Obama and Canada Bans New Coastal Oil and Gas Drilling

ocean shore

Obama is leaving office and he’s clearly worried that the next president will ignore climate change and its effects on humanity. In order to stymie any damage that president Trump can do, Obama has passed a law that effectively bans ocean-based drilling for oil and gas in some areas. In support, Canada has passed a similar law that will ban arctic drilling. With fossil fuels becoming less profitable and alternative source energies getting cheaper the need to drill in precarious places become less tenable.

The ban affects 115 million acres (46.5 million hectares) of federal waters off Alaska in the Chukchi Sea and most of the Beaufort Sea and 3.8 million acres (1.5 million hectares) in the Atlantic from New England to Chesapeake Bay.

The White House and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau jointly announced their move to launch “actions ensuring a strong, sustainable and viable Arctic economy and ecosystem.”

Obama said in a statement that the joint actions “reflect the scientific assessment that, even with the high safety standards that both our countries have put in place, the risks of an oil spill in this region are significant and our ability to clean up from a spill in the region’s harsh conditions is limited.”

Canada will designate all Arctic Canadian waters as indefinitely off limits to future offshore Arctic oil and gas licensing, to be reviewed every five years through a climate and marine science-based life-cycle assessment.

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Abstinence Only Sex Education Loses Funding in the USA

President Obama has cut funding for abstinence only sex education in the 2017 federal budget. The lack of adequate sex education has led to health crises and too many unwanted pregnancies (which is made worse by places lacking proper rights for women) in the USA. It’s so bad in some of the states that documentaries have been made about the horrible state of sex education, like the 2005 film The Education of Shelby Knox.

Decades of ignorance have led to an increase in health problems in absiteince only sex education areas, so it’s really good to se that Obama is making it harder for those places to teach ignorance.

This is an excellent, evidence-based move towards protecting and educating our youth. Whether or not they are given an abstinence-only sex education, teens are going to have sex. About half of all high school-aged youth reported having engaged in sexual intercourse. Contrary to what conservatives would want you to believe, states where abstinence-only education is emphasized have a higher teen pregnancy rate.

Abstinence-only education is a disservice to our youth. It encourages things such as “virginity pledges,” which are laughably ineffective. Teens who make such a pledge are just as likely to engage in oral or anal sex and have similar STI rates. Virginity pledges don’t work and actually increase the likelihood of risky sexual behavior.

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Obama Takes On Coal Power Plants

Coal is one of the worst sources for energy given that its contribution to destruction of our planet is unmatched. There have been attempts to make coal branded as “clean coal” but even then, the radiation emitted from coal power plants is too high and the pollutants released into the air is still too much.

President Obama has decided to transition America’s power supply system away from coal and to better, cleaner alternatives. This is a good step in stemming the amount of pollution the country dumps into the air. Let’s hope that there is more money into sustainable power systems and that other countries (like Canada) will follow Obama’s lead.

If the new rules for power plants and the fuel-emissions standards are both maintained and adhered to, the Administration says, the United States will be on track to meet the targets that President Obama set in 2009, when he pledged, as part of a United Nations accord, to reduce U.S. greenhouse-gas-emission levels seventeen per cent by 2020 and eighty-three per cent by 2050, relative to the 2005 level. Of course, this calculation is a hypothetical one. Congress, ever since it refused to ratify the 1997 Kyoto agreement, has blocked a number of efforts to tackle climate change, including a cap-and-trade bill that would have set an over-all limit for carbon emissions. With the midterm elections on the horizon, its members are unlikely to have a general change of heart now.

Read more here.

USA Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline

Yesterday saw two very effective protest movements in the USA, one was in regards to SOPA/PIPA and the other saw the Obama administration reject the Keystone XL pipeline.

There are also concerns about carbon emissions from oil sands production in Alberta, a western Canadian province.

Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, a group that has protested the Keystone XL project, praised President Obama for taking a stand against the “fossil fuel lobby”.

“This isn’t just the right call, it’s the brave call,” Mr McKibben said in a statement.

The legislature of Nebraska passed a measure requiring state approval of any route before TransCanada could start construction.

The pipeline would also pass through the US states of Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma.

The White House had tried to postpone a final decision on the project until after the 2012 presidential election.

But during a congressional impasse on a payroll tax holiday in December, Republicans forced the Obama administration to agree to make a decision on the pipeline within two months.

Read more at the BBC

Greenpeace (amongst many others) is now asking Canadians to help them stop the next threatening pipeline the Northern Gateway pipeline.

Obama Suspends Guantanamo Injustices

Obama’s first day in office showed that he is willing to make change and not just talk about it. He has asked a judge to suspend trails at Guantanamo Bay (which has a reputation of human-rights violations) until a new strategy can be found with what to do with the inmates currently at the naval base.

“I am delighted that one of the first acts of President Obama has been to turn the page on this sad episode of Guantanamo prison,” Barrot said in a statement.
He also stressed that the fight against terrorism,” must be a main priority for the United States and Europe… but always with total respect for human rights.”
Spain’s Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos noted that closing Guantanamo was a move “which Spain and Europe have demanded on numerous occasions.”

The Swiss may be willing to take the inmates.

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