Full Transcript: Joe Biden Remarks On Climate Change And Wildfires

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 14 Sep 2020 19:53:00 GMT

This afternoon, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden made an extended speech in Delaware about global warming and climate disasters, outlining his vision for “net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.” This speech was reminiscent of then-candidate Barack Obama’s climate speech of 2007.

Good afternoon.

As a nation, we face one of the most difficult moments in our history. Four historic crises. All at the same time.

The worst pandemic in over 100 years, that’s killed nearly 200,000 Americans and counting.

The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, that’s cost tens of millions of American jobs and counting.

Emboldened white supremacy unseen since the 1960s and a reckoning on race long overdue.

And the undeniable, accelerating, and punishing reality of climate change and its impact on our planet and our people — on lives and livelihoods — which I’d like to talk about today.

Jill and I continue to pray for everyone in California, Oregon, Washington, and across the West as the devastating wildfires rage on — just as we’ve held in our hearts those who’ve faced hurricanes and tropical storms on our coasts, in Florida, in North Carolina, or like in parts of New Orleans where they just issued an emergency evacuation for Hurricane Sally, that’s approaching and intensifying; Floods and droughts across the Midwest, the fury of climate change everywhere — all this year, all right now.

We stand with our families who have lost everything, the firefighters and first responders risking everything to save others, and the millions of Americans caught between relocating during a pandemic or staying put as ash and smoke pollute the air they breathe.

Think about that.

People are not just worried about raging fires. They are worried about breathing air. About damage to their lungs.

Parents, already worried about Covid-19 for their kids when they’re indoors, are now worried about asthma attacks for their kids when they’re outside.

Over the past two years, the total damage from wildfires has reached nearly $50 Billion in California alone.

This year alone, nearly 5 million acres have burned across 10 states — more acres than the entire state of Connecticut.

And it’s only September. California’s wildfire season typically runs through October.

Fires are blazing so bright and smoke reaching so far, NASA satellites can see them a million miles away in space.

The cost of this year’s damage will again be astronomically high.

But think of the view from the ground, in the smoldering ashes.

Loved ones lost, along with the photos and keepsakes of their memory. Spouses and kids praying each night that their firefighting husband, wife, father, and mother will come home. Entire communities destroyed.

We have to act as a nation. It shouldn’t be so bad that millions of Americans live in the shadow of an orange sky and are left asking if doomsday is here.

I know this feeling of dread and anxiety extends beyond just the fires. We’ve seen a record hurricane season costing billions of dollars. Last month, Hurricane Laura intensified at a near-record rate just before its landfall along Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.

It’s a troubling marker not just for an increased frequency of hurricanes, but more powerful and destructive storms. They’re causing record damage after record damage to people’s homes and livelihoods.

And before it intensified and hit the Gulf Coast, Laura ravaged Puerto Rico — where, three years after Hurricane Maria — our fellow Americans are still recovering from its damage and devastation.

Think about that reality.

Our fellow Americans are still putting things back together from the last big storm as they face the next one.

We’ve also seen historic flooding in the Midwest — often compounding the damages delivered by last year’s floods that cost billions dollars in damage.

This past spring Midland, Michigan experienced a flood so devastating — with deadly flash flooding, overrunning dams and roadways, and the displacement of 10,000 residents — that it was considered a once-in-500-year weather event.

But those once-in-many-generations events? They happen every year now.

The past ten years were the hottest decade ever recorded. The Arctic is literally melting. Parts are on fire.

What we’re seeing in America — in our communities — is connected to that.

With every bout with nature’s fury, caused by our own inaction on climate change, more Americans see and feel the devastation in big cities, small towns, on coastlines and farmlands.

It is happening everywhere. It is happening now. It affects us all.

Nearly two hundred cities are experiencing the longest stretches of deadly heat waves in fifty years. It requires them to help their poor and elderly residents adapt to extreme heat to simply stay alive, especially in homes without air conditioning.

Our family farmers in the Midwest are facing historic droughts.

These follow record floods and hurricane-speed windstorms all this year.

It’s ravaged millions of acres of corn, soybeans, and other crops. Their very livelihood which sustained their families and our economy for generations is now in jeopardy.

How will they pay their bills this year? What will be left to pass on to their kids?

And none of this happens in a vacuum.

A recent study showed air pollution is linked with an increased risk of death from COVID-19.

Our economy can’t recover if we don’t build back with more resiliency to withstand extreme weather — extreme weather that will only come with more frequency.

The unrelenting impact of climate change affects every single one of us. But too often the brunt falls disproportionately on communities of color, exacerbating the need for environmental justice.

These are the interlocking crises of our time.

It requires action, not denial.

It requires leadership, not scapegoating.

It requires a president to meet the threshold duty of the office — to care for everyone. To defend us from every attack – seen and unseen. Always and without exception. Every time.

Because here’s the deal.

Hurricanes don’t swerve to avoid “blue states.” Wildfires don’t skip towns that voted a certain way.

The impacts of climate change don’t pick and choose. That’s because it’s not a partisan phenomenon.

It’s science.

And our response should be the same. Grounded in science. Acting together. All of us.

But like with our federal response to COVID-19, the lack of a national strategy on climate change leaves us with patchwork solutions.

I’m speaking from Delaware, the lowest-lying state in the nation, where just last week the state’s Attorney General sued 31 big fossil fuel companies alleging that they knowingly wreaked damage on the climate.

Damage that is plain to everyone but the president.

As he flies to California today, we know he has no interest in meeting this moment.

We know he won’t listen to the experts or treat this disaster with the urgency it demands, as any president should do during a national emergency.

He’s already said he wanted to withhold aid to California — to punish the people of California — because they didn’t vote for him.

This is yet another crisis he won’t take responsibility for.

The West is literally on fire and he blames the people whose homes and communities are burning.

He says, “You gotta clean your floors, you gotta clean your forests.”

This is the same president who threw paper towels to the people of Puerto Rico instead of truly helping them recover and rebuild.

We know his disdain for his own military leaders and our veterans.

Just last year, the Defense Department reported that climate change is a direct threat to more than two-thirds of our military’s operationally critical installations. And this could well be a conservative estimate.

Donald Trump’s climate denial may not have caused the record fires, record floods, and record hurricanes.

But if he gets a second term, these hellish events will become more common, more devastating, and more deadly.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump warns that integration is threatening our suburbs. That’s ridiculous.

But you know what’s actually threatening our suburbs?

Wildfires are burning the suburbs in the West. Floods are wiping out suburban neighborhoods in the Midwest. And hurricanes are imperiling suburban life along our coasts.

If we have four more years of Trump’s climate denial, how many suburbs will be burned in wildfires? How many suburbs will have been flooded out? How many suburbs will have been blown away in superstorms?

If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if more of America is ablaze?

If you give a climate denier four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised when more of America is under water?

We need a president who respects science, who understands that the damage from climate change is already here, and, unless we take urgent action, will soon be more catastrophic.

A president who recognizes, understands, and cares that Americans are dying.

Which makes President Trump’s climate denialism — his disdain of science and facts — all the more unconscionable.

Once again, he fails the most basic duty to this nation.

He fails to protect us.

And from the pandemic, the economic freefall, the racial unrest, and the ravages of climate change, it’s clear that we are not safe in Donald Trump’s America.

What he doesn’t get is that even in crisis, there is nothing beyond our capacity as a country.

And while so many of you are hurting right now, I want you to know that if you give me the honor of serving as your President, we can, and we will, meet this moment with urgency and purpose.

We can and we will solve the climate crisis, and build back better than we were before.

When Donald Trump thinks about climate change he thinks: “hoax.”

I think: “jobs.”

Good-paying, union jobs that put Americans to work building a stronger, more climate resilient nation.

A nation with modernized water, transportation and energy infrastructure to withstand the impacts of extreme weather and a changing climate.

When Donald Trump thinks about renewable energy, he sees windmills somehow causing cancer.

I see American manufacturing — and American workers — racing to lead the global market. I also see farmers making American agriculture first in the world to achieve net-zero emissions, and gaining new sources of income in the process.

When Donald Trump thinks about LED bulbs, he says he doesn’t like them because: “the light’s no good. I always look orange.”

I see the small businesses and master electricians designing and installing award-winning energy conservation measures.

This will reduce the electricity consumption and save businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in energy costs.

While he turns us against our allies, I will bring us back into the Paris Agreement. I will put us back in the business of leading the world on climate change. And I will challenge everyone to up the ante on their climate commitments.

Where he reverses the Obama-Biden fuel-efficiency standards, he picks Big Oil companies over the American workers.

I will not only bring the standards back, I will set new, ambitious ones — that our workers are ready to meet.

And I also see American workers building and installing 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations across the country and American consumers switching to electric vehicles through rebates and incentives.

Not only that, the United States owns and maintains an enormous fleet of vehicles — and we’re going to harness the purchasing power of our federal government to make sure we are buying electric vehicles that are made and sourced by union workers right here in the United States of America.

All together, this will mean one million new jobs in the American auto industry.

And we’ll do another big thing: put us on a path of achieving a carbon-pollution free electricity sector by 2035 that no future president can turn back.

Transforming the American electricity sector to produce power without carbon pollution will be the greatest spur to job creation and economic competitiveness in the 21st Century. Not to mention the positive benefits to our health and our environment.

We need to get to work right away.

We’ll need scientists at national labs and land-grant universities and Historically Black Colleges and Universities to improve and innovate the technologies needed to generate, store, and transmit this clean electricity.

We’ll need engineers to design them and workers to manufacture them. We’ll need iron workers and welders to install them.

And we’ll become the world’s largest exporter of these technologies, creating even more jobs.

We know how to do this.

The Obama-Biden Administration rescued the auto industry and helped them retool.

We made solar energy cost-competitive with traditional energy, and weatherized more than a million homes.

We will do it again — bigger and faster and better than before.

We’ll also build 1.5 million new energy-efficient homes and public housing units that will benefit our communities three-times over — by alleviating the affordable housing crisis, by increasing energy efficiency, and by reducing the racial wealth gap linked to home ownership.

There are thousands of oil and natural gas wells that the oil and gas companies have just abandoned, many of which are leaking toxins.

We can create 250,000 jobs plugging those wells right away — good union jobs for energy workers. This will help sustain communities and protect the environment as well.

We’ll also create new markets for our family farmers and ranchers.

We’ll launch a new, modern day Civilian Climate Corps to heal our public lands and make us less vulnerable to wildfires and floods.

I believe that every American has a fundamental right to breathe clean air and drink clean water. But I know that we haven’t fulfilled that right.

That’s true of the millions of families struggling with the smoke created by these devastating wildfires right now.

But it’s also been true for a generation or more in places — like Cancer Alley in Louisiana or along the Route 9 corridor right here in Delaware.

Fulfilling this basic obligation to all Americans — especially Black, Brown, and Native American communities, who too often don’t have clean air and clean water — is not going to be easy.

But it is necessary. And I am committed to doing it.

These aren’t pie-in-the-sky dreams. These are concrete, actionable policies that create jobs, mitigate climate change, and put our nation on the road to net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.

Some say that we can’t afford to fix this.

But here’s the thing.

Look around at the crushing consequences of the extreme weather events I’ve been describing. We’ve already been paying for it. So we have a choice.

We can invest in our infrastructure to make it stronger and more resilient, while at the same time tackling the root causes of climate change.

Or, we can continue down the path of Donald Trump’s indifference, costing tens of billions of dollars to rebuild, and where the human costs — the lives and livelihoods and homes and communities destroyed — are immeasurable.

We have a choice.

We can commit to doing this together because we know that climate change is the existential challenge that will define our future as a country, for our children, grandchildren, and great-children.

Or, there’s Donald Trump’s way — to ignore the facts, to deny reality that amounts to full surrender and a failure to lead.

It’s backward-looking politics that will harm the environment, make communities less healthy, and hold back economic progress while other countries race ahead.

And it’s a mindset that doesn’t have any faith in the capacity of the American people to compete, to innovate, and to win.

Like the pandemic, dealing with climate change is a global crisis that requires American leadership.

It requires a president for all Americans.

So as the fires rage out West on this day, our prayers remain with everyone under the ash.

I know it’s hard to see the sun rise and believe today will be better than yesterday when America faces this historic inflection point.

A time of real peril, but also a time of extraordinary possibilities.

I want you to know that we can do this.

We will do this.

We are America.

We see the light through the dark smoke.

We never give up.

Always.

Without exception.

Every time.

May God bless our firefighters and first responders.

May God protect our troops.

Senate Democrats Release Agenda For "Net-Zero Emissions" Clean Economy By 2050

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 25 Aug 2020 19:54:00 GMT

The Senate Democrats’ Select Committee on the Climate Crisis has released a 263-page report detailing a “clean economy” agenda with “bold climate solutions.” Entitled “The Case for Climate Action: Building a Clean Economy for the American People,” the report, which repeatedly emphasizes economic growth and job creation, was developed by the ten-member committee chaired by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

Legislation must now be developed to meet the overarching goals of the committee:
  • Reduce U.S. emissions rapidly to help achieve 100 percent global net-zero emissions no later than 2050.
  • Stimulate economic growth by increasing federal spending on climate action to at least 2 percent of GDP annually—and ensure that at least 40 percent of the benefits from these investments help communities of color and low-income, deindustrialized, and disadvantaged communities.
  • Create at least 10 million new jobs.

The report, while largely in the spirit of the Green New Deal platform – in particular in the listing of recommendations from environmental justice leaders – avoids any mention of that phrase. Several of the photographs in the report are of rallies and marches of Green New Deal advocates.

Unlike most Green New Deal advocates, the report makes space for “safer nuclear power” and “fossil generation paired with carbon capture and storage.” “Carbon capture and removal technologies are an essential supplement to decarbonization,” the report argues in an extended section.

An entire chapter of the report is dedicated to “Dark Money” – specifically, the “undue influence from the leaders of giant fossil fuel corporations” who “used weak American laws and regulations governing election spending, lobbying, and giving to advocacy groups to mount a massive covert operation” to “spread disinformation about climate change and obstruct climate action.”
In order to advance bold climate legislation, we must expose the covert influence of wealthy fossil fuel executives, trade associations, and front groups that have done everything possible to obstruct climate action.

The report credits the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision with allowing “fossil fuel political power to effectively capture Republican elected officials nationwide.”

In addition to ten hearings, the committee held twelve in-depth hearings with advocates, four of which were exclusively with corporate executives (utilities, health care, insurance, and banks). Two meetings were held with international representatives (a United Nations representative and European central bankers). Two meetings were with union officials (one included environmentalists); two were with environmental justice activists and mainstream environmentalists; one was with youth climate activists. The last meeting was with surfers and surfing industry representatives.

Notably, the committee did not meet with any climate scientists in academia.

Download the report here.

In addition to Schatz, the other members of the committee are U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.).

Hearings:

A Blueprint for Success: U.S. Climate Action at the Local Level (July 2019)

  • Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta, GA
  • Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Honolulu, HI
  • Mayor Melvin Carter, Saint Paul, MN
  • Mayor William Peduto, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Mayor Ted Wheeler, Portland, OR
The Right Thing to Do: Conservatives for Climate Action (July 2019)
  • Dr. Frank Luntz, founder and CEO, FIL, Inc.
  • Kiera O’Brien, vice president of Students for Carbon Dividends
  • Nick Huey, founder of the Climate Campaign
The Fight to Save Winter: Pro Athletes for Climate Action (September 2019)
  • Mike Richter, president of Brightcore Energy; Hall of Fame goaltender for the New York Rangers
  • Jeremy Jones, founder of Protect Our Winters; professional snowboarder
  • Caroline Gleich, professional ski mountaineer and adventurer
  • Tommy Caldwell, professional climber
Dark Money and Barriers to Climate Action (October 2019)
  • Dr. Justin Farrell, professor, Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
  • Dr. Naomi Oreskes, professor, Harvard University
  • Morton Rosenberg, congressional scholar, Project on Government Oversight
  • Dylan Tanner, executive director & co-founder, InfluenceMap

Perspectives from the Front Lines: How Climate Change Uniquely Impacts Environmental Justice Communities (November 2019)
  • Dr. Cecilia Martinez, co-founder and executive director, Center for Earth, Energy, and Democracy
  • Michele Roberts, national co-coordinator, Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform
  • Celeste Flores, outreach director, Faith in Place
Better, Stronger, Smarter: Building Community Resilience in a Future of Extremes (December 2019)
  • Alice Hill, senior fellow for climate change policy, Council on Foreign Relations
  • Laura Lightbody, project director, Pew Charitable Trusts Flood-Prepared Communities
  • Mayor Tim Kabat, La Crosse, WI
Understanding and Combating the Security Risks of Climate Change (February 2020)
  • Rear Admiral Ann C. Phillips, United States Navy (retired)
  • The Hon. John Conger, director, Center for Climate and Security
  • Andrew Holland, chief operating officer, American Security Project
The Economic Risks of Climate Change (March 2020)
  • The Hon. Sarah Bloom Raskin, former member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and Deputy Treasury Secretary
  • Dr. Bob Litterman, founding partner and Risk Committee chairman, Kepos Capital; chair of the Climate-Related Market Risk Subcommittee, Commodity Futures Trading Commission
  • Dave Burt, CEO and founder, DeltaTerra Capital
  • Frédéric Samama, head of responsible investment, Amundi; co-author of “The green swan: Central banking and financial stability in the age of climate change”
Quality Jobs, Lower Emissions: Decarbonizing the Energy and Industrial Sectors while Expanding Opportunities for American Workers (July 2020)
  • The Hon. Ernest Moniz, former U.S. Secretary of Energy; founder and CEO, Energy Futures Initiative
  • Tom Conway, international president, United Steelworkers (USW)
Safely, Efficiently, and Equitably: Transportation Solutions to Move People and Goods in a Decarbonized Economy (July 2020)
  • Vivian Satterfield, director of strategic partnerships, Verde
  • Jeff Allen, executive director, Forth
  • Brad Schallert, director of carbon market governance and aviation, World Wildlife Fund
  • Rachel Muncrief, deputy director, International Council on Clean Transportation

Meetings:

Utility executives (June 2019)

  • Alan Oshima, president and CEO, Hawaiian Electric
  • Bill Johnson, president and CEO, PG&E
  • Maria Pope, president and CEO, Portland General Electric
  • Terry Sobolewski, president, National Grid Rhode Island
  • Eric Olsen, vice president and general counsel, Great River Energy
Labor leaders (July 2019)
  • Richard Trumka, president, AFL-CIO
  • Liz Shuler, secretary-treasurer, AFL-CIO
  • Sean McGarvey, president, North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU)
  • Cecil Roberts, president, United Mine Workers of America (UMWA)
  • Terry O’Sullivan, general president, Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA)
  • Paul Shearon, international president, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE)
  • Warren Fairley, international vice president for Southeast, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers
  • Austin Keyser, director of political and legislative affairs, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
New York Renews (September 2019)
  • Eddie Bautista, executive director, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance
  • Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director, UPROSE
  • Stephan Edel, director, New York Working Families
  • Maritza Silva-Farrell, executive director, ALIGN
  • Lisa Tyson, executive director, Long Island Progressive Coalition
  • Marc Weiss, former board member, Sierra Club
United Nations (September 2019)
  • Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba of Mexico, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the 2019 Climate Action Summit
Youth climate activists (September 2019)
  • Alexandria Villaseñor, co-founder, U.S. Youth Climate Strike; founder, Earth Uprising
  • Jonah Gottlieb, founding youth member, National Children’s Campaign
  • Levi Draheim, Juliana v. United States plaintiff
  • Kevin Patel, co-deputy partnerships director, Zero Hour
  • Lana Weidgenant, co-deputy partnerships director, Zero Hour
  • Rachel Lee, head coordinator, Zero Hour NYC
  • Daphne Frias, global outreach team, Zero Hour
Special thanks for hosting: United Nations Foundation

Financial industry executives (September 2019)

  • Roger Ferguson, president and CEO, TIAA
  • Douglas Peterson, president and CEO, S&P Global
  • Raymond McDaniel, Jr., president and CEO, Moody’s
  • Edward Skyler, executive vice president for global public affairs, Citi
Special thanks for hosting: Bloomberg LP

Signatories to the Equitable and Just National Climate

Platform (October 2019)

  • Dr. Cecilia Martinez, co-founder and executive director, Center for Earth, Energy, and Democracy
  • Michele Roberts, national co-coordinator, Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform
  • Dr. Mildred McClain, executive director, The Harambee House
  • The Hon. Harold Mitchell, Jr., executive director, ReGenesis Project; former state representative, South Carolina House of Representatives
  • Richard Moore, co-coordinator, Los Jardines Institute
  • Dr. Nicky Sheats, Esq., chairperson, New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance; director, Center for the Urban Environment of the John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy at Thomas Edison State University
  • Peggy Shepard, co-founder and executive director, WE ACT for Environmental Justice
  • Jumana Vasi, senior advisor, Midwest Environmental Justice Network
  • Dr. Beverly Wright, executive director, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice
  • Sara Chieffo, vice president of government affairs, League of Conservation Voters
  • Jessica Ennis, legislative director for climate and energy, Earthjustice
  • Lindsay Harper, representative, U.S. Climate Action Network
  • Cathleen Kelly, senior fellow for energy and environment, Center for American Progress
  • Lissa Lynch, staff attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Liz Perera, climate policy director, Sierra Club
International central bankers (October 2019)
  • Frank Elderson, executive director of supervision, De Nederlandsche Bank; chairman, Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS)
  • Nathalie Aufauvre, director general of financial stability and operations, Banque de France
  • Dr. Sabine Mauderer, member of the Executive Board, Deutsche Bundesbank
  • Dr. Egil Matsen, deputy governor, Norges Bank
Health Care Climate Council (October 2019)
  • Katie Wickman, sustainability manager, Advocate Aurora Health
  • Brett Green, manager for remote operations, Ascension Medxcel
  • Bob Biggio, senior vice president of facilities and support services, Boston Medical Center
  • Jon Utech, senior director, Office for a Healthy Environment, Cleveland Clinic
  • Rachelle Reyes Wenger, system vice president of public policy & advocacy engagement, Dignity Health
  • Elizabeth Rogers, policy analyst, Gundersen Health System
  • Charles Goyette, director of sustainability, Inova Health System
  • Jean Garris Hand, senior utility & sustainability consultant, Providence St. Joseph Health
  • Michael Waller, director of sustainability, Rochester Regional Health
  • Jeanine Knapp, sustainability leader, ThedaCare
  • John Leigh, director of sustainability, Virginia Mason Health System
BlueGreen Alliance (December 2019)
  • James Slevin, national president, Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA)
  • Anna Fendley, director of regulatory and state policy, United Steelworkers (USW)
  • Collin O’Mara, president and CEO, National Wildlife Federation
  • Kathleen Rest, executive director, Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice president of government affairs, League of Conservation Voters
  • Jason Walsh, executive director, BlueGreen Alliance
Insurance industry executives (March 2020)
  • Evan Greenberg, chairman and CEO, Chubb
  • Mike Mahaffey, chief strategy and corporate development officer, Nationwide
  • Melissa Salton, chief risk officer, Munich Re
  • Ian Branagan, group chief risk officer, RenaissanceRe
Surfrider Foundation (March 2020)
  • Greg Long, pro surfer
  • Leah Dawson, pro surfer
  • Dr. Cliff Kapono, pro surfer, journalist, and chemist
  • Pete Stauffer, environmental director, Surfrider Foundation
  • Katie Day, staff scientist, Surfrider Foundation
  • Stefanie Sekich-Quinn, coastal preservation manager, Surfrider Foundation
  • Vipe Desai, co-founder, Business Alliance for Protecting the Pacific Coast (BAPPC)
  • Chris Evans, Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA)
  • Shea Perkins, senior manager for culture & impact marketing, Reef
  • Madeline Wade, vice president, Signal Group (on behalf of REI)

Sunrise Movement Launches "Wide Awake" Campaign Confronting Politicians At Their Doorsteps

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 18 Aug 2020 18:58:00 GMT

The youth climate activist collective known as the Sunrise Movement has begun protesting outside the homes of politicians they hold responsible for the “death economy” of rising climate, racial, and economic injustice. The “Wide Awake” campaign is inspired by the Wide Awakes, a militant youth abolitionist organization in the years leading into the Civil War.

We are Wide Awake. And, for the next hundred days, the architects of this death economy will be too.

This is not just an uprising, it’s a mothafucking haunting. We will march to their homes at midnight so they understand that we are wide awake to their role in crafting this nightmare. When they try to dine at restaurants we’re forced to work at — despite the risk of COVID — because our unemployment is ending, we will not serve them. When they do nothing to stop federal agents from snatching us off the streets, when they force us to go back to school in unsafe conditions, when they do nothing to stop our democracy from crumbling, we will bang on their doors from dusk until dawn and make them hear us. We will make their lives a waking nightmare until they stand with us or give way to the power of the people and the vision we have for a new world.

“Wide Awake” actions so far include:

Climate Council Conversation: "Why Democrats Should Run on Climate"

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 22 Jul 2020 23:00:00 GMT

Join our chair Michelle Deatrick July 22 at 7pm ET as she facilitates a conversation between actress and activist Jane Fonda, Representative Deb Haaland (D-NM), Sunrise Movement National Spokesperson Naina Agrawal-Hardin, and 350 Action’s North America Director, Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, about why Democrats need to run on climate.

Watch here.

Biden Campaign Forms Climate Advisory Council

Posted by Brad Johnson Fri, 03 Jul 2020 18:02:00 GMT

The Biden campaign has formed a new advisory council for engaging climate voters. The members of Biden for President’s Climate Council include:
  • Billionaire Tom Steyer, former presidential candidate
  • Dr. Cecilia Martinez, co-founder and executive director, Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy
  • Lonnie R. Stephenson, International President, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
  • Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.)
  • Carol M. Browner, chair, League of Conservation Voters
  • Harold Mitchell, Jr., former South Carolina state representative and founder, ReGenesis Community Development Corporation

None are allies of or endorsers of Bernie Sanders, Biden’s closest rival, or of Gov. Jay Inslee, who ran as a climate candidate.

Martinez is a long-time environmental justice policy leader. She was also a research professor at the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy, University of Delaware, Biden’s home state, and a senior research fellow at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, a progressive think tank. Martinez worked with John Podesta and the Center for American Progress to organize a multi-organization national environmental and climate justice platform in 2019.

Stephenson’s union, IBEW, opposes the elimination of the fossil fuel industry, a prerequisite for ending climate pollution. He opposes the Green New Deal.

Haaland, who is also on the Democratic National Convention platform drafting committee, endorsed Sen. Elizabeth Warren for president. She has signed the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge.

Mitchell was the Steyer campaign’s Senior Advisor for Environmental Justice.

Browner was one of Hillary Clinton’s representatives on the 2016 platform drafting committee. She worked to kill several key environmental priorities of the Sanders campaign, including planks that would have opposed fracking and fossil-fuel extraction projects and supported a carbon tax. Her organization endorsed Biden on April 20, 2020.

Mike Bloomberg's Climate Chair Opposes The Green New Deal

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 04 Feb 2020 22:20:00 GMT

Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) is Mike Bloomberg’s campaign climate chair.
On Monday, January 27th, Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) endorsed billionaire Michael Bloomberg for president, becoming the campaign’s “national chairman for climate, energy and environment.” Peters, a member of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee and vice-chair of the corporate-friendly New Democrats, opposes the Green New Deal, dismissing it as a “fiery speech.” In 2019 he explained his refusal to endorse the resolution calling for a Green New Deal agenda:
“I’m totally on board with getting to net-zero by mid-century. But the Green New Deal is not bold in that it doesn’t bring anyone else in. It is the easiest thing in the world to go talk to a bunch of people you agree with and do a fiery speech.”
Peters has reiterated his complaint that the Green New Deal lacks Republican support. In September, he told the San Diego Herald Tribune:
“I’ve explained it so many times. There’s not a Republican on it. It doesn’t even have a majority of Democrats. It got voted down in the Senate. So why people keep asking me about the Green New Deal is beyond me.”

He went on to attack the Green New Deal’s economic provisions, which are some of its most popular among Americans. “That just makes saving the planet a lot harder,” he said. “Now you’re talking about remaking the economy. I think we have a hard enough problem now.”

Peters is facing primary opponent Nancy Casady because of his opposition to the Green New Deal.

Peters’ former chief of staff, MaryAnne Pintar, is working on the Bloomberg campaign in California.

Politico’s Christopher Cadelago reports:
{eters is a vice chair of the pro-business group New Democrats, whose members huddled with Bloomberg on his recent visit to Capitol Hill. Peters, whose longtime chief of staff, MaryAnne Pintar, is a regional political director for Bloomberg in California, has warned Democrats against nominating a progressive like Sens. Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, saying their policies would make them more vulnerable to Trump in November.

“I do believe we need an alternative to Sen. Sanders and Sen. Warren. I don’t think that those are candidates who will win a general election. And I also disagree with them more on policy.”

Like Peters, Mike Bloomberg himself opposes the Green New Deal, saying the ambitious agenda “stands no chance” of passage in the Senate. Several of the Republicans in the U.S. Senate who oppose the Green New Deal have been supported for election by Bloomberg.

(Politico is paid by the fossil-fuel industry to promote their interests.)

Sunrise's Democratic Presidential Scorecard: Sanders A-, Warren B-, Biden F

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 10 Dec 2019 00:28:00 GMT

The youth climate activist group Sunrise Movement has published a 200-point climate leadership scorecard on the top three Democratic presidential candidates, with Bernie Sanders leading Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden far behind.

Sanders earned 91.5% of the possible points; Warren 82.5%; and Biden a strikingly low 37.5%.

The careful scoring process is broken into four sections: “How they talk about it,” “How much they talk about it,” “Plan to win,” and “Green New Deal vision.”

Sanders and Warren earned identical scores for “How they talk about it” and “Plan to win”- reflecting their similarity in rhetoric about the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for comprehensive action that directly confronts the fossil-fuel industry. Both campaigns have laid out comprehensive plans for action that are built around principles of climate justice.

However, Sanders has talked about climate change significantly more than Warren on the campaign trail and in the presidential debates—a difference reflected in the metric used by the Sunrise Movement, which is the frequency with which climate change is discussed on the campaign Twitter feeds.

The Green New Deal section was a 100-point analysis of the candidate’s climate plans, representing half of the full score. Sanders received an A (95 points) compared to Warren’s B (85 points) for his clear plan for a phase-out of fossil-fuel extraction and for more detailed and ambitious plans for sustainable agriculture, forestry, climate refugees, energy democracy, public infrastructure, renewable energy investment, and public transportation.

In all categories Biden lagged significantly.

Perhaps relatedly, the Biden campaign’s top climate staffer, Heather Zichal, is a former John Kerry and Barack Obama staffer who parlayed her years of service into highly lucrative positions in the natural gas industry.

When Biden has been confronted by climate activists at campaign stops, he has responded dismissively that he was involved in one of the first climate bills passed by Congress and if they’re still not happy, they should vote for someone else.

Mobilize for Climate Justice & Immigrant Rights

Posted by Justin Guay Fri, 06 Dec 2019 16:00:00 GMT

Around the world, climate change is driving mass migration as water dries up, farmland turns to desert, shorelines erode, coastal areas flood, permafrost melts and ecosystems can no longer support the communities they once could. And it is going to get much much worse. As far back as 1990, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) noted that the greatest single impact of climate change could be on human migration – and we’re seeing this projection come true. The latest estimates predict as many as 200 million climate refugees by 2050.

This is a climate and human rights crisis. Climate migrants routinely face life threatening hardship, discrimination and repression in their search for safety for their families, and often those most vulnerable to changing climate and extreme weather lack the resources to migrate, so remain in harm’s way.

Even worse, many of the same banks that made billions of dollars financing the fossil fuel industry that caused the climate crisis- Black Rock, Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase- are now profiting off of climate chaos by investing in the companies that are contracting with ICE to finance border wall construction and run for-profit prisons and detention centers. First they drive climate migration, and then they profit from it.

On December 6th, we’re going to shut down business-as-usual for the financial institutions that profit off of the climate crisis and immigrant detention. Meet us at 11am in Franklin Square (14th St. and I St. NW, Washington, DC 20005) for a rally featuring Jane Fonda and Fire Drill Fridays along with Saket Soni, the Executive Director of the National Guestworker Alliance, GreenFaith, the Franciscan Action Network and other climate, faith and migrant justice organizers. At 12 noon we’ll march through the streets of DC to visit the banks and financial institutions in DC that are profiting off of the climate crisis and immigrant detention.

Politicians Need To Know Fossil Fuel Money Doesn't Make Good Climate Policy

Posted by Justin Guay Thu, 21 Nov 2019 19:09:00 GMT

A guest post by climate strategist Justin Guay. A prior version was published on Twitter.

I don’t know David Victor.

Not in the Trump sense, I literally have never met him. I can’t weigh in on him and don’t want to. But there is an underlying issue swirling around him and the Buttigieg campaign – taking money from those who actively sabotage climate efforts – that needs to be talked about, not hand-waved away.

No one would today, with the hindsight of history, suggest that Tobacco, Asbestos or other universally recognized “bads” should have been at the table designing regulations aimed at eliminating their industries. But fossil fuels, incredibly, are somehow different.

Don’t get me wrong. This is not black and white. There are friends, frenemies (I see you utilities, I see you), and enemies. Companies and actors can and do move amongst the categories. We can’t be ideologues because yesterday’s villain can be tomorrow’s hero. (There’s lots of this in finance.)

But there are, I believe, universal bad guys who will never move because their business model doesn’t allow it. Pure-play coal companies are one, which is why carbon-capture-and-sequestration coalitions should never, ever, allow the likes of Peabody to launder their reputation with their well-intentioned efforts.

And then there’s oil. We do have examples of shifting (Love you, Ørsted). But it’s the exception, not the rule, and it was achieved thanks to hefty state intervention and ownership. The reality is large, publicly traded oil companies today are not friends – they’re enemies and they’re powerful.

So when academics, politicians and other “very serious actors” take their money, they enable an incredibly insidious thing. They launder these companies’ reputations, enable their gaslighting, and generally squander power that is very, very difficult for climate hawks to build.

They do that in part by abstracting climate into a “carbon problem” as though carbon dioxide is not created by specific companies and industries for their own benefit at the expense of our future. Those are arguments the left internalizes, enabling an artificial narrowing of the political horizon.

It’s this, even more than billions spent directly lobbying that I find most troubling. It’s unseen limitations on the ambition of the left that DC refugees know all too well. It’s not “political reality.” It’s artificially generated both-sides-ism brought to you by money.

It’s then made visible by journalists who treat these paid shills as equals as they present counter arguments “in good faith.” That’s not an equal argument focused on what’s in the best interest of the public. That’s an industry fighting to survive at society’s expense.

So let’s be clear. We can not and will not, solve the climate crisis as long as we allow those actively sabotaging action to appear as though they’re not. We will look back and find it ridiculous that this needed to be said.

Fossil-Fuel-Funded Pete Buttigieg Climate Advisor David Victor Opposes Fossil-Fuel Divestment

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 21 Nov 2019 02:39:00 GMT

Pete Buttigieg climate advisor David G. Victor, a political scientist and recipient of millions of dollars from BP and other fossil-fuel companies, begrudged the recent decision of the University of California to divest its endowment from the fossil-fuel industry.

”’Divesting from all fossil fuel companies turns the climate problem into something that seems like a simple problem, and in fact it’s the opposite,” Victor told Cal Matters in September, when U of C’s decision was announced. “We should be shareholders in those companies, and we should be active shareholders, to make sure that they’re actually doing it.”

In lieu of divestment, Victor has advocated for drilling for natural gas, “clean coal,” and considering geoengineering in the name of climate action.

Of course, Victor is only one of Buttigieg’s climate advisors.

It is not clear what Buttigieg’s position on the climate divestment movement is. However, Buttigieg, like all of the Democratic candidates for president on the debate stage tonight. has signed the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge, committing to not accept campaign contributions from the fossil-fuel industry.

h/t Dr. Genevieve Guenther

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