Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.

Wednesday

Letter in support of renewal energy for Ontario

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The world is going renewable while Ontario lags far behind.

Wind and solar are now our cleanest and lowest cost sources of new electricity supply. Off-shore wind power in the Great Lakes alone could meet all our electricity needs.

Ontario needs to embrace the targets set at the recent COP28 climate summit and triple our wind and solar electricity capacity and double our energy efficiency by 2035.

Tripling Ontario’s wind and solar energy by 2035 will:

• Lower our electricity bills • Phase-out polluting gas power • Create good jobs • Provide clean power for Ontario’s manufacturing & mining industries • Help us meet our climate commitments • Reduce the need for more costly nuclear reactors.

Let’s TRIPLE wind and solar power and double our energy efficiency in Ontario by 2035!

MORE INFORMATION

Tuesday

SAVE ONTARIO'S SCIENCE CENTRE - Petition

SAVE ONTARIO'S SCIENCE CENTRE

This is a petition to save the Ontario Science Center "Ontario's Centre for Science and Nature Education".

The site also has downloadable, printable posters (for your apartment building, for instance)


Join the Movement to Keep Science Centre open in F

Carbon Markets Biased and Distorted and Undermined

IPS News

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Apr 9 2024 (IPS) - Carbon dioxide emission taxes, prices and markets have been touted as key to stopping global heating. However, carbon markets have failed mainly because they favour the rich and powerful.

Market solutions better?
Mainstream economists believe the best way to check global heating is to tax greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Equivalent ‘carbon prices’ have been set for the other significant GHGs. But many have been revised due to their moot, varied and unstable, arguably incomparable nature.

High carbon prices for GHG emissions are expected to persuade emitters to switch to ‘cleaner’ energy sources. Higher prices for energy-intensive goods and services are supposed to get consumers to buy less energy-intensive alternatives.

Positive carbon prices tax fossil fuels, GHG emissions, and products according to their energy intensity. Hence, when carbon prices fall, they deter fossil fuel use less effectively.

Developed countries have set up ‘carbon trading’ systems ostensibly to deter GHG emissions. Firms wanting to emit more than their assigned quotas must buy emission permits from others who commit to emit under quota.

Getting prices right?
Conventional economists believe carbon prices should cover the ‘social costs’ of GHG emissions, but disagree on how to estimate them. But policymakers believe it necessary to discount these prices to gain broad acceptance for carbon markets.

A recent International Monetary Fund paper acknowledged, “Differences between efficient prices and retail fuel prices are large and pervasive”. But such distortions undermine the very purpose of carbon pricing.

Gro Intelligence estimated the social cost of carbon emissions at $4.08 per metric tonne in 2022, which is used by the influential Gro-Kepos Carbon Barometer. But Resources for the Future estimated it at $185/tonne, over forty times higher!

While carbon prices are meant to tax fossil fuels, low prices reduce their deterrent effect. Fossil fuel subsidies lower carbon prices, which can even become negative. Such price subsidies undermine carbon markets’ intended effects.

Whenever carbon prices are discounted or deliberately kept low, they are much less effective in deterring GHG emissions. They also distort the price system with many other unintended, but perverse consequences.

Writing in the New York Times, Peter Coy noted the carbon price rose from under $4 per metric tonne in 2012 to almost $20/tonne in 2020 before dropping sharply to around $4/tonne in 2022!

Incredibly, he still concluded carbon prices were “headed in the right direction” since 2012. How low and volatile carbon prices are supposed to discourage fossil fuel use and accelerate renewable energy investments must be self-evident to him alone?

Western fossil fuel subsidies
Carbon prices shot up when fossil fuel energy prices spiked after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. But they soon collapsed as European governments intervened to subsidise energy prices.

As the rich nations’ Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development noted, “government support for fossil fuels almost doubled in 2022” to over $1.4 trillion!

State subsidies rise with prices when governments try to mitigate rising fossil fuel prices. Such subsidies negate the purpose of carbon pricing, and can lower them so much as to become negative!

Such subsidies were deemed necessary to retain public support for NATO’s Ukraine war effort and to drive down Russian fossil fuel export prices. Thus, such ‘geopolitical’ interventions have undermined carbon taxes, prices and markets.

Carbon prices dropped sharply worldwide, from $18.97/tonne in 2021 to $4.08 in 2022. In 2022, nine of the 26 countries in the Barometer had negative prices, with only six – not the US – above $25.

Oil and natural gas prices have since fallen from their 2022 peaks, with consumer subsidies declining correspondingly. Hence, carbon prices for GHG emissions have recovered.

Such price subsidies and volatility do not help enterprises plan and invest their energy use – crucial to accelerate needed ‘carbon transitions’.

Unsurprisingly, after over a decade, there is little evidence that carbon markets have effectively cut GHG emissions to avert climate catastrophe. Clearly, they cannot be counted upon to cut them sufficiently.

Sudan: Call for an Arms Embargo

 The ongoing conflict in Sudan between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has left over 14,600 people killed nationwide and over 8 million people displaced including nearly 2 million of them seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Sign the petition and demand an arms embargo to contribute to the protection of civilians.

The people of Sudan feel forgotten amidst the spiraling violence across the country, where parties to the conflict are causing untold death and destruction.

Caught in the middle of fighting, they have no food, water, or access to medical services, and with limited internet, civilians have no access to information about safe passage or where to find medicine.

The warring parties have fought their war for a year with little regard for human rights and international humanitarian law.

People are being killed inside their homes, or while desperately searching for food, water, and medicine. They are caught in crossfire while fleeing and shot deliberately in targeted attacks. Women and girls, some as young as 12, have been raped and subjected to other forms of sexual violence by members of the warring sides.

Nowhere is safe. With every minute that passes countless lives are ruined. We need to act now and demand the United Nations Security Council to extend the existing arms embargo to the whole country and not only to Darfur region and ensure it is fully implemented. This will disrupt the flow of weapons and contribute to reduce civilian suffering.

PETITION: ARMS EMBARGO NOW! 
To: Canada and the United Nations

For over a year, the people of Sudan have been neglected and ignored as they bore the brunt of violent clashes between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) against the Rapid Special Forces (RSF). Diplomatic efforts have so far failed to end violations, protect civilians, provide sufficient humanitarian aid, or hold the perpetrators of war crimes to account.

The UN Security Council must act now to disrupt the flow of arms in Sudan. Imposing an arms embargo will help reduce civilian suffering.

We call on you to:

  • Extend the existing arms embargo to the whole country and not only to Darfur region.
  • Ensure that the embargo is fully implemented.

Grassy Narrows River Run, Sept 24 (sign up form)

 On September 18th, 2024 we invite you to walk with Grassy Narrows youth and community members to show that we are with them on their path to achieve mercury justice and freedom!

Grassy Narrows people are powerful leaders in the movement for Indigenous sovereignty and environmental justice. They have shown that together we can fight for justice against all odds and make real gains. But so much is still needed to right the wrong of mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows.

RSVP here to say that you will show up in solidarity and walk with them in their fight for justice.  RSVP is intended to help us plan for the day but is not mandatory to attend the event

Grassy Narrows First Nation Chief Rudy Turtle has said “no” to the nuclear waste storage site proposed in the Wabigoon River watershed near Ignace. This week, Turtle sent a fourth letter to the Nuclear Waste Management Organization opposing the proposed development citing fears of contamination. He said three letters of concern that he sent to the organization on July 2, 2020, and in 2022 on Feb. 7 and Oct. 7, received no response from the organization. In his latest letter this week, he said, “The water from that (repository) site flows past our reserve and into the waters where we fish, drink, and swim. The material that you want to store there will be dangerous for longer than Canada has existed, longer than Europeans have been on Turtle Island, and longer than anything that human beings have ever built has lasted.” He asked, “How can you reliably claim that this extremely dangerous waste will safely be contained for hundreds of thousands of years?” Turtle spoke to The Chronicle-Journal about the community’s concerns. “They explain that it’s deep underground, but regardless, we’re very concerned that in the future, there could be possible leaks that come down river towards our area,”

Gaza: UN passes Ceasefire Motion. NDP motion makes history

 https://www.ceasefire.ca/unsc-passes-ceasefire-resolution-and-amended-ndp-motion-makes-history/


To summarize, the amended motion calls for the government to:

  • demand an immediate ceasefire and the release of all hostages
  • Cease the further authorization and transfer of arms exports to Israel
  • ensure continued funding to UNRWA
  • support the prosecution of all international law violations in the region
  • support the work of the ICJ and the ICC
  • demand unimpeded humanitarian access to Gaza
  • expand access to temporary resident visa program for Gaza
  • sanction extremist settlers
  • reaffirm the illegality of settlements [in OPT] and advocate for an end to the decades long occupation of the Palestinian territories;
  • work to pursue a comprehensive peace and the establishment of the State of Palestine as part of a negotiated two-state solution

The vote was Yes 204, No 117
The Conservatives and three Liberals voted against the amended motion. The Liberal Cabinet and the vast majority of Liberal MPs, together with the NDP, the Bloc Quebecois and the Green Party, voted for the amended motion.

Petition to Gov of Canada re Nuclear Waste Management - COC

Petition e-4852 - Petitions

Petition to the Government of Canada

Whereas:
  • The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has been engaged since 2010 in a multi-step process to site a deep geological repository to emplace the high-level nuclear (irradiated fuel) waste from all of Canada’s nuclear power reactors;
  • The NWMO project will involve the transportation, processing, burial and abandonment of an estimated seven million bundles of radioactive waste over a 50-year period which would be extended by additional reactor construction or refurbishments;
  • The NWMO has repeatedly stated that it will not proceed without an “informed and willing” community;
  • There are scientific and public concerns about the risks of radioactive exposures along the transportation route and in the region of and downstream from the repository site under both normal operating and accident conditions;
  • The Government of Canada has affirmed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which sets out that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of Indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent (Article 29); and
  • Canadian law recognizes that every individual in Canada has a right to a healthy environment (CEPA 2023).
We, the undersigned, citizens, residents and Indigenous peoples of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to require the Nuclear Waste Management Organization to demonstrate that it has the consent of residents and communities, including First Nations and Treaty Organizations, along the transportation route and in the region of and downstream of the candidate repository site(s) before selecting a site.

from the Council of Canadians

Thursday

Petition against Privatization of Via Rail

Petition to the Government of Canada

Whereas:
  • Passenger rail is a safe, efficient, sustainable, affordable, and accessible mode of public transportation;
  • Due to federal cutbacks and underinvestment over many years, Canada’s current passenger rail services lag far behind those available in other countries;
  • Since its creation in 1978, VIA Rail has lacked both the legislative mandate and stable budget necessary to maintain and expand passenger rail service in Canada;
  • While VIA Rail's on-time performance on tracks it owns is over 90 percent, it is only 60 percent on tracks it shares with other railways;
  • Rail privatization and outsourcing schemes in other countries have led to higher fares, reduced service, deteriorating safety performance, and lower salaries for workers;
  • Unlike other public passenger rail providers around the world, VIA Rail lacks representation from passengers and workers on its board of directors; and
  • In its Corporate Plan, VIA has warned that its long-distance fleet, built in the 1950s, is overdue for replacement, without which it will soon be unable to provide services in Atlantic and Western Canada.
We, the undersigned, Residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1. Incorporate the contents of Bills C-371, the Rail Passenger Priority Act, and C-236/C-640 (41-2) the VIA Rail Canada Act, in a Government Bill and prioritize its passage through the legislative process;
2. Commit, in the 2024 federal budget, the funds necessary to renew VIA Rail’s long-distance fleet;
3. Provide passenger and worker representation on VIA Rail’s board of directors; and
4. Revise the High Frequency Rail project to protect VIA Rail’s role in delivering public passenger rail service along the Windsor to Quebec City corridor.

Monday

Naomi Klein, Hisham Matar, Maaza Mengiste and More Have Withdrawn From the PEN World Voices Festival

 https://lithub.com/naomi-klein-isabella-hammad-maaza-mengiste-and-more-have-withdrawn-from-the-pen-world-voices-festival/


Naomi Klein, Michelle Alexander, Hisham Matar, Isabella Hammad, Maaza Mengiste, Zaina Arafat, and Susan Muaddi Darraj are among the writers who have signed a damning open letter to PEN America in which they announce their decision not to participate in this year’s PEN World Voices Festival due to the organization’s inadequate response to the unfolding genocide in Gaza.

“In the context of Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza,” the letter reads, “we believe that PEN America has betrayed the organization’s professed commitment to peace and equality for all, and to freedom and security for writers everywhere.” The letter goes on to detail the various ways in which PEN America has failed Palestinian writers and journalists—as well as their allies in the United States—since the beginning of Israel’s war on Gaza, and take the organization to task for declining “to join other leading human rights organizations and United Nations officials in the demands for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire.”

One of the world’s most high profile literary events, and the centerpiece of PEN America’s annual programming, the PEN World Voices Festival is a weeklong celebration of international literature which has taken place in New York and Los Angeles each April/May since 2005. Its 20th incarnation is likely to be the rockiest on record, however, as the past three months have seen the 102-year-old free expression organization mired in controversy.

Friday

 https://www.ndp.ca/vote-for-peace?source=20240315_INBND_PLIS_1_FORWARD_NWMODE_NDP_EN_INBND&utm_medium=INBND&utm_source=NWMODE&utm_campaign=Palestine%2FIsrael_INBND&utm_content=20240315_INBND_PLIS_1_FORWARD_NWMODE_NDP_EN_INBND

For five months we have watched horror unfold in Gaza and in Israel. We grieve with two peoples utterly traumatized by violence, death, and terror. And we are outraged by Canada’s failure to take actions to try to stop it.

Palestinians are suffering on a massive scale from Netanyahu’s bombardments and ground offensive in Gaza. So many innocent people – including thousands of children – have been killed. Many more are forcibly displaced, injured, and now starving. Canadians are terrified for their friends and family in Gaza. Gaza is the worst place in the world to be a child. 

Canadians also continue to mourn friends and family in Israel who were killed in the horrible Hamas terror attacks and fear for their futures. Those whose loved ones were taken hostage fear every day that they will never see them again.  

We are witnessing the complete failure of the international community to uphold international law and the failure of the Liberal government to lead us in the right direction.  

Prime Minister, for five months we have urged you to find the moral courage to take actions to stop this horror. We are outraged by your failure to act. 

Canada cannot stand by while thousands more die.   

In the absence of action from your government, the NDP have put forward a motion calling on your government to: 

- Demand an immediate ceasefire and the release of all hostages; 

- Suspend all trade in military goods and technology with Israel and increase efforts to stop the illegal trade of arms, including to Hamas; 

- Immediately reinstate funding and ensure long-term continued funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), and support the independent investigation; 

- Support the prosecution of all crimes and violations of international law committed in the region, and support the work of the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court; 

- Demand unimpeded humanitarian access to Gaza; 

- Ensure Canadians trapped in Gaza can reach safety in Canada and lift the arbitrary cap of 1000 temporary resident visa applications; 

- Ban extremist settlers from entering Canada, impose sanctions on Israeli officials who incite genocide, and maintain sanctions on Hamas leaders;  

- Advocate for an end to the decades-long occupation of Palestinian territories and work toward a two-state solution;  

- Officially recognize the State of Palestine and maintain Canada’s recognition of Israel’s right to exist and to live in peace with its neighbours. 

Canada must call on Israel and Hamas to end this violence NOW, and work towards a sustainable solution where Palestinians and Israelis can live in peace and security, with full recognition of their human rights.  

Saturday

Amazon rainforest teetering on the brink of destruction - Petition

Amazon rainforest teetering on the brink of destruction
in the vast, green heart of the Peruvian Amazon, a big problem runs deep – the threat of oil drilling and the decrepit “Oleoducto Norperuano” This pipeline, owned by PetroPerĂș, has caused over 90 oil spills over the last 20 years. Imagine crude oil spilling into rivers and forests, harming the land where Indigenous communities live, their water, and their food. It's a disaster that's happened too many times and one that never gets remediated.  

 Now, here's where things get even more troubling. Spanish bank, Santander, has provided substantial financial support, approximately $1 billion, for the expansion and upgrade of the Talara refinery – directly contradicting its environmental commitments. The Talara refinery, also owned by PetroPerĂș is where the oil from the Oleoducto Norperuano is processed and exported. This makeover will see the refinery’s processing capability jump from 65,000 barrels of oil per day to 95, 000 – further exacerbating the oil demand and threat to the ecological integrity of Amazonia. With the bank's Annual General Meeting scheduled for March 22nd, the timing is critical for your voice to be heard. It is paramount that Santander is held accountable for its environmental policies and stop financing projects that harm vital ecosystems.

PETITION on website for StandEarth, link above.

Canada reinstates UNRWA funding on International Women’s Day | Ceasefire.ca

Canada reinstates UNRWA funding on International Women’s Day | Ceasefire.ca

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed more than 30,000 people, displaced more than 85% of the 2.3 million-strong population from their homes and left more than half of the strip’s infrastructure in ruins, according to data from Gaza’s health ministry and the UN. – The Guardian 

 US plans to build a floating port off the Gaza coast to bring in more aid You need drivers, trucks and a distribution system that doesn’t exist. – President of Refugees International.  The US plans to build a floating port off the Gaza coast on which shipborne food aid can be unloaded from ships from Larnaca, Cyprus and a causeway for it to be driven onshore. The question is, then what? Most of Gaza’s population, the majority of whom have been displaced several times over, are not concentrated at the beach. Jeremy Konyndyk, a former senior aid official in the Biden administration and now president of the Refugees International aid advocacy group, asks: Who is going to distribute it? [Our] presence in northern Gaza is pretty close to zero because the Israelis have wanted everyone out and then have been restricting access to the north ever since.