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Archive for June, 2013

CLIMATE CRISIS: PLANET EARTH REACHES A GRIM CLIMATE MILESTONE

Posted by strattof on June 23, 2013

  • In May 2013, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere reached 400 parts per million for the first time in human history.
  • The upper safety limit for atmospheric CO2 is 350 parts per million.    
  • The leading cause of the increase in atmospheric CO2 is the burning of fossil fuels.
  • Rising CO2 levels in the earth’s atmosphere are the main cause of climate change.
  • The 400 ppm threshold is widely recognized as a dangerous level that could drastically worsen climate change.
  • Many scientists believe that climate change is the single biggest threat facing the earth today.

C A N A D I A N   M A D N E S S

  • Canada is one of the richest countries in the world. Yet we have one of the worst records when it comes to taking action on climate change. We are amongst the top 10 CO2 emitters in the world and we are the only country to have withdrawn from the Kyoto Accord.
  • Canada’s Kyoto target was a 6% reduction of emissions by 2012 compared to 1990 levels. Instead, between 1990 and 2008, emissions increased by 24%.
  • Since taking office in 2006, the Harper government has been steadily weakening environmental laws. 
  • In 2012, the Harper government totally gutted environmental regulations, forcing the legislation through parliament in 2 omnibus budget bills, C-38 and C-45. 
  • The reason for this madness? To protect tar sands development, which the government subsidizes to the tune of $1.3 billion a year.

LESSONS FOR CANADA: OTHER MODELS

The aggressive model of economic and resource development that Canada is following is wreaking havoc on the Canadian environment: air, land, forest and water. It is also helping to keep the world on the path to catastrophic global warming.

There are other models of economic and resource development. Here are 3 Canada can learn from. 

GERMANY

Following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, Germany decided to replace nuclear power with renewable energy. Within G20 countries, Germany has the largest amount of its electricity produced from renewable sources. Canada ranks 13th

LESSONS FOR CANADA: ●Stop subsidizing the tar sands industry. ●Start making substantial investments in renewable energy.

FIRST NATIONS IDLE NO MORE MOVEMENT

Idle No More is in part a protest against measures in Bill C-45 that weaken the environmental protection of Canada’s waterways. The bill also exempts pipelines from environmental oversight. In the words of Pam Palmater, an Idle No More spokesperson: “First Nations are Canadians’ last, best hope of protecting the land, water, sky, and plants and animals for their future generations.”

LESSONS FOR CANADA: ●Scrap all legislation passed since 2006 that weakens environmental regulations. ●Hold meaningful advance consultations before making legislative changes that affect First Nations.

ECUADOR

In 2008 Ecuador passed a new constitution that gives rights to nature. Nature – rivers, trees, birds, fish, ecosystems – has the constitutional right to exist and prosper for its own sake. Now Ecuador is proposing to not exploit huge untapped oil reserves that lie under Yasuni National Park. Leaving the oil in the ground will protect the biodiversity of the park and help combat climate change.

LESSONS FOR CANADA: ●Begin to discuss the constitutional protection of nature. ●Leave tar sands oil in the ground.

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

Who’s to blame for climate change? Humans, according to 97-98 percent of 1,372 of the world’s most active climate researchers.–Globe and Mail, June 5 2013

 The richest, most powerful societies in world history, like the United States and Canada, are racing full-speed ahead to destroy the environment as quickly as possible. Unlike Ecuador, and Indigenous societies throughout the world, they want to extract every drop of hydrocarbons from the ground with all possible speed.–Noam Chomsky

LEARN MORE ABOUT

CLIMATE CHANGE

  • Google: Bill McKibben website
  • Google: David Suzuki climate change basics

TAR SANDS

  • Andrew Nikiforuk, Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent, available at Regina Public Library
  • Google: David Suzuki tar sands

OTHER MODELS FOR DEVELOPMENT

  • Google: Idle No More Manifesto
  • Google: What if Mother Nature had rights?
  • Google: David Suzuki Andean adventure
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STOP CANADA’S NUCLEAR “END-RUN”

Posted by strattof on June 9, 2013

THE CANADA-INDIA NUCLEAR DEAL

In April of this year, Canada and India announced a deal to open nuclear trade after years of negotiation.

The Times of India reported it this way on April 13:

“Around 40 years after India used plutonium from a Canadian heavy water reactor to carry out its first nuclear test in defiance of world opinion, Ottawa is set to resume nuclear commerce with New Delhi.”

The deal was touted by Prime Minister Stephen Harper for the jobs and wealth it would create. Premier Brad Wall joined in praising the deal because the uranium to be sent to India would come from here in Saskatchewan.

India could need up to 7 million pounds of uranium by 2020 to help fuel a planned dozen new nuclear reactors.  The value of this uranium could run from $340-640 million dollars. Embassy Magazine November 14, 2012

But what is the real cost to peace?

CANADA’S “END-RUN” AROUND NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT

India, which has over 100 nuclear weapons according to the Arms Control Association, has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), or other treaties aimed at limiting and reducing nuclear weapons, such as the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

According to Douglas Roche, former MP and disarmament expert, the transfer of nuclear materials for whatever purpose to a country that is not part of the NPT is a violation of the treaty. “I don’t care how they cut and slice it. Canada is doing an end-run around the non-proliferation treaty.” Embassy Magazine November 14, 2012.

The Canadian Government says safeguards will be in place, but Paul Meyer, former Canadian ambassador for disarmament says, “while nuclear material originating in Canada could not be used in India’s military program, that material could supplement the limited Indian supplies of uranium and free up more of it for the manufacture of nuclear weapons.” Toronto Star, November 12, 2012.

Meanwhile, India continues to expand its nuclear arsenal.  The Arms Control Association reported in April 2013 that “India continues to receive low grades [for disarmament] for increasing the size of its nuclear arsenal and producing weapons-usable fissile material.”

India and Pakistan each have approximately 100 nuclear warheads.  Expanded nuclear activity in India, including continued weapons proliferation, will likely add to the already tense nuclear-arms race between these two countries, while undermining global efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons.

According to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, any use of nuclear weapons would constitute ‘a crime against humanity.’

Are jobs and uranium company profits worth endangering millions of lives in Asia and around the world?

CANADA-INDIA NUCLEAR TIMELINE

1974: India uses Canadian nuclear technology to set off a “peaceful nuclear explosion.”

1998: India detonates nuclear weapons; Pakistan follows suit five weeks later.  International condemnation and UN sanctions follow.

2008: The United States moves to re-open nuclear trade with India; Canada soon follows the US lead.

2013: Canada signs nuclear cooperation deal.

2015-2020: India’s nuclear arsenal could expand to include nuclear-armed submarines and longer-range ballistic missiles.

“The message I bring is simple, and so is the question I ask. The message is that we cannot live indefinitely with nuclear weapons. The question is, do you agree?” Nobel Laureate John Polanyi, May 18, 2013

TAKE ACTION

E-mail your MP or Premier Wall to say you want Canada to stop weakening global nuclear disarmament:

Brad Wall: premier@gov.sk.ca

Ralph Goodale: goodale@sasktel.net

Andrew Scheer: Scheer.A@parl.gc.ca

Ray Boughen: ray.boughen@parl.gc.ca

Tom Lukiwski: Lukiwski.T@parl.gc.ca

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