China Declares ‘War On Smog,’ May Deploy Pollution-Fighting Drones | ThinkProgress

“There is reason, however, to be skeptical of China’s efforts to fight its choking pollution. Despite experiencing the worst air pollution on record in 2013, China last year approved the construction of more than 100 million tonnes of new coal production capacity at a cost of $9.8 billion, according to a report compiled in January by Reuters. The increase in coal production in 2013 was six times bigger than the increase in 2012, when the administration approved just four coal projects with 16.6 million tonnes of annual capacity and a total investment of $1.2 billion.

In other words, in just one year, China added coal production capacity equal to 10 percent of total U.S. annual usage.

That news was startling, considering the country’s world-famous pollution, which has caused myriad health problems, marred cityscapes, and even gave an 8-year-old girl lung cancer. What’s more, the pollution has recently been confirmed to be caused by fossil fuel production, with coal at the forefront.

China’s plans announced Wednesday also lack legally binding plans to reach national air quality standards with clear timelines, cap regional coal consumption, or strengthen pollution-reduction supervision efforts.”

via China Declares ‘War On Smog,’ May Deploy Pollution-Fighting Drones | ThinkProgress.

Noam Chomsky: Canada on Fast-Speed Race to Destroy the Environment | Common Dreams

Harpers pro-oil, anti-science policies have been the target vocal, widespread opposition, including recent sweeping mobilizations by Indigenous communities like the Elsipogtog First Nation fighting fracking exploration in New Brunswick.\”It means taking every drop of hydrocarbon out of the ground, whether its shale gas in New Brunswick or tar sands in Alberta and trying to destroy the environment as fast as possible, with barely a question raised about what the world will look like as a result,\” Chomsky told the British paper, referring to Harpers energy policies.Yet there is resistance, he said, and \”it is pretty ironic that the so-called least advanced people are the ones taking the lead in trying to protect all of us, while the richest and most powerful among us are the ones who are trying to drive the society to destruction.\”

via Noam Chomsky: Canada on Fast-Speed Race to Destroy the Environment | Common Dreams.

Deep Seabed Mining | Greenpeace International

s land-based minerals become depleted and prices rise, the search for new sources of supply is turning to the sea floor. This emerging industry, facilitated by advances in technology, poses a major threat to our oceans, which are already suffering from a number of pressures including overfishing, pollution, and the effects of climate change.

The remote deep and open oceans host a major part of the world’s biodiversity, and are vital for our survival on Earth. The deep sea plays an important role in regulating planetary processes, including regulation of temperature and greenhouse gases. It supports ocean life by cycling nutrients and providing habitat for a staggering array of species.

Deep seabed mining could have serious impacts on the ocean environment and the future livelihoods and wellbeing of coastal communities. Only 3% of the oceans are protected and less than 1% of the high seas, making them some of the least protected places on Earth. The emerging threat of seabed mining is an urgent wake-up call.

via Deep Seabed Mining | Greenpeace International.

The Mining Myth: Sustainability and Development | Scoop News

The Mining Myth: Sustainability and Development

by Binoy Kampmark

May 21, 2013

It has been a fiction that has held sway for a time. Mining booms create trickledown wealth. It is tagged as “sustainable” when it is premised on temporariness. Natural resources work for countries that possess them in abundance. Only on the periphery do we see the sense of foreboding that comes with these assets, be it the murder of such leaders as Patrice Lumumba in the Congo over fears that he might have handed over natural resources to the Soviets, or the fear of becoming a two speed economy, one dangerously reliant on commodity prices and extraction dues.

The latter is particularly relevant to the Australian context. Leaders like proclaiming the country as stable and untouched by the political fractiousness that tends to afflict other countries with similar pools of wealth. These scions of plunder are attempting to give lessons to other countries in the game, which is much like a thief teaching other thieves how best to open a safe in a sustainable, green way. This is the message at the Mining for Development Conference taking place in Sydney over May 20 and May 21.

The conference profile reads like a smooth document on dispute resolution and good governance, a manifesto of promise and environmental equilibrium. Mining, in short, is praiseworthy. It has had its problems, but the guests are keen to follow such standards as the EITI (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative), the global standard for transparency of revenues from natural resources. And it has the blessings of AusAid, thereby surreptitiously linking aid to developing countries with a noble mining sector. If Coke would sponsor programs on nutrition, this is what it would look like.

via The Mining Myth: Sustainability and Development | Scoop News.

The Cleanest Line: The Final Countdown – Kiwis Organizing Against Seabed Mining in New Zealand

The Final Countdown

There’s a sharp crack as another four-foot wave hits the shallow boulder/sand reef and rifles off down the line, little explosions of whitewater glistening in the morning sun every few meters as some lucky local tears the smooth wall to pieces. Standing over the action, its deep valleys and high ridges cloaked in a thick dark green forest, lies Mount Karioi.

This is the area known as Raglan, on the North Island of New Zealand’s west coast. The skies are clear and blue, the air so fresh it lifts me up with each breath. The sun, the waves, the bush-clad mountain behind me, the scent of the forest gently drifting down on the offshore breeze, at this moment I feel like there is nowhere else in the world I’d rather be.

Looking out to sea, waiting for the next set, a deep sense of calm settles over the lineup. As we watch the horizon, we notice some dark figures heading around the point in a lazy manner, appearing and disappearing, in rhythm with the long ocean swells marching towards the coast in perfect unison.

These are the popoto, or Maui’s dolphin, that call this area home. Known for their inquisitive nature and playful disposition, they bring a smile to all who see them glide by. I feel a touch of jealousy as I imagine what it would be like to ride a swell with even half the grace or fluid motion that these beautiful creatures of the sea possess.

via The Cleanest Line: The Final Countdown – Kiwis Organizing Against Seabed Mining in New Zealand.