World bank to focus future investment on clean energy | Environment | The Guardian

The World Bank will invest heavily in clean energy and only fund coal projects in “circumstances of extreme need” because climate change will undermine efforts to eliminate extreme poverty, says its president Jim Yong Kim.

Talking ahead of a UN climate summit in Peru next month, Kim said he was alarmed by World Bank-commissioned research from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, which said that as a result of past greenhouse gas emissions the world is condemned to unprecedented weather events.

“The findings are alarming. As the planet warms further, heatwaves and other weather extremes, which today we call once­-in­-a-century events, would become the new climate normal, a frightening world of increased risk and instability. The consequences for development would be severe, as crop yields decline, water resources shift, communicable diseases move into new geographical ranges, and sea levels rise,” he said.

via World bank to focus future investment on clean energy | Environment | The Guardian.

RCMP tracked movements of Indigenous activist from ‘extremist’ group: documents » APTN National News

“When you read the document closely it shows an intimate surveillance,” said Monaghan. “The documents show the breadth of and the normalization of the regular systematic surveillance of protest groups, of people who criticize government policy and critics of energy policy. You have national security bureaucracies, agencies, focused on domestic protest groups and it has nothing to do with terror, but with the energy economy.”

via RCMP tracked movements of Indigenous activist from ‘extremist’ group: documents » APTN National News.

Aboriginal rights a threat to Canada’s resource agenda, documents reveal | Environment | theguardian.com

The Canadian government is increasingly worried that the growing clout of aboriginal peoples’ rights could obstruct its aggressive resource development plans, documents reveal.

Since 2008, the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs has run a risk management program to evaluate and respond to “significant risks” to its agenda, including assertions of treaty rights, the rising expectations of aboriginal peoples, and new legal precedents at odds with the government’s policies.

Yearly government reports obtained by the Guardian predict that the failure to manage the risks could result in more “adversarial relations” with aboriginal peoples, “public outcry and negative international attention,” and “economic development projects [being] delayed.”

“There is a risk that the legal landscape can undermine the ability of the department to move forward in its policy agenda,” one Aboriginal Affairs’ report says. “There is a tension between the rights-based agenda of Aboriginal groups and the non-rights based policy approaches” of the federal government.

The Conservative government is planning in the next ten years to attract $650 billion of investment to mining, forestry, gas and oil projects, much of it on or near traditional aboriginal lands.

Critics say the government is determined to evade Supreme Court rulings that recognize aboriginal peoples’ rights to a decision-making role in, even in some cases jurisdiction over, resource development in large areas of the country.

“The Harper government is committed to a policy of extinguishing indigenous peoples’ land rights, instead of a policy of recognition and co-existence,” said Arthur Manuel, chair of the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade, which has lead an effort to have the economic implications of aboriginal rights identified as a financial risk.

“They are trying to contain the threat that our rights pose to business-as-usual and the expansion of dirty energy projects. But our legal challenges and direct actions are creating economic uncertainty and risk, raising the heat on the government to change its current policies.”

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs declined to answer the Guardian’s questions, but sent a response saying the risk reports are compiled from internal reviews and “targeted interviews with senior management in those areas experiencing significant change.”

“The [corporate risk profile] is designed as an analytical tool for planning and not a public document. A good deal of [its] content would only be understandable to those working for the department as it speaks to the details of the operations of specific programs.”

Last year Canada was swept by the aboriginal-led Idle No More protest movement, building on years of aboriginal struggles against resource projects, the most high-profile of which has targeted Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline that would carry Alberta tar sands to the western coast of British Columbia.

“Native land claims scare the hell out of investors,” an analyst with global risk consultancy firm Eurasia Group has noted, concluding that First Nations opposition and legal standing has dramatically decreased the chances the Enbridge pipeline will be built.

In British Columbia and across the country, aboriginal peoples’ new assertiveness has been backed by successive victories in the courts.

According to a report released in November by Virginia-based First Peoples Worldwide, the risk associated with not respecting aboriginal peoples’ rights over lands and resources is emerging as a new financial bubble for extractive industries.

The report anticipates that as aboriginal peoples become better connected through digital media, win broader public support, and mount campaigns that more effectively impact business profits, failures to uphold aboriginal rights will carry an even higher risk.

The Aboriginal Affairs’ documents describe how a special legal branch helps the Ministry monitor and “mitigate” the risks posed by aboriginal court cases.

The federal government has spent far more fighting aboriginal litigation than any other legal issue – including $106 million in 2013, a sum that has grown over the last several years.

A special envoy appointed in 2013 by the Harper government to address First Nations opposition to energy projects in western Canada recently recommended that the federal government move rapidly to improve consultation and dialogue.

To boost support for its agenda, the government has considered offering bonds to allow First Nations to take equity stakes in resource projects. This is part of a rising trend of provincial governments and companies signing “benefit-sharing” agreements with First Nations to gain access to their lands, while falling short of any kind of recognition of aboriginal rights or jurisdiction.

Since 2007, the government has also turned to increased spying, creating a surveillance program aimed at aboriginal communities deemed “hot spots” because of their involvement in protest and civil disobedience against unwanted extraction on their lands.

Over the last year, the Harper government has cut funding to national, regional and tribal aboriginal organizations that provide legal services and advocate politically on behalf of First Nations, raising cries that it is trying to silence growing dissent.

via Aboriginal rights a threat to Canada’s resource agenda, documents reveal | Environment | theguardian.com.

How Much Money Can You Save By Switching to an Electric Car? » EcoWatch

University of California at Davis’ Plug-in Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Research Center has just released a great tool for finding out how much you could save by switching from a gasoline vehicle to an electric vehicle.

via How Much Money Can You Save By Switching to an Electric Car? » EcoWatch.

Focus On Energy and Water As Global Leaders Gather In Stockholm – GLOBE-Net

Stockholm August 27, 2014 – Over 2,500 politicians, business leaders, innovators, thought leaders and practitioners are set to meet in Stockholm in a few days, for the 24th annual World Water Week.

This year’s focus is on energy and water, two resources that are inseparable from sustainable development and therefore must be tirelessly promoted in global decision-making.

In over 100 seminars, workshops and events spread throughout the 31 August-5 September World Water Week, delegates will discuss ongoing and future work and collaboration between the energy and water communities, essential if we are to successfully meet some of the biggest challenges of our time, such as providing clean water and energy for a growing world population.

Water and energy are interdependent in more ways than not. We need energy for pumping, storing, transporting and treating water, we need water for producing almost all sorts of energy.

An increase or decrease in one will immediately affect the other.

To feed into discussions at the Week, SIWI has just released two must-read reports: the arguments for tighter links between the two communities are explored in “Energy and Water: The Vital Link for a Sustainable Future”.

One energy field that has been hotly debated in recent years is hydraulic fracturing for shale gas, commonly known as “fracking”.

In “Shale Gas and Hydraulic Fracturing: Framing the Water Issue”, fracking and its impact on freshwater is critically assessed by leading researchers in the field. At World Water Week, the main global annual forum for water and water-related issues, ministers and high-level government officials will be joined this year by CEOs, scientists, heads of UN bodies and participants from over 270 convening organizations and more than 130 countries.

Speakers at the opening session on Monday September 1 include Mr. Torgny Holmgren, SIWI’s Executive Director, Ms. Hillevi Engström, Sweden’s Minister for Development Cooperation, Ms. Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs, South Africa, Dr. John Briscoe, 2014 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, CEO Sustainable Energy for All, Ms. Anita Marangoly George, Senior Director, Energy and Extractives at the World Bank, Dr. Junaid Ahmad, Senior Director, Global Water Practice at the World Bank, Ms. Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN, Ms. Héloise Chicou, AGWA, French Water Partnership. Mr. Sten Nordin, Mayor of Stockholm, and Ms. Karin Lexén, director of World Water Week.

During the Week, the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize will be awarded to Prof. John Briscoe of South Africa, for his unparalleled contributions to global and local water management, inspired by an unwavering commitment to improving the lives of people on the ground.

The prize will be awarded to Prof. Briscoe by H.M. Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden, during a ceremony in Stockholm City Hall on Thursday 4th September.

Other prizes that will be presented are the Stockholm Industry Water Award, which will be awarded, on Tuesday 2nd September, to eThekwini Water and Sanitation serving the Durban Metropolitan Area, for its transformative and inclusive approach to providing water and sanitation services, and the Stockholm Junior Water Prize which, on Wednesday 3rd September, is given to one national team from 29 competing nations by H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden.

GLOBE-Net readers are urged to look at the in depth report prepared by the Stockholm International Water Institute, SIWI Energy and Water: The Vital Link for a Sustainable Future.

The Online program for the World Water Week in Stoickholm is available here

via GLOBE-Net Focus On Energy and Water As Global Leaders Gather In Stockholm – GLOBE-Net.

Caribou habitat in Alberta ravaged beyond repair – Technology & Science – CBC News

This stretch of foothills still looks like pristine, trackless boreal forest when seen from the highway. But back roads into the bush reveal a patchwork of clearcuts, well pads, access roads and seismic lines so extensive that gravel and green greet the eye almost equally.Scientists are trying to remediate the lines that help wolves get deep into the forest of Albertas foothills and are partly responsible for vanishing caribou herds, but there are so many that theyre focusing on which ones would do the most good. HO, Foothills Research Institute/Canadian PressIts part of an area that recent satellite data suggests is being deforested at a rate that outpaces whats going on in Brazils rainforests.There are more than 16,000 kilometres of seismic lines, cut by the energy industry through the forest, within the study areas 13,000 square kilometres.

via Caribou habitat in Alberta ravaged beyond repair – Technology & Science – CBC News.

IDFs Gaza assault is to control Palestinian gas, avert Israeli energy crisis | Nafeez Ahmed | Environment | theguardian.com

esterday, Israeli defence minister and former Israeli Defence Force IDF chief of staff Moshe Yaalon announced that Operation Protective Edge marks the beginning of a protracted assault on Hamas. The operation “wont end in just a few days,” he said, adding that “we are preparing to expand the operation by all means standing at our disposal so as to continue striking Hamas.”This morning, he said:”We continue with strikes that draw a very heavy price from Hamas. We are destroying weapons, terror infrastructures, command and control systems, Hamas institutions, regime buildings, the houses of terrorists, and killing terrorists of various ranks of command… The campaign against Hamas will expand in the coming days, and the price the organization will pay will be very heavy.”But in 2007, a year before Operation Cast Lead, Yaalons concerns focused on the 1.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas discovered in 2000 off the Gaza coast, valued at $4 billion. Yaalon dismissed the notion that “Gaza gas can be a key driver of an economically more viable Palestinian state” as “misguided.” The problem, he said, is that:”Proceeds of a Palestinian gas sale to Israel would likely not trickle down to help an impoverished Palestinian public. Rather, based on Israels past experience, the proceeds will likely serve to fund further terror attacks against Israel…A gas transaction with the Palestinian Authority [PA] will, by definition, involve Hamas. Hamas will either benefit from the royalties or it will sabotage the project and launch attacks against Fatah, the gas installations, Israel – or all three… It is clear that without an overall military operation to uproot Hamas control of Gaza, no drilling work can take place without the consent of the radical Islamic movement.”Operation Cast Lead did not succeed in uprooting Hamas, but the conflict did take the lives of 1,387 Palestinians 773 of whom were civilians and 9 Israelis 3 of whom were civilians.Since the discovery of oil and gas in the Occupied Territories, resource competition has increasingly been at the heart of the conflict, motivated largely by Israels increasing domestic energy woes.Mark Turner, founder of the Research Journalism Initiative, reported that the siege of Gaza and ensuing military pressure was designed to “eliminate” Hamas as “a viable political entity in Gaza” to generate a “political climate” conducive to a gas deal. This involved rehabilitating the defeated Fatah as the dominant political player in the West Bank, and “leveraging political tensions between the two parties, arming forces loyal to Abbas and the selective resumption of financial aid.”Yaalons comments in 2007 illustrate that the Israeli cabinet is not just concerned about Hamas – but concerned that if Palestinians develop their own gas resources, the resulting economic transformation could in turn fundamentally increase Palestinian clout.Meanwhile, Israel has made successive major discoveries in recent years – such as the Leviathan field estimated to hold 18 trillion cubic feet of natural gas – which could transform the country from energy importer into aspiring energy exporter with ambitions to supply Europe, Jordan and Egypt. A potential obstacle is that much of the 122 trillion cubic feet of gas and 1.6 billion barrels of oil in the Levant Basin Province lies in territorial waters where borders are hotly disputed between Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Cyprus.Amidst this regional jockeying for gas, though, Israel faces its own little-understood energy challenges. It could, for instance, take until 2020 for much of these domestic resources to be properly mobilised.But this is the tip of the iceberg. A 2012 letter by two Israeli government chief scientists – which the Israeli government chose not to disclose – warned the government that Israel still had insufficient gas resources to sustain exports despite all the stupendous discoveries. The letter, according to Haaretz, stated that Israels domestic resources were 50% less than needed to support meaningful exports, and could be depleted in decades:”We believe Israel should increase its [domestic] use of natural gas by 2020 and should not export gas. The Natural Gas Authoritys estimates are lacking. Theres a gap of 100 to 150 billion cubic meters between the demand projections that were presented to the committee and the most recent projections. The gas reserves are likely to last even less than 40 years!”As Dr Gary Luft – an advisor to the US Energy Security Council – wrote in the Journal of Energy Security, “with the depletion of Israels domestic gas supplies accelerating, and without an imminent rise in Egyptian gas imports, Israel could face a power crisis in the next few years… If Israel is to continue to pursue its natural gas plans it must diversify its supply sources.”

via IDFs Gaza assault is to control Palestinian gas, avert Israeli energy crisis | Nafeez Ahmed | Environment | theguardian.com.

IDFs Gaza assault is to control Palestinian gas, avert Israeli energy crisis | Nafeez Ahmed | Environment | theguardian.com

Yesterday, Israeli defence minister and former Israeli Defence Force IDF chief of staff Moshe Yaalon announced that Operation Protective Edge marks the beginning of a protracted assault on Hamas. The operation “wont end in just a few days,” he said, adding that “we are preparing to expand the operation by all means standing at our disposal so as to continue striking Hamas.”This morning, he said:”We continue with strikes that draw a very heavy price from Hamas. We are destroying weapons, terror infrastructures, command and control systems, Hamas institutions, regime buildings, the houses of terrorists, and killing terrorists of various ranks of command… The campaign against Hamas will expand in the coming days, and the price the organization will pay will be very heavy.”But in 2007, a year before Operation Cast Lead, Yaalons concerns focused on the 1.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas discovered in 2000 off the Gaza coast, valued at $4 billion. Yaalon dismissed the notion that “Gaza gas can be a key driver of an economically more viable Palestinian state” as “misguided.” The problem, he said, is that:”Proceeds of a Palestinian gas sale to Israel would likely not trickle down to help an impoverished Palestinian public. Rather, based on Israels past experience, the proceeds will likely serve to fund further terror attacks against Israel…A gas transaction with the Palestinian Authority [PA] will, by definition, involve Hamas. Hamas will either benefit from the royalties or it will sabotage the project and launch attacks against Fatah, the gas installations, Israel – or all three… It is clear that without an overall military operation to uproot Hamas control of Gaza, no drilling work can take place without the consent of the radical Islamic movement.”Operation Cast Lead did not succeed in uprooting Hamas, but the conflict did take the lives of 1,387 Palestinians 773 of whom were civilians and 9 Israelis 3 of whom were civilians.

via IDFs Gaza assault is to control Palestinian gas, avert Israeli energy crisis | Nafeez Ahmed | Environment | theguardian.com.