The IPPC Reports, We need a ‘green energy revolution’

The latest Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), shows that humanity still has time to solve the global crisis of global warming and climate change, but only if governments and industry are finally forced to make the political and financial decisions that will see the rapid reduction of CO2 emissions while launching a planetary push for renewable energy sources.

Environmentalists responded to the report by saying that its findings simply go to show that far from showing a ‘green energy revolution’ is expensive or prohibitive, the opposite is true.

“Dirty energy industries are sure to put up a fight but it’s only a question of time before public pressure and economics dictate that they either change or go out of business. The 21st century will be the ‘age of renewables’.” —Kaisa Kosone, Greenpeace

“Clean energy is not costly, but inaction is,” said Greenpeace campaigners Daniel Mittler and Kaisa Kosonen from Berlin. “Costly in terms of lives, livelihoods and economies if governments and business continue to allow climate change impacts to escalate.”

According to the Working Group III contribution to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, it remains possible, “using a wide array of technological measures and changes in behaviour,” to limit the increase in global mean temperature to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels as world governments have agreed is the target for this century. However, says the report, only “major institutional and technological changes” will do and they must be done immediately without the delays and obstructions that have so far blocked meaningful action.

The key message of the report is that the burning of fossil fuels must be rapidly curbed and phased out, while the investments in renewable, low- or zero-carbon sources of energy must be scaled up dramatically. And, as Mittler and Kosonen summarize, the economic, ecological, and societal realities prove that “climate action is an opportunity, not a burden.”

“The longer we wait, the costlier it will be,” said Charles Kolstad, an environmental economist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the report’s lead author.

“Climate policies in line with the two degrees Celsius goal need to aim for substantial emission reductions,” said Ottmar Edenhofer, one of the co-chairs of the report. “There is a clear message from science: To avoid dangerous interference with the climate system, we need to move away from business as usual.”

The report, entitled Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change, is the third of three Working Group reports, which, along with a Synthesis Report due in October 2014, constitute the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report on climate change.

“The solutions to make the shift from fossil fuels to renewables are clear,” says Hoda Baraka, global communications manager for the climate action group 350.org. “We need to stop pumping money into a rogue industry that is determined to maximize its profits at any cost. Divestment is the means to shift investments away from coal, oil and gas companies and into a more equitable and sustainable energy economy.” Continue reading

Vote Green to beat racism – Left Unity backs Peter Cranie in European election

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In a joint announcement today, the North West region of Left Unity has offered a public endorsement of the lead Green candidate Peter Cranie for the European Elections. Felicity Dowling, a former Liverpool councillor, and a Principal Speaker for Left Unity, said:

“In the last European Election the Green Party gained 7.7% of the vote and the BNP won the final seat in the North West region with just 8%. The Greens can command enough of the vote to ensure that Nick Griffin will lose his seat in the European Parliament.”

“Peter is a committed anti-racism campaigner, an active trade unionist and a confirmed opponent of austerity. If elected, he is committed to working with trade union campaigns through his European role.”

“Votes for Labour in this election will not help combat austerity. Labour has pledged to match coalition spending plans for their first year of government.

Left Unity is urging its supporters to use their votes in the most effective way to influence the national debate in the absence of a Left Unity candidate.”

“We call upon those in the North West who oppose fascism and who oppose austerity to use their vote tactically to elect Peter Cranie. It is crucial that the story of these European Elections is not just about UKIP and their anti-immigrant and anti-European agenda, but also shows there is electoral strength for a growing movement against austerity.”

In response to the endorsement, Peter Cranie commented:

“Left Unity has shown that they will approach politics in a different way and we very much welcome this endorsement in the North West.”

“As an anti-racist campaigner with the Merseyside Coalition Against Racism and Fascism for many years, the priority for all anti-racist voters has to be to ensure that Nick Griffin is ejected from the European Parliament.”

“We also must kick the legs out from under the coalition and the failed policies of austerity in this election. The final seat in the North West will be contested between the Greens, the Liberal Democrats and the BNP. If the Greens win, it will leave the Liberal Democrats in 5th place nationally in this election.”

“After these European Elections and Nick Clegg’s disastrous debate appearances, we want to see Liberal Democrats forced into a change of leader and a change of direction, bringing an end to this appalling coalition and an early General Election. The latest European poll by ICM shows the Greens level with the Liberal Democrats [1], and endorsements like this one by Left Unity, could be crucial.”

The statement from Left Unity follows a letter to the Morning Star newspaper earlier this year [2], where many North West Trade Unionists, among them a prominent 2009 NO2EU candidate, Alec McFadden, urged unity and for other groups on the left to back the Greens. In 2009 the combined vote of the Socialist Labour Party and the NO2EU lists was just 3%, but the Greens would have only needed an extra 0.3% to prevent Griffin from ever taking a seat in Europe.

Peter Cranie added:

“We respect the immense contribution that Bob Crow made to the Trade Union movement and that he was a committed supporter of NO2EU. The Green Party policy on Europe is that people should have a referendum now, something both the Greens and NO2EU could agree on.”

“Our door is open for dialogue and we must avoid a situation where the BNP are able to sneak back in due to a controversial media story allowing them whip up hate and prejudice close to the election. It’s our duty to do everything we can to eject Griffin from the European Parliament and I’ll work alongside all campaigners committed to that aim.”

Caroline Lucas- found not guilty -vows to continue opposition to fracking

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All five of the Balcombe anti-fracking campaigners on trial at Brighton Magistrates’ Court were today found not guilty of obstructing the public highway and failing to comply with conditions imposed by a senior police officer.

The five, Josef Dobraszczyk, Ruth Jarman, Caroline Lucas, Sheila Menon and Ruth Potts, were amongst hundreds of people who were peacefully protesting against Cuadrilla’s plans to start fracking at Balcombe in Sussex last August. All five vowed to continue their campaign against fracking and to stop the exploitation of shale gas and oil.

The peaceful protest highlighted widespread opposition to fracking – a controversial process where a mixture of water, sand and chemicals are pumped underground, under high pressure, to force gas and oil from rock layers. Cuadrilla has been carrying on exploratory drilling at Balcombe to see if the area has oil and gas bearing rocks.

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion said: “We were peacefully protesting outside Cuadrilla’s site in Balcombe to highlight the environmental impact of fracking, particularly its role in accelerating climate change.

“We are pleased that the court upheld our right to peacefully protest against fracking, but this judgement is not a victory or cause for celebration. We will continue to campaign to end fracking and will only celebrate when that has been achieved.

“In the light of the UN’s latest report on climate change, it is clearer than ever that exploiting new sources of fossil fuels such as shale gas is fatally undermining the Government’s stated ambition to protect Britain from the worst impacts of climate change.  The only safe and responsible thing to do with shale gas is to leave it in the ground.

“Drilling for shale gas could also cause severe harm to our water resources, countryside and wildlife. The current regulatory framework is simply not fit for purpose – putting communities and our environment at serious risk.”

“Now, more than ever, the government must show some leadership. As a first step, David Cameron must announce an immediate end to fracking and redouble efforts to make the most of the UK’s rich renewable energy resources. Public support for shale gas drilling is falling, whilst support for clean energy such as wind and solar is growing. The Government should listen to the public and to climate scientists and stop letting oil and gas industry lobbyists dictate UK energy policy.”

The trial coincided with the release of two major UN studies on climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC)  latest report (1) warned that greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels were rising faster than ever and highlighted that we can still avoid the worst impacts of climate change but only by urgently switching to renewable energy, reducing energy demand  and phasing out our use of fossil fuels.

An earlier IPCC report concluded that climate change is already happening and examined the impacts of climate change such as storms, droughts and flooding as well as the risks of inaction on health, food security and water supplies.

Climate scientists agree that delaying action to cut carbon emissions is dangerous and will increase the costs of tackling climate change significantly. Experts are clear that around 80 per cent of unexploited fossil fuels will have to remain in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate change (2).

Caroline Lucas said that the way forward was being shown by initiatives like REPOWER Balcombe, a new community cooperative set up by local residents with the aim to generate the equivalent of 100% of the village’s electricity usage from clean, renewable energy sources.

REPOWER Balcombe’s spokesperson Joe Nixon said: “We all need energy, but buying dirty fossil power from giant utilities is no longer the only option. Advances in renewable technology mean that communities like ours can now generate the energy we need ourselves, locally, in a way that benefits us directly instead of big power companies – and helps the environment instead of harming it. This is win-win for Balcombe and for the planet.”

Caroline concluded: “I know that this is very important to a large number of my constituents, because so many of them have written to me about the environmental risks posed by fracking, and the urgency of tackling climate change.

“All five of us would like to thank all of the supporters who have turned up to support us today and thank the thousands of people who have sent letters, emails and tweets to express their support.”

Caroline Lucas did not have any recourse to public funds in order to fight her case.