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Michael Earls (202) 494-8555
party convention this weekend, Texas Republicans embraced a hard-line
anti-immigration stance by calling for
an Arizona-like anti-immigrant law, endorsing a mass-deportation
policy, and pledging support for a repeal of the birthright citizenship
component of the 14th Amendment. Unfortunately for Texas
Republicans, the state's changing demographics ensures that future
political success in the state will be near impossible if the state's
rapidly growing Latino population brands the GOP as anti-Latino.
to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America's Voice, "Texas
Republicans are a Democratic operative's dream-come-true. Instead of
reaching out to the state's Latino population, Texas Republicans seem
hell-bent on driving away the fastest group of new voters in their
state. Pete Wilson led the California Republican Party over the cliff.
The Texas GOP seems intent on proving the definition of insanity."
find information on the growing Latino population in Texas and Latinos'
expanding political power in the state, as discussed in the America's
Voice report, "The Power of the
Latino Vote in the 2010 Elections" and the America's Voice
Education Fund report "The New Constituents."
America's Voice -- Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform. The mission of America's Voice is to realize the promise of workable and humane comprehensive immigration reform. Our goal is to build the public support and create the political momentum for reforms that will transform a dysfunctional immigration system that does not work into a regulatory system that does.
"The G7 in Hiroshima is an opportunity for PM Kishida and other leaders to deliver a clear and just renewable energy agenda for a peaceful world," said 350.org's Japan team lead.
As Group of Seven leaders and representatives from other key countries travel to Japan for a three-day summit set to start on Friday, the global movement for climate action is renewing demands for swiftly shifting away from planet-heating fossil fuels.
" The G7 leaders' summit in Hiroshima represents a crucial juncture at which the world's most powerful nations have the opportunity to demonstrate true leadership and make good on their promises," declared 350.org executive director May Boeve on Thursday. "There is no point powering up on renewables without powering down on fossil fuels—a commitment to expand renewable energy development is not enough."
Andreas Sieber, 350.org's associate director of global policy, pointed out that the summit comes after "a year of global suffering due to fossil fuel-driven inflation, soaring energy prices, and exorbitant profits for oil corporations, following the G7's 2022 pledge to end international fossil fuel support."
Stressing the necessity of cutting off international public financing of fossil fuels, Simone Ogno, finance and climate campaigner at the Italian group ReCommon, said that "what will emerge from the G7 will also strongly influence the decisions" at COP28, the next United Nations climate conference, later this year.
"For the United States and the G7 to continue doubling down on this suicidal fossil fuel dependency... is beyond careless."
Earlier this year,
Oil Change International (OCI) exposed multiple countries for breaking their promises to stop pouring money into international fossil fuel projects and released a briefing on how top economies—including G7 nations like Japan, the United States, Italy, and Germany—have dumped billions into new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal capacity.
Leaders of G7 nations—which also include Canada, France, and the United Kingdom, plus the European Union—are headed to Hiroshima after their climate, energy, and environment ministers met in Sapporo last month and crafted a 36-page communiqué that critics said showed a "shameful disregard for what people and planet urgently need."
Campaigners noted this week that the communiqué ultimately wasn't as bad as it could have been—it stated that any gas sector investments should be "implemented in a manner consistent with our climate objectives and without creating lock-in effects." Still, leaving the door open to fossil fuels and recent actions by member nations concern climate action advocates.
"While just a month ago we saw G7 countries successfully pushing back against a Japan-led push for gas investments and fossil fuels, we now see Germany pushing the G7 to endorse gas investments and the United States approving financing for an oil refinery in Indonesia,"
said Laurie van der Burg, OCI's co-manager of global public finance.
"We cannot afford backsliding and the G7 must urgently get on track for 1.5°C," she continued, referring to the Paris climate agreement's more ambitious temperature goal for 2100. "This means closing the door to gas investments and instead providing their fair share of climate, loss and damage, and just transition finance."
\u201cNOW HAPPENING: Climate campaigners are mobilizing outside the Japanese Embassy in Manila, joining rallies across 12 cities this week to protest against Japan and the G7\u2019s continued promotion of fossil gas and fossil fuel prolonging technologies. \n\n\ud83e\uddf5(1/4)\u201d— APMDD (@APMDD) 1684378586
Going into the summit, campaigners are taking aim at its host. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida "has acted as a laggard on the global stage by attempting to block a phaseout of coal and pushing false solutions like ammonia co-firing, dangerous nuclear, and LNG into the Sapporo communiqué," said Masayoshi Iyoda, 350.org's Japan team lead. "The G7 in Hiroshima is an opportunity for PM Kishida and other leaders to deliver a clear and just renewable energy agenda for a peaceful world."
OCI Asia program manager Susanne Wong highlighted that "activists are mobilizing across 20 countries for a global week of action to stop Japan's dirty energy strategy and expose Japan's dirty G7 presidency," which the prime minister is using "to benefit Japanese corporate interests over the health and security of people and our planet."
"Japan must stop derailing the global energy transition by pushing for the expansion of fossil gas and other dirty fossil-based technologies," said Wong. "Prime Minister Kishida and other G7 leaders must uphold and strengthen their commitment to end public finance for all fossil fuels and shift investment to renewable energy. This is the surest path to peace and security."
Kishida and U.S. President Joe Biden met Thursday to discuss various issues expected to dominate the summit—as American lawmakers reintroduced federal legislation that would ban fossil fuel exports from the United States.
"It is time for President Biden to take responsibility and ensure that the G7 is not co-opted for global LNG expansion and industry greenwashing," asserted Lukas Ross, senior program manager at Friends of the Earth (FOE) U.S. "Marketing ploys like Big Oil's so-called 'hydrogen-ready' LNG will only prolong our fossil fuel nightmare. The world cannot afford more dirty diplomacy."
\u201cWith two days to the #G7Summit in Japan, we took our message for Japan to stop fueling the climate crisis to the Japanese Embassy in Washington. @SierraClub @foe_us @PublicCitizen \n#JapanLovesDirtyEnergy #FossilFreeJapan\nSign the petition: https://t.co/QZpxzOrTG7\u201d— Mighty Earth \ud83c\udf0d (@Mighty Earth \ud83c\udf0d) 1684310423
FOE, OCI, and 350.org were among dozens of groups—including Center for Biological Diversity, Food & Water Watch, For a Better Bayou, Greenpeace USA, Mighty Earth, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, and Zero Hour—who sent a letter Wednesday to Mike Pyle, Biden's deputy national security adviser, urging the administration to "lead the way for fossil-free diplomacy."
"It would be a climate and environmental justice disaster if the coming G7 was hijacked to support LNG," the coalition wrote, calling on Biden to block "vague promises of hydrogen readiness," additional public financing for polluting projects, long-term LNG contracts, the promotion of so-called " certified gas," and permitting reforms that disregard frontline communities.
"As a resident of Southwest Louisiana, I have seen firsthand the devastating impact that gas export terminals have on our wetlands and communities," said James Hiatt, director of the Louisiana-based advocacy group For a Better Bayou. "For the United States and the G7 to continue doubling down on this suicidal fossil fuel dependency—one that inflicts suffering on already overburdened communities like mine and will inflict unlivable suffering on future generations—is beyond careless."
"We must prioritize protecting our people, environment, and a livable future over short-term privately held and heavily tax-subsidized corporate profits," he argued. "Environmental and climate justice are not just talking points—they require action that centers people and a livable planet. We cannot afford more deadly shortsightedness—enough is enough!"
While failing to pay what they owe, rich countries are forcing their poor counterparts to fork over $232 million each day for debt repayments—a clear expression of what one advocate called a "deadly double standard."
Wealthy Group of Seven nations owe low- and middle-income countries $13.3 trillion in unpaid development aid and climate funding, according to an Oxfam International analysis published Wednesday, two days before the start of the 49th annual G7 Summit.
Despite failing to meet their own obligations, G7 countries and their rich bankers are demanding that developing nations pay a combined $507 billion in debt repayments through 2028, Oxfam noted, thereby imposing devastating austerity on the Global South. The large sums of money currently allocated to debt repayments—collectively totaling about $232 million per day—could instead be spent on healthcare, education, climate action, and more.
"Wealthy G7 countries like to cast themselves as saviors but what they are is operating a deadly double standard—they play by one set of rules while their former colonies are forced to play by another," Oxfam International's interim executive director, Amitabh Behar, lamented. "It's do as I say, not as I do."
"It's the rich world that owes the Global South," said Behar. "The aid they promised decades ago but never gave. The huge costs from climate damage caused by their reckless burning of fossil fuels. The immense wealth built on colonialism and slavery."
"The G7 must pay its due. This isn't about benevolence or charity—it's a moral obligation."
Recent peer-reviewed research detailing how the prioritization of capitalist class interests has reproduced inequality between nations over time found that the Global North has "drained" more than $152 trillion from the Global South since 1960, and climate justice advocates stress that this plunder is reflected in rich countries' outsized share of historic and present greenhouse gas pollution.
According to Oxfam's new analysis, planet-heating emissions attributed to the G7 inflicted $8.7 trillion in climate change-related loss and damage on developing countries between 1979 and 2019—a figure that has since increased and will continue to grow.
At the United Nations COP27 climate conference last year, delegates agreed to establish a loss and damage fund after failing to commit to phasing out the fossil fuels causing so much harm. It remains to be seen how the new fund will operate, but Oxfam on Wednesday condemned G7 members for continuing to push for public investment in fracked gas and oil development despite vowing to wind down climate-wrecking dirty energy production at a faster rate.
Previous efforts to facilitate climate aid from the Global North to the Global South have fallen far short of what's needed due to the stinginess of wealthy countries, especially the United States.
In 2009, developed nations agreed at COP15 to allocate $100 billion in green finance per year to the developing world by 2020 and every year after through 2025, at which point a new goal would be established. However, only $83.3 billion was mobilized in the first year, and governments are not expected to hit their annual target, which has been denounced as woefully inadequate, until this year.
Based on Oxfam's calculations, the G7 is $72 billion behind on the pledge to help impoverished countries ramp up clean energy and respond to increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather.
Oxfam's $13.3 trillion estimate is based on a combination of the $8.7 trillion in uncompensated climate destruction caused by the G7 since 1979 and its $72 billion climate finance shortfall, plus nearly $4.5 trillion in unfulfilled development funding.
In 1970, rich nations including the G7 agreed to spend 0.7% of their gross national income (GNI) on Official Development Assistance (ODA). As of last year, however, they had provided just 0.27%. For their part, G7 members contributed a total of $2.8 trillion in ODA from 1970 to 2022, leaving a cumulative gap of $4.49 trillion between what they promised and what they've delivered.
"This money could have been transformational," said Behar. "It could have paid for children to go to school, hospitals, and lifesaving medicines, improving access to water, better roads, agriculture and food security, and so much more. The G7 must pay its due. This isn't about benevolence or charity—it's a moral obligation."
The upcoming G7 meeting, held this year in Japan, gives members of the powerful club a perfect opportunity to make good on their unmet commitments to uplift the poor, Oxfam said.
"G7 leaders are meeting at a moment where billions of workers face real-term pay cuts and impossible rises in the prices of basics like food," Oxfam pointed out. "Global hunger has risen for a fifth consecutive year, while extreme wealth and extreme poverty have increased simultaneously for the first time in 25 years."
"Two hundred fifty-eight million people across 58 countries are currently experiencing acute hunger, up 34% over the last year," the organization continued. "In East Africa alone, drought and conflict have left a record 36 million people facing extreme hunger, nearly equivalent to the population of Canada. Oxfam estimates that up to two people are likely dying from hunger every minute in Ethiopia, Kenya Somalia, and South Sudan."
\u201cHey #G7 leaders, who will follow through on your promises to tackle hunger?\n\n\ud83d\udea840 million face a hunger crisis in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan.\n\n\ud83d\udea81 person is likely to die every 28 seconds.\n\n\ud83d\udea885,000 people in South Sudan and Somalia on the brink of famine.\n\nThe\u2026\u201d— Oxfam (@Oxfam) 1684397628
Meanwhile, "the fortunes of the world's 260 food billionaires have increased by $381 billion since 2020," Oxfam noted. "Synthetic fertilizer corporations increased their profits by ten times on average in 2022. According to the IMF, the 48 countries most affected by the global food crisis face an additional $9 billion in import bills in 2022 and 2023."
"The G7 is home to 1,123 billionaires with a combined wealth of $6.5 trillion," said Oxfam. "Their wealth has grown in real terms by 45% over the past ten years. A wealth tax on the G7's millionaires starting at just 2%, and 5% on billionaires, could generate $900 billion a year. This is money that could be used to help ordinary people in G7 countries and in the Global South who are facing rising prices and falling wages."
Oxfam called on G7 governments to take the following steps immediately:
"Each and every day, the Global South pays hundreds of millions of dollars to the G7 and their rich bankers. This has to stop," Behar said. "It's time to call the G7's hypocrisy for what it is: an attempt to dodge responsibility and maintain the neo-colonial status quo."
The need for debt relief and redistribution is only poised to grow.
"At least an additional $27.4 trillion is needed between now and 2030 to fill financing gaps in health, education, social protection, and tackling climate change in low- and middle-income countries," Oxfam estimates. "That equates to an annual financing gap of $3.9 trillion."
"Landfills not only contribute to climate change, but they disproportionately impact low-income neighborhoods and communities of color forced to live near dumps," said the co-author of a new report.
Methane emissions from U.S. municipal landfills—collectively, one of the nation's largest sources of the planet-heating greenhouse gas—could be reduced if the Environmental Protection Agency enacted "strong new regulations," a report released Thursday argues.
The report—entitled Trashing the Climate: Methane From Municipal Landfills—was published by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit. The publication notes that "more than 1,100 municipal landfills emitted at least 3.7 million metric tons of methane in 2021, which had the climate-warming impact of 66 million gasoline-powered vehicles driving for a year or 79 coal-fired power plants."
"To reduce this major but little-discussed source of potent greenhouse gases, EPA must impose regulations that mandate more gas-collection systems at landfills, require more monitoring and accurate reporting of methane emissions, and encourage more composting, recycling, and reduction in the waste stream by consumers," the paper asserts.
Methane—which has more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide during its first two decades in the atmosphere—is emitted from landfills primarily due to rotting food waste. Americans throw away about 40% of their food, and U.S. food waste soared by 70% between 1990 and 2017, according to the report.
EIP also found that "municipal waste landfills are often located in communities where residents are people of color or have lower incomes."
"Fifty-four percent of the landfills reporting to EPA's greenhouse gas database are surrounded by communities, within a one-mile radius, that exceed national averages for people of color or residents considered low-income," the report notes.
\u201cA \ud83e\uddf5on how landfill methane is trashing the climate, and what we can do about it, as explored in our new report: https://t.co/vt1ShnSNnP\u201d— Environmental Integrity Project (@Environmental Integrity Project) 1684427530
The publication continues:
In Uniontown, Alabama, a community that is 98% Black and 64% below the poverty line, neighbors complain about odors, nausea, headaches, and other illnesses from a landfill that receives 93% of its garbage from out of state. In the Curtis Bay and Brooklyn neighborhoods of Baltimore, a community that is 60% Black or nonwhite Hispanic, a nearby landfill owned by the city is one of the top methane emitters in Maryland.
EIP ranked the 10 leading methane-emitting landfills in 2021, the most recent year for which data is available. Sampson County Landfill in Roseboro, North Carolina tops the list with 32,983 metric tons of methane released—more than 10 times the average landfill.
Another problem highlighted in the report is that "EPA's greenhouse gas numbers and information database are not based on pollution monitoring or sampling. Instead, all data on methane and other greenhouse gas emissions from landfills are estimated using mathematical formulas that likely lowball the real numbers."
Last year, EIP
sued the EPA, alleging the agency underreported landfill pollutant levels due to outdated estimation methods.
"EPA is failing to adequately control methane from landfills, a huge source of greenhouse gases, and we can no longer ignore this problem with the climate crisis heating up ," EIP senior attorney and report co-author Leah Kelly said in a statement Thursday. "Landfills not only contribute to climate change, but they disproportionately impact low-income neighborhoods and communities of color forced to live near dumps."
\u201c#Foodwaste = 18% of human-derived methane emissions. \n\nBut these #emissions are simple to reduce dramatically. Composting food = up to 84 percent less greenhouse gas emissions coming from landfills!\n#wastemanagement #ccac2023 #CCAC #methane #foodwaste\n\nhttps://t.co/cCjDYXQPKu\u201d— Climate & Clean Air Coalition (@Climate & Clean Air Coalition) 1684315540
In order to tackle methane pollution from landfills, the report recommends:
"The U.S. must reduce landfill methane, but it must do so without increasing toxic pollution in the air that people breathe and without further threatening the health of low-income communities and communities of color," the report concludes. "Composting and improved pollution controls are solutions to the problem of landfill methane. Incineration is not a solution; it is exchanging one problem for another."