Archive for the ‘Greenpeace’ Category
With apologies for the delay, here is the latest email received from Greenpeace:
Right now, we have a huge chance to help save the Arctic.
To tackle the threats posed by the disappearing ice and the invasion of oil drillers – like Shell – we need to reduce the world’s thirst for oil. We can do that by making greener cars. And the good news is we’ve already begun.
We know this can be done. When we first asked VW to make their cars cleaner and more efficient, they said it wasn’t possible. Then 526,000 of us piled pressure on VW and helped persuade the biggest and most powerful car company in Europe that clean technology is possible. That’s something we can be proud of. Now it’s time to move the whole of Europe (and the world) forward.
This isn’t just about our continent. If we make these big wins here, the global car market will feel the pressure to keep up with innovation in Europe. That means we could see less polluting cars in countries like China and the US too. That’s better for the Arctic, the air we breathe and the stability of our global climate.
Over the next few months European politicians are making decisions that will affect every new car in Europe – this is a huge opportunity – so let’s make sure we send the strongest possible message. We know that these politicians aren’t used to getting thousands of messages from people like us, so this could really have an impact.
Together we can show the world what can be done,
Nic and all the Greenpeace crew
PS Of course, not everyone drives – I don’t – and your bicycle is the most efficient vehicle you can use. But cars are a big part of society today, so please help make cars cleaner in Europe (and the world).
PPS You may have heard about the No Dash For Gas heroes who shut down a polluting gas power station last year and were being sued by owners EDF for £5m in an attempt to stifle peaceful protest. This week, we heard the amazing news is that, after nearly 65,000 people signed a petition, EDF have backed down! The activists still face criminal charges and you can get the latest updates on their website.
This is great news but, what we really need is an International agreement (like that which protects the Antarctic from resource exploitation). If we need to despoil the Arctic to get fossil fuels, then we are very clearly far too dependent on them: The time has come to invest in and/or subsidise the pursuit of renewable (i.e. infinite) alternatives. Here is the appeal for help from Greenpeace.
Last night, Shell announced it’s giving up on plans to drill for oil in the Arctic in this year.
It’s amazing news, because it means no drilling in the pristine waters of Alaska this year. And the pressure you put on Shell helped make this possible.
Right now I’m thrilled, this is a huge success for the Arctic. But the fight isn’t over. We’ve got a real opportunity to stop industrial exploitation in the Arctic, forever.
Last month, President Obama ordered a sweeping review of Shell’s plans to drill in the Arctic. Meanwhile, Shell was found to have 16 safety and environmental violations on their rig that ran aground in Alaska. Now it’s time for Obama to abandon the idea of Arctic drilling completely.
I’m sure you won’t want the good news to stop here, and that in the days ahead you’ll still be part of the movement to keep Shell out of the Arctic forever.
But for the moment it’s all about enjoying what we’ve accomplished together. Thank you so much for all the work you have done to protect the Arctic.
Greenpeace Executive Director
P.S. This is great news, but there is much more to do. Our Arctic campaign and all the work we do to protect the environment depends entirely on your support. Can you make a donation now to help make a protected Arctic a reality? (Link to Greenpeace UK website here.)
I was looking for something else in the Letters to the Editor section of the Geological Society website, when I came across this very short but massively powerful letter. I knew instantly that I must draw it to the attention of the widest-possible audience. The “letter” is from someone I have known since 1998 – Chris King, Professor of Earth Science Education at Keele University – and it is, in fact, almost entirely composed of a quotation from a peer-reviewed article published over 100 years ago.
‘Our interest in the evolution of the atmosphere and of climate is of more than theoretical interest… Van Hise, on what he regards as a moderate estimate of the coal the human race will burn per annum during the present Century, estimates that in 812 years the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would be doubled. According to the view of Arrhenius such a change would greatly ameliorate [see Update appended below] the climate of the world. This view of the heat-holding effects of an increase of CO2 is not undisputed, but so large a change in the constitution of the atmosphere, by the hand of man himself, may well cause him to investigate, with serious persistence, the terrestrial consequences of his own deeds…’ From: ‘Scenery, Soil and the Atmosphere’, by A P Banham: Popular Science Monthly, June 1910, pp.570-580.
I feel that absolutely no comment is necessary.
With the greatest of respect to Chris, however, for the benefit of a non-expert audience, I feel that further comment is necessary:
This letter demonstrates that there was scientific concern over the potential consequences of doubling atmospheric CO2 concentrations over 100 years ago. However, what many may not realise is that, when account is taken of all anthropogenic gasses in our atmosphere, we have doubled the effective CO2 content of our atmosphere in 100 years. Indeed, we have done this so fast that the Earth has yet to catch up: Even if we stopped burning all fossil fuels today, the Earth would continue to warm for decades.
There is also the problem of positive feedback mechanisms and tipping points. That is to say, self-reinforcing change and the possibility that we have now triggered irreversible change. Even if it is reversible, it is unlikely to be so in any timescale relevant to an individual human lifetime: Glaciers that have been stable for decades will probably all be gone within 100 years. How long do you think it took them to form in the first place? The answer is almost certainly at least two orders of magnitude longer (i.e. 10 thousand years).
In the face of risks such as these, does it not also seem unreasonable to you that, here in the UK, our Chancellor of the Exchequer (i.e. Finance Minister), George Osborne, should be trying so hard to ignore the warnings of the Government’s own scientific advisors and, instead, listen to climate change scpetics who say “there is no cause for alarm” and that we can indeed “have our cake and eat it”…?
This story is not over by a long way yet…
UPDATE: 18 Feb 2013 2130hrs – After much semantic discussion about the appearance of the word “ameliorate” in the above quotation, it has been confirmed that this is correct: Being a Scandinavian, Svante Arrhenius considered that it would be a good thing for the climate to warm up a bit. This adds yet another layer of irony to the waywardness of the 1910 prediction about time required to double the CO2 content of our atmospherere.
We’ve done it again – more good news!
European politicians voted overwhelmingly in favour of radical, progressive reform of our fishing laws. A “victory for citizen power” is how Roger Harrabin, the BBC’s environment analyst, described it. So, well done citizens!
Together we set out to achieve what seemed like an impossible challenge: to reform the infamous Common Fisheries Policy – the package of broken laws that have depleted our fish stocks and devastated fishing communities across Europe.
Previously, huge industrial interests have held our seas to ransom, emptying our waters for profit. But then thousands of us stepped in to help. Cooperation between campaign groups, fishermen, champion politicians, retailers, and celebrity chefs like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, all made sure that our MEPs could not ignore what we wanted: real change to protect our fragile seas.
So what’s in the new measures? A ban on discards: the cynical practice of throwing dead fish back into the sea to meet fishing quotas. The changes also reward responsible fishing and set catch limits in line with the best scientific advice. Importantly, new rules to improve the behaviour of European boats wherever they fish, anywhere in the world. Now, we stand a real chance of achieving a fish-filled future.
There are more hurdles ahead. The next stage will require agreement from European fisheries ministers (and that could take months). But let’s take a moment to enjoy this, and reflect on how much we have achieved.
Let’s keep going!
Nic and the whole Greenpeace community
PS There is more work to do. Unsustainable industry players won’t give up easily. So please consider donating to help safeguard the future of our seas and our fishing communities.
My latest email from Greenpeace (below) tells of the success of a 10-year campaign to get big businesses to boycott Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) because of its role in driving unsustainable deforestation in Indonesia.
This is what the World needs today – an environmental campaigning movement as motivated and successful as that which brought Apartheid in South Africa to an end over 20 years ago…. Today’s apartheid is a fallacy we have inherited from the Age of Enlightenment: Humans need to stop seeing themselves as superior to Nature and, instead, accept we are part of it.
However, enough sermonising from me; here is the good news from Greenpeace…
I can’t believe I’m writing this. Today, you’ve made an amazing breakthrough in protecting the world’s rainforests.
After a tough campaign that’s lasted 10 years, Asia Pulp & Paper – the company that has been destroying huge areas of Indonesian forest – has been forced to change its ways. It has finally agreed to introduce a new policy that should end the appalling amounts of deforestation it has been responsible for.
The pressure you put on companies like Mattel (makers of Barbie), National Geographic and Xerox – all APP customers – persuaded them that being linked to the destruction of Indonesia’s remaining forests wasn’t good business sense. As a result, they all dropped their contracts with APP, and you were well on the way to persuading KFC to do the same.
So the pressure on APP has been immense and, after months of intense negotiations in Jakarta with our team, they have finally agreed to end their reign of destruction. This means that protecting the habitat of Sumatra’s endangered tigers from illegal and destructive logging is one huge step further forward.
I’ve worked on this campaign for several years and there were times when I thought this would never happen, but your commitment to protecting Indonesia’s rainforests has made this possible. Thank you so much!
So far, this policy is only on paper. Permanent changes need to happen in the rainforest before we can claim victory, so experts from Greenpeace and the Indonesian organisations (who have also worked so hard to achieve this) will be monitoring closely the situation on the ground.
It’s not just APP. Other companies are still rampaging through the forests in the name of profit, turning pristine tiger habitats into paper and palm oil plantations. We’re already planning the next steps and you’ll be the first to know.
But for now, take a moment to celebrate. Even though APP still needs to turn words into action, this is a giant leap forward for Indonesia’s rainforests and the people and wildlife that depend on them.
Together we’ve shown that persistence pays off. Well done.
PS Plans are already being developed to confront other companies destroying Indonesia’s rainforests and your support is vital, so please consider making a regular donation to help protect these forests in the future. Thank you.
Latest email from Greenpeace:
We’re making headlines. Our ad – which 1,269 amazing Greenpeace supporters helped pay for – has made a splash in the Telegraph, Britain’s most widely-read broadsheet. We’re also hoping to get the ad printed in the Times tomorrow.
Thank you to everyone who has taken part in this campaign. Together, we’ve exposed Shell’s long list of costly Arctic blunders to investors, politicians and the public at large – and we’re not done yet.
Want to keep the pressure up until we’ve won this thing for good?
Right now, Greenpeace is looking for a few creative, eco-conscious youngsters to design a flag for all the world to see. The winning design will be taken to the North Pole, where it will join a scroll featuring millions of names demanding the Arctic be protected forever. We will plant it at the bottom of the ocean at the top of the world, where it will remain: a statement from people who care about the health of our planet and a symbol of the conscience of humanity.
Why? Because the Arctic belongs to everyone, yet young people today will most likely live to see a time when there is no more Arctic sea ice in the summer – a fate unthinkable just a few decades ago. We know that Arctic drilling to burn more oil will accelerate climate change and is a folly driven by greed, and as a movement we’re doing everything we can to stop it. Today that means inviting the youth of the world to be heard. Click here to find out more information, then get a young person involved – or send this email on to someone you know.
Thanks for being part of this,
Ian and the Arctic team
The latest email from Greenpeace/savethearctic.org,
Right now, one of Shell’s Arctic oil rigs with 139,000 gallons of diesel and 12,000 gallons of hydraulic oil on board, is being retrieved and assessed for damage after it ran aground within sight of Alaska’s fragile coastline. The Kulluk got into serious trouble after hitting a typical winter storm off the island of Sitkalidak, near Kodiak. The old rig was stranded just miles from an endangered sea otter and sea lions habitat, threatening the area with a potential oil spill. After this latest fiasco Shell’s reputation is now in tatters.
This isn’t the first time Shell has put their crew and the Arctic at risk this year. The grounding of the Kulluk is the latest in a series of embarrassing accidents that have plagued Shell’s attempts to find oil in the extreme Arctic. The company intends to try again next year and the decision about whether or not it gets that opportunity will be made soon. This is our chance to stop Shell from drilling in the Arctic next year and beyond. Tell United States President Barack Obama to call ‘timeout’ on Arctic drilling and suspend Shell’s permits.
A Greenpeace team is in the area monitoring the situation. The 30-year-old Kulluk was being towed back from the Arctic when it hit heavy weather that caused the towing line to break. After a 48 hour rescue attempt the situation became too dangerous and the team was forced to let the rig drift free. The US Coast Guard evacuated crew members by helicopter, and the rig ran aground just miles from the Kodiak Island National Wildlife Refuge. After six days of struggling harsh weather conditions, the rig is now being finally towed away.
This is more proof of the recklessness and unchecked greed of corporations like Shell. We cannot let them put the most precious areas of our planet at risk in search of oil and profits. Tell President Obama that we cannot trust Shell’s assurances on safety. He must protect the Arctic and its wildlife and suspend Arctic drilling permits immediately.
This is the latest mishap Shell has suffered after an extremely rocky drilling season. Their woes included another grounding – this time of their drillship the Noble Discoverer – a flash fire on board this ship, an oil spill containment dome that failed spectacularly and “was crushed like a beer can” during testing, and warnings from the US Coast Guard for inadequate pollution prevention and safety equipment.
With Big Oil in the Arctic, disaster is not a question of if, but when. Shell’s top officials have admitted that “there will be spills”. It’s time for us to put a stop to this insanity before it’s too late, and right now with the media coverage of this accident we have a good chance of making our voices heard. Ask President Obama to suspend Shell’s permits and protect the Arctic for all of us, and please forward this email to friends and family.
Latest email from Greenpeace:
Our greatest fears about Shell’s incompetence in the Arctic are starting to be realised.
The Kulluk – Shell’s creaking Arctic oil rig – was being towed back to harbour for maintenance when it was hit by a storm. The tow line broke and despite several attempts to reattach it the onboard crews failed and it eventually ran aground. Shell’s crew was rescued by the US Coast Guard.
The rig now sits abandoned perilously close to the rocky shoreline of Sitkalidak Island in Southern Alaska. This part of the coast is home to endangered species of sea lions, otters and over 250 bird species.
This proves – yet again – that the company is simply not prepared for the hazardous Arctic conditions where any spill could take years to clean up.
So far the more than 139,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board the Kulluk have not leaked into the fragile marine environment. The longer it remains near the cliffs the likelihood of a spill will increase.
But this is only the latest in Shell’s long list of Arctic failures. In the past year, it lost control of another one of its drill ships in a ‘stiff breeze’, crushed its safety equipment and had an on-board fire. The list goes on.
Shell cannot be trusted with the Arctic.
It’s essential that we get this news out to as many people as possible. Please forward this email to a friend who will join us in our bid to protect the Arctic.
Invite them to join us by signing here: http://www.savethearctic.org
We have a Greenpeace team on the way to Sitkalidak right now to monitor the situation closely and we’ll update you very soon.
Thanks to Twitter, I was alerted to an online discussion on the Guardian website yesterday, prompted by statements of opinion by Mark Lynas (freelance journalist/author) and Dr David Santillo (Greenpeace Scientist).
As discussed with a commenter on this blog (Lionel) yesterday, I decided to get involved; and to try and contact Dr Santillo personally, via email:
Dear Dr Santillo,
Re: The discussion on the Guardian website today regarding Fracking
I am 100% opposed to fracking; but I think Greenpeace should move on from discussing the possible immediate environmental risks of doing it. Hence the comment that I posted earlier.
When will environmentalists stop arguing about whether fracking is inherently dangerous (because of its immediate and localised impacts when poorly engineered and/or executed)… and start focusing on the fact that it is intrinsically dangerous (because we need to stop finding evermore esoteric and unconventional fossil fuel sources to exploit)…?
Apart from this, whilst I would not want to condone the way in which at least one commenter on the Guardian website today has questioned the relevance of your background, this does beg the question as to whether Greenpeace could make use of someone with my qualifications and experience?
Yours hopefully, etc..
Having failed to get a response, I telephoned Greenpeace today, and was referred to a Press Release published on their website yesterday, which is indeed very interesting – because it includes information obtained via Freedom of Information (FOI) requests. ‘Greenpeace on lifting of fracking moratorium’ is worth reading in full but, if you are short of time, here are the highlights:
- Fracking is a dangerous fantasy.
- Just because it may be viable in the US does not mean it will be viable here.
- Energy analysts agree that shale gas will do little or nothing to lower bills.
- It is a massive gamble and consumers and the climate will end up paying the price.
Greenpeace FOI requests have established that, as early as last Spring, the Environment Agency issued a high-level briefing to the Prime Minister regarding their concerns of threats to drinking water near proposed fracking sites in Sussex. Clearly, such concerns have been trumped by the climate change sceptics and/or economic rationalists in the Conservative Party.
A full Greenpeace briefing on fracking can be found here: http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/document/shale-gas-silver-bullet.
UPDATE: 17 Dec 2012 – Greenpeace UK also advised me to keep an eye on their Energydesk page – for updates on all things related to UK energy policy.
I know I did not post anything about this particular facet of Greenpeace’s campaign against Shell drilling in the Arctic (and any company associated with Shell). However, I did post it on my Facebook page.
After Greenpeace launched just such a “guilty be association” campaign, 40,000 people emailed Waitrose asking them to re-consider their decision to link their brand with Shell. As a result, Waitrose has now declared its support for an Arctic Sanctuary; and are putting their plans to co-habit with Shell petrol stations on hold.
However, Greenpeace still need to stop Shell actually drilling for oil in the Arctic. Therefore, if you have not done so already, please sign up now to Save the Arctic! www.savethearctic.com