Sat, 2014-10-04 01:19Brendan Montague
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Cameron, Climate Chameleon: A Tory Conference Special

David Cameron was the champion of climate change action during the 2009 Tory conference as the party appealed to concerned voters ahead of the general election. “If we don't act now, and act quickly, we could face disaster.”

But five years into a coaltion government with a Liberal Democrat party genuinely committed to climate change mitigation his promise to deliver “the greenest government ever” rings hollow. At this year's conference he all but ignored the issue of our age, saying only Britain is “leading and not following on climate change”.

Fri, 2014-10-03 08:57Guest
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Site C Dam Proposal Puts Treaty Commitments to the Test

BC First Nations Site C Zack Embree

This is a guest post by David Suzuki.

B.C. First Nations chiefs recently travelled to Ottawa to urge the federal government to pull the plug on the costliest infrastructure project in the country.

At an estimated $7.9 billion and growing, the proposed Site C Dam on the beautiful Peace River in northeastern B.C. has been criticized for spiralling costs, questions about whether the electricity it would produce is even needed, and concerns about the environmental and social impacts of flooding thousands of hectares of prime farmland, irreplaceable cultural sites and wildlife habitat. The government is expected to make a decision in October.

While in Ottawa, First Nations leaders also reminded politicians that the Peace River Valley is the traditional territory of the Dane-zaa, and Canada has clear obligations to them under the 1899 Treaty 8. Years of case law, as well as the recent Supreme Court of Canada Tsilhqot'in decision, confirm that First Nations must have a say on industrial development on their lands.

Thu, 2014-10-02 23:58Brendan Montague
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Exclusive: Oil and Tobacco Explain Funding of Neoliberalism

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) helped Thatcher's rise to power and when she became prime minister she followed their programme. This success allowed the IEA to fundraise from industry giantsincluding oil and tobacco.

Friedrich von Hayek, the architect of a Thatcherism defined by its the privatisation, tax breaks and strike breaking, would be officially recognised in December 1984. He had already received the Nobel Prize for Economics—but this was the real highlight.  

Hayek was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour by the Queen, on the prime minister's recommendation, for “services to the study of economics”.

The audience with the Queen was followed by a jubilant dinner with family and friends at the Institute of Economic Affairs. “I've just had the happiest day of my life,” Hayek said.

Margaret Thatcher in turn thanked Fisher, Harris, and her sponsors at the IEA during its 30th anniversary dinner at Grosvenor House in April 1987.

Thu, 2014-10-02 17:59Justin Mikulka
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Oil and Rail Industries Still Fighting Oil Train Safety Measures 23 Years and Counting

Oil train

On the final day of the public comment period for the new proposed oil-by-rail regulations, the oil industry came out swinging. At a press conference held by American Petroleum Institute (API) president Jack Gerard, Gerard said: “Overreacting creates more challenges than safety.” 

One of the main “overreactions” Gerard and the API want to avoid is the discontinuation of the DOT-111 tank cars for transporting dangerous products like Bakken crude oil.

Based on that, you might think that banning DOT-111s is some kind of reactionary new idea, not something that’s been on the books for more than two decades.

Take this line from a 1991 National Transportation Safety Board document: “The inadequacy of the protection provided by DOT-111A tank cars for certain dangerous products has been evident for many years in accidents investigated by the Safety Board.” 

Yet, here’s the American Petroleum Institute, 23 years later arguing that halting the shipment of explosive Bakken crude oil in DOT-111 tank cars is “overreacting.”

Thu, 2014-10-02 13:00Farron Cousins
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Science Is Clear: Reducing Carbon Emissions Will Save Lives

While governments all over the globe continue to squabble about how to address greenhouse gas pollution – or, in some instances, whether or not to even address the issue – a new report delivers some much needed good news: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions will save lives.

The report, titled Health Co-Benefits of Carbon Standards for Existing Power Plants, breaks the regulatory debate being waged in the United States in its simplest form. Researchers from Harvard University, Boston University, and Syracuse University state in the report that the Environmental Protection Agency’s stricter standards for existing power plants will save an estimated 9 American lives per day.

As the report lays out, the EPA’s emission reduction standards – the first effort ever by the agency to reduce power plant emissions – would reduce the amount of emissions by 30% below 2005 standards by the year 2030. These power plants account for nearly 40% of the total carbon emissions for the United States.

The 30% drop in emissions will save an estimated 3,500 American lives every year. But that is just the tip of the iceberg, according to the report. An additional 1,000 hospital stays could also be avoided, along with reduced levels of sulfur dioxide, toxic mercury, and fine particulates in the air that we breathe.

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