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A Leftwing victory in Norway election puts oil exit at the heart of coalition talks

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A leftist party calling for a ban on new oil licences could be the kingmaker in negotiations to form a government, calling into question the industry’s future

Oil infrastructure in the town of Florø, Norway (Photo: Sonse/Flickr)

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As Norway’s leftwing opposition parties swept to electoral victory on Monday, their ability to govern hinges on reaching a deal on the future of the oil industry.

The leftwing bloc unseated a centre-right coalition headed by conservative prime minister Erna Solberg in an election dominated by climate issues.

Labour leader Jonas Gahr Støre came out on top, winning 48 of the Norway’s 169 seats in parliament. With support from his preferred partners the Centre Party and the progressive Socialist Left Party, Støre could become Norway’s next prime minister at the head of majority coalition government. But that will mean compromising on how far and fast to move Norway away from petroleum.

Støre, of the Labour party, previously described setting an end date to oil production as “throwing people into the sea and then throwing the rescue rings in afterwards” and backs a gradual transition.

The Socialist Left Party (SV) has called for an end to new oil exploration and production. Without its support, Støre will be unable to form a majority government.

Silje Lundberg, a senior campaigner with Oil Change International in Norway, told Climate Home News SV could have “a massive impact on the country’s future oil policy”.

“SV is likely to make limiting oil and gas production and exploration a make or break issue for participating in a potential government. We will see just how much and how willing the Labour Party is to let climate policy dictate oil and gas policies and not the other way around,” she said.

Explainer of Norwegian political party positions on oil by Oslo-based research institute Cicero

Norway is the world’s 13th largest oil producer and exports nearly all of its production. It has the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, built on oil revenues.

Over the last eight years, 545 new exploration licenses were awarded to oil companies on the Norwegian continental shelf, according to Oil Change International analysis.

The sector’s ongoing expansion goes against what is needed to limit global heating to 1.5C. A recent study found that nearly 60% of the world’s oil reserves need to stay in the ground for a chance to meet the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement.

This tension animated the election debate, calling the future of the oil industry into question like never before.

Barbados pursues ‘Norwegian model’: going green at home and drilling for oil

Truls Gulowsen, chair of Friends of the Earth Norway, told Climate Home that political parties have become “more accepting that we need to have a controlled and managed phase-out of oil production”.

Only the Green Party in Norway went so far as to propose an end date for oil production – 2035. But as debate intensified two weeks before the vote, even the conservative government announced reforms to the oil tax regime that shifted the burden of exploration from the state to companies.

“Whatever happens, there will be significant changes to Norway’s oil regime as a result of this election,” Gulowsen added.

Among the three potential coalition partners, all agree that drilling around the pristine Lofoten islands, above the Arctic circle, is off limits.

Coalition talks will determine whether the new government will go a step further in restricting or ending new oil exploration.

Comment: We have set an end date for oil and gas production. The world should follow

Political observers say a compromise could be found in restricting or even ending oil exploration in new and unexplored areas, particularly in parts of the Arctic and the Barents Sea.

Erlend Andre Hermansen, senior research at the Oslo-based institute Cicero, told Climate Home that the Labour Party was unlikely to agree to end exploration in more mature fields that are located closer to existing installations. “I think that will be the main conflict line,” he said.

And any coalition agreement will need to convince SV members, who have been promised a vote on the final deal. This adds pressure on the party to deliver on its climate promises and could be used as leverage to persuade the Labour Party to accept more ambitious restrictions on oil production, Hermansen said. “But I don’t expect any revolution,” he added.

Internationally, a small but growing number of countries are setting limits on oil production. Ministers from Denmark and Costa Rica are trying to launch a club of countries committed to going beyond oil and gas.

Lundberg said Norway had a historical responsibility and the capacity to start a managed phase out of oil production and allow producers in developing countries more time to plan their transition to a cleaner economy.

Source: Climate Change News

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Africa

Eurasian Women’s Forum Seeks Answers to Significant Questions in Women’s World

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Eurasian Women’s Forum Seeks Answers to Significant Questions in Women’s World

(Image by Rafael Edwards)

On October 13-15, Saint Petersburg will host the Third Eurasian Women’s Forum primarily to review how women have performed in men’s dominated world, identify challenges and roadblocks on their way to gender equality and fight for higher social status and, of course, outline new strategic goals for the future.

Women have come a long way, indeed, since first their conference held 1986 in Beijing, China and resultantly declared March 8 – as International Women’s Day marks annually throughout the world. Women have taken up the fight, sometimes collaborating with women-conscious men and thus paving the way up to the top echelon in all economic and social spheres. Women now have a structured organization from the grassroots, in all countries, and up to regional organizations and to the United Nations.

Eurasian Women, the largest women group in the region, meet at the initiative of Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matvienko. The first forum held in 2015, and the second in 2018. The forum is generally held under the aegis of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.

Its participants include female leaders from the CIS and other foreign countries, women representatives of executive government bodies, international organizations, business circles, the scientific community, public and charity organizations, and respected members of the international women’s movements and associations.

This forum has won wide recognition as an effective mechanism of interaction and dialogue for women who are influencing social, political and economic decisions. It facilitates the growing participation of women’s movements in resolving global challenges of our time.

The chosen theme of the third Forum “Women: A Global Mission in a New Reality” has much significance for today’s world. Boosting international cooperation to enhance the role of women in order to meet the goals of sustainable development, forming women’s agenda and new approaches to solving global problems in the new reality – these are the main objectives for participants and organizers.

The business programme of the third forum includes plenary and expert sessions organized by international organizations and associations, discussions, an offsite meeting of the Women 20 (W20), public and private sector talks, business dialogues, webinars, workshops, and business breakfasts and a number of other events.

The participants will devote key debates to the role of women in ensuring global security, the transition to new models of economic growth and social progress, overcoming the adverse consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, developing healthcare, balancing universal digitization, and addressing global environmental and climate problems.

Expert sessions will be for international organizations and associations. Those include field sessions of Women 20, the UN session on industrial development (UNIDO), the World Bank session, the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance meeting, international club of APEC BEST AWARD winners and participants, and International Club of Women Regional Leaders.

For the first time, the Forum will feature meeting of the International Working Group of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Nuclear Energy Agency on improving gender balance in the nuclear energy industry.

Throughout the world, there is a growing demand for female leadership. Research has shown that companies with women on their boards of directors enjoy better results. As new skills requirements are emerging, so educational programmes for female leaders are becoming critical. The ability to share experience at an international level of implementing such programmes can help foster joint initiatives. This is also tur about women in political sphere.

In the face of global challenges, there is an increasing need for a new paradigm, along with a renewed focus on changing attitudes to women. Women have made an enormous contribution to efforts to improve health, raise life expectancy, and improve quality of life. These are the first role as women in the family, and this is unchangeable fact in the world.

The BRICS Women’s Business Alliance was first presented at the 2nd Eurasian Women’s Forum. The leaders of Brazil, India, China, Russia, and South Africa gave their unanimous support to the initiative, and adopted the declaration on the establishment of the alliance. Last year (2020) saw the official launch of the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance.

The alliance seeks to implement multilateral cooperation projects aimed at consolidating and strengthening its role in the global economic agenda. The alliance’s areas of focus include the development of innovation, healthcare, food and environmental security, an inclusive economy, the creative industries, and tourism.

Women have been forging alliances and ahead of this forum for instance, the Women’s Business Association of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FLO FICCI), considered as the largest women’s business association in India, signed a memorandum of understanding with Russia. This collaboration aims at developing women’s entrepreneurship, social communications and at creating favourable conditions for cooperation between business circles in Russia and India.

It plans promoting entrepreneurship and professional excellence through seminars, conferences, lectures, trainings, and other events aimed at encouraging and stimulating the involvement of the skills, experience, and energy of women in all sectors and at all levels of economic activity.

The Eurasian Women Association has so many programmes and projects with other women’s groups and associations in the Eurasian region, in Asia, Africa, and Europe.

The Eurasian Women forum will be offline using modern formats such as video conferencing and online broadcast. This form will ensure the extended outreach and provide audience engagement. The interactive format will be in strict accordance with safety measures aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19. It is drawn up by the organizing committee and in line with approved requirements from the World Health Organization.

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Editorials

By Jeremy Corbyn: Climate Crisis Is a Class Issue

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Jeremy Corbyn: Climate Crisis Is a Class Issue

In a column for Jacobin, Jeremy Corbyn writes that we need class politics to transform our economies and save humanity from climate apocalypse. There’s no other way.

But it is also nothing significantly new. Scientists are taking an urgent tone because they have been making the same warnings for decades — while serious action on our warming world has failed to materialize.Indeed, oil giant Exxon predicted climate change in the 1970s — before going on to spend decades publicly denying its existence.

The political and economic system we live in does not produce climate change by accident but by design, rewarding big polluters and resource extractors with superprofits.

This is our historical legacy. In the UK, imperial-era fortunes were made from oil from places like the Persian Gulf, where Britain sponsored an antidemocratic coup in the 1950s to preserve the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company’s profits. AIOC later became BP, which continues to pump hundreds of millions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere at sites from the Gulf of Mexico to the Caspian. And much of the world’s fossil money is handled by City of London financial institutions which specialize in managing oil profits.

More Disasters Are Coming

Around the world, governments continue to act on behalf of these fossil networks, even as they claim to be taking climate action. Boris Johnson has even copied the Green Industrial Revolution language we in the Labour Party developed. But he has copied only the words, not the actions. In June, the UK’s Climate Change Committee demonstrated that on its current course the government will fail to reach even its own woefully insufficient targets.

On May Day 2019, as leader of the Opposition, I successfully moved a parliamentary statement for Britain to declare a climate emergency — making ours the first parliament in the world to do so. I was, and remain, determined that the Labour Party and our movement should take the climate and environmental crisis very seriously.

If this system remains unchallenged, we can expect a swift increase in the floods, droughts, and wildfires that have ripped through Australia, Siberia, British Columbia, East Africa, California, and much of Europe over the last year. Intense rainstorms are up by two-fifths this century. The heaviest are three-quarters stronger than they were in the 1950s, and once-in-an-epoch hurricanes are now commonplace.

But it is not just the physical consequences of these events we need to worry about; it is also the political ones. In Greece, austerity, deregulation, and the neglect of fire services have magnified the impact of horrific blazes in Evia. In Texas earlier this year, the state allowed energy firms to price-gouge on emergency power, leaving people with unpayable debts.

And from the United States to the European Union, governments are investing in surveillance technology and military equipment to attack the refugees that environmental crises help create. The billions being spent on new guards and drones in the Mediterranean is money not being spent on a green transition, instead going to the profits of a border, surveillance, and military industry deeply tied to the fossil economy. The British Parliament is even currently debating a draconian Nationality and Borders Bill aiming to make it illegal to save refugee lives at sea — putting Britain at odds with the universal law of the sea.

With military budgets ballooning across the world, powerful countries are preparing for conflict, not cooperation, to deal with the climate emergency. Such false solutions will increase all our suffering; but as ever, will favor the wealthy few while punishing the many — whether people flooded out of their homes in England or people fleeing drought in North Africa.

We Can Stop This

But it doesn’t have to be like this, and our reaction must be one of hope rather than fear. Climate scientists can and do tell us with forensic accuracy what a temperature rise of 1.5 or 3 or 5 degrees will do to sea levels, water scarcity, or biodiversity. But the reason they cannot predict what that rise will be is because it is impossible to predict the choices we will make next. Those, as the IPCC report reminds us, are still up to us.

And if we take on the powerful, removing the systemic incentives to burn the planet for a quick windfall, we can do things differently. That means workers everywhere mobilizing for a global Green New Deal at COP26 this year which takes carbon out of the atmosphere and puts money back in workers’ pockets, while tackling injustice and inequality in the Global South. There is no town anywhere that would not benefit from green public transport, or rewilding with new forests, or local renewable energy, or jobs in the green industries of the future.

From climate change, to poverty and inequality, to our dangerous collective failure to get poorer countries vaccinated against COVID-19, we are living through the consequences of a system that puts billionaires first and the rest of us last. The climate and environmental crisis is a class issue. It is the poorest people in working-class communities, in polluted cities, and in low-lying island communities who suffer first and worst in this crisis.

But we do still have the power to change it. In 2019, schoolchildren striking for climate action captured the imagination and attention of people around the globe overnight. If they can do it, so can we. Our response to the climate “code red” must be to work in our communities, in politics, in schools and universities, in our workplaces and with our trade unions to demand and win a livable planet — and a system which puts human life and well-being first.

You can sign up for the Peace and Justice Project’s Green New Deal mobilization here.

Source: Jacobin Magazine

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Agriculture

Dairy Free Milk for Disadvantaged Families

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Doctors Urge UK Government To Add Dairy-Free Milk To Programs For Disadvantaged Families

A host of medical professionals have penned an open letter to the UK government regarding its ‘discriminatory’ food schemes.  A new open letter calls on the UK government to update its policies to be more inclusive Credit: Adobe. Do not use without permission.

On World Plant Milk Day (August 22, 2021), Plant-Based Health Professionals UK calls for the UK Government to add fortified plant milks, alongside cow’s milk, within the Healthy Start Scheme (England/Wales/Ireland), Best Start Foods (Scotland) and School Holiday Food Parcels.

Discriminatory policy

Only allowing the purchase of cow’s milk is a discriminatory policy that excludes children with lactose malabsorption or intolerance, a natural state that is most prevalent amongst people of colour and present in 70 percent of the world’s population.

Children who are lactose intolerant but continue to consume dairy for its purported health benefits, may experience abdominal pain, diarrhoea and fatigue, and other negative impacts of dairy intolerance. This policy also excludes and discriminates against children with cow’s milk protein allergy, which is now the commonest cause of food-related anaphylactic death in children in the UK.

The current schemes also discriminate and exclude vegans, who have adopted an ethical lifestyle choice, which is considered a protected belief as defined by the Equality Act of 2010. In fact, a third of UK household now buy plant-based milks.

Health risks of dairy

Not only is cow’s milk unnecessary within a healthy balanced diet, its consumption has been associated with an increased risk of a number of chronic health conditions in children, including acne, eczema, asthma, type I diabetes, which negatively affects their quality of life. In adults, milk consumption has been associated with an increased risk of certain cancers, the strongest link being with prostate cancer, the commonest cancer in men.

Despite decades of industry marketing suggesting that dairy consumption is necessary and beneficial for bone health, scientific studies do not support this narrative. In fact, some large population based studies have reported the opposite; those consuming the most dairy have an increased risk of bone fractures.

In contrast, swapping cow’s milk for fortified soya milk has several potential health benefits. Consuming soya as a child reduces the future risk of breast cancer in women. Women who consume soya milk in place of cow’s milk may significantly reduce their risk of breast cancer, with one large study reporting a 32 percent reduced risk. Fortified soya milks provide similar quantities of protein and calcium to cow’s milk but in a healthier package without exposing children to saturated fat, mammalian oestrogen and growth hormones.

The 2019 revision of the Canadian dietary guidelines has stayed true to the science and removed dairy as a food group. We also applaud the Scottish government for adding soya milk to their Milk and Healthy Snack Scheme.

Environmental impact of dairy

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just released its Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) titled Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. António Guterres, the UN secretary general, called this ‘a code red for humanity. The report clearly finds that human activity has warmed the atmosphere, the ocean and the land on a scale that is ‘unprecedented’ over thousands of years.

Animal agriculture is a major driver of the climate and ecological crises, with recent analysis suggesting it contributes at least 16.5 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions. Ruminant animals, mainly cows, contribute to more than half of these emissions and therefore we need to drastically reduce and eventually eliminate our consumption and reliance on cow’s milk.

Government food and health policies now needs to align with those required to avert the pending climate disaster. This can be done immediately by providing families in need with healthy and sustainable choices. All plant milks have a significantly lower environmental footprint than cow’s milk, with soya being one of the most sustainable options.

Plant-Based Health Professionals UK calls upon the Government of all four nations to promote and provide access to fortified plant-milks as well as cow’s milk for the sake of our health and that of the planet.

The World Plant Milk Day Challenge

Now in its fifth year, World Plant Milk Day founded by Plant Based News’ co-founder Robbie Lockie, hosts a website that offers a 7-day dairy-free challenge. Participants enter their name and email and for 7 days receive emails, with tips and tricks on how to live dairy-free. The campaign is supported by non-profits such as Veganuary, and Switch4Good.

Source: Plant based news

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Mobilized TV on Free Speech TV  takes a deep look at our world, the consequences of human activity on our planet, and how we can reverse and prevent existing and future crises from occurring. Mobilized reveals life on our planet as a system of systems which all work together for the optimal health of the whole. The show delves into deep conversations with change-makers so people can clearly take concerted actions.

Produced by Steven Jay and hosted by Jeff Van Treese.

Mobilized’s TV series Mobilized TV  premieres on Free Speech TV on Friday, October 15, 2021. All episodes appear:

Fridays 9:30 PM Eastern (USA/Canada)

Saturdays; 6:30 PM (Eastern USA/Canada)

Sundays: 8:30 AM Eastern (USA/Canada)

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