Tag Archives: Climate Change

ISDS Courts Have Helped Fossil Fuel Firms Rake In $80 Billion in Public Money

“ISDS is the secret weapon for fossil fuel companies against climate laws,” said one advocate.

By Julia Conley. Published 6-6-2024 by Common Dreams

Demonstration against the TTIP and ISDS in 2016. Photo: War on Want

A week after the European Union announced its withdrawal from the controversial Energy Charter Treaty, which has been criticized for being one of many global agreements that allow fossil fuel companies to sue governments, a coalition on Thursday released an analysis showing just how lucrative such deals have been for firms whose emissions are wrecking havoc on the planet.

The Transnational Institute, the Trade Justice Movement (TJM), Power Shift, and the Institute for Policy Studies joined forces to unveil the Global ISDS Tracker, which includes data on more than 1,300 cases that have made their way to secretive tribunals set up by investor-state dispute mechanisms in treaties including the Energy Charter Treaty.

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UN Chief Calls for Global Ban on Fossil Fuel Advertising

“There is no longer any cover for agencies to say that they are doing the right thing when working with polluters,” said one campaigner. “Everyone knows this is wrong, and everyone needs to act.”

By Julia Conley. Published 6-5-2024 by Common Dreams

Over 100,000 marched in Vancouver in solidarity with the youth of the world in the September 27, 2019 Climate Strike.. Photo::Chris Yakimov/flickr/CC

Despite the grim news that scientists on Wednesday reported last month as the hottest May on record globally, marking 12 straight months with record-breaking heat, climate advocates expressed optimism after United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres signaled what one called a “game-changing intervention,” urging governments to ban advertisements by fossil fuel firms.

The demand is in line with prohibitions on advertising for other “products that harm human health—like tobacco,” said Guterres.

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As India Swelters, Experts Say Deadly Heat Is Growing Public Health Emergency

“How much evidence is enough for action?” asked one expert as temperatures soared to over 120°F in New Delhi and 16 people died in Bihar.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 5-30-2024 by Common Dreams

When the water tanker arrives in Delhi. Screenshot: Licypriya Kangujam/X

As a record heatwave scorches large swaths of India, killing 16 people in Bihar state, climate scientists warned Thursday that extreme heat fueled by the worsening climate emergency poses a fast-growing threat to public health and human survivability.

The Indian Meteorological Department said temperatures soared to over 120°F in recent days in New Delhi. The agency said it is investigating an all-time high reading of 127.2°F in the capital on Wednesday that may be attributable to a sensor error. If the reading is accurate, it would mark the highest temperature ever recorded in India.

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Global Tribunal Issues ‘Historic’ Ruling for Oceans and Small Island Nations

“Protecting the global commons of the oceans and atmosphere is a matter of life and death,” said one expert who praised the decision.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 5-21-2024 by Common Dreams

Fighting against climate change in Tuvalu: reclaimed land, Photo: UNDP Climate/flickr/CC

An international tribunal on Tuesday delivered a decision that green groups and leaders of small island nations celebrated as a “groundbreaking victory for ocean and climate protection.”

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) announced in an advisory opinion that greenhouse gas emissions are marine pollution under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and parties to the treaty “have the specific obligation to adopt laws and regulations to prevent, reduce, and control” them.

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200+ Groups to Congress: Stop ‘Zombie’ Funding for Fossil Fuels on Public Lands

“It’s past time our leaders take this simple step and stop funding activities that are completely at odds with protecting our climate,” one advocate said.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 5-15-2024 by Common Dreams

Oil drilling platforms have been placed in Alaska after the approval of the Willow Project, which has caused an uproar of controversy and opposition all over the nation. Environmentalists are strongly opposed to the project. Photo courtesy of KarmaActive

More than 200 environmental and climate advocacy groups sent a letter to Congress on Wednesday demanding that lawmakers stop funding the extraction of fossil fuels on public lands and waters.

The letter argues that Congress’ annual approval of taxpayer funds to subsidize oil and gas drilling and coal mining “undermine” the international agreement reached at the United Nations COP28 climate conference last year on the need for “transitioning away from fossil fuels.”

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Record 76 Million Internally Displaced in 2023, Largely Due to Violence

“We have never, ever recorded so many people forced away from their homes and communities,” one expert said. “It is a damning verdict on the failures of conflict prevention and peacemaking.”

By Olivia Rosane. Published 5-14-2024 by Common Dreams

A group of women and children are temporarily sheltered in a school in Al Salam camp for Internally Displaced Persons, South Darfur. Photo: UNAMID/flickr/CC

War, conflict, and environmental disasters displaced a record 75.9 million people from their homes at the end of 2023, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center reported Tuesday.

The vast majority of the displaced—68.3 million—were forced from their homes due to conflicts, the highest number since data became available 15 years ago.

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‘Sad What We Are Doing’: Global CO2 Increase Sets New All-Time Record

“I’d make this the lead story in every paper and newscast on the planet,” said Bill McKibben. “If we don’t understand the depth of the climate crisis, we will not act in time.”

By Olivia Rosane. Published 5-10-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo: rawpixel

The average monthly concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere jumped by a record 4.7 parts per million between March 2023 and March 2024, according to new data from NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.

The spike, reported by the University of California, San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography on Wednesday, reveals “the increasing pace of CO2 addition to the atmosphere by human activities,” the university said.

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Trump to Big Oil Execs: Give Me $1 Billion and I’ll Help You Wreck the Planet

“You won’t read a more important story today,” said one commentator. “Trump is willing to literally destroy the planet for $1 billion.”

By Jake Johnson. Published 5-9-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo: Trump White House Archived/flickr

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump made a straightforward offer to some of the top fossil fuel executives in the United States during a dinner at his Mar-a-Lago club last month, which marked the hottest April on record.

According to new reporting, Trump pledged to swiftly gut climate regulations put in place by the Biden administration if the oil and gas industry raises $1 billion for his 2024 presidential campaign.

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‘Unprecedented’: Belgian Police Blast Climate Defenders With Water Cannon

“The fact that national governments are subsidizing fossil fuels is akin to a crime against humanity,” said one Extinction Rebellion organizer.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 5-5-2024 by Common Dreams

Extinction Rebellion-led climate protesters block the Rue Belliard in Brussels, Belgium on May 4, 2024. (Photo: Wouter van Leeuwen/Extinction Rebellion Belgium/X)

The climate action group Extinction Rebellion Belgium on Saturday decried what it called “disproportionate police violence” against nonviolent demonstrators who were blasted with a water cannon during a protest in Brussels demanding an end to fossil fuel subsidies.

Hundreds of Extinction Rebellion-led climate defenders blocked Rue Belliard in the European Quarter, the de facto European Union capital, during EU Open Day, when agencies of the 27-nation bloc open their doors to the public. In what Extinction Rebellion called an “unprecedented police response,” officers used a truck-mounted water cannon on the protesters, some of whom were also allegedly struck with batons.

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AI chatbots refuse to produce ‘controversial’ output − why that’s a free speech problem

AI chatbots restrict their output according to vague and broad policies. Image: CAPACOA/CC

By Jordi Calvet-Bademunt and Jacob Mchangama, Vanderbilt University. Published 4-18-2024 by The Conversation

Google recently made headlines globally because its chatbot Gemini generated images of people of color instead of white people in historical settings that featured white people. Adobe Firefly’s image creation tool saw similar issues. This led some commentators to complain that AI had gone “woke.” Others suggested these issues resulted from faulty efforts to fight AI bias and better serve a global audience.

The discussions over AI’s political leanings and efforts to fight bias are important. Still, the conversation on AI ignores another crucial issue: What is the AI industry’s approach to free speech, and does it embrace international free speech standards?

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