2014 in review
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 27 trips to carry that many people.
Article that received most views: “Homeless Children in the United States” (Nov. 2014)
Scant Progress As UN COP 20 Talks Enter Final Stretch
U.N. global warming talks seemed set to spill over into the weekend as negotiators bickered Friday over the content of climate action plans that countries should unveil in the run-up to a key summit in Paris next year.
The yearly U.N. climate meetings rarely close on time and the two-week session in Lima was no exception as disputes that arose in the opening days remained unresolved by Friday’s scheduled close of the conference.
“This will not be over today,” Chinese delegate Zhang Jiutian said. “There are still some points in the agenda that need more discussion.”
One of the most problematic issues in Lima was getting the more than 190 countries participating to agree on what information should go into the pledges that governments are supposed to put on the table for a global climate pact expected to be adopted a year from now in Paris.
Rich countries insisted the pledges should focus on efforts to control emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases and were resisting demands that they include promises of financing to help poor countries absorb the effects of climate change.
Meanwhile, top carbon polluter China and other major developing countries opposed plans for a review process so the pledges can be compared against one another before Paris. Their reluctance angered some delegates from countries on the front lines of climate change.
“We are shocked that some of our colleagues would want to avoid a process to hold their proposed targets up to the light,” said Tony de Brum, the foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, a Pacific nation of low-lying atolls at risk of being flooded by rising seas.
Though negotiating tactics always play a role, virtually all disputes in the U.N. talks reflect the wider issue of how to divide the burden of fixing the planetary warming that scientists say results from human activity, primarily the burning of oil, coal and natural gas.
Historically, Western nations are the biggest emitters. Currently, most CO2 emissions are coming from developing countries as they grow their economies and lift millions of people out of poverty.
During a brief stop in Lima on Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said fixing the problem was “everyone’s responsibility, because it’s the net amount of carbon that matters, not each country’s share.”
According to the U.N.’s scientific panel on climate change, the world can pump out no more than about 1 trillion tons of carbon to have a likely chance of avoiding dangerous levels of warming. It has already spent about half of that carbon budget as emissions continue to rise, driven by growth in China and other emerging economies.
Scientific reports say climate impacts are already happening and include rising sea levels, intensifying heat waves and shifts in weather patterns causing floods in some areas and droughts in others.
* COP 20 — 20th Annual Conference of the Parties
By KARL RITTER – 12/12/2014. Associated Press writer Nestor Ikeda contributed to this report.
Also on HuffPost.
Black Lives Matter in Madison and Wisconsin, If they Don’t Now, THEY WILL
A new generation of human rights activists mounted a passion-filled, peaceful march in South Madison Friday, tapping the energy around race issues sweeping the country to funnel it to local issues.
“Young black men are being murdered. It is a national problem,” organizer Brandi Grayson told the crowd that gathered at the Metro bus hub at South Park Street and West Badger Road. “It is time to educate ourselves, it is time to educate our neighbors, it is time to educate our employers. It is time, my people.”
“Black Lives Matter,” was the banner slogan and rallying cry of the action led by the Young Gifted and Black Coalition, as up to 150 demonstrators marched in traffic lanes a half-mile up South Park Street to North Ave., then back to the South District Police Station on Hughes Place for short speeches, poems and chants.
The crowd’s final march took them down Park Street up to, but not onto, the ramp to the west-bound Beltline as they held a silent vigil for four-and-a-half minutes to honor Michael Brown, whose body lay for four-and-a-half hours on a street in Ferguson, Missouri, after he was fatally shot by a white police officer in August.
The local activist group emerged following a grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson in Brown’s killing, in response to which they organized a rally and march around the Capitol Square last week. Like other race rights actions cropping up in the latest round of public outrage over the killing of black men by white police officers, the Madison coalition turned the failure of another grand jury this week to return an indictment in the killing of Eric Garner in New York City into an opportunity to demonstrate the depth of concern over civil rights.
Demonstrations over the lack of an indictment in the Garner case continued Friday in cities across the country.
The Young Gifted and Black Coalition of Madison is clearly organizing for the long haul.
The coalition points often to the disparities in education, incarceration and other aspects of life, documented in the Race to Equity report, as proof that even absent fatal police violence against blacks, racial inequities are rife in Dane County. The group is demanding an end to plans to build a new Dane County jail, immediate release of people incarcerated for crimes of poverty and investment in community initiatives.
Leaders called on demonstrators to join a planned protest Tuesday at a Dane County Board committee hearing on a proposal to spend $8 million for a study on the need for a new jail that could cost $150 million, and to participate in a community building and planning session next Friday evening at the South Madison Public Library.
“The civil rights movement brought change, but it didn’t happen because people were sitting down,” Grayson told the crowd. “Change happened because people were committed to change and were willing to sacrifice themselves and their time.”
The crowd demonstrating Friday was mixed racially and ethnically, but overwhelmingly young. Grayson said that older civil rights advocates and those whose work is enmeshed with majority establishment organizations are stepping back to let a younger generation take the lead on protests. “They can’t say the things we can say. We can take the action in the street; hopefully they will help make the policy.”
Will Williams, a long-time activist with Vietnam Vets for Peace and other local movements, watched the march take shape from the sidelines. “Old folks need to turn the baton over,” Williams said.”We have young people with the fire who understand what going on with racism overall and with cops who are murdering black people and not being held accountable.”
A handful of other older advocates were present on the edges of the demonstration, as well such leaders on race equity matters as Floyd Rose, president of 100 Black Men of Madison, and Mayor Paul Soglin.
The demonstrators chanted as they marched: “No Justice, No Peace! No Racist Police!” When they paused at North Avenue, the gathering took on something of the feel of a revival meeting where participants were called on to raise their fists and pledge to take up the fight for human rights.
“It starts with you, it starts with you, it starts with you, it starts with you, it starts with you, it starts with you, it starts with you, it starts with you, it starts with us,” Grayson shouted, pointing to individuals in the rapt and silent crowd.
“We are here to show what solidarity looks like. You are absolutely beautiful, don’t let anyone tell you anything different,” she said. “We are conditioned to fear black men; we are conditioned to think every black person is innately violent.”
Madison Police Chief Mike Koval watched from across Park Street, noted that marching in the traffic right-of-way was an act of civil disobedience, and spoke to the protesters rights to do so. “This is the First Amendment in action. This is how it’s supposed to work,” Koval said. “And the police in a free society should be here to facilitate it. This is democracy in action.”
Outside of the police station, protesters chanted slogans punctuated by trombone blasts and heard speeches and poems, one of which named many of those killed by police and lamented: “There is not enough skin to tattoo the names…We are black lives and we matter.”
The group fell into formation for the final march down Park Street just as darkness fell. “I came out to support everyone,” said one 20-something protester. “Human rights matter.”
Global Warming Caused Climate Change will have a Disproportionate Negative Impact on Women
The following is taken from the Democracy Now! website, broadcast from Madison at 89.9 FM and over the Internet at: WORTFM.ORG Community Radio HD:
Today is “Gender Day” at the U.N. Climate Change Conference, a day that acknowledges the disproportionate impact of climate change on women, who make up 70 percent of the world’s poor. We hear from a panel of indigenous women from around the world who met off-site Monday to share their solutions to climate change. The event, hosted by the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network, featured indigenous women leaders on the front lines of defending the Earth from exploitation by fossil fuel companies. Speakers included Patricia Gualinga, a Kichwa leader from Sarayaku, Ecuador, and her niece, Nina Gualinga. In 2012, the Sarayaku community won a case at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights against the Ecuadorean government after a foreign oil company was permitted to encroach on their land.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: Yes, today is Gender Day here at the U.N. climate summit, a day that acknowledges the disproportionate impact of climate change on women, who make up 70 percent of the world’s poor. Monday’s event was hosted by WECAN, Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network. The speakers were introduced by WECAN executive director Osprey Orielle Lake, as well as Amazon Watch USA program director Leila Salazar-Lopez.
LEILA SALAZAR-LOPEZ: Alicia Cahuiya Iteca, she’s the vice president of the Huaorani nationality from Ecuador.
ALICIA CAHUIYA ITECA: [translated] The Huaorani people lived in a better way in the past. Our water, our environment was clean. Now, with the oil companies that are working in our areas, they have ruined everything. They have polluted the rivers. The children’s skins are affected. They have different skin diseases. We cannot fish like we used to in the past in the rivers. We ate healthy fish, and now the fish is polluted. We just have a little bit of territory left for the future generations to not suffer the way we have. We have to continue fighting for those territories. That is the only thing we have left. If we didn’t fight—if we don’t fight for our territory like our ancestors did, then we wouldn’t be here speaking at this meeting.
LEILA SALAZAR-LOPEZ: Tantoo Cardinal, Native Canadian, from the tar sands region of Canada.
TANTOO CARDINAL: The government knew what was under the land in 1860. They knew that oil was there in 1860. So they took their time, and it was a long, long process. A part of that process—and this is not just for the tar sands, but for all resources, for taking us off the land—is that the children were taken away. And it was the law. If you didn’t give your children up, then you could go to jail, and your kids would be taken anyways. Some people hid their children. So, our ways, our traditions were kept underground, in secret. So, for generations, our language was outlawed. Our songs were outlawed. Our way of relationship with creator, with creative force, was outlawed. Our names were taken away.
SÔNIA GUAJAJARA: [translated] So, this is a traditional song from my people, and it’s basically saying, “I’m happy, we’re happy to be together.” And my name is Sônia Guajajara, and my people are from the state of Maranhão, which is in the Amazon in Brazil. And I’m here to bring the voice of indigenous women, in particular of Brazil, those who couldn’t be here with us, and all of them who would say the same thing, so that we could unite our voices, because the reality is that in many of the organizations, there is not a space for women and indigenous women to participate. And so, many times they feel suffocated for the words that they cannot say.
OSPREY ORIELLE LAKE: Casey Camp-Horinek, she’s from the Ponca Nation in Turtle Island, or the United States of America.
CASEY CAMP-HORINEK: We’re living in a very destructive area, where I am. We have ConocoPhillips. We have fracking. We have earthquakes as a result of that fracking. We have fish kills. We have cancer rates that are astronomical at this time. We have literal killings. They may not be coming after us with their bayonets and their rifles, but they’re coming at us with nuclear waste, they’re coming at us with fracking, they’re coming at us with pipelines that are carrying that filth from the tar sands, where they’re killing my relatives up there. And they’re bringing it to you.
OSPREY ORIELLE LAKE: Nina Gualinga, and she is a Kichwa youth leader from the Sarayaku people.
NINA GUALINGA: I grew up in a beautiful place in the rainforest of Ecuador, in Sarayaku. I don’t have words to describe my childhood, but it was beautiful. I cannot ask for anything else. When I was about seven years old, maybe eight, this representative of an oil company called CGC came to Sarayaku. It was Argentinian oil company. And I did not speak Spanish, but I saw that my elders, my mother and all the people in Sarayaku were worried, and there was tension. I did not know what was going on. And I asked my mother, “What is going on?” because everyone had gathered in this place we call Plaza to talk about what was happening. And all the children were playing outside, but I sat down beside my mother, and I asked her to translate for me. That was the first time I feared for—that my land and the life that I knew was going to be destroyed.
OSPREY ORIELLE LAKE: Patricia Gualinga, she is an indigenous Kichwa leader from the Sarayaku people in Ecuador.
PATRICIA GUALINGA: [translated] The destruction of nature is the destruction of our own energy and of our own existence here on Earth. And the destruction of our spaces is the destruction of indigenous populations. And even though you might not believe this, this is your destruction, as well.
AMY GOODMAN: Patricia Gualinga is Kichwa leader from Sarayaku, Ecuador. You’ve just heard some of the voices at this remarkable event called “Women Leading Solutions on the Frontlines of Climate Change,” hosted by WECAN, Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. It is Gender Day here at the United Nations climate summit.
“Some people who talk about the environment talk about it as though it involved only a question of clean air and clean water. The environment involves the whole broad spectrum of man’s relationship to all other living creatures, including other human beings. It involves the environment in its broadest and deepest sense. It involves the environment of the ghetto which is the worst environment, where the worst pollution, the worst noise, the worst housing, the worst situation in this country — that has to be a critical part of our concern and consideration in talking and cleaning up the environment.” Gaylord Nelson, U.S. Senator from Wisconsin and Founder of Earth Day, April 22, 1970, and celebrated every year in the U.S. that same day.
Countries in Lima, Peru Ought to Declare World War III Against Global Warming and Catestrophic Climate Change
A day after December 7, 1941, the day U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said “will live in infamy” when Imperial Japan attacked the U.S.naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the United States entered World War II as the U.S.Congress declared against the Empire of Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific and was already at war with the Republic of China in 1937. World War II had already been initiated by the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom. From late 1939 to early 1941, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, and formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. In June 1941, the Axis alliance launched an invasion of the Soviet Union. Japan attacked the United States that December, European territories in the Pacific Ocean, and the Empire of Japan quickly conquered much of the Western Pacific.
But during 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in South Central China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands and the war in Europe ended with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet and Polish troops and the subsequent German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945. Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 August and 9 August, 1945, respectively.
The Axis advance halted in 1942 when Japan lost the critical Battle of Midway, near Hawaii, and Germany was defeated in North Africa and then, decisively, at Stalingrad in the Soviet Union. In 1943, with a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasion of Italy which brought about Italian surrender, and Allied victories in the Pacific, the Axis lost the initiative and undertook strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded France, while the Soviet Union regained all of its territorial losses and invaded Germany and its allies.
The war in Europe ended with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet and Polish troops and the subsequent German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945. With an invasion of the Japanese imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, and the Soviet Union’s declaration of war on Japan and invasion of Manchuria; Japan surrendered on 15 August 1945. Thus ended the war in Asia, and the final destruction of the Axis bloc. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in South Central China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands.Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 August and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, and the Soviet Union’s declaration of war on Japan and invasion of Manchuria, Japan surrendered on 15 August 1945. Thus ended the war in Asia, and the final destruction of the Axis bloc.
World War II altered the political alignment and social structure of the world. The United Nations (UN) was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts.
World War II altered the political alignment and social structure of the world. The United Nations (UN) was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts.
World War II was the most widespread war in history, it directly involved more than 100 million people from over 30 countries, and the major participants threw their entire economic, industrial and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. An estimated 50 to 85 million fatalities, including the Holocaust during which approximately 11 million civilian people, including more than 6 millions Jews, were killed. Up until, now, World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history.
Many thousands of people have already lost their lives and homes and businesses, those of their family, friends, and communities to extreme weather events brought about by the excessive collective burning of fossil fuels by humans over the last century which, coupled with excessive deforestation by humans, especially in the tropics, have resulted in unnaturally high concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, causing global warming, rising sea levels, a warmer and more acidic ocean and the loss of arctic sea ice and melting glaciers. The number of lives lost as a result of human-caused global warming will ultimately number in the billions, probably more. To be continued …
A Guide to the Lima Climate Change Talks
Representatives from more than 190 nations are meeting for talks in Lima, Peru (Dec. 1 – Dec. 14) to hammer out the draft of the first truly global pact to avoid the worst effects of climate change. The ultimate goal: signing a treaty a year from now in Paris. If successful, it would be the world’s most complex and encompassing treaty ever devised. The last attempt was in 2009 at the Copenhagen climate talks.
We already face significant and widespread climate change risks from the carbon pollution that has been accumulating in our atmosphere and oceans since the Industrial Revolution. Thanks largely to emissions from burning fossil fuels, the Earth is on pace to have its hottest year ever recorded, and warming of at least 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels is already locked in, according to a new World Bank report. Countries agreed to limit warming to 2 degrees, a level assumed to be relatively safe. Without steep cuts in fossil fuel use, people around the world will likely face catastrophic and irreversible repercussions by 2030 or 2040. In human terms, that’s about when today’s babies finish college.
Dec 1–12, 2014—Negotiations in Lima, Peru
March 31, 2015—The target date for countries to present their plans for curbing climate change.
Nov. 30 – Dec. 11, 2015—Negotiations in Paris, where countries hope to sign an historic climate treaty.
The United States, China and the European Union are responsible for about half of the world’s climate changing emissions, so their actions have a huge impact.
India, as a rapidly growing source of harmful emissions, has to make a quicker shift to low-emission energy for any climate treaty to work. The country has not announced what it’s willing to do as part of the climate accord.
The developing countries bloc (LMDC) represents half the world’s population and most of the world’s poor. It’s a powerful counter-force to the United States and other wealthy nations. The group, which includes China, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and more than 20 others, has pushed the U.S. and Europe to make much larger emissions cuts and to provide substantial funding and technological assistance to its member nations.
The big-money crowd, which includes global corporations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other international financial institutions, will be influential because they hold sway over many economies and the global flow of cash. That makes them key players in financing the global energy transition and in funneling aid to poor countries that need help adapting to climate change.
The World Resources Institute, Friends of the Earth, Oxfam and many other major environmental and social justice groups are important non-institutionalized voices and some are deeply involved in trying to shape a balanced and workable treaty.
A growing contingent of investment groups, foundations and major corporations, all of them with substantial funds at their disposal, is pushing for unequivocal action on climate change and making the argument that climate action is an opportunity not economic punishment.
For years, a split between rich and poor nations dimmed hopes at UN climate talks. Broadly put: Poorer countries want wealthier ones to promise deeper cuts in carbon emissions, and they want sufficient cash to kick start climate action they can’t afford. At Lima, it’s the same story. Here are the big issues countries must solve:
What’s a fair way to divide the costs and investments needed to limit greenhouse gas emissions and help countries adapt to climate change? Emission reductions and climate aid contributions are meant to be based on relative responsibility for climate change—but views differ on how to translate a “fair share” approach into concrete pledges from individual countries. There’s also ongoing tension over whether the treaty should increase its focus on adaptation, possibly by including pledges of financial and technological aid to help nations adapt to climate change effects that can’t be avoided.
How should island and poorer nations be compensated for the devastation they are already experiencing from climate change caused by other nations? The Philippines and many others want such “loss and damage” funds to be provided for in the treaty, while the U.S. and others have objected to that.
Should the climate treaty commitments be binding or voluntary? The United States, for example, wants the pact to be non-binding, while the Europe Union and developing countries want an enforceable treaty.
Should the world put a price on carbon through an international carbon-trading system to create a stronger incentive to shift away from fossil fuels.
The talks gained momentum after the United States, China and the European Union—all major polluters —made encouraging emission-reduction pledges ahead of the Lima talks. Some saw the fact that the U.S. and China announced their actions together as a sign that the two countries would not end up in a face-off during negotiations.
Others also found hope in the almost $10 billion in initial pledges for the Green Climate Fund, considered a critical factor in convincing developing nations to offer ambitious emission limits.
India could render the treaty ineffective if it opts to make an uninspired pledge toward limiting carbon emissions, or if it continues its aggressive build-out of new coal-fired power plants.
Countries rich in fossil fuels—Australia, OPEC nations, Russia and Canada—could block any effort that would reduce demand for their oil, gas and coal.
Least-developed nations or the Like-Minded Developing Countries could lose faith in the treaty talks, especially if they believe their needs and views are being given short shrift by developed nations, or if they think wealthy nations are not making commitments commensurate with their role in causing climate change. If that happens, the Lima conference could end with major issues unresolved, putting a Paris accord in jeopardy.
Fast for the Climate—A global demonstration on the first day of every month where people refuse to eat as a show of solidarity for people affected by climate change. On Dec. 1, the first day of climate talks in Lima, it was declared the world’s largest fast for the climate. Pacific Islanders—who face widespread destruction from rising seas—were heavily represented, with most residents of tiny Tuvalu participating, organizers said. Dec. 1 also marked the beginning of a tag-team fast, where climate leaders around the world take turns fasting for a day until the Paris talks next December.
Fossil of the Day—This shaming award from Climate Action Network International, first presented at climate talks in 1999, is bestowed on countries deemed to have done their “best” to block progress during negotiations. In Lima so far, the award has thus far been given to Australia, Austria, Belgium and Ireland for not contributing to the Green Climate Fund to help poorer nations; to Japan, for using climate funds to build coal plants in developing countries; to Switzerland for opposing legally binding finance commitments and warning that the issue could derail the treaty; to Australia, for opposing separate compensation for climate-related loss and damage (from extra-fierce typhoons, for example).
People’s Summit on Climate Change—A parallel event from Dec. 1-12 to remind negotiators that a global climate accord must respect the rights and wishes of citizens and social organizations. It’s a forum focused on climate justice, deforestation, social movements, farming, climate finance and other topics.
Light for Lima prayer vigil—A global, multi-faith prayer vigil illuminated by solar lamps to remind negotiators that the people are watching and praying for action on climate change. Digital vigil began Dec. 1, worldwide.
People’s March—A Dec. 10 protest march organized by the activist group Avaaz through the streets of Lima for “International Climatic Justice and Defense of Life Day.” The day is also International Human Rights Day.
Source: Elizabeth Douglass, Inside Climate News, Dec 6, 2014
Governments from Around the World Meeting in Lima, Peru to Lay Foundation for Addressing Climate Change, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker Sends U.S. EPA Letter Opposing Climate Change Regulations
Building on the groundswell of worldwide climate action, and in preparation for concluding its Framework Convention of Climate Change in Paris in 2015, the United Nations and its participating governments from around the world have begun meeting 1 December, 2014 in Lima, Peru, and scheduled to close on 12 December, 2014, to lay the foundation for an effective new, universal climate change agreement in Paris in 2015 while also raising immediate ambition to act on climate change in advance of the agreement coming into effect in 2020.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has this year warned against rising sea levels, storms and droughts as a result of unchecked greenhouse gas emissions, and highlighted the many opportunities of taking climate action.
Last week, the UN Environment Programme underscored the need for global emissions to peak within the decade and then to rapidly decline so that the world can reach climate neutrality – also termed zero net emissions – in the second half of the century.
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Climate Convention said:
“Never before have the risks of climate change been so obvious and the impacts so visible. Never before have we seen such a desire at all levels of society to take climate action. Never before has society had all the smart policy and technology resources to curb greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience. All of this means we can be confident we will have a productive meeting in Lima, which will lead to an effective outcome in Paris next year.”
Meanwhile, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker submitted comments this week in opposition of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan, which proposes increased regulations aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emission from Wisconsin’s power plants in Wisconsin. Walker’s letter claims that the proposed regulations would have a detrimental effect on Wisconsin’s manufacturing-based economy, as well as household ratepayers.
Walker says the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Public Service Commission of Wisconsin have spent months reviewing the rule and seeking input from those who would be affected since its proposal in June of this year.
Governor Walker has asked the EPA to reconsider the rule based on the impact the rule will have on the cost and reliability of electricity, not only to Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector and the 455,000 people it employs, but on every ratepayer in the state and the nation.
In Lima, governments meeting under the “Ad Hoc Work Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action” (ADP) need to define the scope and the type of contributions they will provide to the Paris agreement, along with clarity on how finance, technology and capacity building will be handled.
Countries will put forward what they plan to contribute to the 2015 agreement in the form of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) by the first quarter of 2015, well in advance of the Paris conference in December of next year.
The Lima conference needs to provide final clarity on what the INDCs need to contain, including for developing countries who are likely to have a range of options from, for example, sector-wide emission curbs to energy intensity goals.
Ms. Figueres welcomed the leadership of the EU, the US and China, who have publically announced their post-2020 climate targets and visions.
“It is hugely encouraging that well ahead of next year’s first quarter deadline, countries have already been outlining what they intend to contribute to the Paris agreement. This is also a clear sign that countries are determined to find common ground and maximize the potential of international cooperation,” she said.
“Countries are working hard to increase emission reductions before 2020, when the Paris agreement is set to enter into effect. Pathways on how to accomplish this will also be a key issue before nations in Lima,” she added.
Governments need to work towards streamlining elements of a draft agreement for Paris 2015 and explore common ground on unresolved issues in order to achieve a balanced, well-structured, coherent draft for the next round of work on the text in February next year.
In addition to progress made to date towards a Paris agreement, the political will of countries to provide climate finance is increasingly coming to the fore.
At a recent pledging conference held in Berlin, Germany, countries made pledges towards the initial capitalization of the Green Climate Fund totaling nearly $ 9.3 billion USD. Subsequent pledges took this figure to $ 9.6 billion, so that the $ 10 billion milestone is within reach.
“This shows that countries are determined to build trust and to provide the finance that developing countries need to move forward towards decarbonizing their economies and building resilience”, Ms. Figueres said.
In the course of the 2014, governments have been exploring how to raise immediate climate ambition in areas with the greatest potential to curb emissions, ranging from renewable energy to cities.
As part of the “Lima Action Agenda”, countries will decide how to maintain and accelerate cooperation on climate change by all actors, including those flowing from the Climate Summit in September, where many climate action pledges were made.
“We have seen an amazing groundswell of momentum building this year. One of the main deliverables of the Lima conference will be ways to build on this momentum and further mobilize action across all levels of society. Society-wide action in concert with government contributions to the Paris agreement are crucial to meet the agreed goal of limiting global temperature rise to less than two degrees Celsius, and to safeguard this and future generations,” Ms. Figueres said.
As climate change impacts worsen and impact the poor and most vulnerable, governments urgently need to scale up adaptation to climate change. The conference needs to agree on how National Adaptation Plans of developing countries will be funded and turned into reality on the ground. Countries will also work to agree a work program for the Executive Committee of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage, and elect the members of its Executive Committee.
Governments will work to scale up and coordinate the delivery of climate finance and of the various existing funds. A focus will be on identifying ways to accelerate finance for adaptation to climate change. Governments will also recognize the initial capitalization of the GCF, which is expected to reach USD $ 10 billion by the close of the Lima conference.
Countries meeting in Lima will further work to provide support to avoid deforestation. Several developing countries are expected to submit information which would make it possible for them to obtain funding for forest protection.
Governments meeting in Lima are expected to clarify the role of carbon markets in the 2015 global agreement and set a work program for next year to design and develop operations for implementing new market mechanisms.
As part of the efforts by countries to accelerate pre-2020 climate action, the secretariat is organizing a fair 5, 8 and 9 December in Lima to showcase how action is being scaled up and how many countries and non-state actors are taking action and setting an example.
The Killing of Eric Garner
On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner, an African American, died in the Tompkinsville neighborhood of Staten Island, New York, after a police officer put him in a chokehold, a tactic banned by the New York City Police Department (NYPD). Garner was initially approached by Officer Justin Damico on suspicion of selling “loosies”, single cigarettes from packs without tax stamps. After Garner expressed to the police that he was tired of being harassed and that he was not selling cigarettes, officers made the move to arrest Garner. Officer Daniel Pantaleo, also on scene, put his arms around the much taller Garner’s neck, applying a chokehold shown in a widely viewed video recording of the event. While lying face-down on the sidewalk surrounded by four officers, Garner is heard to repeat numerous times, “I can’t breathe”. Garner was pronounced dead approximately one hour later at the hospital.
After the incident, city medical examiners concluded that Garner was killed by neck compression from the chokehold, along with “the compression of his chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police”. Contributing factors included bronchial asthma, heart disease, obesity, and hypertensive cardiovascular disease. As a result of Garner’s death, four EMTs and paramedics who responded to the scene were suspended without pay on July 21, 2014; officers Damico and Pantaleo were placed on desk duty; and Daniel Pantaleo was stripped of his service gun and badge.
On December 3, 2014, a grand jury decided not to indict officer Pantaleo. The event stirred public protests and rallies with charges of police brutality and was broadcast nationally over various media networks. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department would launch an “independent, thorough, fair, and expeditious” civil rights investigation into Garner’s death.
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Clean Wisconsin Report Says Climate Change Already Costing Wisconsin Agricultural Industry
Clean Wisconsin Surveyed 60 Farmers On How Extreme Weather Has Already Affected Their Livelihood
The environmental organization Clean Wisconsin released a report on Wednesday about how climate change could have a major effect on the state’s agriculture industry.
The report “Seeds of Challenge” includes anecdotes from farmers across the state about how extreme weather like droughts and heavy precipitation have impacted their animals and crops.
Third generation farmer Jim Goodman, who owns a dairy operation in southwest Wisconsin, was one of 60 farmers who responded to the group’s survey. Goodman acknowledges that many farmers are skeptical of climate change and are used to dealing with unpredictable weather. But he said that weather has become too frequent.
“You’ll have unduly wet spring where you can’t get into the fields,” he said. “Then it’ll dry up in the summer so bad that the pasture’s gone. Then you may get another wet fall where it’s difficult to harvest what crops you have.”
Goodman said it’s costing him money. For example, he had to buy hay for the first time in decades during the drought in 2012.
University of Wisconsin researchers say that climate change may cause extreme weather to become more common in the future. Clean Wisconsin Energy and Climate Specialist Katy Walter said that if severe weather does become regular, it could end up costing the ag industry a lot of money and require some farmers to make large investments to continue operating.
“For example, installing irrigation systems to combat drought and build structures for storing feed and protecting livestock,” said Walter.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farmers have reported major crop losses and higher production costs in recent years, partially because of of extreme weather.