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Civil society reacts to Trudeau’s new Climate Target

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The following content was provided by the Climate Action Network. Some of these quotes from activists may get into the mainstream coverage, but I am willing to bet that most of it will be “balanced” to meet the preferences of corporations.

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This morning during the opening plenary of President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate, Prime Minister Trudeau announced Canada’s new 40 – 45% climate target range. This target marks an increase in ambition, up from the nation’s previously stated target window of 31 – 40% as announced in December 2020’s Healthy Environment Healthy Economy Plan. 

This announcement confirms Canada’s intended level of commitment, which fell under swift scrutiny earlier this week when a number (36%), released as part of the federal budget, was widely mistaken for a new greenhouse gas reduction target. 

Canada’s target announcement this morning was made alongside that of several other nations in attendance at the Leader’s Summit on Climate, and comes on the heels of ambitious targets announced just days ago by other Paris signatory nations including the UK, who has brought forward a new 78% by 2035 target, and the Biden administration’ commitment to reducing emissions by half by the end of the decade. 

“It’s good to see Canada driving up ambition and it’s not enough. The new target is not aligned with 1.5C – that would require a 60% emissions reduction goal. We hope to see Canada continue to ramp up ambition, both in future years and as NDC consultations occur in coming months on the road to Glasgow. Canada not only needs to improve its climate targets, but also pass strong legislation to meet those targets. Canada’s proposed Net-Zero Accountability Act, currently stalled in the House, must be strengthened as it contains more of a duty to report than a duty to achieve. As Prime Minister Trudeau noted, Canada is an energy exporting nation and that is one of the country’s main barriers to climate ambition. Canada’s new NDC should address emissions from oil and gas production, ban fossil fuel subsidies, and enshrine Just Transition legislation.” Catherine Abreu, Executive Director, Climate Action Network Canada 

“If Trudeau’s government is serious about fighting climate change, his administration needs to stand up to big oil, starting with the cancelation of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, and bringing in strong regulations to limit climate pollution,”  Sven Biggs, Canadian Oil and Gas Program Director

“Canada was once a climate leader. We can be again, but only if this government has the courage to acknowledge that we cannot reach our climate commitments so long as we rely on fossil fuels for jobs and our energy needs. Any successful climate plan must include massive investment in supporting oil and gas workers to transition to a clean energy economy,”  Sonia Theroux, Executive Director, Leadnow

“The problem with Justin Trudeau’s new climate pledge can be summed up in two words – fossil fuels. Neither Trudeau’s new climate plan, nor his budget, nor this new climate promise include a plan to tackle soaring emissions from tar sands, fracking and other fossil fuel expansion that makes Canada the only G7 country whose emissions have gone up since signing the Paris Agreement. Canada needs to cut our emissions at least 60% by 2030 and pass legislation like a Just Transition Act to make sure we meet our Paris commitment and leave no one behind,” Amara Possian, Canada Campaigns Director, 350.org

“The ambition has certainly been raised, but it doesn’t match the climate emergency. To make a difference and positions itself as a leader, Canada needs to set targets of at least 60% by 2030 and help other countries decarbonize. The longer we wait to put in place the policies and regulations that will take us to carbon neutrality by 2050, the steeper the slope towards that goal will be,” Émile Boisseau-Bouvier, climate policy analyst at Équiterre

“Trudeau’s proposed target is less ambitious than what climate science requires, with no commitment to phasing out fossil fuels at home or abroad. Canada is a rich country yet its target is less than Canada’s fair share of the global effort and less than what the U.S. is proposing. We should be proposing at least a 60% reduction in emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels, alongside a plan for a just transition for workers as we phase out fossil fuels. We must start with eliminating  fossil fuel subsidies immediately. After more than five years in office, the Trudeau government is still incapable of proposing a target as ambitious as that of Joe Biden who took office just three months ago. Despite recent positive commitments on climate, Canada remains under the influence of the oil and gas industry, which prioritizes private profits over the wellbeing of communities and the environment. The costs of inaction will be greater than the cost of acting quickly and decisively.” Keith Stewart, Senior Energy Strategist, Greenpeace Canada

“This is not a climate emergency target.  Canada is one of the very worst emitters and needs to do more. This target will not halt the 2 degrees of warming that puts the future of the Earth in danger. A global fair share target is 60% – and it is doable.  Anything less is just not acceptable – it is a recipe for ecocide. Canada’s target as announced fails future generations and must change; as must the Climate Plan. We must  tackle the need to phase out fossil fuels 100% and transition to a renewable energy future.”  Lyn Adamson, Co-Chair, ClimateFast

“Canada could be a climate leader, but climate leaders do not deal in empty promises or half-measures. Climate leaders do not build pipelines through stolen land or sign off on enormous fossil fuel subsidies with the same pen they use to legislate net-zero by 2050 targets. Canada is the only G7 country whose emissions have increased since the Paris Agreement. But this is not only a crisis of emissions, it is a crisis of equality. Canada’s inaction on climate is a betrayal of the people and areas most affected by this crisis. Anything less than a commitment to reduce our own emissions by 60% by 2030 is an insult to those we continue to hurt with our inaction. It is time for Canada to get serious on climate, to wind down the oil and gas industry and support workers through the transition rather than continue delaying the inevitable.” Alyssa Scanga, Youth Organizer, Climate Strike Canada 

“Canada is a wealthy nation that has been among the top 10 emitters of greenhouse gases for decades. We helped create the climate crisis that threatens the future of our children. We must make a deeper commitment to fight climate change and we must have a realistic plan for keeping that commitment. We must stop investing in the oil and gas sector. We must invest deeply in energy efficiency and renewable energies; in walkable, bike-able and transit-supportive communities. These investments will reduce air pollution and improve health, while creating new jobs and fuel savings.” Kim Perrotta, Executive Director, Canadian Health Association for Sustainability and Equity (CHASE)  

“Canada has increased its ambition on climate change, but reductions of 60 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 are needed to limit climate-related risks and impacts that are disproportionately affecting women and marginalized communities. We call on Prime Minister Trudeau to ensure environmental justice and gender justice are central to Canada’s climate actions. In addition to domestic actions, this will require Canada to commit at least $1.8 billion a year of public investments in climate finance in order to support women and other vulnerable people in developing countries to respond and adapt to climate change.”  Anya Knechtel, Policy Specialist, Oxfam Canada

“New Brunswick risks undermining the province’s capacity to protect its citizens and compete in a decarbonized global economy if it fails to develop its own electrification and decarbonisation plan to reach near zero by 2050 and 60 per cent by 2030, a level that would see the province’s emissions fall to 5 million tonnes in 10 years. While the province’s emissions currently are in line with the new proposed federal target of 40 to 45% below 2005 by 2030, other federal requirements apply regardless of where our province’s emissions are, including the need to phase out coal from electricity generation by 2030, meet the requirements of a clean fuel standard, and a rising carbon price reaching $170/tonne by 2030.

New Brunswick has a hard work to do, just like all provinces, and every country in the world to ensure we get on a path that avoids 1.5 degrees warming. We can’t negotiate with the atmosphere. The global carbon budget is small and rapidly declining. The province needs to comply based on the laws of physics, not politics,” Louise Comeau, Director of Climate Change and Energy, Conservation Council of New Brunswick

“Prime Minister Trudeau’s announcement today that Canada will reduce emissions by 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 represents a big step forward. Still, we absolutely must go further. Under the banner of For the Love of Creation, people of faith, national churches, and faith-based organizations have been active in the call for Canada to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, and invest in a just transition to a fair, inclusive, green economy that creates good secure jobs, and promotes the well-being of everyone in Canada. Canadian climate ambition continues to be undermined by federal support to the oil and gas sector and a failure to embrace transformational change to ensure the liveability of the planet and the flourishing of all creation.” Karri Munn-Venn, Senior Policy Analyst, Citizens for Public Justice

“Today’s announcement of Canada’s new climate target does not deserve much celebration. While an improvement over from its previous, even more inadequate, pledge, this target does not represent what Canada could and should do to reduce emissions at a pace necessary to prevent a climate catastrophe and human rights disaster. It also places an excessive burden on developing countries. With such a weak target, Canada is effectively saying that poorer countries, who are less responsible for climate change, must also halve their emissions by 2030. It’s time the Government of Canada started treating climate change like the global emergency it is by acting in a manner proportional to the scale of the crisis and in line with its full capacity and responsibility.” Fiona Koza, Business and Human Rights Campaigner, Amnesty International Canada

“As part of the Arctic, the Yukon is already experiencing the impacts of the climate crisis. While we applaud the increase from Prime Minister Trudeau’s recent budget announcement of 36% emissions reduction to a murky number between 40 to 45%, sadly this goal does not account for the increasing emissions in Canada. Considering that Canada is one of the world’s biggest producers of greenhouse gas emissions, our minimum Fair Share would be a 60% emission reduction by 2030. We call on the Federal Government to reassess their target.” Coral Voss, Executive Director, Yukon Conservation Society

“In its latest report on the State of the Global Climate, the World Meteorological Organization stated that we need deep reductions and immediate action on the climate crisis. However, Canada’s carbon emissions reduction target is not adequate and does not include emissions from the military. The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces are the biggest emitters in the federal government. The Trudeau government continues to make massive investments in fossil-fuel powered militarism like new tanks and fighter jets. To stop global warming, we need to stop war.” Tamara Lorincz, Canadian Voice of Women for Peace

“Human bodies do not tolerate half-measures in resuscitation–we crash and die. COVID-19 does not tolerate half-measures in its management–cases skyrocket. Similarly, keeping the climate from trespassing across tipping points of no return is not a situation where half-measures constitute a healthy response to climate change. A 40-45% reduction in emissions below 2005 levels by 2030 does not represent Canada’s fair share of emissions reductions. So our job is to over-deliver. Our ambition heading forward must be to push hard, push fast, and not stop until we create the governance frameworks, through a strengthened Bill C-12, the resources, via a reallocation of fossil fuel subsidies, and the political will necessary for us to wake up in 2030 and find that we have done our part in stabilizing the Earth’s climate and providing a healthy future for our children.” Dr Courtney Howard, Emergency Physician, Past-President, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment

“Canada needs to sharply ramp up its climate action. Our country is now officially a climate laggard. We have the weakest 2030 carbon reduction target of G7 countries, the  lowest level of  financial assistance in the G7 for developing countries to address climate impacts, and second in the G20 in fossil fuel subsidies. Setting low goals means getting weak action. Today, Prime Minister Trudeau explicitly named the biggest barrier to Canada being a climate leader: the production and export of dirty oil. Now he needs to address that problem by phasing out all fossil fuel production and use.” Dale Marshall, National Climate Program Manager, Environmental Defence

“The Road to Net Zero needs all hands on deck.  We have a very good made-in Canada Just Transition model to work from: the 2019 National Task Force on Just Transition for Canadians. Coal Power Workers and Communities set out strong principles and recommendations to guide Just Transition.  Let’s implement them!  Getting it right is about good sustainable jobs and strong Communities.  Just Transition is the bridge that takes us there.”  Joie Warnock, Assistant to the President, Unifor.

Written by Stephen Rees

April 22, 2021 at 2:30 pm

Posted in Transportation

Film Review “Everybody Flies”

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Trailer

I have not flown for nearly a year. My last trip was to New Orleans, in January last year. Looking back my usual pattern seems to be about 3 or 4 air trips a year, though in 2019 there was also only one flight as we had resolved to see more of our own province. But I have been on flights when there were odd smells in the cabin. I have not personally experienced a fume event but there are many.

The air in nearly every modern jet plane comes from the engines “bleed air”. The only exception is the Boeing 787 Dreamliner which has a separate, electric powered compressor for cabin air. The air is also recirculated through a HEPA filter which removes things like germs. Unfortunately it is not fine enough to remove smaller particles and that is where the trouble starts. Every jet engine needs lubricant and every can of that lubricant carries a health warning. It contains Tricresyl Phosphate a mixture of three isomeric organophosphate compounds. The “fume events” occur when the bleed air gets contaminated by the leaking lubricant. It can also be contaminated by other fluids. The aircraft industry has known about the issue since the 1950s and has always downplayed it.

Pilots and other aircrew, flying all the time, are much more likely to experience a fume event than passengers – but there are now records of large numbers of events affecting both. Former BA pilot Tristan Lorraine had to give up flying due to ill health and retrained as a filmmaker. “Everybody Flies” is his examination of the increasing amount of evidence that the air in most aircraft is nothing like as safe as the aircraft makers and airlines would have you believe. What he presents in his documentary are the first hand experiences of crew and passengers and their subsequent health issues. There is also quite a lot of independent research now and academics saying things like “if you don’t know what the safe level of exposure is, then it should be zero”. Captain Lorraine is also spokesman for the leading global organisation dealing with the issue of contaminated aircraft cabin air: The Global Cabin Air Quality Executive (GCAQE).

The movie is gripping and the story has an eerie air of familiarity. The aviation industry is following the same playbook as the tobacco and asbestos industries used. Indeed one of the interviewees sounded like me. She had been trying to get her case into a courtroom. After 15 years she had to give up and declare bankruptcy. “They have far more money than I had” so they could spend more on delaying the process. Exactly the same message that lawyers gave me, more than once, when I felt I had a good case and a strong sense of injustice. The lawyers tended to agree that I had a strong case but “they have more money than you do.” Indeed one case was settled against me simply because that was cheaper than fighting it. There are also regulators. Usually government appointed bodies tasked with protecting the public and employees, but who have become entirely captive to the industry they are supposed to regulate. The National Energy Board protects the oil and gas industry and advances its interests, not those of society in general and certainly not the natural environment.

But the aviation industry also has to guard jealously its reputation for promoting safety. That has taken a big hit thanks to Boeing’s handling of the 737 MAX mess. Just as the automobile industry suffered from the VW cheating emissions systems – and the more recent Toyota scandal. Currently they are doing that by pretending that there is not a problem. This position is becoming untenable but has lasted 50+ years so far.

Everybody Flies” is “under consideration” for an Oscar and BAFTA. It already had a standing ovation at the Sundance Festival. Its release to theatres is delayed by COVID. I hope that it shows up on streaming services too. I feel very privileged to have been offered a review link – which, of course, I cannot share. But I do hope that you will get to see it soon. I also hope that you will click on the links I have provided for I am sure that there will be much more bafflegab and distraction before the industry as a whole moves towards acknowledging the problem and installing better air filters. Making a start on that now, while so many commercial aircraft are grounded makes a great deal of sense, but then that is never going to be the industry’s first concern.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 16, 2021 at 12:05 pm

Recent transport news items

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Mass Transit discusses the recent ransomware attacks on TransLink and STM (Montreal). They were preceded by a number of similar attacks on U.S. transit properties. TransLink is still rebuilding some of its online service affected by the ransomware attack.

Trains magazine commented on VIA’s 2020-2024 plan. VIA states the current iteration of The Canadian is unsustainable and lays the blame on “host railroad actions”. A return of tri-weekly service is not possible because VIA does not have enough equipment to support the 5 required consists.

The full VIA report (PDF) makes for depressing reading, particularly for western Canadians.  

The report links to the federal Transport Minister’s Mandate Letter in which VIA rates two mentions – one to work on high speed rail in the Toronto-Quebec City corridor (Windsor-Detroit no longer matters?) and the other to improve VIA travel to National Parks. There is not much here for the west, although the National Parks connection might be used to justify extending The Skeena back to Edmonton, over CN’s objections, of course..  

BC Transit and the Fraser Valley RD proposal (PDF of the Agenda go to page 103) to extend the Fraser Valley Express bus service (Chilliwack-Abbotsford-Langley) from Carvolth Exchange to Lougheed Town Centre SkyTrain station was put on hold due toCOVID. BC Transit has asked the FVRD to recommit to this proposal with a planned implementation in January 2022.


A synopsis from the Toronto Star of  what can happen (i.e. not much) to rapid transit plans when conflicting political and bureaucratic agendas overwhelm the  process.

Thanks to Rick Jelfs

Written by Stephen Rees

December 19, 2020 at 10:38 am

FACT CHECK “BC Transit retiring Victoria’s original double decker buses, were 1st in North America”

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BC Transit Dennis Trident Victoria BC 2007_0909
One of the buses to be retired: my picture

The Headline is taken from a CTV Vancouver Island news story which is just wrong.

The first paragraph tries to nuance the headline a bit but doesn’t get it right either. The twenty year old retiring buses were “reportedly the first double decker buses to ever be used in a North American public transit system.”

Actually there were double deckers running on 5th Avenue in New York City in 1912 – as a Google search will confirm.

Postcard of a double decker bus on 5th Avenue
A post card scan from flickr

Paul Bateson reminds me that Brampton Transit in Ontario had a double decker Leyland Olympian that entered service in March 1989.

Victoria, of course, has had double decker sightseeing buses – most retired from the UK – for many years

former NYC Atlantean Gray Line 406 Victoria BC 2007_0909
Sightseeing bus in Victoria formerly used in NYC: my image

Written by Stephen Rees

December 2, 2020 at 7:54 am

Posted in transit, Transportation

Driving on the Greenway

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Kia Sorrento HR0 70K

This photo was taken on Sunday November 29, 2020 at 11:52am

The location of the Christmas tree sales moved across the street to the north east corner of Arbutus and 8th Ave – where there is no parking. So people buying trees are now driving on the Greenway and parking on the grass.

The Van Connect app doesn’t have a way to report this issue.

ICBC responded “As this is a law enforcement matter, you’re best to consult with local police.”

Written by Stephen Rees

November 29, 2020 at 1:53 pm

Posted in cars, Transportation

Internet Images of Old Trains

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“You can now head over to a new collection at Flickr and search through an archive of 2.6 million public domain images, all extracted from books, magazines and newspapers published over a 500 year period. Eventually this archive will grow to 14.6 million images.”
source: Open Culture

So, of course, the first thing I did on reading that was search for train pictures, and hit gold with the first try.



Image from page 188 of “Electric trains” (1910)

Westinghouse Motor-Coach Complete.{Heysham Branch of the Midland Railway.}

View of Train consisting of Siemens Motor-Coach and Two Trailers.

Liverpool Overhead Railway 1884
LNWR coaches with District Railway Electric Locomotives 1884
 Ramsay Condensing Turbine Electric Locomotive 1910

Basically the point of this exercise is to remind me to go look here next time I need an image.



Written by Stephen Rees

October 16, 2020 at 4:19 pm

Research finds pervasive lobbying against climate change regulation by Canada’s oil & gas industry

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SHARE’s analysis shows fossil fuel companies across the sector participated in lobbying activities out of alignment with Paris Agreement climate goals.

September 16, 2020 –  The latest research from SHARE finds Canadian oil and gas companies are continuing to lobby for weaker climate regulations in the interest of short-term profits, while providing inadequate disclosure to investors.

The report Climate Lobbying in the Canadian Energy Sector: Investor Benchmark of Oversight and Disclosure analyzed 22 companies listed in the S&P/TSX Capped Energy Index (TTEN) on their climate lobbying disclosure and found that all have participated in lobbying activities, while none have disclosed their overall spending.

Because investors cannot protect their portfolios from the systemic nature of the climate crisis, they must rely on effective climate policy and regulation to mitigate those risks across the economy,” said SHARE CEO Kevin Thomas.

Even after the Canadian government adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015, parts of the Canadian oil & gas industry have actively lobbied policymakers to block, delay and weaken federal and provincial attempts to transition towards a low-carbon economy. 

“A failure to reach the Paris Agreement’s climate goals will result in massive costs that will ultimately be borne by investors and society as a whole,” said Sarah Couturier-Tanoh, Senior Shareholder Engagement and Policy Analyst at SHARE. “The millions of dollars spent on lobbying have delayed or undermined climate regulation, even though many oil and gas firms have publicly stated their commitment to tackling climate issues.”

The report identifies opportunities for investors to improve their due diligence of corporate lobbying and to engage with investee companies. It also provides companies with a reporting framework and points to better industry practice in Canada to help them improve their climate lobbying disclosure over time.

Read the full report here: https://share.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/SHARE_climate_lobbying_3-1.pdf

About SHARE (Shareholder Association for Research & Education)

SHARE mobilizes investor leadership for a sustainable, inclusive and productive economy. We do this by mobilizing our investor network and amplifying their voices in support of improved corporate sustainability practices and better rules and regulations that govern capital markets.

For more information on SHARE, visit: www.share.ca

The above is copied from a Press Release of unusually appropriate content. I am not sure I agree about being unable to protect your portfolio. Divestment from fossil fuel corporations seems a good place to start. Then looking for promising opportunities in renewables will probably enhance investment performance. Big fossil is not doing very well right now so it is both an ethical and profitable approach to dump your holdings in those 22 companies and get something better oriented to the future.

Written by Stephen Rees

September 17, 2020 at 11:06 am

Posted in Transportation

Tagged with ,

The Social Dilemma

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You are using social media. WordPress is not mentioned in this movie. Facebook is. So are Twitter, Instagram, Google, …

The movie is a Netflix original.

I just posted this on Twitter

“I have just watched “The Social Dilemma” served to me by Netflix. (Netflix thinks I am someone else, btw.) I think you should watch it too. Because it deals with why social media – like Twitter – is a Real Problem. An existential problem.”

This is getting very post-modern very fast. But at one point during the movie I began to understand why it was so important for me to get off Facebook and Instagram.

I have the impression that I am probably controlling my social media consumption since I seldom accept what is offered to me. Except that I just wanted to watch something different and the last time we watched Netflix is came up with an interesting suggestion. The movie suggests you never accept another recommendation from YouTube.

I do not use Twitter through its webpage or its app, I use Tweetdeck. That changes how tweets get ranked. I just see a time series. No algorithm is deciding which tweets get priority. So it feels a lot more controllable.

I think that I understand what truth is and I have a pretty reliable bs meter. But using Facebook, bad actors has so managed to convince significant numbers of users of manifest falsehoods.

My suggestion is that if you have a Netflix account you watch the movie, because I would like to see the comments thread below start to fill with suggestions about what we can do to make sure the bad guys don’t win.

And since I have stopped worrying about Views on Flickr, I am also going to abandon any concerns I might have had about Favs.

I am now going to get my dopamine fix from a better source.

Written by Stephen Rees

September 14, 2020 at 9:28 pm

Posted in Transportation

Discounted Doctorow

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I was surprised and charmed to get an email from Cory Doctorow this morning. He had my email address since I wrote to him back in 2013 about an error I found in an ebook of his.

I am also authorised by his email to share its content with you. 



Tell your friends!  Social media is actually good for something,
every once in a while!

 

So I am going to share with you the opportunity to buy his latest audiobook for less than it will cost when it is published on October 13. 

Now I am going to overshare with you material that is about me – and you really want to read about this opportunity – but you can always scroll down now and come back later if you want. I don’t like audiobooks. I don’t listen to them. Or podcasts come to that. I don’t like my attention being monopolized any more. Which is odd because back in the day I was often entranced by radio – especially stories and drama. In fact for while I liked radio better than tv. When I first encountered “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, that was on radio. Now I like reading and  prefer old fashioned dead tree books, but put up with ebooks because sometimes they are free and occasionally more convenient than a real book. For instance in the old days when travelling. I haven’t been anywhere at all since January and don’t plan to go anywhere anytime soon. So when I got this offer I wasn’t sure that I was going to take this offer up.  

What Cory Doctorow has done is to start crowdfunding. And when I went to his page I found that there was a great more on offer than just one new audiobook

you can pre-order the ebook – and also buy the previous
ebooks and audiobooks (read by Wil Wheaton and Kirby Heyborne) – all DRM free, all free of license “agreements.”

The deal is: “You bought it, you own it, don’t violate copyright law and
we’re good.”

So to backtrack just a little, here is the deal that Cory offered which I am passing along:



Attack Surface – AKA Little Brother 3- is coming out in
5 weeks. I retained audio rights and produced an AMAZING edition that
Audible refuses to carry. You can pre-order the audiobook, ebook (and
previous volumes), DRM- and EULA-free.



https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/doctorow/attack-surface-audiobook-for-the-third-little-brother-book

That’s the summary, but the details matter. First: the book itself.
ATTACK SURFACE is a standalone Little Brother book about Masha, the
young woman from the start and end of the other two books; unlike
Marcus, who fights surveillance tech, Masha builds it.

Attack Surface is the story of how Masha has a long-overdue moral
reckoning with the way that her work has hurt people, something she
finally grapples with when she comes home to San Francisco.

Masha learns her childhood best friend is leading a BLM-style uprising –
and she’s being targeted by the same cyberweapons that Masha built to
hunt Iraqi insurgents and post-Soviet democracy movements.

I wrote Little Brother in 2006, it came out in 2008, and people tell me
it’s “prescient” because the digital human rights issues it grapples
with – high-tech authoritarianism and high-tech resistance – are so
present in our current world. But it’s not so much prescient as
OBSERVANT. I wrote Little Brother during the Bush administration’s
vicious, relentless, tech-driven war on human rights. Little Brother was
a bet that these would not get better on their own.

And it was a bet that tales of seizing the means of computation would
inspire people to take up digital arms of their own. It worked. Hundreds
of cryptographers, security experts, cyberlawyers, etc have told me that
Little Brother started them on their paths.

ATTACK SURFACE – a technothriller about racial injustice, police
brutality, high-tech turnkey totalitarianism, mass protests and mass
surveillance – was written between May 2016 and Nov 2018, before the
current uprisings and the tech worker walkouts.

But just as with Little Brother, the seeds of the current situation were
all around us in 2016, and if Little Brother inspired a cohort of
digital activists, I hope Attack Surface will give a much-needed push to
a group of techies (currently) on the wrong side of history.

As I learned from Little Brother, there is something powerful about
technologically rigorous thrillers about struggles for justice – stories
that marry excitement, praxis and ethics. Of all my career achievements,
the people I’ve reached this way matter the most.

 

 

So I am having so much fun trying to get this blog post to format properly thanks to WordPress imposing its new block system – where the old “classic” method is just another block.

What I can tell you is there is something mesmerising about watching this crowdfunder takeoff in front of your eyes. Click that kickstarter link to see how far he has got. Last time I looked it was four times the goal already with another 29 days to go.

And I started typing this before I had decided which of the offers I was going to choose. Ebooks of course. But just this one or all three? Hmmm.

I can tell you that a Doctorow book is all engrossing, hard to put down and gets under your skin. I also follow @doctorow on twitter – and there is also Boing Boing and Craphound – where you can also find all of this content too. And there is also pluralistic.net

Good luck Mr Doctorow – you deserve it!

Written by Stephen Rees

September 8, 2020 at 3:06 pm

Posted in Transportation

Stanley Park Survey

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I have copied below an email I received today. It is a reply to one I sent a while back as part of a campaign to retain a bike lane by reducing car capacity on a Stanley Park roadway.

Hi Stephen,

Thanks for your earlier feedback. I will do all that I can to try to make the separated bike lane in Stanley Park permanent.

Can you take the survey about the issue at:

https://shapeyourcity.ca/stanley-park?tool=survey_tool#tool_tab

Also, if you are able to ask any friends or family who are supportive to take the survey, then that would be great.

Take care

John Irwin Vancouver Park Board Commissioner

I have not been in Stanley Park at all this year, so I do not qualify for this survey, but maybe you do. If so please take a moment to let them know your thoughts.

 

Written by Stephen Rees

September 6, 2020 at 4:28 pm

Posted in Transportation