This week 49 Democrats all voted together to oppose Bernard McNamee – Trump’s climate denying FERC nominee. It might not sound like a big deal, but it really is. Drew explains why in this video and you can chip in to help.
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.
- Senator Susan Collins:
- Senator Jeff Flake:
- Senator Joe Manchin:
- Last, call your Senators: (833) 261-7330
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
Did 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 change — including 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?
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:
- #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.
- 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:
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:
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 happen. Can 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:
- Click the link to see a list of all the Senators on the committee and their contact info.
- If you have a Senator on the committee, call them first, but don’t worry if your Senator isn’t on the list.
- Call as many Senators on this list as you can.
- Start with the Chair, Lisa Murkowski and the Ranking member, Maria Cantwell.
- Next, we suggest prioritizing these Senators, who have voted to block FERC nominees in the past: Sanders, Hirono, Duckworth, Heinrich, Cortez-Masto
- What to say: These can be quick calls there are two basic points you need to make:
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
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.
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:
You can also still take action on these campaigns!
- Click here to sign the petition opposing Bernard McNamee’s nomination to FERC.
- Click here for more photos and video of the Super Villains action from our friends at Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE)
- Click here for more info on Zinke firing his own Inspector General (or not?)
- Click here to see the Friends of the Earth Tweet about me and Zinke at the Wind power meeting
- And click here to get connected to a local #FireZinke delivery event
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.
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.
We 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- #Divest from fossil fuels – especially Bank of America and Wells Fargo – who are the two largest investors in these pipelines.
- No Pipelines – especially the ACP and MVP, which Governor Roy Cooper has the power stop.
- Clean Energy Now – we demand 100% renewable energy and a just transition with nobody left behind – local cities, towns and counties can lead the way!
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.