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Gore Has Guts

Over on TreeHugger, I found this inspiring item. It looks like Al Gore’s got a new slideshow and some new calls to action. TreeHugger has synthesized some of the video’s key points in clips, but I definitely encourage you to spend a little over 20 minutes and watch the full video, then go change the world.

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Food Rations Cut For Three Million Darfurians

Very disturbing news out of Darfur, from The Guardian:

The World Food Programme is to halve food rations for up to 3 million people in Darfur from next month because of insecurity along the main supply routes. At least 60 WFP lorries have been hijacked since December in Sudan’s western province, where government forces and rebels have been at war for five years. The hijacks have drastically curtailed the delivery of food to warehouses ahead of the rainy season that lasts from May to September, when there is limited market access and crop stocks are depleted.

Instead of the normal ration of 500 grams of cereal a day, people in displaced persons’ camps and conflict-affected villages will only get 225 grams from next month, the UN agency said yesterday. Rations of pulses and sugar will also be halved, giving people barely 60% of their recommended minimum daily calorie intake.

The WFP said that while Sudan’s government provided security for convoys on the main supply routes, the escorts were too infrequent, given the huge demand for food at this time of year. “Attacks on the food pipeline are an attack on the most vulnerable people in Darfur,” said Josette Sheeran, the agency’s executive director. “With up to 3 million people depending on us for their survival in the rainy season, keeping WFP’s supply line open is a matter of life and death. We call on all parties to protect the access to food.”

Sheeran’s exhortation painfully underscores the urgent need for a larger and more robust peacekeeping force in Darfur. The parties responsible for disrupting WFP’s supply lines — government and rebel forces, as well as opportunistic bandits — are not going to police themselves, as severing — or appropriating — humanitarian aid is often, perversely, the exact purpose of these groups. Protecting humanitarian supply lines, then, is one area in which a neutral peacekeeping force can have an immediate impact — even before Darfur’s sputtering peace process can achieve a sustainable political solution.

At a Global Day for Darfur event here on the Mall in Washington last Sunday, Amnesty International and Tents of Hope had set up an evocative display of little baggies containing the amount of food that each Darfurian in an Internally Displaced Persons Camp receives each day. The small piles of lentils and flour were not much, and halving even that meager amount bodes very poorly indeed for the future of Darfur’s displaced.

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Food Rations Cut For Three Million Darfurians

Very disturbing news out of Darfur, from The Guardian:

The World Food Programme is to halve food rations for up to 3 million people in Darfur from next month because of insecurity along the main supply routes. At least 60 WFP lorries have been hijacked since December in Sudan’s western province, where government forces and rebels have been at war for five years. The hijacks have drastically curtailed the delivery of food to warehouses ahead of the rainy season that lasts from May to September, when there is limited market access and crop stocks are depleted.

Instead of the normal ration of 500 grams of cereal a day, people in displaced persons’ camps and conflict-affected villages will only get 225 grams from next month, the UN agency said yesterday. Rations of pulses and sugar will also be halved, giving people barely 60% of their recommended minimum daily calorie intake.

The WFP said that while Sudan’s government provided security for convoys on the main supply routes, the escorts were too infrequent, given the huge demand for food at this time of year. “Attacks on the food pipeline are an attack on the most vulnerable people in Darfur,” said Josette Sheeran, the agency’s executive director. “With up to 3 million people depending on us for their survival in the rainy season, keeping WFP’s supply line open is a matter of life and death. We call on all parties to protect the access to food.”

Sheeran’s exhortation painfully underscores the urgent need for a larger and more robust peacekeeping force in Darfur. The parties responsible for disrupting WFP’s supply lines — government and rebel forces, as well as opportunistic bandits — are not going to police themselves, as severing — or appropriating — humanitarian aid is often, perversely, the exact purpose of these groups. Protecting humanitarian supply lines, then, is one area in which a neutral peacekeeping force can have an immediate impact — even before Darfur’s sputtering peace process can achieve a sustainable political solution.

At a Global Day for Darfur event here on the Mall in Washington last Sunday, Amnesty International and Tents of Hope had set up an evocative display of little baggies containing the amount of food that each Darfurian in an Internally Displaced Persons Camp receives each day. The small piles of lentils and flour were not much, and halving even that meager amount bodes very poorly indeed for the future of Darfur’s displaced.

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Climate is Hot on the Hill

The Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday that Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has decided to rule out a carbon tax or an increase in gas taxes to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. To explain his decision, the Congressman said

“I simply cannot support these policies at a time when families in my district are dealing with record gas prices, high levels of unemployment, a home foreclosure crisis and rising food costs.”

The proposal would have charged $50 per ton of CO2 emissions and raised prices for gas and jet fuel by 50 cents, while also introducing measures to quell suburban sprawl.

It’s too bad to see these measures “off the table for now” as Dingell put it, but the fact is, this kind of proposal is a long-shot anyway, and Bush himself has recently referred to new taxes as “the wrong way” to take on the climate crisis. Dingell is not licked, however, as he is still working on “cap and trade” legislation that he will introduce sometime this year.

Climate is becoming a prominent topic on Capitol Hill these days. In fact, the “Climate Security Act” sponsored by Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John Warner (R-VA) is pending in the Senate and could come up on the Senate floor in June. This proposal aims to cut emissions from key sectors like transport and the power industry by 19 percent in 12 years and 71 percent by 2050. Additionally, as we’ve reported here, Bush himself has even come out in favor of keeping the planet from heating up.

With Democrats, Republicans, and even Independents backing action, the fight against the climate crisis has attained a rare status as a “tri-partisan” issue. Even if proposals differ, at least there’s consensus that something must be done, and that is a huge step in the right direction. So keep at it, Congressman Dingell, and don’t feel too discouraged. While gloom and doom can often dominate the climate issue, I certainly see a bit of light peeking through the carbon dioxide.

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Climate is Hot on the Hill

The Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday that Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has decided to rule out a carbon tax or an increase in gas taxes to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. To explain his decision, the Congressman said

“I simply cannot support these policies at a time when families in my district are dealing with record gas prices, high levels of unemployment, a home foreclosure crisis and rising food costs.”

The proposal would have charged $50 per ton of CO2 emissions and raised prices for gas and jet fuel by 50 cents, while also introducing measures to quell suburban sprawl.

It’s too bad to see these measures “off the table for now” as Dingell put it, but the fact is, this kind of proposal is a long-shot anyway, and Bush himself has recently referred to new taxes as “the wrong way” to take on the climate crisis. Dingell is not licked, however, as he is still working on “cap and trade” legislation that he will introduce sometime this year.

Climate is becoming a prominent topic on Capitol Hill these days. In fact, the “Climate Security Act” sponsored by Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John Warner (R-VA) is pending in the Senate and could come up on the Senate floor in June. This proposal aims to cut emissions from key sectors like transport and the power industry by 19 percent in 12 years and 71 percent by 2050. Additionally, as we’ve reported here, Bush himself has even come out in favor of keeping the planet from heating up.

With Democrats, Republicans, and even Independents backing action, the fight against the climate crisis has attained a rare status as a “tri-partisan” issue. Even if proposals differ, at least there’s consensus that something must be done, and that is a huge step in the right direction. So keep at it, Congressman Dingell, and don’t feel too discouraged. While gloom and doom can often dominate the climate issue, I certainly see a bit of light peeking through the carbon dioxide.

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Pope at the UN

The Pope Makes his way to the United Nations today to address the General Assembly. The AP has a preview of what to expect in his remarks.

When Benedict addresses diplomats from around the world, he’ll likely touch on several broad themes, said Jo Renee Formicola, a Seton Hall University political science professor who has studied the papacy and international affairs.

Among them: a call for bedrock ethical and moral principles as a guiding force even in pluralistic societies, a human rights agenda that encompasses religious freedom and the sacredness of human life, and the responsibility of first-world nations to aid developing ones.
[snip]
The forum also gives Benedict license to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iraq, subjects he avoided at the White House as he stood next to the architect of the five-year-old war.

Read more.

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