The ‘green new deal’ supported by Ocasio-Cortez and Corbyn is just a new form of colonialism

The ‘green new deal’ supported by Ocasio-Cortez and Corbyn is just a new form of colonialism

SOURCE: The Independent DATE: May 4, 2019 SNIP: Scratch the surface of the current plans to decarbonise the economy and replace it with renewable energies and beneath it lays the same logic that has made the UK the 6th richest country in the world. Britain is planning to go green through a new phase of resource and wealth extraction of countries in the global south. At the heart of our economic system fuelled by the City of London is a belief that the UK and other rich countries are entitled to a greater share of the world’s finite resources irrespective of who we impoverish in doing so, or the destruction we cause. This green colonialism will be delivered by the very same entrenched economic interests, who have willingly sacrificed both people and the climate in the pursuit of profit. But this time, the mining giants and dirty energy companies will be waving the flag of climate emergency to justify the same deathly business model. In this new energy revolution, it is cobalt, lithium, silver and copper that will replace oil, gas and coal as the new frontline of our corporate destruction. The metals and minerals needed to build our wind turbines, our solar panels and electric batteries will be ripped out of the earth so that the UK continues to enjoy “lifeboat ethics”: temporary sustainability to save us, but at the cost of the poor. The scale of new extraction needed will come to dwarf the current relentless drive for resources that capitalism is built upon. The OECD’s Global Resources Outlook to 2060, modelled on an annual 2.8 per...
Resource extraction responsible for half world’s carbon emissions

Resource extraction responsible for half world’s carbon emissions

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: March 12, 2019 SNIP: Extraction industries are responsible for half of the world’s carbon emissions and more than 80% of biodiversity loss, according to the most comprehensive environmental tally undertaken of mining and farming. While this is crucial for food, fuel and minerals, the study by UN Environment warns the increasing material weight of the world’s economies is putting a more dangerous level of stress on the climate and natural life-support systems than previously thought. Resources are being extracted from the planet three times faster than in 1970, even though the population has only doubled in that time, according to the Global Resources Outlook. Each year, the world consumes more than 92b tonnes of materials – biomass (mostly food), metals, fossil fuels and minerals – and this figure is growing at the rate of 3.2% per year. Since 1970, extraction of of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) has increased from 6bn tonnes to 15bn tonnes, metals have risen by 2.7% a year, other minerals (particularly sand and gravel for concrete) have surged nearly fivefold from 9bn to 44bn tonnes, and biomass harvests have gone up from 9bn to 24bn tonnes. Land use change – mostly for agriculture – accounts for over 80% of biodiversity loss and 85% of water stress as forests and swamps are cleared for cropland that needs irrigation. Extraction and primary processing of metals and other minerals is responsible for 20% of health impacts from air pollution and 26% of global carbon emissions. The biggest surprise to the authors was the huge climate impact of pulling materials out of the ground...
Despite shutdown, Trump administration continues work to begin oil drilling in ANWR

Despite shutdown, Trump administration continues work to begin oil drilling in ANWR

SOURCE: Alaska Public Media DATE: January 4, 2019 SNIP: As the partial government shutdown drags on, the Trump administration is making sure some Interior Department employees continue work on one of its biggest, most controversial priorities: opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Drilling opponents were quick to criticize the move, contrasting it with the overflowing trash cans and unattended public toilets in national parks managed by Interior, which have become a symbol of the continuing stalemate in Washington, D.C. The partial shutdown also isn’t stopping Trump’s Interior Department from pressing ahead with potentially allowing more oil development in another vast, federally managed area in the Arctic, the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, or NPR-A. The Bureau of Land Management confirmed it is going forward with previously scheduled public meetings on overhauling the NPR-A management plan in the North Slope communities of Utqiagvik on Fri., Jan. 4 and Nuiqsut on Sat., Jan. 5, despite many other Interior Department activities remaining...
A ‘Gold Rush’ at The Bottom of The Ocean Could Be The Final Straw For Ecosystems

A ‘Gold Rush’ at The Bottom of The Ocean Could Be The Final Straw For Ecosystems

SOURCE: Science Alert and Frontiers in Marine Science DATE: December 22, 2018 SNIP: As the world’s population scales to ever-greater heights, a growing demand for resources is driving humans to new lows. Commercial seabed mining seems imminent, highlighting the urgent need for coherent, effective policy to safeguard the marine environment. The three main seabed mineral resources of interest are cobalt-rich crusts, manganese nodules and seafloor massive sulfides. Within continental shelf areas, additional resources include phosphorites, ironsands and diamonds. No commercial deep seabed mining has yet taken place, but Nautilus Minerals and Diamond Fields International have obtained permits to extract minerals in the Bismarck Sea and Red Sea, respectively. Researchers at the University of Exeter and Greenpeace are now warning that a deep sea “gold rush” for minerals and metals could wind up causing irreversible damage to what are already fragile ocean ecosystems. “Many marine scientists are concerned that, once the first commercial contract for mining is issued, there will be no going back,” says co-author Kathryn Miller, a researcher at Greenpeace International. The losses, the authors say, will be on a scale so great that much of this will be practically irreversible. Even if we wanted to, it would be expensive and extremely difficult, if not impossible, for these fragile areas to fully...
For decades B.C. failed to address selenium pollution in the Elk Valley. Now no one knows how to stop it.

For decades B.C. failed to address selenium pollution in the Elk Valley. Now no one knows how to stop it.

SOURCE: The Narwhal DATE: December 4, 2018 SNIP: If you follow the crystalline waters of the Fording River up the Elk Valley, past Josephine Falls, you’ll discover a small pocket of genetically pure westslope cutthroat trout prized by fly fishers from around the world. The species is known for sparse, dark freckles that run along the contours of an arched back and the signature orange-pink slits that gouge both sides of its throat. Small teeth line the entirety of its mouth, even under the tongue. The meandering oxbows of the Upper Fording have created the unique conditions for this particular population of westslope cutthroat trout to remain genetically distinct, not having bred or ‘hybridized’ with other nearby populations. Yet these very same gentle waters now threaten to bring an end to this particular lineage of westslope cutthroat trout, first noted in the journals of Lewis and Clark and christened with the scientific name Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi. Selenium pollution, leaching from manmade mountains of waste rock, has inundated the waterways of the Elk Valley, depositing itself in the docile currents of the Fording and Elk Rivers. First, selenium settles in slow moving waters where it is converted into organic compounds by bacteria. It is then taken up by algae which are eaten by bugs which, in turn, are eaten by fish. As the contaminant accumulates in trout it can lead to ghastly facial and spinal deformities, an absence of the plates that overlay and protect the fish’s fleshy gills and — where deformities make survival impossible — death. In 2014 an expert report prepared for Environment Canada warned that selenium...