Markey Legislation Tackles Climate Change, Clean Energy
NRDC: “This is the renewable energy legislation we need.”
Sen. Ed Markey today introduced legislation that sets a target of generating 25 percent of the nation's energy from renewable sources while reducing energy waste by 15 percent by 2025.
The second renewable energy bill introduced in the Senate this week, Sen. Markey's legislation also follows the science by including strong carbon accounting measures for biomass resources and other important provisions aimed at improving bio-energy supplies.
Franz Matzner, associate director of government affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council, made the following comment:
"This is the renewable energy legislation we need. It also is a wake-up call to those who want to deny science and stall progress: As a nation, it's time to break our addiction to fossil fuels and invest in a cleaner, healthier future for our children.
"Coupled with President Obama's climate change initiative, this legislation can takes us one step closer to meeting the moral obligation we have to our children to cut pollution, tackle climate change and develop more sources of clean, renewable energy - and the jobs that come with it."
For NRDC's fact sheet on the legislation, see here: https://www.nrdc.org/energy/american-renewable-energy-efficiency-act.asp
For Franz's blog on the legislation, see here: https://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/fmatzner/renewable_energy_standard_20.html
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"Nevadans overwhelmingly support putting reproductive rights into our state constitution," said one abortion rights campaigner.
Abortion rights advocates said this week that they would appeal a decision by a Nevada judge to reject a 2024 ballot initiative to enshrine reproductive rights in the state constitution.
Carson City District Court Judge James Russell sided Tuesday with the Coalition for Parents and Children PAC, which last month filed a lawsuit claiming the ballot measure—which would guarantee the "fundamental right to reproductive freedom"—violates Nevada law by covering more than one subject. The petition mentions abortion, birth control, prenatal care, and post-partum care, which advocates note all fall under the umbrella of "reproductive freedom."
However, Russell said that "it is clear to me this is probably the clearest case I have seen that I think there is a violation of the single-subject rule."
"We are optimistic about the ballot initiative as a whole, and you know, we plan to appeal this."
Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom—a coalition including Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice Nevada, and Indivisible Northern Nevada that filed the petition in September—disagreed with Russell's ruling and vowed to appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court.
"We are optimistic about the ballot initiative as a whole, and you know, we plan to appeal this," said Lindsey Harmon with Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom. "And we know that in fact, these are all a single subject."
"Nevadans overwhelmingly support putting reproductive rights into our state constitution, and voters should be aware that anti-abortion advocates still have plenty of state government allies who are willing to help them undermine reproductive freedom," Harmon asserted, adding that the coalition would not "let one judge's misguided ruling deter us."
Voters in seven states— most recently Ohio —have passed ballot measures protecting reproductive rights in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's cancellation of half a century of federal abortion rights in last year's Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision .
"It's not a war, it's a genocide," said Councilmember Ada Colau. "We not only need to denounce it, we must act and not stay on the sidelines."
The city council of Barcelona, Spain's second-largest city, voted Friday to suspend relations with Israel's far-right government over what the party behind the move called the "genocide" in Gaza.
Introduced by the leftist Barcelona en Comú party—which asserted that "no government can turn a blind eye to a genocide"—the resolution demands the municipal government discontinue "institutional relations with the current government of Israel until there is a definitive cease-fire, and respect for the basic rights of the Palestinian people and compliance with United Nations resolutions are guaranteed."
The resolution also calls for requiring public contracts to ensure that "no operator belongs to or carries out" activities "that go against international humanitarian law" and "rejects and condemns attacks against the population civilian, both Israeli and Palestinian, as well as any action constituting collective punishment, such as the forced displacement of population, the systematic destruction of homes and civilian infrastructure, or the blocking of the supply of energy, water, food, medical supplies and medicines to the population of the Gaza Strip."
Barcelona en Comú Councilmember Ada Colau said in a statement that "it's not a war, it's a genocide, and as [Spanish] President Pedro Sánchez has stated, it is unbearable, and if it is unbearable, we not only need to denounce it, we must act and not stay on the sidelines."
"Every 10 minutes, a child dies in the Gaza Strip under the bombs of one of the most powerful armies in the world," she added.
Colau, whose eight-year tenure as Barcelona's mayor ended in June, earlier this year
her city was cutting ties with Israel and ending its symbolic 25-year-old "twin cities" relationship with Tel Aviv due to the Israeli government's "crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people."
Barcelona's current mayor, Jaume Collboni of the Socialists' Party of Catalonia, reversed Colau's move in September.
Earlier this month, Barcelona dockworkers also showed solidarity with Palestinians by refusing to load or unload military materials onto any ship bound for Israel or any conflict zone where they could be used against civilians.
The new Barcelona resolution urges Israel and Hamas to make permanent the temporary four-day ceasefire that began Friday morning, as well as an end to Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians in the illegally occupied West Bank and the unconditional and safe release of all hostages taken by Hamas.
On Friday, Hamas freed 24 captives—13 Israeli women and children, 10 Thai nationals, and one Filipino—as part of the cease-fire agreement. Israel released 39 Palestinian women and minors from behind bars to fulfill its end of the deal. Hamas has agreed to free 50 of its hostages in exchange for the release of 150 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.
Israeli forces have arrested thousands of Palestinians on what critics claim are often dubious grounds meant to give Israel leverage and bargaining chips.
According to the Gaza Health Ministry, nearly 15,000 Palestinians, including more than 4,000 women and over 6,000 children, have been
by Israeli bombs and bullets since the Hamas-led attacks on southern Israel that left around 1,200 people dead and 240 others kidnapped. The international humanitarian group Oxfam
Thursday that newborn babies are dying from preventable causes in Gaza's hospitals due to the Israeli siege.
More than 36,000 Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli attacks on Gaza, while around 7,000 others—including over 4,700 children—are missing and presumed dead. More than 1.7 million Gazans have been forcibly displaced and around half the homes in the besieged strip have been damaged or destroyed, according to United Nations agencies.
At least 255 Palestinians have also been killed by Israeli soldiers and settlers in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
In addition to the Barcelona councilmembers who voted Friday for the resolution, other Spanish officials have also called for cutting ties with Israel's government over its Gaza onslaught.
Last month, outgoing Social Rights Minister Ione Belarra, who also leads the leftist Podemos party, urged her country's coalition government to petition the International Criminal Court to open a war crimes investigation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for Israel's indiscriminate bombardment of Gaza and for cutting off food, fuel, and electricity from the besieged strip's 2.3 million residents.
On Thursday, Belarra criticized Sánchez—a member of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party—for visiting Israel this week, arguing that his trip "only serves to whitewash Netanyahu and to equate the state of Israel, an occupying power that perpetrates a genocide, with the victims of the Palestinian people."
"Such inaction," she added, "is absolutely unbearable."
"Oxfam is urgently calling for a full cease-fire and unimpeded humanitarian access," said the group, explaining that a four-day pause in fighting is not sufficient.
Humanitarian workers in Gaza on Thursday said their daily experiences struggling to take care of pregnant people and babies demonstrate why a four-day pause in fighting is far from sufficient to save the lives of the blockaded enclave's most vulnerable residents, including newborns who have begun to die from preventable causes.
As Israel's blockade continues to keep Gaza authorities from providing clean water, food, sanitation, and heat to homes and hospitals, babies aged three months and younger "are dying of diarrhea, hypothermia, dehydration, and infection," said Oxfam International.
Juzoor, an organization partnering with Oxfam in northern Gaza, said premature births have increased by 25-30% since October 7 when Israel began its bombardment of Gaza in retaliation for an attack by Hamas.
The group has been supporting about 500 pregnant women in 13 shelters—where a total of 35,000 people are living—and many have gone into labor prematurely as they have the ongoing trauma of "walking long distances in search of safety, running away from bombs, and being crowded into shelters with squalid conditions."
Humanitarian workers are struggling to adequately care for thousands of people who have taken refuge in shelters, with waste piling up due to a lack of sanitation services and up to 600 people sharing one toilet.
Sally Abi Khalil, Middle East regional director for Oxfam,
the fact that the crisis has reached a stage where babies are dying of preventable illnesses is "abhorrent."
"Last month we lost at least one baby in every shelter, it's heartbreaking," said Umaiyeh Khammash, director of Juzoor. "Access to hospitals is extremely dangerous and virtually impossible, so many women are having to give birth with little or no maternity support in shelters."
, more than 50,000 Gaza residents are facing Israel's onslaught while pregnant, and more than 5,500 are expected to give birth within a month. Juzoor estimates that 30% of women will face pregnancy complications that require extra medical attention, putting their babies at greater risk—particularly in the first 28 days of life, when newborns are most vulnerable.
Khammash expressed fear that the group will soon be entirely out of food for residents.
"The absence of fuel has affected hospitals in the north and the shelters where we operate," he said. "There is no light, there is no heat. Now winter is coming and it's cold. It is really a disaster for everyone, but especially for expectant mothers."
Some women have given birth in recent weeks in repurposed classrooms surrounded by dozens of refugees, without qualified medical personnel present or any capacity for providing "basic hygiene," Khalil said.
"I don't think there is anyone anywhere in the world that would disagree that is simply inhumane," she added.
Oxfam is working to provide the Juzoor shelters with hygiene kits and food, while 60 health professionals have been mobilized to work with thousands of displaced people.
"But the ongoing violence, siege, and acute shortages of fuel and clean water severely hinder these efforts," said Oxfam as it called on officials to go further than negotiating only a four-day "humanitarian pause."
"Oxfam is urgently calling for a full cease-fire and unimpeded humanitarian access in order to restore vital services and provide desperately needed medical support particularly to pregnant women and newborn babies," said the group.