350.org

A man with a nasty habit of suing the EPA now leads it, because why not?

Congrats, America: We now have a Senate-confirmed administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) again. 

Oh, except that administrator is Scott Pruitt, the former Oklahoma attorney general who sued the EPA multiple times over what he sees as its overly aggressive environmental regulations. Plus, he denies the mainstream scientific conclusion that human emissions of greenhouse gases are the primary cause of global warming. 

So, there are those little caveats.

SEE ALSO: Exxon’s former CEO is now our secretary of state. So, there’s that.

Pruitt has also questioned the dangers of mercury contamination and other hazardous substances the EPA is in charge of regulating. His record is so one-sided that the Sierra Club calls him simply, “… The most dangerous EPA Administrator in the history of our country.”

Pruitt’s reputation as an agency foe eager to give states more autonomy in regulating air and water pollution, combined with the EPA transition team’s gag order of the agency, has instilled so much fear among the EPA rank-and-file that agency scientists were among the thousands of people calling their senators on Thursday urging them to vote no on the nomination, a rare step for federal employees to take. 

Pruitt, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Energy secretary nominee Rick Perry, all have expressed views doubting climate science findings, and each of them are in charge of agencies deeply involved with the U.S. response to the global issue.

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt.

Image: AP/REX/Shutterstock

During his confirmation hearing, Pruitt said he does not quite agree with the vast majority of climate scientists whose work has shown that greenhouse gases are causing global warming. 

“I believe the ability to measure with precision the degree of human activity’s impact on the climate is subject to more debate on whether the climate is changing or whether human activity contributes to it,” he said.

“If you don’t believe in climate science, you don’t belong at the EPA,“ said May Boeve, executive director of the climate advocacy group 350.org, in a statement on Friday. 

What happens now?

Pruitt is expected to try to dismantle large parts of the EPA’s portfolio of regulations and science research put in place under prior presidents, particularly the Clean Power Plan, which aims to cut carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. Without that plan, the U.S. cannot live up to its commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement. 

However, Trump may be poised to pull the U.S. out of that pact entirely, which would make dismantling the Clean Power Plan easier. Trump is also expected to sign executive orders as early as Friday that would begin rolling back the EPA’s climate change work, though it’s easier to order that than it is to actually accomplish it.

Remarkably, Pruitt was confirmed only hours after a judge in Oklahoma ordered the release of nearly 3,000 emails between Pruitt and fossil fuel companies from his time as attorney general. 

We’d like to congratulate Mr. Pruitt on his confirmation! We look forward to welcoming him to EPA.

— U.S. EPA (@EPA) February 17, 2017

Senators never got a chance to factor those into their decision-making. 

Senate Democrats tried in vain to delay the vote to allow senators to see the emails, which stemmed from a state lawsuit filed by the Center for Media and Democracy and the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma. Those organizations were concerned about Pruitt’s cozy relationship with the oil and gas industry there. 

Pruitt’s backers, including mainstream Republican groups like FreedomWorks, see him as an administrator to will try to get red tape off the backs of business owners, despite studies showing that the EPA’s regulations don’t stifle job growth.

A 2014 New York Times investigation already established that Pruitt often did favors for the oil and gas industry, particularly for major donors to the Republican Attorneys General Association. These included writing letters to lawmakers and the EPA seeking regulatory changes.

In the end, Pruitt won confirmation narrowly, on a 52 to 46 vote, garnering the most "no” votes of any EPA nominee since the agency was founded in 1970. 

BONUS: NASA timelapse shows just how quickly our Arctic sea ice is disappearing

The numbers, in several cases, are astounding. 350.org, a climate action group, saw donations almost triple in the month after Donald Trump’s election. Since Trump’s win, Planned Parenthood told NPR it’s gained over 600,000 new donors and more than 36,000 new volunteers. And the American Civil Liberties Union has raised more than $80 million since Nov. 8.

Key players in what’s being called “The Resistance” — a vocal and growing progressive backlash to the Trump presidency — have been flooded with, and in some cases overwhelmed by an outpouring of money and volunteer support in the last few months. In many cases, these groups are struggling to keep up.

‘The Resistance’ Faces A New Question: What To Do With All That Money

Image by Turnbull/Getty Images/Ikon Images

US city mayors representing 36 million Americans commit to uphold the #ParisAgreement. More like this, please: bit.ly/2rKgEtJ

🌲

Find political action resources like 350.org (above), and more!, at the following document > https://alexaweinstein.tumblr.com/7_Ways

Additional sources of information (such as simple steps to lead a more sustainable lifestyle) can be found at > https://alexaweinstein.tumblr.com/Sources (under the “Environment” section)

Please do your small part in this large fight for environmental justice!

youtube

Today, Trump signed an Executive Order allowing the construction of both Keystone XL and the Dakota Access Pipeline. It’s going to take a lot more than than that for him to overturn what we and the Army Corps of Engineers have done. But it’s a step in the wrong direction. Join Standing Rock in continuing to fight for a cleaner, safer, and renewable future: 

standwithstandingrock.net 

350.org/campaigns/stop-keystone-xl

Via 350.org - US city mayors representing 36 million Americans commit to uphold the #ParisAgreement. More like this, please: bit.ly/2rKgEtJ

🌲

Political action resources like 350.org (above), and more, can be found at > https://alexaweinstein.tumblr.com/7_Ways

Additional sources of information (such as simple steps to lead a more sustainable lifestyle) can be found at > https://alexaweinstein.tumblr.com/Sources (under the “Environment” section)

nytimes.com
Opinion | Trump’s Stupid and Reckless Climate Decision
The president’s decision to quit the Paris climate accord undercuts the planet’s best hope.
By Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, has generally expressed my views better than most, with just the proper amount of outrage spiced up with sarcasm. So, having done an inventory of all the Op-Ed pieces and articles out there already, I picked this one to share. (I also enjoyed President Obama’s reaction, which I will separately post.)

Then……my thoughts…..

The net is loaded with stories right now about trump’s decision that the United States abandon the Paris Climate Accord. From my Google search, every article I saw condemned the decision, in words and tone ranging from intellectually mild to inflammatory condemnation, some very personal. Pick your poison, but don’t get too alarmed or annoyed. A safe blood pressure number is precious.

The Paris Climate Accord was the best international agreement that President Obama could obtain at the time. He couldn’t allow it to be structured as a treaty, because that would require the consent of 2/3 of our Senators, and we all know that would have been impossible. The rest of the world knew that, and went along with the softer-than-a-treaty structure. Now, a few months later, trump tells the rest of the world we didn’t mean it, and good-bye. Another peg in his incredibly stupid approach to diplomacy.

Since 1850, the US has emitted more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than any other country. Since 1990, the US has emitted more greenhouse gases, which includes carbon dioxide, than any other country. Logic says we messed up the playroom, we should be cleaning it up or at least helping to clean it up. Nope. Contrast this with trump telling the European countries that they haven’t paid their fair share of the NATO budget. So we can mess up the atmosphere and not have to contribute to its repair, but we don’t like being on the other end of that logic when we’re owed (allegedly) money.

The focus has already shifted to cities, states and businesses, many of which have already recommitted to contributing to a solution and have condemned trump. So it’s not end game. The focus has shifted, but I’m still optimistic. Annoyed, but optimistic.

What next? Maybe Mercedes-Benz and BMW and Toyota and the foreign steel companies will close their factories in the US. I mean, you know, why should they invest capital where the rules of the climate and the environment games are so tilted away from their home countries? Maybe Germany and China and India and Malaysia will buy more agricultural produce and meat from South American and Asian countries, because American farmers might be perceived to have a competitive advantage because we allow climate degradation from farming and ranching. Nothing good will come of this.

10

Redacted Tonight with Lee Camp [#106]

July 1, 2016:

“This debate over the platform of the Democratic National Committee showed the DNC’s true colors. Here’s another example. After everyone agreed that America has to get to 100% clean energy by 2050, to keep alive… Here’s how the committee responded to actual ways to get there.

A carbon tax. Voted down 7-6. A ban on fracking. Voted down 7-6. An effort to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Voted down 7-6. A measure to mandate that federal agencies even weigh the climate impact of their decisions. Voted down 7-6. A plan to stop fossil fuel companies from taking private land by eminent domain. Voted down 7-6. And then Bill McKibben, of 350.org wrote, “We did however reach unanimous consent on more bike paths.” Yes! Yes! The Revolution is here!!…

The point is, the DNC and Hillary Clinton may at times talk a good game. But, they will lead us off of an ecological cliff. Just like the Republicans will.

The difference is that we’ll go off that cliff, on a bicycle!

This is why it is that much more infuriating that this election was stolen from Bernie Sanders. And it will happen, again, and again, and again. Until we stand up against it.” - Lee Camp @redactedtonight 

Open Letter to the Government of Canada

Le français suit

To the Government of Canada: 

We are the Canadian Youth Delegation, supported by more than sixty environmental non-profits, labour groups, and youth organizations. We are youth from across Canada who are attending the upcoming UN international climate change negotiations (COP 20) in Lima, Peru. As we prepare for our participation at the negotiations, we realize how important it is for us to introduce ourselves and tell you that we refuse to tolerate the inaction of the Canadian Government when it comes to climate change. We intend to hold you accountable for the decisions you make at COP 20.  

We have grown up in a world threatened by the impacts of a changing climate. For our entire lives, world leaders have been aware of the irreversible damage that humans are inflicting on our planet, but have done almost nothing to reverse it. You, the Government of Canada, have made it clear that you are more interested in the profit and power you gain from a fossil fuel based economy than you are in ensuring a sustainable and livable planet for generations to come. Since assuming power you have:

- withdrawn from the Kyoto Protocol in 2012 and continually blocked progress at international climate negotiations;
- refused to put meaningful effort into supporting climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts;
- lowered and reneged on emissions reductions commitments and zealously lobbied other governments to do the same;
- pushed back relentlessly on the Climate Change Accountability Act (Bill C-311) and silenced the young people who protested its failure in October 2009 by dragging them from the House of Commons, where you laughed at them for demanding collective and ambitious climate action and policy;
- championed an omnibus bill in 2012 that stripped federal environmental protections and muzzled climate scientists;
- systematically audited and threatened organizations that aim to shed light on the disgraceful actions of the government;
- and denied the treaty rights of Indigenous peoples in this country. 

We, the Canadian Youth Delegation, stand alongside the millions of young people worldwide who refuse to inherit a planet in crisis. We stand beside Indigenous peoples, front-line communities, people of colour and low income populations who are living the frightening realities and injustices of climate change, and who will continue to be disproportionately impacted in the absence of sufficient action. 

From coast to coast to coast First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, industry workers, new immigrants, parents, farmers, fishers, unions, students and many more are demanding climate justice. Yet the Government of Canada continues to lead us down a highway of unfettered expansion of the tar sands, paired with unwieldy trade agreements, and a complete lack of respect for Indigenous land and treaty rights. We reject the notion that the environment and the economy are mutually exclusive or pitted against each other. There is no price tag on forests, rivers, wetlands, air, culture, communities, or our lives and livelihoods.  We know that it is not for lack of technological advancement, public opinion, or financial resources that we have not stopped climate change in its tracks; the culprit is lack of political will. Along with action on climate change, we demand that the Government of Canada honour the treaties and land rights of Indigenous people in this country.

You have the opportunity to be a leader in creating a just transition to a clean energy future, but you consistently fail to rise to the challenge. By now, any excuses for delay have long expired, yet we anticipate with heavy hearts that you will continue to stall negotiations at COP 20 and promote carbon-intensive projects at home. If this is the case, we will continue to challenge the ongoing development of the single most destructive development anywhere on Earth, and we will not give up until you acknowledge and take urgent and ambitious action to demonstrate that our future is more important to you than the money in your pockets, the oil on your hands, or the power you hold. To us, our future is everything, and we will do all that we can to protect it. Let it echo through the halls and boardrooms of every legislating body and corporate headquarters in this country: we deserve better. 

Sincerely, 

The Canadian Youth Delegation to COP 20  
350.org
Bringing Youth Towards Equality (BYTE) 
Canadian Federation of Students 
Canadian Labour Congress
Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice
Canadian Youth Climate Coalition
ClimateFast
Climate Justice Saskatoon
Committee for Future Generations
Conservation Council of New Brunswick
Council of Canadians
Dalhousie Student Union Office of Sustainability
Divest Dalhousie
Divest McGill 
Divest Mount Allison
Divest UVic 
Divest York
Douglas Channel Watch 
Ecology Action Centre 
Ecology North
Ecology Ottawa 
Environmental Studies Student Association, University of Saskatchewan
Fossil Fuel Divestment at Grenfell 
Fossil Free Guelph
Fossil Free Kwantlen 
Fossil Free Lakehead
Fossil Free McMaster 
Fossil Free uOttawa 
Friends of the Earth Canada
Geography, Planning and Environmental Graduate Students of Concordia University 
Greenpeace Canada
Inter-Church Uranium Committee Educational Co-operative 
Keepers of the Athabasca
Leadnow.ca
Living Oceans Society
Mother Earth Action Co-operative Ltd.
Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association
Pro Information Pro Environmental United People (PIPE UP) Network
Polaris Institute
Public Interest Alberta
Queen’s Backing Action on Climate Change
rabble.ca 
RPIC (Renewable Power - the Intelligent Choice) 
Saskatoon Peoples’ Climate March
Saskatchewan Citizens’ Hearings on Climate Change Organizing Committee 
Saskatchewan Eco-Network
Sierra Club BC
Sierra Club Canada Foundation
Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group
Starfish Canada 
Stop Energy East Halifax
Sustainable SFU 
Sustainable Trent 
Student’s Society of McGill University 
Toronto350.org 
Transition Initiative Kenora
UBCC350
UofT350.org 
UR Sustainability 
Vegans and Vegetarians of Alberta
West Coast Environmental Law Association
Wilderness Committee

International 
Aotearoa New Zealand Human Rights Lawyers Association
Australian Youth Climate Coalition 
Friends of the Earth Europe 
Generation Zero 
New Zealand Youth Delegation 
P3 Foundation 
SustainUS: U.S. Youth for Sustainable Development Young

———

Au gouvernement canadien:  

Nous sommes la Délégation jeunesse canadienne, soutenue par plus de soixante organismes à but non lucratif, syndicats et organisations jeunesse. Nous sommes des jeunes de partout au Canada qui seront présents à la Conférence des parties sur le climat (COP 20), à Lima du 1er au 12 décembre. Alors que nous nous préparons à participer à ces négociations, nous avons cru bon de nous présenter et de vous annoncer que nous ne tolérons pas l’inaction du gouvernement canadien en matière de changements climatiques. À COP20, nous avons l’intention de vous tenir responsable des décisions que vous avez prises au courant de la dernière décennie. 

Nous avons grandi dans un monde menacé par les impacts d’un climat en changement. Durant l’intégralité de nos vies, les leaders mondiaux ont été au courant des dommages que l’humain inflige à la planète, mais n’ont pas agi pour l’en empêcher. Vous, le gouvernement canadien, avez fait clairement comprendre que vous êtes davantage intéressé par le profit et le pouvoir que vous obtenez d’une économie basée sur les énergies fossiles que vous l’êtes par l’assurance d’un environnement sain pour les générations à venir. Depuis la prise de pouvoir de M. Harper, vous avez: 

- retiré le Canada du Protocole de Kyoto en 2012 et continuellement empêché le progrès des négociations internationales sur le climat;
- refusé d’investir quelque effort que ce soit au soutien de l’adaptation et de la mitigation des impacts des changements climatiques;
- manqué à vos obligations de réduction des émissions tout en encourageant d’autres gouvernements à suivre votre exemple;
- réprimé le projet de loi sur la responsabilité en matière de changements climatiques (C-311) et retiré la voix des jeunes manifestant leur désaccord à l’abandon de cette loi en les traînant hors de la Chambre des communes et en riant de leurs demandes d’action concrète;
- introduit et adopté le projet de loi C-45 annulant les protections environnementales fédérales tout en muselant les scientifiques;
- audité et menacé de manière systématique des organismes tentant de dénoncer les actions douteuses du gouvernement;
- renié les droits ancestraux des peuples autochtones du pays. 

La Délégation jeunesse canadienne se tient debout avec les millions de jeunes à travers le monde qui refusent d’hériter d’une planète en crise. Nous nous tenons debout avec les Autochtones, les communautés au front des impacts climatiques, les personnes de couleur et les populations à revenu modique qui vivent quotidiennement les réalités et les injustices climatiques, et qui continueront de les vivre de manière disproportionnée si vous maintenez vos positions et restez dans l’inaction. 

À l’échelle du pays, des Premières Nations, Inuit, Métis, travailleuses et travailleurs, parents, fermières et fermiers, pêcheurs et pêcheuses, syndiqué(e)s, étudiantes et étudiants ainsi que des milliers d’autres personnes demandent la justice pour le climat. Pourtant, le gouvernement canadien maintient ses positions d’industrialisation débridée, d’exploitation de nos ressources naturelles et d’accords d’échange peu fructueux, sans se soucier des impacts sur le territoire ou des droits des Autochtones. Nous rejetons la notion selon laquelle l’environnement et l’économie sont exclusifs ou en opposition. Nos forêts, nos rivières, les milieux humides, l’air, notre culture, nos communautés, nos vies et nos moyens de subsistance n’ont pas de prix. Ce ne sont pourtant pas le manque d’avancées technologiques, l’opinion publique ou le manque de ressources financières qui nous empêchent de contrer les changements climatiques : le manque de volonté politique est le vrai coupable. En plus de l’action concrète sur les changements climatiques, nous exigeons que le gouvernement du Canada respecte les traités et les droits des Autochtones. 

Vous avez la chance de devenir des leaders pour un futur propre, mais vous échouez constamment à relever ce défi. Aujourd’hui, le délai pour fournir des excuses a expiré depuis fort longtemps, pourtant nous anticipons avec tristesse que vous continuerez de retarder les négociations à COP 20 et de promouvoir des projets d’extraction sur la scène nationale. Si c’est le cas, nous continuerons de défier le développement des sables bitumineux, soit le projet d’exploitation le plus destructeur au monde. Nous ne cesserons pas jusqu’à ce que vous reconnaissiez que notre futur vaut plus que l’argent dans vos poches, le pétrole sur vos mains ou le pouvoir que vous détenez. Nous exigeons des actions en ce sens. Pour nous, le futur est tout ce que nous possédons et nous ferons tout ce qui est en notre pouvoir pour le protéger. Que notre message résonne à travers les chambres d’assemblées et les sièges sociaux du pays: nous méritons mieux.

Sincèrement,

La Délégation jeunesse canadienne à COP 20
350.org
Bringing Youth Towards Equality (BYTE) 
Canadian Federation of Students 
Canadian Labour Congress
Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice
Canadian Youth Climate Coalition
ClimateFast
Climate Justice Saskatoon
Committee for Future Generations
Conservation Council of New Brunswick
Council of Canadians
Dalhousie Student Union Office of Sustainability
Divest Dalhousie
Divest McGill 
Divest Mount Allison
Divest UVic 
Divest York
Douglas Channel Watch 
Ecology Action Centre
Ecology North
Ecology Ottawa 
Environmental Studies Student Association, University of Saskatchewan
Fossil Fuel Divestment at Grenfell 
Fossil Free Guelph
Fossil Free Kwantlen 
Fossil Free Lakehead
Fossil Free McMaster 
Fossil Free uOttawa 
Friends of the Earth Canada
Geography, Planning and Environmental Graduate Students of Concordia University 
Greenpeace Canada
Inter-Church Uranium Committee Educational Co-operative 
Keepers of the Athabasca
Leadnow.ca
Living Oceans Society
Mother Earth Action Co-operative Ltd.
Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association
Pro Information Pro Environmental United People (PIPE UP) Network
Polaris Institute
Public Interest Alberta
Queen’s Backing Action on Climate Change
rabble.ca
RPIC (Renewable Power - the Intelligent Choice) 
Saskatoon Peoples’ Climate March
Saskatchewan Citizens’ Hearings on Climate Change Organizing Committee 
Saskatchewan Eco-Network
Sierra Club BC
Sierra Club Canada Foundation
Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group
Starfish Canada 
Stop Energy East Halifax
Sustainable SFU 
Sustainable Trent 
Student’s Society of McGill University 
Toronto350.org 
Transition Initiative Kenora
UBCC350
UofT350.org 
UR Sustainability 
Vegans and Vegetarians of Alberta
West Coast Environmental Law Association
Wilderness Committee

Organisations internationales
Aotearoa New Zealand Human Rights Lawyers Association
Australian Youth Climate Coalition
Generation Zero
New Zealand Youth Delegation 
P3 Foundation
SustainUS: U.S. Youth for Sustainable Development
Young Friends of the Earth Europe  

theguardian.com
Australia's largest city just voted unanimously to divest from fossil fuels
Sydney City Council unanimously passes motion calling for policy that would remove more than $500m from banks that invest in fossil fuels
By Michael Slezak

The City of Sydney council is set to divest from fossil fuels this year, regardless of the outcome of the election on Saturday, after a two-year campaign by members of the anti-fossil fuel group 350.org.

The council has more than $500m under management. At the last meeting before the election, it unanimously passed a motion calling for a new investment policy that would divert those funds away from banks that invest in fossil fuels.

In 2015 the big four banks – Westpac, ANZ, NAB and the Commonwealth Bank – pumped $5.5bn into the fossil fuel sector, supporting coal, oil and liquefied natural gas in Australia and overseas.

After lobbying from members of 350.org, the lord mayor, Clover Moore, moved a minute calling for a new investment policy that would preference sustainable financial institutions and include coal, gas and oil on its list of “environmentally harmful activities” that should be avoided.

“If re-elected as lord mayor, I commit to directing staff to bring the revised investment policy and strategy to the first ordinary council meeting after the election,” Moore said at the meeting.

Continue Reading.

act.350.org
Governor Brown: California's Disastrous Methane Leak Demands A Bold Response
Right now, California is facing the largest natural gas leak ever recorded. With 1,200 tons of methane still pouring into the sky every day, many are naming this the worst environmental disaster since BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

This problem is bigger than one leak at one facility. Fossil fuel infrastructure is outdated, under-regulated, and dangerous. This is just one leak, and it’s wreaking havoc on both Californians and our climate. We need to shut down the facility that caused the Aliso Canyon disaster – and put an immediate moratorium on new fossil fuel development in California. Tell Governor Brown: https://act.350.org/sign/aliso-canyon

The Harper government and resource corporations are keenly aware that Indigenous rights movements are standing in the way of their polluting, destructive projects. Harper is desperately trying to manipulate the Assembly of First Nations and some of our Chiefs into sacrificing our rights and our lands at the altar of profit. But respect for our rights must be a basis for economic decision-making – indeed our rights offer a pathway to a more sustainable economic order for everyone in this country.
—  Clayton Thomas Mueller, Indigenous Extreme Energy Campaigner with 350.org

Canadian government pushing First Nations to give up land rights for oil and gas profits