3 Dec 2014

MEPs reject plans to ease way for tar sands oil

just had this, good news

Press release: Tar sands oil - MEPs reject plans to ease way for tar sands oil


Press release – Brussels, 3 December 2014

Tar sands oil
MEPs reject plans to ease way for tar sands oil

The European Parliament's environment committee today voted to reject new fuel quality rules proposed by the EU Commission, which failed to include a separate methodology for assessing greenhouse gas emissions from tar sands oil (1). After the vote, Green climate change spokesperson Bas Eickhout, who co-sponsored the rejection, said:
"Tar sands oil should not and cannot be part of the European fuel mix. The production of oil from tar sands is not only dirty and damaging to the environment, it also has a far greater impact on climate change than conventional oil. If the EU is serious about combatting climate change, it needs to be consistent with all its policies.
"In voting for this rejection, MEPs have voted against easing the way for tar sands oil to enter the European market. Despite the spin, tar sands oil has nothing to do with European energy security but is instead merely about placating the Canadian government in the context of the EU-Canada trade agreement. We do not need this highly-polluting fuel and we should not be encouraging its production.
"The bigger picture is the future of the fuel quality directive itself. It was one of the 5 legislative measures adopted by the EU at the end of 2008 as part of its climate and energy package and is a crucial piece of legislation that should deliver actual emissions reductions for 2020 and beyond. Today's vote should be seen as the basis for providing a robust methodology for EU fuel quality rules beyond 2020."
(1) Under the EU's fuel quality directive, suppliers are obliged to reduce the lifecycle greenhouse gas intensity of transport fuel 6% by 2020 (compared to 2010). Originally, the idea was to have separate default values for calculating the lifecycle emissions of different sources of fossil fuels, so oil from tar sands would have its own greenhouse gas intensity value, separate to conventional oil. However, earlier this year, the Commission came out with a new proposal, with no separate method for tar sands oil. This would essentially make it much easier for increasing the share of oil from tar sands on the European market.
Today's vote by the environment committee must now be confirmed by the European Parliament plenary as a whole.

1 Dec 2014

Caroline Lucas says Cameron 'obssession with new roads is environmentally reckless'

Roads funding: Only Greens committed to delivering a real transport revolution

1 December 2014
*Transport policy still heading in the wrong direction
*Major new road schemes 'economically questionable as well as environmentally reckless'. 
The Coalition government’s re-announcement of plans to invest £15bn on roads over the next five years locks in our unhealthy, carbon-intensive transport policy, says the Green Party, the only party committed to delivering a genuine transport revolution.
Under the plans - initially announced in 2013 - £15bn will be spent on 100 new road improvement schemes and1,300 new miles of extra lanes will be added to motorways and A roads.
More must be done to reduce petrol and diesel use and make walking and cycling safer says the Green Party. Yet more roads are not the answer to our transport crisis.
Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, said:
“The Prime Minister’s obsession with major new road schemes is economically questionable as well as environmentally reckless.
“The Coalition’s claim to be the ‘greenest government ever’ is already in tatters. Recycling discredited road building policies from the Thatcher Government of the 1980s will only make matters worse.
“Road building simply does not reduce congestion. For decades, even the Government’s own studies have been showing this. Road building encourages more traffic, worsens air pollution, and causes severe loss and harm to our precious countryside. As new roads simply clog up, the economic arguments evaporate – especially when compared to the alternatives.”
Rupert Read, Cambridge MP candidate and Transport Spokesperson, said:  
“That the government is doubling down on its expensive, unhealthy, and carbon-intensive transport policy on the same day that it is pulling a political stunt on NHS (1) funding speaks volumes about the Coalition’s warped priorities. Imagine what our NHS could do with this £15billion rather than the paltry £2billion currently on the table.” 
Cllr Caroline Russell, Green Party Local Transport Spokesperson, said:
"The government announcement of £15 billion to be spent on roads across the country is both short sighted and retrograde.  If you build roads you get more traffic clogging up our towns cities and villages, adding to road danger, air pollution and congestion. The government should be investing in our public transport infrastructure and building convenient networks of cycling and walking routes rather than creating more traffic jams.
"The more we learn about the damaging impact of diesel pollution and physical inactivity on our health, the more urgent the need for this change in direction and priorities becomes. The £100m offered for cycling is a drop in the ocean compared to the billions being spent every year on roads while walking does not even get a mention. If the government is serious about creating jobs and supporting a sustainable economy they should be seizing the huge opportunities available from investing in new, less carbon-intensive transport technologies and looking to reduce our need to travel by car."

13 Nov 2014

Derek Wall and Robin Hahnel meeting 4th Dec on climate justice.

at 18:0019:30 in UTC
Malet Place Engineering Building, 1.02 (2 Malet Place, Greater London WC1E 7).
What strategies and policies should the environmental movement be focusing on? Robin Hahnel, radical economist and environmental activist, is joined by Derek Wall from the Green Party to discuss environmental strategy going forward, evaluating current programmes and what “we” should be doing in preparation for COP 21 in Paris in December 2015.

Derek Wall is International Coordinator of the Green Party of England and Wales. He is a political economist, whose last book was ‘The Sustainable Economics of Elinor Ostrom’. He is a founder of Green Left, the anti-capitalist network in the Green Party. He is also a columnist with the Morning Star and is completing his new book for Pluto ‘The Economics of anti-capita...lism’ which will be published in 2015. You can find him on twitter at @anothergreen.

Robin Hahnel is a radical economist and political activist. He is Professor Emeritus at American University in Washington, D.C. and is currently a visiting professor in economics at Portland State University. He is best known as co-creator, along with Michael Albert, of a radical alternative to capitalism known as participatory economics His more recent work is focused on economic justice and democracy, and the global financial and ecological crisis. Politically he considers himself a proud product of the New Left and is sympathetic to libertarian socialism. He has been active in many social movements and organizations over forty years.

In conjunction with the release of a new edition of his book, The ABCs of Political Economy - a modern approach, Robin Hahnel will be on a speaking tour in the UK in December 2014. Find out more: www.participatoryeconomics.org.uk

This event is being hosted by the UCL Green Economy Society and Participatory Economics UK.

The event will be taking place in the Engineering Building, room 1.02.