Showing posts from February 12, 2015

Methane emissions from natural gas industry higher than previously thought

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[The way the US government measures methane emissions from fracking wells is flawed. Evidently a few bad eggs - "super-emittters" - shift the natural gas industry averages for methane emissions significantly higher than the EPA has stated. On a similar note, see Junk Science? Report Finds Shale Industry Cited 'Retracted and Discredited' Studies*RON*], 11 February 2015

World leaders are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it's unclear just how much we're emitting. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a new program to track these emissions, but scientists are reporting that it vastly underestimates methane emissions from the growing natural gas industry. Their findings, published in two papers in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, could help the industry clamp down on "superemitter" leaks.

Allen L. Robinson and colleagues note that the primary com…

New Tory employment minister brings American-style right-wing agenda to the job

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[Even though the competition is fierce, it's true that there are few more obnoxious ideologues in Parliament than Pierre Poilievre. Our new employment minister is a huge fan of right to work legislation, which puts him in the company of the Koch brothers and Tea Party fanatics. *RON*]
Jenny Uechi, Vancouver Observer, 10 February 2015

Pierre Poilievre, the former Conservative Minister for democratic reform, has just been appointed Minister of employment and social development, after years of pushing for right-wing policies similar to those advocated by the American Koch brothers and the Tea Party movement they fund.

The controversial and fiercely partisan 35-year-old MP was once described as "the baby face of Canadian conservatism" and "one of the more generally infuriating individuals on Parliament Hill."

Minister Poilievre expressed his desire to implement anti-union "right to work" legislation in 2012, at the sa…

Stephen Harper: “The Security Intelligence Review Committee … is a robust mechanism for independent, expert, third party oversight.”

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[Short and sweet: Harper said this in Parliament and it's not true. *RON*]
By Dana Wagner on Thursday, February 12, 2015

“The Security Intelligence Review Committee … is a robust mechanism for independent, expert, third party oversight.” Stephen Harper, Prime Minister and Conservative MP for Calgary Southwest, during Question Period on February 3, 2015
An oversight mechanism? False. The CSIS Act and SIRC’s last annual report call SIRC a review body (the annual report adds: not an oversight body).

FactsCan score: False

The anti-terrorism law introduced on January 30, C-51, gives new powers to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) but not to the body that reviews it, the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) (save for a new reporting requirement).

This has opened a debate on oversight. Do we currently have enough oversight? And, as the mandate of security agencies expands, does that oversight still do the job?

G20 finance chiefs favour action on wealth gap

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[Bear in mind that the Conservatives always claim to be helping average Canadians while doing nothing of the sort. Joe looks more confused and chagrined than committed in any case. "'If he (Oliver) is sincere on it, we’ll work with him,' [NDP Finance critic Nathan] Cullen said, but added income inequality is not something the Conservative government has focused on in recent years. Oliver did not comment on that aspect of the communiqué Tuesday." See also G-20 Confronts Income Inequality Scourge for First Time*RON*]

By: Les Whittington Ottawa Bureau reporter, Published on Tue Feb 10 2015

OTTAWA—Finance Minister Joe Oliver, who will be delivering a federal budget in a few months, has agreed with finance chiefs of the world’s largest economies that they should adopt policies to address the growing wealth gap.

“In some countries, potential growth has declined, demand continues to be weak, the outlook for jobs is still bleak and i…

Germany faces impossible choice as Greek austerity revolt spreads

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["The leaders of Spain and Italy know that their own populists at home will seize on any concessions to Syriza over austerity or debt relief as proof that Brussels yields only to defiance. They have a very strong incentive to make Greece suffer, even if it means a cataclysmic rupture and a Greek ejection from the euro." Not a good week for Merkel - Ah, the hardships of imperial ambition! *RON*]

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph, 11 Feb 2015

The political centre across southern Europe is disintegrating. Establishment parties of centre-left and centre-right - La Casta, as they say in Spain - have successively immolated themselves enforcing EMU debt-deflation.

Spain's neo-Bolivarian Podemos party refuses to fade. It has endured crippling internal rifts. It has shrugged off hostile press coverage over financial ties to Venezuela. Nothing sticks.

The insurrectionists who came from nowhere last year - with Trotskyist roots and more radic…

Marathon talks produce Ukraine peace deal; cease-fire Sunday

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[I see. Putin claims he has no troops in Ukraine yet is able to agree to a cease-fire? At this point a shaky cease fire is better for nothing. As always the ones who will suffer most by the ongoing fighting and imperial posturing on both sides are the innocent average Ukrainians on the ground.

By Associated Press / Daily Mail, 12 February 2015

MINSK, Belarus (AP) — Guns would fall silent, heavy weapons would pull back from the front and Ukraine would trade a broad autonomy for the east to get back control of its Russian border by the end of 2015 under a peace deal hammered out Thursday in all-night negotiations between Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany.

The deal was full of potential pitfalls that could derail its implementation, however. In announcing the plan, Russia and Ukraine differed over what exactly they had agreed to in the marathon 16-hour talks, including the status of Debaltseve, a key town now under rebel siege.

Russian Pre…