Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 22 Sep 2014 13:00:00 GMT


Wear Blue.

As world leaders meet in New York for a historic summit on climate change, communities across the globe will flood financial centers to confront the corporate and economic systems that are causing the climate crisis.

Join a united global movement to attack the root causes of the climate crisis and build an economy based on justice and sustainability. We need climate justice. Take action in solidarity with communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis for a day of:

Massive Coordinated Direct Actions Against Climate Profiteers.

9:00am – Gather at Battery Park for Breakfast and Music from Rude Mechanical Orchestra

9:30am – Speakers including frontline community leaders of the Climate Justice Alliance, Naomi Klein, Rebecca Solnit, and Chris Hedges

11:00am – Non-violent Direct Action Training and March

12:00pm – Flood Wall Street and Mass Sit-in at the New York Stock Exchange

Fox Business Marks Sandy Anniversary with Climate Denial

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 29 Oct 2013 06:13:00 GMT

On the one year anniversary of the catastrophic Hurricane Sandy, Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Business Network is promoting the conspiracy theory that climate science is a liberal fiction. Fox Business host Stuart Varney railed against the “global warming agenda” of the “mainstream media.”
It is one year since Hurricane Sandy ravaged the east coast. The mainstream media continues to use the storm to push a global warming agenda.

Watch it:

Varney’s guest, the conservative Media Research Center’s Dan Gainor, complained that of the 32 segments in network news his group found that mentioned Sandy and global warming, only two questioned the overwhelming science that the increasing greenhouse effect from the combustion of fossil fuels is accelerating sea level rise and making weather more extreme and chaotic. Despite numerous scientific attribution studies on wildfires, heat waves, droughts, and storms that have found global warming fingerprints, Gainor falsely claimed that “we cannot link climate change or global warming to a specific event.” He furthermore dismissed the decades of work by thousands of scientists in all earth-science disciplines that provide our understanding of climate change as “stuff” and “guesswork.”

Gainor did not emphasize that his organization found only 32 mentions of climate change and Sandy in an entire year of network news coverage. (In contrast, for example, there were 52 segments on Iran’s nuclear program in five months of network news coverage from November 2011 to March 2012.)

Climate denial is rampant in the financial press, not just the media organs owned by Murdoch like Fox and the Wall Street Journal. Forbes regularly publishes climate-denial columns, and Reuters editors are openly hostile to climate science. And Comcast’s CNBC features hosts such as Joe Kernen, who argues that the findings of climate science are a plot concocted by a “bonafide cult” of “enviro-socialists” and the “eco-taliban.”

Varney and Gainor also bemoaned the public stand the Los Angeles Times has taken against global warming denial in its opinion pages. Over 25,000 people have signed a petition from climate accountability organization Forecast the Facts calling on the nation’s other major papers, including the New York Times, USA Today, and the Washington Post, to follow suit.

Turning the TideOn Sunday, Forecast the Facts hosted a forum held in downtown New York City looking at the role of Wall Street in financing the climate change that threatens New York’s future prosperity. The panelists of the Turning the Tide forum, including Center for American Progress senior fellow Bracken Hendricks, Tom Steyer advisor Kate Gordon, and New Economy Lab’s James Slezak, discussed how the financial industry needs to reject the anti-scientific arguments pushed by Murdoch’s media properties and David H. Koch’s network of think tanks and advocacy groups.

Gordon cited the Risky Business initative, led by Steyer, Michael Bloomberg, and former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. The initiative, Gordon explained, is meant not only to provide an economic assessment of the risk exposure different companies and industries have to manmade global warming, but also to change the culture of the financial sector. With that goal in mind, influential Republicans and conservatives who accept the basic science of climate change have been courted.

Wall Street is at a crossroads, all the panelists agreed. On the path of fossil-fuel companies and climate deniers like New York City’s richest man, carbon financier David H. Koch, lies accelerating sea level rise and intensifying storms that will swamp the islands of New York City. But the investors and analysts can choose another path, recognize the science, and invest in a sustainable future that will save their city.

Fox Business Network Transcript:

VARNEY: It is one year since Hurricane Sandy ravaged the east coast. The mainstream media continues to use the storm to push a global warming agenda. Dan Gainor from the Media Research Center is here. He’s done the study. Dan, I think first of all you have some numbers on the stories run by the broadcast networks on Sandy. Go.

GAINOR: A year after we have seen all of this devastation, what we find is that every single time in the stories where they talk about Sandy and global warming or climate change, they are linking the two. Yet we have seen experts for years telling us that we cannot link climate change or global warming to a specific event. It is okay when they do it.

VARNEY: Hold on. Wait a second. Was there any counter opinion offered on the story? You looked at 32 stories. 100 percent of them linked climate change to Hurricane Sandy. Did anyone come on and say, hold on a second, hold on a second, it is not that clear-cut, there’s another point of view? Did anybody?

GAINOR: No. They did not have anyone on. and in only two of the stories, 6 percent of the time, that they even had the most casual mention. That is the extent. They never had anyone on who would disagree, and there are a lot of people who disagree, obviously.

VARNEY: I want you to listen to what the Los Angeles Times said, an editorial, I think it’s from the editor of Los Angeles Times: “Simply put I do my best to keep errors of fact of the letters page.” Saying, “There is no sign humans have caused climate change is not stating in opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy.” The L.A. Times will no longer accept letters from global warming skeptics. What do you say to that, Dan?

GAINOR: It is more media censorship. At least they are honest about it, they’re honest that they will not let anybody have a counter opinion. All of this stuff is based on predictions. The predictions thus far have been consistently wrong. And yet they’re saying, “We’ve been wrong, we are wrong, we are wrong. But next time down the road, then you can expect we will be right.” They’re expecting anywhere from one to 3% of world GDP to be spent on climate change. They’re doing it based on guesswork.

Turning The Tide: Carbon Divestment for a Post-Sandy Wall Street

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 28 Oct 2013 00:00:00 GMT

In the New York City region, Sandy helped to mobilize a very necessary, overdue conversation on climate survival, but the politics and economics of ending climate pollution — specifically divesting from the fossil fuel industries — has still largely been ignored.

The forum, webcast live, will confront the challenge that Wall Street faces in its financing of the pollution that is threatening New York City’s future. We will also tackle this thorny question: Why is David H. Koch, NYC’s richest man, one of the people most responsible for blocking US climate action?

- Moderator: Brad Johnson, Forecast the Facts - James Slezak, founder of the New Economy Lab - Kate Gordon, VP and Director, Energy and Climate, Next Generation - Bracken Hendricks, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress - Sophie Lasoff, founder of NYU Divest

This forum follows the afternoon’s Turn the Tide on Sandy! rally at City Hall, organized by the Alliance for a Just Rebuilding.

8 PM at Cooper Union’s Rose Auditorium in New York City. RSVP here.

New York's Climate Adaptation Plan Includes Protections for Fossil Fuels

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 11 Jun 2013 21:23:00 GMT

Today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented the city’s long-term plan to prepare for the impacts of a changing climate in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. “We haven’t waited for Washington to lead the climate change charge,” Bloomberg said at the Duggal Greenhouse in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. “If we did, we’d still be waiting.”

The adaptation plan he presented, the work of the Special Initiative for Resilience and Rebuilding, which was established by the mayor in December of last year, is an important step for New York City in the right direction. Most impressively, the plan has a comprehensive approach for reducing the risk of catastrophic flooding through multiple initiatives from surge barriers to improved building codes from Staten Island to Far Rockaway, from Red Hook to lower Manhattan. The plan looks not just to the regions devastated by Superstorm Sandy but uses projections developed by top climate scientists for the rising threat of man-made global warming in the coming decades, Bloomberg said:
In fact, we expect that by mid-century up to one-quarter of all of New York City’s land area, where 800,000 residents live today, will be in the floodplain. If we do nothing, more than 40 miles of our waterfront could see flooding on a regular basis, just during normal high tides.

Unfortunately, there are major flaws.

First, the plan fails to address New York’s role in creating the pollution that threatens its future existence. Instead of a blueprint for how Wall Street can stop financing fossil fuels or how to make the city’s infrastructure carbon-free, there’s literally a chapter on protecting fossil fuels from climate change:

The report asserts it is making the city “resilient,” but there is no climate resilience without divestment from fossil fuels and pollution barons like David Koch, New York’s richest man.

Furthermore, the report’s authors seemed uninterested in how New York’s communities survived the storm’s aftermath. In particular, the crucial achievements of Occupy Sandy in responsive, community-based disaster relief and recovery are buried, if not ignored.

Most importantly, basic realities of economic and social inequality are not sufficiently addressed. For example, even though over the report recognizes that over half of the Rockaways’ residents live in public or low-income housing, only two of 13 building initiatives address that population.

In sum, this report comes far closer to recognizing the reality of our carbon-polluted future than has been achieved on the national stage, but that is a very low bar. Existing infrastructure – physical, social, economic, and political – is built upon fossil-fuel dependence. Only a dedicated and full-scale effort to fight the polluters who profit at the expense of the very existence of cities such as New York will offer us a fighting chance.

Most of the nation is far less prepared for the ravages of fossil-fueled global warming than Mayor Bloomberg’s New York City. Unfortunately, it appears even Bloomberg is unprepared to take the necessary steps to turn back the rising tide of our polluted climate.

New York City Allocates Nearly $300 Million Of Sandy Funds For Climate Change Resiliency Plan

Posted by Brad Johnson Sat, 11 May 2013 01:05:00 GMT

On Friday, the City of New York allocated $294 million of Superstorm Sandy recovery funds for resiliency projects to respond to the threat of fossil-fueled climate change. The announcement was part of the unveiling of NYC’s plan for $1.77 billion in Sandy recovery initiatives by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) at New York City Hall:

The City has set aside $294 million for resiliency investments to be detailed in a report issued by the Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency later this month.

“HUD’s approval of our comprehensive Action Plan enables us to take the next critical step toward recovery – launching the programs for home rebuilding and business assistance that will rejuvenate the neighborhoods Sandy hit hardest,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway. “We’ll also take the first steps toward making the City more resilient to the impacts that we know climate change will bring.”

The sequester cuts reduced the planned budget for resilience from an original $327 million.

The New York City Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency (SIRR) was established by Bloomberg in November, 2012, with an explicit mission to address global warming:

When it comes to climate change, New York City has long been considered a leader in long-term sustainable planning, but Hurricane Sandy was a wake-up call to all New Yorkers.

Seth Pinsky, NYC Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency director
SIRR is directed by W. Seth Pinsky, the President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the quasi-public agency that supports urban development projects in the city, in close coordination with the NYC Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability, led since December 2012 by Sergej Mahnovski, a renewable-energy expert. Goldman Sachs vice president Marc Ricks, a lead architect of New York’s sustainability roadmap, PlaNYC, took a leave of absence from the investment firm to join the SIRR team.

The report “will present policy recommendations, infrastructure priorities, and community plans, and identify sources of long-term funding” in addition to the $294 million in emergency federal funds.

SIRR’s climate-resiliency plan is being developed in consultation with the New York City Panel on Climate Change, co-chaired by climate scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig and urban environmental scientist William Solecki. The climate panel has previously estimated that by 2050, New York City will face seven to 29 inches of sea level rise caused by man-made global warming. According to Pinsky, the city is also “working with McKinsey and SwissRe to quantify the cost that climate change is likely to impose on the city in the future.” In a recent public presentation, Pinsky said that global warming is a “very serious challenge” for the entire planet:

We’re facing a very serious challenge, not just as a city, but as a planet. And that challenge cannot just be counted in terms of inches of sea level rise, but also in terms of dollars and cents.

The initiative’s team spent the month of March holding public community meetings across the areas of the city hit hardest by Superstorm Sandy. SIRR has also held close, private consultations with New York City’s powerful real estate developers, many represented by former Bloomberg officials.

Reports indicate that the Pinsky plan is unlikely to recommend the construction of tidal barriers or a directed retreat from vulnerable coastlines, in line with Bloomberg’s desire to reject pessimistic implications of catastrophic and rapid sea level rise for the city.

It is unclear whether Pinsky’s plan will address the primary cause of global warming, the burning of fossil fuels. In addition to New York City’s direct carbon footprint, the global financial capital plays a central role in financing the carbon extraction industry, personified by New York City’s richest man, carbon billionaire David H. Koch. Any investment in climate resilience to protect New York City will be for naught if the city does not divest itself from the likes of Koch.

The $294 million in federal funds allocated by New York for climate resilience is equivalent to one-third of one percent of Koch’s personal fortune.

New York City Outlines Plan For Spending $1.8 Billion In Federal Sandy Block Grants

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 07 Feb 2013 00:57:00 GMT

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced an allocation plan for the $1.77 billion in federal Community Development Block Grants that are part of the Sandy disaster relief bill HR 152. It is not clear if mitigation of climate pollution is part of planned investments in housing, business, and infrastructure resiliency.

  • Housing Recovery – $720 Million
    • Single-Family Rehabilitation: $350 million to establish a grant program for up to 9,300 homeowners whose residences were sustained damage as a result of Hurricane Sandy and need additional funding to restore their homes, implement resiliency measures and remediate mold. Will assist up to 1,000 low-, moderate- and middle-income one- and two-family homeowners whose primary residences were destroyed or had major damage, and 8,300 low-, moderate- and middle-income homeowners whose primary residences were damaged but not destroyed.
    • Multi-Family Rehabilitation: $250 million to fund programs to enhance the resiliency of up to 12,790 units of housing for low-, moderate- and middle-income New Yorkers damaged by Sandy that still require significant resources to permanently address damage and resume sustainable operations. The City’s program will provide grants and low-interest loans, depending on need and scope.
    • Public Housing: $120 million to address initial resilience measures for public housing developments, such as permanent emergency generators at key buildings to provide backup power to critical building systems.
  • Business Recovery – $185 Million
    • Business Resiliency Investments: $100 million to provide grants to up to 1,300 businesses. $100,000 per company will go to small- and mid-sized companies, and $1 million per company will go to large companies in vulnerable areas. Program will require companies to commit to reinvest in their New York City presence.
    • Expanded Loans and Grants: $80 million to provide loans and grants to as many as 1,000 businesses. This program will provide expedited low-interest loans of up to $150,000 on similar terms to the City’s existing emergency loan program; provide expedited grants of up to $60,000 to affected businesses; and invite community development finance institutions to compete in a business plan competition to solicit ideas for additional loan and grant programs which would then be funded on a pilot basis, with the best program(s) then funded at scale.
    • Innovations in Resiliency Technologies Competition: $5 million to allocate, through “Race-to-the-Top”-style competitions, grants to the most innovative and cost-effective ideas for demonstration projects featuring resiliency products and technologies that can be replicated citywide.
  • Infrastructure Resiliency – $140 Million
    • Neighborhood Game-Changer Investment Competition: $100 million to jump-start economic activity in the five Business Recovery Zones by allocating, through “Race-to-the-Top”-style competitions, grants to the most innovative and effective investment ideas for spurring long-term economic growth. Possible ideas could include attraction of growing companies and/or companies of significant size, attraction of companies that serve the needs of underserved populations, or other transformative investments in key corridors.
    • Critical Utility Infrastructure Resiliency Competition: $40 million to allocate, through “Race-to-the-Top”-style competitions, grants to the most innovative and cost-effective resiliency measures identified by the utilities for their critical networks. Grants will be allocated to utilities in one or more of the following categories: i) liquid fuel networks; ii) other energy networks (power, steam, natural gas); and iii) telecommunications networks (wires and wireless).