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Apr 20, 2007

antarctica

by admin — last modified Apr 20, 2007 12:45 PM
Filed Under:

The Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC) was founded in 1978 by FoEI, WWF and other environmental organizations in order to provide a mechanism for the public to monitor and participate in meetings of the Antarctic Treaty System.

ASOC’s website, www.asoc.org, contains all its documents since 2000.

The following Friends of the Earth groups are involved in Antarctic campaigns: Brazil, South Korea and Norway.

penguin_sm.jpg

ASOC now includes over 100 organizations in 30 countries and leads the international campaign to protect the biological diversity and pristine wilderness of Antarctica, including its oceans and marine life. 


ASOC campaign teams attend all meetings of the Antarctic Treaty System as accredited expert observers, and are able to put on the table detailed proposals for change as well as commenting on all government proposals. ASOC also is an observer to the Agreement on Conservation of Albatross and Petrels (ACAP) and the International Whaling Convention (IWC), where we work to protect the integrity of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

 

asoc: foei paper before international maritime organization

Friends of the Earth International has submitted a joint paper before the International Maritime Organization, on behalf of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition. ASOC'S Information Paper on Southern Ocean Vessel Issues discusses the desirability of the IMO establishing additional rules for vessels operating in the Southern Ocean, including:

  1. Ice-strengthening standards
  2. Banning use of heavier grade fuel oils
  3. Preventing discharges of oily substances, sewage, graywater and waste
  4. Preventing introduction of alien species, including via hull fouling
  5. Establishment of a universal vessel traffic monitoring and information system for Antarctic vessels.

 

Download the paper

 

Key issues include:

  1. stopping illegal “pirate” fishing in the Southern Ocean, which is harming the most valuable commercial species – Antarctic Toothfish, while killing hundreds of thousands of giant petrels and albatross over the past few years;
  2. ensuring that fishing for krill, the base of the marine food chain, is managed on an ecosystem basis that ensures no harm to predators;
  3. regulation of commercial tourism, which is growing exponentially in recent years and is presently self-regulated by an industry association;
  4. regulation of bio-prospecting, which is growing rapidly without any controls;
  5. ratifying Annex 6 to the Environmental Protocol on liability for harm to the environment;
  6. securing protected status for Lake Vostok;
  7. gaining political support for creation of the world's largest marine protected area – the Ross Sea;
  8. regulating noise pollution from various types of sonars being used in the Southern Ocean;
  9. obtaining appropriate standards and rules for vessels operating in the Southern Ocean;
  10. ensuring the integrity of the Whale Sanctuary by stopping Japan’s ‘scientific’ whaling.

 

Contact person: James Barnes

 

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pacific

by admin — last modified Apr 20, 2007 12:20 PM

impacts of climate change

A series of articles by Bund/Friends of the Earth Germany - 1st published in Frankfurter Rundschau

 

Impacts of Climate Change - Part 1

BUND/Friends of the Earth Germany


The Pacific – Flight from Paradise

Leo Falcam, the former president of Micronesia, made the issue very clear when he said: "Climate change is the biggest security threat we face". He was speaking in the year 2000 as a representative of around seven million people who live in the small island states in the Pacific Ocean. Falcam wondered how much longer human life could be sustained on Tonga, Fiji or Samoa.

 

The inhabitants of the Pacific Islands are not responsible for global warming – they account for only 0.06 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. But they are the first victims because most of the islands are small, flat and extremely vulnerable.

 

Experts assume that sea levels will rise in the next few decades. The only question is whether they will rise by 30 centimetres, one metre or perhaps even several metres. Storm tides already flood the islands more frequently these days and whole stretches of coastline are being eaten up by the sea. Some small atolls in Fiji have already lost 30 metres. At the same time, the salt water is seeping into the ground, destroying fertile land and contaminating the groundwater. Climate change is also having an increasing effect on rainfall. In the past years the Marshall Islands, Fiji and Micronesia have experienced the most severe droughts to date. Elsewhere, heavy rainfall has destroyed the harvest.


Droughts Here, Floods There

These weather extremes are in turn accelerating the spread of illnesses like malaria as well as skin and lung infections. A rise in the sea temperature will eventually also threaten the coral reefs that surround the islands. A rise of one degree in the water temperature has already led to the destruction of some coral, destroying in turn many fish habitats. Consequently, the island inhabitants lose an important food source as well as a tourist attraction.

 

With floods, illness and a shortage of food, it is no wonder that island inhabitants can only see one solution: leave their homes and emigrate. The small island state of Tuvalu , which measures 400 metres at its widest, and whose highest point above sea level is just three metres, has already started the process of emigration. In the year 2000 the inhabitants, numbering more than 11,000, had already realised that their island would be uninhabitable in the long-term and they applied for asylum in Australia . But to no avail. Australia – the one large industrial country who, along with the USA , did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change – refused to grant asylum. The Australian government did not recognise environmental refugees in international law as proper refugees because they were not being persecuted by a State. In contrast,  Australia 's neighbour, New Zealand , was willing to accept the Tuvaluese. In cooperation with the governments of Tuvalu and other island states, the New Zealand government developed an evacuation plan for the Pacific area. Under this plan, 75 people will emigrate annually from Tuvalu and Kiribati to New Zealand as well as 250 people each from Fiji and Tonga.

 

Things will happen at an even faster rate on the island of Carteret , which belongs to Papua New Guinea .  In two year's time, the inhabitants  - who amount to just under 1,000 - will have resettled in nearby Bougainville . They have to abandon their six small islands and leave them to the sea. A new Atlantis – engulfed by environmental politics.

The Pacific Islands are the first victims. But scientists reckon that in the next few decades hundreds of millions of people worldwide will become environmental refugees, fleeing from coastal regions where periods of drought or floods have made their countries uninhabitable. When Leo Falkam spoke of a “security threat” to the Pacific island states, he was only anticipating what will soon become a reality for other states.

 

First published in Frankfurter Rundschau (Germany), translation: Sharon O'Brian

 

central america

by admin — last modified Apr 20, 2007 12:20 PM

impacts of climate change

A series of articles by Bund/Friends of the Earth Germany - 1st published in Frankfurter Rundschau

 

Climate Change in Central America

Losses and harms caused by climate change in Central America are becoming more evident every day. In El Salvador, rivers that before were permanent are now seasonal, and rivers that are normally dry from November to April are now completely dry. Forecasts suggest a possible increase in the intensity and duration of droughts. This impacts food production and the livelihoods of many Salvadorans.

 

cc_centralamerica_1.jpg Perhaps even more worrisome, recent research has linked climate change to the increased intensity of severe weather events like hurricanes. In October 2005, Hurricane Stan struck Mexico and Central America. The storm caused pervasive flooding, the overflow of rivers and gorges, and landslides that buried houses and people. The countries most affected in Central America were Guatemala and El Salvador, where the governments declared a national state of emergency.

 

The people most affected by the storm, as always, were the families who live in extreme poverty. In Guatemala, at least 1,500 people were killed and up to 3,000 were confirmed missing. Panabaj, an impoverished Mayan village near Lake Atitlan in the department of Solola, was wiped out by a mudslide that killed every member of the community. In El Salvador, 65 people died, 300 communities were affected, and more than 54,000 people more forced to leave their homes.

 

cc_centralamerica_2.jpg According to the Salvadoran Committee of National Emergencies, “the emergency exceeded the capacity of the aid organizations. There were floods everywhere, bridges on the verge of collapse, landslides, and dozens of roads blocked by mud.”

This storm is evidence of the social, economic, ecological, and political vulnerability of Central American nations to the impacts of climate change.

 

In Central America, people are beginning to understand that these catastrophes are occurring with increasing intensity because of climate change. These countries contribute very little to the problems compared to industrialized countries, but Central Americans and other people from poor nations will bear the brunt of the impacts.

 

Why Large Dams Are Not the Answer

cc_centralamerica_3.jpg One of the technologies proposed by the World Bank in the, ‘Clean Energy and Development: Towards an Investment Framework' is large hydropower. Large dams have caused numerous problems in communities in Central America, and there is substantial public sentiment against the building of dams.

 

The areas where dams are built are often located in indigenous and farming communities, which are rich in natural and cultural resources. When the dams are built and areas are flooded, it destroys peoples' security and livelihoods. Dams can also displace large numbers of people. According to the World Commission on Dams, 40 to 80 million people have been displaced during the construction of 45,000 dams.

cc_centralamerica_4.jpg Dams cause serious environmental and social impacts. And often, these large hydroelectric projects do not supply electricity to towns and communities. Instead, the electricity goes to multi-national corporations and industries for operations that do not benefit the people.

 

Many demonstrations and protests have occurred in Central America over the construction of large dams. Instead of building more dams, Central America must explore other possibilities and technologies for producing clean energy that will benefit communities.

 

siberia

by admin — last modified Apr 20, 2007 12:20 PM

impacts of climate change


Impacts of Climate Change - Part 4

BUND/Friends of the Earth Germany


Siberia's houses rest on unstable ground

The 200 000 inhabitants of Jakutsk are tough. No other place on earth is subject to such large temperature fluctuations as this Siberian town with a range of minus 50 degrees Celsius in winter to plus 30 in summer. Jakutsk lies on so-called permafrost. The ground is permanently frozen and even on the hottest days of the year just a few centimetres at the surface thaw. In this way the permafrost has been conserving geological development for thousands of years. It presents a true treasure trove for scientists who can source important facts concerning our climate. They even found a frozen mammoth on one occasion.


Yet now citizens of Jakutsk could literally be losing ground to climate change. In the last 30 years the average temperatures in Siberia have risen by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius. Last year scientists from the west Siberian Tomsk University and the British University of Oxford made a shocking discovery: over an area as large as Germany and France the permafrost is beginning to melt for the first time since the end of the ice age around 11 000 years ago.


The consequences are conspicuous. Locals have for some time now been observing that woodland is tilting due to the thawing permafrost. They named this phenomenon "drunk trees". However, the longer it lasts the less amusing it becomes because the repercussions for Siberia's infrastructure are becoming more acute.


Nuclear power stations falter

Following conclusions made by the International Arctic Research Center, houses, mining pits and factories are considered to be at risk of collapsing. Oil pipellines are close to bursting point, and railway tracks and airports cannot be used on the soft surface. Tarmacked areas and roads crack and sink in the mud. In some regions the number of days on which the roads are accessible has declined from a good 200 to around 120 per year. How safe nuclear power stations are on this spongy ground is also unclear.


Whilst the inhabitants suffer the local repercussions, scientists are fearing an entirely different consequence. Great quantities of organic material, thousands of years old, lies frozen in the permafrost and with that an enormous amount of carbon. When the ground thaws, bacteria begins to decompose this material. As a result of the decay billions of tonnes of methane would be produced and released into the atmosphere. The fears of the scientists become clear when one realises the effect that methane has on the atmosphere. Methane is a highly active greenhouse gas that fuels climate chance twenty times faster than carbon dioxide. Once the permafrost is thawed it will be impossible to prevent its disappearance. A vicious circle kicks in. Climate change causes permafrost to melt, methane is set free and this is turn increases the pace of climate change.


The majority of houses in Jakutsk remain undamaged. The inhabitants have learned how to cope with the most difficult climatic conditions for centuries. They have even established a research institute, the only one of its kind in the whole world, which has for 60 years been investigating how to build houses and roads on permafrost. It's now time for the institute to turn its attentions to the issue of how to build houses on thawing ground.


translation: Hilary Myska

nigeria

by admin — last modified Apr 20, 2007 12:20 PM

impacts of climate change

A series of articles by Bund/Friends of the Earth Germany - 1st published in Frankfurter Rundschau


Climate Change in Africa

cc_africa_1.jpg Climate change is already affecting many places and communities in Africa. The continent is experiencing more droughts in already dry areas and increased rainfall and flooding in areas that are usually wetter.

The impacts of climate change in Nigeria serve as an example of what will happen in many other parts Africa. From mangroves and rainforests on the Atlantic coast in the south to the savannah in the north bordering the Sahara, Nigeria has a variety of ecosystems. While excessive flooding during the past decade has impacted negatively on farming in coastal communities, desertification is ravaging the Sahel.


Traditionally, desertification in the Sahel has been blamed on overgrazing practices of the local population. But it has been discovered that the real problem is climate change. Rainfall in the Sahel has been declining steadily since the 1960s. The result has been the loss of farmlands and the conflicts between farmers and herdsmen over ever decreasing land. This loss of land is considered the root of the conflict in Dafur in Sudan.

Many different communities, including fishermen, farmers and herdsmen are now confronted with difficulties arising from climatic changes. Peoples' livelihoods are being harmed, and already poor people are becoming even more impoverished. Climate refugees are being created, as climate change makes some land unliveable and impacts water supplies.

 

Oil and Gas in Nigeria

cc_africa_2.jpg While Nigeria is not a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions when compared with industrialized countries, it is a major supplier of oil and gas to countries with high greenhouse gas emissions. The exploitation of gas and oil for export from the Niger Delta both contributes to global warming and it also destroys the environment and harms communities living near these projects.

Oil fields in the Niger Delta of Nigeria contain crude oil mixed with very large amounts of gas. Major oil companies operating in Nigeria separate the oil from its associated gas at flow stations, where the gas is simply burned off, serving no useful purpose and contaminating the air and lands for local communities.

cc_africa_3.jpg For the communities, the effects of gas flaring has been dramatic: continuous noise, rise in temperature in communities close to flare sites, acid rain and retarded crop yield, corroded roofs, respiratory diseases. And the loss of darkness as with the unnatural illumination from gas flares at night. Gas flared in Nigeria, containing high amounts of methane and carbon dioxide-major greenhouse gasses, is also a major contributor to global warming, as it produces emissions that is more than the combined emissions of the rest of sub-Saharan Africa.

These oil and gas projects do not provide energy to the people who live in the region. They only pollute their air and lands from the gas flaring by Shell and other major transnational corporations.


False Solutions to Climate Change

Climate change should be addressed by reducing emissions and adopting better and appropriate energy technologies. But market mechanisms that are designed to reduce carbon emissions can encourage or subsidize corporate abuses. Under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) framework of the Kyoto Protocol, oil companies in Nigeria could be given carbon credits to stop gas flaring, rewarding companies for stopping an illegal process.

 

The Nigerian courts have declared gas flaring illegal and a gross violation of human rights, and oil companies and the government have already made commitments to end the criminal practice by 2008. Gas flaring reduction projects in Nigeria cannot and should not qualify for CDM credits as such projects fail on the additionality and sustainable development criteria.


The only reason why gas is flared in Nigeria is because the Nigerian government fails to abide by its own laws while the companies continue the practice to make excess profits. Oil companies in Nigeria can end gas flaring profitably without CDM credits. Gas flaring projects can only be suggested for CDM for the benefit of carbon market profiteers. This is a sad commentary for the CDM as a mechanism for global greenhouse gas reduction.

 

nepal

by admin — last modified Apr 20, 2007 12:20 PM

impacts of climate change

A series of articles by Bund/Friends of the Earth Germany - 1st published in Frankfurter Rundschau


Climate Change in Nepal

Nepal's vast changes in altitude over a comparatively small area make the country particularly susceptible to climate change. The lowest point in Nepal is 60 meters, while the highest is 8848 meters, and the climate varies dramatically from tropical to alpine.

cc_nepal_1.jpg Nepal's annual average temperature has risen by 0.06 degrees Celsius, and three snow-fed rivers have already shown signs of reduced flows. But the temperature in the Himalayas is increasing twice as fast, which is having serious impact on glaciers and glacial lakes.

The rapid melting of Himalayan glaciers is increasing the volume of water in glacial lakes. When these lakes become too full, they threaten to burst in torrential floods, called glacial lake outburst floods. These events cause extensive damage to roads, bridges, trekking trails, and villages, and people have also been killed by these events. At least 12 of these glacial lake outburst flows have been reported to date, and with continued regional warming, these events are likely become more common.

  Twenty of Nepal's 2,300 glacial lakes are identified as potentially dangerous for glacial lake outburst floods. But among these lakes, only one has mitigation measures in place.

In a few decades, when the glaciers have melted, water level in rivers will decline, meaning massive economic and environmental problems for people in Western China, Nepal, and Northern India.


Sagarmatha National Park

Sagarmatha National Park is dominated by Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world. The park is an area of exceptional natural beauty with dramatic mountains, glaciers and deep valleys, and it has been designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations. But climate change seriously threatens the park's glaciers and its ecosystems.

Currently in the Himalayas, 67 percent of glaciers are rapidly retreating. The Rika Samba in the Dhaulagiri region is retreating at a rate of 10 meters per year. This is very unusual as glacial movement is usually measured in millimeters.

cc_nepal_3.jpg This glacial melting will eventually leave Sagarmatha National Park snowless, and will destroy the habitats of the endangered species in the park, such as the Snow Leopard and the Lesser Panda.

Friends of the Earth-Nepal has filed a claim at the United Nations to request the inclusion of Sagarmatha National Park in the list of world heritage in danger as a result of climate change and to ask for protective measures and action.

Nepal's share in the global emission of greenhouse gases is almost nothing, but the consequences of global warming and climate change threaten to wash away vast areas of the country, including the region that is home to Mount Everest.

 

The Need for Action

It is imperative that actions are taken to cut greenhouse gas emissions around the world so that there is some chance of limiting the most severe impacts of global warming, like the loss of sacred places like Mount Everest.

Action must be taken by the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, such as the Group of 8 (G8) countries. These countries represent just 13 per cent of the world's population, but account for 45 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.

 

It is also important to get developing countries like Nepal on clean, renewable energy paths. There are clean alternatives to fossil fuels for power generation and energy, such as wind power, solar power, small hydropower, and biofuels, which should be fully explored as options for developing countries.

 

There is also a need to prepare people for the impacts of climate change that are already occurring. In Nepal, climate change is going to seriously impact the country's water resources. Action is needed to help people understand what climate change means and to protect the poorest people from its effects.

mount everest

by admin — last modified Apr 20, 2007 12:50 PM

impacts of climate change

A series of articles by Bund/Friends of the Earth Germany - 1st published in Frankfurter Rundschau

Impacts of Climate Change - Part 3

BUND/Friends of the Earth Germany

 

Meltdown in Everest - Himalayan Mountain Villages Under Threat From Glacial Melt

Where Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay trekked over never-ending ice on their first ascent of Mount Everest 53 years ago, they would today have to wade through mud. To reach the glacier, which at that time ended just beyond their base camp, they would have to walk for a further two hours today because the Himalayan glaciers – once so majestic – are now melting rapidly at a rate of 15 metres per year.


Goodbye Glaciers, Hello Floods

From his office window, Prakash Sharma can see the highest summit of the Himalayas. Sharma is director of Friends of the Earth, Nepal. Since his childhood, he has known and loved the harsh landscape of the Roof of the World. His voice cannot conceal his concern about what he has observed for years now: “Glaciers are melting everywhere in the Himalayas, leaving behind them a desert of sludge and rubble. These are hideous scars on nature.” It's no wonder this is happening when you consider that the average temperature in the region has increased by one degree Celsius since 1970. As the temperature increases, so the glaciers melt. The economic livelihood of the local community is at stake. “The Sagarmatha National Park, whose highest peak is Everest, is losing its natural beauty”, bemoans Sharma. Endangered species, like the snow leopard and the lesser panda, are disappearing. Sharma fears that tourists will lose interest and will seek out other travel destinations. This would be catastrophic for the country, which ranks as one of the ten poorest in the world.


Friends of the Earth, Nepal, along with the international Climate Justice Programme, have consequently applied to UNESCO to have the Mount Everest National Park included in the list of endangered Natural World Heritage Sites, thereby according it special protection. They are supported by well-known personalities such as Reinhold Messner and Sir David Attenborough and the campaign has met with its first success: a UNESCO panel of experts is assessing the application.


Rising Lake Levels Threaten Mountain Villages

Yet another outcome of climate change is a source of worry for the Himalayan experts. Immense volumes of water are being released from the melting glaciers and are turning what were previously gently flowing rivers into torrents, destroying bridges, ripping away plant life and flooding villages. Elsewhere, the melt water collects in natural hollows and creates new lakes. Where deserts of scree existed 50 years ago, today we find natural reservoirs measuring kilometres in length, which are filled to the brim and are ready to burst. Nothing could withstand the flood that would then plunge towards valleys – the inhabitants of villages lying in those valleys would have no chance. Using satellite images, scientists from the United Nations have come to the conclusion that 44 lakes in Nepal and Bhutan could flood in the next few years. Thirteen of these alone lie within the Sagarmatha National Park.

 

Theoretically, man-made drains could take the pressure off the glacial lakes and could deliver a controlled flow of water to the valley. But this method for alleviating the threat would be too expensive for Nepal. The rich industrialised countries recognise in principle that they are responsible for climate change and that, therefore, they should pay for protective measures. However, concrete negotiations are very slow-moving, perhaps too slow-moving for the mountain villages of Nepal.

 

Translation: Sharon O'Brien

malaria

by admin — last modified Apr 20, 2007 12:19 PM

impacts of climate change

A series of articles by Bund/Friends of the Earth Germany - 1st published in Frankfurter Rundschau


Impacts of Climate Change - Part 2

BUND/Friends of the Earth Germany


Malaria – the big winner

The dangers of malaria are well known from ancient times. When the Romans conquered northern Africa, they easily defeated the indigenous tribes, but had to flee to the cool of the mountains when the disease blighted them in summer.

 

Today malaria is the world's 2nd biggest killer . Every year, 500 million people are infected and approximately 2.7 million die as a result, the majority of these in Africa. More than 90% of the victims are under five.


Climate change will worsen the situation. During the 20th century the average temperature in Africa rose by around 0.7 °C while annual rainfall declined in some regions. So far the experts agree, but, it is hard to make predictions about future climate change, not least because the network of research centres in Africa is underdeveloped.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the highest international authority for climate researchers, is expecting temperatures in Africa to rise by around 2-5 °C during the course of the 21st century. There will be extensive regional differences – whilst the Sahel region will probably become even hotter, there may be higher rainfall Central Africa. However, several researchers are predicting that the climate will also become very disordered in Africa.

For the anopheles mosquito , the transmitter of malaria, the conditions could not be better. Even just slightly higher temperatures and appropriate larvae hatcheries can result in explosive reproduction rates. What this can entail was shown in Rwanda and Mozambique, where a hot summer in 1987 and a few heavy showers caused a 300% increase in malaria cases in just one year.

 

This was also the first time that the mosquito was able to reach higher climes. Generally it can only survive in lower regions where the climate is tropical. Yet now the disease also occurs in mountainous areas , which were previously considered as malaria-free.

 

The situation has been particularly well researched in South Africa. Scientists estimate that climate change bolsters the spread of malaria so much, that at the Cape of Good Hope alone the mosquito's habitat will double. The number of potential human victims would thereby rise from 2- 7 million.

 

Effective drugs against malaria have long been available, and in many parts of the world the disease has been beaten. However, particularly in rural African regions, medical provision is poor. Malaria claims so many victims here that it destroys social structures of entire villages. Families lose their providers, children become orphans, and villages lack teachers, workers, and even tribal leaders.

 

The UN is acting on the assumption that the consequences of malaria will reduce economic growth in Africa by 1.3 % every year. And most African countries are ill-prepared to face up to these realities . In order to combat malaria large amounts of money would be needed for drugs, hospitals and to destroy mosquito hatcheries. Unfortunately, financial means for this are rarelly available.

 

Author: Markus Steigenberger

Translation: Hilary Myska

First published in Frankfurter Rundschau/ Germany

 

climate change stories

by admin — last modified Apr 20, 2007 12:45 PM

A list of climate change stories from our member groups around the world.

friends of the earth korea: campaign against nuclear energy

by admin — last modified Apr 20, 2007 12:20 PM

91% Koreans say nuclear is not the alternative

Nuclear power is becoming more popular as governments seek to break their oil addiction. However, it is not a clean alternative. Dangerous and long lasting waste products have to be dumped somewhere, threatening communities for hundreds of years to come.

 

Residents of Buan county in Korea are facing just such a threat, a huge dump for nuclear waste. On February 14th they held a referendum on whether or not to accept the dump. 50,000 voters out of a total population of about 70,000 participated in the vote. 91% voted against the dump.

 

koreavote-6.jpg

Resistance within Buan to the dump has been enormous. Candlelight vigils have been held for more than 200 days. Elementary, middle and high school students went on strike for 41 days, blocking roads. In addition, there were several demonstrations in which more than 20,000 residents participated.

 

Ultimately, the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Energy resigned after making apologies to the Buan residents for damages, and he recognized the referendum as an important process to decide upon a nuclear dump site.

Although the Korean government says that it will not accept the result, it will be very hard to ignore the will of the residents. The Buan referendum 2004 made a new page not only in the history of the Korean movement against nuclear energy, but also in the history of Korean democracy.

 

Friends of the Earth Korea website

ExxonMobil - Climate Killer of the Year

by admin — last modified Apr 20, 2007 12:20 PM

Vote names oil giant exxonmobil as the worst carbon dinosaur in Finland

 
 

Last July a thousand people in Finland faced a hard decision as they prepared to vote for the Finnish Climate Killer. All ten candidates were horrible remnants from the age of dirty fossil fuels - fighting all attempts to push forward renewable energy and to save the world from catastrophic climate change.

Now the votes have been counted. With an overwhelming 29.4 percent share of the votes, Finnish Esso, the Finnish part of the world’s largest oil company ExxonMobil, is the winner. It received the Climate Killer Award on Monday morning in an impressive ceremony.

Esso failed to send a representative to the event, but Friends of the Earth Finland Chairperson Leo Stranius went ahead with the presentation, handing the Award over to activists dressed as the Esso tiger and a masked version of Exxon Mobil's President Rex W. Tillerson.

In their speech, they stressed that ExxonMobil has time and again over the years that it is committed to use any means to speed up catastrophic climate change. Its products and activities have contributed a remarkable 5 percent towards human made global warming and yet it shows no sign of responsibility in its policies or investment.

Friends of the Earth Finland's Climate Campaign Coordinator Lauri Myllyvirta is impressed by the corpoarte giant's persistence. “Esso has worked tirelessly to sabotage the Kyoto Protocol, spending dozens of millions of dollars on anti-Kyoto publicity campaigns. It has struggled hard against renewable energy and emission reductions. Now we feel this work has got the kind of recognition it deserves.”

“We also want to congratulate the Finnish Trade and Industry Ministry as Finland’s worst genuinely domestic Climate Killer. It has successfully undermined Finnish climate and energy policy, effectively slowing down the switch to renewable and energy efficient technology in Finland,” Myllyvirta said. The latest example is a tax reduction for peat - a non-renewable fuel comparable to coal - put forth by this Climate Killer Ministry. “Without the Trade and Industry Ministry’s dedicated efforts, Finland’s greenhouse gas emissions would be lower and its energy production far more responsible.”

Results:
Candidate/Share of votes
1. Esso: 29,4 %
2. Trade and Industry Ministry: 12,1 %
3. Kimi Raikkonen, F1 driver: 11,7 %
4. Industry and Employers, industry lobby: 10,6 %
5. Eija-Riitta Korhola, Finnish MEP: 8,2 %
6. Matti Viialainen, Trade union leader: 6,4 %
7. Car Union, A pro-cars, pro-highways NGO: 5,8 %
8. Power of Industry, Nuke and coal energy company: 4,5 %
9. Finnair, Flight company: 1,8 %
10. Development Politics Department of Foreign Affairs Ministry: 1,7 %
Others: 7,9 %
TOTAL: 1079 votes

Voters had an option to vote for anyone or anything not included in the list. The most popular suggestions included: ordinary people’s attitudes and lifestyles; the United States; large Finnish cities; many other pro-fossil fuels politicians; and media that pay too little attention to or try to diminish the threat of climate change.

Both advocates and opponents of nuclear power got some votes.

The Climate Killer Vote was part of Carbon Dinosaur Tour in Finland . The tour visited nine targets in six cities with a huge, inflatable Carbon Dino, exposing the opponents of sustainable energy future and mitigation of catastrophic climate change. The tour was a great success when it comes to reaching people and the media.

www.foeeurope.org/dinosaur for the carbon dino tour plan and picture gallery

EU spring council

by admin — last modified Apr 20, 2007 12:20 PM
Filed Under:

Giant EU energy flag outside EU Spring Council

grassroots support for climate-friendly energy as EU leaders seal energy future

9 March 2007

 

eu-flag-action.JPG

As pivotal debate about Europe's future energy policy took place at the EU Spring Council in Brussels, Friends of the Earth activists assembled to construct a 12 metre high bright blue and yellow flag right outside the meeting, demanding that governments stop climate change, cut energy waste and choose renewables. The flag followed the design of the famous EU flag, but contained symbols for sustainable energy choices in the golden stars and was formed by hundreds of people from across Europe, dressed in blue on a giant frame.

 

Participants in the action came from fifteen European countries. A sea of banners at the base of the giant flag displayed the slogan "Stop Climate Change. Cut Energy Waste. Choose Renewables," in multiple languages.

 

According to Jan Kowalzig, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe, people across Europe are deeply concerned about climate change. "They are fed up with governments protecting the dirty coal and nuclear industries. Grassroots support for a fundamental shift in energy policy towards renewable energy and energy savings was today thrust right under the noses of the most powerful politicians in Europe."

 

Individual stars in the installation - each 2 metres high - were annotated with signatures, collected out on the streets across Europe in the last few weeks. Thousands of people have endorsed renewable energy and energy efficiency, calling for a shift away from energy based on dirty fossil fuels and dangerous nuclear power.

Each star of the giant EU energy flag represented a specific demand to EU leaders as they agree an action plan today that will govern Europe's energy future for the coming decades.

  • A wind turbine and a sun called for greater promotion of renewable energy: Friends of the Earth insisted that EU leaders adopt a binding target of 25% of primary energy demand to be met by renewable energy by 2020, broken down into specific sectoral targets to stimulate investment in all areas, such as heating and cooling and electricity.
  • A low-energy lightbulb symbolised the demand for a greater commitment to increasing energy efficiency. Friends of the Earth highlighted that although the EU has acknowledged that it has the potential to cut its energy consumption by 20% by 2020, the summit will still fail to make concrete commitments to achieve it.
  • An anti-nuclear symbol called for a phase-out of nuclear power. Friends of the Earth is opposed to nuclear power playing any role in Europe's future energy policy, as it is dangerous, sensationally expensive compared to renewable energy and leaves a legacy of radioactive waste for hundreds of years.
  • An anti-coal symbol represented the demand for a phase-out of subsidies for fossil fuels. Friends of the Earth exposed the glaring hole in the proposed new energy policy, which aims to improve the functioning of Europe's energy markets but does not address billions of Euros of subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.
  • An anti-oil symbol demanded a reversal of unsustainable trends in the transport sector, for example by forcing carmakers to make more fuel-efficient cars. The action plan for Europe's new energy policy almost ignores the transport sector, which is absurd considering that transport guzzles 70-80% of foreign oil imports and that the EU aims to reduce its dependency on foreign oil.

 

Friends of the Earth also reiterated that the target adopted by the EU today for reducing domestic greenhouse gas emissions should be at least 30% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. Governments will today adopt only a 20% unilateral target, despite recommending that 30% is the level of reduction necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change.