U.S.: Tens of thousands march against Keystone XL tar sands pipeline

DC Indymedia reported :
On the 17th of February, the "Forward on Climate" march and rally against TransCanada's racist, earth-destroying Keystone XL tar sands pipeline took place while President Obama went golfing with Big Oil in Florida. It was the largest protest I have seen in several years, with the Tar Sands Blockade website claiming a turnout of 50,000 people.

From the arrival of leading elements of the march back at the Washington Monument to the arrival of the last element seemed to be in excess of an hour. One report said the march, which crammed the road from curb to curb, was strung out over a mile long.

Related: James Hansen improptu interview on Washington march | Voices of Resistance: Four Women Tell Why They're Rallying in D.C.             
Photos - Largest Climate March in History | Fairfax Climate Watch Climate Change Rally Draws a large turnout Videos: Democrarcy Now - Tens of Thousands Rally to Stop Keystone XL Pipeline & Urge Obama to Move "Forward on Climate" |
Portland - Climate Justice Activists in Portland, OR Occupy Exhibit for Tar Sands Profiteer ESCO Corp. |
San Fransisco - Biggest Climate Change Rally in American History Brings Out Thousands in DC, San Francisco |
Los Angeles
- Shut It Down, Mr. President | L.A. Participates in Protesting the Keystone XL Pipeline (part 1, part 2)

U.S.: 48 arrested in historic act of civil disobedience to stop Keystone XL pipeline

Sierra Club holds historic civil disobedient action over Keystone XL PipelineSierra Club holds historic civil disobedient action over Keystone XL Pipeline

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This morning, 48 environmental, civil rights, and community leaders from across the country joined together for a historic display of civil disobedience at the White House where they demanded that President Obama deny the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and address the climate crisis.

The protest was particularly significant for the Sierra Club: It is the first time in the 120 year history of the organisation that it has endorsed civil disobedience, signifying the growing concern with the climate crisis and the necessity for action.

Photos and Videos: Photos on Flickr | Vimeo: Sierra Club Civil Disobedience | Youtube Videos: Democracy Now - 48 Arrested at Keystone Pipeline Protest as Sierra Club Lifts 120-Year Ban On Civil Disobedience | Democracy Now - "We Need To Push Him": Actress Daryl Hannah Arrested While Urging Obama to Reject Keystone Pipeline

Australia: Bushfires strike with extreme heatwave blanketing most of continent

Image courtesy Australian Bureau of MeteorologyImage courtesy Australian Bureau of MeteorologyA heatwave covering 70 per cent of Australia that started on January 3 has sparked catastrophic bushfires. Tasmania has so far been the most devastated by fire with more than 100 houses and businesses razed, the Tasman peninsula cutoff, without power, and thousands evacuated by boat to Hobart. The Temperature soared in Hobart setting new records for highest daily minimum overnight temperature of 23.4C and a new maximum temperature of 41.3C.

Update Jan 8: Climate Change: Records tumble in extreme heatwave as temperature scale adjusted upwards while Prime Minister Julia Gillard links intensity of bushfires with climate change as NSW survives catastrophic fire conditions. Other states are also experiencing bushfires, but have so far brought the fires mostly under control. The heatwave is expected to last over a week with elevated temperatures particularly in inland areas. It is very unusual that a heat wave covers such a large area of the continent at one time, according to Karl Braganza, manager of climate monitoring at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Australia's weather has switched to hot and dry after one of the wettest two year periods in Australia's history influenced by an extremely strong La Nina event.

Related: Youtube animation of forecast heatwave temperatures | Scientists outline human health limits of heat stress with Climate Change (May 2010) | Flooding rains now burning plains - Bushfire risk and climate change (Oct 2011) | Logging of Victorian mountain ash forests increases bushfire risk (Oct 2011) | Intact native Forests mitigate bushfire in a warming climate (Nov 2011) | CSIRO - Climate change impacts on fire weather

U.S.: Grounding of Shell drilling platform highlights dangers of Arctic Oil Drilling

Kulluk grounded on Kodiak Island: Photo courtesy of Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Klingenberg/U.S. Coast GuardKulluk grounded on Kodiak Island: Photo courtesy of Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan Klingenberg/U.S. Coast GuardShell has plans for drilling several exploratory wells in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas area off the north coast of Alaska. The grounding of the Kulluk circular oil drilling ship on Sitkalidak Island while being towed in heavy seas must call into question whether safety measures by Shell and Coast Guard response capabilities are adequate to allow Arctic drilling to proceed.It now seems that Shell risked moving drill ship in storm to avoid paying millions in taxes, and their weather judgement to move the rig is questionable. Shell and the US Coast Guard have started salvage operations on the stranded drilling rig.

Initial approval for oil drilling by Shell Oil was given by the Obama administration in August 2012 despite opposition by numerous conservation groups and a petition of over a million US citizens. To preserve a safe climate based upon the simple climate maths of how much fossil fuels we can afford to burn, we need to Go Fossil Free through divestment, start taxing carbon and leave the oil reserves beneath the Arctic alone.

Related: Greenpeace - Save The Arctic | Sierra Club - Chill the Drills: Protect America's Arctic! | Center for Biological Diversity - Arctic Oil Development | Alaska Despatch - U.S.: Shell’s grounded drilling rig raises questions | DeSmogBlog - Shell’s Kulluk Rig Grounding Proves Folly of Arctic Oil Drilling, Again

Background: ClimateIMC July 2011 - Smears on integrity of Polar wildlife scientist a prelude to Arctic Oil Drilling | London Indymedia Sept 2012 - Activists 'brick up' Shell HQ as the Arctic melts | Indymedia Ireland Sept 2012 - 1,600 billion - Massive scale of oil giveaway revealed in Shell to Sea report | Sourcewatch on Shell

Coal Exports Emerging As Major Climate Fight In The Pacific Northwest

Opposition to coal export from the US Northwest is growing with a number of Environmental Impact Statement Scoping Meetings being held and citizens making an active stand against coal export and to take action on climate change. More information from Power past Coal

Radio: NPR: Is It Morally Wrong For U.S. To Export Coal?

Related Videos - No coal export in WA (28:03) | Moxnews: Thousands Protest An Increase Of Coal Exports In Washington State | Rally opposing Oregon Coal Exports

Dec 13 Seattle - Gateway Pacific Terminal -- Cherry Point Environmental Impact Statement Scoping Meeting: Dignitaries from Coal Scoping Seattle | Bellingham Scoping Hearing Oct 27, 2012 Playlist | Ferndale Scoping Hearing Nov 29 2012 Playlist | Mount Vernon Scoping Hearing Nov 5, 2012 Playlist |

Climate meltdown: Global Warming heading towards 6 degrees C warns World Bank

Artcile originally published at Indybay.org:
I sat down and skimmed through the 106pp report prepared by the prestiguous Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) for the World Bank (See media release). It is a shocking read, that we are presently on the business as usual emissions path of 4 degrees C  (7.2°F) of global warming by about the 2060s and 6 degrees C (10.8°F) of warming by the turn of the century, just 88 years hence.

The United Nations Environment Program warned this week that Greenhouse Gas Emissions Gap Widening as Nations Head to Crucial Climate Talks in Doha, while the European Environment Agency has warned in a new report Climate change evident across Europe, confirming urgent need for adaptation.

The International Energy Agency warned in their 2011 World Energy Outlook report that we are on a 4-6 degree Celsius trajectory and that 80 percent of carbon emissions infrastructure has already been built and is in operation. We cannot afford to add any new carbon intensive infrastructure that will continue to pollute for 30-50 years, yet the World Resources Institute reveals nearly 1,200 Proposed Coal-Fired Power Plants, the majority in India and China. But grassroots action is having an impact: thousands rallied against coal across India, and a very first Arab Day of Climate Action (Photos) organised by the Arab Youth Climate Movement occurred on November 10. In the US, the Sierra Club reports victories in stopping the coal rush.

A recent Price WaterhouseCoopers report warned that Business as usual Carbon emissions heading towards 6°C (10.8°F) of global warming this century. So there is widespread agreement from science and scientists, energy experts and experts in global economics and accounting that we are facing a climate meltdown.

Related: 4 Degrees or More? Climate Change: The Critical Decade - a speech by Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber Director of PIK. Speech delivered at a Climate Science conference in Melbourne, Australia, July 2011. | Another view from Systemic Disorder: World Bank's call for slowing global warming ignores own role

U.S.: Hurrican Sandy - The New "Normal"

[Climate IMC has been malfunctioning for an extended period during which some critical climate news has taken place. Below is a brief overview of Hurricane Sandy -ed]

Some called it Frankenstorm Sandy, some Superstorm Sandy, needless to say Hurricane Sandy was the worst storm the New York Metro area and New Jersy has seen in decades, if not ever. Earlier in October many islands in the Carribean were devastated by the storm. As it made it's way north up the Atlantic coast of the U.S. it became apparent that Hurricane Sandy would turn to the west and slam directly into the densly populated Metro Area. Photos of the aftermath [here, here and here] give a sense of the destruction, but it's the stories [here,  and here] on the ground that describe the impact on people, the environment and other species.

While some referred to Hurricane sandy as a 100-year, or even a 500-hundred year storm, many climate watchers pointed out the obvious: a warmer climate facilitates stronger storms. And none other than respected climate scientists like James Hansen have the data. The devastation of Sandy on the New York Metro area now has even moderate politicians finally speaking up about climate change. That in the wake of three U.S. presidential debates where the word "climate" never even came up. Most people picking up what's left of their homes and lives on the east coast of the United States and in the Carribean probably think it's time to end climate silence now .

Related: Video Report: Frankenstorm Sandy a wakeup call on climate change for the USA?

Coral reefs being pushed to extinction by global warming

Increasing sea surface temperatures are imperilling coral reef ecosystems say Australian marine and climate scientists. A new scientific paper reveals that atmospheric warming of 2 degrees celsius is too much for nearly all the world's coral reef ecosystems, including the Great Barrier Reef. The scientists argue that to preserve greater than 10 per cent of coral reefs worldwide would require limiting global warming to below 1.5 °C. This equates to the goal of reducing carbon in the atmosphere to 350ppm, rather than a 2 degree rise or 450ppm that the UN Framwework Convention on Climate Change has adopted as the safe limit at several meetings.

Atmospheric concentration of CO2 currently stands at 392.41ppm. With current pledged reduction in emissions we are heading for 4.4 °C of warming by the end of the century according to the Climate Scoreboard.

Related: The True Cost of Australia's Coal Boom | Greenpeace report: Boom Goes the Reef: Australia's coal export boom and the industrialisation of the Great Barrier Reef (PDF) | The Conversation: - Climate change guardrail too hot for coral reefs?

Climate Change activists step up opposition to coal in Hunter Valley protests from mine to port

A banner drop at a construction site for a new coal loader terminal at the Port of Newcastle in the New South Wales Hunter Valley in Australia ended when police instructed the 60 metre crane be lowered to the ground. The Protestors say they were not given warning of this action and alledged it imperiled their lives.

“We are dismayed with the actions of police here today.” said spokesperson Steve Phillips. “We conducted a peaceful protest, with trained and experience climbers, and safety as our priority. NSW Police responded with gross negligence and dereliction of duty, and placed two lives at risk. Our climbers were not even warned before the crane was lowered.”

Related: Australia: Climate activists do Banner drops in Boggabri and Melbourne against coal rush

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