Category Archives: Climate Change & Environmental Issues

‘Global Precedent’ Set as UN Rules Climate Refugees Cannot Be Sent Back to Life-Threatening Conditions

Advocates praised the ruling as an “excellent step forward in refugee rights.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-20-2020

Irish Naval personnel from the LÉ Eithne (P31) rescuing migrants as part of Operation Triton. Photo: Irish Defense Forecs/flickr/CC

Human rights advocates on Monday applauded a “ground-breaking” ruling by a United Nations panel which stated that climate refugees seeking asylum cannot legally be sent back to their home countries if they face life-threatening conditions due to the climate crisis.

“Without robust national and international efforts, the effects of climate change in receiving states may expose individuals to a violation of their rights,” ruled the U.N. Human Rights Committee, “thereby triggering the non-refoulement obligations of sending states.” Continue reading

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‘Our Planet Is Seriously Burning and the Adults Keep Letting Us Down’: Ninth Circuit Throws Out Youth Climate Case

“Seeking to quash this suit, the government bluntly insists that it has the absolute and unreviewable power to destroy the Nation,” wrote Judge Josephine Staton in a scathing dissent opinion. “My colleagues throw up their hands, concluding that this case presents nothing fit for the Judiciary.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-18-2020

The 21 youth plaintiffs in the Juliana vs. United States lawsuit that was thrown out by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday afternoon. Our Children’s Trust, which represents the plaintiffs in the case, has vowed to appeal the ruling. (Image: Our Children’s Trust, Facebook)

In a ruling taken as a devastating blow for climate campaigners worldwide, the 9th Circuit Court
of Appeals in the United States on Friday afternoon threw out a lawsuit brought by 21 youth plaintiffs who accused the U.S. government of failing its constitutional mandate by refusing to act urgently and responsibly to address the existential threat of human-caused global warming.

The case at issue, Juliana vs. United States, has been seen as a potential landmark case not just domestically but across the globe and while the three-member panel of the 9th Circuit—notably seen as one of the country’s most liberal-minded circuit courts—agreed with the plaintiff’s argument that the U.S. government has operated as a barrier to climate action it concluded the courts were not the appropriate avenue for their complaint. Continue reading

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US Government Lists Non-Violent ‘Valve Turner’ Climate Activists as Threat on Par With Murderous Neo-Nazis

“Apparently DHS hasn’t gotten the memo that pipeline protesters are working non-violently to ensure that the children and grandchildren of DHS employees—and everyone else—have a habitable climate to live in.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-13-2020

Fifty-two-year-old Michael Foster, one of the “Valve Turners” pictured here on the day of the group’s action, was among the climate action advocates classified as a threat to domestic safety in a Department of Homeland Security document. (Photo: Shutitdown.today)

Climate action advocates on Monday condemned reports that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has placed non-violent environmental activists on a list of domestic terrorists alongside white supremacists and mass murderers.

Citing documents received by the non-profit group Property of the People, The Guardian reports how the Climate Direct Action members who shut off tar sands pipeline operations in an act of civil disobedience in October 2016, were called “suspected environmental rights extremists” by DHS. Continue reading

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Australia is Dropping Vegetables From Choppers to Feed Wildlife Starved by Fires

Helicopters are dropping thousands of pounds of food for animals starving to death amid Australia’s fires.

By Elias Marat,  Published 1-12-2020 by The Mind Unleashed

As Australia’s bushfire crisis continues to impact wildlife, aircraft have been deployed to feed thousands of starving wild animals who have been stranded by the blazes.

The government of the hard-hit state of New South Wales (NSW) has begun a campaign of airdrops across scorched regions, delivering thousands of pounds of root veggies —like carrots and sweet potatoes —from choppers flying above in a bid to sate the appetites of hungry colonies of brush-trailed rock wallabies, reports Daily Mail. Continue reading

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With 14 ‘Billion-Dollar Disasters’ and Record-Breaking Heat in Alaska and Across South, 2019 Was a Year of Climate Extremes for US

“Americans are put at risk by the serious consequences of the climate crisis.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-8-2020

A fire burns near the Getty Center in Los Angeles. Screenshot: ABC News

Underscoring the need for urgent climate action, a new report on the climate of the United States in 2019 sheds light on numerous weather and temperature extremes that were observed throughout the year and the record amounts of money spent on weather disasters.

Alaska was among the states which recorded unusually high temperatures in 2019, according to an annual summary released Wednesday by NOAA ahead of its full U.S. Climate Report, which is scheduled to be released next week. Continue reading

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New Report Details How EPA Is Promoting ‘Worst of the Worst Pesticides’

From 2017-2018, the agency approved 69 new pesticide products containing an ingredient the EPA recognizes as a “known” or “likely” carcinogen.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-10-2020

A detail of the cover image for Toxic Hangover, a new report by Center for Biological Diversity. (Image: Center for Biologicial Diversity)

A new review into the pesticide products the U.S. approved in 2017 and 2018 reveals the Environmental Protection Agency is carrying out an industry-friendly, “broken” regulatory process that included green-lighting over 100 products with ingredients widely deemed extremely dangerous.

Entitled Toxic Hangover: How the EPA Is Approving New Products With Dangerous Pesticides It Committed to Phasing Out, the 11-page analysis was released Tuesday by the Center for Biological Diversity. Continue reading

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Latest Count of ONE BILLION Animals Killed in Australia Fires a “Very Conservative” Estimate

“Over a billion would be a very conservative figure,” according to Ecologist Chris Dickman.

By Elias Marat  Published 1-7-2020 by The Mind Unleashed

While Australia’s unprecedented wave of fires has devastated the country, it’s been difficult for experts and authorities to accurately measure the true extent of the damage sustained by the country’s wild animals and plants.

However, new figures released by specialists studying the blaze reveal horrifying new statistics about the number of animals killed in the bushfires, which likely now exceed one billion. Continue reading

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‘Entire Species Are Being Wiped Out’: Ecologists Say Half a Billion Animals May Have Been Killed by Australia Wildfires

“The fires have burned so hot and so fast that there has been significant mortality of animals in the trees, but there is such a big area now that is still on fire and still burning that we will probably never find the bodies.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-2-2020

Screenshot: ABC News

Ecologists at the University of Sydney are estimating that nearly half a billion animals have been killed in Australia’s unprecedented and catastrophic wildfires, which have sparked a continent-wide crisis and forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes in desperation.

News Corp Australia reported Wednesday that “there are real concerns entire species of plants and animals have been wiped out by bushfires following revelations almost 500 million animals have died since the crisis began.” Continue reading

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‘Victory for Our Oceans’: US Court Upholds Ruling on Vast Marine Monument Established by Obama

“This decision upholds protections for one of the most fragile and scientifically important areas in the North Atlantic from destructive activities like oil drilling and industrial fishing.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-27-2019

“Like one of America’s very first national monuments, the Grand Canyon, the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts is a natural treasure,” said NRDC’s KateDesormaeu. “It provides habitat for a wide range of species, from endangered whales to Atlantic puffins to centuries-old deep-sea corals.” Photo: Wikipedia (Public domain)

Defenders of ocean habitats celebrated Friday after a federal court upheld a lower court ruling defending the right of the U.S. executive branch to set aside marine areas as national monuments.

Citing the authority found under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to establish marine national monuments, the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia sided against a lawsuit brought by large fishing industry interests that challenged President Barack Obama’s designation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, which encompases 4,913 square miles of the Atlantic Ocean off the nation’s northeast coast, as a protected area. Continue reading

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‘They Did it on Purpose’: Protester Crushed Between Police Jeeps Latest Victim of Months-Long Chilean Crackdown on Dissent

The young man was seriously injured but is expected to survive.

By Eoin Higgins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-21-2019

Twenty-year-old Oscar Ignacio Pérez Cortéz was pinned between two police jeeps on Friday. He is expected to survive but sustained serious injuries. (Photo: Archivando Chile/Telegram)

The ongoing protest movement in Chile has had success—the country’s constitution is expected to be rewritten as a concession from President Sebastien Pinera to demonstrators—but still faces a harsh crackdown from government security forces, who in a series of assaults Friday fired projectiles at crowds and crush one young man between two armored jeeps, causing him serious injury.

Twenty-year-old Oscar Ignacio Pérez Cortéz was pinned between two police jeeps—called by protesters zorrillos, or “skunks”—on Friday when one of the vehicles slammed the young man into the side of the other. Continue reading

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