As the year comes to a close, Native American activists and their allies in Minnesota are launching a weekly protest vigil against the planned Line 3 pipeline, that would bring more Canadian shale-oil to US markets. The self-proclaimed “water protectors” pledge to continue the campaign into the winter. The Conservation Council of Western Australia meanwhile launched legal challenge against approval of the new Burrup Hub liquified natural gas facility, asserting that it is the “most polluting fossil fuel project ever to be proposed in Australia,” and “undermines global efforts [to mitigate climate change] under the Paris Agreement.” While Denmark has pledged to end North Sea oil exploitation by 2050 as a step toward meeting the Paris accord goals, other Scandinavian governments remain intransigent. The Supreme Court of Norway has upheld a judgment allowing the government to grant oil licenses in new sections of the country’s continental shelf. The decision was challenged by environmental groups including Nature & Youth Norway, who claimed that it violates the European Convention on Human Rights. (Photo: Stop Line 3)
The New Zealand parliament has passed a motion declaring a “climate emergency,” joining a growing number of nations that have formally acknowledged the crisis and approved similar declarations. The motion was supported by the Labour Party, the Greens and Te Pāti Māori, while the National Party and ACT opposed it. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern moved the motion, calling climate change “one of the greatest challenges of our time,” and citing the “devastating impact that volatile and extreme weather will have on New Zealand and the wellbeing of New Zealanders.” The motion also notes “the alarming trend in species decline and [the] global biodiversity crisis, including the decline in Aotearoa’s indigenous biodiversity.” (Photo: Shutterstock via The Conversation)
As nations across the globe remain under lockdown, more sweeping powers are being assumed by governments in the name of containing the COVID-19 pandemic. Facing demands for relief from poor barrios running out of resources under his lockdown orders, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to shoot protesters in the streets. Police have opened fire on lockdown violators in Nigeria, Ghana and Peru. In Tunisia, remote-controlled wheeled robots have been deployed to accost lockdown violators. States of emergency, including broad powers to restrict movements and control the media, have been declared from the Philippines to Serbia. Amnesty International warns that the restrictive measures could become a “new normal.” (Photo: Pulse, Ghana)
The violence in Berkeley has sparked divisions over how to confront the fast-rising radical right. One danger of advocating nonviolence is playing into the hands of the equivalists who blame both sides (or “many sides”) for the violence. On the other hand, the fact that equivalist propaganda will be used doesn’t give us a blank check to dismiss the whole discussion of astute tactics.
Under diplomatic pressure, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signed the Fairbanks Declaration on Arctic climate—but with caveats about how the US will not "rush" to change policy.
Russia's Foreign Ministry submitted a new bid claiming over 350 nautical miles of oil-rich Arctic sea shelf before the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.
Under the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie, an attack on free speech is being used to justify further attacks on free speech… in the paradoxical name of protecting free speech.
At the NATO summit called in response to the Ukraine escalation, a particularly hard line is being taken by Canada—now in a race with Russia to claim Arctic oil resources.
Above Russian protests, NATO is beefing up its Baltic Air Policing program with more fighter jets—at the request of regional leaders, who cite Russian provocation.