Carbon Rangers/Ecozoic Times
Volume 12 No. 2

February 2019

Green New Deal in Time?
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Dear Reader,

Many have noted the sudden activity in the US national legislature  as the new Congress assembles and begins to take up the agenda for 2019.  This edition of Carbon Rangers takes a look at one piece of business in particular, the  House of Representatives Resolution called "Recognizing the Duty of the Federal Government to Create a Green New Deal."   In popular terms, "Green New Deal".   Supporters point out it is for now simply a "resolution" and not officially a bill with the  requisite detail and timelines.  We will watch closely several related  pieces of legislation introduced recenlty  in the Congress that take aim at the challenges of the climate crisis as pressure mounts for policy to match the moment.

The world has watched young people step forward  in astonishing numbers recently , thanks in large part to the compelling witness of  Greta Thunberg , the 16 year-old from Sweden who challenged leaders first in Sweden and then at Katowice COP 24, next at Davos in Switzerland and most recently Brussels at the European Commission in Brussels.  Now we also see momentum building for a global  School Strike for Climate to unfold on March 15 around the globe.  Organized and led by young people, many still in high school.  I hope you click the link to see the TED talk by Greta.

Some news below reminds us that care of our common home costs dearly when advocates place themselves in danger to preserve the natural world and speak on behalf of those voices being suppressed by thuggish regimes and corporate ignorance. Sr. Dot Stang and Berta Caceres show us courage and shining integrity despite the threat they would be killed.  And they were both eventually murdered for their brave, public calling out of injustice. 

I have added brief updates on the challenges in the food system and soon the scarcity of water in the Himalayan region that feeds many great rivers of Asia.  A final note brings us current as to Paris Agreement signatories. 

Please see the samples of wisdom from Pope Francis and Thomas Berry offered at the end of this edition.  Both Francis and Thomas have something to tell us about young people and the moment is alive again with potential, no?

Br. Kevin

Websites to visit:
Edmund Rice International

Thomas Berry Forum for Ecological Dialogue at Iona

The Green New Deal Is Unrealistic?
Yes, But It’s a Mission Statement.

By Liam Denning, Energy Columnist, Bloomberg

Opinions on the “Green New Deal” run the gamut from calling it “a bold, ambitious vision” to warning that it represents “the first step down a dark path to socialism.” A fairly common critique, though, is that it is unrealistic in whole or part; and that’s a view that crosses political lines.
There are two reasons why dismissing the GND as unrealistic would be an error. First, to do so would be to merely state the obvious. A 14-page set of non-binding resolutions encompassing everything from getting the U.S. to net-zero carbon emissions to overhauling the nation’s transportation infrastructure and even implementing a federal job guarantee is plainly not what you would call ready-to-go legislation.
Sponsors are attempting to recast the doom-laden threat of climate change as an opportunity for economic and national renewal — a stance that mixes FDR liberalism with dashes of America First populism.
It’s a hard conversation to calibrate. If the Green New Deal is infeasible, what do you call managing climate-change impacts? Surely that’s infeasible. If the GND’s ambition is a testament to anything, it is that there are no easy solutions here. We have built our standard of living on forms of energy that we now know pose a threat to our very existence.  Read More.


USA Green New Deal Launch and Pushback
Morning Climate. Feb 15
At Thursday's launch, February 7, the joint House and Senate resolution to catalyze a just and equitable 10-year transition to a U.S. economy run on clean energy, transportation and agriculture boasted backing from more than 70 Democrats in the House and 12 in the Senate. Some climate hawks were ecstatic, and news of the bold move made headlines around the world.
"There is some consternation that [the Green New Deal is] conflating social justice, employment and health care goals into the climate framework," said Paul Bledsoe, former communications director for the White House Climate Change Task Force under President Bill Clinton. "I keep hearing people say, 'Enacting climate legislation is hard enough without also guaranteeing everyone a job.'"
E&E News questioned whether the Green New Deal could escape the fate of the 2009 cap-and-trade proposal that crashed and burned, taking the careers of some proponents with it. 

Mother Jones dinged the plan for glossing over America's built-in addiction to automobiles, and Slate highlighted how it fell "short on its environmental justice promise."
Still, some sympathetic experts warned that the Green New Deal, as proposed, could be unrealistic and scare away voters. "I'm afraid I just cannot see how we could possibly go to zero carbon in the 10-year time frame," Ernest Moniz, secretary of energy under President Barack Obama, told NPR. 

Green New Deal- Technologically Possible, Politically A Maybe
By Lisa Friedman and Trip Gabriel,  NYT.
The technology is feasible for a Green New Deal, though experts doubt its goals could be accomplished as quickly as advocates hope. Finding money... Yet, despite that disdain, the goals of the far-reaching plan to tackle climate change and economic inequality are within the realm of technological possibility, several energy experts and economists said in recent interviews.
Getting there will cost trillions of dollars, most agreed, and require expansive new taxes and federal programs. It certainly could not be accomplished within the 10-year time frame that supporters say is necessary, according to these experts.
The Green New Deal, in other words, is an exciting idea for many liberals and an enticing political target for conservatives. But, most of all, it is an extraordinarily complicated series of trade-offs that could be realized, experts say, with extensive sacrifices that people are only starting to understand. Read More.

An Opportunity for Farmers In a Green New Deal
By Jeremy Deaton

This month, a group of Democratic lawmakers called for an ambitious plan for the
United States to reach net-zero carbon pollution in 10 years. While experts debate. whether the proposal is technologically or politically feasible, the so-called Green New Deal is about more than shifting to cleaner, more advanced forms of energy sources. It's also about shifting to more traditional forms of agriculture.
While farming generally takes a back seat to energy in discussions of climate, it accounts for up to a third of carbon pollution, by one account. Tractors and trucks that harvest and transport our food burn gasoline and diesel, generating pollution. Synthetic fertilizers derived from fossil fuels spur the release of heat-trapping gas from the soil, and cows and sheep emit large volumes of planet-warming pollution. Then there is the matter of agricultural giants burning forests to clear land for farming and grazing, thereby releasing carbon stored in trees into the atmosphere and reducing the capacity of the land to store CO2. Read More.

The Irish Example
The Citizen's Assembly could become a model for developing informed, fair and ambitious climate policy - if the government accepts its recommendations.

  In Ireland, climate change is a political hot potato that governments have tended to kick down the road – wary of disrupting signs of economic revival such as increased driving and dairy cows.  Now an assembly of 99 citizens could push Dublin to take on expensive measures such as carbon taxing. It remains to be seen what the government does. But Ireland’s bottom-up approach to policy-making is in the vanguard of a trend towards more participatory democracies aimed at building consensus on thorny issues such as Brexit, French tax reforms, and climate change. Read More.


South Africa’s Carbon Tax Climate - By Megan Darby  

The levy will make polluters report and pay for their emissions, but experts say the starting rate is too low to spur a rapid shift to clean energy

South Africa moved ahead this week with a long-awaited Carbon Tax Bill and the restructure of its ailing state-owned utility Eskom, which owns most of the country’s coal plants.

The changes at Eskom will allow for the expansion of renewables, finance minister Tito Mboweni said. That’s in a country where coal now supplies 90% of power. The carbon tax should take effect on 1 June, once it’s rubber-stamped.  Climate experts said the immediate effects of the carbon tax would be limited. Read More.

Greta Thunberg Inspires Youth
 TED Talk Stockholm 2018
Greta Thunberg realized at a young age the lapse in what several climate experts were saying and in the actions that were being taken in society. The difference was so drastic in her opinion that she decided to take matters into her own hands. Greta is a 15-year-old Stockholm native who lives at home with her parents and sister Beata. She’s a 9th grader in Stockholm who enjoys spending her spare time riding Icelandic horses, spending time with her families two dogs, Moses and Roxy. She love animals and has a passion for books and science. At a young age, she became interested in the environment and convinced her family to adopt a sustainable lifestyle. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Link.
Greta Wins EU Pledge To Spend Billions on Climate
Clare Roth, Reuters
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union should spend hundreds of billions of euros combating climate change during the next decade, its chief executive said on Thursday, responding to a Swedish teen who has inspired a global movement of children against global warming.

In a speech alongside 16-year-old Greta Thunberg in Brussels, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also criticized U.S. President Donald Trump for suggesting climate change was “invented” and “ideological”.

“In the next financial period from 2021 to 2027, every fourth euro spent within the EU budget will go towards action to mitigate climate change,” Juncker said of his proposal for the EU budget, which is typically 1 percent of the bloc’s economic output, or 1 trillion euros ($1.13 trillion) over seven years. 

“Mr. Trump and his friends believe that climate change is something that has just been invented and its an ideological concept, but ... something dangerous is already underway,” Juncker said.

Thunberg was in Brussels to join a seventh week of demonstrations by Belgian children skipping school to protest against global warming. More than 10,000 students, some holding up banners saying “stop denying the earth is dying”, protested across Belgium on Thursday, including in Brussels and the western city of Ghent.

Climate Weekly: The Kids Are All Right

‘If not us, who?’ Failure of representation drives youth climate strike

By Natalie Sauer
It had been a day for grown-ups to show climate leadership.
Germany. On a cold 25 January, Germany’s coal commission gathered at the federal ministry for economic affairs and energy in Berlin to decide the future of coal in the country. Outside, armed with signs, stood an estimated 5,000 students.  Fridays for Future (F4F), the student-led movement for school strikes for climate on Friday, had announced their plans to demonstrate weeks ago. Peter Altmaier, the minister of economic affairs and energy, had asked whether he could address the rally – in vain. Instead, Altmaier had to content himself with a meeting with three representatives, Luisa Neubauer, Jakob Blasen and Carla Reemtsma, shoehorned before the start of the demonstration.  As a movement grows across the world, young people say they want politicians to protect their interests.  Read More.
Teens Lead Global Movement to Fight Climate Change
What could be the largest global strike ever organized will attempt to push world
leaders to act aggressively on climate change when it unfolds in three weeks. And it
 is being orchestrated by unlikely advocates: teenagers. 
When you meet Alexandria Villasenor, she seems like your typical 13-year-old. Until a few weeks ago, she was. Now the California native who is living in New York City finds herself as a primary catalyst in the youth climate strike movement and what some believe could be a global watershed moment on climate change.  In New York, Villasenor is working to influence change with the help of two other teens -- 15-year-old Isra Hirsi, who is the daughter of Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar from Minnesota, and 12-year-old activist Haven Coleman.
As the lead organizer of the US Youth Climate Strike, set for Friday, March 15,  Villasenor is in a 24/7 race to mobilize the nation's youth. She herself has been skipping school every Friday for the past 11 weeks and protesting in front of the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Read More.


New Genocide in Brazil 

  • Invasions of Indigenous territories by land grabbers have spiked since President Bolsonaro took office and immediately rolled back federal protections. In a recent video message to supporters he promised to revoke the protected status of an Indigenous reserve in 2019 and in the next breath added, "We're going to give a rifle and a carry permit to every farmer."
    The protection of Indigenous lands is guaranteed by the Brazilian constitution to. preserve the rights and cultures of groups that have been persecuted for centuries. Brazil is home to approximately 900,000 Indigenous citizens from 305 tribes, most of whom live on reserves, but more than half of the locations claimed by Indigenous groups have not yet received government recognition. Bolsonaro, consistent with his anti-Indigenous stance throughout his career, said in a televised interview shortly after his election that if it were up to him, "there won't be any more demarcations of Indigenous land."   . Read More.

Brazil: Convicted Mastermind of Sr. Dorothy Stang's Murder Ordered Back to Prison by Carlos Tautz
The man convicted of leading the killing Sr. Dorothy Stang was ordered Feb. 19, 2019, to be returned to prison by the First Panel of the Federal Supreme Court in Brazil.
Regivaldo Galvão was sentenced in April 2010 to 30 years in prison for his role in the plot to murder Stang, a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur who was killed in 2005 in a rural settlement in Anapu, a city in the Amazon region of Pará state. Stang had been working as a missionary in the area of Brazil that historically has had the most dramatic struggles for agrarian reform. Galvão's sentence was later reduced in subsequent court proceedings to 25 years and his arrest was ordered in 2017.

After serving almost one year of his sentence, Galvão was ordered to be released in May 2018 by a preliminary decision of Minister Marco Aurélio Mello of Brazil's Supreme Court to await further appeals. However, the First Panel, a board of the Supreme Court with revision roles, just ordered him to be re-arrested. Read More.


March 2, 2019- Third Anniversary of Murder in Honduras of Environmental Activist Berta Caceres.

Berta Cáceres, (Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores), Honduran activist (born March 4, 1973?, La Esperanza, Hond.—died March 3, 2016, La Esperanza), cofounded (1993) the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) and devoted 10 years to a campaign to stop the construction of the Agua Zarca Dam on the Gualcarque River in the Rio Blanco area of Honduras, work for which she was awarded a 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize.

Cáceres, a member of the indigenous Lencapeople, was the daughter of a midwife and social activist. She helped establish COPINH to help Lenca communities resist illegal logging and other such threats to homes and societies. In 2006 people of the Rio Blanco area asked COPINH for help, as dam construction had begun without the legally required notice on a river that was economically and spiritually important for the populace around it. Cáceres responded by filing complaints with government authorities and with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and by appealing to businesses that were funding the dam to withdraw support. Those efforts proved unsuccessful, however, and in 2013 Cáceres organized a human blockade of the road to access the construction site. The blockade stayed in place for more than a year, and protests continued to take place thereafter.

Criminal charges were filed against Cáceres, and she and other activists were routinely threatened with kidnap and murder. After one protest leader was killed in 2013, Sinohydro, the Chinese partner of the Honduran company building the Agua Zarca Dam, withdrew from the project, and the International Finance Corporation later withdrew its support. Cáceres was murdered in her home.  Read More.

Food System More Vulnerable
Future of food under 'severe threat' as species diversity disappears - by Lin Taylor , Thomson Reuters Foundation in Grist
Depending on just a few food crops is risky as changing pests, worsening droughts and other climate change impacts bite, food experts say. If you’re someone who likes to eat (read: everyone), you won’t like what comes next: Our food systems are under threat. Humans have been narrowing down the variety of foods we depend on, say experts at the U.N. As animal and plant species vanish, our food system becomes more vulnerable to all kinds of serious threats, including drought, pests, and severe weather snaps. Read More.

Largest Permanent Ice Cover Outside of the North and South Poles Under Threat
- Christian Science Monitor

The largest area of permanent ice cover outside of the North and South Poles is under threat. The glaciers of the Hindu Kush Himalaya feed into 10 major river basins that sustain some of the world’s most populous and biologically diverse countries. Some 240 million people directly depend on them for fresh water; 1.9 billion benefit indirectly from their outflows.

But by century’s end, at least one-third – and as much as two-thirds – of the region’s glaciers could be gone, according to a landmark report by the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development. Read More.

Update on Paris Agreement Non Signatories
Climate Home News

 As of 4 February 2019, the countries yet to formally ratify the agreement were Angola, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Russia, South Sudan, Suriname, Turkey, and Yemen. In June , 2017, the United States  announced its intention to leave the Paris Agreement, effective November 4, 2020.  Read More.

Pope Francis: Laudato Si:  On Care for Our Common Home
Young People Demand Change. The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home. Here I want to recognize, encourage and thank all those striving in countless ways to guarantee the protection of the home which we share. Particular appreciation is owed to those who tirelessly seek to resolve the tragic effects of environmental degradation on the lives of the world’s poorest. Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded.  (No.13)


Thomas Berry
“Perhaps the most valuable heritage we can provide for future generations is some sense of the Great Work that is before them of moving the human project from its devastating exploitation to a benign presence. We need to give them some indication of how the next generation can fulfill this work in an effective manner.”
- The Great Work


Drawdown remains a terrific guide to prioritizing a response to the climate crisis.  

NBC News interviewed Vice President of Operations and Engagement Crystal Chissell on the “6 Ways Ordinary People Can Prevent Climate Change, According to Researchers and Advocates.” The article is one of our most viewed and shared posts on Facebook.

Copyright © 2019 Edmund Rice International, All rights reserved.

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