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COP OFF!

There have been many civil society initiatives running alongside COP26. Most are taking place in Glasgow in November. Among those that aren’t, we note the following one, named COP OFF!, which will be held online between 14 and 16 November. Those taking part include Noam Chomsky, Yanis Varoufakis, and Caroline Lucas.

The reasons behind this initiative:

“As our planet’s clock approaches midnight, world leaders are set to converge in Glasgow at COP26 in order to come up with new excuses, new symbolic targets and new ways to silence the real progressive voices who oppose them.

Climate change is real, it’s here, and it’s an emergency. But history has shown us that those who were supposed to lead us out of this crisis are so blinded by capital and powerful private interests that they’ve decided Earth itself is a small price to pay for the yachts, mansions, private jets and record profits of the 1%. They will gather, mingle over dinner and drinks, and preach their commitment to insufficient goals and targets. Then fail to meet even those.”

The event will be online and many progressive thinkers and leaders are expected to take part. On the first day we will host two sessions, at 6PM and 8PM CEST; while on the second and third day we will host 3 sessions each: 4PM, 6PM and 8PM CEST.

COP OFF: DiEM25’s Alternative Climate Conference, will be livestreamed on DiEM25’s

https://www.youtube.com/c/diem25official

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WE ARE NOT ALONE! The Lancet

Who knows if the Italian minister for ecological transition read or was informed of the “Call for emergency action to limit global temperature increases, restore biodiversity, and protect health”.

The call was published in the journal The Lancet and 230 other health journals. Environmental damage is not in the least democratic, because it hurts in particular the health of the poorest and most vulnerable.

You can read the complete article here:

And the list of the journals that published it can be found here:

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Technical guidance on the climate proofing of infrastructure in the period 2021-2027   

If we were to trust the words that are being spoken right now about the environment, the climate and the soil, we would think we had gained the right to a wonderful world, and that the powerful of the earth were defending it with all their physical and economic capacity.

The reality is right in front of our eyes, however. Fortunately there are still those with the energy to fight for a fairer world, a healthier environment, and an inclusive society. The young people of Fridays For Future (FFF) have resumed their demonstrations, Extinction Rebellion (XR) are back on the streets, associations and groups are trying to make themselves heard. Th e “wind” must continue to change.

This is the direction of travel of the European Commission’s Note on “Technical guidance on the climate proofing of infrastructure in the period 2021-2027“.

Continua a leggere “Technical guidance on the climate proofing of infrastructure in the period 2021-2027   “
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Where are we going wrong?

The most recent European elections saw a considerable number of green MEPs win seats in the European Parliament. Along with the regular demonstrations by citizens of all ages inspired by the young people of FridaysForFuture, the call for a Europe that pays attention to environmental concerns became a European political priority. The response was the launch of the Green Deal for Europe.

Since then we have witnessed a succession of European initiatives, presented with sonorous words and liberal use of the term “sustainable”, but which empty the true essential aims of change of meaning. 

We have stressed many times in this Newsletter how distant this is from the urgent needs of the environment. We are obliged to return to this theme in relation to the Climate law formally approved by the European Parliament on 24 June. A single figure tells us everything: the climate law will be the European driving force for climate neutrality by mid-century and will set in stone the EU’s target to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The initial proposal was for 70%, a target that has already been negotiated downwards…

We have to wonder why, despite the support and concerns of the European peoples, (not to mention the environmental disasters), we continue to see continual compromises that reduce the chances of real change. The usual response is: “something is better than nothing”. But here lies the real mistake: hoping that by accepting not much we can still bring about improvements. As the young people of FFF keep telling us: the house is on fire, the fire is spreading, and neither a glass nor a bucket of water will be enough to put out the flames.

Furthermore, we are governed by people who do not fully understand the meaning of the words environment, ecosystem, climate change, soil. And it’s not even their fault … how can an expert in physics and robotics, like the current Italian minister for the ‘ecological transition’ (ex ‘minister for the environment’), be expected to understand the arrangement of “vacuums” in the soil?

So perhaps we should start from this particular point: elect European groups of environmental experts with the power to preventively veto proposed legislation. The role could be given to the European Environment Agency, but unfortunately that body lacks the necessary authority because its members are not elected.

This team of elected environmental experts would have just two tasks:

  1. assess the compatibility of proposed laws, regulations and infrastructure projects with environmental limits, at the request of committees, associations or groups of citizens;
  2. publicly inform and educate politicians and officials who make incorrect or misleading statements about the environment.

What do our readers think? We would like to hear your suggestions, observations, ideas, critiques and comments.

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Let’s tax speculation!

GNDE –Civil Society   https://report.gndforeurope.com/

In this section we usually put forward ideas from civil society that can be fitted into the context of the scheme proposed by the Green New Deal for Europe.

This time however we are going to talk about an MEP: Pierre Larrouturou.

Unknown to most people, he is the EU’s budget rapporteur. In light of this he has tried to draw attention to the need to act swiftly against financial speculation.

Faced with the inertia of the parliamentary bodies, Pierre decided to carry out a hunger strike inside the European Parliament itself. His aim? To persuade his “colleagues” and the European institutions to prioritize discussion of the proposal to tax speculation. Here are his words: “There’s something obscene about hearing that there are not enough funds for health, the climate, employment, when a small tax on speculation could raise 50 billion euros a year”.

His proposal is simple: introduce a tax on financial transactions. Those buying shares on the financial markets are not taxed, while VAT is levied on food and drinks. It can be concluded from this that stocks and shares are more essential to life than food.

Since the media ignored Larrouturou’s 18-day hunger strike, with which he attempted to draw attention to the issue, we thought it a good idea to at least let readers of the Newsletter know about it.

https://www.facebook.com/larrouturoupierre/

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European climate pact

On 16 December 2020, the anniversary of the presentation of the Green Deal, the European Climate Pact was published, and almost totally ignored by the media. Being curious by nature, we asked ourselves what the difference is between Pact and Deal and came to the conclusion that they are in effect synonyms: both mean a reciprocal commitment based on a convention or an agreement between two or more people or parties.

So why a new pact now, and who is it between?

This is not a political document, but a “call to arms”.

In Europe, as elsewhere, public attention and pressure to safeguard the planet have fallen as a result of Covid-19. But it is essential to keep interest levels high. The Pact is asking for precisely this: spreading awareness and supporting action to combat climate change.

In short:

“We need to work together to tackle climate change and environmental degradation and to grasp the opportunities arising from decisive action and sustainable lifestyles.

Continua a leggere “European climate pact”
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The EU machine has started to move

Lockdown has accelerated the preparation of the EC’s documents for the Green Deal for Europe. The picture is a complicated one, sometimes inspiring, frequently contradictory. We list below the documents that in our view are worth reading.

  1. Biodiversity EU Strategy for 2030, Contains a whole section on the soil and its importance. Prepares the ground for a specific soil directive by the end of 2021.
  2. From Farm to Fork, It tries to bring agreement between everyone, which is impossible, but it at least has the merit of indicating limits and precise objectives to be achieved by 2030.
  3. Analysis of links between CAP Reform and the Green Deal The whole thrust is to stress that the current proposed CAP is in line with the Green Deal. Pie in the sky, lies or ambiguity?
  4. European Climate Law To be dealt with in depth and in detail.
  5. Taxonomy: Final report of the Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance Doorstop of around 700 pages, needed to understand the what and the how of financing the Green Deal.

Everyone understands that we can’t go back to the “normality” of the time before COVID-19. So we need to make sure we follow the discussions around these documents and others that will follow so that we can contribute to improve and redefine them. There is urgent need for a common commitment to involve everyone who has an interest in this in order to obtain a European framework for protecting the soil.  The SIP Forum must be actively engaged in this struggle.

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The Italian Climate Network Onlus – “School Project”

In the ‘Experiences’ section we tend to report on initiatives which may inspire readers to take similar action. We illustrate practices which have led to interesting results and that could be adapted to other contexts by the reader. When there is a will, there is a way.

In this issue, we would like to draw your attention to the Italian Climate Network Onlus (ICN), [Onlus = Non-profit organization of social utility], which operates in the field of education. Italian Climate Action, an Italian partner of 350.org and member of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe (www.caneurope.org), is entirely run by volunteers (see picture above) who strive to raise both individual and collective awareness on climate change and defining adequate measures to counter one of the biggest challenges our century is facing. Continua a leggere “The Italian Climate Network Onlus – “School Project””