An introductory video by the BC Salmon Farmers Association explains what net-pen salmon farming is all about.

Morton and her lawyers at Ecojustice have taken the federal government to court for allowing the transfer of farmed salmon that have not been tested for a dangerous virus into underwater pens in the wild — a practice they say is illegal under federal fishing regulations.

“The sea lice and the viruses coming from the farms are an enormous threat to them,” the biologist explains. “There is no place in the world that wild salmon and farms are thriving together. It’s like two worlds colliding.”

 

 


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Propaganda Hides Climate Change from the Public

Despite the gloom, the scientists say there are two causes for optimism.

A bridge damaged by devastating floods in Alberta, Canada, in 2013. (Gregg Jaden via Flickr)

A bridge damaged by devastating floods in Alberta, Canada, in 2013. (Gregg Jaden via Flickr)

Climate News Network  /   By Paul Brown                               Posted on Sep 30, 2016

LONDON—A rise in world temperatures of 1.5°C degrees can no longer be avoided, according to the world’s leading climate scientists, who say that the majority of people have yet to wake up to the stark realities and dangers of climate change.

In a devastating summary of the crisis the world faces, the seven scientists say that propaganda by the fossil fuel lobby and failure of politicians to take action in the last 10 years means changes in lifestyles and radical action is needed if catastrophe is to be avoided.

Sir Robert Watson, former chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), says: “Climate change is happening now and much faster than anticipated.”

A doubling or tripling of existing efforts is necessary, he says, to avoid exceeding the 2°C degree danger threshold on global temperature rise agreed by the world’s government at last year’s Paris climate conference.

In a paper titled The Truth About Climate Change, the scientists depart from the normal cautious assessment that has characterised IPCC reports.

Climate experts

Instead, they paint a stark picture of rising temperatures causing floods and wildfires, food and water shortages, damage to human health, and widespread disruption of services and destruction of roads, railways bridges and buildings.

Sir Robert, now director of strategic development at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia, UK, was joined in producing the report by Italy’s Dr Carlo Carraro, vice-chairman of the IPCC working group III, and by other expert climate scientists from Argentina, Austria, Brazil, and the US.

The scientists say that the public has misunderstood the imminent dangers of climate change, believing that it will happen sometime in the future rather than now.

Large numbers of people have been misled into believing that economic growth can only be achieved by burning coal, gas and oil. And despite overwhelming scientific evidence, pressure from sectors benefiting from the use of fossil fuels has halted climate action.

“Climate change is
happening now and
much faster than anticipated.”

The calculation that the rise to 1.5°C can no longer be avoided is based on the scientific evidence of the time lag between carbon dioxide being emitted by man into the atmosphere and the resultant heating up. The full effects of the greenhouse gases emitted in 2016 will only be felt in 2030.

The paper says that, by 2015, the global temperature had risen by 1°C above pre-industrial levels, that it is certain to rise another half a degree by 2030. and will continue to rise to 2°C by 2050 unless drastic action is taken to reduce emissions.

However, this is only the average temperature. Parts of Asia and the Middle East will warm considerably faster than this, and the Arctic has already seen a 4°C increase.

All the calculations are backed up by published scientific papers and have been peer reviewed by Dr Thomas Stocker, professor of climate and environmental physics at Bern University in Switzerland, in an attempt to prevent the fossil fuel lobby attacking the findings.

Dangerous overheating

With the majority of the world’s energy still coming from fossil fuels, and the expanding population demanding yet more energy generation, the scientists say saving the planet from dangerous overheating is now a daunting task.

To have any hope of solving the problem, the world needs to reach net zero emissions by 2060 to 2075. Although switching to renewables and planting more forests are important components of how to do this, it cannot be achieved by these methods alone.

Only by carbon capture from the atmosphere and storing it underground, or by some other method of removing carbon from the air, can zero emissions be achieved in time.

Despite the gloom, the scientists say there are two causes for optimism.

The first is that by 2018 all countries are committed to making improvements to their existing pledges to cut carbon, which still gives sufficient time to adopt the necessary policies to take effective action.

The second is the pledge by the IPCC to improve its communications so the public understands quite how serious the situation really is.

Paul Brown, a founding editor of Climate News Network, is a former environment correspondent of The Guardian newspaper, and still writes columns for the paper.

See article here……

 


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Why Standing Rock Matters to Green Building (and how you can help)

The green building community must choose its battles carefully. And Standing Rock should be one of those battles.

 

Supporters from around the United States have joined the Standing Rock Sioux in protesting development of the Dakota Access pipeline. Photo: Jake Green/Montana Kaiman

 

Building Green: by Jennifer Atlee                                                               September 15, 2016

I can’t believe how hard it is to write this op-ed piece. All I want to say is that building professionals who care about the health of planet and people should actively support the growing movement at Standing Rock—where Native American tribes and their supporters have gathered to stop development of the Dakota Access pipeline.

It’s hard because I’m stepping out of my comfort zone, out of the domain that I consider within my professional scope, and into the understanding that unless I take direct action in support of the struggles of those harmed by racism and systemic injustice, I am complicit in that injustice.

And part of that stepping up for me personally is making the case to you that this is also true for us as an industry.

Interconnected struggles

I thought I was going to make a different case for why Standing Rock matters to our industry. It goes like this:

The math of climate science is stark, and it will take more than our best efforts to keep 80% of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground. Given that a different kind of math holds sway in the fossil fuel industry, those standing directly in the path of fossil fuel pipelines are green building’s vital allies.

I’d then proceed to lay out a similar argument about so much else we strive toward in green building, and how those priorities benefit from the largest gathering of Native Americans in 100 years, coming together to protect the Missouri River, which is the Standing Rock Sioux water supply. But that wasn’t the crux of it.

Taking a supportive role is powerful

Standing Rock presents us with a vital opportunity to look deeply at the systemic and historical roots of today’s sociopolitical and ecological crises, and how truly interconnected our struggles are.

Both Bill McKibben and #BlackLivesMatter have given voice to the game-changing potential of Standing Rock in potent statements of solidarity. By supporting this native-led struggle without subsuming it, they model how we best strengthen each other’s movements toward shared goals.

We are already doing critically important work in the built environment to reduce fossil fuel use and address the environmental and human health impacts of buildings, materials, and infrastructure. As an industry, we are also increasing our focus on the direct social justice implications of design, construction, and procurement. We are working to advance in our practice the healing concepts of regenerative design and living buildings.

But we in the green building community can’t truly create a living future until we acknowledge the scope of our power and privilege and leverage that—in solidarity and humility—in direct support of the struggles championed by others.

Our attention matters

We in the green building movement have resources and clout, both individually and collectively, that we could bring to bear. Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR), the International Living Future Institute, the U.S. Green Building Council, the brand new group Architects Advocate, and others could put out statements of support.

Even just keeping our eyes on what’s going on makes a difference. It’s harder to get away with using mace and private security attack dogs on peaceful Native American protesters while bulldozing ancestral graves if business professionals and white people are paying attention and outraged.

If we keep paying attention, much more becomes possible. Last Friday, the Obama administration paused construction, pending further discussion. The wording of the statement by the Office of Public Affairs cracks open a door to reform. But this will only happen if we all stay involved. If the statement simply defuses tensions and deflects attention, it is a loss, not a gain.

We all have to pick our battles, and a continued focus on our own work to address sustainability and social justice directly within the built environment is vitally important.

At the same time, what we do now is pivotal. Will we simply go about “our” business of making the world a better place—by our definition only? Or will we pay attention, listen deeply, and act in humble solidarity?

Our collective choice will reveal our true capacity to manifest the world we strive for.

How to support the efforts at Standing Rock

  1. Join one of many solidarity actions scheduled across the country through September 17.

  2. Call the White House at 1-888-369-5791 and demand that President Obama take further action to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, or add your voice by signing here. Demand more than a temporary halt to construction of DAPL. As Bill McKibben has pointed out, after halting the Keystone Pipeline, fast-track review of everything else has become the norm. Substantive review would look at the environmental and social impacts of construction and possible oil spills, climate change impacts of burning the fuel, and native rights.

  3. Consider providing direct financial or material support to the protectors’ camps at Standing Rock, or contribute to the Sacred Stone legal fund.

  4. Share information and keep this on your radar. Talk with friends and colleagues, and keep an eye on social media #NoDAPL, #ReZpectOurWater, and #StandWithStandingRock to understand and share what is going on. Continued public scrutiny makes a difference.

  5. Make this your responsibility. The more we recognize our shared struggle, the more effective we become. Think creatively: if this were your local community and your water source at risk, you’d pull out all the stops, right? Who do you know who could influence decisions going forward? Do your investments support companies making the pipeline happen? How could you energize groups that you are part of to engage in acts of solidarity?

Op-ed contributor Jennifer Atlee is principal at Atlee Research. Her work has focused on improving the capacity of the green building industry to assess the sustainability of products and make actionable sense of our rapidly evolving materials ecosystem. She has engaged in research, writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainability issues since 1999.

See full article here….

 

 


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Vancouver police violence at peaceful Imperial Metals protest

Imperial Arrests WLTC article

By Natalie Knight – The Volcano

On Tuesday August 9, 2016, I joined the Secwepemc Womens Warriors Society, Ancestral Pride, Indigenous activists, and allied supporters in an occupation of the Imperial Metals office at 580 Hornby Street. Later that morning, part of our group also occupied the nearby Mining Association of B.C. office. These occupations were in protest of the ongoing disasters perpetrated at the Mount Polley mine, a violently disturbed and polluted site that is already back in operation, after a massive tailings breach occurred two years ago. The occupations served as follow-up actions to a caravan of Indigenous land defenders, activists, and supporters who traveled to Secwepemc territory from Vancouver, BC on August 3 – August 5 to visit the Mount Polley mine, hold workshops, and build relationships. On the rainy Tuesday morning, we gathered a block away from Imperial Metals before beginning the occupation.

At 9:15 a.m., we entered the nondescript office building at 580 Hornby Street, where the Liberal Party offices are also housed. We entered the building through public access of the front door, meeting no security on the entry floor. We rode the elevator to the second floor Imperial Metals offices. One group of us entered and occupied the offices, where the CEO of Imperial Metals stood with his back to the glass front door. In the hallway outside of the offices, fifteen more activists chanted and called for Imperial Metals to get out of Secwepemc territory, communicating to those inside through the glass entry way.

Imperial Metals Kanahaus WLTC article

ImperialMetalsscuffle2The occupation of these offices was peaceful from the beginning. An Indigenous woman burned sage outside of the office. We sang the Womens Warrior Song, locking arms and forming a half circle around the thin piece of glass that separated us from our comrades inside the office. Within fifteen minutes, between ten and fifteen police arrived, emerging out of the stairwell access on the second floor.

There was no verbal warning to disperse from police officers who arrived on the scene, no moment for protestors committed to the action as witnesses to stand back, no time for protestors to find their balance and consider their role in the protest. As soon as the cops arrived, they immediately placed hands on protestors whose arms remained locked in a half circle. Cops dug elbows into backs, used hand holds and hip checks to pull protestors apart from one another. I watched as two of us were thrown to the ground, one man a grandfather. He was thrown face down on top of the first person. Both were cuffed.

ImperialMetalsscuffleI watched from my position in our half circle, braced against the two cops pulling on either side of my body, as the woman to my left was pushed against the wall and dragged to the floor. Someone further to my left yelled that they were in pain, our half circle continuing the Womens Warrior Song and bracing ourselves against the unnecessary use of force by the police tactical unit called onto the scene.

Imperial Metals scuffle WLTC article

In the scuffle as bodies were hit, wrenched apart, and shoved, I was thrown to the ground on my back by a cop who placed his forearm across my neck, pressing down and blocking my airway. Someone standing above me yelled if I could get air. At no point did I physically lash out at the cops. I made no physical advance towards them that called for the use of force against my body. The same is true for every protestor present at yesterday’s action.

In all, four were arrested. The first to be cuffed was checked out by paramedics before leaving the scene for a possible concussion. The use of violence to “disperse” yesterday’s occupation was unsafe and unwarranted in response to peaceful protestors practicing civil disobedience. There were at minimum ten police cars, a police wagon, and an ambulance parked outside the building that holds the Imperial Metals offices.

ImperialMetalsKanahausThis forceful demonstration by Vancouver’s police will likely go unchecked, and it is a crude reminder of the very real partnership between the police and corporations, who increasingly seem to be protected by the cops – whether VPD or RCMP, whether inside Imperial Metals or on the land in Indigenous territory. Here in urban Vancouver, where Mayor Gregor Robertson professes a supposed opposition to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, even partnering with local Coast Salish Nations leaders in calling on the federal government to reject the expansion proposal, he remains quiet about the Mount Polley mine disaster and its environmental and social affects. The truth is, the VPD takes their leadership from the Mayor of Vancouver, and so yesterday’s repression of peaceful protest is the real evidence of Robertson’s allegiances – allegiances to big business in the form of natural resource extraction. In this light, his opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline seems like just an easy public relations move in this, the “greenest city.”

The same can be said for Burnaby’s Mayor Corrigan, who, on the same day that Indigenous activists and their allies used their bodies to disrupt another day of business at Imperial Metals, was speaking to a federal review panel about the disastrous implications of the recent approval by the National Energy Board of the Trans Mountain pipeline. It’s not enough to applaud these civic leaders in their verbal professions of environmental preservation. Instead, for those of us living in Vancouver and the surrounding urban centres, we see the true commitments of our liberal leaders in moments like yesterday, when the Mayor’s power expressed itself through the police repression of Indigenous and environmental activists.

FULL ARTICLE HERE

LIVE VIDEO OF EVENT HELD AUGUST 10th AT SFU HARBOURSIDE

Mount Polley Event at SFU WLTC Post


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Voices from the Blockade at Mt Polley Event – Livestream Video

Mount Polley Event at SFU WLTC Post

Yuct Ne Senxiymetkwe Camp presented women warriors and voices from the front line. Connecting the ties that bind us report back! They presented a video and slide show along with guest speakers.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1739966962921232/

sliding scale donations at the door for the movement.
*************************************************************************
Featuring
Cecilia Point ~ Opening ~ Musqueam
Kanahus Pellkey ~ Secwepemc Womens Warrior Society
Queen Sacheen ~ Ancestral Pride
Havanna Couture~ Northern Cree ~ Native Youth Movement
Carol Muree Martin ~ Nisga’a/Gitanyow
Crystal Smith is Tsimshian, Haisla and adopted into Heilsuk Nation.
Ishkādi Na-Dene ~ Tahltan Nation
Test Their Logik Hip Hop performers Anti Mine activists
Listen in for a preview at https://testtheirlogik.bandcamp.com/

Sacheen posted this together with livestream video:

“Live stream. Honoring the warrior women, and followed by their report. The elder said to his granddaughter, I think it was Sacheen Seitcham : ” All human beings, one heart, one mind. Standing up as her grandmother did saying no more who stood up to the great tyrant, the prime minister in her day. Sacheen’s grandmother?” Right now Kanahus Manuel is talking about how they began — the Mt. Polley Mine Disaster and the BC protest.

She’s talking about “mercury poisoning” in their water. Mt. Polley has not cleaned up their mess. It’s so sad,, the tailings going into the Fraser River and into a pristine lake, deep glacial lake. Terrible!!!! This is why the Protectors of this generation is standing up. Kanahus reports “mining is racism” and she is right. The policies are being made are fundamentally racist on who is targeted to lose.

I love it when Sacheen says her gratitude as a woman and the women who all stand for their sacred lands. “I live a purpose-filled life.” She is right. So thankful for that. No greater gift of life.” – Sacheen Seitcham

LIVE VIDEO LINK HERE