Standing Up for the Planet and the Future: Time to Stop Using Fossil Fuels

Coal power plant – Alberta

+15,000 temperature records already broken in the US this year 

By Stephen Leahy

UXBRIDGE, Canada, May 4, 2012 (IPS)

What are you doing on Saturday? Peter Nix, a retiree, will be standing on a railway track on Canada’s west coast blocking a coal train destined to ship U.S. and Canadian coal to Asia.

Nix will be joined by dozens of people near White Rock, British Columbia on May 5. They will be in good company as tens of thousands of people around the world participate in global day of action to “connect the dots” between climate change and extreme weather.

“There will be at least 1,200 actions in more than 100 countries,” says Jamie Henn, communications director for 350.org, a U.S.-based environmental group.

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There’s been a general perception that climate change is a future problem but with all the extreme weather disasters and weather records the public is being to realise that climate change is here, says Henn.

“Recent opinion surveys show the more than 60 percent of the U.S. public are connecting extreme weather to climate change,” Henn told IPS.

The U.S. public is not wrong, say scientists. 

“All weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be,” Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, told IPS previously.  Continue reading

“Climate change pits the rich and powerful against the young and unborn” – NASA Scientist James Hansen

One the world’s most acclaimed climate scientists, NASA’s James Hansen was handcuffed and arrested in front of the White House yesterday.

Hansen and hundreds more were urging the US government to end the coal industry practice of blowing off the tops of mountains to mine coal. Such practices are extremely damaging to the environment and local communities he says. Moreover to prevent catastrophic climate change coal must stay in the ground Hansen said.

Excerpts of Hansen’s speech in front of the White House:

“… government is failing to protect the future of young people, knowingly allowing and even subsidizing actions that benefit the few at the expense of the public and at the expense of all life sharing this Earth. Continue reading

Failure on Global Warming “Un-American”

By Stephen Leahy

KINGSTON, Ontario, Jun 25 (IPS) – North America’s abject failure to meet the challenge of climate change has been “un-American”, environmentalist and scientist David Suzuki told delegates Tuesday at the World Wind Energy Conference, the first ever in the region.

“We’re facing an ecological crisis, a crisis far, far worse than Pearl Harbour,” Suzuki said.

Twenty years ago this week, one of the United States’ leading scientists warned Congress of the imminent danger of climate change and said that waiting decades to take action was too risky. Now James E. Hansen of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has published new research indicating that greenhouse gas concentrations have pushed the climate near a dangerous tipping point that will unleash far-reaching changes in the atmosphere and oceans that could take millennia to reverse.

100% Renewable Energy Can Power Nations experts say

To prevent a climate crisis, Hansen calls for deep reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, beginning almost immediately, including a phase out of coal-fired power plants by 2030. Continue reading