tagged w/ Accountability
Today's ruling in the Netherlands which found the Nigerian subsidiary of the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell guilty of causing pollution, is a historic legal victory for oil producing communities in Nigeria and probably across Africa.
72 year old fish farmer Friday Akpan, from Akwa Ibom State, one of Nigeria's richest oil producing states, was one of four fish farmers who was able to prove that Shell Nigeria, the subsidiary of one of the world's most profitable companies Royal Dutch Shell, which made more than $30 billion dollars in profit in 2011, failed to properly maintain oil pipelines and other installations in Ikot Ada Udo community. Shell Nigeria's negligence led to oil spills that devastated Friday Akpan's 47 fishponds.
Friday is waiting to find out exactly how much compensation Shell Nigeria will have to pay, and when the company will conduct a clean-up of the environmental damage its caused.
Wednesday's ruling is the culmination of years of legal struggles for oil producing communities in Nigeria to get Shell Nigeria to take responsibility for pollution it causes on their land. Shell has been mining oil in Nigeria for close to 40 years, and is responsible for thousands of oil spills, the environmental non-governmental organisation Friends of the Earth says. It may also set a legal precedent and may have far reaching implications for the subsidiaries of many multinational companies operating in Nigeria. The ruling could also lead to more compensation claims from oil producing communities against Shell and other oil companies operating in Nigeria.
And though the ruling did not find Shell Nigeria's parent company Royal Dutch Shell responsible, lawyers from Friends of the Earth representing the farmers say they will not give up the fight to prove that RDS is held responsible for the activities of its subsdiary Shell Nigeria. They explain that RDS was exonerated from responsibility for causing oil pollution was because Friends of the Earth’s legal team were denied access to internal RDS documents showing that RDS determines the daily affairs of its Nigerian subsidiary - which would prove responsibility. RDS owns 100% of Shell Nigeria and the estimated profits of 1.8 billion euros of profit the company turns over annually.
The ruling also will be a relief for oil producing communities who have failed to get their cases of oil pollution against oil companies adjudicated within the Nigerian legal framework.
Yvonne Ndege is Al Jazeera’s West Africa correspondent based in Abuja, Nigeria.
January 31, 2013 - 00:22
More at the linkToday's ruling in the Netherlands which found the Nigerian subsidiary of the... more
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) became the first Republican senator to come out against using the debt ceiling as leverage for spending cuts, contradicting Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other Republicans who favor such a tactic.
In an interview with the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner published Tuesday, Murkowski said, “If you incur an obligation, you have a responsibility to pay for that." According to the paper, "Murkowski said spending cuts are crucial but shouldn't be tied to the debt ceiling debate."
"Murkowski, at a News-Miner editorial board meeting on Jan. 9, said she doesn’t think the debt limit should be used for political leverage," wrote reporter Jeff Richardson. "Murkowski said not all of her colleagues in the Senate will say it out loud, but she believes most agree that failing to raise the debt limit would harm perception of the country."
President Barack Obama wants a clean increase in the nation's $16.4 trillion debt limit and warned congressional Republicans Monday not to use it to extract spending cuts. "They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the economy," he said. "The full faith and credit of the United States economy is not a bargaining chip. And they better choose quickly because time is running short. The last time Republicans in Congress even flirted with this idea, our AAA credit rating was down for the first time in our history."
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Monday that the nation will exhaust its borrowing limit in mid-February to early March.
McConnell wants to use the debt ceiling debate to extract spending cuts. "The President and his allies need to get serious about spending, and the debt-limit debate is the perfect time for it," he said in a statement Tuesday. Other Republican Senators have supported the gambit. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), for example, has said the GOP has "leverage" to extract spending cuts in the debt ceiling fight.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/15/lisa-murkowski-debt-ceiling_n_2478679.htmlSen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) became the first Republican senator to come out against... more
January 9, 2013
BURLINGTON, Vt., Jan. 9 – Coming off the hottest year on record in the United States, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said today that he will introduce legislation to move aggressively to reverse global warming.
“The scientific data is clear that global warming is real and significantly caused by greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels,” Sanders said.
“After the hottest year on record and extreme weather disturbances such as Hurricane Sandy, we must take strong action to transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and move toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy,” Sanders added. “I intend to introduce legislation in the Senate to do just that.”
Sanders’ legislation will include a transparent fee on greenhouse gas emissions from the biggest polluters. It will call for an historic investment in efficiency, sustainable energy, advanced transportation infrastructure, and clean energy research and development. The measure also would end fossil fuel subsidies and tax breaks.
The annual U.S. temperature last year was 55.32 degrees Fahrenheit, a full degree warmer than the old record set in 1998, the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., announced on Tuesday. Scientists say the temperature increases are happening faster than they expected and that the warming trend is a result of climate change caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
The problem is global. Record temperatures in Australia, for example, produced what the government called “catastrophic” fire conditions in the most populace part of the continent. The average temperature across Australia on Tuesday was the highest since statistics began being kept in 1911.
The United States in recent years has doubled electricity generation from wind and solar power sources and enacted fuel economy standards that will help our cars and trucks get to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. “But we are not doing nearly enough,” Sanders said. “That is why I will be introducing legislation that would deal realistically with the crisis in a way that is aggressive but achievable.”
Thank you, Senator Sanders for doing what is said to not be politically feasible. It is encouraging to see at least some in this Congress who understand what is morally feasible and necessary. I don't know how far this will go (but I think telling him thank you and that you support this would help as well as writing your own Senators and asking them to support it) but the point is to have the courage and principles to do it. And reality now tells us it must be done. We of course need to take this on in our own lives, but we will not now be able to address the pace of the changes we see without laws and accountability. Just talking isn't going to cut it.January 9, 2013
BURLINGTON, Vt., Jan. 9 – Coming off the hottest year on... more
Jury Nullification Supporters Rally Behind CopBlock.org Founder, Who Faces 21 Years in Prison for Reporting Police Brutality
Keene, New Hampshire – August 4, 2012 – The controversial felony wiretapping charges journalist and CopBlock.org founder Adam ‘Ademo’ Mueller is facing will go to trial, a situation that has stirred up a hornet’s nest of free speech advocates in New Hampshire. The “Free Ademo” supporters are planning to show their support en masse at Hillsboro County Superior Court when jury selection for the trial begins at 9 a.m. Monday, August 6. This will be the first time an activist has taken a case this serious to trial since the state passed HB 146, a jury nullification law that ensures the defense’s right to inform the jury of their right to issue “not guilty” verdicts when they disagree with the application of the law in question.
According to court documents, the three wiretapping charges stem from a vlog Mueller posted on CopBlock.org, which featured recordings of on-duty public officials being interviewed about alleged police brutality at a local school. Mueller was reporting about a video recorded by a Manchester West High School student’s cell phone, depicting Officer Darren Murphy slamming a handcuffed student’s face into a cafeteria table. The video later went viral.
Full Story: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-824678Jury Nullification Supporters Rally Behind CopBlock.org Founder, Who Faces 21 Years in... more
One victim of the Aurora, Colo., shooting could face up to $2 million in medical bills. Caleb Medley, who is uninsured, suffered brain damage after being shot in the eye and is in a medically induced coma. A fund has been set up to collect donations to help his family meet the costs.
Who should step up and take responsibility for his medical bills? The hospital? The movie theater? The NRA? Should President Obama insist an insurer cover him?
(Photo: Getty Images)One victim of the Aurora, Colo., shooting could face up to $2 million in medical... more
How justified is the use of drone strikes by the US? How many innocent civilians were killed by these drones? What are the decisions behind their use? How effective is Obama's war on al-Qaeda, and how popular is it among Americans? CrossTalking with Bill Roggio, Jeanne Mirer and Chris Woods.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_Ygc-u1b6g
How justified is the use of drone... more
On 27th June, international campaigners for justice in Bhopal are uniting around the world to take action against Dow Chemical. With one month to go to the London Olympics, demonstrators are marking this day by calling for Dow to be dropped as an Olympic sponsor. Actions will be taking place in India, the UK, the US and Canada.
"We are calling for the Olympic sponsorship deal with Dow to be dropped because Dow is the company now responsible for the consequences of the Bhopal gas disaster in 1984.The disaster killed over 20,000 and caused injury and illness to thousands more . Dow bought Union Carbide, the company which owned the site in Bhopal when the gas leak occurred, in 2001  The site of the disaster has still not been cleaned up, which has caused contamination of the water supply for thousands of Bhopalis . Hundreds of children continue to be born every year with birth defects as a result ."
More at the link
Actions are still going on today to call for DOW to step down as an Olympic sponsor and for justice for the victims of Bhopal.On 27th June, international campaigners for justice in Bhopal are uniting around the... more
By David Edwards
Sunday, April 22, 2012 10:53 EDT
Independent Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman on Sunday insisted that President Barack Obama and the White House should be held accountable for a sex scandal within the Secret Service and for lavish spending at the General Services Administration (GSA).
“It would be unfair to hold President Obama responsible for this outrageous behavior at the Secret Service and the GSA, but it is fair to hold the president accountable,” Lieberman told Fox News host Chris Wallace. “What do I mean when I say the president should be held accountable? The buck stops at the president’s desk. He’s the leader of our government. He now has to be acting with a kind of relentless determination to find out exactly what happened and to make sure the people who work for him at the Secret Service and the GSA and everywhere else in the government don’t let anything like this happen again.”
The Connecticut senator also called for an investigation to determine whether White House staff were involved in the incident where Secret Services agents allegedly solicited prostitutes in Columbia ahead of the president’s recent visit there.
“I’d say it’s a reasonable question,” Lieberman explained. “I think the White House ought to be conducting its own internal investigation of White House personnel who were in Cartagena just to makes sure that none of them were involved in this kind of inappropriate behavior.”
“I understand a White House advance person doesn’t have quite the same range of responsibility as a Secret Service agent does. On the other hand, a White House advance person knows exactly where the president is going to be at any time. … So, that’s an important question and the White House ought to be taking [Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck] Grassley’s inquiry not defensively, but making sure they answer the questions.”
Watch this video from Fox’s Fox News Sunday, broadcast April 22, 2012.
"Yup, now it's also BO's responsibility to contain the sexual yearnings of the Secret Service members, according to Joe Lieberman... Should BO be instituting SaltPeter for all members???" "Accountable, now there's a word I would never expect to hear from turn coat Joe!!!"By David Edwards
Sunday, April 22, 2012 10:53 EDT
Independent Connecticut Sen. Joe... more
This week, Democrats in Washington are taking up the fight for tax fairness, pressuring Republicans on the "Buffett Rule" to make sure millionaires and billionaires don't pay a lower tax rate than the rest of us.
It's a great start, but progressives need to use this opportunity to pressure Democratic leadership to deal with the whole problem. In addition to the Buffett Rule, Democratic leaders need to pledge to allow the disastrous Bush tax cuts that only benefit the wealthiest to expire and commit to reforming the corporate tax code -- so that corporations making billions are forced to pay their taxes like everyone else.
I just signed a petition asking the Democratic leadership to end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and make corporations pay their fair share. Join the cause today by clicking the link below.
We're working with our allies at Progressives United, an important new group led by Senator Russ Feingold, to make sure that Democrats get the message loud and clear that we can address our revenue needs by ending the Bush tax cuts and making corporations pay their fair share. In the coming days -- leading up to tax day -- the President and his Democratic allies in Congress will rally around the "Buffett Rule," tax legislation that aims to get the billionaires and millionaires to more in taxes.4
If the Democrats want to show a genuine commitment to enacting progressive tax policies that will help address the economic injustice in this country, they need to not just pass the Buffett Rule, but also make sure to end the Bush tax cuts and make corporations pay their fair share.
Tell Democratic Leadership: Pass the Buffett Rule, and then end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and make corporations pay their fair share too.
Had President Obama decided not to cut a deal with the Republican leadership and extend the low Bush tax rates in December of 2010, additional revenue would already be "flowing into the U.S. Treasury" at a rate of "$11.6 million every hour of every day."5 Generating those revenues by requiring the top 1 percent to pay their fair share as they were doing prior to Bush tax cuts, would have neutralized the beltway clamor for brutal cuts to programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in the name of reform.
Focusing on the Bush tax cuts isn't only just, it's also smart politics. We don't have to pass a bill through the Republican-controlled House -- all we need to do is ensure that Congress doesn't pass a bill that extends the Bush tax cuts past 2012.
http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/end_bush_taxcuts/?r_by=38476-2455059-WGS9%3Dcx&rc=paste1This week, Democrats in Washington are taking up the fight for tax fairness,... more
In today’s world, people seem to be more incompetent each and everyday. The unaccountability for a person to do their job is painfully obvious; especially people who hold bureaucratic or administrative positions. It seems there is some unwritten law to give people the runaround. They speak rudely, give attitude, and if they make a mistake they want you to have some understanding. What the F#$ k!!In today’s world, people seem to be more incompetent each and everyday. The... more
Like many Gulf Coast residents, I was highly skeptical when both the media and the Coast Guard told us that the tar balls we were seeing wash up on our shores in the months following the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster were not from BP’s oil geyser at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. If they weren’t from the massive leak caused by BP, Halliburton, and TransOcean, then where were these tar balls coming from? While we might not know the clear answer to that question, we do have a new suspect.
According to a lawsuit filed this week by the Waterkeeper Alliance and their Gulf Coast affiliates, there is a smaller oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast that has been flowing nonstop for almost seven and a half years. While nowhere near as large as the oil leak from the Deepwater Horizon disaster – the lawsuit estimates the current leak to be releasing a few hundred gallons of oil per day – the fact that it has been flowing for more than seven years allows plenty of time for hundred of thousands, if not low millions, of gallons of oil to be released into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
However, the energy company responsible for the leak – Taylor Energy – says that only about 14 gallons of oil are leaking per day. The Waterkeeper Alliance is basing their analysis on the size and scope of visible oil sheens, similar to how the flow rate was determined for the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
The lawsuit alleges that Taylor Energy is responsible for allowing oil to flow into the Gulf, a direct violation of the Clean Water Act. They are seeking civil penalties in the amount of $37,500 per day that the oil has been leaking, the maximum possible penalty for such violations under the Act.
So how has an oil leak managed to go undetected, or at least unreported, for the better part of a decade? That’s one of the questions the lawsuit is hoping to answer.
Aided by satellite imagery and research conducted by SkyTruth and aerial observation by SouthWings, the Waterkeeper Alliance and its local Waterkeeper organizations learned that the spill, located approximately 11 miles off the coast of Louisiana, started after an undersea landslide in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan in 2004. An offshore platform and 28 wells were damaged, and since then, Taylor has yet to stop the daily flow of oil from the site. Waterkeeper estimates that hundreds of gallons of oil have leaked from the site each day for the last 7 years.
“The plaintiffs filed suit to stop the spill and lift the veil of secrecy surrounding Taylor Oil’s seven-year long response and recovery operation,” explained Marc Yaggi, executive director of Waterkeeper Alliance. “Neither the government nor Taylor will answer basic questions related to the spill response, citing privacy concerns.” The public deserves to know how this spill happened and why it continues. Coastal communities should understand the risks involved in developing off-shore oil resources and what protections are in place to prevent damage from future spills.
Justin Bloom, the eastern regional director of the Waterkeeper Alliance, points out that none of the recommended reforms from the NOAA assessment of the Deepwater Horizon oil leak have been enacted, allowing for a culture that puts the profits of the oil industry ahead of environmental and human health protections.
In addition to the newly-filed lawsuit, the Waterkeeper Alliance has also released a joint report with SkyTruth and SouthWings (under their joint organization of the Gulf Monitoring Consortium) detailing the failings of our current monitoring and reporting systems for oil disasters. From their new report:
In addition to the lack of reporting, chronic underreporting of oil spills makes it impossible for the public and decision makers to understand the true scope of pollution caused by oil and gas exploration and production. The National Reporting Center’s (NRC) reports lacking estimates of the amount of oil spilled are common. Between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2011 a total of 2903 oil or refined petroleum (e.g. diesel fuel) spills were reported in the Gulf region. Seventy-seven percent (2221) of those reports did not include an estimate of the quantity of oil spilled. Forty-five percent (1311) identify a suspected responsible party – a strong indicator that those reports were submitted by the actual polluters – and of those, nearly half (620) do not include any spill amount.
More at the linkLike many Gulf Coast residents, I was highly skeptical when both the media and the... more
There will definitely not be any Dow Chemical branding on the [stadium] wrap before, during or after the Olympic Games," announced a spokeswomen for the London 2012 organizing committee.
The October 18 development marks progress in a global campaign to shame Dow into admitting accountability to victims of the Union Carbide pesticide plant explosion in Bhopal in 1984. Dow merged with UC in 1999, yet has denied liability for the ongoing suffering of tens of thousands.
In 2010, Dow signed a 10-year deal with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as "Worldwide Olympic Partner." IOC rules forbid advertising on game venues, but Dow is paying for the $11 million fabric wrap encircling the stadium, and had planned to emblazon its logo on five "test panels" in preparation for the games.
As GroundTruth reported in October, victims of the Bhopal disaster, including the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, have been working with Members of Parliament in Britain to remove Dow as sponsor of games. Pulling the logo signals that public outrage and political pressure is having an impact.
Some in India's government, the Sports Ministry, and the Indian Olympics Association (IOA) have joined in the campaign. IOA acting president VK Malhotra told The Times of India that removal of Dow's logo is not enough: "Our demand is that Dow should be removed as a sponsor and we have expressed strong reservation with the Olympics. We are sending our communication to Dow as well as IOC on this regard."
More at the linkThere will definitely not be any Dow Chemical branding on the [stadium] wrap before,... more
Erekat tells diplomats world must hold Israel to account
Published today (updated) 03/12/2011 16:01
Senior PLO official Saeb Erekat on Saturday urged the international community
to hold the Israeli government to account in meetings with foreign diplomats.
(MaanImages/Rami Swidan, File)JERICHO (Ma'an) -- Senior PLO official Saeb Erekat on Saturday urged the international community to hold the Israeli government to account and stop treating Israel as above the law.
Erekat’s remarks came during separate meetings with the US consul general in Jerusalem Daniel Rubinstein, the French consul general Frédéric Desagneaux, and representative of Japan to the Palestinian Authority Naofumi Hashimoto, a press statement said.
Erekat said Israel's closure of civil society organizations in East Jerusalem, its continuation of settlement activities and the ongoing blockade on the Gaza Strip reflect an ongoing trend of thwarting the peace process and all attempts to resume negotiations.
The measures are also part of Israel's efforts to eliminate the two-state solution, he added.
The Fatah official urged UN member countries to vote in favor of Palestine's membership at the international body.
"Voting pro Palestine will support peace and the two-state solution. It is the shortest way to achieve comprehensive, sustainable, and just peace in the Middle East," he said.Erekat tells diplomats world must hold Israel to account
Published today (updated)... more
In Canada and the United Kingdom, Indigenous activists and their supporters targeted Shell today for violating agreements made with Indigenous communities in Canada. In Durban, site of the ongoing UN climate talks, activists from Canada joined activists from Africa to denounce Shell and their repeated violations of human rights and environmental regulations. Appearing outside a Shell refinery, a number of Indigenous activists joined with youth from Canada and Africa to support the community of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN), who recently announced their lawsuit against Shell.
“Shell has left a trail of broken promises and ravaged eco-systems. They have been pushing their dirty fossil fuels plans on every country they can bully. It’s time to stand up and say get the Shell out of there, we don’t want your broken promises anymore,” declared Eriel Deranger, a community member of ACFN and director of Sierra Club Prairies.
“We’re drawing the line, and taking a strong stand against Shell. ACFN wants no further developments until Shell is brought to justice and our broader concerns about the cumulative impacts in the region are addressed,” stated Allan Adam, Chief of ACFN.
“The destructive tar sands operations by Shell and other big oil companies are destroying the land and violating our people’s rights to hunt, trap and fish. Canada is a willing partner in these crimes and other human rights abuses caused by fossil fuels and climate change,” noted Daniel T’seleie, an Indigenous youth from northern Canada, and a member of the Canadian Youth Delegation.
“Shell has a history of devastation across the African continent that we are well aware of. Our peoples and our environments have been turned into a colony for companies like Shell, who profit from our suffering. Knowing full well the extent of brutality that Shell has delivered to my fellow Nigerians, we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Canada standing up to say ‘get the Shell out of here’,” emphasized Nnimmo Bassey, director of Environmental Rights Action (Nigeria) and winner of the Alternative Nobel Prize.
“Ironically, Durban, the site of this year’s international climate talks, has struggled against the aging Shell refinery that is the symbol of climate change and environmental injustice. Shell has been responsible for crimes against local citizens, where refinery accidents are common and where rusting pipelines have leaked more than 1 million litres of petrol. We strictly oppose plans to bring Tar Sands oil to South Africa, and agree that Shell must be held accountable for its violations against communities,” claimed Bobby Peek, director of Groundwork in Durban.
More at the linkIn Canada and the United Kingdom, Indigenous activists and their supporters targeted... more
The battle between some of the world's most powerful energy companies and an Alaska village that's losing ground to climate change heads to federal appeals court on Monday.
Nine Kivalina residents, having survived the recent mega-storm that walloped western Alaska, will be at the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to watch their lawyers argue that ExxonMobil Corp., BP, ConocoPhillips and other corporate Goliaths owe the village at least $95 million in damages.
A key Kivalina argument charges that the energy companies are engaged in a conspiracy to cover up the link between their emissions and the earth's warming temperatures. A similar argument proved pivotal decades ago in helping smokers prevail in court against tobacco giants.
The Northwest Alaska village lost the first round of its lawsuit in 2009, when a U.S. District Court dismissed it, saying climate-change pollution needs to be regulated by Congress and the administration, not courts. The village lacked standing, the court said, because it could not show the companies' emissions caused the erosion threatening the village.
But Kivalina is optimistic this time around.
"What we have going for us is the science is changing by the day," and the causal connection between greenhouse-gas emissions and the climate is clarifying, said Heather Kendall-Miller, an attorney for Kivalina and head of the Alaska office of the Native American Rights Fund.
Finding a new home
The quarter-mile-long rock revetment, installed in 2009 by the Army Corps, will buy the village an estimated 10 to 15 years before it must move.
But in 2019, what then?
The village is trying to find a new site where it can rebuild, out of harm's way. But when it does, how will it pay to build a school, homes and other facilities, and to scrape roads and an airstrip on the tundra?
That's where the lawsuit comes in. Moving could cost between $95 million and $400 million, according to figures from the Army Corps of Engineers and the General Accountability Office. That's at least $350,000 to $1.4 million for each village resident.
The city and tribe hope their lawsuit -- Kivalina v. ExxonMobil -- forces about 20 of the world's largest oil, power and coal companies to cough up the cash.
The village has prevailed against industry before. In 2008, with legal help from the San Francisco-based Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, Kivalina forced mining giant Teck-Cominco to settle a lawsuit and spend $120 million on a pipeline to protect drinking water.
More at the linkThe battle between some of the world's most powerful energy companies and an... more
"We're going to show [Chevron] that they can't come here and create
whatever environmental mess they want."
Those were the words of Carlos Minc, Rio de Janeiro state's environment secretary, in response to Chevron's oil spill off the Atlantic coast of Brazil. Judging from his statements to the press, Minc has grown increasingly frustrated with Chevron's actions following the spill.
Anyone familiar with the ongoing battle to bring Chevron to justice in Ecuador knows that the company will do everything it can to protect its profits even at the expense of the planet and human health. Brazilian officials are determined to make Chevron pay for the impacts of its reckless business operations. Send key environmental officials in Brazil a message now to let them know you've got their back.
It isn't just Chevron's response to the spill that has been criticized. Before and after the spill occurred, Chevron showed shockingly little concern about the risks involved. The company reportedly drilled deeper than it was licensed to, and had to borrow sonar equipment to even locate where the leak was occurring. Chevron was completely unprepared for an oil spill – or perhaps I should say, completely unconcerned. Production and profits are all that really matter to Chevron.
No wonder Carlos Minc has also been quoted saying: "We believe the accident could've been avoided. There was an environmental crime. [Chevron] hid information and their emergency team took almost 10 days to start acting."
Brazil's National Petroleum Agency says more than 110,000 gallons of oil have spilled into the Atlantic Ocean. Write to Carlos Minc and other key Brazilian environmental officials now and urge them to hold Chevron accountable for every last drop.
For a cleaner future,
Corporate Campaigns Director
P.S. AlterNet recently named Chevron the #1 "Most Toxic Energy Company," a label the company richly deserves. Even while it refuses to pay to clean up its messes in Ecuador and around the world, Chevron is spending huge sums of money to influence public policy in a preemptive bid to never be held accountable for the damage it does to the planet. Share this story to help expose Chevron and other energy companies that are polluting our political process.
More at the link"We're going to show [Chevron] that they can't come here and create... more
A group of protesters seemingly affiliated with the "Occupy" movement interrupted President Obama's speech in Manchester, New Hampshire on Tuesday, engaging in a call-and-response protest for about 20 seconds before being drowned out by Mr. Obama's supporters.
"Mic check!" yelled a voice from the crowd as Mr. Obama was giving a speech calling on Congress to pass and extend a payroll tax cut. Other protesters repeated "mic check," in the style of the Occupy protests, as Mr. Obama halted his speech and looked out into the crowd.
"Mr. President, over 4,000 peaceful protesters," the lead protester began, his words then repeated by the other protesters. They then made reference to those protesters being arrested, though their words became difficult to hear.
At this point those in the crowd began booing and chanting "Fired up, ready to go," prompting Mr. Obama to say, "no, no, no, it's ok. It's ok."
"All right, OK guys," he continued, trying to calm the crowd as supporters started chanting "Obama" over the protesters.
"I'm going to be talking about a whole range of things today, and I appreciate you guys making your point, let me go ahead and make mine," he said. "All right? And I'll listen to you, you listen to me." The comment prompted applause from the audience.
He went on to reference the movement twice more in his remarks.
"A lot of the folks who've been down in New York and all across the country in the 'Occupy' movement, there is a profound sense of frustration, there's a profound sense of frustration about the fact that the essence of the American dream, which is that if you work hard, if you stick to it that you can make it, feels like that's slipping away," said the president. "And that's not the way things are supposed to be, not here, not in America. This is a place where your hard work and your responsibility's supposed to pay off, it's supposed to be a big, compassionate country where everybody who works hard should have a chance to get ahead, not just the person who owns the factory, but then men and women who work on the factory floor."
The protesters handed out their full message on paper to the assembled press.
"Mr. President, over 4000 peaceful protesters have been arrested while bankers continue to destroy the American economy," it said. "You must stop the assault on our 1st Amendment rights. Your silence sends a message that police brutality is acceptable. Banks got bailed out. We got sold out."
*You may have to go to the link to watch the video.A group of protesters seemingly affiliated with the "Occupy" movement... more
Permanent Peoples' Tribunal accuses biotech giants Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, Syngenta, DuPont and BASF of promoting dangerous pesticides including endosulfan, paraquat and neonicotinoids
The world's major agrochemical companies, Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, Syngenta, DuPont and BASF, will face a public tribunal in early December accused of systematic human rights violations.
They are accused of violating more than 20 instruments of international human rights law through promoting reliance on the sale and use of dangerous and unsafe pesticides including endosulfan, paraquat and neonicotinoids.
The Permanent Peoples' Tribunal (PPT), an international opinion tribunal created in 1979, will hear expert testimony from scientists, medical doctors and lawyers to prove the charges. Victims who have been injured by these products - from farmers, farmworkers, mothers and consumers from around the world - will also testify to the causes and nature of their injuries.
The cases will be heard over a four-day trial in Bangalore, India beginning December 3. While the Tribunal has no legal weight, and cannot force sanctions on companies, it aims to expose and raise awareness of large-scale human rights violations.
Pesticides Action Network (PAN) International, a global network comprised of 600 organisations in 90 countries, has spent years collecting information to bring about the indictments and is seeking justice for more than 25 specific cases - such as Silvino Talavera, an 11-year-old from Paraguay who died days after breathing in a cloud of Monsanto's RoundUp herbicide sprayed by a crop duster. The trial will also hear evidence of the link between pesticide use and a decline in bees.
The corporations, known as the 'Big 6' control 74 per cent of the global pesticide market, as well as dominating the global seed market.
Bayer reject the allegations saying they are a 'wholesale distortion of the role of pesticides in our society.' Monsanto, Syngenta and Dow, after being contacted by the Ecologist, were unavailable for comment.
An estimated 355,000 people are believed to die each year from unintentional toxic chemical poisoning, according the World Health Organization, many of these from use or exposure to pesticides and other agrochemicals. Nick Mole from PAN UK said the trial would give a voice to the otherwise voiceless victims of pesticides.
‘The pesticide industry is massive and incredibly powerful. It is difficult to prove corporate manslaughter even when these products are killing hundreds of people a year,' he said. ‘We've spoken to people who have been abused and we are allowing them to give voice to their individual stories. We will be presenting the outcome of the Tribunal to the corporations and will be inviting their response,' he said.
It is hoped that the verdict, to be delivered on December 6, will lead to greater discussions at UN institutions on holding agrochemical corporations accountable for crimes relating to the impact of their products.
More at the linkPermanent Peoples' Tribunal accuses biotech giants Monsanto, Dow, Bayer,... more
The global challenge of climate change poses a perfect moral storm — by failing to take action to rein in carbon emissions, the current generation is spreading the costs of its behavior far into the future. Why should people in the future pay to clean up our mess?
by stephen gardiner
Sometimes the best way to make progress on a problem is to get clearer on what that problem is. Arguably, the biggest issue facing humanity at the moment is the looming global environmental crisis. Here, the problem is not that we are unaware that trouble is coming. After all, the basic science is both well known and continually being reiterated in major national and international reports. Rather, the core problem is that thus far effective action seems beyond us. We seem at best paralyzed, and at worst indifferent. Put starkly, there seems little place within our grand institutions and busy lives for what may turn out to be the defining issue of our generation.
Why? In my view, at the heart of the matter is the fact that humanity is in the grip of a profound ethical challenge that our current institutions and theories are ill-equipped to meet.
Sebastian Junger’s book The Perfect Storm tells the story of a fishing boat caught at sea during the rare convergence of three independently powerful storms. Similarly, the global crisis of climate change brings together three major challenges to ethical action — and in a mutually reinforcing way. It is genuinely global, profoundly intergenerational, and occurs in a setting where we lack robust theory and institutions to guide us. Neglect of this perfect moral storm leads us to underestimate the climate problem and fail to appreciate the wider implications in predictable ways.
Conventional wisdom identifies climate change as primarily a global problem. Wherever they originate, emissions of the main greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide) quickly become mixed in the atmosphere, affecting climate Those least responsible for past emissions are likely to suffer the most serious impacts.everywhere. According to the standard analysis, this makes climate change a traditional “tragedy of the commons,” played out between nation states that represent the interests of their citizens in perpetuity. In Garrett Hardin’s tragedy, each herdsman prefers the collective outcome where none over-consume — so that the commons is not overburdened. Nevertheless, when acting individually each prefers to over-consume himself, no matter what the others do — with ruinous results for all.
In climate change, we are often told, states reason in the same way. Each prefers the collective outcome where none over-consume with carbon emissions — so that dangerous climate change is avoided. Yet, when acting individually, each prefers to over-consume, no matter what the others do — so overconsumption is rife. In both cases, then, we are led to an outcome that no one wants, and which is severe enough to seem tragic.
Unfortunately, this traditional model is at best dangerously incomplete. To begin with, it ignores one central spatial aspect of the climate problem. Those least responsible for past emissions are likely to suffer the most serious impacts (at least in the short- to medium-term). This is partly because the poorer nations are disproportionately located in more climate-sensitive regions, but it is also because, being poor, they lack the resources available to the rich to address negative impacts. Since it ignores this basic problem of fairness, the traditional model underestimates the nature of the relevant “tragedy.”
Even more importantly, the traditional model obscures the temporal aspect of the perfect moral storm. Once emitted, a substantial proportion of climate emissions typically remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, and some persist for tens — even hundreds — of thousands. This means that the current generation takes benefits now, but spreads the costs of its behavior far into the future.
Worse, many of these benefits are comparatively modest (e.g., those of bigger and more powerful vehicles), and many of the projected costs are severe, even catastrophic (e.g., severe flooding and famine). Worse still, the problem is iterated: The same temptation to take modest benefits now even Most victims of climate change cannot hold us to account, being very poor, not yet born, or nonhuman.in the face of severe costs to the future is repeated for subsequent generations as they come to hold the reins of power. Hence, there are cumulative impacts further in the future. Worst of all, such impacts may eventually provoke the equivalent of an intergenerational arms race. Perhaps some future generations will face such appalling environmental conditions that they are entitled to emit more in self-defense, even foreseeing that this behavior makes matters even worse for their successors. And so it goes on.
The third storm exacerbates the situation. Climate change brings together many areas in which our best theories are far from robust, such as intergenerational ethics, global justice, scientific uncertainty, and humanity’s relationship to nature. The problem here is not that we do not have any guidance at all. For example, the idea that imposing catastrophe on the future for the sake of our own modest benefits is not a defensible way to behave is a relatively secure basic ethical intuition. Rather, the problem is that it is difficult to move beyond those basic intuitions to deal with the details, and we are too easily distracted by counterarguments, especially from theories that have merits in other contexts, but fail to take the future seriously enough.
For example, some influential economists claim the current generation is justified in moving slowly on climate change because future people will be richer due to economic growth, and so should pay more. But are we entitled to assume that the future will be richer even in a climate catastrophe? And even if they are, why should they pay to clean up our mess?
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The decisions we all make now have an effect on future generations. To leave this world this way for future generations is a moral crime.The environmental debt we leave our children is even more heinous a crime than the economic debt we leave them. I will never understand the mindset of the quick fix.
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