Livestreams of the People's Climate March

Posted by Brad Johnson Sun, 21 Sep 2014 05:48:00 GMT

The following are the planned livestreams for viewing the People’s Climate March in New York City:

The march is scheduled to begin at 11:30 am. Pre-march rallies begin at 9 am.

Hillary Clinton's Schedule at the Clinton Global Initiative 2014

Posted by Brad Johnson Sat, 20 Sep 2014 16:22:00 GMT

Hillary ClintonPresidential spouse and contender Hillary Clinton has a busy agenda at the Clinton Global Initiative this year. She will open the conference on Monday and close it on Wednesday, with several appearances in between. Below is her public agenda:

Sunday, September 21
  • 6-8 PM Clinton Global Citizen Awards
Monday, September 22
  • 12 PM Opening Plenary: opening conversation with Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank Group and Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President, and CEO, IBM
Tuesday, September 23
  • 5 PM Plenary on job training: remarks on the commitment announcements
Wednesday, September 24
  • 8:45 AM Plenary on equality for girls on women: opening conversation with Bill Gates’ wife Melinda Gates
  • 1:30 PM Breakout session: Filmed conversation with Sanjay Gupta on “investing in babies’ minds” with John McCain’s wife Cindy McCain, Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, Children Television Workshop’s Rosemarie T. Truglio, Harlem Children’s Zone’s Geoffrey Canada
  • 3:30 PM Closing Plenary: with Bill Clinton, astronauts Cady Coleman and Reid Wiseman, X PRIZE billionaire Peter H. Diamandis, Nelson Mandela widow Graça Machel

(President Barack Obama is scheduled to deliver brief remarks at approximately 2 PM on Tuesday, the day of the UN Climate Summit.)

Protesters Prepare to 'Occupy The UN' During Climate Summit

Posted by Brad Johnson Sat, 20 Sep 2014 00:21:00 GMT

UNOccupy Wall Street activists are planning to “occupy” the United Nations Climate Summit.

According to Popular Resistance, a website associated with some members of the Occupy Wall Street collective in New York City, activists meeting in Zucotti Park agreed to attempt an occupation of the Dag Hammerskold Plaza in front of UN headquarters.

The civil disobedience assembly is scheduled to begin during the People’s Climate March taking place several blocks west on Sunday, September 21, and continue until the conclusion of the UN Climate Summit on Wednesday.

The text of the press release is below:

People's Climate March Blocs

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 18 Sep 2014 18:22:00 GMT

March lineup Below is a partial list of People’s Climate March blocs meeting before the march begins Sunday.

Indigenous People’s Gathering In Central Park next to Heckscher Playground, starting at 6:30 am

Labor Rally On Broadway, sound system at 57th Street Begins at 11 am.

Interfaith Religious Service On 58th Street, between 8th and 9th Ave. Begins at 11 am.

Food Justice On CPW at 71 St., north side of the intersection

Nuclear Free, Carbon Free On CPW at 73rd St., north side of the intersection

Sierra Club Solutions Rally On CPW at 75th St., north side of the intersection

Peace and Justice On CPW at 77 St., north side of the intersection

Anti-Fracking On CPW at 80th St., north side of the intersection

Science Stands At Hayden Planetarium, American Museum of Natural History (CPW & 81st)

Bike Bloc On CPW at 74th St, 10:30 am

For more information:

media@peoplesclimate.org (914) 719-6672

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) Questions Manmade Global Warming

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 08 Sep 2014 22:44:00 GMT

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) rejects the scientific fact of anthropogenic global warming. In an October 2012 interview with Arizona Public Radio, Flake questioned whether global warming is manmade:
“Certainly, nobody can deny that we’ve had several years of warmer temperatures. If that signals just a routine change that is manmade or not, I don’t think anybody can say definitely.”

Listen:

In reality, the carbon-dioxide greenhouse effect is a physical fact known since the 1800s. The only scientifically plausible systematic explanation for the rapid and continuing warming of the planetary climate since 1950 is industrial greenhouse pollution. WIthout global policy to end the combustion of fossil fuels, concentrations are expected to double from current levels within decades.

Flake’s position on global warming and climate policy represents a retreat for the conservative politician and former mining lobbyist, who co-sponsored a bipartisan carbon-tax legislative proposal as a member of the House of Representatives in 2009. He disavowed the plan immediately upon election to the U.S. Senate in November 2012. In March 2013, Flake voted for an amendment introduced by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) prohibiting further greenhouse gas regulations for the purposes of addressing climate change, and voted for Sen. Roy Blunt’s amendment to create a point of order against legislation that would create a federal tax or fee on carbon emissions.

Pressed by Climate Activists, Microsoft Leaves American Legislative Exchange Council

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 19 Aug 2014 21:06:00 GMT

Computing giant Microsoft has left the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative lobbying group that promotes climate change denial and opposes renewable energy, a coalition of climate-activist investors announced today. The Sustainability Group and Walden Asset Management released a press release announcing that Microsoft left ALEC in July 2014:

Last year, The Sustainability Group of Loring, Wolcott and Coolidge and Walden Asset Management engaged Microsoft over its affiliation with the controversial model legislation group American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. Microsoft is a leader on carbon issues – in 2012, it committed to becoming carbon neutral, and is one of the largest corporate purchasers of renewable energy. Thus, we believe that its affiliation with ALEC, which is actively fighting policies that promote renewable energy, was incongruous. In addition, there were numerous other ALEC actions that conflicted directly with Microsoft’s values.

We are pleased to report Microsoft is no longer a member of ALEC and is not financially supporting the organization in any way.

In emails dated June 30 and July 14 2014, Microsoft confirmed this decision:

“As we discussed, in 2014 Microsoft decided to no longer participate in the American Legislative Exchange Council’s Communications and Technology Task Force, which had been our only previous involvement with ALEC. With this decision, we no longer contribute any dues to ALEC.

“we are no longer members of ALEC and do not provide the organization with financial support of any kind.”

We commend Microsoft on its commitment to open dialogue with shareholders, and for making this important decision.

Microsoft’s chief environmental strategist, Rob Bernard, defended his company’s membership in ALEC less than a year ago.

Technology companies that are members of ALEC include Google, Yelp, Yahoo, Uber, AT&T, eBay, and Lyft.

Text of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy's Speech on the Clean Power Plan

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 03 Jun 2014 16:15:00 GMT

The full text of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s speech introducing the draft rule for greenhouse pollution from existing power plants, June 2, 2014.

Gina McCarthyAbout a month ago, I took a trip to the Cleveland Clinic. I met a lot of great people, but one stood out—even if he needed to stand on a chair to do it. Parker Frey is 10 years old. He’s struggled with severe asthma all his life. His mom said despite his challenges, Parker’s a tough, active kid—and a stellar hockey player.

But sometimes, she says, the air is too dangerous for him to play outside. In the United States of America, no parent should ever have that worry.

That’s why EPA exists. Our job, directed by our laws, reaffirmed by our courts, is to protect public health and the environment. Climate change, fueled by carbon pollution, supercharges risks not just to our health, but to our communities, our economy, and our way of life. That’s why EPA is delivering on a vital piece of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.

I want to thank Janet McCabe, our Acting Assistant Administrator at the Office of Air and Radiation, and the entire EPA team who worked so hard to deliver this proposal. They should be very proud of their work; I know I am.

Today, EPA is proposing a Clean Power Plan that will cut carbon pollution from our power sector, by using cleaner energy sources, and cutting energy waste.

Although we limit pollutants like mercury, sulfur, and arsenic, currently, there are no limits on carbon pollution from power plants, our nation’s largest source. For the sake of our families’ health and our kids’ future, we have a moral obligation to act on climate. When we do, we’ll turn climate risk into business opportunity, we’ll spur innovation and investment, and we’ll build a world-leading clean energy economy.

The science is clear. The risks are clear. And the high costs of climate inaction keep piling up.

Draft EPA Rule Will Seek 17 Percent Cut In Carbon Pollution From Existing Power Plants By 2030

Posted by Brad Johnson Sun, 01 Jun 2014 20:43:00 GMT

The long-awaited Environmental Protection Agency rule for greenhouse pollution from existing power plants will seek a 30 percent reduction from the 2005 peak, the Wall Street Journal’s Amy Harder reports. Half of that reduction has already been achieved in the seven years between 2005 and 2012, where only carbon dioxide emissions are concerned. The draft rule is expected to be unveiled Monday, with a year delay before finalization in 2015. States will be expected to submit compliance plans in June 2016, the final year of the Obama administration.

Because coal-fired power plants emit three-quarters of the greenhouse pollution from electricity generation in the United States, the rule is expected to impact the aging coal-fired fleet of plants, which also cause the lion’s share of traditional air pollution from the country’s power plants.

Coral Davenport of the New York Times summarizes the draft rule:
Under the proposal to be unveiled on Monday, states will be given a wide menu of policy options to achieve the pollution cuts. Rather than immediately shutting down coal plants, states will be allowed to reduce emissions by making changes across their electricity systems – by installing new wind and solar generation, energy-efficiency technology and by starting or joining state and regional “cap-and-trade” programs, in which states agree to cap carbon pollution and buy and sell permits to pollute.

The proposed rule calls for most of the reduction to happen by 2020, with a 25 percent cut from 2005 levels (11 percent cut from 2012) by then.

Carbon-dioxide pollution from electricity generation is already down 15 percent from 2005. This reduction has come primarily from a switch to natural gas and renewables. Any reduction in overall greenhouse pollution from a switch from coal to natural gas requires low levels of methane leakage, a requirement that has not been clearly shown.

Interestingly, the reduction in greenhouse pollution from the proposed rule is about one-third greater than the footprint of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

Electricity generation is responsible for one-third of U.S. domestic greenhouse pollution. The announced target represents a reduction of 340 million metric tons of CO2 from 2012 levels, five percent of the United States’ total greenhouse pollution that year. That cut is about double the annual 120-200 MMT/yr climate footprint of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. The total pollution saved over 2016-2030 due to the rule would be thirty percent greater than the footprint of the tar-sands crude carried by the pipeline.

The international benchmark for greenhouse pollution is 1990 levels. Measured against 1990’s pollution levels, the proposed rule represents a one percent reduction in power plant emissions by 2020, and a 7 percent cut by 2030 (a two percent cut from total U.S. 1990 greenhouse pollution).

The process for establishing the rule was begun by the Obama administration in March 2011, years after the 2007 Massachusetts v. EPA decision by the Supreme Court overturning the EPA’s 2003 rejection of greenhouse regulation.

Update: The EPA has released what it’s calling the Clean Power Plan. The EPA estimates the rule will “cut particle pollution, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide by more than 25 percent as a co-benefit” and “shrink electricity bills roughly 8 percent by increasing energy efficiency and reducing demand in the electricity system.”

Citing Climate Threat, Maryland Gov. O'Malley Vetoes Anti-Wind Bill

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 27 May 2014 15:29:00 GMT

Martin O'Malley
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley
Citing the threat of global warming, Maryland governor Martin O’Malley vetoed legislation that would have stalled a major offshore wind project in his state. O’Malley bucked the state’s leading Democrats by killing House Bill 1168, which forbade the construction of the $200-million, 70-megawatt Great Bay Wind project near the Patuxent River Naval Air Station until July 2015. In his May 16 veto letter to Speaker of the House Michael Busch (D-Anne Arundel), O’Malley noted “the real threat to Pax River is not an array of wind turbines on the lower Eastern Shore but rising sea levels caused by climate change.”
After careful consideration, I am vetoing this bill because (1) there are meaningful safeguards in place that render the bill unnecessary; (2) the real threat to Pax River is not an array of wind turbines on the lower Eastern Shore but rising sea levels caused by climate change; and (3) increasing renewable energy is a core strategic goal for the future security and prosperity of our State.

Rep. Steny Hoyer, the U.S. House of Representatives Minority Whip, is a vigorous opponent of the wind farm, testifying in Annapolis against its potential threat to the naval base, although the project developer and U.S. Navy had come to an agreement to alleviate the Navy’s concerns about possible radar interference from the turbines. Hoyer was joined by Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, as well as Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger in counseling delay. Cardin was one of the recent participants in the #Up4Climate all-night talkathon, during which he discussed the threat of sea level rise to Pax River and the need for investment in renewable energy.

O’Malley’s letter reiterated the importance of fighting the carbon pollution which is already damaging Maryland with investment in clean energy.
Ironically, the greater inconvenient truth threatening Pax River — and the billions of dollars of economic activity generated by that facility — is climate change. To address that threat, we must encourage the development of clean renewable energy. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by shifting to clean energy will not always be easy or convenient in the short run, and it will challenge all of us to find new ways to coexist, but it is critical to sustaining the economy and living environment of our State.
He also noted the National Climate Assessment:
The recent release of the Third National Climate Assessment highlights the costs climate change is already imposing on Maryland and underscores the importance of doing everything we can to reduce the damage it will cause in the future. Our State in general, and Pax River in particular, are vulnerable to the very type of carbon pollution that renewable energy projects help reduce.

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Environment Maryland, and the Sierra Club mobilized thousands of activists to support the wind project.

Wind farm opponents have pledged to keep fighting against the project.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Inks Deal With Saudi Aramco

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 26 May 2014 16:35:00 GMT

WHOI and oilWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), one of the premier climate research institutions in the world, has signed deals to assist foreign oil companies seek deep-sea carbon reserves, the Boston Globe reports.

In the coming days, according to officials at Woods Hole, the institution is set to sign agreements with Saudi Aramco, the primary oil company owned by the Saudi government, to study the potential for “hydrocarbons” in the Red Sea. It is also preparing to ink a deal for a “simulation study” on behalf of the Italian oil company Eni, while it has half a dozen other proposals in the works with unnamed corporations, the officials said.

Woods Hole’s new Center for Marine Robotics is the vessel for the petrodollars. As the center’s industry sponsorship page notes, benefits for funding companies include the ability to “establish a portfolio of sponsored research projects or define an engineering research program tailored to your company’s needs, with negotiated IP rights.”

The center’s interim director, marine robotics expert Dana Yoerger, is on the board of BP’s Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, a project established by the oil giant following the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Before joining the BP-funded project, Yoerger had participated in a NSF-funded effort to map the undersea hydrocarbon plume from the gushing wellhead.

This new deal with Saudi Aramco follows Woods Hole’s $25 million 2008 partnership for Red Sea research with Saudi Aramco’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). That research partnership conducted research global warming and ocean acidification to Red Sea coral reefs. James Luyten, a former director of Woods Hole, joined KAUST in 2008 to direct its Red Sea Science and Engineering Research Center. According to Luyten, academic freedom at KAUST is curtailed by Saudi Arabia’s petrostate interests, directing research towards biofuels and away from the impacts of climate change caused by fossil fuels.

“Woods Hole has historically received most of its funding from federal research grants, which has helped ensure its independence,” the Globe’s Bryan Bender notes. “But cutbacks at a variety of agencies — and a near-halving of its Pentagon research dollars in the last three years — has prompted it to seek new sources of funding.”

Woods Hole recently touted its involvement in the National Climate Assessment, which found that the burning of fossil fuels is responsible for the global warming and ocean acidification that is dramatically altering the oceans.

Update: Woods Hole has issued a response. “Climate research tells us that human society should wean itself quickly from fossil fuels,” the webpage states. “But the hard fact is that our society still relies on oil, and oil companies are looking for it in ever-deeper and more remote waters where they have limited experience.” The response does not deny that Woods Hole will assist Saudi Aramco’s search for oil in the Red Sea.

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