Un-Trump the Climate Talks

Un-Trump the Climate TalksDid you see this? Donald Trump gave a rambling, incoherent, interview to the Washington post in which he (amongst other things) once again denies the science of climate changeincluding the report from his own administration released last Friday which shows that the climate crisis is already hurting and killing Americans.

It’s got to stop. And you can help deliver a clear, unambiguous rebuke to Trump at next week’s climate talks – called the COP24. Here’s how: Trump’s team is planning a sideshow event that actually promotes fossil fuels at world’s biggest meeting on how to fight climate change. While everyone else is talking about the new US and UN reports on climate change and how we only have 12 years to fix the problem Trump wants to talk about how to pollute more and get rich off the resulting death and destruction.

But we’re ready for him – Trump did the same thing at last year’s talks, and a brave delegation of youth, indigenous and frontline climate activists shut him down. Now, that same delegation is headed to the COP24 talks, and they need you to sign on to back them up. Click here to sign on to the People’s Demands for Climate Justice.

These demands have been shaped by people’s movements from around the world that are directly experiencing climate change’s impacts. Early supporters include the Indigenous Environmental Network and Plataforma Boliviana frente al Cambio Climatico.

It’s been years in the making, but we only get one chance to deliver them, and deliver them as a rebuke to Trump’s recent climate denial. We need to show that people everywhere, including in the U.S., widely echo and support these demands – and right now, your name is missing. Can you sign on today so we can deliver your name to the United Nations next week?

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.

Trump DENIED on Keystone XL Pipeline

Just a quick update to let you know that U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris has thrown out the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

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.

What really happened at the Global Climate Action Summit

Our final day in San Francisco was for the #CommunitiesNotCorporations action at the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS/ #GCAS2018). We’d already attended the Rise for Climate Jobs and Justice on Saturday, and an occupation of Gov. Jerry Brown’s forest advisory board before the summit.

At this last event, I was embedded with a group of frontline fighters during a tense stand off with police where we blocked the doors to the summit, and I had a front-row seat to the indigenous, frontline, and communities of color who were locked out of a summit where billionaires and mayors rubbed shoulders to congratulate each other on their elevated climate consciousness.

Before you celebrate the commitments made by Mayors of New York and London, or by corporations with billions in profits, check out our wrap up video – filmed live on the streets outside the Global Climate Action Summit, and edited in South Carolina as hurricane Florence makes landfall. And if you’re moved by our argument about what works, and doesn’t work about Jerry Brown’s market-based approach to climate change. Then chip in to support this kind of work if you can.

I also streamed live for a few hours from the action outside along with our friends at Rising Tide. You can see the street theater performance starting at about 22 minutes in, and you can see the tense stand off with police at about 1:10:00

Thanks again to all our partners and friends who helped organize – especially Beyond Extreme Energy which helped send me and Don to California; Rising Tide and Diablo Rising Tide, who did so much amazing prep and organizing for all these actions; And the It Takes Roots coalition including IEN and other allies who put on the amazing Solidarity to Solutions conference, and provided a ton of logistics for speakers, art, theater and frontline participation. It takes ROOTS ROOTS ROOTS, to weather the STORM STORM STORM – and y’all got mad roots.

Last – thanks to all the 198 methods supporters and everyone else who chipped in to get us to California, and home safe (just in time for Florence to make landfall in South Carolina, where I live). If you appreciate this kind of action, and the coverage before, during and after these action – please consider chipping in $1.98 or more to keep us fighting.

In Five Days, We Rise, We Burn, Or we Drown

We live in dark times, climate-wise.

California and the West are on fire. The first tropical storm of the season is rolling into the Gulf of Mexico – and the last homes and business Puerto Rico just got power back a few weeks ago. But Donald Trump and team just keep on trucking: appointing climate deniers to key posts, blaming wildfires on environmentalists not climate, and rushing the hearings on climate-killing, justice-denying, Trump-protecting judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Some days, it feels like our only choices are whether to burn in a climate-fueled wildfire, or drown in rising seas. But I’m here to tell you there’s another way. A better way. A way we can Rise above climate impacts, and fight for real solutions and justice.

Our movements light the way at moments like these. And as bad as things look, I’m genuinely hopeful about what we can accomplish if we work together. This weekend’s Rise for Climate Jobs and Justice events are a perfect example: More than 600 actions are being planned in 83 countries and all 50 states here in the US. Will you join us this Saturday, September 8 at an event near you?

California Governor Jerry Brown is convening a conference of sub-national (as in Mayors and Governors) leaders from around the world in San Francisco September 12th – 14th. It’s called the Global Climate Action Summit. But Brown and his desire to be known as a climate-champion and the Anti-Trump are not the real objective.

Activists and protestors are not allowed into the conference, but by rallying outside we can make our demands heard. And with so many leaders in one place, at one time – the opportunity for change is real.

Join us in the streets of San Francisco, San Antonio, and dozens of other cities big and small as we tell the world what real climate leadership looks like:

Rise for climate: No new fossil fuel projects, 100% renewable energy, not a penny more

That’s the new bar for climate leadership. We can’t settle for ‘business as usual’ solutions from our elected leaders. And we can’t be complacent.  We need to show up, speak out, and if necessary shut things down in order to demand real solutions. 

PS – Already planning to attend your local Rise event? Want to do more than march and Rally? Chip in to support 198 methods! We’re headed to San Francisco, and not just to march and rally. Drew will join, support, and participate in a series of non-violent, direct actions during the week of Jerry Brown’s summit.

But we need your support to get our team to California, house them (and other friendly activists visiting) and support a range of logistics in the streets all week from the 8th to the 14th. We’ll send frequent updates via social media, email and online. Please chip in to support us if your can!

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Sit in to make Jerry Brown Stand up for Climate

California Governor Jerry Brown likes to talk a good game on climate. He speaks often about climate action and science, and describes himself as a sort of “Anti-Trump” on climate action.

As a centerpiece of that plan, Brown has invited governors and Mayors from around the world to California Next month for a Global Climate Action Summit. But there’s a fundamental problem with Brown’s climate talk – he’s never been willing to stand up and stop fossil fuel production in his own state.

California extracts about 200 million barrels of oil per year, and Brown has frequently helps the Oil and gas industry get new permits, and allows them to drill very close (within a few hundred feet) of vulnerable communities – especially children, the elderly and communities of color.

For the sake of the climate, to protect our communities, it’s time to say “Enough!” It’s time to escalate and make our message impossible to ignore. Will you join us on August 20th in Sacramento as we SIT IN to demand that Governor Brown STAND UP to big oil?

Brown’s climate leadership is not sufficient to address climate change in California, and is not a model of leadership for the world, yet. The global warming pollution from existing wells and pipelines will take California far beyond safe climate limits, and Brown isn’t doing anything to stop new wells from being fracked either.

Our allies are leading a non-violent direct action to insist that Brown address our concerns, acknowledge the science around extreme extraction and neighborhood drilling, and enact adequate protections to save our communities.

We are making two urgent, specific demands that Governor Brown has the power to meet right now:

  1. No new permits for oil drilling in California, and
  2. Commit California to a managed decline of fossil fuel production beginning with 2,500 foot setback limits to protect frontlines communities from toxic oil and gas drilling, as part of a just and equitable transition away from fossil fuels.

Event Details: (full details provided upon confirmed sign-up) Sign up to sit in to end climate cowardice!

  • Location:  Sacramento CA
  • Sunday Aug 19 Training at 6pm Location:
  • Monday Aug 20 Training at 9am, Action at 11:30

Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice

On September 8th, we’re joining partners from around the world in the streets for the Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice actions.

Our goal is to show our local elected leaders that we demand action on climate change. Will you join us?

When Trump pulled the U.S. out of Paris Climate Agreement, he committed our whole country to a stupid, backwards course of action. We’re now the last country on earth that isn’t signed onto the Paris agreement, and the only country on earth without a plan to fight global warming.

Trump didn’t stop at stupid, either: He and his corrupt cabinet of swamp monsters have proposed dozens of rollbacks and reversals on environmental policy, and proposed opening millions of miles of land and our coasts to new fossil fuel drilling. It’s disgusting and shameful and corrupt. And we can ignore all of it (well, don’t ignore it) if our mayors, Governors and local elected leaders take action.

With the 2018 midterm elections fast approaching, now is the time to engage and mobilize our communities to rise for for climate, jobs, and justice.

California Jerry Brown is converging a summit of sub-national (eg local mayors and governors) leaders from around the world. That Brown is not the leader on Climate that he should be isn’t the point, this time. The point is that thousands of our local leaders will all be in one place this September, talking about plans to fight climate change.

Rise for Climate Jobs and JusticeWe want to spur those local leaders on: Show them that the planet is filled with people who demand real action on climate change, and will applaud them if they get serious (and name and shame them if they don’t). So on September 8th people will take to the streets in hundreds of climate action events across the globe to make three simple demands:

  1. No new fossil fuel infrastructure. No pipelines, no fracking wells, nothing. We’re drawing a line and no elected leader may cross it and expect to be re-elected without a fight.
  2. A swift, just transition to a new 100% renewable energy. We know this vision creates millions of good jobs, and ensures that racial and economic justice are at the core of every community.
  3. Not a Penny More. We need banks, pension funds, and every single citizen, city and bank to #divest from fossil fuels. NOW.

If you’re down with those demands, and ready to take action in the streets. Join us, spread the word, and RSVP to host or attend an action in your community on September 8th.

North Carolina #RiseTogether to stop all pipelines!

North Carolina is ready to #RiseTogether in solidarity with our allies in the Gulf. Things are getting dangerous for our brothers and sisters fighting the Bayou Bridge Pipeline. Earlier this week Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the company behind the Bayou Bridge (BBP) and Dakota Access Pipelines (DAPL), leap frogged ahead of their scheduled pipeline construction to begin cutting trees near a group of water protector tree sits. Read more about it here.

Here in North Carolina we’re showing our solidarity to fight the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines, which threaten dozens of our communities, our clean water, and our climate future. A diverse coalition of activists are organizing two major actions – On July 30 in Charlotte, and July 31 in Raleigh.

Our Demands are:

We invite you to learn more, and invite your friends to join us in person.

Click here to RSVP for the Charlotte action online, or on Facebook:

This event will meet at the Bank Of America Headquarters in downtown Charlotte at 9am (opening time for the bank). We’ll march a short distance (about 1 mile) down Tryon steet to Duke’s headquarters, stopping at Wells Fargo and other points of interest on the way. We’ll convey our message with speakers from impacted communities, props, art, music and theater. Join us on Monday morning to show everyone in Charlotte that our health, safety and climate depend on banks, consumers and our elected leaders acting on these three demands.

Click here to RSVP for the Raleigh action online, or on Facebook:

This event will meet in front of Governor Roy Cooper’s office in the administration building at 11:30 am. We’ll rally with signs, banners and artwork for about an hour to encourage Gov. Cooper to reverse his previous bad decision and suspend the ACP. Shortly after 1pm we’ll march to Wells Fargo at 150 Fayetteville St and demand they stop funding these dangerous pipelines. Finally, we’ll march to Duke Energy’s offices at 411 Fayetteville St just after 1:30 to deliver our demands there. The total distance between these 3 locations is less than 1 mile. We’ll walk back to the administration building at about 2pm and there is ample parking nearby. Join us on Tuesday morning at 11:30am at the Governor’s office!

There are other rallies planned in Asheville and in Virginia, and it’s also not too late to host your own action! Sign up to host or attend a local solidarity action this week or next.

There are dozens of events planned – from simple sign holdings at a bank branch to full on protests and rallies. There are resources available to help you plan, and an event can be as simple as taking a picture at a local bank branch. And we’ve made a packet of materials including a sample call to action, flyers, and other materials just for North Carolina Activists (and their friends). 

More info on the weeks of action:

From July 16-31 communities are mobilizing for the #RiseTogether Weeks of Action. The main targets for the Week of Action are a group of banks that are financing Energy Transfer Partners and other major pipeline companies. For more information on the Weeks of Action, please visit: www.NoBayouBridge.global/risetogether

Rise together – Divest, no new pipelines, clean energy now.

All week we’ve been glued to the news – not the news from Helsinki (well, ok, that too) but the news from Louisiana where our friends fighting the Bayou Bridge Pipeline are entering a critical phase of the campaign.

In case you need a refresher, the Bayou Bridge Pipeline (BBP) is the tail end of the black snake we call Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). If completed, BBP is the final link that connects dirty oil from the American tar sands in North Dakota to refineries and export terminals in Louisiana.

Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), the same company that siced dogs on water protectors at Standing Rock, has been ignoring court orders and human rights in a frantic rush to complete the pipeline. But our friends at the L’eau Est la Vie Camp have stood strong. For months they’ve continuously interrupted, delayed and stopped work.

But last week, a judge overruled an earlier decision, and basically gave ETP a green light to finish construction by this fall. This is especially dangerous for the residents of  a town called St. James right in the heart of cancer alley and adjacent to the terminal where the BBP ends — and a town which still has no evacuation plan, meaning that when (not if) there is a serious accident or explosion on the BBP, or any of the other dozens of petrochemical plants nearby, they have no way out.

This is the critical moment to rise together, and local leaders in Louisiana are calling for our aid. Here’s how to help:

From now until the 31st, frontline resistance campaigns across North America are taking action to stop pipelines and extreme energy projects in solidarity with the fight in Louisiana. We’re encouraged to take action targeting the banks funding these pipeline projects, or by joining the frontlines and taking action directly with us.

Across Turtle Island, Indigenous people and frontline communities are leading the fight to stop oil and fracked-gas pipelines. These pipelines and all fossil fuel extraction endangers the communities they pass through, contaminate the air and water, contribute to global climate change and continue the colonization of native lands.

Water protectors in the Bayou are holding strong. In the last week they’ve deployed a new line of tree sits to slow or stop construction, and they’ve chased Louisiana’s governor all over the state, demanding he meet with residents of St James and other impacted communities. In exchange for their bravery and resolve, they’ve been beaten, arrested, and harassed by police and ETP’s private mercenaries.

The L’eau Est La Vie camp, and front line resistors all over North America, need our support if they’re going to continue the fight. They’re calling on all of us to #RiseTogether in the next two weeks. Can you help?

 

Last chance to Sign on and #Fire Pruitt!

Scott Pruitt, Trump’s racist, corrupt, climate-denying EPA Administrator is on the ropes. But he’s not finished yet.

The latest press reports indicate that senior White House staff are practically begging Trump to #FirePruitt. This after even more scandals involving expensive trips abroad that were planned by lobbyists and donors. And a new investigative report that reveals a concerted effort by Pruitt’s staff to protect him from the press, and the public. It’s gotten so bad that Pruitt has basically stopped showing up at work, and refuses to see anyone but a tiny handful close advisors.

But even these reports, which would have ended the career of any EPA chief before, have not been enough for Trump to fire Pruitt. And Pruitt is digging ininstructing his staff to leak embarrassing stories about his rival, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, in an attempt to change the narrative. And that means it’s up to Congress to fire him using the impeachment process.

Next week Pruitt is scheduled to testify before a Senate subcommittee. They could use the opportunity to demand answers and hold Pruitt accountable. But if last month’s House hearing is any indication, they won’t. We’re planning show up and deliver the more than 250,000 petition signatures we’ve gathered demanding Congress take action and fire Pruitt immediately. But I noticed you haven’t had a chance to sign the petition (with us) – Can you click here to sign on before Friday so we can deliver your name next week? 

Our plan, along with a huge coalition of like-minded groups, is to deliver these signatures to dozens of Congressional offices Pruitt is walking out of his hearing on Capitol Hill. If we time it right, it should feel like he’s walking out of a congressional Grilling and into a firestorm of protest.

Over the next few days we’ll have more updates on how to RSVP for a local delivery event in your congressional district, as well as tools to invite more friends, schedule a formal meeting with your member of Congress’ staff and more. But for now, the most important thing you can do is make sure your name is included, along with 250,000 others on this petition demanding Congress Fire Scott Pruitt now.