Right now, corporate utility National Grid is expanding a massive fracked gas transmission pipeline in North Brooklyn. This project is not a replacement of leaking pipelines, it is an expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure, in the middle of a pandemic, and at the cost of our climate, communities and
And worse, we have to pay for all this pollution and destruction! National Grid wants to charge New York rate-payers millions of dollars through rate hikes for this pipeline. That money will fill their shareholders pockets, and keep us locked into fossil fuels when we want to change to affordable and clean renewable energy like geothermal, solar, wind and energy efficient buildings.
National Grid’s toxic and dangerous North Brooklyn Pipeline is being built predominantly through Black and Brown neighborhoods without community consent.
National Grid also wants to expand its Greenpoint fracked gas depot on Newtown Creek by adding two new liquefied fracked gas (LNG) vaporizers and LNG trucking capabilities. National Grid has done no assessment of the climate impacts of these projects, as is required by NYS Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, and and is ignoring or down-playing local impacts on public health and the environment.
These unnecessary projects run contrary to New York city and state’s climate goals and laws. These communities have suffered for decades from the health impacts of environmental racism and injustice, and they should not be forced to pay to build new fossil fuel infrastructure that will continue that polluted legacy for generations to come.
To add insult to injury, they are asking for an unjustified rate hike of hundreds of millions of dollars to build these unnecessary projects that will lock us into decades of fossil fuels and exorbitant stranded assets.
February brought an old fight back to the fore – the fight to stop Keystone XL. Trump has been trying to build the pipeline, without success, since he was sworn in in 2017. So far court cases and local permits have kept him at bay – but we’re waiting for the moment when Trump’s fossil-fueled-authoritarian tendencies overwhelm those flimsy buffers and they simply begin lighting the fuse of this carbon bomb without proper permits and paperwork.
May also launched our campaign to get disaster relief for Puerto Rico. This became a recurring theme as Congress would appropriate money for disaster relief, but Trump would refuse to sign or disburse the money – IF, and this is a big if, the people helped by the funding were black, brown, or tended to vote for Democrats. Later in the year we broadened this campaign to include climate refugees from the Caribbean and eventually the whole global south.
Climate Strike! That was the big theme in September as we supported hundreds of Climate Strike events here in the US. Greta Thunberg asked the United Nations “How Dare You” and I personally buckled in as part of two beautifully troublesome actions.
So there you have it! A year in photos and images to illustrate all our work. You can also check out our previous post which covers more of the science and policy on how we’re ending 2019. Next week, after the New Year, I’ll write you a message about our plans for 2020 but you can be sure it will continue a few of these themes:
Holding corrupt Trump cronies like Wheeler and Bernhardt accountable;
Working as part of the global Climate Strike movement to demand bold action from our elected leaders;
Pushing US policy makers to adopt a bold, fossil-fuel-free Green New Deal; &
Bringing you great direct-action powered online campaigns at the local, state, and federal level to demand climate action.
Ok, you’ve heard the hype: The Green New Deal is going to ban hamburgers (it doesn’t); the Green New Deal will force vegan soylant green on the unwilling masses (nope); The Green New Deal doesn’t care about farmers — actually, on that last one, it could do a better job helping farmers, but not because it’s an evil socialist plot. The Green New Deal RESOLUTION is just a little vague on the whole food and agriculture thing, and that’s a problem because we can’t solve the climate crisis without changing our food and agriculture system.
Farming and food is the biggest overall employer in the United States, employing some 23.5 million people. If you have a brother, sister, mother, daughter, father, son, friend or neighbor, odds are that one of them works in food and farming.
For the Green New Deal to be truly effective, the workers who grow, cook and care for our food — from the immigrant picking vegetables in the field, to the truck driver who transports them, to the chef or line-cook who prepares your meal, and everyone in between — needs to be part of the solution.
Carbon reduction, sequestration and climate resilience via a rapid, just transition that empowers farmers and ranchers to adopt ecologically regenerative, organic and agroecological practices;
Fair prices for farmers, ranchers and fishers, anti-trust measures that help reverse food sector consolidation, and healthy working conditions with family-sustaining living wages for workers;
Diversified, resilient local and regional food economies anchored by family farmers, ranchers and fishers that ensure healthy, sustainable food for all, combat consolidation in the food and farming sector and reverse the rapid loss of farmers and deterioration of farmland;
Avoid “false solutions” and agribusiness-sponsored proposals that do nothing to address the systemic causes of our climate crisis and delay progress.
So you’d think that Representatives like Ocasio-Cortez would be lining up to oppose this project, right? Not so fast. The Green New Deal resolution paints a vibrant picture of the future, but it’s silent on the issues of fossil fuels and pipelines. And until a few days ago, not one of our federal elected officials had spoken out against the Williams pipeline.
But when local organizers asked AOC to do the same thing, her staff said she needed to see more tweets first. Really? How many tweets, exactly, does the author of the Green New Deal resolution need to see before she opposes a pipeline in her own back yard?
This isn’t a minor issue to New York fracked gas companies: On Monday fossil fuel giant National Grid presented a plan to build the Williams fracked gas pipeline as part of a plan they said is supposed to cut emissions 80% by 2050. They’re trying to write their dirty pipeline into our vision for a clean and healthy New York!
That resolution would need to be referred to committee, where it would have committee hearings and consideration and debate – the kind of stuff that might address the concerns we and others have raised about banning fossil fuels, stopping pipelines, and the like. It also would give time and space to fill in details that are missing.
Don’t get me wrong, the Green New Deal has re-shaped the debate on climate change and gotten politicians to talk about the scope and severity of the crisis in a serious way for the first time in a long time.
But the conversation is still stuck in false assumptions that will not keep fossil fuels in the ground or address the systemic racism and injustice of sacrifice zones. In the House of Representatives (outside Mitch the twerp-turtle’s jurisdiction), at least 3 committees are considering climate legislation. But all those bills, and even the actual resolution from Markey and AOC still talk about “net zero emissions” or set the timeline to end fossil fuels and nuclear power way too far in the future (like 2050 or later).
If we leave fossil fuels and nuclear on the table, what we’re really saying is that we’re ok with sacrifice zones. Because if we don’t start phasing out dirty energy NOW then they will keep building them, and people will keep getting sick, having their land stolen, and worse.
Wall Street, the fossil fuel companies, the utilities, every single Republican in the Senate and a shockingly large number Democrats are committed to that same vision: another 20-50 years of drilling, spilling, pipelines, genocide, and ecological devastation.
Paris is not a panacea — It’s non-binding, like the AOC/Markey resolution. But it creates a framework to debate bills that have a lot more force and effect.
It’s like agreeing on the playing field, the rules, and saying that we’re in the game. We still need to do all the things to win (in this case stop climate change before it kills us all). And none of that will be possible if we slash our own achilles’ tendons — which is what building 12 new gas export facilities, millions of acres of fracking and drilling rigs, and millions of miles of new pipelines would do to our chances.
But, it’s a start. So this April we’re encouraging you to work on those two tracks: You can join a local Promise to Protect training stop and learn how you can turn up to stop the Keystone Pipeline, and stay tuned for updates on other actions targeting Dominion and the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. At the same time, keep the pressure on Congress to keep debating climate solutions, and make sure they #KeepItInTheGround and say #nonukes as part of those solutions. A great action this week is to call your Senators and tell them to oppose Trump’s choice to lead the Interior Department, David Bernhardt, a former oil lobbyist who is exactly as corrupt as you think he is.
Under the All of the Above plan from Obama, the US dramatically increased production of Renewable energy at the same time we even more dramatically increased fossil fuel production and especially fossil fuel exports. Donald Trump even bragged on it at his state of the Union on Tuesday – and when Trump brags about something, you know it’s just the worst. Some of the places that got hit first and worst by this boom in fossil fuels:
The Gulf of Mexico, especially poor, black or brown communities in places like Louisiana and Texas who are also on the frontlines of climate-fueled super storms.
Indigenous communities in Canada and the plains, where a boom in tar sands and shale oil brought crime, pollution and pipelines.
California communities – again usually poor or black or brown or all of the above – that saw a massive expansion of fracking for oil and gas even as state leaders touted 100% renewable goals and carbon trading markets.
And the shale-fields of Pennsylvania, where a boom economy in fracking left behind pollution, bomb-trains, pipelines and chemical plants, but failed to deliver lasting economic stability.
That’s not the Green New Deal we hoped for or need. But even if it’s imperfect, the resolution introduced today is an important place to start conversation. We need to begin changing everything, and we can. But only if EVERYONE shows up right now to tell Congress: This is the moment to call – Congress just started to hold hearings yesterday on climate change, and this new Resolution for a Green New Deal is like a starting gun being fired. Now we race towards solutions, with only 10 years to make the big changes we need.
But will these new candidates and resolutions live up to the hype? Will they halt all new fossil fuel extraction, transition to 100% renewable energy, rapidly decarbonize our agriculture and transportation sectors, ensure a fair and just transition led by impacted workers and communities, uphold Indigenous rights, and pass a national jobs guarantee? In short, will the Green New Deal live up to our demands for justice and climate action?
They will, if we demand it. Which is why I need your help to deliver our demands for Real Climate Leadership this week.
Because we’ve been burned before: Under President Obama the Democratic party trumpeted an “all of the above” energy policy that sounded a lot like a Green new Deal in its pursuit of 100% renewable energy and a booming economy with no mention of keeping fossil fuels in the ground.
Those are the costs of getting climate policy wrong – by endorsing actions that focus on and reward economics and job creation rather than what is truly just or fights the climate crisis.
I’m excited about the prospect of a Green New Deal. And I’m encouraged by new leaders like AOC that are talking about the scope and scale of the problem in ways that match the science.
But we need to be very careful, right now at the start of the new Congress, that those big ideas and bold demands don’t get coopted into something like an All of the Above part 2.
And that’s why out actions this week are so important. By showing up right now and making a clear demand for Real Climate leadership based on these 5 demands, we can make sure that any new resolution or plan is judged against them and can steer the conversation towards solutions we need.
Together with more than 50 partner organizations we’re making calls and recruiting volunteers. And Congress and the 2020 Presidential campaigns are already responding.
Donald Trump has finally given in and ended the longest government shutdown in history. But his attacks on our climate and common home keep coming. If there’s one thing we can learn from the shutdown, it’s that when we stick together and stand by our principles we can win. And that’s why I’m so excited to fight with you for a Green New Deal.
Progressive champs like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have given us a unique chance: Her Green New Deal vision is a bold climate solution that would put power in the hands of communities, not corporations, provide family-sustaining jobs, and end our reliance on fossil fuels.
The idea of a Green New Deal is gaining momentum in Congress. But too many Democrats claim to support the “idea” of a Green New Deal, while continuing to support fracking, fossil fuel subsidies and our dirty, climate-wrecking status quo.
Which is why from February 4-8th, we’re joining a broad coalition of environmental organizations and people like you to visit our members of Congress and tell the we need REAL climate leadership. Will you join us?
Halt all new fossil fuel extraction, infrastructure, and subsidies; And transition power generation to 100% renewable energy by 2035 or sooner.
Rapidly decarbonize agriculture and transportation sectors and expand access to public transportation.
Ensure a Fair & Just Transition led by impacted workers and communities, including low income and communities of color, without relying on corporate schemes or market-based mechanisms.
Uphold Indigenous Rights.
Pass a national jobs guarantee, creating good jobs with collective bargaining and family-sustaining wages.
Dozens of organizations and hundreds of volunteers are already hard at work organizing events at local Congressional offices demanding a robust and powerful Green New Deal. Just check out the map of actions so far!
Once you sign up to host, we’ll send you information and materials like signs, copies of petition signatures, and a toolkit from partners to help you plan your event. You just need to pick a time and place (your local Member of Congress’ office) and recruit some friends to join you there!