Bad news about FERC & Jordan Cove

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.

The approval is conditioned on Pembina, the Canadian fossil fuel corporation behind the project, qualifying for critical permits from the state of Oregon, three of which have already been denied or withdrawn. But it’s still an incredibly disappointing decision from a rogue, rubber stamp agency.

It was only last Thursday that Senate Republicans rammed through a vote on James Danly to be a new commissioner at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Danly is the first totally partisan nominee – traditionally one Democrat and one Republican are nominated together. While a handful of Senators commented on the unusual decision to stack a supposedly bi-partisan commission with three Republicans and one Democrat.

And more than 14,000 of us wrote demanding changes at FERC, and we delivered all your signatures to each Senator before the vote. But Danly is a fossil fuel industry darling, and Senators Murkowski, Manchin, and McConnell were eager for him to secure their majority on FERC, which oversees all inter-state pipelines and fossil fuel export facilities. Hours after Danly was confirmed FERC fast-tracked the application to build the Jordan Cove gas export terminal proposed in Oregon, which was denied a permit by one vote in February.

I’m not sure which is more frustrating: The fact that Senate Republicans stacked the commission so they could ram through a fossil fuel project, or that the Republican FERC majority took the time to meet during a pandemic to approve a project that the Oregon communities, their elected officials, and local environmental agencies already oppose.

For now, the good news is that Jordan Cove and the Pacific Connector Pipeline can’t be built unless and until local permits are issued — and three of them have been rejected in the last few months. As for what’s next, I’ll re-iterate our request to keep your eyes on the frontlines. You can do that by staying in touch with our friends at Beyond Extreme Energy about next steps on FERC, and you can sign on petition in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en.

You can also call on the Senate not to repeat their mistake this week by telling them to focus Corona virus response on people and communities, and not corporations and polluters. The Senate is starting debate tonight on a potential trillion dollar relief package for the corona virus. Initial bad ideas included direct bailouts of the fracking and fossil fuel industries. The more recent bad ideas have included a big bailout of the airline industry (who needs help to support workers, but doesn’t deserve a bailout without strings and scrutiny). Click here to tell your Senators to make sure any economic recovery bill helps workers and communities – not corporations and polluters.

Climate action in the age of Corona virus

It’s happened. A global pandemic crisis, which climate advocates have been warning was an ever-greater risk as permafrost and arctic ice melts, has arrived and nothing is the same in the wake of the virus. If you’re sick or caring for those who are – keep going. If you’ve got a little spare time, I’ve got 3 simple actions you can take (and a PS) right now to keep fighting climate change in the time of viral pandemic.

*UPDATE* Senators McConnell and Schumer are negotiating a corona virus response bill this evening (March 20, 2020). And, even more exciting, 16 Senators (Merkley, Booker, Sanders, Warren, Schatz, Hirono, Gillibrand, Wyden, Durbin, Whitehouse, Blumenthal, Harris, Carper, Van Hollen, Duckworth, Markey) have issued the letter pressing on Senators Schumer and McConnell to include a national moratorium on all electricity, water, telecom and other shut-offs in the coronavirus stimulus package.

Click here or use the links below to send a letter to your Senators, now updated with this info and demand!

  1. Tell the Senate to focus on economic relief for people and communities, not the biggest polluting corporations on earth.
  2. Keep your eyes on the frontlines. We’ve already seen attempts to arrest protestors, expedite fossil fuel projects, and other climate crimes during the pandemic. Start by signing our solidarity petition with the Wet’suwet’en in Canada and #ShutDownKKR.
  3. Learn about mutual aid efforts to build an emergency Green New Deal right now in our own communities. Get involved how you can with your neighbors – as our friends at ShutDownDC said: solidarity is the best medicine.

More details, updates and news are below.

And my PS is simply that this project was created to provide digital support for direct action movements fighting climate change. The direct action work is having a moment of crisis and opportunity, but the digital part is more important than ever. Stay tuned for more emails, posts, actions and asks from us in the next few weeks as we try and skill up the movement and retool out tactics to adapt to our quickly changing times.

Tell the Senate to invest in people, not polluters

As I type, the US Senate is considering a potential trillion dollar ($1,000,000,000,000) economic relief package. Initial bad ideas included direct bailouts of the fracking and fossil fuel industries. The more recent bad ideas have included a big bailout of the airline industry (who needs help to support workers, but doesn’t deserve a bailout without strings and scrutiny).

Senate champions like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders (and others) are pushing back on those bad ideas, and raising questions about how to condition economic assistance on plans to pay workers, invest in communities, and more. Sanders, Warren and 14 others (Merkley, Booker, Schatz, Hirono, Gillibrand, Wyden, Durbin, Whitehouse, Blumenthal, Harris, Carper, Van Hollen, Duckworth, Markey) have issued a letter pressing on Senators Schumer and McConnell to include a national moratorium on all electricity, water, telecom and other shut-offs in the coronavirus stimulus package.

This is the urgent thing you can do now: Click here to tell your Senators to make sure any economic recovery bill helps workers and communities – not corporations and polluters.

Keep your eyes on the Frontlines

Over the last few weeks as this crisis has developed, we’ve seen authoritarians in the Trump administration and elsewhere use the pandemic as an excuse to crack down on public debate and push through fossil fuel projects. As our dear-friends at Rising Tide said earlier: We need all eyes on the frontlines.

A few examples from the last few days of authoritarianism and fossil-fueled despots acting up:

  1. Last Thursday, Senate Republicans rammed through a vote on James Danly to be a new commissioner at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Danly is the first totally partisan nominee – traditionally one Democrat and one Republican are nominated together. And more than 14,000 of us wrote demadning changes at FERC (all your signatures were delivered to each Senator before the vote) But Danly is a fossil fuel industry darling, and Senators Murkowski, Manchin and McConnell were eager for him to secure their majority on FERC, which oversees all inter-state pipelines and fossil fuel export facilities. And now we know why: Hours after Danly was confirmed FERC fast-tracked the application to build the Jordan Cove gas export terminal proposed in Oregon, which was denied a permit by one vote in February. *Update* Sad to report that less than a week after ramming through a partisan nominee, FERC did vote to approve the Jordan Cove terminal in Oregon. Read more here.
  2. The comment period on Trump’s radical plan to gut the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) closed last week, three days before Trump declared a National Emergency on corona virus. And the Trump team continues to push forward with efforts to ban science, public input, and community opposition to fossil fuel projects.
  3. The same company that wants to build the KeystoneXL pipeline, TCEnergy (formerly TransCanada), is about to start building a multibillion fracked gas pipeline in Canada. It’s set to cut right through Wet’suwet’en lands without the consent of their hereditary chiefs. In the last month, police have raided Wet’suwet’en protest camps with assault rifles, dogs, sound cannons, and helicopters.

Now, all eyes are on Wet’suwet’en — and their hereditary chiefs are urgently calling out for massive global support. KKR is in the process of buying 65% of Coastal GasLink. If we can stop the sale, we can help stop the pipeline from being builtTake a moment to sign our #ShutDownKKR petition and tell all your friends to do the same!

If you’ve already signed (more than 125,000 of us have already) check out the #ShutDownKKR: Get Your Hands Off Wet’suwet’en Lands! Toolkit for more information on how you can take action.

Solidarity is the best medicine.

In response to the coronavirus, community-based mutual aid groups are forming to support each other by sharing resources, running errands, providing financial support, and emotional care to each other. Dozens of groups have formed or been re-formed in the last few days.

Here are a few idea ideas on how you can take action for a just response to the coronavirus, from our friends at Rising Tide North America:

PS – What’s next

This is the dawning of a new age of organizing. As you’ve heard, this spring’s climate strikes, which were going to be the biggest climate mobilization in global history, are advising us to not plan in-person events and rallies.

Other networks we’re a part of, like the Stop the Money Pipeline coalition and ShutDownDC are similarly adapting their plans for big, rebellious spring actions.

When I started this project after Trump’s election, I thought we could be of service by offering digital support to direct action campaigns on climate change. Over the last few years, we’ve done a lot of that – some of it very recently as you can see from the #2 section above.

Now, as public events, gatherings and protests are canceled, there’s even more need for what we do. We’ve already started talking to our old friends at Beyond Extreme Energy about a series of webinars or live-streams that share skills for campaigning online in an era of social-distancing. We’ve got decades of experience, and dozens of examples of using facebook live, websites, call and text tools, and more to drive change and back up actions in the streets. And we intend to share what we know, learn more about what you and other groups are doing, and build a bigger, more courageous and more digitally-empowered movement for radical climate action in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned for updates later this week, and more ways you can be learn, teach and engage online.

And we intend to share what we know, learn more about what you and other groups are doing, and build a bigger, more courageous and more digitally-empowered movement for radical climate action in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned for updates later this week, and more ways you can be learn, teach and engage online.

Stop Trump’s NEPA rollback

This is the last week to comment on Trump’s latest plan to to ram through climate-wrecking fossil fuel projects without public comment or environmental review. 

If you haven’t heard, Trump’s latest scam is to fundamentally alter the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA is a one of America’s oldest environmental laws, created in the 1970s and 80s along with the Endangered Species Act, Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, all of which Trump is also trying to undermine

This is the last week to speak out against Trump’s NEPA rollback in the public comment process. Will you send an official comment now?

Where the Endangered Species, Clean Air, and Clean Water Acts protect specific resources — like animals, water and air — NEPA regulates how any infrastructure project is reviewed by the federal government. Fundamentally, it is supposed to say that you can’t build a new pipeline, power plant, or other infrastructure project without considering the impact on our environment and giving the public a chance to consider those impacts too. 

Trump want’s to do away with that – and is proposing that climate impacts, in particular, are no longer studied or reviewed. It’s not exactly surprising coming from Trump’s team — but it is incredibly dangerous. Trump’s NEPA rollback would not only exclude climate impacts from being considered, they would silence frontline communities by eliminating town-hall meetings and public comment periods

The window for us to take radical action that averts climate catastrophe is rapidly closing. With less than 10 years to overhaul our economy and society, we need more tools to asses and report on the climate impacts of every infrastructure project, not less. And as we’ve seen from Standing Rock to West Virginia, not to mention the ongoing human rights violations against the Wetʼsuwetʼen First Nation in Canada this is no time to cut public comment or remove indigenous consent from the decision making process.

The comment period closes this week, but there’s still time to get your statement in. If enough of us speak out,  we have a chance to delay Trump’s rollback, and we strengthen the case of our friends who are suing the Trump administration in court. If we can delay this disastrous plan even by a few months, a new president can choose to not only stop Trump’s deadly deregulation, but invest in the opposite; Strengthening NEPA so that it is an even more vibrant and accessible tool to stop the buildout of fossil fuel infrastructure and kickstart a Green New Deal.

Send your letter now to stop Trump’s rollback of NEPA, one of our bedrock environmental laws.

Investigate Rick Perry

You remember Rick Perry as Trump’s former Secretary of Energy – the man appointed to lead an agency he famously said he would eliminate, but could not recall the name of during a 2016 Republican Presidential Debate. You might also remember that as one of the “three amigos” Perry was a minor player in Trump’s impeachment drama, which might be what convinced him to resign abruptly at the end of last year.

But did you know that Perry, less than a few weeks out from the revolving door at the Department of Energy is rejoining the board at Energy Transfer LP? Energy Transfer is the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, and dozens of other environmental calamities. And Perry’s quick return to the paid employ of these climate profiteers is not just unseemly, it might be illegal.

Will you help us shine a light on the revolving door between climate criminals and Trump’s cabinet by demanding Congress investigate Rick Perry?

Perry’s term as Energy Secretary was not exactly time spent away from the fossil fuel industry. He met with major coal leaders and proposed to bail out the entire coal industry. He pressured the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to support fossil fuels over renewables. And he was a huge supporter of the US exporting more fracked gas, famously praising it as “molecules of freedom”

But it was his help negotiating gas deals with high-ranking Ukraine officials in the middle of Trump’s campaign to get them to dig up ‘dirt’ on Joe Biden that got Congress’ attention. Perry quickly resigned, rather than face questions. But it turns out Congress can still hold him accountable – if they have the political will to act.

In the age of climate crisis we now live in, the Department of Energy has a tremendous opportunity, and obligation, to take action. We’ve already suggested how FERC, which is technically an independent division of the DOE, could be transformed into the Federal Renewable Energy Commission as part of a Green New Deal. And that’s only one part of the transformation the Energy Department could lead – investing in renewables, innovation, job training, battery storage, infrastructure to make our communities resilient to climate impacts – candidates and climate leaders have been laying out plans for more than a year.

As Energy Secretary, Rick Perry had a duty to act on those plans and proposals in ways that would save lives and fight the climate crisis. Instead, he cashed in a favor to go back to the board room of one of the biggest companies in the world profiting off climate chaos. At Energy Transfer, again, he’ll make big bucks ramping up fossil fuel infrastructure that locks us into decades of further dependence on the fuels that threaten our climate and common home. This cannot go unchallenged.

Sign the petition to demand Congress investigate Rick Perry who never stopped getting paid to work for climate criminals.

Sign now to turn FERC into the Federal Renewable Energy Commission

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been binging on fossil fuel approvals again. In the last few months they’ve voted on party line to make ratepayers pay more money to subsidize fossil fuels, tried to influence the outcome of court decision in favor of fossil fuels before the trial, and called the fight to stop tolling orders a “losing the PR battle badly”.

At the same time, a growing number of elected officials and candidates are seriously considering our proposal to turn FERC into the Federal Renewable Energy Commission (FREC) as part of a Green New Deal. Leading presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have signed on, and Congress held a hearing last week on potential reforms to the Natural Gas Act.

FERC’s next meeting is February 20th, and our friends at Beyond Extreme Energy and many other groups will be making our presence felt. Sign on to this statement to support them, and consider their invitation to join us in DC as well!

What’s FERC been up to that’s so bad?

That is why 198 methods, BXE and 220 other organizations are campaigning for FERC to be replaced by FREC, a new Federal Renewable Energy Commission. As part of a Green New Deal, FREC would be charged with ending all fossil fuel use and regulating utility markets as they transition to 100% clean and renewable power over the next few years.

We urge you to consider taking part with us in our nonviolent action on February 20th. Click here to learn more and sign up to join us in DC.

As a first step, please sign our petition to turn FERC Into FREC. We’ll deliver all the signatures to leaders in Congress and on the campaign trail.

Fire William Pendley, Trump’s racist, climate denying public lands director

If you’ve been paying attention for the last 3 years, it won’t shock you to learn that William Pendley, Trump’s Acting Director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), is a climate-denying white nationalist.

But even in Trump’s swamp, Pendley is worth paying attention to – because this corrupt critter is dangerous, dirty and Congress has the power to remove him – if we speak out.

Sign here to tell Congress: Acting Director William Pendley must resign or be removed from heading the Bureau of Land Management.

Let’s start with the basics. The BLM is responsible for maintaining federal lands and resources for everyone’s benefit across the country. They manage federal monuments and wilderness areas, and even have a role in protecting national parks. The job of the BLM director is, basically, to take care of public lands. To be a good steward and protect them for future generations.

But that’s not Trump and Pendley’s vision. Pendley is a long-time advocate of selling off public lands or giving them to states to sell. His vision is about profit, not protection — and he’s made a fortune selling our public lands to the fossil fuel industry for a pittance. Pendley’s last job was lawyer for a couple counties in Utah that wanted to carve up sections of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments for drilling, fracking and mining. Check out this informative video from the Years Project for more.

Like a lot of corrupt, climate-denying Trump administration officials, including his Boss Andrew Bernhardt, and Bernhardt’s predecessor Ryan Zinke, Pendley never stopped working for the fossil fuel industry. At last count, Pendley had a whopping 57 conflicts of interest — and that’s just the ones he’s chosen to disclose to the ethics office.

But actions speak louder than disclosure reports, and Pendley is not only corrupt, but a climate-denier. At BLM he’s prioritized killing Wild Horses over action to stop climate change. And Pendley literally wrote a book (5 of them, actually) on fighting environmental laws and deregulating public lands in which he calls conservation “radical” says scientists lie or cheat to accomplish their goals, calls Native American religions “pantheism” and accuses the government of carrying out a “war” on the western states. Which is one reason why nearly 100 environmental groups have denounced him publicly.

Being an anti-environment climate denier is bad enough, but Pendley’s brand of public land for private profit also traffics in white nationalism. Pendley has argued that “local law enforcement bears primary responsibility for enforcing state and federal laws,” amplifying the agenda of white nationalist organization Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association.

It’s the same ideology that lead him to support the Bundy family when they held a Wildlife refuge at gunpoint. Those same ranchers were later pardoned by Donald Trump.

Any one of these actions – his conflicts of interest, his climate denial, his radically anti-public lands message or his close ties to white nationalist militias is enough to disqualify Pendley from serving. And here’s the thing: Pendley is only at BLM by Congress’ agreement – he’s another “acting” director who can be hauled in front of Congress to explain his past-deeds, and removed if enough members of Congress don’t like his answers.

So let’s get the ball rolling on that and remove another racist, corrupt, climate Denying Trump administration official before its too late! Sign the petition: Demand Acting Director William Pendley resign or be removed from heading the Bureau of Land Management.

2020 foresight

2020 and the new decade are not off to a very encouraging start: Australia is on fire. So is the Amazon and there was just a huge oil spill in Brazil. Puerto Rico is being rocked by earthquakes even as it struggles to get the relief money Congress appropriated, and which Trump’s racist administration still wont deliver. Trump might start a war with Iran to distract himself from Impeachment. And the blitzkrieg assault on the planet continues apace: with Trump opening new attacks on (another) one of our oldest and most effective environmental laws: the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).

And that’s just the part of the list from the last two weeks; The first of the 2020s — a decade in which we need radical action to stop the climate crisis on a scale rarely seen in the human endeavor.

But there’s good news too: 88 people chipped in just under $1000 to support this project in December – so we’ve got the funds we need to keep writing and emailing you. New coalitions are launching and re-launching with exciting plans for a 72 hour climate strike in April to honor the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the new generation of climate leaders. And lawsuits are advancing to honor treaty rights and stop Keystone XL, as well as to stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline from Crossing the Appalachian trail, and much more. Not to mention the 2020 election – with primaries starting in a few weeks.

A famous phrase notes that the opposite of war isn’t peace, it’s creation; And the opposite of fear isn’t courage, it’s action. So with the pre-amble that this is very much a ‘going gets tough’ moment, here’s three key themes of our plans to get going, creating and taking action in 2020:

Redefine radical

One of the big lessons of the last three years is that things that seemed radical now have to become common. Twenty years ago we had time for incremental solutions to the climate crisis – driving less or recycling were appropriate actions for people to take when we ‘only’ needed to cut emissions by 3% a year. Now we need to cut them 15% a year, every year and those actions, any individual action really, just aren’t enough.

What we need now are big changes in big systems – electrify everything, de-carbonize the shipping industry, put millions of people to work building the new energy economy. And we absolutely have to stop building and investing in the fossil fuel projects that are literally killing us all – which means we need to be ready to put our bodies, our lives, and our collective will in the way.

As Rebecca Solnit said in a beautiful essay on the first day of this decade:

I have seen change that was unimaginable until it happened and then became so ordinary-seeming a part of everyday life that people forgot there was a struggle, forgot there was a transformation, forgot how we got here, forgot that we are living in the once-unimaginable. I believe that there are many unimaginables in this moment that will become, must become ordinary, including the end of the era of fossil fuel. Almost no one seems to know that 20 years ago, we literally did not have the solution, because wind and solar were ineffectual and expensive; we have had an energy revolution that now makes it possible to make the transition we need, and it’s not unimaginable now—just unimagined because it’s so overlooked.

https://lithub.com/letter-to-a-young-climate-activist-on-the-first-day-of-the-new-decade/

We’ll try and embody this goal in 2020 by focussing on more & more escalated actions to stop fossil fuels. We’ll still have online petitions for you to sign, from time to time, but we’ll try and pair each and every one with a specific, in-person delivery event. Where possible we’ll also try and have a way for you to participate no matter what zip code you live in. And at big moments like the April climate strikes we’ll focus our attention on the second day of action –

Creation & social media

Another key lesson from the last few years is not to underestimate the value and role of art and creativity in our work, and also the importance of co-creation: of building things together. There’s just something so authentic and powerful about painting a banner together, singing a song together, assembling the lock box together. You’re not just talking about community, you’re literally making it.

By contrast, at the same time we’ve been re-learning the value of creating together, we’ve seen the utter failure of social media as a space for community building. The last few years took us from Tahrir square and digitally-powered movements that toppled dictators, to the Trump administration and the era of paid disinformation as a Facebook ad policy.

As Zeynep Tufekci said in this must-read article from last year:

What is to be done? There are no easy answers. More important, there are no purely digital answers. …The way forward is not to cultivate nostalgia for the old-world information gatekeepers or for the idealism of the Arab Spring. It’s to figure out how our institutions, our checks and balances, and our societal safeguards should function in the 21st century—not just for digital technologies but for politics and the economy in general. This responsibility isn’t on Russia, or solely on Facebook or Google or Twitter. It’s on us.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/611806/how-social-media-took-us-from-tahrir-square-to-donald-trump/

That article was gutting for me because I spent the last 10 years trying to use tech tools to expand democracy and movement building in the US. The original idea of 198 methods was to update Gene Sharp’s anti-fascist methodology to use modern, digital tools like social media.

But we’re going to try and use Tufekci’s advice in 2020 by building the communities we need, not idealizing the ones we could have had. In particular we’re committing to building a curriculum of direct action training tools online. After 2 years of ignoring Facebook and other big social platforms, we’re also going to take another shot at using it to create authentic, multi-directional conversation through live video chats and Instagram stories. And of course we’ll keep, texting, emailing and continuing to reply to all the messages you write (eventually, and not counting the trolls).

Your vote matters, but it’s not enough

Last thought, since this is a very consequential election year, is about the 2020 election. Like social media, we’re forced to admit that we don’t live in the world we want, or have the things we need. But we also see that we can create them.

Specifically, we’re forced to confront these two facts:

  1. Defeating Trump and his corrupt, climate-wrecking administration in 2020 is incredibly important. No single thing will make as much of an impact on the climate as removing this regime from power.
  2. Our election system is deeply broken: Trump won without the popular vote, and millions of our fellow citizens are already disenfranchised by bogus redistricting, an arrest or incarceration record, and lots of other racist features of our system.

We have to vote. Everyone we know has to vote. And we have to spend time and resources (as best we’re allowed as a non-profit group) making sure people are registered, informed, and able to exercise their right to vote. But that simply can’t be the sum of our work.

No politician can be elected to save us. We have to save ourselves.

Too many things need to happen while the campaign is ongoing – from fighting Trump’s NEPA rollback, to pressing Congress and the Courts to act and hold Trump’s corrupt regime accountable, to building intentional and creative communities of action to stop pipelines.

And no matter who is elected at the end of this year, we need to keep pushing – because we only have this one last decade to make big changes in every part of our society. To change everything, it will take all of us, pushing everywhere.

So that’s our plan for 2020 in a nutshell: take radical action that reflects the urgency of the climate crisis; begin again with the project of using digital tools to build creative, connected action with people; And pay attention to the 2020 election and politics, without getting consumed or distracted by it.

2019 in photos

It’s almost 2020 and you look great! Here’s a quick retrospective on the last year of action and work, as told through some of my favorite pictures and memes. Take a gander, and if you’re so-inclined, chip in here to support another year of banner-dropping, Trump-impeaching, arrest-risking, action and fun!

Here’s a little more background on these photos:

January

Emily disrupts the Wheeler hearing
Photo from AJ+

We started the year protesting Trump’s Environmental Record – in this photo my youngest sister Emily is shutting down a hearing with Andrew Wheeler, Trump’s corrupt, climate-denying EPA chief. Ironically this hearing happened during a government shutdown that had furloughed thousands of EPA staff nation-wide. Protesting Trump’s corrupt, climate-denying cabinet is a theme of this year’s actions.

February

A resolution for a green new deal was introduced, call now

Another theme of this year was the Green New Deal – the ambitious proposal to reshape our economy and society in line with what climate scientists tell us are necessary levels of ambition. A resolution was introduced in February by Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen Ed Markey. But we felt it could be stronger, more inclusive – and especially that it needed to tackle fossil fuels. We weren’t alone as hundreds of groups and millions of people rallied to the call for a fossil-fuel-FREE Green New Deal in the coming months.

March

Breaking Tump tries to approve the KXL pipeline, again

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.

March was also the month we kicked off this year’s campaign to undercut the banks and hedge funds who make profit off of climate-chaos. That campaign ramped up a lot in April and May during shareholder season.

April

In April I climbed the three-story awning of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to drop this banner with friends at Beyond Extreme Energy. That campaign, to change FERC into the Federal RENEWABLE Energy Commission (FREC) is ongoing, and if you like it you should chip in to support BXE before the end of the year too!

We fired Zinke and Pruitt, now help block Bernhardt

April was also the month we launched the first of a series of campaigns that targeted David Bernhardt, Trump’s corrupt, climate-denying Interior Secretary. Like Wheeler (see above) he became a recurring character in our fight to stamp out corruption, block pollution, and protect the climate from Trump’s cast of climate conquistadors.

 America Shareholders' Meeting

And finally, I told you it was shareholder season. This photo is a favorite from the Bank of America Shareholder meeting where friends dropped a huge, 2-story call banner telling shareholders the Atlantic Coast Pipeline is a financial and climate disaster.

May

Dominion press conference

That shareholder action carried right through into May. Here I am in my home-town of Columbia South Carolina talking to press outside the Dominion Energy Shareholder meeting.

Sign here to support disaster relief for Puerto Rico and all Americans.

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.

We can't fight climate change unless we fix our food and ag sectors

And the mid-year variation on the Green New Deal campaign in May (just in time for planting) was our Green New Deal and Ag work. Agriculture is one of the US’ biggest sources of global warming pollution; And there’s simply no way to fix climate change without addressing our food supply. This campaign also continues today, as we work to get Democrats in Congress to grapple with the entirety of a Green New Deal and climate action, not just the easy bits that don’t offend their donors.

June

Stop Barry Myers NOAA nomination!

One of our most successful petitions of the year was opposing Trump’s nominee to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Barry Myers. It took a while, but Myers eventually dropped out, and NOAA remains a rare bastion of climate research and scientific sanity in the Trump regime. I also really liked this meme of Myers in front of actual NOAA imagery of Hurricane Florence.

July

No More Climate deniers in charge of US climate policy

Less successful was our attempt to block coal-baron Kelly Knight-Craft from being appointed as Ambassador to the United Nations. Our petition and work with partners did generate a lot more “no” votes for her confirmation than normal, but did not succeed in changing the Trump-team’s approach to international climate action.

No rate hike we can't afford more fracked gas

Just a quick one that A) illustrates how a little design and digital recruitment helps local protest campaigns, and B) is solidarity work with allies in North Carolina who are fighting a whole wave of fossil fuel infrastructure including the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, fracked Gas liquefaction facilities, and a corrupt administration that ignores pollution in exchange for big money.

This little meme was made for a rate hike protest in Charlotte near the 4th of July holiday.

August

Trump wants to take away your freedom of Information

Wheeler popped back on our radar this month when he tried to hide government files from public records. I do love using photos of Trump and his Administration cronies against them.

September

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.

In DC I locked myself into a car to and had to be cut out by police with a special saw as we blocked a key bridge at the Shut Down DC action. And then in New Hampshire I was arrested with dozens of friends and allies signing as we peacefully attempted to remove the coal from the last remaining coal plant in New England without a shutdown date.

October

Hurricane Dorian over the Bahamas

October was when we expanded our work to get relief for those impacted by climate chaos to the Bahamas, which had just been hit by Hurricane Dorian. Trump was denying them visas – in one case leading people to be turned off a boat bound for the US – so we spoke up. Later in the year the campaign expanded again to cover all climate refugees. Again, I love using these NOAA hurricane images to illustrate why we need climate action now.

November

Bernhardt is too corrupt to go on

November brought one more campaign targeting Bernhardt as Congress opened (and considered more) investigations into his corrupt conduct. Like I said, targeting these Trump cronies has been a consistent theme of our work for years – and it feels like we’re getting closer to expelling Bernhardt and Wheeler. Like we already won campaigns to expel Zinke and Pruitt.

One other fun update on that Bernhardt campaign – a few weeks later some friends took out this mobile billboard in DC – Corrupt and Corrupter indeed.

Our Bernhardt Billboard is turning heads

December

Strike with us Dec 6

The winder Climate Strike was smaller – but was important because it was timed to connect with the UN climate talks. Another failure, unfortunately.

Impeach

What wasn’t a failure was our turnout for impeachment eve rallies nationwide, and the vote – FINALLY – in the House of Representatives this month that made Trump just the third President in history to be impeached (Nixon resigned first).

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:

  1. Holding corrupt Trump cronies like Wheeler and Bernhardt accountable;
  2. Working as part of the global Climate Strike movement to demand bold action from our elected leaders;
  3. Pushing US policy makers to adopt a bold, fossil-fuel-free Green New Deal; &
  4. Bringing you great direct-action powered online campaigns at the local, state, and federal level to demand climate action.

4 charts and a mission

UPDATE: Since I wrote this earlier, I’ve come across two good discussions on the role of “Hope” in the face of these charts and the overwhelming science of climate change.

  1. This interview with scientists and experts contrasts these same 4 charts with what gives them hope.
  2. 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.

But if you’re already all in – here’s the link to donate, and thanks.

Chart 1 – Tipping points ahead

This first one is from a recent report in Nature that finds that we’re coming up – faster than expected – on a series of global tipping points. How these tipping points work and interact is a bit complicated, as you can tell from all the arrows and points on that map. But the key idea is that none of these items is unrelated from each other.

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’s bad news, and really alarming, because these disasters are happening decades earlier than previously predicted, and they’re compounding at increasingly rapid rates. At the same time, it helps to know that we are all truly in this together – just because my coast is flooded and yours is on fire, or vice versa, doesn’t mean we aren’t facing the same problems.

If you’re ready to fund another year of all-in actions to stop the climate crisis however and wherever it shows up, click here.

Chart 2 & 3 – Emissions still going up

This one, which should be familiar to anyone who has been in this movement for a few years, is from the World Meteorological Association and shows that global concentrations of Carbon Dioxide are still going up.

That goes for emissions of methane too – again according to scientists at the WMO. Methane is the key component in fracked gas, and is up to 80 times more potent at warming the climate and created those interconnected tipping points and indicators in chart #1 above. Which is why we spend so much time protesting at gas pipelines and the people who are supposed to regulate them.

If you agree emissions keep going up, and it’s gone on far too long; click here to chip in and fund the fight for us not to be silent any more

Chart 4 – We’re not acting fast enough.

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.

That was the conclusion of another gut-punch of a report from the United Nations this year, eloquently summed up in our final chart:

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.”

And that’s why I’m asking you to chip in again this year. If you believe, as I do, that while the hour is late and the news is dire, a growing movement of voters and protesters can turn the tide and get us on-track to solve the climate crisis – please consider chipping in $1.98, $1.98/week, or whatever you can afford to keep us fighting.

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.

IMPEACH!

198 methods was born out of the ‘election’ of Donald Trump. It seemed clear, three years ago, that we needed new kinds of action and campaigning. Trump represents all our worst fears of fossil-fueled-fascism.

Now, for a moment, he’s being held accountable for (some) of his mis-deeds. Only two presidents have ever been impeached by the House of Representatives. The evidence against Trump is clear and unequivocal – whatever he and his cronies may spin or say about it on Fox News. This is one of those moments history remembers – and remembers where we were.

So don’t sit on the sidelines. Join the tens of thousands of people on Tuesday, December 17. Together we’ll ensure every member of Congress sees that the public supports impeachment right before they vote.

The quick plan is for people to gather at every congressional office and town square in America. Most of the events are after work – around 5 or 6 local time, and all of them are family friendly, peaceful, and solemn. More than 500 events are planned already, and more keep getting added to the map every hour.

Make sure you R.S.V.P. and then share the event with your friends and family.

This is our last chance to show Congress and Trump that the people won’t stand for corruption, high crimes, or abuse of power before the House votes. Let’s tell Congress to do their duty to impeach and remove Trump because nobody is above the law.

Click here to find an event near you, R.S.V.P., and then invite your friends, family, and neighbors.