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Michael Stulman (202) 546-7961
This month Africa Action honors the 15th anniversary of the Rwandan
genocide by hosting several special events designed to mobilize public
pressure and strengthen collective efforts to demand peace and justice
in Darfur and all of Sudan. The events are a part of Africa Action's
intensified campaign, JUST L.E.A.D. (LEARN. EDUCATE. ACT. DAILY).
Just as the world witnessed more than 800,000 people die in Rwanda 15
years ago, the genocide of the 21st century takes place in Darfur,
Sudan. Gerald LeMelle, Executive Director of Africa Action said today, "In
100 days a chronology of events transpired in Rwanda that resulted in
nearly one million people being slaughtered. Today President Obama and
the U.S. Congress must now fulfill their promise to act expediently
with "unstinting resolve" to end genocide in Darfur. President Obama
must ensure that U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan, Scott Gration, has a
full team of dedicated junior and senior staff. Gration must have
access to unconstrained, constant communication and dialogue with
President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton."
Africa Action calls on U.S. to lead bilateral and U.S.-led multilateral
diplomatic pressure that will ensure the Comprehensive Peace Agreement
(CPA) implementation. The U.S. must pursue an all-Sudan strategy where
both Darfur and the CPA are top priorities. Furthermore, full
deployment of UN peacekeepers on the ground is vital in ensuring
civilian protection and long-lasting peace. The U.S. should continue to
engage with the "Friends of UNAMID" working group to match
troop-contributing countries (TCCs) with appropriate training and
logistical support from donors.
Michael Stulman, Associate Director for Policy and Communications at Africa Action said today, "We
have outlined the necessary steps to stop the genocide in Darfur for
six years. President Obama must adopt these recommendations to bring
about peace in the region so that the atrocities that took place in
Rwanda are no longer recurring in Sudan."
To raise awareness and mobilize public pressure on the U.S. to exert
leadership, Africa Action will be hosting several events this month.
In Washington, D.C. the Children of Darfur exhibit
is being hosted at the Martin Luther King Library all month. Children
are the youngest survivors of the genocide in Darfur, and their
drawings depict the atrocities they endure. Dr. Jerry Ehrlich, a
volunteer for Doctors Without Borders in 2004, was working at a medical
center for internally displaced persons in Darfur, Sudan. He collected
drawings from children while he was working in one of the camps. Africa
Action has converted these drawings into an exhibit to help remind
people of the on-going genocide in Darfur.
"I wanted to document the plight of the people through the eyes of
children. I brought with me 25 boxes of crayons and about 400 pieces of
drawing paper. They were given out to children between the ages of 8
and 12. I asked them to draw about their lives in Darfur and return 7-8
drawings for me to take home as a remembrance...As you view the drawings
their message is obvious. They depict the atrocities these children
have gone through and still unfortunately live with," said Dr. Jerry Ehrlich. For more information on the exhibit, visit www.africaaction.org
In New York, Africa Action's Briggs Bomba will emcee a special benefit concert in New York: Rock to Save Darfur.
The April 14th event featuring hip-hop artist Immortal Technique and DJ
Static intends to raise funds and awareness for Africa Action and other
groups working for peace and human security in Darfur and throughout
Sudan. Visit our website, www.africaaction.org for ticket information.
Also in Washington, DC, Africa Action will host Chiwoniso Maraire, an
accomplished singer, songwriter and human rights' activist. With
Maraire will be Comrade Fatso, one of Zimbabwe's most popular and
controversial poets. Together they will present a concert performance
April 18th. Details will be announced on our website shortly.
For more information on all upcoming events and the latest talking points on the genocide in Darfur, please visit www.africaaction.org
Africa Action is a national organization that works for political, economic and social justice in Africa. Through the provision of accessible information and analysis combined with the mobilization of public pressure we work to change the policies and policy-making processes of U.S. and multinational institutions toward Africa. The work of Africa Action is grounded in the history and purpose of its predecessor organizations, the American Committee on Africa (ACOA), The Africa Fund, and the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC), which have fought for freedom and justice in Africa since 1953. Continuing this tradition, Africa Action seeks to re-shape U.S. policy toward African countries.
"It's something that is a concern because it touches on so many aspects of the Earth, including climate, sea level, and marine life," said one oceanographer.
Antarctic currents that enrich 40% of Earth's deep ocean with oxygen and nutrients that are vital for marine life have slowed dangerously in recent decades and could collapse by mid-century, a study published Thursday revealed.
The research—which was published in the journal Nature Climate Change—showed that a 30% slowdown in deep water currents around Antarctica since the early 1990s.
Currents known as Antarctic bottom waters—which are driven by cold, dense waters off the Antarctic continental shelf—power a worldwide system of currents. The most important of these, known as the Southern Ocean overturning circulation, comprises two massive cells—one subducting downward and the other upwelling—that connect the various water basins in a global circulation system.
"If the oceans had lungs, this would be one of them."
"If the oceans had lungs, this would be one of them," Matt England of the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New South Wales in Australia, a co-author of the new paper, said in a statement.
"Our modeling shows that if global carbon emissions continue at the current rate, then the Antarctic overturning will slow by more than 40% in the next 30 years—and on a trajectory that looks headed towards collapse," England added.
\u201c\ud83d\udc49\ud83d\udc49 Out today in @nature our new paper showing how meltwater increases around Antarctica are set to dramatically slowdown the Antarctic overturning circulation, with a potential collapse this century. https://t.co/p3au6k4zcK A\ud83e\uddf5on how this work came about and what we found...\u201d— Prof. Matt England (@Prof. Matt England) 1680102960
Steve Rintoul, co-author of the study and oceanographer at the Australian government's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, toldThe Guardian that "changes in the overturning circulation are a big deal."
"It's something that is a concern because it touches on so many aspects of the Earth, including climate, sea level, and marine life," he added.
England and Rintoul were part of a team of researchers who in March published a study in Nature that found the vital deep ocean current is "on a trajectory that looks headed towards collapse" over the coming decades.
\u201cIt isn't just the Gulf Stream and North Atlantic currents that are now completely unstable, something similar is happening around Antarctica.\n\nMake no mistake, this is very bad news indeed.\n\nhttps://t.co/zeFN1Gh0iM\u201d— Bill McGuire (@Bill McGuire) 1685034661
Scientists from Australia examined the deep ocean current below approximately 13,000 feet that originates in the cold, dense waters off the continental shelf of Antarctica and flows to ocean basins across the planet.
"The model projections of rapid change in the deep ocean circulation in response to melting of Antarctic ice might, if anything, have been conservative," Rintoul said Thursday. "We're seeing changes have already happened in the ocean that were not projected to happen until a few decades from now."
England toldThe Guardian in March that "in the past, these circulations have taken more than 1,000 years or so to change, but this is happening over just a few decades."
"It's way faster than we thought these circulations could slow down," he added. "We are talking about the possible long-term extinction of an iconic water mass."
\u201cA new study warns that the deep ocean current driving the Antarctic overturning circulation\u2014a network of currents that regulate ecosystems around the world\u2014could collapse due to climate change. https://t.co/GFN4K9ucyn via @USATODAY\u201d— Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (@Yale Program on Climate Change Communication) 1681509318
The new research comes after the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service reported in February that its analysis of satellite imagery showed Antarctic sea ice coverage was 31% below average the previous month, significantly lower than the previous January low mark set in 2017.
In January, a 600-square-mile iceberg nearly the size of Greater London broke off Antarctica's Brunt Ice Shelf, although scientists said the event will affect—but was not caused by—climate change. January is summer in the Southern Hemisphere.
"These dangerous and dirty permitting deals are a matter of life and death for millions of people across our country who are already overburdened by decades of fossil fuel pollution," warned one campaigner.
Climate action advocates responded with outraged alarm Thursday to reporting that U.S. President Joe Biden and congressional Republicans may try to strike a "dirty deal" on permitting reforms as part of an agreement to raise the debt ceiling.
The deliberations continue as fears of an economically catastrophic default are growing, with just a week until the U.S. government could run out of money to pay its bills if Congress doesn't increase the debt limit, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
"We should not be throwing people and the planet under a gas-guzzling bus just so that polluters can more easily build destructive projects."
Citing two unnamed sources close to the talks, The Washington Post reported:
The emerging deal would ease the process of building the interstate transmission lines needed to carry clean electricity across the country—a top priority for Democrats and a boon for President Biden's climate agenda, said the two individuals, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private negotiations.
To sweeten the deal for Republicans, the agreement would make modest changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, a 1970 law that requires the federal government to analyze the environmental impact of its proposed actions. GOP lawmakers have long blamed the bedrock environmental law for the yearslong delays that plague new highways, pipelines, and other infrastructure projects nationwide.
The transmission policy would be based on the forthcoming Building Integrated Grids With Inter-Regional Energy Supply (BIG WIRES) Act from Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) and Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), the newspaper noted, adding that the agreement "would include only incremental changes" sought by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and fellow Republicans.
House Republicans notably included H.R. 1—their fossil fuel-friendly energy package—in the so-called Limit, Save, Grow Act, the "debt ceiling scam" the GOP passed last month and which established the party's priorities for the ongoing negotiations.
In response to the Post's reporting, Friends of the Earth government and political affairs director Ariel Moger said that "once again, lawmakers are expected to make the unconscionable decision to tack unpopular and environmentally harmful policies onto a must-pass bill. This deal will put communities already suffering from environmental racism at further risk by gutting essential laws."
"We should not be throwing people and the planet under a gas-guzzling bus just so that polluters can more easily build destructive projects," Moger argued. "Biden and congressional Democrats should stand up for environmental justice, reject this dirty deal, and pass a clean debt limit increase."
\u201cWe all know that we need to make the transition to clean energy as quickly as possible, but @POTUS is reportedly considering a #DirtyDeal that would lock in more fossil fuels. Keep fossil fuel handouts out of the debt ceiling deal! https://t.co/vCr7JgmqKW\u201d— Sierra Club (@Sierra Club) 1685042165
Oil Change International U.S. program co-manager Allie Rosenbluth stressed that "these dangerous and dirty permitting deals are a matter of life and death for millions of people across our country who are already overburdened by decades of fossil fuel pollution, the impacts of climate change, and compromised public health."
"The increased exposure to oil spills, gas leaks, air pollution, and water contamination would exacerbate existing environmental injustices and the climate crisis," Rosenbluth continued. "We must draw a red line and say no to Republicans taking our economy hostage to line the pockets of the fossil fuel industry."
“President Biden must enforce a clean debt ceiling package that does not allow for any rollbacks to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) or other bedrock environmental laws," she added. "While his recent climate track record has been nothing short of disastrous, it is not too late for him to turn it around and hold true to his environmental justice campaign promises."
The Biden administration has recently come under fire for backing ConocoPhillips' Willow oil project and a liquified natural gas (LNG) proposal, both in Alaska, as well as the incomplete Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) in Virginia and West Virginia.
\u201cWe need to do everything we can RIGHT NOW to stop a debt ceiling deal from including dirty permitting reforms that fast track fossil fuels. \n\n@StopBigOil just released this ad targeting key decision makers. Please share and tag your member of Congress!\u201d— Jamie Henn (@Jamie Henn) 1685037069
The MVP is a longtime priority of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a "coal baron" and recipient of fossil fuel industry campaign cash who only supported the Inflation Reduction Act last year in exchange for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) agreeing to push through permitting reforms friendly to the coal, gas, and oil companies.
Although opposition from frontline communities and progressives in Congress blocked versions of Manchin's "dirty deal" three times last year, he has since renewed his effort, introducing the Building American Energy Security Act—which calls for completing the MVP—earlier this month. A Biden aide said the White House backs the bill.
House Natural Resources Committee Democrats and the League of Conservation Voters highlighted Thursday that 83 lawmakers have signed a letter urging Biden, Schumer, and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) "to oppose ongoing attempts to attach H.R. 1 or any other extreme proposals that gut our bedrock environmental and public laws to must-pass legislation."
\u201c#ThrowbackThursday to yesterday when 83 Democrats sent a letter to @POTUS, @SenSchumer & @RepJeffries opposing the #DirtyDeal.\n\nAs @RepRaulGrijalva said, "Our environment and health are not the GOP\u2019s bargaining chips."\u201d— Natural Resources Democrats (@Natural Resources Democrats) 1685032817
The panel's ranking member, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), led the letter and congressional opposition to last year's dirty deals.
"The growing list of my Democratic colleagues and I couldn't be more clear: Our environment and health are not the GOP's bargaining chips," Grijalva said in a statement Wednesday. "Gutting our bedrock environmental laws isn't permitting reform—it's a polluter payout. Speaker McCarthy and his extremist faction need to end this reckless scheme to force their MAGA-manufactured, polluters-over-people agenda on the American people now."
Though Jeffries is on the receiving end of the letter, he made clear Thursday that his caucus won't automatically support a Biden-backed deal, telling reporters that "it's a miscalculation to assume that simply any agreement that House Republicans are able to reach will, by definition, trigger a sufficient number of Democratic votes—if that agreement undermines our values."
\u201c\ud83d\udca1Research should inform permitting reform!\ud83d\udca1Find out what the *data* says about NEPA reviews and causes for delay: https://t.co/3yP63ck9qY\u201d— Kristina Karlsson (@Kristina Karlsson) 1685024109
Meanwhile, the Roosevelt Institute this week published an issue brief by Jamie Pleune, associate professor of law at the University of Utah, debunking the claim that reviews required by NEPA are hampering the transition to renewable energy.
"After examining 41,000 NEPA decisions conducted by the Forest Service over 16 years, we found limited correlation between the intensity of the NEPA process in question and the existence of delays," said Pleune. "Furthermore, some projects that were eligible for expedited analyses encountered delays, while some intensely studied projects were completed quickly. This indicated that the true causes of delay were external to the regulatory requirements of NEPA."
"Reducing analytical rigor or weakening environmental standards, which are some of the permitting reforms on the table in debt ceiling talks, won't address the true blockages to the buildout of renewables," she added. "In my brief, I provide progressive permitting reform, with demonstrated effectiveness, that will strengthen and improve NEPA processes while preserving community engagement and environmental protections."
"Attacks on reproductive freedom look like doctors being attacked and harassed for doing their job and providing essential abortion care," said one advocacy group.
Reproductive rights advocates on Thursday came to the defense of Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Indianapolis who provided a 10-year-old girl with abortion care last year, as Bernard faced a disciplinary hearing before Indiana's state medical licensing board.
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, a Republican, launched an investigation into the doctor last July after she provided a legal abortion to the patient, who had been denied care in her home state of Ohio. Bernard learned of the rape victim from an Ohio doctor shortly after the state enacted a six-week abortion ban following the U.S. Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade last June.
She provided the child with an abortion and was soon targeted by Rokita, whose office told the medical licensing board that Bernard violated Indiana law by speaking to The Indianapolis Star about the patient's case and by not reporting her abuse to law enforcement and child protective authorities in Indiana.
A video of the hearing is available below:
\u201cThe Indiana Licensing Board meeting regarding Dr. Caitlin Bernard looks like it will start soon. Here's the livestream link for those interested in watching: https://t.co/xUPDdeNnH8\u201d— Kaitlin Lange (@Kaitlin Lange) 1685019334
Bernard's lawyer has said the doctor did follow reporting requirements by informing a social worker about the 10-year-old patient, and has noted that the rape was already being investigated in the girl's home state. Bernard also maintains that she did not release any identifying information about the child to the press.
"Physicians can talk to the media," Bernard's attorney, Alice Morical, told NBC News.
During the hearing, Bernard was asked by the state whether she is an advocate for reproductive rights and whether she has a tattoo of a coat hanger—a symbol of unsafe, illegal abortions. Cory Voight, director of complex litigation for Rokita's office, also accused her of "pushing a narrative" when she spoke to the Star about the effect Ohio's abortion ban had on her patient.
Bernard responded that the hearing was a "political stunt" by the attorney general.
\u201cVoight rephrases the question, then she responds: If attorney general Todd Rokita had not chosen to make this his political stunt, we wouldn\u2019t be here today.\u201d— Johnny Magdaleno (@Johnny Magdaleno) 1685042114
A number of doctors attended the hearing in support of Bernard.
The board is expected to vote on whether Bernard should face penalties, which could include a letter of reprimand or the suspension or revoking of her medical license.
Victoria Barrett, a writer based in Indiana, called the hearing "state-sponsored harassment."
\u201cThe state-sponsored harassment of Dr. Caitlin Bernard today is a fucking shame and an embarrassment and this misappropriation of my tax dollars is one reason I'm thinking of leaving the state.\u201d— Victoria Barrett (@Victoria Barrett) 1685037329
"Attacks on reproductive freedom look like doctors being attacked and harassed for doing their job and providing essential abortion care," said the advocacy group Vote Pro-Choice. "We stand with Dr. Caitlin Bernard and all the providers fighting for abortion care."