Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation
Working for peace, social
justice and principled nonviolence since 1976
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This banner about the Climate Crisis appears at some of the Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation’s peace vigils.
-- The term “global warming” might sound pleasant to those of us who live in areas with cold winters.
-- The term “climate change” sounds neutral, because “change” can be either good, bad, or merely different.
Both of these terms seem like euphemisms, because the reality is so much worse!
What is happening is climate disruption or climate chaos. The climate patterns that have existed for thousands of years – to which plants, animal and humans have adapted over thousands of years – are being torn up and thrown around. The jet stream is sending some people’s weather to other places. While the average temperature around much of the earth is increasing, various areas have become much hotter, or much drier, or much wetter. Many thousands of temperature records have been broken, and the process is projected to escalate much worse.
The climate crisis is much more disruptive and destructive than merely warmer temperatures. Since before the dawn of civilization the earth’s climate has allowed life to prosper and diversify. Plant and animal species evolved and adapted to the climate. Human civilizations emerged and thrived. Now – in a very short time – humans are wrecking the climate, and many people around the world are horrified at the very disruptive and destructive future that lies ahead.
Scientists are largely in consensus about this reality. But in the U.S. and a few other nations that have caused this climate crisis, the dominant political and economic systems have refused to accept reality. Hardly any U.S. politicians are dealing seriously with this crisis. Many U.S. politicians even deny that the problem exists, and almost all of those who do know acknowledge the problem have refused to take the bold actions necessary solve it. They are condemning many species to extinction, and they are condemning countless millions of human beings to misery and death.
Giant oil and coal companies want to continue “business as usual,” except for escalating their public relations propaganda (e.g., coal companies claiming that coal can be “clean,” and oil companies and electric utilities exaggerating their “green” activities). Mainstream media – which is almost entirely owned by giant corporations – fail to report on it adequately.
This is a damning indictment of our political and economic systems. Survival and civilization require radical changes to these suicidal political and economic systems.
Scientists, nonprofit organizations, and grassroots organizers around the world are trying desperately to shake our political and economic systems to recognize reality. The Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation is helping through a variety of new activities, including this website page about the Climate Crisis.
This short video is informative, easy to understand, and entertaining. You might want to skip the introductory and proceed directly to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2Jxs7lR8ZI
On Monday January 14 the Olympia FOR’s climate action group (“Confronting the Climate Crisis”) held a rally on the steps of the Washington State Capitol building. During that event many of us went across the way, put on big bright red ponchos and spelled out “NO COAL” and “350.ORG” on the steps of the Washington State Supreme Court Building, the Temple of Justice. Thanks to Steve Wyant for this photo.
The Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation’s “Confronting the Climate Crisis” group is gathering signatures to deliver a petition to Governor Inslee, directing the State to: (1) Immediately freeze any new investments in fossil fuels; (2) Divest from direct owner ship and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within 5 years; (3) Have the State of Washington’s retirement plans offer fossil-free investment fund options for state employees.Please sign the petition and ask others to sign it.
It’s at: http://campaigns.gofossilfree.org/petitions/divest-from-fossil-fuels-17For more information about the Olympia FOR’s vigorously active climate group, see http://www.olympiafor.org/Climate_Crisis.html, look for new information to be added to the Climate Crisis portion of www.olympiafor.org in early June, and see climate information in recent newsletters and our upcoming June-July 2014 issue. (We post our newsletters on our website.)We invite other FOR chapters and members to collaborate with us. Many of our activities are regional for Wash/Ore, and some are statewide regarding our state government. We invite you to collaborate with us by contacting the chair of our climate committee, Bourtai Hargrove, at (360) 352-6327 email@example.com
Olympia FOR member Beverly Bassett took this photo of the exploding oil train bomb designed and built by Olympia FOR member Rod Tharp. We displayed it at Heritage Park Fountain near Capitol Lake in Olympia WA on Friday May 23, 2014 immediately before the 7 pm performance & speaking engagement of Dana Lyons (“Cows with Guns”) and Matt Krogh (www.forestethics.org) on their "Crude Awakening Oil Train Tour" at Traditions Café in downtown Olympia, Washington
Dusty Rhodes has sung folk songs in Olympia for a very long time. Now he sings a new song about the climate – “The Climate on Earth Is a-Changin’” to the tune of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’” – and it deserves wide exposure. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBZme_xEhhU
The Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation – (360) 491-9093 www.olympiafor.org – is working vigorously to protect the climate, along with working for other issues related to peace, social justice and nonviolence.
Our December 2014 + January 2015 newsletter offers a few news items about the topics listed below. Our website’s section on the Climate Crisis includes a great many more news items, and those links are live. We encourage you to read the newsletter and also visit www.olympiafor.org/Climate_Crisis.html.
Our climate group meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 6:30 pm at the Olympia Center, 222 Columbia Street NW, in downtown Olympia. Info: (360) 352-6327 firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the smartest strategies for protecting the climate is to put a financial price on coal, oil, and other fuels that emit carbon dioxide when burned. By increasing the cost of greenhouse-gas-emitting fuels, we can use the “market” to reduce their use and shift demand to green alternatives.
Saturday January 31
A very informative brief forum about this will occur on Saturday January 31 from 1:15 to 3:30 pm in Multi-Purpose Room B near the SE corner of the Olympia Center, 222 Columbia Street NW, in downtown Olympia.
The forum will feature four expert speakers explaining this topic, the Carbon Pollution Accountability Act that Gov. Inslee has proposed, and the carbon tax proposal developed by economist Yoram Bauman and Carbon Washington (www.carbonwa.org). The forum will include opportunities for questions and answers and some light refreshments.
The four panel members are:
· Thad Curtz (an active volunteer working with Yoram Bauman and Carbon Washington for a carbon tax)
· Akua Asare-Kanadu (Univ. of Wash. student working with Carbon Washington, www.carbonwa.org)
· Ben Serrurier (analyst for Climate Solutions (www.climatesolutions.org) regarding economic matters)
· Jeff Johnson (President of the Washington State Labor Council, www.wslc.org)
Also, Dusty Rhodes, a beloved long-time folk singer from Olympia, will sing his new song about the climate. It is “The Climate on Earth Is a-Changin’” to the tune of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’” – and it deserves wide exposure. Enjoy it on Sat. Jan. 31, and also enjoy it now at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBZme_xEhhU
The forum is co-sponsored by the Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation’s “Confronting the Climate Crisis” group (www.olympiafor.org (360) 352-6327 email@example.com) and also by Climate Solutions (www.climatesolutions.org).
The Olympia FOR’s climate group supports both Gov. Inslee’s proposal for the 2015 legislative session and Yoram Bauman’s proposal for gathering signatures during most of 2015 for a climate tax initiative to the 2016 Legislature.
Carbon Washington (www.carbonwa.org) is organizing for a revenue-neutral carbon tax. Yoram Bauman, its founder, has spoken in Olympia several times.
The Climate Crisis Gets Even Worse
Coal, Oil, Natural Gas, Tar Sands, and Fracking
Keystone XL Pipeline
Dangerous Trains Are Hauling Coal and Oil
We Urge Divesting from Fossil Fuel Investments
Carbon Pricing Makes Good Sense
We Are Building the Climate Movement
Other Climate-Related News and Resources
Scientists are alarmed about the Climate Change catastrophe: A Nov. 7, 2014, posting after the Nov. 1 report by the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change is at http://tinyurl.com/nf9rq2w
The New World Bank report says we have already locked in warming of 1.5 degrees C: See article at www.tinyurl.com/nbd7lp2
September 2014 was the hottest September on record: See http://tinyurl.com/ncc4cqy
The Climate Crisis Gets Even Worse: Warm weather records keep getting broken: The Earth as a whole just broke three “warmest” records. Most likely 2014 will go down as the warmest since record keeping began in 1880, scientists reported on Nov. 20, 2014.
Warmer oceans are driving warmer temperatures on land: October was “the sixth consecutive month where the ocean has been record warm,” Deke Arndt, chief of climate monitoring at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, told reporters. And the average ocean temperatures for each of those months "have all been the warmest for that month on record.” He said, “The oceans have been generally warming over time,” especially this year, which he called “quite warm compared to even the warmest part of that history.” He added, “Clearly the oceans are driving the warmth that we’ve seen around the planet.”
Not just the future, but now: The climate crisis is not just something for the future. It is here now. There is a lag time of a few decades between emitting greenhouse gases and their damage to the climate. The pollution we emit today will worsen the climate crisis a few decades from now. The information below about polar bears is the result of fossil fuels burned decades ago.
Unchecked warming will "dust bowlify" the US Southwest, Europe, the Amazon, and much of the global agricultural land now in production for centuries: www.tinyurl.com/od865r7
Warming Drives 40% Drop in Alaska Polar Bear Population: A new study finds that global warming has driven a 40 percent decline in the number of these bears in eastern Alaska and western Canada. The Southern Beaufort Sea population was estimated to be 1,500 in 2006, but today, according to the study, it has dwindled to just 900. “Global warming has put Alaska's polar bears in a deadly downward spiral,” said the Center for Biological Diversity’s Sarah Uhlemann. “It's happening now, it's killing polar bears now, and if we don't act now, we will lose polar bears in Alaska.” The Center secured Endangered Species Act protection for polar bears in 2008, but if we’re going to make sure these great bears of the north survive, we’ve got to cut the greenhouse gas pollution that's melting their Arctic homes. Without help, scientists predict, two-thirds of the world's polar bears could be gone by 2050. The Center for Biological Diversity does excellent work. See www.biologicaldiversity.org
Warming disrupts top of food chain in the Arctic: A fascinating but very disquieting new PBS Nature video shows the top-of-the-food-chain consequences that are happening in the Arctic as a result of global warming. This is not another video about melting ice, but rather about the vast areas where the ice is already gone and there is nothing but dark sea water. Within 2 decades (perhaps sooner) there will be no summer sea ice in the Arctic at all, and as a result, probably no more polar bears or narwhals. The loss of Arctic ice seriously disrupts ecosystems, all the way to the top of the food chain. Watch www.video.pbs.org/video/2365371591/
Climate change threatens more than 1,400 endangered species. On Nov. 18, 2014, Amelia Rosch reported that the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) now reports more than 22,000 animal species threatened with extinction, more than 1,400 of which are threatened because of climate change. Overall, IUCN’s Red List of more than 76,000 species is considered to be one of the most comprehensive resources on animal conservation status. See the IUCN’s article about its “red list” at www.tinyurl.com/oebqeol and Rosch’s article on www.thinkprogress.org at www.tinyurl.com/pwzuha2
People's Climate March in the Philippines where Typhoon Haiyan has not been forgotten: http://tinyurl.com/ke8hrpn
World’s climate scientists express alarm about the failing to act on the climate crisis: The recent report of the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s most authoritative official body, ends with a cry of alarm and a plea for bold immediate action. They warn that failure to act will cost much more economically than taking bold action now. Basically, according to an article that Joe Romm posted on www.thinkprogress.org, “the cost of the most aggressive action — the kind needed to stave off irreversible disaster — is so low that it would not noticeably change the growth curve of the world economy this century.” http://tinyurl.com/oltueem What the new Republican US Senate is likely to do about the climate in 2015 and beyond: See http://tinyurl.com/npxalz5
China, the world’s biggest burner of coal, has horrible air pollution and pledges to peak its coal use by 2020: See www.tinyurl.com/kv4jteh
The money behind the northwest’s coal exports: See www.tinyurl.com/nbtsbww
Fascinating, informative articles about Big Oil appear on pages 12-27 of the November 2014 issue of The New Internationalist. These articles do not yet seem to be on the website, but apparently only in the print version for non-subscribers. See a related article is at www.newint.org/features/2014/11/01/extended-oil-keynote Your Olympia FOR newsletter editor has subscribed to “The New Internationalist,” a magazine published in Britain covering many international concerns from progressive standpoints. It is really excellent. I first learned about Canadian tar sands in one of their issues from 2010. Their current (November 2014) issue includes several excellent articles about “Ending the Oil Age” with information relevant to the economic problems leading to the divestment movement, guerrilla theater resistance to BP and BP’s responses, Shell’s longstanding exploitation and crimes in Nigeria, and more. Your Olympia FOR newsletter editor highly recommends this issue and subscribing to either print or digital copies. See www.newint.org/issues/2014/11/01/ See www.newint.org for subscriptions, etc., but if you’d like to subscribe to their digital version (I get the print version), see www.tinyurl.com/q4gvn9p
The Urgent Case for a Ban on Fracking” is a new report from Food & Water Watch: Read a summary at www.foodandwaterwatch.org/reports/the-urgent-case-for-a-ban-on-fracking and download a .pdf of the report if you want. Food & Water Watch (www.fwwatch.org) is a non-profit organization that does a lot of high quality work.
TransCanada’s propaganda and tactics are as dirty as their pipeline: The Canadian company behind the Keystone XL and some other pipelines is pushing propaganda, but their public relations firm’s internal documents about strategy revealed how they plan to battle environmentalists and climate advocates. See www.tinyurl.com/nxkucw5
US gov’t allows Enbridge, another Canadian company, to build huge “Alberta Clipper Pipeline” to pump tar sands from Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin, and on to the US’s Gulf Coast without adequate environmental reviews: While TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline has gotten much publicity, the US State Dept has failed to make another Canadian company, Enbridge, abide by US laws for a similar pipeline to the US Gulf Coast. See http://tinyurl.com/lgtkf4t
Environmental groups sue US govt for failing to review coal’s environmental damage: The Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC) and Friends of the Earth, with significant financial support from philanthropist Paul G. Allen (a Microsoft co-founder), recently sued to reduce coal mining on federal lands. The suit would require the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to prepare a programmatic environmental impact statement for the federal coal leasing program. There has not been a comprehensive environmental review of the federal coal leasing program since 1979. However, in the past 1/3 of a century scientific evidence has established that greenhouse gases produced by coal mining and combustion endanger the public health and welfare. The BLM has never analyzed the coal leasing program’s impact on climate change. Read the news release, complaint, and Paul Allen’s op-ed in Huffington Post on WORC’s website, www.worc.org Also see this article at the Puget Sound Business Journal: www.tinyurl.com/kach96s
The Uni’stat’en Clan will not let tar sands pipelines through their territory: www.tinyurl.com/kdjsw7f
For three years Pres. Obama has failed to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, so it stayed alive. In January the Republican Congress can vote to require it to be built regardless of damage to health, environment and climate: Because the pipeline’s route would cross from Canada into the US, the US State Department needed to study its effects. Obama’s State Dept report contracted with an oil-friendly company to conduct the study, which made assumptions that allowed it to claim the pipeline would not significantly affect the environment or climate. President Obama himself had Executive authority to stop the project, but he failed to make that decision, so the project stayed alive. In November the Republican-dominated U.S. House of Representatives voted to bypass any environmental reviews and simply go ahead and build it. Then the Senate vote on a similar bill came up one vote short of doing the same (59 of the 60 votes needed). (All Republicans and some Democrats voted yes.) In January the Republicans will have a majority in the House as well as in the Senate, so they can vote to require the Keystone XL pipeline to be built regardless of any environmental reviews. Then Obama would be faced with the politically difficult decision about whether to veto the bill. Would he do that? Some reports (e.g., www.tinyurl.com/kwxnu7m) say he would. Has his three years of dawdling made it more likely that Keystone XL would be built?
Despite nice rhetoric, Obama has been pushing expansion of oil and coal: Recently he sped through approval of the southern segment of Keystone XL to the Gulf Coast and ordered federal agencies to “expedite” it and downplay environmental reviews. He’s allowing the massive expansion of the Alberta Clipper tar sands pipeline. Obama has opportunities right now to STOP Canada’s Enbridge pipeline, which would end at Superior Wisconsin USA. He is spending millions of dollars through the State Department to pressure a great many other nations to allow US oil companies to frack in their countries. He’s encouraged massive coal mining, mostly for export. He’s opened new coastal areas for offshore drilling, and fast-tracked approval of natural gas export facilities, ensuring an increased demand for fracked gas. Recently Bill McKibben wrote, “If you pledge sobriety and then buy a keg of beer, people are going to wonder.”
The Nov. 2014 US/China climate deal adds context and importance for stopping Keystone XL: Besides celebrating the unexpected this major climate agreement between the US and China, we must also recognize that it does not go nearly far enough, and that each nation needs to follow up its good words with real action. The U.S. government, for example, has a long history of gaining good publicity by promising things but then quietly failing to follow through. If President Obama is really serious, he would use his executive authority to stop the Keystone XL pipeline once and for all, and also to take other strong actions that the rapidly worsening climate crisis requires. Of course, China also must follow through, but the American people don’t have control over their government but we do – theoretically – over the US government, which claims to represent the people. Obama pledged to reduce US emissions 26%-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. Is this an empty promise? The American people must press him hard to keep his word. His first test is whether to continue his years of waffling over the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline or use his executive authority to stop it. After the Nov. 2014 US/China deal, many online petitions circulated for this purpose. Also, other less public projects are moving ahead, including the State Department’s permission for the Canadian pipeline company Enbridge to expand its illegal and unpermitted expansion of its Clipper pipeline that would be more than half as big as Keystone XL – with no environmental review whatsoever – to export crude across the Atlantic Ocean. See info about Enbridge’s Clipper at www.tinyurl.com/m5jc88s Hypocrisy is killing the climate! More info: www.tinyurl.com/lhf4eeh Much more info on the US/China climate deal is at www.tinyurl.com/k46b7mk
Europe keeps doing better than the US in reducing emissions: While Obama’s Nov. 2014 deal with China sets a somewhat better goal than Obama’s previous goal of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, it is not really very ambitious. The European Union (EU) has committed to a 40% reduction from the more significant 1990 levels, in the same time period. Europe is making huge progress toward converting to renewable energy.
Naomi Klein says the Keystone XL really does matter: In an article in the Dec. 15-22, 2014, issue of The Nation (also available at www.thenation.com), Naomi Klein says that – although some people downplay the importance of the Keystone XL pipeline, it really does matter. Her article gives four reasons: 1.Oil prices are low. 2. Tar-sands pipelines are protest magnets. 3. Indigenous rights keep winning in court. 4. Climate action is back as a hot public issue. She explains her reasons at www.tinyurl.com/m8teuuy
Movement against Keystone XL is still building: Several years ago NASA’s top climate expert James Hansen stated that the tar sands oil that would be pumped through Keystone would mean “game over” for the climate. Despite that, the political and media elites assumed that the Keystone XL would be approved, but a massive and diverse grassroots movement is putting pressure on the government. This includes a coalition of “Cowboys and Indians” who mobilized and protested in Washington DC and nearly 400,000 persons who marched in New York City on Sept. 21, 2014, and a great many people who pledged to commit nonviolent civil disobedience if it is approved.
The State Dept’s Keystone XL contractor ERM approved a project that is now melting glaciers: When the U.S. State Department needed to assess Keystone XL’s environmental impacts, they allowed the applicant – TransCanada – to choose the contractor, and TransCanada chose a company that serves the oil industry. Investigative journalists from the DeSmogBlog (www.desmogblog.com) discovered that ERM not only rubberstamped TransCanada’s application for the Keystone XL, but also “green-lighted a gold mining project in central Asia that is now melting glaciers,” according to an article on the blog, which continues, “ERM Group has a penchant for rubber-stamping projects that have had tragic environmental and public health legacies. For example, ERM formerly worked on behalf of the tobacco industry to pitch the safety of its deadly product.” The article reports that ERM favorably evaluated a proposed gold mine in Kyrgyzstan at about two miles of elevation above sea level amid important glaciers. Those glaciers are melting, apparently more rapidly because of the gold mine that ERM supported. Keystone XL’s supporters emphasize that Keystone XL would not hurt the environment because Obama’s State Department report (prepared by ERM) green-lighted it. This information comes from the very savvy DeSmogBlog, www.desmogblog.com See www.tinyurl.com/k3u5cvyOil-handing facilities at Cherry Point, Anacortes and Tacoma have been operating, a long time, but a great many more are proposed for Western Washington. A great many people in the Pacific NW have informed themselves and organized strong opposition to these, because they seriously endanger local environments, waterways, fisheries, local communities, and the global climate. This map shows some that the Olympia FOR’s “Confronting the Climate Crisis” group and a great many other local grassroots organizations and Indian nations have been protesting.
A November 2014 article summarizes the extremely dangerous increase in shipping crude oil by train: The oil extracted from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota is especially dangerous because of its chemical composition. See www.tinyurl.com/kkqcs4o
More info on dangers of oil trains: http://tinyurl.com/nn4hrau
Washington State Department of Ecology’s info on oil trains and oil spills: www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/spills/oilmovement/index.html
Environmentalists criticize Gov. Jay Inslee’s study of oil train dangers: Is Inslee letting the fox watch the chicken coop? Three of the authors have decades of experience with the main railroad company here. See www.tinyurl.com/q6z2jjc
Ten tribal leaders and the State’s Public Lands Commissioner strongly condemn plans for new oil export terminals: In a special to the Seattle Times, ten tribal leaders and the Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands strongly condemn plans for new oil terminals and oil trains coming to the Pacific NW from the Bakken, North Dakota, oil fields. They stated, “Given the recent increase in the severity and frequency of oil train failures, we believe the current safety standards governing the transport of crude by rail are insufficient to protect our communities and threatened ecosystems.” Tribal nations across the region expressed strong concerns about accidents and pollution that could compromise their treaty rights, fisheries, traditional way of life and sacred cultural resources. The article’s full text is at www.tinyurl.com/nhlf2ss
Approximately 700-900 persons attended the October 30, 2014, hearing in Olympia to oppose oil trains: The Olympia FOR’s “Confronting the Climate Crisis” group was one of many that mobilized a giant crowd estimated to be between 700 and 900 persons on October 30, 2014, to tell the State Dept. of Ecology that oil trains are dangerous for our local communities, for the environment, and for the world’s climate. Oil spills are only part of the problem – and were underplayed in the state’s planning. The Dept. of Ecology urged more funding so the state can cope with the spills. But critics said it is not fair to make taxpayers subsidize oil and rail companies. Thurston County Commissioner Cathy Wolfe stated, “We simply need to say no to Big Oil. We need to say no to oil trains. We need to move forward with clean reliable energy.” Environmentalists, climate activists and tribes organized a pre-hearing rally. Ed Johnstone, the Quinault tribe’s fisheries policy spokesman, was clear: “We are opposed to oil by rail ... Not now. Not ever!”
“Fossil Fuel Indexes” provides information about the worsening risks from investing in coal, oil and gas: In November 2012, Stuart Braman, adjunct associate research scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and former Managing Director at Standard & Poor’s, attended the New York City show on Bill McKibben’s “Do the Math” tour, which kicked off the “Go Fossil Free” campaign to divest from fossil fuels. He conducted extensive research and in April 2013 he established Fossil Free Indexes LLC and began to advise investors how to minimize their financial risks and the world’s environmental risk at the same time by embracing the transition to a low-carbon economy through responsible investing. Info: www.fossilfreeindexes.com
New data identify the world’s 100 highest-emitting public coal companies and 100 highest-emitting public oil and gas companies, based on the potential carbon emissions content of their reported reserves: This “Carbon Underground 200” list shows serious threats to the climate – and to investors – because the world’s atmosphere cannot tolerate this much additional carbon dioxide (CO2). The “Fossil Fuel Indexes” website (see above) reports the risk to investors: “These estimates broadly confirm growing research on the exposure of public fossil fuel companies, especially those in the coal sector, to potential constraints and revaluation based on stranded assets.” (In this context, a “stranded asset” is something that a business counts as an asset in its financial records but actually has no practical value, such as the value of underground coal or oil that cannot be burned without destroying the climate, so it actually has zero value, instead of the huge dollar amount that is publicly claimed listed in financial reports.) Info: www.fossilfreeindexes.com/the-carbon-underground-2014/
Fossil fuel companies waste billions of dollars seeking more production: An article on pages 20-21 of the November 2014 issue of The New Internationalist reports that fossil fuel companies are throwing good money after bad in trying to create new production. See www.newint.org for subscriptions, etc., but this article does not appear to be on the website, but only in the print version. Also see a related article is at www.newint.org/features/2014/11/01/extended-oil-keynote
Seattle’s city employee pension board moves further toward divestment: On November 24, 2014, Nick Licata, a progressive member of Seattle’s City Council, wrote in Issue #359 of his blog (firstname.lastname@example.org) about Seattle’s progress in divesting its employee pension from fossil fuels. In June 2014, the City Council passed Resolution 31525, which adopted investment policies for the City. In that resolution, the City Council urged the Board for the Seattle City Employee Retirement System (SCERS) to work toward divesting from fossil fuel holdings. His Nov. 24, 2014, blog article reports that the SCERS Investment Committee recently voted unanimously to adopt a plan to divest over the next five years. In contrast to seemingly misleading information provided by the board’s investment consultant firm, members of Seattle’s 350.org group provided more compelling information and won the Investment Board’s unanimous decision to adopt the divestment plan.
Tar sands are becoming riskier investments: http://tinyurl.com/mlbcf6f
A glut of oil on the market is depressing prices, but renewables’ prices are dropping too: Some persons are saying that OPEC and other producers are waging a “price war” to drop oil prices in order to put economic pressure on Russia and/or Iran and/or the frackers. A “price war” is not sustainable because Peak Oil will be reducing extraction overall. The costs for some renewable energy methods are dropping too, becoming cheaper than fossil fuels, especially as alternative technologies and production quantities improve. BMW is reportedly planning to phase out fossil fuel engines within 10 years. The cost of renewable energy keeps dropping to where it will be cheaper than fossil fuels within a couple years. See the article titled, “Replacing Fossil Fuel and Nuclear Power with Renewable Energy: Wind, Solar and Hydro Power” at www.tinyurl.com/lo6nksg
Promote the Olympia FOR’s clever, practical proposal for financing energy efficiency in homes without using tax dollars: Gar Lipow, a member of the Olympia FOR climate committee’s “Positive Visions” working group, developed – and the rest of our committee endorsed – a creative way for financing energy efficiency improvements to homes (rentals as well as owner-occupied) without using tax dollars. Visit www.olympiafor.org/Climate_Crisis.html, scroll down near the end of that section into the NEWS NEWS NEWS NEWS NEWS section, and click the link for No Obligation Financing of Efficiency And Renewables (NO FEAR)
Fossil fuel companies fund elections, so if we want real solutions we must change how we finance and conduct elections: Solutions for many of the problems that plague the US are obstructed by massive corruption in how the US finances and conducts elections. Amid our other ways we are working to solve the climate crisis, let’s also include campaign finance reform. We desperately need a constitutional amendment to repeal the “corporate personhood” myth and the “money = speech” myth. Many organizations including Move to Amend (www.movetoamend.org) and Public Citizen (www.citizen.org) are working on this.
The movement for carbon tax is growing: Carbon Washington (www.carbonwa.org), the group founded by Seattle economist Yoram Bauman, is moving ahead in a number of ways. Bauman reports that his “open letter to the environmental community” (posted on Nov. 19, 2014, to carbonWA’s blog, http://carbonwa.org/blog/, is generating conversation. Info: CarbonWA, 3656 Francis Ave N #B, Seattle WA 98103 www.carbonwa.org
How to communicate about carbon pricing: Yoram Bauman, Carbon WA’s founder, likes Preston Manning’s article, “How to communicate a good idea: carbon pricing” in the Nov. 19, 2014, edition of Toronto’s Globe and Mail. (www.tinyurl.com/kjv42a4) (One recommendation is to refer to “carbon pricing” instead of a “carbon tax,” in order to avoid using a word that many people hate and in order to tap into many people’s support for “market forces.” The article’s author is working with credible Canadians to promote the idea, which has already succeeded very well in British Columbia.
A new listserv to share climate information, ideas, organizing: The Western The Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation (www.wwfor.org) created an e-mail listserv for people throughout Western Washington who want to work on the climate crisis. WWFOR’s Climate Change listserv is totally different from the Olympia FOR’s listserv about the climate crisis, so people can decide whether to sign up for WWFOR’s, whether or not you’re on the Olympia FOR’s climate crisis listserv. If you want to sign up for WWFOR’s Climate Change listserv, send an email to email@example.com
Also, the Olympia FOR’s climate listserv is VERY active: People who join our listserv can expect to receive an average of one or several e-mails every day. Some of the information is Olympia-specific, some is regionally relevant, and some is globally relevant. To join it, e-mail Marylea Coday at Marylea@smallblueplanet.org (It is set up through Yahoo Groups, not Google Groups, like WWFOR’s listservs.)
Participate in the Olympia FOR’s “Confronting the Climate Crisis” group. It is very active: We meet monthly on the 3rd Wednesday evening of each month at The Olympia Center, 222 Columbia Street, downtown, and some subgroups meet in between. Bourtai Hargrove has chaired our group since we started in August 2012. She produces the agendas and facilitates our meetings and is the overall hub of information. You can reach her at (360) 352-6327 firstname.lastname@example.org
Naomi Klein discussed the CLIMATE and CAPITALISM on Sept 18, 2014, on Democracy Now! See http://tinyurl.com/lb3ag36
Read an interesting review of Naomi Klein's new book on climate and capitalism at www.tinyurl.com/oa3kb5t
Washington State’s Legislature convenes on Mon. Jan. 12. Watch for news and opportunities for action: The Olympia FOR’s vigorous group, “Confronting the Climate Crisis,” and many other groups that care about the environment and climate will be informing and activating people. We want Gov. Jay Inslee to propose a strong, effective way to put a price on carbon. Certainly a variety of groups will be working to protect our communities from dangerous coal and oil trains and exports. If you’re not already on some relevant e-mail lists, please sign up now. To sign up for Olympia FOR’s climate e-mail listserv, contact email@example.com -- and for the Western Washington FOR’s climate e-mail listserv contact firstname.lastname@example.org Climate Solutions (www.climatesolutions.org) does good work. Their contact person for legislative work is Alex Epstein, email@example.com).
How one creative Canadian nonviolently protected his land from an oil pipeline: One creative nonviolent person – an artist in Alberta, Canada, Peter von Tiesenhausen – prevented oil companies from building a pipeline through his land (3.2 square kilometers – slightly more than half a square mile) by covering it with sculptures and copyrighting the top 6 inches of his land as a work of art. It’s amazing what just one person can do nonviolently for a worthy cause! If you know stories and examples of local creative nonviolent activities for worthy causes, please share those stories.
A respected environmental organization reports, “UN Climate Talks Heading in Wrong Direction” -- On Nov. 26, 2014, the international level of Friends of the Earth issued a statement saying, “Less than a week before 195 nations gather in Lima [Peru] to discuss how to address the climate crisis, Friends of the Earth International activists are warning that the United Nations talks are heading in the wrong direction. Dipti Bhatnagar, Friends of the Earth International climate justice and energy coordinator said, “Looking at the texts that our governments are negotiating in Lima, the climate deal that they plan to reach next year in Paris could turn out to be, at best, an empty shell. They must reverse their course of action urgently. Around the world people and communities are already paying the price of the climate crisis with their livelihoods and lives.” She said that, “Some observers are very excited about the November US-China deal, but the reality is that all major climate polluters, especially the developed countries, with the US at the helm, are still doing way too little to address the climate crisis. All signs point to the fact that our governments are mostly focusing on false solutions to the climate crisis. False solutions such as carbon trading and offsetting must be stopped,” she added. The FOEI statement called for “steep reductions in carbon emissions, stopping dirty energy and deforestation, building sustainable, community-based energy solutions, and transforming our food systems.” See www.tinyurl.com/qznm9u6
What climate scientists say about the climate agreement between China and the U.S.: See http://tinyurl.com/m24o729
On Nov 12, 2014, Bill McKibben listed these important points about the Nov 11 US-China climate deal. He wrote: “Last night, just weeks after the largest climate mobilization ever, the world's two biggest polluters -- the United States and China -- announced their most ambitious climate action yet. That is not a coincidence: it's a sign that our pressure is working, and that we need to apply much more. Here's my take on what the just-announced plan from President Obama and Premier Xi is, and isn't:
1) It is historic. John Kerry was right to use the phrase in his New York Times oped (www.tinyurl.com/ocjv6xa) announcing the deal: for the first time a developing nation has agreed to eventually limit its emissions. This is a necessity for advancing international climate negotiations.
2) It isn't binding in any way. In effect President Obama is writing an IOU to be cashed by future presidents and Congresses (and Xi is doing the same for future Politburos). If they take the actions to meet the targets, then it's meaningful, but for now it's a paper promise. And since physics is uninterested in spin, all the hard work lies ahead.
3) It is proof -- if any more was needed -- that renewable energy is ready to go. The Chinese say they'll be using clean sources to get 20% of their energy by 2030 – which is not just possible, it should be easy. Which they know because they’ve revolutionized the production of solar energy, driving down the cost of panels by 90% or more in the last decade.
4) It is not remotely enough to keep us out of climate trouble. We've increased the temperature less than a degree and that's been enough to melt enormous quantities of ice, not to mention set the weather on berserk. So this plan to let the increase more than double is folly – though it is good to see that the two sides have at least agreed not to undermine the 2 degrees Celsius warming target, the one tiny achievement of the 2009 Copenhagen conference fiasco.
5) It is a good way to put pressure on other nations. I've just come back from India, which has worked hard to avoid any targets of any sort. But the lesson from this pact is, actual world leaders at least need to demonstrate they're talking about climate; it makes the lead-up to the global negotiations in Paris next year more interesting.
6) It is a reason projects like Keystone XL and fracking make even less sense than ever. If President Obama is serious about meeting these kinds of targets, then we need serious steps; the surest way to undermine this commitment would be to approve new pipelines or authorize other new fossil fuel developments like fracking. If you pledge sobriety and then buy a keg of beer, people are going to wonder.
7) It is another reminder that it is past time to divest from fossil fuels (www.gofossilfree.org/usa). The burgeoning divestment movement has been arguing not just on moral grounds, but also making the point that the future will inevitably lead to a downsloping curve for the old energies. This is another warning – for anyone who looks more than a few quarters out, the writing is on the wall that the fossil fuel era is on its way out.
8) It’s not, in any way, a stretch goal. These numbers are easy – if you were really being cynical, you could say they're trying to carefully manage a slow retreat from fossil fuels instead of really putting carbon on the run. T he Germans, for instance, will be moving in on 60% of their energy from clean sources by the mid-2020s, when we'll still be cutting carbon emissions by small increments.
9) It is -- and this is the real key -- a reminder that movements work. President Obama first endorsed the 80 percent by 2050 goal he enshrined in this pact when he was running for president in 2007, a week after 1,400 demonstrations (www.tinyurl.com/ok36485) around the nation demanded that goal. This comes seven weeks after by far the largest global climate demonstrations in history, and amidst ongoing unrest in China about the filthy air in its cities.
10) It isn’t, in other words, a reason to slack off one bit in the ongoing fight for a livable climate, a fight we must continue at all cost. If we want this to be a start, and not a finish, we've got to build even bigger and more powerful movements that push the successors of these gentlemen to meet what science demands.
Today is an achievement for everyone who's held a banner, signed a petition, and gone to jail -- and a call for many more to join us going forward! Thank you so much for everything you've done, and for everything you will do next.”
Mother Jones provides more information about the US-China deal: www.tinyurl.com/pnqry4g
To really reduce emissions we must demilitarize US foreign policy: Here is a great way to “connect the dots” between the climate crisis and peace! The Pentagon’s strategists actually recognize that the global climate crisis is a direct threat to world security and US security. Also, the Pentagon is taking some actions to reduce oil consumption (e.g., by replacing some of its vehicles with more fuel-efficient ones). However, the Pentagon’s new climate change policy does NOT address the military’s inherent damage to the climate. A new article by researcher Tamara Lorincz (www.tinyurl.com/orqmy2x) presents some interesting information. For example she points out that when the US and other nations report on their greenhouse gas emissions, they do NOT include emissions that their militaries cause outside of their own national borders. She also reports that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, the UN’s climate authority) ignores military emissions of greenhouse gases. She urges the IPCC and national governments to correct this bias and report fully. She wrote that failing to report military emissions “will keep us off track, and we will not be able to stabilize the climate.” She also wrote that the US and the international community must “face the fact that if we are going to be serious about climate change mitigation and adaptation, we must at the same time be serious about peace and disarmament. We must demilitarize foreign policy, because we will not be able to stay within the carbon budget that has been identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We simply are not going to be able to maintain a military, this huge military of the United States, and all of these wars, and still protect the climate. It's just not going to be possible.” Tamara Lorincz has strong credential in academia, the peace movement, and other sectors. See a relevant article at www.tinyurl.com/orqmy2x
Organize with labor for a stronger movement to protect the climate and create good jobs: See www.tinyurl.com/m43rj6l
On Wednesday February 13, 2013, 47 persons in various leadership roles were arrested at the White House to protest the Keystone XL pipeline. More wanted to be arrested, but the authorities limited the number of persons who could get that close to the White House. Shortly before he went to the site to be arrested, Robert Kennedy, Jr., made this ACCURATE, ARTICULATE, POWERFUL speech.
No Obligation Financing of Efficiency And Renewables (NO FEAR) (Word) Gar Lipow proposes a clever, practical way to finance energy efficiency without tax dollars
"Climate Change 911: The Health Effects of Climate Change"(video)
Confronting the Climate Crisis (pdf doc)
Interactive map brings home warming trends An interactive map published by New Scientist shows changes in temperature over the past 20 years for every spot in the world. Drop-down menus reveal temperature patterns dating back to 1893.
Remember climate change? The issue barely came up during the presidential campaigns, and little has been said since. But bringing climate change back into our national conversation is as much a communications challenge as it is a scientific one. Scientist Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, joins Bill to describe his efforts to do what even Hurricane Sandy couldn’t – galvanize communities over what’s arguably the greatest single threat facing humanity. Leiserowitz, who specializes in the psychology of risk perception, knows better than anyone if people are willing to change their behavior to make a difference.
National Climate Assessment the nation's report card on the impacts of climate change on a regional basis.
One very short video:
Robin Everett of the Sierra Club on the need to stop the coal trains:
In the third short video, the Mayor of Seattle takes the “jobs” issue head-on:
The American PRIDE (Promote Renewable Infrastructure & Develop Efficiency) Gar W. Lipow and the Visions Sub-committee of the Olympia FOR Climate Crisis Committee (Word Doc) The American PRIDE (Promote Renewable Infrastructure & Develop Efficiency) is a~250 billion a year proposal that makes a social profit by reducing greenhouse gas pollution, while creating two to five million new jobs per year, reducing U.S. oil use by a third within ten years, and reducing U.S. greenhouse gases around 60% by 2025.
On Sunday March 17, 2013, a ship arrived from China at the Port of Olympia. [ See Video ]It unloaded ceramic proppants made in China to be transported through the Port of Olympia to the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota, where they will be used in the “fracking” to extract dirty oil. This will hurt the environment and water tables in North Dakota, and it will hurt the earth’s climate. On Monday March 18 two rallies were held at the Port of Olympia to protest this. Robert Whitlock produced this video (shorter than 10 minutes) with visuals and speakers about the issues.