As I type this, in the midst of a pandemic, the Wet’suwet’en First Nation in Canada is under attack by the same company behind the KeystoneXL pipeline.
We’ve seen this again and again over the last few days: Billionaire oil CEOs and industry lobbyists see the corona virus crisis as an opportunity to push through fossil fuel infrastructure and demand massive government bailouts while they think the world is looking the other way.
That’s why today, March 23rd, we’re joining allies and friends across North America (turtle island) to flood the inbox, phone lines, and twitter feeds of this projects financiers with messages telling them to respect the rights of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and drop the risky Coastal GasLink pipeline immediately!
Here in the U.S., you can help by calling out the largest funders of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, JPMorgan Chase and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR). Their plans to invest in the pipeline aren’t final and there’s still time to stop them.
Despite the COVID-19 crisis, TC Energy is still going ahead with construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, putting communities and their workers at even more risk.
We need all eyes on the Wet’suwet’en frontlines right now. Billionaire oil CEOs and industry lobbyists will see this crisis as an opportunity to push through whatever they can when the world is looking the other way.
That’s why on Monday, March 23rd, we’ll be flooding KKR’s inbox, phone lines, and twitter feeds with messages telling them — respect the rights of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and drop the risky Coastal GasLink pipeline immediately! KKR is currently one of the pipeline’s biggest financiers.
Will you take one minute right now and join the online day of action. Here are 3 things you can do:
Call KKR at 1-888-593-5407 and follow the instructions. Talking points:
I am calling to demand you respect Indigenous rights and the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, and drop the risky Coastal GasLink pipeline immediately.
The Coastal GasLink project would lock us into decades of increased fracked gas.
Building Coastal GasLink would disregarding the lack of consent by Wet’suwet’en community and the impacts to climate, air, water.
All pipeline construction poses risks to indigenous women by allowing man camps to be built along the route. The problems with missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada and the US are well documented
As we feared, and warned only yesterday, in the midst of the global pandemic the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) conditionally approved the Jordan Cove fracked gas export terminal and Pacific Connector pipeline today.
February brought an old fight back to the fore – the fight to stop Keystone XL. Trump has been trying to build the pipeline, without success, since he was sworn in in 2017. So far court cases and local permits have kept him at bay – but we’re waiting for the moment when Trump’s fossil-fueled-authoritarian tendencies overwhelm those flimsy buffers and they simply begin lighting the fuse of this carbon bomb without proper permits and paperwork.
May also launched our campaign to get disaster relief for Puerto Rico. This became a recurring theme as Congress would appropriate money for disaster relief, but Trump would refuse to sign or disburse the money – IF, and this is a big if, the people helped by the funding were black, brown, or tended to vote for Democrats. Later in the year we broadened this campaign to include climate refugees from the Caribbean and eventually the whole global south.
Climate Strike! That was the big theme in September as we supported hundreds of Climate Strike events here in the US. Greta Thunberg asked the United Nations “How Dare You” and I personally buckled in as part of two beautifully troublesome actions.
So there you have it! A year in photos and images to illustrate all our work. You can also check out our previous post which covers more of the science and policy on how we’re ending 2019. Next week, after the New Year, I’ll write you a message about our plans for 2020 but you can be sure it will continue a few of these themes:
Holding corrupt Trump cronies like Wheeler and Bernhardt accountable;
Working as part of the global Climate Strike movement to demand bold action from our elected leaders;
Pushing US policy makers to adopt a bold, fossil-fuel-free Green New Deal; &
Bringing you great direct-action powered online campaigns at the local, state, and federal level to demand climate action.
This really good thread and podcast discussion by The Hot Take co-founder Mary Annaïse Heglar makes the argument that it’s not hope, but resolve, action, and some other things that are necessary in this moment.
I agree with both parts: that we need more hope, and that the antidote to fear is not hope, but action and conviction in the face of uncertainty. If you agree and are able, I hope you’ll click here to donate.
As has become a tradition, I’m going to tell the story of where our climate and common home is at with a series of charts and graphs. Next week I’ll send you a year in photos so you can look back at some of what we’ve done this year.
The fires in the Rainforest are both a symptom of climate-fueled draught, and also a cause of the loss of Arctic Sea Ice; which in turn is contributing to slower circulation of the Atlantic ocean current; and on and on.
There are a lot of climate emergencies happening all over the planet, and none of them are un-connected. Wherever you are, you’re likely seeing impacts, and your local impacts and emissions are fueling the crisis somewhere else.
That emissions are still rising is probably not a surprise, nor is the fact that we’re not doing enough to combat the climate crisis. If we were, emissions would be going down, right? But the distance between what we need to be doing, and what we say we are doing is also getting wider.
So there it is – the state of the climate movement in 4 charts, and it is NOT good.
We’re approaching a series of interconnected ‘tipping points’ of climate chaos much faster than expected.
That’s because emissions of carbon dioxide and methane are still going up despite years of promises by the world’s governments to reduce them.
Most devastating, the gap between what we say we will do, what we need to do, and what we are doing keeps getting wider.
That U.N. report was described as “Grim,” “Bleak” and “drastic” when it came out. But it was not without hope. The authors of the same report on the ambition gap wrote that, “the political focus on the climate crisis is growing in several countries, with voters and protesters, particularly youth, making it clear that it is their number one issue.”
Next week I’ll be back with a photo and video year in review of some of the amazing work we’e been a part of this year – from challenging Trump’s corrupt, climate denying cabinet; to shutting down DC as part of the global climate strike; and much much more.
Here’s the short version of how we got here: FERC has seen record turnover since Trump was elected. With the departure of Democratic Commissioner Cherly LaFleur earlier this summer, there are only three commissioners left, two Republicans and one Democrat). That’s barely enough for a quorum, and gives the last remaining Democrat, Richard Glick extra leverage to block votes or halt projects by refusing to participate.
At the same time, there’s been an explosion in protests and opposition to pipelines. Inspired by campaigns against the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines, activists have been rising up to resist fossil fuel infrastructure from coast to coast. We’ve been part of a number of those campaigns and I know you have been too. At the same time, our allies have been suing every pipeline they can to slow them down and stop the approval process. And in a few very important instances, the combination of those tactics – the lawyers suing and the people protesting – have combined to stop big projects like Keystone and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
And that’s where Danly comes in: Fossil fuel profiteers and their cronies in the Trump Administration can only win in court if they have regulators who ignore the lower courts. They’ve succeeded in firing or driving out thousands of civil servants at the EPA and Interior Department, and replaced them with lifelong fossil fuel cronies like Andrew Wheeler and David Bernhardt. Those guys were put in charge because they were corrupt, but not cartoonish, as their predecessors Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke had been.
But Trump’s incompetence is not a sufficient protection against this pipeline. Activists in North Carolina and Virginia have documented dozens of cases where companies keep on building the pipeline after the Courts order them to stop – especially if they know they’ve got the backing of Trump, FERC or federal agencies like the EPA.
More than 20,000 of us have already signed up through the Promise to Protect website and committed to take peaceful action along the pipeline route. Now we need you to join a training so we can be prepared to resist.
The training covers more than just logistics and theory. Taking place along the pipeline route and in nine cities, these are indigenous led briefings to prepare you to be good relatives and understand the vulnerabilities and opportunities of this and other pipeline projects
At the training, you’ll learn about nonviolent direct action and support roles, protocols for mobilizing in Lakota territory, and how to apply these lessons to local campaigns, which we’ll need in order to create a nationwide wave of resistance against fossil fuel development in our communities.
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:
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.
Here’s an updated chart showing where we were last year, and where we are now:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
It’s obviously a huge victory for all of us who have been fighting this zombie pipeline, even as trump keeps re-ordering it back to life. Judge Morris’ order tells TransCanada to cease all pre-construction for the project – meaning that the pipeline is on hold and any construction would be illegal.
It does not mean that the pipeline can’t be re-started. And of course we’ve seen time and again that TransCanada and other pipeline construction companies will routinely violate the law and begin construction – intending to pay whatever paltry fine the Trump administration assess on them later as a “cost of business.” We must remain vigilant – and we’re encouraging everyone to sign and share the Pledge to protect– simply put a promise to show up, throw down, and block all pipeline construction if it starts again and we’re called upon by local indigenous leaders and land holders.
But what’s really exciting is that this ruling says that Trump can’t just dismiss the findings from the Obama Administration that stopped the pipeline. Those findings, remember, also included a specific reference to the climate impacts of the pipeline – the first time a US President had rejected a pipeline like this because of Climate Change.
All of which means, if Trump wants ot un-do the Obama pipeline decision, he’s got to go back and at least look at the climate impacts of keystone XL – which we know will be massive, and which he cannot legally ignore or lie about any longer.
Since Trump first issued a ‘Presidential permit’ for the pipeline and Nebraska commissioners granted a statewide permit for an alternate route Indigenous leaders, rural landowners, and environmental organizations have been suing to stop them. This is a big win for those groups and we’re proud to celebrate with them.
But, we know that this isn’t the end of the fight to stop Keystone XL, and that’s why more than 17,000 of us have pledged to take action if construction begins. Join us today, sign the pledge to protect. And congratulations again on a well-deserved victory.