They told us that it’s over Re McNamee, it’s not

We only have a few hours to Stop McNamee for good, so I’ll make this fast:

Something amazing happened late yesterday in the US Senate: After weeks of our calls, emails, deliveries, protests and a personal visit from me and a team of BXE activists to Chuck Schumer Monday Every Democrat in the Senate took a stand for climate action.

Specifically, they all — even the Joe Manchin — voted NO on the vote to end debate on Bernard McNamee’s nomination. He’s Trump’s climate-denying nominee to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, check out this video from Bernie Sanders, or read the back posts if you need a refresher.

Now, we have until about Noon to add one or two Republicans to that unified Democratic front, and we can actually stop McNamee for good. Three Senators are key to this fight: Susan Collins, Jeff Flake and Joe Manchin.

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the video recorded right after our meeting with Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer’s office. Something we said must have struck a chord, because after that meeting Schumer gave a strong speech against McNamee. It’s just what we needed to reflect the growing Democratic outrage at Trump’s climate-denying, fossil fuel loving nomination0 as part of a thinly veiled scheme to subsidize coal and nuclear power to the tune of ratepayers (like you and me) paying an extra $34 billion dollars.

But here’s the thing – 49 Senators, EVERY. SINGLE. DEMOCRAT. voted NO on the cloture vote for McNamee. 51 votes in favor of McNamee was enough to advance the nomination, but I have to pause a second and remind you what a big deal this is. 49 Democrats didn’t vote NO on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination. 49 Democrats in the Senate did not vote for climate legislation in the US Senate under Barack Obama. 49 Democratic Senators have never, ever, voted as a block on climate change before.

Today, at 12 noon, the actual vote, up or down on McNamee, will take place. It’s a very long shot, but we have a chance to win that vote. These Senators are critical, so we’re giving you three ways to contact each of them.

Not Sure what to say? These calls can be super short – the most important thing is to tell them to vote NO on McNamee. Some special wording for our three priority Senators is below, provided by our friends at Beyond Extreme Energy:

For Susan Collins, the message is this: “You can’t say, ‘The federal government cannot afford the billions of dollars in additional funding that is going to be needed if we do not take into account and start acting on the serious consequences of climate change,’ and then support an outspoken climate denier and fossil fuel extremist. Vote no on McNamee!.”

For Jeff Flake, the message is this: “You can’t support allowing all energy sources to compete on an even playing field, and you can’t believe that picking winner and losers is not the federal government’s job, and then support anti-renewables McNamee. Vote no on McNamee!”

And for Joe Manchin, the message is this: “Thank you for voting yesterday against cloture on debate over Bernard McNamee. Today, you need to be consistent and, since Republicans shut down debate, vote no on McNamee. Do the right thing again today!”

Last I just want to leave you with the words of a song a young(er) climate activist taught me at the Cuomo Walk the Talk action earlier this year. It seems appropriate to today:

They told us that it’s all over
They told us that the world gets colder
They told us it’s too much on our shoulders
We believe that we will win
We believe that we will win

Stop McNamee, Block Manchin, Act on Climate with a Green New Deal

If you’re one of the more than 30,000 people who already signed our petition stop Bernard McNamee: Thank you. (If not, sign here)

You’ll remember that just last week McNamee was under fire in a Senate Energy Committee over a speech he he gave calling for a “unified campaign” to support fossil fuels. He also falsely claimed that renewable energy “screws up” the grid and and described any legal opposition to pipelines and cliamte change as a “constant battle between liberty and tyranny.”​

Trump and his puppet Mitch McConnell know that Mcnamee’s nomination will never stand up to public scrutiny – so they’re rushing a vote McNamee today — Monday December 4!  But they may have overplayed their hand.

Senator Maria Cantwell and allies from the Energy Democrats have vowed to fight, and there’s a chance we can stop this nomination on the Senate floor, but only if we call right now! Dial (833) 261-7330 right now and tell your Senators to vote NO on Bernard McNamee?

Not sure what to say? These can be quick calls there are two basic points you need to make:

  1. Bernard McNamee is a dangerous nominee – he’s corrupt, unqualified, a climate-denier and part of Trump’s plan to force ratepayers to bail out coal and nuclear power.
  2. Senators MUST vote NO on cloture and NO on his nomination, and must ensure that all votes are recorded. No unanimous consent or procedural gimmicks (that’s how we got the last three Republican FERC commissioners).

Your calls today are part of a coordinated series of actions to get Senate Democrats, in particular, to step up on climate. Here’s a quick explainer recorded early this morning.

I’ll be all over Capitol Hill today and posting regular updates through Social Media. Check it all out and keep up with us on our Facebook page​, but here’s a quick Rundown:

Later this morning, friends from Sunrise NYC are headed to Chuck Schumer’s office in New York to demand he lead on Climate Change by supporting a Green New Deal, and blocking Joe Manchin from becoming chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Manchin, you may recall, was the only Democrat to vote for McNamee last week in the committee — yet another example in a long line of how out of touch his is with Democrats and common sense on climate change. But, because of the archaic rules that govern the Senate, and because Democrats lost seats in the senate last month, when the new Congress is sworn in there’s a real chance Manchin — the only Senator to have publicly ​shot​ a climate bill in a campaign ad, with a rifle — would be the leading Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Manchin, like McNamee, is a test of Chuck Schumer and the Senate Democrats willingness to lead, and fight, on climate change.​Which is why I’ll be amplifying the Sunrise team’s action this morning, and going to Schumer’s DC office this afternoon to re-iterate their demands and ask Schumer to lead the fight to stop McNamee, Block Manchin, and act on Climate.

And there is reason to be hopeful – since other Democrats in the Senate are leading on this issue. In fact, if you want to end your day on an optimistic note, tune in with us for Senator Bernie Sanders’ live town hall on climate change tonight at 7pm Eastern. Bernie will be joined by Bill McKibben, Shailene Woodley, climate scientists and more. I’ll be there live and you can tune in with us online here.​

3 graphs, a photo from space, and a mission

Last year I wrote a great post about what’s really at stake with climate change, and why I was starting 198 methods to push the fight in the US. It’s still great, and you should go read it if you haven’t already. I sent it out as a fundraiser on GivingTuesday, and got some positive feedback.

This year, I didn’t want to send a Giving Tuesday email for two basic reasons:

  1. #GivingTuesday is kind of a scam. No shade to my brothers and sisters in the non-profit world;  They need your help, so if you found time and a little extra cash to donate to them, I hope you did so. But the whole thing was invented by professional fundraisers as a corollary to BlackFriday – an orgy of overconsumption and a key example of what we’re trying to change about American politics and society. It’s also deeply connected to and dependent on Facebook’s donation platform, which is a scam to get non-profits with strapped budgets to give them billions in advertising revenue while green-washing the reputations of some of the dirtiest corporations on the planet.
  2. There’s actually a lot happening this week – a major Trump Nominee moving through Congress, a fight over the future of the Democratic Party leadership in Congress, And the start of the 24 Conference of Parties talks about how to implement the Paris Climate Agreement and act on the UN’s recent climate report. To name just a few.

But there’s also some exciting new info to share from the last few weeks – so without further ado, here’s an updated take on why you should donate, the state of the climate movement, and why I think that world needs one more non-profit environmental group (this one) — all as told through 3 charts and a big picture. Check it out and if you like it, click one of the links below to donate – and if you’ve saved your payment information, your donation will go through immediately:

One-click Donate: $1.98

One-click Donate: $19.80

One-click Donate: $198

Or donate another amount

Chart #1 it’s still bad

As you’ve probably guessed – the situation hasn’t improved much under the last 12 months of the Trump Administration. When Obama left office, we’d pledged to cut emissions 50% below 1990 levels. That was a good promise, but we weren’t on pace to do it. And that pace is nowhere near what was needed to keep us below the 2° Celsius goal of the Paris climate agreement.

Trump pulled us out of Paris in 2017, but the news actually got worse in the last few weeks when the UN released an updated projection confirming what we’d been saying all along – that we need to actually cut emissions MORE to keep us under 1.5° Celsius. And we need to do it FASTER hitting those decarbonization targets in the next 12 years to get us on pace.

Here’s an updated chart showing where we were last year, and where we are now:

climate goals graph updated

Chart #2 Still hotter too

Then, last Friday (right about the time everyone was getting their #GivingTuesday emails ready) the US chimed in with their second National Climate Assessment. Again, the news here is bad, but not new. Despite the Trump administration’s attempts to suppress climate science, and Trump and his cabinet’s ongoing climate denial, this report from 10 different US agencies confirms the basics above – The temperature is already rising; We’re causing it; And we need to act fast, and very boldly, if we want to stop it.

If we do nothing, the red line is what we can Temperature increase of 6-8° Farenheit (3-5° Celsius) That would make the planet more or less un-livable, at least for most of us. Seas would drive millions of us off the coasts, wildfires would burn dozens at a time across the west, and pollution (ozone in particular) and heat waves would kill tens of thousands of people every year across the midwest.

The blue line is about what the Paris agreement called for: namely aggressive action to cut US emissions and keep us below the 2° C target. The green line shows the very steep cuts it would take to get to 1.5° C or lower.

US emissions projections from 4th national climate assessment

Chart #3 It’s not all bad

Here’s the good news though: Despite all Trump’s posturing, things are already turning around. In the developing world (yucky term but most of the world’s people live in the global south, so hang with me a sec) Installations of wind and solar power are actually happening faster than new fossil fuels. There’s a revolution going on around the world, even if we’re not a part of it here in the US (yet). And it totally dovetails with the message we’ve been delivering to so-called climate leaders since this fall’s Global Climate Action Summit: We already have the solutions we need – and the youngest. poorest, and brownest communities with the most to lose from climate change are already showing what’s possible.

We’re all in this together

Last there’s this photo from NASA of the recent Camp Fire in California that I can’t get out of my head. The fires this year are already the biggest and deadliest in history – and they’re just what was predicted by the UN and US climate forecasts above. But it’s not just towns like Paradise that burned – all of California was blanketed in smoke from the fires. And no matter who you are or where you live, you’re seeing more impacts from climate change right now today that you were a year ago.

That can be terrifying – that the scope of the problem we’re facing is so vast. But it’s also unifying. There’s no more ‘safe harbor’ from climate change in America. You can’t retire to Florida, or emigrate to Canada to avoid it. We will drown, burn, or rise, TOGETHER.

A view of the camp fire from space

So, now what?

And that’s my main hope – that the presence of climate disaster all around us every day will move people to take real actions to fight the crisis. And we have done some things in the past year:

  1. We started the year fighting to DeFund pipelines, and that fight goes on. But just this month a major court decisions set back the Keystone XL pipeline again.
  2. We partnered with the Climate Disobedience Center on the court case for Roxbury activists arrested protesting a gas pipeline and they were all found not-guilty by reason of necessity!
  3. We successfully Fired Scott Pruitt, Trump’s lead man on climate and Environment at the EPA, and now we’re going after his number 2, Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke.
  4. We fought Trump’s plans to open our coasts to offshore drilling, gut the Endangered Species Act, and more! And we stood up, sat-in, and marched alongside pipeline fighters in North Carolina and other states.
  5. And we traveled to California for the #RiseforClimate rally and also put local leaders like Governor Brown on notice that we’re raising the bar on climate leadership.

Sure, Trump will still be crazy: he told the Washington Post this week that  “You look at our air and our water and it’s right now at a record clean.” I don’t know what that means, but I know not to get too hung up on every crazy, false and unreasonable thing he says. I’m focused instead on the things we can do. And, as I noted in an earlier post on the election, I think we’ve got even more opportunities in 2019 than we had in 2018.

In particular, I think now more than ever we need digital support for direct action that centers the climate crisis. We saw that over and over again – from protests in North Carolina where we live-streamed the action so more people could participate, to the Global Climate Action Summit, where we used new media tools to super-charge the call for real climate leadership.

Now, with a new congress coming in, and more pipelines, fossil fuel export terminals, and Trump-nominated Fossil Fools than ever to fight, if you’ve got a little to spare, we’d love to have your support.

Last chance – act now to stop Bernard McNamee!

If you’re one of the more than 27,000 people who have already signed on to our public call to stop Bernard McNamee, Thank you. (if not sign here) But now I need your help to delay, and possibly derail McNamee’s nomination.

Many of you have already called the Senate Energy Committee to opposed McNamee (thanks again!), but new evidence has come to light and the Democrats on that committee are asking to delay McNamee’s vote on Nov. 27th.

Here’s the gist:

In between stints at the Department of Energy, McNamee worked for a right wing thing tank funded by the Koch brothers and Exxon called the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF). In that speech McNamee falsely claims renewable energy “screws up” the grid and environmental groups want to “return us to … administrative tyranny.” TPPF tried to delete the video, but some enterprising reporters dug up a copy, and a pro-renewables think tank released the whole thing last week while the Senate was on Thanksgiving recess.

Now, the Democrats on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (SENRC) say they need time to review this new evidence and ask McNamee questions about it before they can vote. 

The whole thing is so damning that even Republican former FERC officials and conservative lawyers say that it should disqualify McNamee, but Lisa Murkowski, the Republican chair of the committee is pushing ahead with a vote!

Can you call the Committee at (202) 224-4971 right now and ask them to cancel the vote and reject Mcnamee’s nomination?

Not sure what to say? These can be quick calls there are two basic points you need to make:

  1. Bernard McNamee is a dangerous nominee – he’s corrupt, unqualified, a climate-denier and part of Trump’s plan to force ratepayers to bail out coal and nuclear power. His nomination should be withdrawn and this committee meeting to vote on him should be canceled.
  2. If the hearing proceeds, Senators MUST vote NO on his nomination, and must ensure that all votes are recorded. No unanimous consent or procedural gimmicks (that’s how we got the last three Republican FERC commissioners).

Already called or ready for more? Click here for the instructions from 2 weeks ago on how to call through all the members of the committee and ask each of them to vote no! Only the hearing date has changed, all the other info is still pertinent.

PS – want to see what the fuss is about? Here’s the whole video of McNamee’s speech:

PPS – friends from BXE will be in the hearing room tomorrow – if it goes ahead. Click here to stay tuned to their Facebook page for updates after 10 am eastern tomorrow.

 

Make a call to Stop McNamee

If you’re one of more than 25,000 people who signed on to block McNamee -THANK YOU. Together with allies we’ve already delivered your signature and lobbied every member of the committee to vote no. And thanks to you we’ve got a chance to stop the nomination: But we have to act fast.

Every day, new corruption and malfeasance about McNamee emerges – the kind of scandals and abuses of power that could convince Senators to block him.

McNamee’s only chance to get confirmed is if nobody notices or asks questions. So we need your help to make sure that doesn’t happenCan you make a call or send a tweet (they answer them like calls) to members of the Senate Natural Resources Commitee before the hearing tomorrow morning? 

Here’s who to call and how:

  1. Click the link to see a list of all the Senators on the committee and their contact info.
  2. If you have a Senator on the committee, call them first, but don’t worry if your Senator isn’t on the list.
  3. Call as many Senators on this list as you can.
    1. Start with the Chair, Lisa Murkowski and the Ranking member, Maria Cantwell.
    2. Next, we suggest prioritizing these Senators, who have voted to block FERC nominees in the past: Sanders, Hirono, Duckworth, Heinrich, Cortez-Masto
  4. What to say: These can be quick calls there are two basic points you need to make:
    1. Bernard McNamee is a dangerous nominee – he’s corrupt, unqualified, a climate-denier and part of Trump’s plan to force ratepayers to bail out coal and nuclear power. His nomination should be withdrawn and this committee hearing canceled.
    2. If the hearing proceeds, Senators MUST vote NO on his nomination, and must ensure that all votes are recorded. No unanimous consent or procedural gimmicks (that’s how we got the last three Republican FERC commissioners).
  5. That’s it! If you have another minute (or while you’re on hold) and you use twitter, it’s also a great idea to tweet at these committee members and make sure they get the message. Karen added all the twitter addresses to that list, or just click here to quickly retweet.​

If you’re looking for more info, our team has published a ton of detailed explainers over the last few weeks, check them out below. A quick recap is that Donald Trump nominated Bernard McNamee to be the next commissioner at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) because he passed a ‘litmus test’ by swearing allegiance to fossil fuels and nuclear power.​

McNamee isn’t qualified, heck he doesn’t even admit climate change is a real and urgent threat. But that doesn’t matter to Trump and team — they see McNamee as a perfect crony — someone they can install at FERC who will help them ram through subsidies for coal and nuclear power too extreme for most Republicans.​

There’s a trail of corruption leading from now-chair-again Neal Chaterjee, to his hand-picked FERC chief of staff, Anthony Pugliese, right to McNamee.3

McNamee’s nomination is obviously be part of a plan to ram through more fossil fuels. And FERC’s Republican majority is clearly complicit. But we can stop them if we make calls today, and Senators get serious at the hearing tomorrow. I’ll be there to do everything I can to make sure they do – now I need you to make a call to back me up.

Make a call to the Senate Natural Resources Commitee right now and tell them to stop Trump’s climate denying FERC nominee. 

Want more?

Last chance to Stop Trump’s climate-denying Energy Nominee

Donald Trump has nominated Bernard McNamee – a deeply unqualified, republican-hack, and climate-denier – to fill the vacant Republican seat at the Federal Energy Regulatory commission (FERC). The Senate is moving at “warp speed” to ram this latest dastardly, destructive nomination through.

McNamee’s confirmation hearing has been scheduled for November 15 at 10am. We’re headed to DC now with friends from Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) to deliver more than 13,000 signatures opposing McNamee. If you haven’t signed yet, now’s the time!

If you agree that we can’t afford one more climate-denying Trump nominee in charge of our energy policy, sign here to tell the Senate: vote NO on McNamee and stop Trump’s FERC!
Bernard McNamee is Trump's FERC nominee
I wrote a longer piece with more footnotes and references that make the case for why and how Trump is stacking FERC with partisan fossil fuel warriors. Check it out and keep telling everyone that this is not normal, it is not ok, and it is essential that we take action in this time of climate crisis.

You may also want to check out the excellent explainer on McNamee from our friend Karen Feridun at Berks Gas truth.

Update from a busy week in DC

It’s been a crazy week of action in Washington, DC, and since a lot of what we’re doing has to do with petitions YOU signed, actions YOU too, and advocacy YOU care about – I thought I’d make a short video all about it:

If you like what you see, click here to chip in and support us!


You can also still take action on these campaigns!

Not one more Climate Denying FERC Nominee!

Donald Trump has nominated Bernard McNamee – a deeply unqualified, republican-hack, and climate-denier –  to fill the vacant Republican seat at the Federal Energy Regulatory commission (FERC). The Senate is moving at “warp speed” to ram this latest dastardly, destructive nomination through.

This is bad – red-alert, 4-alarm BAD. But I have good news, too. On October 16 we’re going to the Senate with friends from Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE) to deliver a loud and clear message: We can’t afford one more Climate Denying Trump Nominee in charge of our energy policy. The Senate must vote NO on McNamee and stop Trump’s FERC!

Let’s be perfectly clear: We think any nominee is a bad idea, because preserving the deadlock at FERC – where the two remaining Democrats are often at odds with the two remaining Republicans – is our best chance at stopping new pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure projects.

But even allowing that we don’t want anybody to be confirmed, McNamee is worth fighting. He has been a lifelong advocate for fossil fuels, and is a climate denier. Sign here to demand the Senate vote vote NO on Trump’s latest climate-denying, community-wrecking nominee; Bernard McNamee!

He’s completely unqualified to oversee energy policy: He has no experience in the utility or natural gas utility industries, let alone our complicated and interconnected system of electric utilities. He once wrote a letter to The Hill about how fossil fuels “dramatically improve the human condition” – on Earth Day no less!

More importantly, he was a leading author and architect of Trump and Rick Perry’s dangerous plan to bail out coal and nuclear plants last year; a plan so obviously biased in favor of fossil fuels and the corporations who profit off them that even FERC voted 5-0 to deny it. After the unanimous rejection by FERC, McNamee has been hard at work looking for a legal, or extra-legal loophole to order that we pay some $34 billion in subsidies to failing coal and nuclear plants.

Having failed to find a legal way to apply national-socialist principles to every American’s utility bill, Trump seems to have decided that it’s simply faster to pack the FERC – just like he’s packing the courts. This is only the latest example of Trump appointing dangerously unqualified loyalists to high-ranking positions at FERC: FERC chief of staff, Anthony Pugliese  told a far-right Breitbart News podcast that FERC was working to approve McNamee’s coal and nuclear bailout, and repeated the statement to a nuclear energy conference.  Pugliese’s collusion is so extreme that even moderate Democrats on the Senate Energy Commitee have said it “call[s] into question the impartiality and independence of the Commission.”

McNamee’s nomination is obviously be part of a plan to ram through more fossil fuels. And FERC’s Republican majority is clearly complicit. Pugliese was brought into FERC by former acting-chair Neal Chaterjee and Chairman Kevin McIntyre seems ready to go along with him, saying on Twitter “I look forward to serving with McNamee.”

McNamee is clearly unqualified, dangerous, and denies the urgent, imperative science of the most recent report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changewhich unequivocally states that we have to cut all emissions of global warming pollution (including methane which is ~80x more potent of a climate-pollutant than Carbon Dioxide) 50% in 12 years, and 100% by 2050.

It’s up to our Senators to ask serious questions of McNamee, and the remaining four commissioners who have allowed the agency to become mired in partisan, climate-denying scandal. And ultimately, it’s up to each and every one of our Senators to vote NO on McNamee. Sign here to tell them so.

About to go live in Raleigh for #RiseTogether day 2

I’m about to start another live stream at the Raleigh #RiseTogether rally, so I’ll get right to the point: Can you donate to support these solidarity actions in North Carolina and our ability to help organize them?

Yesterday, I got up super early and drove to Charlotte for the first North Carolina #RiseTogether Action. I’m not a morning person, but it was totally worth it. We marched through downtown Charlotte, a city literally owned by the big fossil fuel banks with a 50 foot inflatable pipeline. We sang and chanted and passed out hundreds of fliers on the doorstep of Bank or America, Wells Fargo, and Duke Energy.

And we tussled (verbally, non-violently) with security at Duke’s headquarters when they forbade us to stand on “their” side of the sidewalk, or even to allow people on “their” side to to take our picture.  But for all the fun and power of this action, it was an entirely volunteer production. So, I have to ask, can you check out the video from day one, and then chip in a few dollars to support our participation in the action and all the time, materials and work that went into it?

Working on this kind of project is exactly why I started 198 methods. Our friends in North Carolina were ready to #RiseTogether in solidarity with our allies in the Gulf. And their participation is so vital! Just as our brothers and sisters in Louisiana are fighting the Bayou Bridge Pipeline (BBP), our friends in North Carolina are fighting the Atlantic Coast (ACP) and Mountain Valley Pipelines (MVP). All of these pipelines threaten our communities, our clean water, and our climate future.

So a diverse coalition of NC activists wanted to organize two major actions – On July 30 in Charlotte, and July 31 in Raleigh. But to do it they needed help – they needed digital tools to help recruit more people and connect a big, global, audience to the local actions and demands. I was happy to work with them, and together we’ve already pulled off one action and have a solid plan for today. You can see the video from day one above, and click here to tune in to day two:

But here’s the plain and simple fact: Part of the reason I work with local groups like NC APPPL and other allies, is that they’re under-resourced. These folks work on the front lines with communities of color, indigenous leaders, the faith community, and any one who will stand with them to fight the pipeline. They’ve shown willingness to risk their safety and freedom to stop fossil fuels- like the time we occupied Governor Cooper’s office for more than 8 hours. Or when we barn-stormed into a BOEM hearing to stop offshore drilling and make the people’s voices heard.

Now, they’re rising together with our allies in the Gulf as part of a big, global movement to stop all pipelines and shut down fossil fuels. Can you chip in to support us?

Our Demands are:

But we literally can’t do it without your support. 198 methods is able to work with local groups and step up to support these actions because of small donations from kind people like you. If you’ve watched one of our live-streams, signed on to support our work, or just been looking for a way to help – now’s the time. Click here to chip in and support the North Carolina #RiseTogether actions. We’ll donate all the proceeds to NC APPPL and local groups. Thanks.