With all of the activity and energy marking the end of 2011, it’s not surprising to see our partners and allies in the climate movement taking some much needed time to regroup, plan and prepare for the challenges of 2012. Not to say they haven’t stopped fighting – far from it. Read on to see the campaigns and challenges on our radar right now.
As Keystone door closes, a Northern Gateway opens…
It goes without saying that the biggest climate news of the year so far is Wednesday’s announcement that the Obama administration was denying the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. In his official statement on the denial, President Obama cited the protracted approval deadline as the primary reason for the denial. While Transcanada is welcome to resubmit their application (or adapt existing pipelines in the US to carry oil sands crude), the Keystone XL pipeline as we knew it is dead. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to all of our partners who have campaigned, protested, been arrested, rallied and petitioned against this dangerous pipeline. 350.org’s Bill McKibben says it best in this tweet:
If you are feeling nostalgic, we encourage you to watch this ten-minute video documenting the full Keystone XL protests since their start in early 2011. And be sure to stick around for the credits:
In the meantime, another fight against a different Tar Sands pipeline is heating up in western Canada. The proposed Northern Gateway pipeline from Enbridge is designed to carry oil sands crude from Edmonton in Alberta to the northern port city of Kitimat. Like the Keystone XL this pipeline project is spearheaded by a company with a terrible environmental record, and the proposed route threatens protected lands and endangered species. The Dogwood Initiative, Sierra Club, Greenpeace Canada, Forest Ethics and other Canadian partners are actively campaigning against the pipeline with petitions, public meetings and editorials. Find out more here.
Earth Hour, Earth Day and a Billion Acts of Green
Mark your calendar for two exciting global events in March and April. WWF’s annual celebration of conservation starts at 8:30pm worldwide on Saturday, March 31st.
More than 5,200 cities and towns in 135 countries worldwide switched off their lights for Earth Hour 2011 alone, sending a powerful message for action on climate change. It also ushered in a new era with members going Beyond the Hour to commit to lasting action for the planet. Without a doubt, it’s shown how great things can be achieved when people come together for a common cause. Find out more about how you can organize an Earth Hour event in your community (or join one already scheduled) on their site.
In April our friends at the Earth Day Network continue their ambitious effort to catalyze global environmental activism with ‘A Billion Acts of Green’. Started in 2011, a Billion Acts of Green is the largest environmental service campaign in the world, rewarding simple individual acts and larger organizational initiatives that further the goal of measurably reducing carbon emissions and supporting sustainability. The goal is to register one billion actions in advance of the global Earth Summit in Rio this June. Register yours at: http://act.earthday.org
Climate ambitions run high in Europe
Expectations are high on climate ambition from the European presidency with Denmark, a leading European country on climate action, presiding over Europe and setting its priorities for the first six months of 2012.
During the Danish presidency, European environment ministers will hold two official council meetings in March and June in which they will address the plans and targets Europe needs to put in place in their move towards a low carbon future. Plus, with Rio+20 in sight, Europe will also have related global priorities including green growth and sustainable energy for all on their plate.
Look for Tck partners to encourage European Union member countries to increase their ambition and commit to deep greenhouse gas emission cuts over the next several months.
The Road to Rio+20
This year marks 20 years since the first Earth Summit held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil in 1992. To celebrate the anniversary of this landmark convention (which gave us the UN Framework for CCC) the UN will host Rio +20 in Brazil from June 20-22, a conference centered around the themes of a green economy in the context of sustainable development.
By almost any measure, the world is not on a sustainable pathway and the changing climate with its devastating impacts on human lives, livelihoods, economies as well as ecosystems, is a key indicator of our current unsustainable trajectory. The Rio+20 summit will be dealing with seven key issues: Jobs, Energy, Cities, Food Water, Oceans and Disasters – many of which also relate to climate change either its cause, effect or potential solutions.
Many of our partners will introduce campaigns around Rio +20 to inspire a public call for sustainable development. If you’re keen on seeing the framework we’re working on – do read the Rio +20 Zero Draft – a document that sets the framework for the proposed global agreement to come out of the summit. As the Rio +20 conference slogan says ‘the future is yours’. We encourage you to take an active role in shaping the one we want.
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