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U.N. Member States Accused of Cherry-Picking Human Rights E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Sunday, 28 June 2020 11:49


Protestors gather outside the White House to demonstrate against torture on the 10th anniversary of the opening of the U.S. prison facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Charles Davis/IPS

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 2 2015 (IPS) - The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has criticised member states for ‘cherry-picking’ human rights – advocating some and openly violating others – perhaps to suit their own national or political interests.

Despite ratifying the U.N. charter reaffirming their faith in fundamental human rights, there are some member states who, “with alarming regularity”, are disregarding and violating human rights, “sometimes to a shocking degree,” he said.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 June 2020 19:19
How a Global Ocean Treaty Could Protect Biodiversity in the High Seas E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Monday, 08 June 2020 09:54

A trawler in Johnstone Strait, BC, Canada. Human activities such as pollution, overfishing, mining, geo-engineering and climate change have made an international agreement to protect the high seas more critical than ever. Credit: Winky/cc by 2.0

Jun 8 2020 (IPS) - Oceans cover 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface. But, because many of us spend most of our lives on land, the 362 million square kilometres of blue out there aren’t always top of mind.

While vast, oceans are not empty. They are teeming with life and connected to society through geopolitics and recreation.

But oceans — along with coastal people and marine species — are vulnerable, and good ocean governance is critical to protect these expanses from pollution, overfishing and climate change, to name just some of the threats.

The laws, institutions and regulations in place for the oceans are a multi-layered patchwork and always a work in progress.


Common heritage of humankind

Some characterize oceans as the “common heritage of humankind.” As such, the United Nations plays a critical role in ocean governance, and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is a key international agreement. The agreement grants coastal and island states authority over swaths of ocean extending 200 nautical miles (360 kilometres) from the shore. These are called exclusive economic zones (EEZ).

EEZs are domestic spaces. Countries enshrine law and delegate authority to state agencies that lead monitoring, management and enforcement in these zones.

Indigenous peoples also assert jurisdictional authority and coastal peoples hold critical insight about coastal and marine ecosystems. Governance is improved when state agencies share power and collaborate.

For example, during the Newfoundland cod collapse, inshore fishermen had local ecological knowledge about changing cod stock dynamics that might have helped avoid the disaster.

A turtle swims in a Marine Protected Area. Credit: Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Areas beyond national jurisdiction

A vast portion of the ocean lies beyond EEZs: 64 per cent by area and 95 per cent by volume. These regions are often referred to as the high seas. The high seas are important for international tradefishing fleetsundersea telecommunications cables and are of commercial interest to mining companies. The high seas also host a wide array of ecosystems and species. Many of these are understudied or altogether unrecorded.

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 September 2020 12:40
First Nation Enacts Historic ʔElhdaqox Dechen Ts’edilhtan (“Sturgeon River Law”) E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Friday, 29 May 2020 09:32

Media Release: Archives

The Canadian Oil Service Sector supports the Emergence of New Canadian Geothermal Developers E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Tuesday, 26 May 2020 05:20



The Canadian Oil Service Sector supports the Emergence of New Canadian Geothermal Developers


Calgary, Alberta, May 26, 2020 – At the end of April, The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC), Clean Energy Canada and the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) joined together to establish an alliance with the existing geothermal industry participants to promote Canadian geothermal development and to create jobs for displaced oil and gas drilling contractors and oilfield service workers.


See the link for details on this Geothermal Alliance here.


Under such an initiative, Eavor believes Alberta could attract up to $4 billion in private and foreign investment capital, to create 400MWe of clean dispatchable power and eliminate 2,000,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year, all the while eventually employing 5,000+ displaced oil service workers. Such a plan could kickstart a geothermal ecosystem in Canada that could lead the world and represent a clean sunrise export industry for the nation.


To rapidly scale a Canadian geothermal industry, however, will require an incentive plan that can attract new developers and participants to the market. Such an incentive plan will need to include Power Purchase Agreements (PPA’s) or their equivalent to provide guaranteed offtake at a reasonable price for the value delivered (no different than for any new power generating asset). The advantage of such incentives are that they are technology agnostic and let the market decide which technologies and developers are involved.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 May 2020 05:23
Crisis Hits Oil Industry in atin america E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Monday, 25 May 2020 10:35

Crisis Hits Oil Industry in latin america

Reprint |       | alt Print |  |En español
Mexico's state-run oil giant Pemex faces a difficult outlook due to the fall in international oil prices and the crisis resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, which threatens its production and finances, in a situation analysed during the 29th La Jolla Energy Conference, organised online by the Institute of the Americas. CREDIT: Emilio Godoy/IPS

Mexico's state-run oil giant Pemex faces a difficult outlook due to the fall in international oil prices and the crisis resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, which threatens its production and finances, in a situation analysed during the 29th La Jolla Energy Conference, organised online by the Institute of the Americas. CREDIT: Emilio Godoy/IPS

MEXICO CITY, May 22 2020 (IPS) - While it attempts to cushion the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the Latin American and Caribbean region also faces concerns about the future of the energy transition and state-owned oil companies.

These questions were discussed at the 29th La Jolla Energy Conference, organised by the Institute of the Americas. It was held online May 18-22, rather than bringing together more than 50 speakers at the institute’s headquarters in the coastal district of San Diego, in the U.S. state of California, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alfonso Blanco of Uruguay, executive secretary of the Latin American Energy Organisation (OLADE), said during a session on global trends and the regional energy industry that the changes seen during the pandemic will spread after the crisis and will be long-lasting.

“There will be structural transformations and we are convinced that most consumer behaviors will change after the pandemic. Demand will vary due to changes in the main areas of transportation and other energy areas. The effects on fossil fuel consumption will be strong and there will be a greater impact on renewable energies,” he said.

Absolutely Unacceptable: if US may Resume Nuclear Explosive Testing E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Monday, 25 May 2020 10:18



For immediate release: May 25, 2020


Absolutely Unacceptable: Resumed Nuclear Explosive Testing


The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Abolition 2000 Global Network to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons on May 23 unanimously adopted a statement condemning recent reports of White House discussions to resume nuclear weapons testing.  As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic Abolition 2000 had to take the unprecedented step of holding its AGM online, allowing participants from some 40 countries to join.

The statement (full text below) warns that resumed US testing of nuclear weapons would inevitably lead to resumption of testing by other nations.  Such testing would, in any case, be in contravention of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, signed by the United Stated in 1996, yet pending entry-into-force.

John Burroughs, Executive Director of the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, and one of the statement's drafters said, "Testing of nuclear weapons evokes nuclear apocalypse, as in the days of US-Soviet brinksmanship. It must not be resumed. At the same time, we must recognize that the capabilities for apocalypse remain in place, and are being maintained and improved in the absence of nuclear explosive testing. This too must be brought to an end."

Last Updated on Monday, 25 May 2020 10:24
Nearly 900 Gulf Coast hazardous chemical facilities are vulnerable to dangerous hurricanes E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Saturday, 23 May 2020 16:57

The Arkema chemical plant near Houston caught fire after Hurricane Harvey in 2017, forcing an evacuation.

In 2017, Hurricane Harvey soaked Houston with record-setting downpours. At the nearby Arkema chemical plant, flooding knocked out the power and disabled refrigeration systems that were cooling hazardous chemicals.

The chemicals decomposed and combusted, and the trailers where they were stored caught fire. More than 200 nearby residents were evacuated for an entire week.

Last Updated on Monday, 25 May 2020 11:30
Seismic survey threatens endangered whales E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Friday, 22 May 2020 17:36


May 8 


Image by Rachael Merrett.

As the oceans become quieter amidst the global pandemic, an application for seismic surveys off the West Coast of Vancouver Island threatens the recovery of endangered Southern Resident killer whales. This week, in response, a coalition of conservation groups has written to the federal minister of Fisheries and Oceans to inform her that approval of the application would be illegal under the Species at Risk Act.

Recently, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University requested a permit under the federal Species at Risk Act to conduct geophysical surveys in the habitat of the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales. The seismic survey will produce high-intensity sound from an array of towed air guns through Southern Resident habitat, including areas designated as critical habitat. With only 72 remaining, the Southern Resident Killer whales are endangered under the Species at Risk Act. In May 2018, the government announced these whales face imminent threats to their survival and recovery.

Last Updated on Friday, 22 May 2020 17:41
Bruce Power ordered to reveal prices E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Friday, 22 May 2020 07:50




View online

Bruce Power ordered to reveal prices

The Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner has ruled that Bruce Power and the Ontario Government must come clean on the cost of power from rebuilt reactors noting that “the public has a right to know what the electricity cost will be from the multi-billion Bruce NGS [Nuclear Generating Station] project as they are paying for it and will be locked into paying for it for almost 50 years.”

In her response to an appeal by Bruce Power of an earlier decision, Adjudicator Diane Smith acknowledged that the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has the power to suppress this information, but ruled that the public right to know trumped this authority.

COVID-19 Has Blown Away the Myth About ‘First’ and ‘Third’ World Competence E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Thursday, 21 May 2020 08:31

COVID-19 Has Blown Away the Myth About ‘First’ and ‘Third’ World Competence

For Anglophone Africans, it is doubly interesting that two of the greatest failures in handling COVID-19 are the former coloniser, Britain, and the English-speaking superpower, the United States of America. Both countries’ national governments have made just about every possible mistake in tackling COVID-19.

JOHANNESBURG, May 15 2020 (IPS) - One of the planet’s – and Africa’s – deepest prejudices is being demolished by the way countries handle COVID-19. 

For as long as any of us remember, everyone “knew” that “First World” countries – in effect, Western Europe and North America – were much better at providing their citizens with a good life than the poor and incapable states of the “Third World”. “First World” has become shorthand for competence, sophistication and the highest political and economic standards.

So deep-rooted is this that even critics of the “First World” usually accept it. They might argue that it became that way by exploiting the rest of the world or that it is not morally or culturally superior. But they never question that it knows how to offer (some) people a better material life. Africans and others in the “Third World” often aspire to become like the “First World” – and to live in it, because that means living better.

The Anti-Lockdown Protesters Have a Twisted Conception of Liberty Their notion of freedom derives a lot of its power from the enforcement of racial hierarchy. E-mail
Posted by Joan Russow   
Friday, 15 May 2020 14:38
Jamelle Bouie
By Jamelle Bouie
Opinion Columnist
May 8, 2020
Demonstrators take part in an American Patriot Rally on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing last month.
Demonstrators take part in an American Patriot Rally on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing last month.Credit...Jeff Kowalsky/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Most Americans support the lockdowns and want the government to bring the coronavirus under control before opening up the economy. But “most” is not “all,” and a small minority is eager to end all the restrictions now, even as the virus spreads and Covid-19 caseloads continue to grow.
A small faction of that minority has taken to the streets in vocal opposition to stay-at-home measures and the politicians responsible for them. They carry guns and wave Confederate flags and denounce virus mitigation strategies as “tyranny,” an imposition on their liberty to shop, consume and do as they please.
The vast majority of these protesters — like the vast majority of those who want to prematurely reopen the economy — are white. This is in stark contrast to the victims of Covid-19 (who are disproportionately black and brown), as well as those who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic (who are also disproportionately black and brown), as well as those who have been or will be forced to work — or work more — as a result of reopening (the service workers and laborers who are again disproportionately black and brown).
Last Updated on Friday, 15 May 2020 14:45
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