Citizen Action Monitor

Recent developments give “new hope” to Hamiltonians concerned about climate change

Hamilton residents primed to reduce funding to fossil fuel industry that is damaging the global climate

No 1168 Posted by fw, October 20, 2014

“Fossil fuel divestment is the focus of a public forum at Westdale United Church on Tuesday, October 21 starting at 6:30 pm organized by Greening Sacred Spaces, Environment Hamilton and the Council of Canadians. It promises advice from professional economists and ethical fund managers on how faith groups, institutions and individuals can stop funding damage to the global climate.” —CATCH News (Hamilton)

Yes, it’s probably too late for readers of this post to attend this particular event in Hamilton, Ontario. But it’s never too late to encourage other activists far and wide to run with their own version of Hamilton’s action format – i.e., a public forum on a climate topic of local interest, featuring invited speakers, held in a public venue (e.g. church, community centre). 

In addition, this post cites significant news and information sources that tell of growing resistance to the fossil fuel industry.

Click on the following linked title to read the original article. Or, below, read a reposting with added subheadings and highlighted text.

Tar sands challenges by CATCH News (Hamilton), October 19, 2014

Recent developments give “new hope” to Hamiltonians concerned about climate change

The admission that “limited pipeline access” is adding to the financial challenges of tar sands extraction, plus a visit from the leader of the global effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions, are giving new hope to Hamiltonians concerned about climate change who have stepped up their campaign for fossil fuel divestment. The Rockefeller Foundation recently joined that rapidly expanding movement and the former governor of the Bank of Canada is warning that most oil, coal and gas must be left in the ground if the planet is to avoid catastrophic climatic changes.

Bankers, including Canada’s Mark Carney, are increasingly demanding bottom-line explanations from an industry facing new challenges

Mark Carney, now the governor of the Bank of England, told a World Bank meeting last week that “the vast majority of reserves are unburnable” and that short-term thinking by governments and businesses is creating a “tragedy of horizons” that could lead to market failure. Carney and other bankers are demanding that fossil fuel corporations explain how they will financially deal with the challenges posed by the global [action] to limit carbon emissions.

Stock prices of fossil fuel corporations is based on “unusable reserves”, creating a “carbon bubble” on stock markets

Calculations by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimate that up to 80 percent of proven fossil fuel reserves cannot be burned if the planet is to avoid a two degree Celsius warming that all countries have agreed is too dangerous. This has been dubbed a ‘carbon bubble’ because so much of the stock price of fossil fuel corporations is based on these unusable reserves.

Growing divestment commitments from fossil fuels will shift over $50 billion to clean energy projects

Carney’s declaration comes of the heels of a late September announcement by the Rockefeller Foundation that it is ending its investments in the fossil fuel sector. Divestment commitments by more than 160 institutions and local governments already mean over $50 billion will be shifted in the next five years to clean energy projects.

Fossil fuel divestment forum to be held tomorrow, October 21, in Hamilton

Fossil fuel divestment is the focus of a public forum at Westdale United Church on Tuesday, October 21 starting at 6:30 pm organized by Greening Sacred Spaces, Environment Hamilton and the Council of Canadians. It promises advice from professional economists and ethical fund managers on how faith groups, institutions and individuals can stop funding damage to the global climate. 

Bill McKibben, during Hamilton recent visit, emphasized importance of divestment and blocking tar sands expansion

The divestment movement was launched two years ago by 350.org and its leader Bill McKibben who describes fossil fuel companies as “rogue” corporations with an obvious business plan to fry the planet. When he spoke in Hamilton on September 30 McKibben praised on-going efforts to convince McMaster University to end investment in fossil fuel companies and emphasized the importance of Canadian efforts to block tar sands expansion.

“Your ability to reign in the appetite for the wealth that lies beneath the tar sands of Alberta has made it impossible for Canada to meet even the very meek and modest targets its set for doing anything about climate change and will continue to do so,” he stated. “There’s simply no way to have both those things. You can’t have access to the wealth that lies there and cut emissions in meaningful ways to stave off climate change.”

He also reminded the 400 plus attendees at his lecture that in mid-September “Statoil, the big Norwegian oil company, announced an indefinite delay in their plan to open up a new tar sands mine, on the grounds that they said that they couldn’t be guaranteed pipeline access.” That’s the third huge tar sands project mothballed this year, and the sharp fall in the price of oil is putting others in jeopardy.

Transportation costs a mounting burden for oil companies in the Alberta tar sands

major study in August identified the 20 global oil projects most vulnerable to lower priced oil and the top six were in the Alberta tar sands – each requiring at least $128 a barrel rather than the current $80 level. The challenges facing tar sands extractors include significant transportation costs because of limited pipeline access and a $14 a barrel charge for rail shipments.

Oil sector placing bets on Energy East pipeline to compensate for ongoing Keystone XL delays

With Keystone XL long delayed, and routes through British Columbia blocked by First Nations and huge resident opposition, the oil sector is now placing its hopes on a 4600 km pipeline plan from Alberta to New Brunswick initially priced at $12 billion. This “Energy East” route is being promoted by TransCanada Pipelines as “a project to bring Western Canadian oil to Eastern Canada” although up to 90 percent would likely be exported for foreign markets.

Foreign-owned oil will reap all the rewards of Energy East, leaving locals sitting on a pipeline full of risks

TransCanada is already planning to construct two oil tanker terminals – one on the St Lawrence and one in Saint John. Opponents point to nearly 1000 waterways in the path of the pipe, and argue the project represents a “reward” for mostly foreign-owned oil companies and a huge risk for residents and their communities in its path that is also equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions from putting seven million extra cars on the road.

“Humans can’t negotiate with physics forcing climate change” — McKibben

McKibben told Hamiltonians that carbon emissions are already far too large and warned that humans can’t negotiate with the physics forcing climate change.

“We estimate that the extra heat trapped by the carbon that we’ve poured into the atmosphere as we burn coal and gas and oil – the extra heat is the daily equivalent in heat terms of 400,000 Hiroshima bombs,” he told the September 30 meeting. “That’s been enough over the past few decades to melt most of the sea ice in the summer Arctic. It’s enough carbon that the ocean is 30 percent more acidic than it was.”

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