24 hours to Grill FERC commissioners

URGENT! The Energy subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Commitee has scheduled a hearing on June 12 to compel all four commissioners at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to testify. While neither the public nor industry officials are invited to testify, this is a great chance to Crack FERC open by asking the Commissioners about “freedom Gas,” their disagreements over whether and how to evaluate the climate impacts of projects, and the massive buildout of new fracked gas pipelines, compressor stations, export terminals and more.

Can you help by Sending a comment to the Subcommittee? We’ll deliver all your comments and signatures to the Commitee before Wednesday’s hearing, and if you want – we can text or email you when the hearing starts so you can tune in live.

Here’s some background for those of you haven’t been fighting FERC for years:

FERC is a rubber stamp agency that has rejected only two applications out of more than 400 proposed natural gas pipelines/infrastructure projects in the last 30 years. We’ve been protesting FERC and their commissioners for years – and even climbed two stories up a ladder to drop a banner from FERC’s awning this spring to demand Congress change FERC into FREC, the Federal Renewable Energy Commission, as part of a Green New Deal.

So, what’s the big deal? Well, to start with, Fracking contaminates water, poisons the air and land, leads to earthquakes and leaks methane, which is up to 80 times more damaging to our climate than carbon dioxide.

Now is the moment for Congress to act: According to new research, more than 700 new natural gas power plants, petrochemical plants & LNG export terminals have been proposed, planned or built to capitalize on skyrocketing fracked gas production. With just 12 years left to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy, we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground and build a just transition as fast as we can. But if the frackers get their way, it’s game over for a stable climate. It’s them or us.

Another recent report provides five clear reasons gas is not a bridge fuel to a safe climate:

  1. Gas breaks the carbon budget;
  2. Coal-to-gas switching doesn’t cut it;
  3. Low-cost renewables can displace coal & gas;
  4. Gas isn’t essential for grid reliability;
  5. New gas infrastructure locks in emissions.

But despite the mounting evidence that Gas is a climate disaster, the Trump Administration’s has been issuing Executive Orders and EPA guidance that make it clear they intend to override state objections to new fossil fuel infrastructure.

Some FERC commissioners, especially Richard Glick, have been raising objections. And more than a year ago we pointed out that there were “cracks” developing between commissioners – namely that the Democrats wanted to do more to consider climate impacts and address them, and Republicans refused.

But in the last few weeks things got … weird. After FERC approved another gas export terminal in the Gulf of Mexico (the specific thing we were begging them NOT to do from their awning), Rick Perry and the Department of Energy put out a statement praising fracked gas as “molecules of Freedom.”

While that was so stupid it’s hilarious, it wasn’t satire. This is the actual policy of the United States Department of Energy. And the very next day Acting FERC Chair Neal Chatterjee tweeted his support and made a whole statement to the press about how he has always supported gas exports at any cost.

You could chalk it all up to another corrupt Trump nominee saying stupid and ridiculous things, but with FERC overseeing dozens of applications for new gas pipelines and export terminals, Chatterjee is singularly placed to implement Trump’s fossil fuel vision. And we should be really clear what that means: increasing gas exports means increased fracking and pipelines, which means more cancer, more earthquakes, more explosions, more eminent domain seizures enforced by armed federal officers. It means people die, and get hurt, and treaties get violated, and women disappear or are murdered. That’s what it means, that’s the consequence of this.

So yes “freedom gas” is a hilariously dumb idea, and yes it’s real. But mostly it is the policy of U.S. Department of Energy to hurt you, steal from you and/or kill you and call it freedom. And the chairman of FERC is now signed on to enact that policy.

Sign here to make sure Congress asks FERC about these new reports, their record of approving climate-wrecking gas projects, and holds them accountable.

Up in the air to stop the pipelines

This morning, I got up early, climbed a ladder 35 feet up, and perched on top of the front door of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission with a banner that reads “FERC NO, Federal Renewable Energy Commission YES!”

It’s not a 100% safe, or legal way to make a point. But I thought it was important enough, and that this is a critical moment in which to make this point. 

Let me explain:

The Federal Renewable Energy Commission (FERC) is the agency in DC responsible for regulation of our interconnected electricity grids, as well as review, permitting and (almost always) approval of natural gas infrastructure in the United States. It’s already a powerful agency that oversees billions of dollars in infrastructure and is empowered to act on matters that can affect your monthly utility bill, and even seize your house or land and evict you through a process called eminent domain. Allies of the fossil fuel industry in DC have fought for years to expand those powers – so that FERC would oversee oil pipelines too, and would have stronger and more expedited powers to force through fossil fuel infrastructure.

For years we’ve battled against FERC and those who want to expand its powersWe’ve fought FERC orders to expedite fracking and new pipelines and LNG terminals. And we’ve been arrested and protested at multiple Senate hearings on FERC and opposed legislation to expand its powers.

But all along we’ve maintained it doesn’t have to be this way. FERC has a clear set of responsibilities that could be really helpful in fighting climate change – they could direct utilities to price renewable electricity more favorably than fossil fuels. They could also stop approving every new fossil fuel project that is proposed to them – especially big new fracked gas pipelines and export terminals, which will lock us into dangerous methane – a climate pollutant 86x more powerful than CO2 – for 30 years or more. 

Hence – FREC, the Federal Renewable Energy Commission. Our vision is that as part of a Green New Deal, Congress would re-make FERC into an agency that prioritizes the climate crisis and acts to implement the renewable energy future we wall want.

It was even starting to work – In the last 12-24 months we’ve seen cracks between the FERC commissioners, with the two Democrats dissenting on many votes and deadlocking – effectively blocking – approval of new pipelines and gas export terminals. When asked why they are saying no, Democrats at FERC say they hear from the courts, the public, and from scientists that they need to do a better job measuring and addressing the impacts these projects have on climate change.

And then, last week, Donald Trump poured gasoline and methane all over that raging fire of a debate:

In a series of Executive Orders, Trump made plain he intends to use the Department of Energy (which oversees FERC), EPA and other federal agencies as a cudgel to ram through new oil and gas pipelines. Taken together with a series of state-level laws that ban protest at pipeline construction sites, Trump’s fossil-nationalism says this: 

  1. Fossil fuel companies should be paid more than any other energy sector. If ratepayers disagree, or the market simply moves in a different direction since the fuel for renewable energy is free, the Government will subsidize fossil fuel companies and force you to pay more money for dirtier energy.
  2. If fossil fuel companies want to build a pipeline through your town, put a compressor station on your front yard, or an export terminal where you fish, they can do so. Their wish is your command and they can take your land, your tribe’s land, or your town/state’s land to do it. If you think that’s unfair, you don’t want a pipeline in your front yard or sacred places, even if you take the time to convince your city council, tribal council, governor, mayor or other elected officials to join you in opposing the project, they will all be overruled. What’s yours, what’s sacred, what belongs to all of us in common – none of it matters. The fossil fuel industry gets what it wants, and you -as a ratepayer and a taxpayer – will pay them for it whether you like it or not.
  3. If you’re a shareholder, an investor, or a capitalist of any kind that believe climate change is a real, urgent threat – companies are ordered by the FEC to ignore you, and your right to talk about climate chaos, fossil fuels and investment strategy that does not burn the planet down is blocked. If you try and speak out anyway, your status as a licensed investor can be challenged and you can be removed from public exchanges. Fossil fuels are the only way to make money, and any dissent will be punished.
  4. Oh and if you resist, if you lay down in front of the machinery of destruction and put your body on the line to stop this madness – you will be arrested, probably by heavily armed federal agents, and put in jail. In an increasing number of states, simply praying for peace in the path of a pipeline could get you locked up for a decade or longer.

Which is why I’m up here. We have a clear plan for how FERC can stop being part of the problem, and transform into FREC – a part of the solution. Trump and Co. are clearly not going to help implement that vision, but Congress might – and you can help! Here’s how:

  1. Check out the livestream and photos from our partners in action at BXE above
  2. If you’re interested in supporting our work, click here to chip in – we have more actions planned this spring at Shareholder meetings and corporate gatherings!
  3. Call Chuck Schumer at 202-224-6542 and Nancy Pelosi at 202-225-4965 to urge them to support legislation to replace FERC with FREC.

Governor Wolf and all state legislators must uphold the constitution and protect the environment

We’re joining a coalition of activist organizations to urge Pennsylvania’s Governor Tom Wolf to uphold a unique clause in their state constitution. Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania constitution declares that the people have “a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment.” Despite this clear constitutional directive, Pennsylvania continues to endure heavy losses as a result of climate change, while elected officials like Gov. Wolf ignore their responsibility to protect our communities and climate.

Sign here to demand Governor Wolf and all state legislators must uphold the constitution and protect the environment.

Governor Wolf, like most Democratic Governors, has issued multiple statements indicating that he intends to protect the environment and tackle climate change. In his recent inaugural address he stressed the importance of having a “business community [that] recognizes the value of an energy policy that protects our environment and creates good jobs.” But Wolf’s actions have been far short of what’s required to meet those goals.

He claims he wants 10% of Pennsylvania’s power to come from solar energy by 2030, but his administration expands the fracking industry across the state. Throughout 2018, Pennsylvania faced extensive flooding from heavy rainfall, but Wolf refuses to keep fossil fuels in the ground to address the climate crisis. A brand new pipeline blew up, destroying a home, multiple vehicles, and other property. It is time for real action, not only to protect the state from the results of climate change, but also to begin implementing solutions into the state legislature.

That’s why we’re teaming up with The Better Path Coalition to urge Governor Wolf and other state legislators to uphold the Pennsylvania constitution and protect the environment around them. It is time to put an end to the nonstop environmental destruction and to take aggressive action against climate change. If you believe that Pennsylvania deserves breathable air, drinkable water, and representation that ensures a clean and sustainable environment, sign here to insist that Governor Wolf uphold the constitution of the state he represents!

Small things can change everything in 2019

UPDATE – The Trump shutdown will last at least until January, with Republicans having given up any pretense of governing in 2018. And that makes our plans for 2019 even more timely and important. We’ve done great stuff together this year – firing Zinke and Pruitt, speaking out against the offshore drilling plan, occupying Gov Cooper’s office, FERC’s front door, and various Senate and House offices too. We need   more donations to underwrite our plans. Click here to help.

Today is the first official, business day of Trump’s Government shutdown. And part of me says, “So what”?

We’ve spent a lot of the last 2 years shutting down parts of Trump’s illegal, climate-denying government anyway – getting Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke fired, for example. Or sitting in at FERC, at the EPA, even at Trump’s inauguration to make sure things are shut down in order to open up a conversation about climate action.

But with 12 years to solve the climate crisis, the truth is we need a functional, non-fossil-fascist, US federal government to be part of the solution. So, like a lot of things, this is one of those times where the crisis at hand is also bad for the climate.

It’s also one of those crisi-tunity moments. For in the shutdown the Democrats, about to be newly ascendant in Congress, have finally rallied together as a block. And not just in opposition to Trump’s useless, racist, border wall. Just a few weeks ago every Democrat in the Senate finally voted together to oppose a Trump’s climate denying FERC nominee. That’s raising expectations and hopes that they will stand together and block Trump’s nominees to run the Department of Justice (with far-reaching consequences for the rule of law, environmental and otherwise) and replace Zinke at Interior – among other things. It’s not all awesome, of course. The same month Democrats hung together to oppose Trump on Climate Denial, House leaders opted for a decidedly Milk-toast and polluter-friendly version of the Select committee on Climate Change. Sunrise and the young people who fought so hard on that aren’t done yet (not by a longshot) and we’ll be back in 2019. But still, climate cowardice remains the default position of too many politicians.

A little more than two years ago I started 198 methods to answer a question: Can you use (and update) Gene Sharp’s famous methodology for fighting fascism to fight climate change? I didn’t want to research it or write a book, I wanted to do it and figure out how to do it more.

Two years later, we’ve done a lot of good together. In addition to the federal work linked above, we’ve also supported a bunch of lobby days, sit ins and actions in New York, North Carolina (remember that time in Gov Cooper’s office?), South Carolina and lots more. And we’re not nearly done yet – I’ve got some big ideas and hot plans for 2019. But I need your help. All our ideas revolve around a simple idea: A small group of people, using small interventions – creative direct action tactics backed by cutting edge tech tools and best practices – can actually stop the climate crisis. How small? I’m looking for about 60 people to invest $1.98 a week.

Here’s how

I’ve already got a schedule of actions lined up for January and February. I can’t tell you all the details (yet) because we’re planning some actions where people will risk arrest again. But I can tell you the basic themes are

  1. Pressure Dems even more to stand together and act on climate change. It’s clear that it works and it’s clear they only respond to pressure (polite meetings, getting them re-elected, scientific analysis all may be essential, but have not produced meaningful action.
    1. What’s that mean in the next few weeks? Back to Congress right after they’re sworn in to pressure them to act on the Green New Deal, stop taking fossil fuel money, and continue to investigate and shut down Trump’s fossil-fascist regime in the Administration. We’ll also be working with Sunrise, 350 and other partners on a series of distributed actions (eg, where you live, no matter where you live) in February and into the spring. And, it’s almost time to bring back our debate watch parties and start talking about the 2020 election. Don’t worry, it’s not quite time, yet.
  2. Keep getting in the way. Several major projects have been delayed, blocked in the courts or canceled because people stood up and got in the way. A recent Court order that stopped the Atlantic Coast Pipeline even quoted the Lorax (long-time handbook of all direct action forest campaigners).
    1. What’s that mean in the next few weeks? Well it depends a little on how soon some of these projects are re-started. But I think it’s safe to say you can look for us in the trees and on the rivers of Virginia and North Carolina soon. The Cracks at FERC we helped open up are also deepening, so look for more action on that agency, and potentially a new Trump-nominee to fight in early 2019. We’ll also be back in South Carolina where a Dominion is still trying to buy, bully and cajole its way in.
  3. Keep after the money, but don’t wait for investors to save us. All those delays have also added up to big divestments – At the COP talks in Poland this year they announced a new grand-total just under $8 trillion. That’s good news, but it’s also worth pointing out that big banks and Wall Street Investors are still betting heavily on the climate crisis — investing billions in pipelines, new drilling, new mines and more around the world. Dominion stock had a great day on Wall Street (a rare thing this December) the same day we were thrown out of a hearing shouting about how they were stealing money from South Carolina rate payers – Wall Street didn’t fail to notice, it liked the idea of a fossil fueled monopoly conquering one of the poorest states in America.
    1. What’s that mean in the next few weeks? Keep the pressure on the pipelines, their enablers, and keep naming and shaming the financiers. One of the reasons I’m keen to connect more communications tools to our network next year (see below) is to help people take simple steps that connect the dots – this bank, funds that pipeline, so close your account, which takes money away from the bank, and then take action to slow or stop the pipeline, which creates a feedback loop. Pipelines get harder and more expensive to build, little by little. We can make it as easy as an ap on your phone (almost): tap, swipe, divest, take action, win.
  4. Keep taking action, keep writing and posting and helping others act. The most fundamental thing I can offer you is to keep writing, taking action, and inviting you to take action with us in 2019 and expand into some new formats. This year, we added a lot of video and live video to our actions and reports. Close to 1 million people watched our actions online that way (wow!) and some 60,000 of you took action with us this year.
    1. What’s that mean in the next few weeks? More Blog posts. Most of them much shorter than this (I promise!) and focussed on a specific action you can take to help stop the climate crisis. It also means I’d like to spend some time updating our tech tools, and expanding them so it’s easier to connect you to the stuff we do in real time. Next time we’re live streaming from a lockdown, or updating you on our protest outside a bank, I want to be able to connect you right to the action so you can call the Bank Manager, tell local media to cover climate cowards right, or protect the people on the frontlines risking it all.

I’ve also got a good idea what it will cost us to stay in operation. We need a few simple tools to stay in contact with you, and to dramatically expand our power in 2019 — adding that ability to connect you directly (and only if you opt-in, of course) to direct actions through your telephone, to congress via text message, and more. Here’s what it costs for us to have access to all the tools we need for those tools for email, events, fundraising, calls and texts:

item cost
IRS registration C3 $275.00
Corporate filing fees $159.00
Google tools $23.88
Action network for emails, events, petitions and more. $3,870.00
Toll-free calls @ $.03/minute $3,000.00
SMS messages @ $.016/text $1,600.00
TOTAL $8,927.88

That’s it. The whole operating budget of this project for a year is less than $10,000. And actually, we already have about $3,000 committed from current donors and recurring contributions. Which is why what I’m really looking for is about 60 people to donate $5,000. And the simplest, most efficient way to do it is to chip in $1.98/week. 60 people, donating at that level gets us what we need, though you’re of course free to donate in any amount and in any format you want.

You’ll notice that this doesn’t include direct costs for specific actions – travel to an event, housing and feeding folks who take action, paying bail or legal costs if necessary, etc. We prefer to raise those as we need them, so that your support pays only for what the action requires, and you know that every dollar you donate goes right to the material costs. If we need a pizza, we ask you to help pay for it. Rather than asking you to support a massive endowment or general fund that you can’t see or control the results of.

You might also notice that there’s no money for an office, salaries, or for what other groups call “overhead”. I think that’s a good thing, and part of what makes us different than other climate action groups. Lots of people talk about being nimble, small, and focussed on funding action. We do it. And we keep our whole budget and operation transparent so you can see what’s happening and opt in (or out) anytime you want.

So, if you like the sound of all that. If you’ve taken action with us this year, and you’re ready for more. Or if you’re just like me – and you’ve got $1.98 and you want to fight the Fossil-fascists with it. Please click here to chip in $1.98 a week or whatever you can afford. Thanks.

 

 

Make McNamee’s First Day The Worst Day

Today is the first commissioners meeting at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for Bernard McNamee — Trump’s climate denying, coal loving nominee who squeaked by in the closest confirmation vote EVER for a Trump nominee. Our friends from BXE are headed into the hearing room to “welcome” Mr McNamee — and you can back them up by making a quick call!

Make a direct call to Bernard McNamee’s new office at FERC. The number is  202-502-8510

Not sure what to say? Here’ a few suggestions:

  • I’m calling to welcome Mr. McNamee to FERC, and ask that he immediately resign in disgrace. Don’t worry, lots of Trump appointees have already done this (Flynn, Pruitt, Ryan Zinke just resigned last weekend!)
  • I was one of the tens of thousands of people who called and wrote to the Senate opposing Mr McNamee’s nomination because of his close ties to the fossil fuel industry, and his outrageous statements on climate change and environmental groups.
  • Now that McNamee is at FERC, he must recuse himself from any case involving the oil, coal, or gas industries, or any conversation involving climate change and its impacts on US Citizens. His past comments and work at the Department of Energy, as well as in the private sector, show him to be unfairly biased.
  • I’d like to thank Mr McNamee for making it so much easier to sue FERC. Thanks to his reckless disregard for climate science, clean energy, alternatives to fossil fuels, grid resilience and basic common sense, we have a much better chance of prevailing against FERC in court. Still,I wish he’d just resign so we didn’t have to go through the trouble and expense of suing you every single time.

You get the idea.
You’ll remember that McNamee was Trump’s climate-denying nominee to FERC who was specifically chosen because he denies cliamte change and has written policies to bail out the coal industry.  But he only came under fire in the  Senate Energy Committee when we found video of a speech he he gave calling for a “unified campaign” to support fossil fuelsIn that speech, 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.”​

That lead to the unprecedented scenario where every single Senate Democrat voted against McNamee’s confirmation — a feat that has never happened before, not even on the nominations of Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke, both of whom have resigned in disgrace since. McNamee’s bias is so blatant that 17 Democratic Senators and Harvard Law School have told  him to recuse himself from anything where his impartiality should be questioned.

So, while McNamee taking a seat on FERC is bad, it’s also full of conflict, protest and clear conflict of interest – And we can use that. Our friends from BXE will be in the room where it happens today to tell McNamee to his face (they’ll have a report later today on how it went) in the meantime – you can make sure McNamee knows you’re watching by calling his office and making his first day on the job his worst day ever.

Make a direct call to McNamee’s new office at 202-502-8510

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

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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.