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End Fossil Fuel Subsidies NOW!

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It’s rare for me to post a second item on the same day but this warrants it!

The full copy of this recently issued Press Release now available on the End Fossil Fuels Subsidies website is republished in full below.

PASS IT ON!

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PRESS RELEASES

MIDDAY TWITTERSTORM REPORT
June 18, 2012

Call to #EndFossilFuelSubsidies at Rio+20 Tops Twitter

EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard, celebrities Mark Ruffalo,
Stephen Fry, and Robert Redford, journalist Nicholas Kristof, and more join global push

RIO DE JANEIRO — The push to end fossil fuel subsidies at Rio+20 became the #2 most talked about topic worldwide on Twitter this morning.

The social networking site, which has 100 million active users, tracks discussions by hashtag and #endfossilfuelsubsidies ranked #2 globally and #2 in United States and Australia. 350.org, the global climate campaign coordinating the effort, estimated that the hashtag was being tweeted at least once a second, reaching millions of people around the world.

A number of politicians, journalists, celebrities, and high-profile activists joined in the campaign, helping catapult it into the spotlight:

British actor Stephen Fry tweeted, “Let’s green $1 trillion with a plan to save the planet. Sign the petition & RT: http://j.mp/endFFS #endfossilfuelsubsidies #G20 #RioPlus20.”

American actor Mark Ruffalo, who recently played the Hulk in the box-office sensation The Avengers, tweeted, “Good Morn! Can you help us end fossil fuel subsidies? Pls tweet #endfossilfuelsubsidies TODAY to help us send a msg & spread the word.!!!”

The EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard, who is expected to play a key role at the Rio+20 negotiations,tweeted, “Fossil fuels subsidies have no place in today’s world . They must be phased out as the G20 pledged. #EndFossilFuelSubsidies #Rioplus20.”

Journalist and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof tweeted, “A twitterstorm underway calling on leaders to #EndFossilFuelSubsidies at Rio summit: http://yfrog.com/1qamv1j.”

350.org founder Bill McKibben tweeted, “$1 trilllion is a lot of money–tired of the fossil fuel industry laughing at us, so joining the twitterstorm #endfossilfuelsubsidies.”

Activists with 350.org are projecting tweets in cities around the world, including Sydney, London, New Delhi, and New York, as well as inside the Rio+20 negotations.

Yesterday, 350.org and Avaaz unfurled a giant $1 trillion bill on the Copacabana beach in Rio, producing some spectacular photos. The global campaign Avaaz.org is delivering a petition with 750,000 signatures calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies to G20 leaders in Los Cabos, Mexico this afternoon. Over a million people have signed different petitions calling for action on subsidies in the last two weeks.

The current draft of the Rio+20 agreement released on Saturday includes a paragraph on ending fossil fuel subsidies, but negotiations now hang in the balance as oil exporting countries led by Saudi Arabia and Venezuela attempt to delete any references to the proposal. The final decision is likely to come down to Brazil, who hold sway as the host country.

The Twitterstorm can be tracked at endfossilfuelsubsidies.org. Supporting organizations for endfossilfuelsubsidies.org include: 350.org, Avaaz, Climate Reality Project, Earth Day Network, Friends of the Earth International, Global Exchange, Green For All, Greenpeace International, Greenpeace New Zealand, Natural Resource Defense Council, Oil Change International, Quercus, SumOfUs, Wild Aid, WWF

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CONTACT: In the US, Daniel Kessler, dk@350.org, +1 510-501-1779; In Rio, Jamie Henn, jamie@350.org, +55(0)2181061948

NOTE TO EDITORS:

1. Information on the $1 Trillion in fossil fuel subsidies: http://priceofoil.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/1TFSFIN.pdf

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PRESS ADVISORY/PHOTO CALL

‘Twitterstorm’ gathers speed before Monday’s Global Cyberaction to #EndFossilFuelSubsidies at Rio+20

RIO, 15 June 2012 — Momentum is building for this Monday’s 24-hour “Twitterstorm,” a massive international online action to increase pressure on world leaders to cut nearly $1 trillion in fossil fuel subsidies at the upcoming Rio+20 Earth Summit.

For 24 hours between June 18th and 19th, as world leaders gather at the G20 summit and prepare for Rio+20, hundreds of thousands of people around the world will tweet with the same hashtag — #EndFossilFuelSubsidies — at celebrities and politicians, flooding the popular social network with their demand. Over 1 million people have already signed a petition calling on leaders to act.

Recent developments on the Twitterstorm include:

• Confirmation of tweet projections in Sydney, London, New Dehli, and Rio (see Notes section for times and locations) (1)
• A new website with fact sheets, a tool to tweet at celebrities and Heads of State, and more resources for activists: http://www.endfossilfuelsubsidies.org
• A new Facebook event that has registered over two thousand “Tweet Team” members to recruit participants for the day of action. (2)
• Support from over a dozen civil society groups, including 350.org, Greenpeace International, Oil Change International and WWF. (3)

WHAT: A 24-hour Twitterstorm to #EndFossilFuelSubsidies at Rio+20

WHEN: The 24-hour clock will begin at 8:00 UTC (6 PM local time in Sydney) when activists will flock to Twitter with messages that will be projected in iconic locations in Sydney, New Delhi, London, and Rio. In recent weeks campaigning groups have collected over 1 million signatures demanding that leaders act now.

WHY: According to figures compiled by Oil Change International, countries are spending as much as $1 trillion USD combined annually on fossil fuel subsidies. (4) The International Energy Agency estimates that by cutting these subsidies, the world can cut global warming causing emissions in half and significantly contribute to preventing a 2 degree temperature rise, the limit most scientists say we need to stay under to prevent runaway climate change. (5)

In May, leaders of the G20 again pledged to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. They first made the commitment in 2009 but have yet to implement the policy change at the country level.

While global warming emissions rise and gas prices spike, fossil fuel companies continue to make massive profits, which brings into doubt the need for subsidies. ExxonMobil, for example, made $41.1 billion USD in profit in 2011.

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CONTACT: In the US, Daniel Kessler, 350.org, dk@350.org, +1 510-501-1779; In Rio, Jamie Henn, jamie@350.org, +55(0)2181061948

NOTE TO EDITORS:

1. June 18 projection events

• Sydney
◦ Summary: Sydney will launch the Twitter Storm from the Sydney Opera House.  Local supporters are invited to send a photo or video message to world leaders with the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge as a backdrop.  Projection of the Twitter feed will continue late at night around Sydney’s CBD.
◦ 6 PM (UTC+10) Sydney Opera House Boardwalks
◦ 9 PM (UTC+10) Sydney CBD
◦ CONTACT: Abi Jamines abigail@350.org, +61 403278621

• New Delhi
◦ Summary: There will be two projections in New Delhi.
◦ Projection 1: 6 PM – 9 PM, Moonlighting, An indoor projection while the Twitter feed is projected to an invited audience along with a speaker to discuss the issue of fossil fuel subsidies in the Indian context. (Will share speaker details soon, yet to be confirmed).
◦ Projection 2: 6PM – 11 PM An outdoor projection at a local mall called DLF Saket.
◦ CONTACT: Chaitanya Kumar, chaitanya@350.org, +91-9849016371

• London
◦ Summary: There will be 3 events in London–a petition delivery at 10 Downing Street in the morning, followed by two projections.
◦ Petition delivery: 10:30am GMT+1, Number 10 Downing Street, London.
◦ Projection 1: 1:30pm GMT+1, Houses of Parliament, London
◦ Projection 2: Approximately midnight GMT+1 (Tuesday 19th June), Nelson’s Column, Trafalgar Square, London
◦ CONTACT: Emma Biermann, emma@350.org, +44 (0) 78 3500 4720,

• Rio
◦ Summary: Tweets will be displayed in the Rio Centro conference center all day.
◦ CONTACT: Jamie Henn, jamie@350.org, +55(0)2181061948

2.  https://www.facebook.com/events/304496622975461/

3. Supporting organizations include: 350.org, Avaaz, Climate Reality Project, Earth Day Network, Friends of the Earth International, Global Exchange, Green For All, Greenpeace International, Greenpeace Australia, and Greenpeace New Zealand, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resource Defense Council, Oil Change International, Oxfam, Quercus, SumOfUs, Wild Aid, World Wildlife Fund

4. http://priceofoil.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/1TFSFIN.pdf

5. http://www.iea.org/files/energy_subsidies_slides.pdf

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‘Twitter Storm’ Planned to Pressure Leaders to End Fossil Fuel Subsidies at Rio+20

Environmental conference ideal place to end wasteful giveaways to corporate polluters, says civil society groups

Oakland, 7 June 2012 — Campaigning organizations from around the world will join forces on June 18 for a 24-hour ‘Twitter storm’ in which tens of thousands of messages will be posted on the social networking site demanding that world leaders use Rio+20 to agree to end fossil fuel subsidies.

The 24 hour clock will start at 6PM local time in Sydney (8AM UTC), when activists will begin to flock to Twitter with messages that will also be projected in iconic spots in Sydney, New Delhi, London, Rio, and other locations. In recent weeks campaigning groups have collected over 1 million signatures demanding that leaders act now to end subsidies and start to invest in clean energy solutions. (1)

According to figures compiled by Oil Change International, countries together are spending as much as $1 trillion dollars annually on fossil fuel subsidies. (2) The International Energy Agency estimates that by cutting these subsidies, the world can cut global warming causing emissions in half and significantly contribute to preventing a 2 degree temperature rise, the number most scientists say we need to stay under to prevent runaway climate change. (3)

“We are giving twelve times as much in subsidies to fossil fuels as we are providing to clean energy, like wind and solar. World leaders shouldn’t be subsidizing the destruction of our planet, especially since these subsidies are cooking our planet,” said Jake Schmidt, International Climate Policy Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

In May, leaders of the G20 again pledged to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. They first made the commitment in 2009 but have yet to implement the policy change at the country level.

While global warming emissions rise and gas prices spike, fossil fuel companies continue to make massive profits, which brings into doubt the need for subsidies. ExxonMobil, for example, paid an effective US federal tax rate in 2010 of 17.2 percent, while the average American paid 28 percent.

Participating organizations include 350.org, Avaaz, Greenpeace. Oil Change International, Natural Resources Defense Council, and others.

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CONTACT: In the US, Daniel Kessler, 350.org, +1 510 501 1779, daniel@350.org

NOTE TO EDITORS:

1.http://endfossilfuelsubsidies.org/

2. http://priceofoil.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/1TFSFIN.pdf

3. http://www.iea.org/files/energy_subsidies_slides.pdf

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Planet Earth is whispering to us!

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Just because it’s non-verbal doesn’t mean it isn’t clear!

This is another full republication of a recent Tomgram from Tom Engelhardt.  As I have said previously, I count myself as very lucky to have had Tom give me blanket permission to reproduce his excellent essays.  This one is no exception to the others that I have presented on Learning from Dogs.

But before I go to the Tomgram that was published on Tom Dispatch last Thursday, let me gently expand on what was on my mind when I wrote the sub-heading: Just because it’s non-verbal doesn’t mean it isn’t clear!

The animals that man forms close relationships with are able to ‘read’ us in many exquisite ways.  Dogs, in particular, seem to sense the mood and temperament of humans especially well.  Indeed, I am frequently open-mouthed at the way that Pharaoh senses, almost before I am conscious of it, that I am a little mentally ‘pre-occupied’.  Most of the dogs that live around me and Jean show very clearly that they know when life isn’t running normally.

The reason I have strayed into this rather subjective place is that it doesn’t take too much to drift away and imagine that our beautiful planet is ‘speaking’ to us that she is hurting.  OK, better stop there and let Tom and Bill McKibben speak better sense!

Oh, and because this was written ahead of the global day of action last Saturday, you will need to take that into account about two-thirds of the way through.

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Tomgram: Bill McKibben, The Most Important Story of Our Lives

Posted by Bill McKibben at 9:39am, May 3, 2012.

By now, it’s already deep election season, the beginning of the culmination of a cycle that commenced the day after (or even the day before) the previous presidential election. In the meantime, the endless polls appear — you can check Obama’s approval rating or the state of the presidential horserace any time, night or day — and the media goes ballistic handicapping the odds or discussing the presidential cat fight.  Each side’s handlers take out after the other’s, and increasingly, the corporate dollars pour in (another form of handicapping, or maybe just plain old knee-capping).  You know the routine.  These days, with the election a mere six months away, Romney/Obama “analysis” and prediction is already in the stratosphere and no issue, from war to a blind self-taught Chinese lawyer escaping to the American embassy in Beijing, is election-proof.

It’s all grist for the mill and who in Washington isn’t reading the polls the way a New Ager might read Tarot cards?  So when President Obama suddenly starts talking — quite voluntarily — about global warming as a campaign issue, you know something’s up.  What’s up, it turns out, is public concern over climate change after years of polling in which Americans claimed to be ever less worried about the phenomenon.

No one should be surprised, given this overheated year in North America, as Bill McKibben points out in today’s post.  In fact, in the latest climate-change polling, 63% of respondents believe “the United States should move forward to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, regardless of what other countries do.”  In another recent poll, 65% of Americans backed the idea of “imposing mandatory controls on carbon dioxide emissions/other greenhouse gases” (as 75% now support regulating carbon dioxide as a “pollutant”).

This is something new in America.  Times, like the weather, are evidently a-changin’. And the president has noticed this, especially since he’s facing an opponent who, last fall, went on the record this way: “My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet.  And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.”

So this may be a bullish campaign season for climate change.  “I suspect,” said the president, “that over the next six months, this is going to be a debate that will become part of the campaign, and I will be very clear in voicing my belief that we’re going to have to take further steps to deal with climate change in a serious way.”  It could even help win him the election, if this summer and fall prove just as weather-freaky as our North American winter and spring have been, leaving Republican climate-change deniers and prevaricators in the dust.

If, in a far less propitious political moment, one person put climate change back on the White House agenda and made the president attend to it, that would be TomDispatch regular Bill McKibben.  The campaign of mass action he launched against the Keystone XL Pipeline and the particularly “dirty” form of energy it was slated to bring from Canada to the U.S. Gulf coast proved crucial. Let’s hope, like the cavalry, that he arrived in the nick of time. Tom

Too Hot Not to Notice?
A Planet Connected by Wild Weather 

By Bill McKibben

The Williams River was so languid and lovely last Saturday morning that it was almost impossible to imagine the violence with which it must have been running on August 28, 2011. And yet the evidence was all around: sand piled high on its banks, trees still scattered as if by a giant’s fist, and most obvious of all, a utilitarian temporary bridge where for 140 years a graceful covered bridge had spanned the water.

The YouTube video of that bridge crashing into the raging river was Vermont’s iconic image from its worst disaster in memory, the record flooding that followed Hurricane Irene’s rampage through the state in August 2011.  It claimed dozens of lives, as it cut more than a billion-dollar swath of destruction across the eastern United States.

I watched it on TV in Washington just after emerging from jail, having been arrested at the White House during mass protests of the Keystone XL pipeline.  Since Vermont’s my home, it took the theoretical — the ever more turbulent, erratic, and dangerous weather that the tar sands pipeline from Canada would help ensure — and made it all too concrete. It shook me bad.

And I’m not the only one.

New data released last month by researchers at Yale and George Mason universities show that a lot of Americans are growing far more concerned about climate change, precisely because they’re drawing the links between freaky weather, a climate kicked off-kilter by a fossil-fuel guzzling civilization, and their own lives. After a year with a record number of multi-billion dollar weather disasters, seven in ten Americans now believe that “global warming is affecting the weather.” No less striking, 35% of the respondents reported that extreme weather had affected them personally in 2011.  As Yale’s Anthony Laiserowitz told theNew York Times, “People are starting to connect the dots.”

Which is what we must do. As long as this remains one abstract problem in the long list of problems, we’ll never get to it.  There will always be something going on each day that’s more important, including, if you’re facing flood or drought, the immediate danger.

But in reality, climate change is actually the biggest thing that’s going on every single day.  If we could only see that pattern we’d have a fighting chance. It’s like one of those trompe l’oeil puzzles where you can only catch sight of the real picture by holding it a certain way. So this weekend we’ll be doing our best to hold our planet a certain way so that the most essential pattern is evident. At 350.org, we’re organizing a global day of action that’s all about dot-connecting; in fact, you can follow the action at climatedots.org.

The day will begin in the Marshall Islands of the far Pacific, where the sun first rises on our planet, and where locals will hold a daybreak underwater demonstration on their coral reef already threatened by rising seas. They’ll hold, in essence, a giant dot — and so will our friends in Bujumbura, Burundi, where March flooding destroyed 500 homes. In Dakar, Senegal, they’ll mark the tidal margins of recent storm surges.  In Adelaide, Australia, activists will host a “dry creek regatta” to highlight the spreading drought down under.

Pakistani farmers — some of the millions driven from their homes by unprecedented flooding over the last two years — will mark the day on the banks of the Indus; in Ayuthaya, Thailand, Buddhist monks will protest next to a temple destroyed by December’s epic deluges that also left the capital, Bangkok, awash.

Activists in Ulanbataar will focus on the ongoing effects of drought in Mongolia.  In Daegu, South Korea, students will gather with bags of rice and umbrellas to connect the dots between climate change, heavy rains, and the damage caused to South Korea’s rice crop in recent years. In Amman, Jordan, Friends of the Earth Middle East will be forming a climate dot on the shores of the Dead Sea to draw attention to how climate-change-induced drought has been shrinking that sea.

In Herzliya, Israel, people will form a dot on the beach to stand in solidarity with island nations and coastal communities around the world that are feeling the impact of climate change. In newly freed Libya, students will hold a teach-in.  In Oman, elders will explain how the weather along the Persian Gulf has shifted in their lifetimes. There will be actions in the cloud forests of Costa Rica, and in the highlands of Peru where drought has wrecked the lives of local farmers.  In Monterrey, Mexico, they’ll recall last year’s floods that did nearly $2 billion in damage. In Chamonix, France, climbers will put a giant red dot on the melting glaciers of the Alps.

And across North America, as the sun moves westward, activists in Halifax, Canada, will “swim for survival” across its bay to highlight rising sea levels, while high-school students in Nashville, Tennessee, will gather on a football field inundated by 2011’s historic killer floods.

In Portland, Oregon, city dwellers will hold an umbrella-decorating party to commemorate March’s record rains. In Bandelier, New Mexico, firefighters in full uniform will remember last year’s record forest fires and unveil the new solar panels on their fire station.  In Miami, Manhattan, and Maui, citizens will line streets that scientists say will eventually be underwater. In the high Sierra, on one of the glaciers steadily melting away, protesters will unveil a giant banner with just two words, a quote from that classic of western children’s literature, The Wizard of Oz. “I’m Melting” it will say, in letters three-stories high.

This is a full-on fight between information and disinformation, between the urge to witness and the urge to cover-up. The fossil-fuel industry has funded endless efforts to confuse people, to leave an impression that nothing much is going on.  But — as with the tobacco industry before them — the evidence has simply gotten too strong.

Once you saw enough people die of lung cancer, you made the connection. The situation is the same today.  Now, it’s not just the scientists and the insurance industry; it’s your neighbors. Even pleasant weather starts to seem weird.  Fifteen thousand U.S. temperature records were broken, mainly in the East and Midwest,in the month of March alone, as a completely unprecedented heat wave moved across the continent.  Most people I met enjoyed the rare experience of wearing shorts in winter, but they were still shaking their heads. Something was clearly wrong and they knew it.

The one institution in our society that isn’t likely to be much help in spreading the news is… the news. Studies show our papers and TV channels paying ever less attention to our shifting climate.  In fact, in 2011 ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox spent twice as much time discussing Donald Trump as global warming. Don’t expect representatives from Saturday’s Connect the Dots day to show up on Sunday’s talk shows.  Over the last three years, those inside-the-Beltway extravaganzas have devoted 98 minutes total to the planet’s biggest challenge. Last year, in fact, all the Sunday talk shows spent exactly nine minutes of Sunday talking time on climate change — and here’s a shock: all of it was given over to Republican politicians in the great denial sweepstakes.

So here’s a prediction: next Sunday, no matter how big and beautiful the demonstrations may be that we’re mounting across the world, “Face the Nation” and “Meet the Press” won’t be connecting the dots. They’ll be gassing along about Newt Gingrich’s retirement from the presidential race or Mitt Romney’s coming nomination, and many of the commercials will come from oil companies lying about their environmental efforts. If we’re going to tell this story — and it’s the most important story of our time — we’re going to have to tell it ourselves.  

Bill McKibben, TomDispatch regular, and the author, most recently, of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, is the founder of 350.org, which is coordinating Saturday’s Connect the Dots day.  You can find the event nearest you by checking climatedots.org.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter @TomDispatch and join us on Facebook.

Copyright 2012 Bill McKibben

Couple of footnotes from yours truly.

Here’s that video that Bill mentions earlier,

 

This is an email that came from Bill McKibben earlier on Sunday morning (Arizona time).

Dear Friends,

This is a thank you note, a thank you note to the whole planet.

Except for the hours when I went out to the events nearest my home in Vermont, I’ve been by the computer, transfixed by the images streaming in.

From every corner of the earth people have been doing their best to Connect the Dots on climate change. And their best has been pretty amazing — we have photos from beneath the ocean waves and from high-altitude glaciers, from the middle of big cities fighting sea level rise and remote deserts battling drought.

Here’s one of the most vivid photos of the bunch — just a taste of what it feels like to have the water rising around you, and the tip of the iceberg of the creative masterworks of the past 24 hours:

Click here to see the amazing photos from the daywww.climatedots.org

We’re going to need you soon to fight the political battles that will make use of these images, but for the next day or two just relax, and enjoy the feeling of solidarity that comes from knowing there are millions of people thinking the same way, harboring the same fears and, more importantly, the same hopes.

On we go together.

With such gratitude,

Bill McKibben

P.S. There’s still time to submit photos for our slideshow and compilation video — just send your best photo as an email attachment to photos@350.org. Make your city and country the subject line of the email, and put your story and description in the body. So many thanks in advance!

Keystone XL pipeline

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Spread the word as far and wide as possible!

Yesterday I received an email from 350.org as part of their mailing to all 350.org supporters.  I have previously written a number of times, for example see here and here, about this proposed project and why it is so important to have it rejected.

Yesterday I published a lecture given in Melbourne by Britain’s eminent Astronomer Royal, Lord Martin Rees.  Lord Rees concluded his lecture with the call for us to take better care of our own planet. He, like many others, recognises the unique place in history that we occupy. For the first time a single species is capable of exerting profound changes on the Earth’s natural and physical environments.

Over and over again, scientists are reporting the rise in climate temperature of Planet Earth and the implications thereof if we do not wakeup soon to changing our ways.  The Keystone pipeline is a huge potential mistake!

Bill McKibben of 350.org

Anyway, to the letter issued by 350.org – note the link to send a message to President Obama works – please use it!

Direct threats from Big Oil over Keystone XL

01/05/12, 11:43am

Here’s the email that Bill McKibben just sent to US 350.org supporters who have been working on Keystone XL:

Just in case you thought there was anything subtle about the Keystone battle, you need to hear what the president of the American Petroleum Institute — the oil industry’s #1 front group — said yesterday: if the President doesn’t approve the project there will “huge political consequences.”

That’s as direct a threat as you’re ever going to hear in DC, and it shows just how mad you made the oil industry last year by exposing Keystone for the climate-killing danger it is.  And the oil industry can obviously make good on their threats — they’ve got all the money on earth, and thanks to Citizens United they can use it without restriction in our elections. They’re not used to ever losing.So far the Obama administration is standing firm in the face of Big Oil’s bullying – the White House made it completely clear last month that if the oil industry and its harem in Congress forced a speeded-up review, it would lead to an outright rejection of the permit for the pipeline. We expect they’ll keep their word.

Here’s what I think we need to do.

1- Let the president know you’ve got his back when he rejects the pipeline. Tell him that addressing climate change is the key to our future, and that you’re glad he’s not bending.

2- Take the offensive against the oil industry. If they’re going to try and ram Keystone down our throats we’re going to try and take away something they hold dear, the handouts that Congress gives them each and every year. They’re the richest industry on earth, they’re doing great damage to the planet — and they expect us to pay for it with our tax dollars.

Can you send a quick note to President Obama covering those two key points? 

Click here to send a message to the President: www.350.org/stand-strong

Here’s the note I’m sending:

President Obama: Thank you for opposing the rushed Keystone XL pipeline permit. Responding to climate change is critical to preserving our collective future, and I hope this is a first step towards the dramatic changes we need to avoid catastrophe. PS: Please take handouts for the fossil fuel industry out of next year’s budget. There are people in America who need that money more.

There’s lots more to be done, of course. In the slightly longer run, we’ve got to take on the greatest subsidy of all: the special privilege that Congress gives the fossil fuel industry to use the atmosphere as an open sewer into which to dump its carbon for free.But today — right now, in the face of this kind of straight-up bullying — it’s time to punch back. We’re nonviolent, but we’re not wimps.

Bill

Make a difference – now!

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A plea to sign a global call not to delay action on global warming

How many of you in Europe watched the final episode of Sir Peter Attenborough’s Frozen Planet series, entitled On Thin Ice?

Did you watch the short video in last week’s post, The power of truth?  If not, it’s below.

Here’s a piece from a BBC news item from yesterday,

A hungry polar bear

It is an image that is sure to shock many people.

An adult polar bear is seen dragging the body of a cub that it has just killed across the Arctic sea ice.

Polar bears normally hunt seals but if these are not available, the big predators will seek out other sources of food – even their own kind.

The picture was taken by environmental photojournalist Jenny Ross in Olgastretet, a stretch of water in the Svalbard archipelago.

“This type of intraspecific predation has always occurred to some extent,” she told BBC News.

“However, there are increasing numbers of observations of it occurring, particularly on land where polar bears are trapped ashore, completely food-deprived for extended periods of time due to the loss of sea ice as a result of climate change.”

Re-read that last segment of that last sentence, “completely food-deprived for extended periods of time due to the loss of sea ice as a result of climate change.

So with all that in mind, please read on.

Friends,

What if someone told you we should abandon all hope for global climate action until 2020? Well, that’s exactly the proposal that the United States is pushing at the UN Climate Talks taking place this week in Durban, South Africa. The 2020 delay might well be the worst idea ever.

Waiting nine years for climate action isn’t just a delay, it’s a death sentence for communities on the front lines of the climate crisis — and it could slam the door on ever getting carbon pollution levels below the safe upper limit of 350 parts per million.

It’s not too late to stop this delay from going through. Over the next three days, our team of 350.org activists in Durban will be working with our partners at Avaaz and allies from around the world to isolate the United States — and build support for the African nations that are fighting for real climate action. But it will take a massive grassroots outcry to demonstrate that people everywhere are taking a stand to prevent the United States negotiators from signing away our future.

If we raise an international alarm before the talks end on Friday, we can convince the US to get out of way of progress and help unlock the global process that can lead to bold climate action all around the world.

Click here to add your voice to a global call to action we’re delivering in Durban: www.350.org/durban

The climate talks in South Africa end in just 48 hours, and it’s vital that we ramp up the pressure now. To make sure the US gets the message, our team on the ground here in Durban will deliver your messages directly to the US negotiating team at a high-impact event we’re helping to pull together on Friday. We can’t say much more about it now, but suffice to say our message will be unavoidable.

This year, the 350 network has shown that people power can truly move the planet in the right direction. We mobilized hundreds of thousands of people to push for climate action in nearly every country on earth. We beat back the Keystone XL pipeline when no one said it was possible. We took over the radio waves to spread a message of hope and action on the climate crisis. And through our actions, we helped keep the hope of saving our planet — and reaching 350 ppm — alive.

The UN Climate Talks here in Durban aren’t going to get us back to 350 by themselves, but they can keep the option open by making progress on a legally binding, international framework to help nations make serious cuts in carbon emissions. In 2012, we’re going to need to do all we can to challenge the fossil fuel companies that are the real obstacles to progress. Breaking their stranglehold on our governments is the only way to really unlock these negotiations.

But right now, the most important thing we can do is keep the possibility of a strong international climate deal alive by pushing back on the United States negotiating team. In recent months, President Obama has shown that he’ll stand up for the climate, but only if he’s got a movement to back him up. On the Keystone pipeline, he’s been doing the right thing by blocking Republican efforts to push it through — now we need him to do the right thing on the international stage.

There’s no guarantee that we’ll be successful, but we owe it to our allies across the planet — many of whom are already feeling the impacts of climate change — to resist the chorus of cynics and keep hope alive. As Nelson Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” The 350 network has pulled off the impossible before — now’s the time to step up the pressure again.

Please add your voice today: www.350.org/durban

Let’s do this,

Jamie Henn for the whole 350.org team

P.S. We have just 48 hours to build a huge groundswell of pressure. Please help make it go viral with a few clicks on Twitterand Facebook — tag your popular friends, and post it again and again.

Moving Together

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Just an update to last Saturday’s event.

Readers may recall that John H. and I went to the nearest Moving Planet event in Phoenix, as posted on Monday.  Now 350.org have released a video of the event as seen from a global perspective.

2000+ events. 180+ countries. A single day to Move Beyond Fossil Fuels. 350.org’s 2011 day of action, Moving Planet, brought together Moving Together.

Photos and Videos submitted by thousands of organizers and activists around the world — THANK YOU!

Music by Alex Forster: http://www.alexforster.net

Many thanks to our partner organizations who helped us pull this off.

Special thanks to videographers around the world who captured such amazing moments — please contact videos@350.org if you want credits here.

Very inspiring!

 

Written by Paul Handover

September 29, 2011 at 00:10

Earth’s climate

with 2 comments

Where’s it going?

Last Friday (10th) I wrote about a recent article that appeared in the Newsweek magazine of June 6th and mused about there seeming to be a growing awareness of the changing of the Planet Earth.

I just wanted to add a few other important elements (pardon the pun) of the current awareness.

First, at the time of writing this (June 2nd) the website that shows the monthly level of CO2 in the atmosphere was still showing the figure for April.  Here it is,

CO2 in the atmosphere

Go here and check out what it is for May 2011.  We all know that it won’t be below 393.18, which is already over 12% above the maximum safe level that scientists have determined.

UPDATE (June 7th): The figures for May are now on the website CO2 Now and they are 394.35 up, as predicted, from the figure of 393.18 for April, 2011.

Then go and watch this, from Bill McKibben,

Then go to the CO2 Now website and read, and ponder and think about what is becoming increasingly obvious to us all.

Finally, read a article that Bill McKibben has recently written that seems to have been widely published.  Here it is on the TomDispatch website.  It starts thus,

Three Strikes and You’re Hot
Time for Obama to Say No to the Fossil Fuel Wish List 

By Bill McKibben

In our globalized world, old-fashioned geography is not supposed to count for much: mountain ranges, deep-water ports, railroad grades — those seem so nineteenth century. The earth is flat, or so I remember somebody saying.

But those nostalgic for an earlier day, take heart. The Obama administration is making its biggest decisions yet on our energy future and those decisions are intimately tied to this continent’s geography. Remember those old maps from your high-school textbooks that showed each state and province’s prime economic activities? A sheaf of wheat for farm country? A little steel mill for manufacturing? These days in North America what you want to look for are the pickaxes that mean mining, and the derricks that stand for oil.

Yes, it all seems ‘doom and gloom’ around us at present but then consider that the only way we, as in mankind, can change to a truly sustainable relationship with this Planet is through better understanding and a global realisation that the time for change is now!  That is a very positive message!

More on Bill McKibben’s book, eaarth.

with 3 comments

Some very telling points.

I first mentioned this book on the 13th May when I was about a third of the way in.  Because I thought there might be material useful to the course that has been running here in Payson, I did skip around the book looking for ‘attention-grabbing’ points.  It wasn’t difficult to find numerous extracts.

Try this on page 214 from the Chapter Afterword.

As it turns out, however, the BP spill was not the most dangerous thing that happened in the months after this book was first published.  In fact, in the spring and summer of 2101, the list of startling events in the natural world included:

  • Nineteen nations setting new all-time high temperature records, which in itself is a record.  Some of those records were for entire regions – [then some of the details]
  • Scientists reported that the earth had just come through the warmest six months, the warmest year, and the warmest decade for which we have records; it appears 2010 will be the warmest calendar year on record.
  • The most protracted and extreme heat wave in a thousand years of Russian history (it had never before topped 100 degrees in Moscow) led to a siege of peat fires that shrouded the capital in ghostly, deadly smoke.  [Then goes on to mention the effect of this heat on global grain prices.]
  • Since warm air holds more water vapour that cold air, scientists were not surprised to see steady increases in flooding.  Still, the spring and summer of 2010 were off the charts.  We saw “thousand-year storms” across the globe [goes into details]
  • Meanwhile, in the far north, the Petermann Glacier on Greenland calved an iceberg four times the size of Manhattan.
  • And the most ominous news of all might have come from the pages of the eminent scientific journal Nature, which published an enormous study of the productivity of the earth’s seas. [More details follow – not good news!]
That last point can be read in more detail from Nature‘s website.  It’s here.
The book closes thus (referring to how the BP oil spill was, ultimately, an accident),
But the greatest danger we face, climate change, is no accident.  It’s what happens when everything goes the way it’s supposed to go.  It’s not a function of bad technology, it’s a function of a bad business model: of the fact that Exxon Mobil and BP and Peabody Coal are allowed to use the atmosphere, free of charge, as an open sewer for the inevitable waste from their products.  They’ll fight to the end to defend that business model, for it produces greater profits that any industry has ever known.  We won’t match them dollar for dollar: To fight back, we need a different currency, our bodies and our spirit and our creativity.  That’s what a movement looks like; let’s hope we can rally one in time to make a difference.
Powerful stuff from a powerful book.
Fired up?  Then go and join:  350.org
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