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Don't be fooled: Greenpeace Alberta's support for Rachel Notley contradicted by other Greenpeace sentiments

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Witness a real-time drama happening in Canada that is representative of the political absurdities unfolding in the Paris COP 21 process -- and that provides a stark example of establishment NGO politics versus the authentic climate justice movement.

Mike Hudema aligns Greenpeace Canada with the market-based NGOism of Forest Ethics to congratulate the fossil fuel enablers in the new NDP government of Premier Rachel Notley in Alberta. (See statements below, and Notley's speech.)

Hudema happily welcomes all the trappings of a "major victory" of the Alberta government, while flanked on all sides by Big Oil. Imagine that, a government instituting carbon taxes and all manner of new market-based  "controls" on carbon, while "growing the economy" at the same time...and wait for it...allowing Tar Sands production to grow from 70 to 100 megatons (and the pipelines that go with it)...before putting a cap on it!

Going past 2.7 to 3.5 degrees and terminal ecological crisis? Abrupt systemic changes to our atmospheric and ocean climate systems? Well, heck, no need to take emergency measures! Instead, it appears we need more business-as-usual dressed up as real action -- packaged and encouraged by our very own "environmental movement."

Very much in contrast to this spectacle is an excellent statement published by someone in some other Greenpeace universe along with ActionAid, Civicus, AWID and Oxfam; Intelligent and forceful statements by giant transnational NGOs that have likely been pushed by their grassroots to actually enter the political realm to talk about the need to challenge government elites and corporations....

Don't be fooled!  There are many shades of environmentalism and many divisions amongst the environmental organizations you know and love. Choose well.


Contrast the statement in the international Greenpeace statement here with the ones from Canadian environmentalists supportive of Notley:

"Faced with this challenge, we need to go beyond tinkering, and address the structural causes of inequality: we cannot rely on technological fixes -- there is no app for this; we cannot rely on the market -- unchecked it will worsen inequality and climate change; and we cannot rely on the global elites -- left alone they will continue to reinforce the structures and approaches that have led to where we are. As the Rustlers Valley letter to civil society leaders noted, civil society organisations need to be bold in building from below. We need to help strengthen the power of the people to challenge the people with power."

And here, some statements drawn from a National Observer article: after the Notely news conference:

"Keep up the tempo, urges Greenpeace"

"This announcement is a major victory for people and communities that have long raised concerns about growing tar sands emissions. With the announced cap the government has finally set a limit on tar sands extraction. The days of the infinite growth of the tar sands are over and investors should take note. While the significance of this step cannot be overstated, these limits are still below what the science demands so the cap must be viewed as a ceiling rather than a floor. Alberta, like other jurisdictions, must continue to do more not less," said Greenpeace campaigner Mike Hudema.

"The 100 megaton limit is historic because it's one of the first times that an oil jurisdiction has put a limit on growth," said Hudema.

"Six million barrels of tar sands per day are currently permitted, but under this plan and under existing technology, half of that -- three million barrels per day that would have burned -- will now stay in the ground. This a game changer for Alberta and Canada. On the eve of the Paris climate talks Canada is charting a new direction. There is now nothing standing in the way of Prime Minister [Justin] Trudeau legislating an ambitious national climate leadership plan," said Karen Mahon, director of ForestEthics Canada.

"The complete phase-out of coal by 2030 makes clear the government of Alberta's intention to improve air quality and to tackle one of our highest-emitting fuel sources. Given the international attention on coal as an unnecessary source of pollution, the government of Alberta's decision not only protects people's health and saves the province's health care system hundreds of millions of dollars a year, it gives Alberta the credibility to bring a better message and approach to Paris,” said Ed Whittingham, executive director of the Pembina Institute.

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