Monster boats: more than an environmental injustice

Low Impact Fisheries near Heiligenhafen in the Baltic Sea © Bente Stachowske / Greenpeace

Inspired by the touching stories of the small low impact fishers around the globe being impacted by monster boats, I recently decided to look into the definition of environmental justice. While I discovered that there is no universally accepted term, there is a general acceptance that it revolves around local, low income communities being disproportionally subjected to higher levels of environmental risks and it usually involves social conflicts over resource sharing.  It was also very interesting to read that environmental justice can only be achieved when everyone has equal access to the decision- making process to have a healthy environment in which they live and work.

These lines have definitely rung a bell as they so accurately describe what is wrong in the European fisheries. Let us examine some of the best examples. Is it just that one single monster, the Dutch Cornelis Vrolijk, holds 23% of the English quota and about 6% of the entire fishing quota for the UK, while 5.000 traditional UK fishing families with small boats are marginalized holding just the 4% of the whole UK quota between them? Is it just that five vessels hold 20% of the UK quota? Is it fair that low impact fishers, making up approximately 80% of the fleet, get only 4% of the “pie”?

And what about the Swedish monster, the Atlantic? Was it fair that it received 170.000 Euros in indirect subsidies due to tax exemption of fuel, while fishing in Bratten, a vulnerable Natura 2000 site? Are the Danish small scale fishers equally treated when they receive only 5% of the quota, but represent 72% of the vessels, while 105 vessels (only 15% of the fleet) enjoy the profits from catching 90% of the fish?

I realize that overfishing in Europe is first and foremost a matter of injustice, and not just an environmental one.  For too long the European fisheries legislation and political system has favored the large scale industrial vessels, giving them more quotas, increasing their catching capacity and subsidizing with public money the depletion of common fish resources. All these to the expense of small fishers and their communities, who have been struggling for years to get their voices heard by politicians, even though they represent 80% of the fishing fleet.

I also realize that L.I.F.E, the new organization of Low Impact Fishers in Europe, has an historical role to restore justice in fisheries as it carries a heavy responsibility, not only of fighting to achieve sustainable fisheries, but also of reestablishing what is morally correct.

Now more than ever, there is an opportunity to achieve this. The new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), for the first time, offers the chance to put an end to overfishing by reducing fleet capacity starting with eliminating the most destructive vessels, and promote access to resources for those engaged in sustainable fishing. Now more than ever, European fisheries ministers must apply these rules.

It is the just thing to do.

Angela Lazou Dean, Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace Greece

via Greenpeace news

Lima: A positive end to a breakthrough year for the climate movement?

There is no question: 2014 has been a key year for the politics of climate change already, even before the latest round of climate talks get under way in Lima, Peru, next week/today.

This is the year that you, and people like you, turned the latest, frightening warnings from climate science into a message of hope and defiance. More than 400,000 people marching in New York to call for fast and just climate action were the powerful symbol of a climate movement reawakening all over the world.

People's Climate March in New York CityParticipants in the People's Climate March make their way through the streets of New York City. The march, two-days before the United Nations Climate Summit, is billed as the largest climate march in history. The People’s Climate March is a global weekend of action on climate change. More than 2000 events are planned over 6 continents, including huge rallies in New York and London. The summit, called by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, will be attended by more than 120 world leaders and will be the largest gathering of world leaders to discuss climate change since the Copenhagen Summit in 2009.09/21/2014 © Greenpeace / Michael Nagle

As historic as the march in New York was, the end of China´s coal boom, the very boom that made the first ten years of the 21st century the worst ever for our global climate was also important. The latest data shows coal use falling faster than thought in China. If this turn into a long term trend, China´s emissions can stop their relentless rise soon.

China and the US have also, for the first time ever, agreed to reduce carbon pollution and to drastically increase the use of clean energy. Their agreement – just like the new goals that the European Union has set for itself – are painfully inadequate in the face of the urgency we face. But they change the dynamic of the global climate conversation.

For years, global climate meetings were the place where countries would say to each other: “you go first, you know this issue is important ”. Now we are moving to a different world. Now countries say: “I can act, if you can act.” This is a major mental shift. This thinking makes collective action a possibility.

To deliver actions that can actually prevent climate chaos, though, we need to go further. We need more countries to say, “I want to act faster than you, because that will be better for me (and you).” This is not a pipe dream because acting on climate change delivers jobs, livelihoods and opportunities. The days when acting against climate change could be considered a burden are over. Clean, renewable energy is getting bigger, better and cheaper every day and can provide the solutions the world needs. Renewables are the most economical solution for new power capacity in an ever-increasing number of countries.

100% of new power capacity added in the United States in August was renewable and countries such as Denmark and Germany are producing new ´clean electricity´ records almost every month. China is installing as much solar this year as the US has ever (!) done.

As the warnings are getting louder and louder – this year will, it is predicted, be the warmest on record – the bricks are quietly being laid in national policies around the world, that could deliver much more decisive climate action – and a meaningful agreement in Paris next year.

 For that to happen, governments in Lima must agree a few key issues:

Of course, there is no guarantee that Lima will deliver these key demands (and the many other things the conference could make progress on). Over the next two weeks, governments will often make me despair and remind me of the absurd theatre that the climate negotiations often are. Sometimes, I may even wonder if there really has been progress made at all this year … especially when listening to the governments of Canada and Australia, whom I expect to speak on behalf of the oil and coal industries, not their people. And who will have many – too many – supporters, as with too many countries, the polluters of the past dominate domestic politics.

But, as Kumi Naidoo said at a recent TEDxAmsterdam talk:

“When people in large numbers start believing that change is possible, only then does change become possible.”

We are getting there on climate change. The urgency of the climate science, the increasingly attractive economics of renewables, and the rising global climate movement, means that progress on climate action is now inevitable. Leaders in Lima can do their job on behalf of their people speed up the transition to a world run on renewables for all. But even if they dither, they will not be able to change the fact, that the momentum is on our side as we end 2014. Join us – so that we can keep the momentum going!

And  keep up to date with how we are pushing for action in Lima here:


Daniel Mittler is the Political Director of Greenpeace International 

via Greenpeace news

Why Aren’t Rural Electric Cooperatives Champions of Local Clean Power?

When it comes to ownership, there are few better structures for keeping a community’s wealth local than a cooperative. So why is it that America’s rural electric cooperatives are tethered to dirty, old coal-fired power plants instead of local-wealth generating renewable power? There are a lot of answers to this question, but it might start with thi

via Renewable Energy News –

Albis Plastic and Röber Kunststoffe Collaborate in Lighting Segment

Michael Sowinski, Sales Manager for Export/Project Development at Röber Kunststoffe describes the cooperation with Albis Plastic as follows: “Albis Plastic is a competent partner for us in development as well as marketing of the product R.Carbonat Alcom LED. Many years of experience as well as optimum product and photometric support from Albis help us to work effectively and efficiently. This cooperation has very positive aspects including the high flexibility in provision of the raw materials. These combined efforts have already received positive resonance in the market.

Extruded, frosted polyCarbonate with a satin finish provides unique light diffusion properties for maximum, uniform, opal translucency while simultaneously avoiding hot spots. R.Carbonat Alcom LED is therefore ideal for designing new LED light fixtures or conversion to LEDs.

These polyCarbonate panels offer higher impact resistance than glass or acrylic materials and are resistant to temperature within a wide range from -40°C to 120°C. Furthermore, the panels can be processed easily and offer good thermoforming properties.

R. Carbonat Alcom LED is suitable for a highly varying range of applications in the lamp and light fixture segment, for example residential, ambient, working and emergency lighting as well as illuminated signs or light boxes. Joachim Bernhard, Director Global Marketing E&E at Albis Plastic, commented as follows: “The cooperation with Röber Kunststoffe will make it possible for us to guarantee the high quality level associated with the name Alcom. Our partner’s excellent marketing structure ensures that R. Carbonat Alcom LED will reach all market segments. This will allow us to reach all customers in the lighting segment from B2B right down to final, private consumers.”

About Röber Kunststoffe:

Röber Kunststoffe manufactures acrylic glass, polyCarbonate and PET panels in highly varying formats and colors. The company belongs to the Röber Corporate Group, has five extrusion machines and employs a staff of 40. Röber Kunststoffe supplies in particular, wholesalers, home improvement and furniture stores and display manufacturers throughout Europe. Further information is available on

About Albis Plastic:
Albis Plastic is one of the global operating companies in the distribution and compounding of technical thermoPlastics. In addition to the product portfolio of well-known Plastic manufacturers, Albis offers the Plastic processing industry a diverse product range of high performance Plastics, compound solutions and masterbatches. In the 2013 business year, the Albis Group, which has approximately 1030 employees, achieved sales of 810 million euros. With 17 subsidiaries, the Hamburg-based company is represented in many European countries as well as in North Africa, the Far East and North America. Albis manufactures Plastic compounds and masterbatches at three locations in Europe – Hamburg (Germany), Zülpich (Germany) and Manchester (United Kingdom), as well as in the new production site at Changshu, China.  For more information, please visit

via LED-professional

I’m a vaquita and I’m in danger

To you who reads me:

My name is Vaquita 97. Few people know me, few have heard of me and fewer people have seen me. In order for you to imagine me, I’ll say I look like a dolphin but smaller, I’m a marine porpoise.

Some say I could be a panda of the sea, because I have black circles around my eyes and my mouth, which, and forgive my boldness, makes me one of the most beautiful animals on the planet.

>> Help save the Vaquitas.

vaquita marina

But I’m not here to talk about my beauty. My situation is critical because I belong to the world’s most endangered marine mammals.

My habitat, the “Golfo de California,” Mexico is increasingly dangerous for my species. For many years the area has been affectected by illegal fishing and despite attempts to protect me, many of my friends and family have died trapped in fishing nets.

In just two years, half of the vaquitas have disappeared, now only we’re 97. If this continues just like that, we could all disappear in three years, and I fear that the next one could be me.

Therefore I ask for your support to make everyone aware of my problem in order to protect me. I know many think it’s impossible, but I am convinced that together we can achieve it.

I don’t have a voice, however you have one and you can help me. With your signature you can pressure the Mexican government to protect my home and declare it a Marine Reserve to avoid my extinction. This will help protect the entire ecosystem of the area, and serve as an example to protect the oceans around the world.


Vaquita 97

via Greenpeace news

17 nuclear headaches

Cofrentes 17: Saving the environment is our duty and our right.

It was my duty to do this and I did it.” These are the words of one of our Greenpeace activists when he was prosecuted last September for the peaceful protest at the nuclear power plant of Fessenheim in France. These thoughts are shared by the 17 people who participated in the action at Cofrentes nuclear power plant in Spain in 2011 to expose its dangers,  for which they will be tried in the coming days. The Cofrentes 17 face a possible sentence of almost three years in prison.

Greenpeace activists climb one of the cooling towers at the Cofrentes Nuclear Power Plant and display a banner reading in Spanish "Nuclear Danger". 02/15/2011 © Mario Gomez / Greenpeace

Greenpeace activists climb one of the cooling towers at the Cofrentes Nuclear Power Plant (02/15/2011 © Mario Gomez / Greenpeace)

Many nuclear reactors share dangerous similarities – they age, exceed operating life, and are often situated close to places with high population density.  Have a look at 17 nuclear reactors from around the world that must be shut down TODAY.

1. Fessenheim, like Cofrentes, has exceeded its 30-year operating life. Despite improvements and repairs, the aging of nuclear reactors is a fact; certain components can’t be replaced, including the pressure vessel and the containment structure.

About 60 Greenpeace activists from 14 countries protest this morning at Fessenheim (France) against the risk caused by ageing nuclear power plants in Europe. The activists from several European countries (France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Czech Republic, Sweden, Slovenia and Austria) and non-European countries (Australia, Turkey and Israel) have unfurled a banner next to reactor n°1 with the message "Stop Risking Europe". Other activists are on top of this reactor and on its pool. With barrels at the entrance and a banner at the building they demand the shutdown of the plant. The nuclear power station Fessenheim is an old plant and only 1 kilometer from the German border.03/18/2014 © Daniel Mueller / Greenpeace

About 60 Greenpeace activists from 14 countries protest at Fessenheim (03/18/2014 © Daniel Mueller / Greenpeace)

2, 3. In Belgium, reactor 3 of the Doel nuclear power plant was also designed for 30 years of operating life and its pressure vessel was built by the same Dutch company as Cofrentes, Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij (RDM). At present, Doel 3 is out of operation due to severe safety issues stemming from more than 8,000 cracks found in its pressure vessel.Reactor 2 at Belgium’s Tihange nuclear power plant is affected by the same problem.

Greenpeace activists protest with tape bearing the message "The End" against the aging Tihange nuclear power plant in Belgium.03/05/2014 © Philip Reynaers / Greenpeace

Greenpeace activists protest at the aging Tihange nuclear power plant in Belgium. (03/05/2014 © Philip Reynaers / Greenpeace)

4. And close by, in the Netherlands, Greenpeace has reported safety issues on several occasions at the Borssele nuclear plant which has been functioning for more than 40 years.  

5, 6. Germany’s Gundremmingen B and C reactors are also more than 30 years old and have suffered emergency shutdowns due to problems with valves and pipes. The difference is that Gundremmingen B will be shut down in 2017 and C in 2021 while Cofrentes has a licence to operate at least until 2022.

7, 8. The Tarapur 1 and 2 reactors in India are of a similar design and age as those that went into meltdown at Fukushima after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Warnings were given as long ago as 1995 that the Tarapur reactors should be shut down.

9. In the Czech Republic, we find the nuclear power plant of Dukovany. This plant’s operator wants to extend the four reactors’ operating lifetimes to up to 50. These reactors have had their power output increased like the Cofrentes reactors. Increasing the power output of a reactor can compromise its safety limits. For example, increased thermal energy production means more vapor and cooling water which causes greater tensions in the pipes and heat exchange systems, and therefore aggravates the aging processes.

10. Paks 2 in Hungary is also more than 30 years old. In 2003, it suffered a level 2 accident (INES scale). The cause was a fracture of the used fuel rods in its cooling storage pool, where there is no secondary safety containment. In 2009, Cofrentes also suffered an accident classified as level 1 when a fuel sub-element came loose and fell while it was being moved inside the storage pool for inspection.

And it continues…

11. Slovenia’s nuclear power plant at Krsko is also older than 30 years. Just like in the other plants, the physical aging of systems, structures and components run in parallel to aging technology. The design of the reactors only allows a limited implementation of new technology and safety concepts. Protection against earthquakes is insufficient, as is the case with Cofrentes.

12. Further to the north, in Sweden Forsmark 1 with a design similar to all these others, is older than 30 years In 2006 there was a level 2 incident when the emergency backup diesel generators failed and a catastrophic Chernobyl-style meltdown was only narrowly avoided. As at Cofrentes, Greenpeace activists exposed the lack of security of the plant.

Greenpeace activists breach the perimeter fences at Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant. The activists are 'stress testing' the facility to alert the public, the nuclear industry and current Swedish Ministry of the Environment Lena Ek on the serious safety deficiencies of the nuclear facility.10/09/2012 © Greenpeace

Greenpeace activists ‘stress testing’ at Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant. facility. (10/09/2012 © Greenpeace)

13. Valencia is just 100 kilometres away from Cofrentes, with a population of almost 800,000. Requena is 36 kilometres away with 21,000 inhabitants. Just like the Hartlepool nuclear plant in the UK which is also more than 30 years old and has highly populated towns in the vicinity.

14, 15. In Ukraine, the Rivne 1 and 2 reactors are older than 30 years. Their operators  breached the Espoo Convention by not carrying out an environmental impact assessment (EIA) before finalising a periodic safety review that allows them to operate another 10 years. At Cofrentes, its lifetime extension plan was published on the same day as the Fukushima disaster began and without any public consultation.

16. Three years ago, when the Greenpeace action took place at Cofrentes, nobody could imagine what would happen just a month later in Fukushima – a nuclear disaster which is very far from over. Some of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors were supplied by General Electric just like Cofrentes. These reactors lacked filtered ventilation systems to help prevent radioactivity escaping in the event of an accident. Cofrentes is exactly the same.

At Fukushima, the institutions responsible failed because they were unable to recognize the risks, unable to reinforce safety measures when deficiencies were acknowledged, and unable to protect the population and the environment. Just like at Cofrentes.

17. Without doubt, the Santa María de Garoña nuclear power plant is Spain’s biggest headache. Not only is it – like Cofrentes – operated by the company Iberdrola, at 43 years old it is also the oldest in the European Union Like the containment vessel in Cofrentes it was built by the same Dutch company as those in Belgium’s damaged Doel and Thiange reactors. It is now closed, but the Spanish government is looking to reopen it by modifying laws without public or environmental consultations.

Nuclear Action in Garoña Nuclear Plant. 2 Greenpeace activists are sprayed with a power hose in an attempt to remove them from the banner they hold above the resistance container.11/20/2008 © Greenpeace / Pedro Armestre

Greenpeace activists are sprayed with a power hose at the Garoña Nuclear Plant (11/20/2008 © Greenpeace / Pedro Armestre)

So there we have it – 17 nuclear headaches, one for each of the 17 Cofrentes activists who are being prosecuted for doing their civil duty. When it comes to nuclear power, public participation and consent is essential. Peaceful protest is a right.

Will you stand with the Cofrentes 17?

Raquel Montón is a nuclear and energy campaigner for Greenpeace Spain

via Greenpeace news

Hirose Introduces DF59M/S/SN Series, High Current, Low Profile, Multifunctional, Mono-Pole Connection System

The board-to-board option consists of a joining plug and a board mounted receptacle. A slim profile plug (DF59S) or a ultra slim profile plug (DF59SN) are available. The receptacle is not moulded to significantly reduce the depth profile to minimise board space. The low mated height profile is only 1.18mm (DF59S) and 1.2mm (DF59SN). The receptacle is common for both plug types and features a friction lock that provides a positive tactile sensation and an audible click when mated. This confirms the connector is fully engaged guaranteeing complete electrical and mechanical connection.

An additional feature of the board-to-board version is a unique 3-Axis floating structure. This
permits movement of +/- 0.5mm in X and Y directions, and +/- 0.2mm in Z direction to compensate for any tolerances during the mating process. Special innovative, robust, stress free contacts protects the contact area from any mechanical stress during the floating process.

The DF59M wire-to-board version consists of a crimp plug and receptacle. The DF59M receptacle has a different design to the DF59S/SN receptacle, however the PCB layout has a double footprint so that both receptacles can be mounted on to the same PCB pattern. The crimp plug features an enhanced 3-point contact with a spring feature to ensure high contact reliability.
The positive lock feature provides 16N (Newton’s) of lock retention force to ensure a secure connection that is confirmed by an audible tactile click to ensure correct engagement. A higher current rating of up to 6A* (Amp) can be applied to the DF59M wire-to-board version.

Suitable applications are LED lighting, battery connections, small DC motor drives, power supplies and other small devices.
For additional information, please visit

About Hirose:
Since the birth of Hirose in 1937, the company has developed and introduced thousands of new connectors, for numerous applications.
Hirose first appeared on the international stage in 1968 and has crafted a network of sales offices, agents and production facilities around the world. The company continues to broaden the scope of its business activities, keeping pace with market advances and satisfying the changing connector needs of companies in Europe, Asia and North America.
Hirose’s vigorous international strategy rests on three pillars: strong capital investment, a highly skilled labour force, and close contact with the product development divisions of client manufacturers throughout the world.
With the technical knowledge gained from this contact, backed by the company’s own human and financial resources, Hirose is dedicated both to meeting connector demand world-wide and to contributing meaningfully to progress in connector technology.

via LED-professional

Government spying undermines climate action

Unless you’ve been living in a hole in the ground or in a galaxy far, far away you won’t have missed media revelations about government security services snooping on our every communication.

Personal phone calls and e-mails are among the data routinely scooped up and stored for possible later scrutiny. It makes a mockery of the notion of personal privacy.

As private citizens we express, or supress, our outrage and get on with our day-to-day lives. We call, text and mail our nearest and dearest with our most intimate secrets. In the back of our minds we hope that ‘someone’ is there to prevent the descent into an Orwellian dystopia. Or we ignore it and reckon it doesn’t affect us.

When individuals snoop, it’s called ‘hacking’ and they are pursued to the ends of the Earth. When governments do it, it’s ‘surveillance’ and they get off Scot-free.

Protest Against NSA with Airship in Utah © Douglas Pizac / Greenpeace

Private and government communications compromised

Governments, too, rely on electronic communication to exchange their most intimate secrets and that includes their negotiating positions in international talks, such as those on climate change.

Decisions about cutting carbon pollution are serious business and impact on trillions of dollars of present and future investments. And vested interests have the upper hand if they know the positions of their opponents.

What’s the most likely outcome of a card game where your hand is on the table while other players hold their cards close to their chests?

The odds are already stacked against developing countries that face the brunt of climate change impacts. Their disadvantage in protecting themselves against the ‘dark arts’ of electronic eavesdropping makes them even more vulnerable.

Big Brother has been watching all along. For all we know, the outcome of the UN climate talks opening in Lima, on 1 December, may already have been compromised.

Copenhagen Climate Summit hung out to dry

In an article, “For the NSA, espionage was a means to strengthen the US position in climate negotiations”, the Danish publication ‘Information’ raised the question as to whether electronic surveillance by the US National Security Agency contributed to the failure of the Copenhagen climate summit, in 2009.

The summit was billed as the moment when the world’s nations would reach agreement on achieving significant cuts in carbon pollution. As ‘Information’ put it, some called the summit the most important of its kind since the end of World War II. More than a hundred government leaders participated. Never before had so many heads of state been gathered outside the UN headquarters in New York.

According to the article, the Danish climate minister and her staff took special care to keep track of every paper copy of a Danish draft proposal. If handed out, each copy was collected again at the end of the meetings.

But this was before Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor, blew the whistle on all-pervasive electronic snooping. Back in 2009, no security precautions were taken to protect the Danish document in electronic form.

An accompanying article, “NSA spied against UN climate negotiations“, cited a leaked document reporting that the US National Security Agency (NSA), along with its close partners from intelligence agencies in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK – the so-called Five Eyes – “will continue to provide policymakers with unique, timely, and valuable insights into key countries’ preparations and goals for the conference, as well as the deliberations within countries on climate change policies and negotiation strategies”.

It appears that at an early stage in the Copenhagen process, the NSA had intercepted information about the position that the Danish government – the host of the conference – had as its bottom line. If so, this would be crucial intelligence. The US government would know that it didn’t need to shift its position – if they held out, the rest of the world would come to them.

A further article by ‘Information’, “Legal experts: Illegal to spy on Denmark and the UN”, referred to the view of legal experts that, “It would constitute a violation of both Danish laws and international conventions if the U.S. National Security Agency spied against Denmark and the UN climate summit COP15 in Copenhagen in December 2009″.

Not only the NSA

The NSA is not alone in its spying effort. In an article published on 1 November 2014, ‘Information’ reported, “The British intelligence service GCHQ has spied systematically against international climate change summits”.

The article says that a “February 2011 PowerPoint presentation lists the annual UN COP summits from 2007 to 2010 as targets of GCHQ espionage, including Copenhagen’s COP15 in December 2009, although it is not clear if the service spied on COP14 in Poland in 2008. According to the presentation, GCHQ was also deployed against the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate Change (MEF), a meeting for the world’s top economies which took place in Paris in the spring of 2009 as a part of the preparations for the summit in Copenhagen later that year”.

Another article by ‘Information’, “Disguised as Climate Negotiators”, reports that “climate change became a ‘serious intelligence priority’ for GCHQ in 2007”. It says, “An undercover employee of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) was embedded in the British delegation when world leaders assembled at the 2010 UN Climate Change Summit in Cancún, Mexico”.

The meeting in Cancún was intended to bring the UN climate negotiations back on track after the historic failure in Copenhagen in 2009. Did you notice a dramatic development from the Cancún meeting? (Just in case I’d missed something).

Cancún was four years ago – ancient history on the electronic snooping timescale.

UN territory and talks must be off-limits to snooping

Negotiations under the UN banner are meant to allow every country to have its say.

More than that, the venues of all UN climate summits are declared to be UN territory for the duration of the negotiations, so the snoopers could have been breaking international law.

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, said he’s launching an investigation into reports that Britain spied on other governments at two successive global climate summits: “All diplomatic information is inviolable. If there has been any breach … they should be investigated. UN information should be protected in its entire confidentiality”.

What does it mean for Lima in December 2014?

Governments are giving the UN climate talks another shot in Lima, starting on 1 December – the twentieth time they’ll have met to achieve progress.

It’s easy, and unbelievably frustrating, to say that governments haven’t achieved nearly enough when the science and clean energy solutions are staring them in the face.

Climate change affects us all. The saddest response from negotiators in Lima to the question, “What did you do to stop it?” would be, “I failed to encrypt my communications”.

Andrew Kerr works on Greenpeace International’s press desk.

via Greenpeace news

Saving Peatland With the President

Today we made history in the protection of Indonesian peatlands. I’ve just got back from a monitoring trip to Sumatra’s devastated peatland forests with Indonesia’s new president Jokowi, where the president witnessed firsthand ongoing peatland and rainforest destruction and took decisive action to stop it. With your support, we have just made a major step forward in the battle to protect forests and the climate.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo Visits Sungai Tohor Community in Riau© Ardiles Rante/Greenpeace

President Jokowi made his visit to support Abdul Manan, a villager from Sungai Tohor, a small community in fire-ravaged Riau province. Manan had petitioned the president to come witness for himself the devastating impacts on the province of decades of forest and peatland destruction by the pulp and palm oil industries.

We knew President Jokowi was serious right away. When bad weather aborted his initial helicopter flight to visit Manan’s village, the president cancelled an invitation to speak at a palm oil company conference in order to stay an extra day in Riau and wait for the weather to clear. By his words and his actions, the president showed his commitment to a new form of government. “We have to get strict with these companies, no more indulgence. Why should we let business make a prize of our natural resources while we stay silent?” he said after his first flight was turned back.

So this morning we were given the all clear. The flight was on. Our flyover included the peatland ecosystem of the Kampar peninsular and Padang Island, where we saw for ourselves evidence of recent clearing and draining by APRIL. APRIL is the only major pulp player still involved in active forest and peatland destruction here – the root cause of the massive fires that plague the region every year, disrupting the lives of millions, compromising wildlife and the stability of the global climate.

Deforestation at APRIL Concession in Riau © Ulet Ifansasti / Greenpeace

When we arrived at a makeshift helipad in Sungai Tohor, the whole community turned out to meet the president. I stood with the local people as President Jokowi rolled up his sleeves, took off his shoes and socks and stepped into the waters of the canal. Taking up a plank and thrusting it into the bottom of the canal to seal the community-built dam, he said he didn’t want to see our nation’s forests disappear for the sake of acacia and palm oil plantations. “And peatlands can’t be underestimated, they must be protected because they constitute a special ecosystem, and it’s not only deep peat that must be protected, but all peat areas,” he said.

How the times are changing, and for the good! Greenpeace activists together with the local community first started building dams here in Riau to stem the devastation of these critical peatlands in 2007 and 2009. Then we were confronted by the police for our actions. It would have been hard for Greenpeace activists to believe that just a few years later the president himself would be taking the same action and promising sweeping changes.

Construction Dam Action in Sumatra 2009 © Greenpeace / John Novis

And changes are certainly critical if Riau’s peatlands are to be restored and permanently protected. These include strengthening and extending a moratorium on new permits on primary forest and peatlands and a review of plantation, forestry and mining leases as part of the national “One Map” approach. Today Jokowi hinted that he would pursue these reforms, but we’ll need to keep up our campaigning and our dialogue with him. He needs to know that this really is what people want. We rely on your support for that.

The final and welcome surprise today came from Jokowi’s newly appointed Minister for Environment and Forestry, who accompanied us to Sungai Tohor. Siti Nurbaya announced that she would revoke the permit of a plantation concession adjacent to Manan’s village that residents have been protesting for years, and return the land to the community in the form of a collectively managed village forest. Today has been a day of celebration not just for the Sungai Tohor community, but for everyone who is part of the Greenpeace community.

But now one thing is certain. The palm oil and pulp companies destroying Indonesia’s beautiful forests, along with their powerful allies, won’t take this bold move by the new president lying down. We need to stand with Jokowi so he can keep acting for the common good.

Longgena Ginting is Greenpeace Indonesia’s Country Director.

via Greenpeace news

EPA’s Plan to Curb Carbon Pollution Can Save Billions

The news about the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants just got even better: the proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP) can save the power industry and its customers — us — as much as $2 to $4 billion in 2020 and $6 to 9 billion in 2030, while cleaning our air and modernizing the electricity sector.

via Renewable Energy News –