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Biden’s DOI Protects Indigenous Historical Site From Oil and Gas Drilling
Chaco Canyon in northwestern New Mexico was a major center of Pueblo culture from 850 to 1250. Many of the public and ceremonial buildings of this important ancestral area are preserved in a network of archaeological sites called Chaco Culture, which include Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Aztec Ruins National Monument and five smaller archaeological sites managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
In response to the efforts of Tribes, the public and elected officials, the U.S. Department of the Interior has sought to preserve the resources of this historically and culturally valuable area by withdrawing the public lands and federal mineral estate surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park from new oil and gas leasing, a press release from the U.S. Department of the Interior said.
The public land order protects the public lands within a 10-mile area surrounding the park for the next two decades but does not affect existing leases or apply to minerals belonging to Tribal, state or private entities.
“Efforts to protect the Chaco landscape have been ongoing for decades, as Tribal communities have raised concerns about the impacts that new development would have on areas of deep cultural connection. Today marks an important step in fulfilling President Biden’s commitments to Indian Country by protecting Chaco Canyon, a sacred place that holds deep meaning for the Indigenous Peoples whose ancestors have called this place home since time immemorial,” Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said in the press release. “I value and appreciate the many Tribal leaders, elected officials, and stakeholders who have persisted in their work to conserve this special area.”
Tribal and Pueblo Nations continue their ancestral customs and traditions in this area that was a religious and cultural center for the Chacoan Peoples.
Last year, more than 41,000 people visited Chaco Culture National Historical Park, which became a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Site in 1987 for its “outstanding natural and cultural resources” that “form the common inheritance of all mankind,” the press release said.
Mineral development can alter, displace or even destroy the cultural integrity of the landscape. It has been about 10 years since an oil and gas lease has been issued within the 10-mile buffer. There has also been a moratorium on new mining claims there since January 2022.
“The exceptional landscape in the Greater Chaco region has profound cultural importance,” said BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning in the press release.
In the BLM’s review, it considered other alternatives to the 10-mile withdrawal radius, including a five-mile withdrawal and taking no action.
Outside the national park, there are more than 4,700 identified archaeological sites, and a five-mile withdrawal radius would have left more than 2,800 of them vulnerable to the impacts of mineral development.
There was a 120-day public comment period following the notice of proposed withdrawal by the BLM last year. During the outreach and review period, more than 110,000 written and verbal comments were received.
Consultations were conducted between 24 Tribal Nations and the BLM, as well as meetings between holders of Navajo Nation allotments and BLM officials in 2022 and 2023.
The Department of the Interior is also conducting a wider assessment of the cultural landscape in the Greater Chaco area in order to make sure its sacred stories, sites and cultural resources are better reflected in public land management.
Discussions between Tribes, elected officials, communities, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the BLM and other interested parties are being conducted to “manage existing energy development, honor sensitive areas important to Tribes, and build collaborative management frameworks toward a sustainable economic future for the region,” the press release said.
Meetings, planning sessions and interviews have been conducted through the Honoring Chaco Initiative.
“[The] announcement marks an important step in ensuring Indigenous voices help inform the management of our public lands,” Stone-Manning said.
The post Biden’s DOI Protects Indigenous Historical Site From Oil and Gas Drilling appeared first on EcoWatch.
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3 considerations for climate negotiators as they close out the first Global Stocktake
This post was co-authored by Julia Ilhardt, High Meadows Fellow for Global Climate Cooperation at Environmental Defense Fund.
The first Global Stocktake – a process designed to assess collective progress toward the Paris Agreement’s goals on climate change mitigation, adaptation, and finance – is rapidly nearing its official conclusion at COP28.
With nearly a full year of discussions completed, the process is shifting from a technical exercise to a political one. The outcome must spur ambition in the upcoming round of national climate plans, or Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), due to the UN climate agency in 2025.
A successful outcome of the first Global Stocktake will point countries to opportunities for climate action that will put the world on track to meet the Paris goals.
What has the Global Stocktake told us so far?
The vast amount of technical information and literature submitted for consideration since the start of the Global Stocktake underscores what we already know. Despite progress in recent years, we’re not on track to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement. On mitigation, for example, countries must step up the ambition of their NDCs and implement the commitments they’ve already made.
The literature also reminds us, however, that we have a wide range of tools available to tackle the climate crisis. In fact, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that we could reduce emissions by at least half by 2030 with solutions that cost no more than $100 per ton of CO2e. And half of these solutions actually cost less than $20 per ton of CO2e.
Opportunities for action are available across all sectors and greenhouse gases. As countries begin work on their updated climate plans, they must make use of these tools and learn from each other’s experiences.
The next round of NDCs is due to the UNFCCC in two short years, and we now have fewer than seven years left in this critical decade. The Global Stocktake should provide a springboard for action.
The political phase of the Global Stocktake is about generating outputs that help them do just that. Though negotiators have yet to decide on the final form the outputs will take, the products will summarize opportunities, challenges, lessons learned, and good practices for implementing climate solutions.
To ensure a successful first Global Stocktake, here are three things negotiators should keep in mind as the process enters its final phase:
1. The Global Stocktake must deliver clear signals on high impact opportunities to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change.
The Global Stocktake can help distill clear signals from the volume of information available to decisionmakers and identify high impact solutions around which to drive momentum and cooperation, especially in this critical decade. It can also offer collective milestones—informed by the systemwide transformations required to limit warming to well below 2C—on the road to net zero.
Negotiators could, for example, build on growing momentum to reduce methane emissions, the climate solution with the largest potential for avoiding warming in the short term. Readily available methods to reduce methane can deliver 0.25°C of avoided temperature rise by 2050. It’s the fastest way to slow the rate of warming in the near term. The oil and gas sector offers the largest share of low-cost reduction opportunities.
Speaking to countries and a wide range of stakeholders, the Global Stocktake outcome could encourage all countries to include methane targets and policies in their national climate plans, prompt oil and gas companies to report their methane emissions using the UN oil and gas framework, OGMP2.0, and recognize and enact plans to achieve collective targets, such the Global Methane Pledge.
Other high-impact solutions include:
- Scaling up deployment of renewable energy in the electricity sector (and phasing out fossil fuels). A clean, affordable, and reliable power sector is a prerequisite for the decarbonization of the transport, industry, and buildings sectors.
- Electrifying land-based transportation. Electric vehicles offer the largest decarbonization potential for land-based transport, if they are powered by clean electricity.
- Protecting, managing, and restoring forests and other ecosystems. Protecting, managing, and restoring ecosystems could reduce emissions and/or sequester 7.3 GtCO2e per year.
Countries have the opportunity during the Global Stocktake to capitalize on momentum around a discrete number of high-impact solutions to highlight key milestones, and then work together—hand in hand with a wide range of public and private stakeholders—to make them a reality.
2. The Global Stocktake outputs should include a technical resource that leverages the vast amount of information gathered throughout the process.
A technical resource that leverages the vast amount of information submitted to the Global Stocktake could provide actionable insights on the deployment of solutions, including by summarizing the good practices and lessons learned that countries and other stakeholders have shared over the last two years.
On methane, for example, a technical resource could point to information of greatest interest to implementors. This includes the Global Methane Hub’s efforts to support catalytic investments, the International Energy Agency’s Global Methane Tracker, and submissions to the Global Stocktake process, such as EDF’s paper on policy instrument options for addressing methane emissions from the oil and gas sector.
3. The Global Stocktake must inform action in 2024 and 2025.
When designing the final outputs of the Global Stocktake, negotiators must keep in mind the purpose of the exercise—to inform enhanced climate action and international cooperation. The next round of NDCs is due to the UNFCCC in two short years, and we now have fewer than seven years left in this critical decade. The Global Stocktake should provide a springboard for action.
Governments, CEOs, researchers, and other stakeholders should leave COP28 with specific and actionable insights on the next steps they can take to achieve collective milestones recognized by the Global Stocktake. The Global Stocktake could then catalyze action within and beyond the UNFCCC.
In many ways, the Global Stocktake outcome will be the start of a global conversation, rather than the end. The world must be ready to react.
Little Boy Lost for 6 Days in Harsh Kenyan Wilderness is Rescued: ‘An Amazing Moment’
Kenya’s vast Tsavo East National Park is no place for the solitary. It’s easy to get lost in the dense bush, a fact 4-year-old Ayub from the Asa community will remember for the rest of his life.
The boy faced a terrifying ordeal, lost for 6 days amid a territory 66% larger than Yellowstone, and populated by killers like elephants, buffalo, and rhinos.
But this story of survival had a happy ending thanks to the help of two Kenyan-British pilots: The Carr-Harleys—Roan and Taru.
“When I was flying around, I saw lots of hyenas, jackals, and it was pouring with rain,” Roan Carr-Hartley, a helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft pilot who works with his brother at Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, told CBS News about the rescue efforts.
“It’s such a harsh and unforgiving environment for a tiny boy, there’s nothing or no one there. And so you start worrying and fearing the worst, you feel so hopeless.”
Ayub went missing from his village during a storm. The community chief had phoned the Carr-Hartleys asking for help because he and some other villagers were already tracking the boy’s footprints.
They searched for days with no luck, until on the 6th, Roan got a call from the chief saying they had picked up fresh tracks about 15 kilometers north of their village, and shortly after arriving in the area, Roan spotted Ayub under his left wing, describing him as this “tiny guy in the middle of nowhere” who was weak and stumbling.
Coordinating with the searchers on the ground, it was Ayub’s uncle who got to him first, picking him up and swinging him in the air.
Roan explained that it’s tradition in Asa culture to chant songs of gratitude on a walk back to the village.
“When his mother saw him, she just burst into tears. She couldn’t believe it. She was totally in hysterics,” Roan said. “He also reunited with his dad and the rest of his family. It was an amazing moment. Doctors arrived, we administered first aid, replenished his electrolytes, and tested him for malaria.”
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While Roan and his brother Taru normally are looking for humans with malintent (poachers) and rescue four-legged members of the Tsavo East community (elephants), Ayub is not the first person they’ve rescued this year.
GNN reported on a Sheldrick Wildlife Trust release in May when the brothers piloted their helicopter to the rescue of a tanker truck driver who had been stranded on a flooded road section.
Dwarfed by the angry river, the tanker had flipped onto its side, and the driver, James Rufus Kinyua, had climbed out of the cab and was lying on the door. Slowly, the pilot lowered the helicopter closer and closer to the tanker where the driver sat crouched in the swirling winds from both the flooding and the rotors.
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“I was told he had been there since 10 am, in extreme fear I am sure,” Taru Carr-Hartley told Nation Africa. “He was hanging half out of the window, lying on top of the truck, and I could see the windscreen was smashed and the whole cabin was filled with water.”
All in a day’s work for the Carr-Hartleys, born as the third generation of British-Kenyans who work in wildlife conservation and biology in the East African nation.
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