Bangladesh Surpasses Solar Energy Goal of One Million Homes, Sets New Target

I’ve declared today to be  “Good News Friday” on 350orbust. It doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of bad news out there, but today we’re going to focus on some feel-good stories to start the weekend off.

  • From a country that is too often in the news for tragic reasons, here’s a story that celebrates what can be done when a developing country decides to leapfrog over dependence on fossil fuels and conventional means of delivering power to households. Bangladesh had set a goal of powering one million households with solar energy by 2013, but achieved the landmark 18 months ahead of time. Officials say that over 5 million Bangladeshis now have access to home electricity because of solar technologies. Empowered by their success, the country has set a new goal of 2.5 million solar-powered households powered by 2014.

To read the full story click here.

  • Here in Canada, where our economy is dependent on the massively destructive and carbon-emitting Alberta tar sands, the NDP has announced that it is resurrecting the Climate Accountability Act that was killed in the unelected Conservative-dominated Senate last spring after being passed by the elected Members of Parliament.  Ironically, the Harper Cons have responded by saying that the NDP should heed the message sent in the last election (I guess it’s convenient for them to trot out “democracy” occasionally when it suits their purposes, although once again they are ignoring the fact that 60% of Canadians voted against them). Oh, right, this is a feel good blog posting, sorry, the Harper govt is guaranteed to ignite the ranter in me! Here’s the link to the story on NDP Resurrects Climate Change Bill
  • I’m classifying this as a “good news” story because it shows that the judge in climate activist Tim DeChristopher’s trial is desperate to avoid media focus on the miscarriage of justice that is being carried out in Utah. Mr. DeChristopher disrupted an illegal U.S. government land auction in the dying days of the Bush administration (read more here) and was convicted in March after a trail in which he was not allowed to explain his motives or to mention the illegality of the auction.  As the Peaceful Uprising website states:

By issuing another last-minute delay, Judge Dee Benson has made it clear that he is desperate to avoid public accountability for the persecution of peaceful climate justice activist  Tim DeChristopher. The change was made directly following our announcement that there would be nationwide solidarity actions on June 23rd. It is another attempt to defeat citizen organizing, and it must not succeed.

Such delay tactics did not work before. Tim’s trial was rescheduled nine times over a period of two years–without explanation. They can do the same with the sentencing hearing, but those fighting for a just and healthy world know that we cannot wait.  

Click here to read more and to find out how to take action with Tim on the 23rd if you live in the United States – but don’t delay, it involves receiving a banner in the mail by that day!  In honour of Tim’s ongoing battle for a just and sustainable world, I’m reposting this video of his response after being convicted in March:


Climate Crunch – Canada’s Unelected Senators Under Pressure From Chamber of Commerce To Vote Against Clean Energy Future

Today’s guest blogger is Climate Champion Cheryl McNamara, who has blogged on 350orbust before about the Canadian Climate Change Accountability Act, Bill C311. Cheryl organizes Climate Response, a grassroots group whose purpose is to elevate the public conversation on climate change and encourage the transition to a low-carbon economy. Her blog Carbon Slim offers tasks and tips to help readers reduce their carbon footprints. This was first posted on Carbon Slim Friday September 17.

Urge Senators to Pass Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act
This is something I’ve thrown myself into. I’ve put a lot of work into it, so you don’t have to.

Canada is close to passing the Climate Change Accountability Act, but it’s under threat by Conservative Senators. Parliamentarians passed the Bill (C-311) in May. Now the Bill needs the support of 53 Senators. Of the 105 Senators, 52 are Conservative.

The situation is precarious. Years of hard work to get the Act to this point could prove meaningless if it does not get the support from all 53 opposition Senators: 49 Liberal Senators, two Progressive Conservatives and two Independents.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is calling on its members to lobby the Senate to oppose the Bill. Join me in a concerted citizen campaign in support of Bill C-311. The Bill resumes debate on September 28th.

What’s the Big Deal? – If passed into law, the Climate Change Accountability Act will set science based emissions reductions, require the government to produce five year target plans, establish independent reviews, and punish polluters who break regulations. It will also position Canada as a global leader in the transition to a low carbon economy.

I heard Dr. James Hansen, one of the world’s top climatologists, speak in Toronto on Wednesday. Dr. Hansen heads NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. He’s been sounding the climate action clarion call for decades. Dr. Hansen reminded us that addressing climate change is a moral issue. The safe level of greenhouse gas parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere is 350. In the past, natural global warming has taken place at a rate of .0001 ppm. Currently, we are experiencing an increase of an astonishing 2 ppm per year. According to Hansen, if we burn all the fossil fuel left on the planet, the greenhouse gases will constitute 1000 ppm in our atmosphere.

What to do – Please visit for sample letters to Senators and their emails. Just cut and paste. Easy. If you have a bit more time and love strategy, cut and paste the sample letters to the CEOs of insurance companies and financial firms, who are Chamber of Commerce members. The letters ask them to lobby the Senate to support the Bill. I also include contact details. Please send these letters off and spread the word.

On September 28th Senator Neufeld will speak out against the Bill when the Senate resumes debate on it. Let’s bombard the Senate with emails. Soon I will craft sample targeted emails to Liberal Senators, PC Senators and the Independents, and upload them onto the Climate Response campaign page.

Also – please join the Facebook page, Urge Senators to Support Bill C-311 –!/group.php?gid=152085321489110

Let’s insure that the Climate Change Accountability Act becomes law. And when that’s done, let’s work to usher in a government that respects it.

Bill C311, The Climate Accountability Act, Needs Support From Canadians

Bill C311, The Climate Accountability Act, was moved by Senator Grant Mitchell of Alberta to its second reading in the Senate yesterday, Canada’s Clean Air Day. Unfortunately it seems that the debate in the senate has been quite partisan, and the Conservative senators, who outnumber the Liberals, may vote against it in a block.  Senator Marjorie LeBreton, in a letter to a concerned Canadian, wrote:

“There is no doubt that anthropogenic Climate Change is an important matter for all Canadians. This is why I am very proud to say that our Government has already created effective and efficient measure to deal with Climate Change….Therefore, our Government is not supportive of this bill, and we will continue to move forward in the right direction in conjunction with President Obama and the United States.”

The rest of the world has recognized that Canada is a laggard, not a leader, in addressing climate change.  International leaders, during visits to this country, have recently questioned Canada’s commitment to this issue, including EU President Jose Manuel Barroso, U.N. Chief Ban Ki-moon, and Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

Please take the time to contact our senators, particularly the Conservative ones, and tell them its time to put partisan politics aside and do what is right for our children and grandchildren, as well as the planet.  To find out how to do this, go to the “How To Contact Senators re: Bill C311, The Climate Accountability Act” in the side column. Emailing is good, fax is better, phoning is even better (or do all three!).

To read the debate in the Senate yesterday, click here.

For information on what the international community thinks of the current government’s policy on climate change, check out these links:

“Mexico’s President Pushes Ottawa to Act on Climate Change”. Globe & Mail

UN Chief Presses Harper On Climate Change”

“EU head urges Canada to Act on Climate Change“.

David Suzuki On The Harper Government’s Climate Change Plan: “They Don’t Have A F*!?*g Clue”

When Canadian environmentalist and scientist David Suzuki released his autobiography in 2006, he had this to say about the federal government’s climate change plan under Prime Minister Stephen Harper:

“Harper claims that he’s going to develop his own plan,” Suzuki said. “The thing that’s really outrageous is he has no plan. We’ve got this from Ambrose’s assistant now. We were talking to him, ‘Are you doing this? Considering a carbon tax?’ ‘Nothing yet, we’re open to everything.’ In other words, they don’t have a fucking clue. I think it’s outrageous that he’s coming in, gutting Kyoto, and he’s acting like he’s going to substitute something and he doesn’t have an idea.”

And four years and many more millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere later, and it seems that Suzuki was right on with his assessment of this government’s understanding of the issue of climate change.  Just last week Harper, who is under increasing pressure internationally to put climate change on the agenda of the upcoming G8 and G20 meetings, indicated that the economy is the most important issue to consider, and anything else is “noise”.  Harper and his Environment Minister Jim Prentice have indicated their plan to address climate change is to wait until the U.S. has a plan, and then follow that.  And this is called leadership!!? In fact, Prentice recently dismissed the push to reduce greenhouse gases as “utterly pointless”.

Suzuki also commented on the understanding shown by federal Conservatives on this issue during his interview with

“The thing that just terrifies me is trying to imagine George Bush or Ralph Klein or Stephen Harper, Stockwell Day, or [Nova Scotia MP] Peter MacKay trying to really understand what exactly is global warming. Or what is a stem cell. If you can’t at least be literate enough to understand the basic principles, then you end up making decisions for purely political reasons. And that’s what’s really terrifying. These guys are still convinced by the skeptics, the people paid for by the fossil-fuel industry, that global warming is bullshit. And they don’t have the ability to judge for themselves.”

The good news in 2010 is that the Harper government continues to be in a minority position.  The recent passing of Bill C311, The Climate Accountability Act, was possible because of this.  All three opposition parties worked together to get it through the House of Commons.  Unfortunately Harper has had the opportunity to appoint over 30 new Conservative Senators to the upper chamber, so the bill will face stiff Conservative opposition as it makes its way through the Senate.  Canadians who want a brighter, greener future for our children need to make our voices heard.  Click here for contact information and sample emails for letting Senators know they can’t oppose the will of the elected House of Commons on this issue.  If you would like to call or email Prime Minister Harper, click hereClick here to find out how to contact Minister Prentice, and let him know that his efforts on climate change so far have been pointless.

Here’s a recent video of David Suzuki talking about the Climate Accountability Act:


Call To Action – Climate Accountability Act Faces 3rd Vote in Parliament on Wednesday April 14th

From Nature Canada’s blog:

“An urgent message from Bruce Hyer, MP Thunder Bay – Superior North who introduced Bill C-311 – The Climate Change Accountability Act:

Because of a surprise procedural motion foisted upon the House of Commons by the Conservatives just as the debate on Bill C-311 was about to begin, things are drastically different from what was originally expected. The debate on the bill was cancelled, and there will now be a crucial vote in the House on April 14 that will determine its fate. It will be a simple vote: support the Climate Change Accountability Act going forward to Third Reading, or not. If the vote fails, the bill dies. Our fear is that with a procedural vote coming with so little notice, many MPs won’t realize the significance of the vote…

We know the NDP and Bloc caucuses will be there on April 14 to vote in support of C-311. But many years of work on the only climate change bill in Parliament will come to an end, in obscurity, if Liberal MPs are not there in force to support it too.”

Here’s the email addresses of all the Liberal MPs – send them a message that we want Canada to act NOW to ensure a viable future for our children and their children – we want Bill C311 to pass! Or to phone Michael Ignatieff, call 416-251-5510 or 613-995-9364.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Starving For Change” Hunger Striker Shines Light On Bill C311, Finds Dirty Tricks Used Against Him

I have written in previous columns about the campaign of Dante Ryel, who, at great personal risk and sacrifice,  has been fasting since March 3 to bring attention to Bill C311, the Climate Accountability Act. The bill is making its way through Parliament right now and would put Canada in the forefront of addressing climate change, rather than in the laggard position as a “Colossal Fossil” that it currently holds. The vote that would pass this bill in the House of Commons is scheduled for April 21st.

Several days ago, Dante’s Facebook site, Starving For Change, was hacked into by a politically-motivated person or persons.  They took over his Facebook account and got into several of his personal email accounts through “phishing”. Dante admits that he isn’t thinking as clearly as he should, due to having not eaten for 2 weeks, and made the mistake of logging onto a page that had been sent to him via a friend’s email that, unbeknownst to Dante,  had been taken over by the hacker. That started the problem, and now the hacker has taken to posting threatening messages on the “Starving For Change” wall, and taking over new identities to post other negative messages. It appears to be a campaign of harassment and threat designed to discourage Dante and his supporters from spreading the message about Bill C311.

Here’s a new “Message From Exile” that Dante has just made:


We discourage bullies on the schoolyard, and we shouldn’t let this one have his way on cyber-space, either.  Go to the new “fan” page for the Climate Accountability Act here, and become a fan of clean air, clean water, and stand against dirty tricks. You can send a message of support for Dante at: Most importantly, make sure you take time to send a message to your Member of Parliament that passing this bill is important to you, and your children’s future. Click here to send a letter to all the leaders in Ottawa from the Council of Canadians website about Bill C311.

To learn more about “phishing”, and how to protect yourself, click here.This experience is a good reminder of the importance of  protecting our personal information in this internet age.