WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S YER FISHMONGERIN'
Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
Issue 236, Friday 12th November 1999
WHALE OF A TIME
"This is a massive blow for a government whose policy on fossil fuels is in a mess. On the one hand at an international summit on climate change they are agreeing measures to reduce our use of fossil fuels, while on the other hand defending their policy of new oil exploration in the High Court."
Peter Melchett, Greenpeace
It's a piscine* piss-up for the Crustacean Crew in the North Sea this week joining the Whale Massive in sticking two fins up to marauding oil companies. In a High Court case brought by Greenpeace, Justice Kay last Friday overruled the Blair Junta, deciding that the interests of Britains' dolphins, whales and deep water coral reefs should be accorded higher priority than those of oil exploration.
The case centred on the government's cunning idea that the European Union's environmental laws need only apply to 'territorial waters' within 12 miles of the coast and not the whole 200 mile 'exclusive economic zone' over which it claims mineral rights. Handy, Tony- but Judge Kay reckons it's illegal. Which means in future, oil exploration in the north-east Atlantic, which severely damages the fragile reefs (more biodiverse than rainforests) and traumatises marine life, will be severely nobbled- and conservation areas created.
The judge told the court that Greenpeace's case- that marine mammals can be harmed by oil industry activity- was "substantially uncontradicted" by government and oil industry evidence. Already, the ruling has ballsed up the latest round of oil licensing, and oil companies operating in Britain's oilfields are facing long delays and vastly increased costs. Nice one!
BUT- this glorious news has been overshadowed by the revelation that the world is fucked. Yup, we're doomed. On Friday, as dolphins danced with wasted whales and crabs caned it, the UN Conference on Climate Change in Bonn was being presented with computer predictions from climate experts at the Hadley Centre. Apparently, the world's climate is heating up far faster than predicted- far too fast for natural systems to adapt. Temperatures by the end of next century are likely to be 8C higher than in 1850- before industrial pollution had taken effect.
Most of the Amazon rainforest will die off, releasing millions of extra tons of carbon dioxide- the 'greenhouse' gas that traps the sun's heat. This will also lead to many more 'extreme' weather events- like Hurricane Mitch and the cyclone in India.
While Britain's delegates no doubt bang on about how much they're doing to reduce our contribution to climate damage, SchNEWS wonders if they can explain why they're so intent on tracking down new reserves of fossil fuels- like in the north-east Atlantic, off the coast of St. Kilda (Britain's only natural world heritage site)- even though we've already found four times as much coal, gas and oil as we can afford to burn. For what it's worth, the Royal Commission for Environmental Pollution is aiming to publish by Xmas its investigation into the implications of phasing out fossil fuels. The investigation- in the pipeline for a year- has drilled everyone from Greenpeace to the UK Offshore Oil Association, though the government, not suprisingly, has been less than co-operative. Exxon wouldn't answer questions, BP reckon technology will sort it all out and Shell say oil and gas just ain't the problem- it's coal.
Seems SchNEWS's fave bastards Shell are trying to flog off their worldwide coal interests, and are touting the sell-off as "rationalisation of the portfolio" and "part of the necessary upgrading of the group's performance to bring Shell to the position of top performer" .
According to insiders, the real motive for the sale is that the company is acutely aware of how the coal industry will suffer in a more climate-regulated world. But keep it quiet- it might put off potential purchasers, like Rio Tinto and Anglo-American. What if they heard sHELL exec Mark Moody Stuart: "All of the estimated resources of conventional oil and gas could be consumed without raising atmospheric carbon concentrations above the limits suggested by even pessimistic observers. The real problem is the very much larger resources of carbon intensive coal."
If Shell are right and coal is the problem, shouldn't they just hang onto their reserves and ensure they're never dug up? Responsibility? Oh, come on now...this is Business.
Wanna know more?
For alternatives to all this fossil-fuel horror:
CRAP ARREST OF THE WEEK
THE COR BLIMLEY COLUMN
Did you know? Group sponsors of the recent high-tech arms fair at Heathrow were CISCO Systems, the people who worked on the Net Aid charity extravaganza. Net Aid's mission statement reads :
"NetAid is a long-term effort to build a community of conscience dedicated to providing basic needs: food, shelter, legal protection, human rights and health care. NetAid artists and sponsors are committed to focusing public and political attention on the needs of the world's poorest citizens and to building an online community that is dedicated to change. Join us."
So people did, last week occupying their offices and singing bad versions (are there any good ones?) of D.I.S.C.O subtley changed to C.I.S.C.O.
Bjorn Soderberg of the Syndicalist trade union in Sweden, was shot dead on his doorstep by nazis on 12th Oct. Neo-nazi groups in Sweden are responsible for violent attacks on immigrants, socialists, gays and the disabled; Bjorn managed to upset them by exposing Robert Westerlund, a top nazi who had infiltrated to a prominent position in the main shop workers union, who later left after being threatened with expulsion.On the morning of 23rd Oct, a bomb exploded in the syndicalist union offices in Gavle, presumably to frighten people from attending demonstrations paying tribute to Bjorn and affirming action against nazism, fascism and racism that had been arranged for that day. It didn't seem to put anyone off though - several thousand people participated in the small town of Gavle, 20,000 turned up in Stockholm to listen to speakers and an anarcho-feminist choir, 6,000 marched through Gutenburg and thousands of others showed solidarity in over 20 cities throughout Sweden. For anti-fascist support contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The world just got a lot more dangerous as the American Senate gave the thumbs up to continued nuclear escalation by refusing to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. More than thirty American Nobel prizewinners criticised the decision claiming there is no need to explode nukes to test their safety as there is adequate technology for the job. Moreover these scientists understand that any tin pot govt can build fission weapons like the one that destroyed Hiroshima, but since the fifties, these have been outmoded by fusion 'hydrogen' bombs, some 750 times more powerful; these are incredibly difficult to build and will always require repeated testing until you've got it right, so by ditching the CTBT, the US is allowing more countries to build or refine some seriously dangerous weapons. The reasons for their decision range from Republican scepticism of arms control to hatred for Clinton who has been pushing for them to sign. But more likely is commercial interests in weapons investment, as Senator John Warner said, "Many of the nuclear systems...are simply not suited to the subtle, and perhaps more difficult task of deterring rogue states...such weapons do not exist today in the US arsenal". Whatever the reasons, this Catch 22 can only profit the arms trade and jeopardise the safety and peace of the world.
SchNEWS 5th BIRTHDAY PARTY
All yer usual SchNEWS comedy, performance, films, DJ's and special guest stars.
@ New Madeira Hotel, Marine Parade, Brighton - 8 pm-2 am £3/4
SchNEWS in brief
Good news from the High Court last week, when three Law Lords ruled police 'fishing expeditions' illegal. But that's not the same as the 'sport' involving rods, maggots and sitting around for hours in the rain just to boast about how big the one-that-got-away was down the pub later. This is the sort of 'fishing' the police carry out after you've been nicked. The sort of fishing animal rights protestors have to put up with when they come back from a few cheerful hours in the cell to find the police carted off anything they can get their hands on for examination. Not just yer diaries and phone books, but everything from computers, videos, posters, clothes, food and the contents of your shed (weedkiller and sugar gets cops' hearts racing).
The police can still have a good rummage in your dirty knickers drawer, but thanks to the ruling unless you give them permission they can only take down/away they know will be relevant to any court case.
TRICK OR TREAT
Goblins were out in Saanich, Canada this Halloween, trashing about 1000 trees and seedlings. The trees in a forestry centre owned by Western Forest Productions were grown for GE research to replace temperate rainforests. The "Genetix Goblins" called for an immediate end to 'Frankenscience'. Meanwhile, Reclaim the Genes said it was responsible for destroying 500 evergreen saplings at Silvagen Inc.'s research site at the University of B.C. last week. Getting in on the act this week, The World Wide Fund for Nature published a report that reveals more than 115 trails on GE trees have taken place since 1988 without "proper controls or research into the effects on the environment". GE modification trials on trees mean that soon we can look foward to silent forests, devoid of insects, flowers and birds! The idea is to grow trees that will grow rapidly, resist rot and defy insect attacks. The trees would then be sprayed from planes to kill all life around them! Seventy of the trails are currently being run in the US with a further 5 in the UK. Those bastards at sHELL are currently behind two of these trails genetically mutating eucalyptus trees in Kent to improve growth rates and herbicide tolerance. Astra Zeneca did have a site in Bracknell, Berkshire but naughty activists sneaked in and cut them their poplars down! (SchNews 220) For info on past GE actions www.tao.ca/~ban/ar.htm.
A bizarre group calling themselves "Friends of the Stone" are apparently behind the 'napalming' of the Men an Tol and Lanyon Quoit stone circles in Cornwall on Bonfire Night. In a letter to the local newspaper, The Cornishman, the group which has caused serious damage wrote:
" For centuries now the meaning of these great monuments has been minsconstrued and wrongly passed down through the generations of now uneducated people. You do not deserve the heritage these monuments hold and therefore we intend to act further. By this time next week, Men-an-Tol will be gone. It shall be set up again, correctly aligned with pertinent sacred stones, in my back garden. We now have over 100 followers and this will be a shrine to us and only us. Lanyon Quoit will be destroyed. Better rubble on the ground than a fake prophet, misunderstood and minconstrued by thousands of non-believers."
SchNEWS warns all readers we'll put a smile on yer fishface, and then we'll have you over a barrel or it's down the hatch into Davey Jones Locker. Me hearties (pirate version of honest!)
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