News flash

Videos of SAL/UER Climate Week events

Racism and the Collapsing Society, Barbara Love and Tim Jackins, June 7, 2020

RC Webinars listing through July 2021

New Online Workshop Guidelines Modifications


 

Climate Moments

For use in your RC classes (see article A Climate Moment in Every Class)

Background: In the Fall of 2018 at a workshop I led for my region, I noted that many RCers were not discharging regularly on climate change.  Given the severity of the threat to life on Earth and human societies, it is important that we discharge regularly on climate change so we can take actions as large and radical as necessary to stop it.  As a way of getting us to put our attention on climate change regularly, so we can remember to discharge on it, I proposed that in every RC class in my region every week we have a “Climate Moment” after the opening News and Goods, and before the first mini-session.

#1  Twenty-one young people (ages 11 to 22) are suing the United States government over climate change.  They allege that the government has violated their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property by failing to prevent dangerous climate change. They are asking the district court to order the federal government to prepare a plan that will quickly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and eventually drawdown carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350ppm.   A lower court ruled that the suit could proceed to trial, but the government fought it and asked the Supreme Court to block it from going to trial.  In November 2018 the Supreme Court decided that this landmark climate change case against the US government (Juliana v. United States) can proceed!

#2   Last year Chioma Okwonko, an RC leader in Nigeria, wrote about the key role that forests and trees play “in our battle to combat the effects of climate change” and reported that the Lagos state government has committed to plant 12 million trees in the next four years.  Experts agree that regeneration of forests, both tropical and temperate, is a key strategy for pulling carbon out of the atmosphere. 

#3   “Until we can remember that we are connected to each other and to all forms of life, our efforts to make things better will be limited.”   From the RC Draft Policy on Care of the Environment

#4   The CEO of Patagonia, a US based firm manufacturing and selling outdoor clothing and gear, calculated that her company would save $10 million this year as a result of the tax cut the U.S. government enacted this year to benefit corporations and the wealthy.  She announced in late November that Patagonia will donate that entire amount to non-profit groups who work on issues related to climate change and the environment.  “Based on last year’s irresponsible tax cut, Patagonia will owe less in taxes this year—$10 million less, in fact,” CEO Rose Marcario writes. “Instead of putting the money back into our business, we’re responding by putting $10 million back into the planet. Our home planet needs it more than we do.”  

#5    “That members of the RC Community become knowledgeable of the clear evidence of the continually growing damage to the environment and all life forms, especially the climate change resulting from the ever-rising temperatures caused by human activity.”    From the RC Goal 2017

#6  In early November 2018 “Extinction Rebellion” led as many as 6,000 protesters in three days of demonstrations and civil disobedience that shut down five bridges in central London during rush hour. The group said it has no choice but to hold the demonstrations to draw attention to Government inaction on pollution levels and climate change.  They said, “We sincerely apologize to anyone whose journey is affected by Extinction Rebellion’s climate action. We’re trying to prevent a far greater harm to all our children’s futures….” 

#7 “We can identify and discharge the early distresses that keep us from facing the present situation and working toward a solution.”

From the RC Draft Policy on Care of the Environment

#8 Greta Thunberg, a 15 year-old Swedish girl, began a solo school strike in late August 2018, sitting outside the Swedish Parliament insisting that they take more bold action to stop climate change.  She struck full-time for a few weeks and has continued for months, one day per week.  Her message to other school children was “Why should we be studying for a future that soon may be no more? This is more important than school, I think.” Over 20,000 young students around the world have joined in the strike, at least part-time.  Greta was invited to speak to the UN Climate Summit in Katowice, Poland last month.  She told delegates from all over the world that since adult leaders have been acting like irresponsible children when it comes to climate change, young people will have to take responsibility. “We have to make our voices heard,” she said.  (Great TED talk here.)

#9  In January 2019, Janet Kabue, a Kenyan RCer, led three one-day workshops in three different communities in Nigeria on climate change.  Just before the workshops she told me that she planned to engage the participants in 1) Discharging on discouragement, 2) Building support for themselves to do this work, and 3) Deciding on action steps. These workshops are the first in a series of workshops she will lead around Africa.

#10 In November 2018, voters in the State of Nevada in the U.S. approved a constitutional amendment requiring that the state’s electric utility companies acquire 50% of their power from renewable sources by 2030.  This was approved by 59% of the voters.  (It will need to be reconfirmed by voters in 2020, but is a major victory for climate activists.)

#11 Youth activists of the Sunrise Movement in the U.S., staged protests in Democratic leaders’ offices, bringing into the mainstream calls for a “Green New Deal” ― a sweeping federal policy that would mandate 100 percent renewable energy and provide good-paying sustainable jobs to millions of Americans.  They were joined by newly elected Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who along with Bernie Sanders and more than 100 other Representatives and Senators, have endorsed the Green New Deal.  Ocasio-Cortez says, “We can use the transition to 100 percent renewable energy as the vehicle to truly deliver and establish economic, social, and racial justice in the United States of America. That is our proposal.”  The youth activists of the Sunrise Movement are planning to tour the country to build support and make the Green New Deal a major issue in the 2020 elections in the U.S.

#12  What are your [pleasant] memories of rain?  Of trees?

(Suggested by Marcie Rendon, ILRP for Native Americans)

#13  What would be the effect of you holding a direction that you “will not turn away”? (And instead, face the damage being done already, and coming soon, as a result of climate change?)

#14  Globally, livestock production results in more greenhouse gas emissions than the transportation sector.  According to “Drawdown” (2017), a study which identified the 100 most effective strategies for reducing global warming, switching to a plant-rich diet is one of the top five strategies.  Many individuals who care about climate change are choosing to eat less meat (especially beef) and adding other protein sources to their diets.  Livestock production directly results in harmful methane emissions.  In addition, the demand for meat creates pressure to expand pasture land through deforestation, which has a severe effect on climate change.  One expert recommends, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

#15   The Divestment Movement Keeps Growing.

In 2012, Unity College, a small liberal arts school in Maine, USA announced that its trustees had voted to sell their shares in coal, oil, and gas companies. Six years later, more than 1,000 institutions have sold their investments in fossil fuels, bringing the total size of portfolios and endowments in the fossil fuel divestment campaign to nearly $8 trillion. At the start of 2018, New York City took the first steps to divest its $189 billion pension fund from fossil fuels. In July, Ireland became the first nation to do so.

The fossil fuel industry is feeling the impact. In 2014, Peabody, the world’s largest coal company, warned investors that divestment could factor into declining profits; the company filed for bankruptcy in 2016. Earlier this year, Shell called divestment a material risk to its business. The divestment movement is forcing the fossil fuel industry to grapple with the real possibility of a future in which its stocks become stranded assets.  (Thanks to the Sierra Club, and to Roger Rosen for posting their list of reasons for hope.)

#16  The last five years have been the five warmest years  in the history of accurate measurement
<http://p.nytimes.com/email/re?location=pMJKdIFVI6pghfX2HXfSzxRpdoyDWYNWN1TiSyEdC6Uat1V7f+38LzO7o4kjjsHoyvg2t2Ol5xevmHkIWWxadg85e9oQQMTMVXqRg3Bhywth7Iq+egrxxM3X49iHLuveKSVQzjXL0x21yxWWlZM1UKjF683AmSwyH9Duzolvy+I=&campaign_id=54&instance_id=7119&segment_id=10057&user_id=7567d3587d0bc6dfff7c1948096a2cee&regi_id=6701569920190206>,
which goes back more than a century.  Reported by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

#17  Over 1.5 million young students in more than 120 countries across all continents took to the streets on Friday, March 15th in the first ever global climate strike! (As reported by 350.org.) The message was loud and clear: world leaders must act now to address the climate crisis and save our future.

  (In Boston, USA, and undoubtedly elsewhere too, young people who are RCers were key organizers and speakers.  Tim Jackins, Diane Shisk, and 26 Regional Reference Persons, who were at a nearby workshop, joined the Boston rally in support of the young climate activists.)

  The global strike was inspired by a young female, Greta Thunberg, who began a one-person school strike for climate in Sweden last fall.

#18  More than 100 cities and counties in the United States have committed to transitioning to 100 percent clean energy. Germany produced enough renewable energy in the first half of 2018 to power every household in the country for a year
<https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/renewable-energy-germany-six-months-year-solar-power-wind-farms-a8427356.html>,
and Portugal ran on renewable energy
<http://www.climateaction.org/news/portugal-runs-on-renewable-power-for-the-whole-of-march>
for the entire month of March, 2018. In many places, it’s now cheaper to build and run new wind and solar farms
<https://thinkprogress.org/xcel-major-electric-utility-carbon-free-by-2050-b976f3fee01a/>  than to run existing coal plants.  – reported by Wendy Becktold in the Sierra Club magazine, Jan 2019

#19  What are your pleasant memories of flowers?

#20  Florida Power & Light, a big utility company in Florida, USA,
announced in January that it will install 30 million solar panels by 2030. This will be "the largest installation of solar panels by a regulated utility in the world."

#21  Rapid death of coal: There's been a cascade of banks backing out of big coal projects. In Japan, a massive coal-fired power plant planned for Chiba prefecture, across the bay from Tokyo, has been abandoned. Campaigners estimate the decision will avoid 12 million 'annual' tons of CO2 emissions. Meanwhile in British Columbia, Canada, a planned coal port that would have shipped coal over to Asia to be burned was rejected, after years of protest. And 2 more coal plants that were the sites of local resistance were defeated in February 2019 in Turkey and Australia, where
a stinging court judgment cited the carbon budget and climate change.  –  from 350.org “Fossil Free News”

#22  Indigenous people in Ecuador go to court to block drilling in the Amazon

Indigenous people in Ecuador have taken the government to court to block big oil companies from being given the right to drill for oil in the
Amazon.  The Waorani people are fighting to save their ancestral lands – and the planet – from destruction.  The government had auctioned off drilling rights to nearly seven million acres of roadless, primary Amazonian forest across southeast Ecuador.

#23  Temperatures rise faster than expected in the Arctic

  A new study finds that the effects of global warming on the Arctic are greater than expected and have effects, beyond the arctic. Rising temperatures in the Arctic have been dramatic and are greater than temperature increases in other areas. The Arctic has gotten warmer by 3.1 C in the cold season (October to May), leading to less snow cover, and less land and sea ice.  This is causing more frequent extreme weather in the Northern Hemisphere, and also affects ocean circulation which will further destabilize weather patterns.

#24  Cheap Renewables Shave $10 Trillion Off Cost to Curb Warming

  The cost of making the transition to clean renewable energy worldwide sufficient to keep global warming below 2° by 2050, has 'fallen by $10 trillion' in the last year according to the International Renewable Energy Agency, based in Abu Dhabi.  This reduction from $125 trillion to $115 trillion is primarily the result of reductions in the costs of building wind and solar farms.  Although the investments required are very large, they will more than pay for themselves in health benefits and savings from climate damage.

#25 Norway is walking away from billions of barrels of oil

  Norway is Western Europe’s largest oil producer and oil export is a huge part of Norway’s economy. The Labor party has decided to withdraw its support for oil exploration offshore the sensitive Lofoten Islands in Norway’s Arctic, creating a solid majority in parliament to keep the area off limits for drilling.  This could mean leaving 1 to 3 billion barrels of oil in the ground.

#26 In mid April Janet Kabue, a Co-Counseling leader in Kenya, wrote that the headline in the Nairobi newspaper was “Grim Days Await Kenyans as Rains Fail”.  They predict virtually no rain during the traditional March-May rain season.  “Climate change is the reason.” “This rainfall highly impacts on the agricultural sector and hence food security in the country. It is a scary time as we face the possibility of running out of basic needs, especially food and water. The work to stop climate change however gives us hope.”

#27 Chicago Goes All In On Clean Energy

In April, the Chicago City Council unanimously passed a resolution committing the city to get 100% of its energy from clean, renewable sources like wind and solar by 2035.  They committed to making the public bus fleet 100% electric by 2040.  A multi-racial coalition of racial justice, environmental, and job groups and unions drafted the resolution and worked for months to secure its passage.  Chicago is the 3rd largest city in the United States. 

#28 UK Declares “Climate Emergency”

In late April 2019 Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who started the school strike for climate, spoke to the Parliament in the United Kingdom, while Extinction Rebellion (a youth-led group originating in the UK demanding government action on climate) staged 11 days of protest. A week later the UK was the first country in the world to declare a climate emergency!

#29 A Whole New Relationship

“The most remarkable feature of this historical moment on Earth is not that we are on the way to destroying the world - we've actually been on the way for quite a while. It is that we are beginning to wake up, as from a millennia-long sleep, to a whole new relationship to our world, to ourselves and each other.” ~Joanna Macy

#30 What are your memories of wind?

#31 New York state just passed the most ambitious climate target in the United States. New York has the third largest economy of the states in the US, and the fourth largest population. They have committed to the entire state getting 100% of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2040 and to a net-zero economy by 2050. The law requires that over one-third of “all state climate and clean energy spending” go to “disadvantaged communities”. According to news reports, this “represents an enormous victory for New York’s climate advocacy community.”

#32 “Doing what’s needed will require each of us to challenge the distress recordings that have left us feeling powerless and alone. In challenging them, we will learn how to move rapidly forward – together and with confidence – in our personal relationships and in public opposition to irrational policies.”

From “Taking a Needed Initiative”, Tim Jackins, April 2019

#33 In late May 2019 students in Bangalore, India filled the steps of the town hall, demanding climate justice and that the government declare a climate emergency. The protest was far larger than the previous one in March. One student told reporters, “There are so many young people here, we need to get more adults involved in protesting.” Students in 11 other Indian cities demonstrated at the same time.

#34 A new study from Stanford University shows that climate change is making poor countries poorer and rich countries richer. The study finds that the economic gap between the richest and poorest nations, in terms of per capita income, is now about 25 percent larger than it would have been without human-caused climate change. Climate change has slowed economic growth especially in tropical countries, while it has boosted economic growth in some rich countries.

#35 Young Climate Activist’s View on Feelings of Despair

Varshini Prakash, the young co-founder of the Sunrise Movement, which is pushing the Green New Deal in the United States, was asked if she ever struggles with despair. She responded, “Yes! I’d probably be emotionally broken if I didn’t. If you’re cutting off the part of you that is despairing, sad, grieving, you cut off your ability to be a whole human being. […We need] practices that allow us to grieve, share stories, understand each other’s pain, and move through that together.”

#36 People Power Wins

Last November the progressive local government in Madrid, Spain, banned gasoline and diesel powered cars from the center of the city, creating a low emissions zone. Emissions dropped and air quality improved. In June, a newly elected local government discontinued it. Emissions rose and 60,000 people took to the streets in protest. A few days later the zone was reinstated.

#37 Extreme Heat

Extreme heat, driven by climate change, is already affecting much of the world and is predicted to get worse in coming years. This year a heat wave in India saw temperatures as high as 123 degrees, causing dozens of deaths. Europe experienced a heat wave in June that set records and caused deaths. In the United States in July the heat index experienced by millions of people was as high as 100 to 115 degrees, causing some fatalities. New reports predict dire consequences of extreme heat for much of Africa and for every state in the contiguous states of the United States. Prompt action on climate change can still prevent the worst of the predicted increases.

#38 Plant-Rich Diet

The raising of livestock for meat and dairy is a huge cause of greenhouse gas emissions, second only to fossil fuels. Large numbers of people shifting to a more plant-rich diet can be one of the top ten solutions that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If meat and cheese are part of your diet, could you move in the direction of a more plant-rich diet now? More information is available at https://www.russvernonjones.org/eating-as-if-climate-change-is-real/

#39 Natural Beauty

Remember some times that you have enjoyed the beauty of the natural world. What did you see? How did you feel? Our personal connection to the beauty of the natural world can provide a firm foundation for our lives and for our action to stop climate change.

#40 Ethiopia plants 350 million trees in one day

  On Monday, July 29, 2019, Ethiopians planted 350 million trees in one day, breaking all previous world records.  The government is encouraging every citizen to plant at least 40 seedlings and gave government workers the day off to plant and encourage others. Their goal is to plant 4 billion trees by October.  The effect on sequestration of carbon will be significant.

  #41 Latin America’s biggest shale reserve will never be fracked

   The state of Paraná in Brazil has agreed to keep its massive shale reserves in the ground, forever.  This was the result of a six year campaign started by local environmentalists, that is now a national campaign.  The legislature voted almost unanimously to ban fracking forever and the governor signed it into law.


  #42 A New “Equitable and Just National Climate Platform” in the United States

  In the United States some national environmental organizations and many environmental justice organizations have recently negotiated an agreement to work together with a shared vision. They write,  “The Equitable and Just National Climate Platform advances the goals of economic, racial, climate, and environmental justice to improve the public health and well-being of all communities, while tackling the climate crisis.” The agreement specifically highlights systemic racism and injustice as key issues in addressing the climate crisis.  More info at https://ajustclimate.org/

 #43  Global Climate Strike – September 20, 2019

  Young people all over the world have been taking to the streets and
striking from school on Fridays.  Now they are asking adults everywhere to join them in a Global Climate Strike on Friday, September 20th.  Actions are already being organized in 150 countries.  Millions of people will walk out of their homes, schools, and workplaces to demand action on the climate emergency.  A German labor union has called on its 2 million members to join the strike.  Others are following.  RC will have a 100-person SAL/UER delegation in New York City offering workshops, forums, support groups and classes to the public during the following week, and joining millions in the streets that day. I encourage all RCers to participate in the public actions that day. One source of information is https://globalclimatestrike.net/


#44  Global Climate Strike – reflections

I recommend that in the week following the Global Climate Strike on
September 20th, we spend our climate moments inviting RCers to share what they did, saw, heard, or read about related to the youth-led climate strike, and how they feel about it.  We might suggest that RCers use whatever contradiction that day offered to discharge regularly the distresses that still inhibit us from taking action.

#45  Extreme Weather Events Displace 7 Million People

According to the New York Times, extreme weather events around the world displaced a record seven million people from their homes during the first six months of this year, even before Hurricane Dorian battered the Bahamas.


#46  From the RC Goal, 2017

*That we decide, discharge, and act against any distress that inhibits us from determining immediate steps, as large and radical as necessary, to end this damage, and from organizing and agitating for their adoption by governments and industries.


#47  Making Buildings Use Less Energy

Heating and cooling buildings around the world uses a tremendous amount of energy. Retrofitting older, inefficient buildings in huge numbers must be a critical part of addressing the climate crisis.  The Dutch have designed an innovative way to do this. Images are taken of a building and then insulating panels are factory-built to fit over the existing building so that they could later be quickly installed on-site.  A package of mechanical systems involving air-source heat pumps and controls is also created off-site and quickly installed.  The method is effective and cost-efficient.  Other nations are exploring replicating this model.  More information is available at
https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/the-challenge-of-scaling-up-energy-retrofits-for-buildings#gs.rl4ie7


 *#48  Global Climate Strike*

Over 7.6 million people took part in marches, rallies and other actions during the week of Global Climate Strikes- September 20- 27, 2019 - according to 350.org. *This is one of the largest coordinated global protests in history*. More than 6,100 events were held in 185 countries with the support of 8,500 websites, 3,000 companies, and 73 Trade Unions. A powerful movement is growing, with younger people taking the lead.


*#49  US-ers agree with student climate strikes*

In a recent poll of adults in the United States, a majority said they agreed with the actions of students around the world who are leading strikes and protests to demand action to address climate change. (Poll by Civiqs, October 2019.)


*#50  Major victory for indigenous groups in Ecuador – protecting Amazon rainforests*

It was announced in November 2019, that a major Chinese company has pulled out of a contract to drill for oil in the Ecuadoran Amazon after protests by Sapara and Kichwa indigenous peoples.  The protests had prevented the oil company from accessing the area by blocking airstrips so planes could not land.  Cancelling this contract effectively stops drilling for oil in this whole remote region of the Amazon in Ecuador.   As a Sapara leader said, the government “was forced to recognize that these territories are ours, we live there.”

*#51  11,000 World Scientists Warn of a Climate Emergency*

A new article signed by more than 11,000 scientists from 153 countries starts out: “Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to “tell it like it is.” On the basis of this obligation and the graphical indicators presented below, *we declare*, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, *clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.”*

Diane Shisk has recommended the article as an excellent and readable summary of the current science, saying it “highlights many of the key issues, and gives really up-to-date information.  It also reports on some hopeful trends, without pretending that things aren't looking pretty dire.”

The full article is at:
https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/advance-article/doi/10.1093/biosci/biz088/5610806?searchresult=1


*#52  SAL Delegation at UN COP in Madrid*

From the Sustaining All Life delegation at the UN COP in Madrid (Thirty-one

RCers from 11 different countries) : “People really like us. The connections we made with each other before we arrived are bearing fruit. It is evident that we are a group with a different kind of awareness and attention than other groups present. People are so interested in our work that they’ve been anticipating our events. Some have joined us for meals or have invited us to join them for events they are leading. Some said that Sustaining All Life is the best booth in the green zone.”

On the second day of the conference the delegates led a Forum for “Voices from Latin America” that was live streamed and attended by people from many nations, and also led two workshops for activists.


*#53  Major Oil Companies Continue to Invest in Accelerating Climate Change*

A recent report from Carbon Tracker found that none of the major world oil companies are making investment decisions consistent with the Paris Accords.  In April of 2019, BP, ExxonMobil, Chevron and others committed $4.3 billion dollars to new drilling in the Caspian Sea – an investment that will only pay off if the world fails to reign in oil usage enough to keep the global temperature rise below the 2 degree mark.  While they publicize their “commitment” to climate action, they are betting against it.


*#54  Fracking Halted in the United Kingdom*

In October, 2019 the government halted all fracking in England, where there were ambitious plans to expand it.  The action followed a scientific report that it was not possible to rule out “unacceptable” consequences for those living near fracking sites and that it was not possible to predict the magnitude of earthquakes fracking might trigger.  Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland already have fracking bans in place.

*#55 Moving Beyond Capitalism to Sustaining All Life*

“Capitalism, the world’s dominant economic system for the past 250 years, has proven itself to be incompatible with human well-being and the sustaining of the environment.  Capitalism’s drive for constant growth—through overconsumption and exploitation of natural and human resources—has created the climate emergency.”

“This system is not natural or inevitable—capitalism had a beginning and it will have an end.  …we need to speed up the end of capitalism.”

*From the SAL handout of the same title.   Read the handout, which includes a fascinating list of examples of “internalized capitalism” and how all of us can overcome it. Available at *

https://www.rc.org/publication/environment/SAL_Handout_Capitalism_2019.pdf

*#56 Fires in Australia*

The combination of drought and heat waves, both exacerbated by climate change, are causing horrific wildfires in Australia.  As of the beginning of January 2020, over 12 million acres have burned, more that a 150 fires are active, many still out of control.  The situation is expected to get worse.  (The temperature rose to a record setting 111°F  in the capital city of Canberra and to 120°F outside Sidney.)  The fires have caused deaths and evacuations, burned more than a thousand homes, and have millions of Australians breathing air dangerously polluted by smoke from the fires.


*#57  Netherlands Supreme Court Orders Action on Climate Change*

For the first time in history judicial power has forced a nation to install a more effective climate policy.  At the end of December 2019, the Supreme Court of the Netherlands ruled that the government has a duty to protect the population from the dangerous effects of climate change. This means the government is required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25% (compared to 1990) by the end of 2020.  (This item was provided by Marijke Wilmans, an RCer in the Netherlands.)


*#58  Pleasant memory of winter*

What pleasant memory do you have of being outside in the winter (or during the rainy season for those who live where there is no winter)?


*#59  Thoughts from an African RC Leader*

“We can talk openly with people around us about climate change and give information in thoughtful amounts.”  “We can stay connected to each other as we do the work.”  “We can reclaim our connection with and love for the earth.”  *From Janet Kabue’s article on page 12 of the October 2019 Present Time.  Janet lives in Kenya. *I recommend reading the whole1-page article.

#60  Teachers’ Labor Union Steps Up on Climate Change*

The Labor Network for Sustainability reports that the American Federation of Teachers (the second largest teachers’ union in the U.S.) has just provided “a sterling example” of educating their members about climate change.  The entire current issue of its magazine American Educator is devoted to teachers and climate change.  It’s available free online.  The union president describes youth climate strikes as “a beacon of hope on climate change”.

*#61  Protecting and Expanding Indigenous Land Rights*

Around the world, land owned and controlled by indigenous groups and communities sequesters large amounts of carbon and has very limited emissions.   Protecting and expanding indigenous land rights is a vital climate mitigation strategy – so significant that it ranks in the top 40 of the 100 most effective  strategies for reversing global warming identified by the widely-respected Drawdown Project.

*#62  Financial Institutions Abandon the Coal Industry*

Over 100 and counting globally significant financial institutions have announced their divestment from coal. These announcements have had a real impact on the coal industry.  A few months ago, Japan’s $1.5 trillion USD pension fund withdrew billions of dollars from BlackRock (the world’s biggest asset manager) arguing that environment, social and government issues must be taken into consideration as part of their investment ethos.  Now BlackRock has announced that it is increasing its divestment from coal and working to drive their clients to invest in “sustainable” portfolios. According to 350.org, even the largest financial institutions in the world are feeling the pressure of people power from the climate movement now.

*#63  Kenyans win cancellation of proposed new coal plant*

After years of resistance, last June a Kenyan tribunal cancelled a developer’s license to build a new coal plant at Lamu, a stunning coastal UNESCO world heritage site. It was a huge victory, made even sweeter by the fact that the court recognized the lack of public participation in decision-making and risks to people and the environment.  350.org identified this as one of the “top 10 people-powered moments of 2019”.

*#64 Indigenous groups, and others, stop a new mine in Canada and offshore drilling in Australia*

The Teck company pulled its application for a vast new tar-sands mine in Alberta, after sustained campaigning led by, among others, some of Canada’s indigenous groups.

The Equinor company announced that it would not proceed with plans for offshore drilling in the Great Australian Bight, after sustained campaigning led by, among others, indigenous groups.

*#65  Tools for ending racism in the environmental movement*

“Although racism is aimed at particular sections of the population, it corrodes and corrupts the entire society – severely limiting the society’s progress, and the progress of every individual within the society, toward a full and meaningful life.  Racism limits the effectiveness of the environmental movement by limiting its focus and vision, and keeping it from being strong, diverse, and united.”  From the SAL handout of the same title.  The full handout is available online to read or download at
https://a41128d6-aad5-44bf-8ab5-4fc7c7123d0a.filesusr.com/ugd/9a5b93_6ef8bc693746401b9a4b6d38ff01e7a9.pdf

*#66 New Report from 350.org

Oil, gas and coal companies are directly and indirectly responsible for some of the worst human rights abuses committed by corporations around the world* in the last three decades according to a new report from 350.org. From the forced removal of communities in Turkey to make way for coal; to restrictions on the right to protest in the United States (including violations of protesters’ federal civil rights and abuses by officers acting on behalf of pipeline construction companies); to contamination of Indigenous waters in the Ecuadorian Amazon, fossil fuel extraction endangers local people and their ways of life.


*#67  Disrupting the flow of money to the fossil fuel industry*

The University of Michigan, pressured by students, announced that it would freeze all new investments in fossil fuels while it decides whether to join others in purging its portfolio of fossil-fuel stocks. As Mark Bernstein, a member of the university’s Board of Regents, put it, “We have a responsibility to do everything we can to disrupt the flow of carbon into the atmosphere. This requires disrupting the flow of money to the fossil-fuel industry.”

#68 Oregon, U.S.  Jury **Refuses to Convict Climate Activists of Protest Charges After Historic “Necessity Defense”*

Before the coronavirus social distancing began, a group of Extinction Rebellion activists in Portland, Oregon, U.S. were arrested and charged with trespassing as they attempted to disrupt a major corporation involved in the global facilitation and transport of tar sands oil—one of the world’s most egregious source of carbon emissions and climate change.  In court, the judge allowed the activists to use a “necessity defense” – to argue that their actions were necessary to prevent a greater evil, namely the distribution of the tar sands oil.  An experienced RCer was one of the protesters.  It is believed that this is the first time in the United States that a judge has instructed a jury to consider the “choice of evils” defense and a jury decided not to convict on that basis.

*#69  Are you getting outdoors?*

As many of us  practice staying physically separate from each other to stop the spread of COVID-19, are you getting outdoors?  What do you appreciate about being out in the open air?  Where have you walked/been? What have you enjoyed?

*#70 Sustaining All Life is having a positive impact in Africa*

Janet Kabue, the ARP in Nairobi, Kenya, led 15 workshops in 11 African countries on Climate Change in 2019.  In one of several videos no available on the RC website at
https://www.rc.org/publication/environment/sustainingalllife  

She says:

“Sustaining All Life is really having a positive impact in Africa  …one of the many, many positive feedbacks that I have gotten from these [SAL] workshops is that people get to remember that we are not alone and that there is a big, big community of people that are rooting for us.  … giving us hope by saying it’s going to be possible to combat climate change and we get to do it together and there is so much hope in working together.”  I encourage you to view the video of Janet and perhaps share it with your classes.


#71  Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Wins a Victory in Dakota Access Pipeline Case in the U.S. In late March 2020, a federal U.S. judge ordered a sweeping new environmental review of the Dakota Access Pipeline.  This pipeline has been carrying oil for three years, but has continued to be contested by environmental groups and Native American tribes who live near it.  The judge found that the initial review by the government did not adequately consider whether an oil spill under the Missouri River would affect the tribe’s fishing and hunting rights; whether the project might disproportionately affect tribes and other at-risk, low-income communities; and whether the pipeline’s effects on the environment would be “highly controversial.” Whether the pipeline will continue to operate during the review period will be argued in court soon.

*#72 Seventeen EU nations back a green post-coronavirus recovery*

Ireland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Malta have now joined 13 other EU nation in backing plans for a climate-focused post-coronavirus recovery. The news means most climate and environment ministers in the 27-nation EU now back a call to put the European Green Deal at the heart of a post-coronavirus recovery. Their letter, now signed by 17 EU climate ministers, says: “The focus is presently on fighting the pandemic and its immediate consequences.

We should, however, begin to prepare ourselves to rebuild our economy and to introduce the necessary recovery plans to bring renewed, sustainable progress and prosperity back to Europe and its citizens….  While doing so, we must not lose sight of the persisting climate and ecological crisis. Building momentum to fight this battle has to stay high on the political agenda.”


*#73  We each have a part to play*

From RC leader Glen Hauer:  “The weaknesses of our current system are on display now and many people’s minds are open to radical changes, including the kinds of change it would take to solve the climate crisis.  It is also a time when purveyors of pseudo-reality are stepping up efforts to deflect and confuse, especially with racism and nationalism.  What the outcome will be is not a given.  We each have a part to play in every relationship and conversation.”

*#74  Clear Skies*

The lockdowns from the coronavirus crisis – the shutting down of factories, and vastly reduced car, truck and airplane emissions – have resulted in clearer skies in China, in California and New York, in industrial areas in Europe, and beyond.  The waters of the Venice canals are suddenly clear and beautiful, and the stars can be seen at night in Delhi, India.  Many of these gains will be quickly lost as factory and transportation emissions return to previous levels.  Nonetheless, we have seen how quickly reduced emissions can make a difference, and how that difference removes health-harming pollution and makes the world more beautiful.  Native people in North America have said, “Mother Earth is healing herself.”  Bold action on climate can have the same effect – permanently.

*#75  Happy Leap Year!  *

(“Leap Year” occurs every 4 years, when February has 29 days.)

Quote from Naomi Klein, Canadian author:

“Let's embrace [Leap Year] as a metaphor for the scale of transformation our time in history requires. We face so many overlapping and intersecting crises that small steps aren't going to save us. We need to gather momentum and leap somewhere new.”

*#76 Major fossil fuel divestment by faith institutions*

In mid-May 42 faith institutions from 14 countries announced their divestment from fossil fuels because of their damage to people and the climate. This is the largest-ever joint announcement of divestment from fossil fuels from faith institutions. It comes from institutions in Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Myanmar, Spain, the UK, and the United States, and includes Methodist, Anglican, Catholic and Buddhist  institutions, among others.

As governments around the world make substantial investments in an economic recovery, these faith communities are urging them to think long term and focus on a recovery that is low-carbon and just.


*#77  A U.S. pipeline stopped for good*
In mid-May the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in the United States released a long awaited decision on a key permit for a fracked gas pipeline in New York City.  Not only did they deny the permit, but the company cannot reapply again – which means the project is stopped for good!   According to 350.org, “The Williams Company has been fighting *for years* to get this 23 mile long pipeline from Pennsylvania into New York City approved to transport dirty fracked gas.”  Thousands of people have rallied, written letters, submitted public comments, and lobbied politicians in a successful 3 year campaign to stop this pipeline.


*#78  More catastrophic storms exacerbated by climate change hit frontline nations*
The strongest cyclone to hit South Asia in decades, Amphan slammed into Bangladesh and India, forcing 2 million people to evacuate even as coronavirus case numbers continue to climb in May 2020.  It came just after Typhoon Vongfong lashed the Philippines, putting hundreds of thousands at further risk of landslides and flooding, and prompting churches and malls to open their doors as extra shelter to help people maintain physical distance.


*#79  Public opinion in the U.S.*
According to a recent study by researchers at Yale and George Mason Universities, public opinion in the United States has continued to move toward greater concern about climate change, so that climate change is now one of the top voting priorities for Democratic voters, and even a third of Republicans would support declaring that global warming is a national emergency.   (Note: Democratic and Republican are the two large political parties in the United States.)

*#80  Jane Fonda*
“Frankly, climate and racial injustice don’t seem like two separate causes anymore.” – Jane Fonda, June 2020

*#81  Major Bad News*
Overall, greenhouse gas emissions worldwide are not falling.  In fact, they are still increasing (pre-COVID).  Although solar and wind energy are growing, the worldwide consumption of energy is growing even faster. Fossil fuels provide roughly 80% of all world energy use.  (It’s still true that we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 50% by 2030 to have a chance of keeping temperature rise to the 1.5° C target.)


*#82  Climate Organizations and Black Lives Matter *
Some major climate organizations have been backing Black Lives Matter. Some examples:  “If you care about the planet, you must dismantle white supremacy.” (350.org);   “Stop the war on Black lives.  We need to dismantle the systems that exploit people and planet.”  (Greenpeace); “Racism is killing the planet.  White supremacy leads the way toward disposable people and a disposable natural world.” (Sierra Club)


*#83  The Vatican Calls for the Church to Divest from Fossil Fuels*
The Vatican released its first-ever set of comprehensive environmental guidelines.   They identify concrete ways for all Catholic institutions to implement the Pope’s encyclical “Laudato Si: on care for our common home”. It includes a call for divestment from fossil fuels that Bill McKibben calls one of the “great moments” in the decade-long divestment movement.

*#84  From Tim Jackins and Barbara Love*
Tim:  “Our societies are functioning worse and worse for the vast majority of the world’s people.  And present conditions are making everything obvious enough that the possibility of change seems within reach.”  “We get to be alive,  more alive than we’ve yet dared.”


Barbara:  “We are going to seize this moment to make the changes we’ve been wanting to make, to create a new world that is characterized by fairness and justice and equity.  We will seize this moment to usher in that new world.”

*From “An Unprecedented Opportunity” in Present Time, July 2020.*

*#85  Dakota Access Pipeline*
In the United States a federal judge has ordered the Dakota Access pipeline be shut down (temporarily?) and the oil removed from it and required that the government conduct a new, extensive environmental review.   This pipeline has long been opposed by a great many indigenous people and their allies and has been the focus of years of committed organizing.   This is the first time in U.S history that a judge has ordered a pipeline shut down and the oil removed.

*#86  Oceans*
The oceans are warming, becoming more acidic, and their health is suffering severely as a result of greenhouse gas emissions, overfishing, plastic and other pollution.  40% of the world’s population depends on the oceans for food.  70% of the world’s oxygen is produced by marine life. 93% of the heat trapped by greenhouse gas emissions in the last 100 years has been absorbed by the oceans.  If we stop greenhouse gas emissions and start interacting wisely with the oceans, they can recover much of their health, provide even more food, and contribute to solving climate change.

*#87  Leading U.S presidential candidate significantly improves his climate proposals*
Joe Biden, who is currently leading in the polls heading into the U.S. presidential election in November, recently released major improvements in his climate proposals.  It’s not a full Green New Deal or everything climate activists have been demanding, but he does call for spending $2 trillion over the next four years to expand clean energy in the transportation, electricity and building sectors;  direct 40% of the benefits of the proposals to disadvantaged communities; and achieve an emissions-free electricity sector nationwide by 2035.  The climate movement is widely credited with causing these changes in his policy proposals.

#88 Sneak Preview for all RCers – SAL/UER Workshops and Forums*
From August 29 to September 9, 2020 teams of RCers will be presenting ten SAL/UER workshops and forums online, just for RCers.  These will be practice sessions in preparation for presenting them for the wide-world during Climate Week.  All RCers are invited to attend these practic sessions – a great chance to see how the teams are planning to share RC perspectives and tools with non RCers.  These practice sessions are also fundraisers for SAL/UER.  Donations are invited, but not required, from those attending.  See the great topics and the full schedule and register and donate now, in advance, at https://www.rc.org/workshop/salfundraiser2020   Have your RC class go to this page on our website together, explore what’s available, and sign up to attend one or more, if possible.

*#89  More than a quarter of Bangladesh flooded*
Climate change has intensified rains severely in some parts of the world. At the end of July 2020, more than a quarter of Bangladesh (a nation of 165 million people) was flooded from torrential rains and river flooding – washing away much of the meager assets of some of the world’s poorest people – their goats and chickens, houses of mud and tin, and sacks of rice stored for the lean season.  Again, those least responsible for climate change are suffering its worst effects.  What would you have to discharge to fully face this inequity and allow it to inform your response to climate change?

*#90*  *Ask RCers to invite their friends to SAL/UER Climate Week events*
The week of September 21-27, 2020 RCers will be presenting 11 workshops, 6 forums, and 2 classes for the public online, in connection with Climate Week.  This is an unprecedented opportunity for RCers everywhere to invite their friends, family, and climate organizations to an RC event designed for non-RCers.  They are all listed here: https://www.sustainingalllife.org/climate-week-2020; There is a downloadable flyer for each of the events.  You can share the link widely, and you can also download one of the flyers and invite someone to attend a specific event with you on Zoom.  I encourage you to spend a bit of time in your RC class, exploring this page on our website together and counseling each class member on inviting people they know.

*#91  “Peace can only be attained when human beings live in proper relationship** to the natural world”* ~ Sid Hill, the Tadodaho, or traditional leader of the six-nation Haudenosaunee Confederacy, comprised of the Mohawk, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora nations. 

–from Marcie Rendon, ILRP for Native Americans

#92  China and South Africa have net zero emissions in their sights*
*Two major coal-using countries have taken baby steps toward major emissions reductions. *In mid September, after a leaders’ summit with the EU, China’s foreign ministry revealed for the first time that carbon neutrality is under consideration as part of the country’s mid-century climate plan. South Africa expressed an aspiration to be a net zero economy by 2050.  Many nations now have goals of being carbon neutral at least by 2050 and some are making meaningful progress.

*#93 Record-breaking wildfires in California and Oregon in the U.S.*
Wildfires, exacerbated by climate change, are burning millions of acres in California, Oregon and other parts of the western U.S., devastating towns and blanketing communities in thick smoke.  The smoke is so extreme that it has reached Europe.  Thousand of homes have been destroyed, more than 30 people killed, and tens of thousands of people evacuated from their homes.

*#94  Jews and the climate emergency*
From the SAL Climate Week handout on this topic:  “In many progressive movements, issues around Israel have become divisive. Criticism of the policies of the Israeli government towards the Palestinian people is not anti-Semitism. But singling Israel out for blame for the complex difficulties in the Middle East can be an aspect of anti-Semitism and can play an unnecessarily divisive role in liberation movements globally. It is important to have climate activists understand how anti-Semitism operates so it cannot be used to derail the climate justice movement. Jews can and must bring our long history of progressive organizing to the climate justice movement.” The full handout is available at
https://a41128d6-aad5-44bf-8ab5-4fc7c7123d0a.filesusr.com/ugd/9a5b93_052c42a467d7420db8ec73b45a16cd4c.pdf


*#95  It’s still possible to lower carbon emissions in the US by 70-80% by 2035*
A newly published detailed study of energy sources and needs, production capacity, jobs, and finance from “Rewiring America” finds that it is technologically possible to have such a reduction through greening the grid and widespread electrification.  The national mobilization required to bring it about would create 15 million to 20 million jobs in the next decade, could save consumers money immediately, improve health and quality of life, while being inclusive of all income and racial groups, and requiring rather modest governmental funds.  The needed mobilization could not rely primarily on market forces; it would “entail government taking a direct hand in industry, working with it to hit specific production targets through some mix of incentives, penalties, and mandates.”  It clearly will require a massive social movement to demand such governmental action.

#96 No more coal-fired power plants from one of the world’s largest manufacturers*
General Electric (GE), one of the world’s largest manufacturers of coal-fired power plants, announced recently it will no longer build such plants.  The company said,  “GE will continue to focus on and invest in its core renewable energy and power generation businesses, working to make electricity more affordable, reliable, accessible, and sustainable.”  Coal production in the United States peaked in 2008 and has been declining ever since.

*#97  Electric cars only for California starting in 2035*
The state of California, in the U.S., has banned the sale of any new gas-powered cars starting in 2035. The economy of California is the largest in the United States. If California were a sovereign nation it would rank as the world's fifth largest economy, ahead of India and behind Germany.

*#98  Richest 1% emit more CO2 than poorest 50%*
A recent report from Oxfam finds the wealthiest 1% of individuals worldwide are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the poorest 50%. This means the wealthiest are using up the carbon budget (the amount of carbon the world can emit without global temperature rise going over 1.5%) of the entire world.  Oxfam calls for redressing this in many ways, including greater taxes on high-carbon luxuries, such as a high-emitting vehicles and a frequent-flyer levy, to funnel investment into low-carbon alternatives and improving the lot of the poor.

*#99  Activists have an effect: credit agency says pipelines are an unwise financial investment*
The international credit-rating agency Moody’s pointed out in an analysis recently that natural-gas pipelines are now an unwise financial investment, partly because activists have become adept at blocking them.

#100 – Cyclones in the Philippines – Can we discharge and look?*

*Twenty-one cyclones, increased by climate change, have pummeled the
Philippines this year --  6 in the span of just 4 weeks, including* Super Typhoon Goni, the world's most powerful this year. The cyclones bring *disastrous flooding, wind damage, mud slides – with fatalities and destruction of food supplies, homes, and employment, all while the people are dealing with COVID19 as well.* Frontline communities everywhere are being hit the hardest in this Climate Emergency.  “We need to discharge our early material that distracts us from looking at the devastation that is happening throughout the world.” – Teresa Enrico

#*101  Solar/Wind Company surpasses ExxonMobil – Solar is cheapest*

NextEra Energy, the world's largest solar and wind power generator, has surpassed ExxonMobil in market value.  Not long ago, ExxonMobil had the highest financial value of any company in the world. Energy produced by solar panels is now cheaper than that produced by coal or gas-powered plants in most nations, the International Energy Agency said in its recent annual report.

*#102  Climate alarm in US is 4 times greater than climate denial*

New polling (reported October 2020) finds that four times as many USers are “alarmed” about climate change as deny it.  Overall 54% of USer are either “alarmed” or “concerned” compared to a total of only 18% that are “doubtful” or “dismissive”.  The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication also reports that “because conservative media organizations prominently feature “Dismissive” politicians, pundits and industry officials, most Americans overestimate the prevalence of “Dismissive” beliefs among other Americans.”  “Overall, Americans are becoming more worried about global warming, more engaged with the issue, and more supportive of climate solutions.”

*#103 Asian nations’ net zero commitments signal a turning point on coal* China announced plans to reach net zero emissions by 2060.  Japan and South Korea have pledged net zero by 2050.  A coal phase-out in Asia will logically follow. The Philippines declared a moratorium on new coal plants, affecting some 8GW of planned capacity. While there are more coal plants still planned worldwide, a shrinking number of financial institutions are willing to back them, and many will be scrapped.  According to *Climate Home News*, “Australia looks increasingly isolated with its prime minister insisting on growing coal exports and refusing to join the nations committing to net zero.”

*#104  New Zealand commits to a carbon-neutral government by 2025*

In early December 2020 New Zealand declared a “climate change emergency” –with Parliament approving a resolution introduced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.  They set an intention to be carbon free by 2050.  Perhaps more significantly she declared that the New Zealand government will “demonstrate what is possible to other sectors of the economy by reducing the government’s own emissions and becoming a carbon-neutral government by 2025.”  There’s a 2 minute video of excerpts of the Prime Minister’s speech that shows the Parliament bursting into applause when she announces this commitment to the government being carbon neutral by 2025.       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNJNcavSM_8

*#105  Major U.S. Corporations urge government to enact ambitious climate
solutions*

As reported in the Wall Street Journal (an U.S., business-focused, international newspaper):  “A broad cross section of big U.S. corporations including Amazon.com Inc., Citigroup Inc. and Ford Motor Co. are calling on Congress to work closely with President-elect Joe Biden to address the threat of climate change.

In a letter to be sent to Congress and the Biden transition team more than 40 companies say they support the U.S. rejoining the Paris climate accord, and urge “President-elect Biden and the new Congress to work together to enact ambitious, durable, bipartisan climate solutions.”  The letter doesn’t detail any specific action plan or policy proposal, but it is the latest indication that a significant cohort of corporate America is lining up with environmentalists on climate change.”

*#106  What we eat, how we grow food, and reducing food waste are critical*

Rising greenhouse gas emissions from worldwide food production will make it extremely difficult to limit global warming to the targets set in the Paris climate agreement, even if emissions from fossil-fuel burning were halted immediately, scientists reported in *Science *magazine in November 2020. Keeping warming to 1.5° could still be achieved through “rapid and ambitious” changes to the global food system over the next several decades, including adopting plant-rich diets, improved agricultural practices, and reducing food waste.  Climate goals cannot be reached without changes in the food system.

*#107  Climate Debt – What does the U.S. owe the world?*

The United States has released more global warming pollution since the beginning of the industrial revolution than any other country.  The U.S. is the world’s wealthiest country with much of that wealth concentrated in a small elite.  The U.S. has a responsibility to do its share as part of the international effort to stabilize the global climate system.  What is its fair share given its responsibility for total emissions?  The U.S. Climate Action Network has recently published a new calculation that the U.S share is to reduce emissions 195% below 2005 levels by 2030.  They recommend this be accomplished through a 70% reduction domestically and an additional 125% through support to developing nations to enable them to reduce their emissions faster than they otherwise could.  More reductions both domestically and internationally will be required after 2030, but the 2030 targets are key right now.

*#108  Japanese activists get largest bank in Japan to commit to divest *

 Japanese climate activists have led a campaign to get major Japanese banks to stop funding coal developers all over the world.  Thanks to their pressure, Mitsubishi —the largest banking institution in Japan — has announced that it will eliminate $3.58 billion in loan balances for coal-fired power projects by 2040.

*#109  Climate migration*

Estimates for the number of people around the world who will be forced to become climate migrants by 2050 range between twenty-five million and a billion people.  Consider the impact on both the migrant families and on the entire world society.

*#110 “Taking a Needed Initiative” – excerpts*

 “The RC Community, recognizing the clear evidence of dangerous and ongoing climate change caused primarily by human activity, will face the challenge of finding and acting on ways to stop it.… Doing what’s needed will require each of us to challenge the distress recordings that have left us feeling powerless and alone. In challenging them, we will learn how to move rapidly forward—together and with confidence—in our personal relationships and in public opposition to irrational policies.”
   - Tim Jackins, April 2019

*#111 Biggest divestment from fossil fuels by a pension fund – ever*

 New York State, in the United States, announced that it will eliminate oil and gas stocks from its $226 billion financial portfolio, becoming the first U.S. state, and reportedly the biggest pension fund anywhere in the world, to divest from fossil fuels. Organizers have been organizing, protesting, marching, and lobbying for five years, gradually building a multi-racial, multi-generational movement and winning other smaller victories along the way.  This is expected to have global implications, impacting other funds, banks, and financial institutions and through them, the entire fossil fuel industry.

*Additional Note to Climate Moment #111: There are several larger pension funds in the world, including one in the Netherlands which is twice the size of the NY fund and is also in the process of divesting from fossil fuels.


*# 112  More of Europe’s electricity came from renewables than from fossil fuels in 2020*

For the first time, more of the electricity used in Europe for an entire year came from renewable sources of energy such as solar panels and wind turbines, than from fossil fuels. While this is a major advance, the transition to renewable energy will need to move even faster to meet the goal of a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030.


*# 113  Record-setting costly world-wide weather disasters in 2020 *

Hurricanes, typhoons, thunderstorms, droughts, and devastating monsoon rains caused record-setting damage around the world in 2020.  For the first time there were 50 weather disasters that each caused over a billion US dollars in damages.  The total cost of weather disasters in 2020 is estimated at US$258 billion.


*# 114  GM will sell only zero emission vehicles by 2035*

General Motors, one of the largest carmakers in the world, has announced that by 2035 they will sell only zero emission vehicles. G.M. stock jumped after its announcement, reflecting a growing consensus among investors that electric cars represent the future.


*# 115 New survey in the United States finds increasing support for climate

  • 86% support setting stronger energy efficiency standards for new buildings.

A survey of voters in the US conducted after the recent election found:

  • 72% support transitioning the U.S. economy (including electric utilities, transportation, buildings, and industry) from fossil fuels to 100% clean energy by 2050.
  • 82% support providing tax rebates to people who purchase energy-efficient vehicles or solar panels.
  • 83% support creating a jobs program that would hire unemployed oil and gas workers to safely close down thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells, which are a source of water and methane pollution.
  • 86% support setting stronger energy efficiency standards for new buildings.

*#116  Improved scientific understanding indicates need for more
significant emission reductions*

A recent report on “New Insights in Climate Science 2020” (https://10nics2020.futureearth.org/ - explore) indicates that the climate is even more sensitive to carbon dioxide emissions than previously thought. This means that “moderate emission reductions are less likely to meet the Paris climate targets than previously anticipated.”  In other words, we will need very significant reductions in emissions to have any chance of keeping global temperature to 1.5°C or even 2°C.

#117  Bangladesh scraps nine coal power plants as overseas finance dries up

In February 2021 Bangladesh announced that it was cancelling 9 planned coal power plants.  There were multiple reasons, but difficulty obtaining international financing as investors are pulling away from dirty fossil fuel projects was significant. The Asian Development Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank have both signaled they will move away from backing coal. The region’s biggest coal financiers, Japan and South Korea, have started to curtail their support for overseas coal projects under mounting international pressure.


*#118  Banning plastics is a climate issue*

An RCer who is a high school senior, Noah Kasis, recently spearheaded a successful campaign to get the city of Northampton, Massachusetts, U.S. to ban plastic bags from all retail establishments and forbid food establishments to use plastic containers or utensils with take-out/take-away food.  Plastic is a climate change issue (as well as a health, pollution, and wildlife issue) because it is made from fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions occur at every stage of its life cycle. Fossil fuel companies, facing a worldwide transition to fossil-free energy, are planning to expand the manufacture of plastics to continue a need for drilling for oil and gas and to boost their profits.  Opponents of the fossil fuel companies recommend local actions as building blocks of national and global movements to require alternatives to plastics. (Nearly half of all plastic production goes into single-use packaging and products.)

*#119  SAL and UER – notice these descriptions of two of our projects*

“Sustaining All Life (SAL) is an international grassroots organization working to end the climate emergency within the context of ending all divisions among people. United to End Racism (UER) is a group of people of all ages and backgrounds, in many different countries, who are dedicated to eliminating racism in the world and supporting the efforts of all other groups with this goal. UER and SAL are projects of and use the tools of Re-evaluation Counseling.”  - from SAL/UER handouts used at wide-world conferences, events, and workshops.


*#120 Electric Vehicles are predicted to take over the market quickly*

“Inside Climate News” reports that UBS, an international investment bank, has said “its analysts are increasingly confident that EV’s [electricvehicles] will have 20 percent of the global market by 2025 and 50 percentby 2030, and a chance of 100 percent by 2040. Their current share is 4percent globally, and 2 percent in the United States. An EV boom of thatscale would mean a steep decrease in emissions from transportation, which will help in global efforts to avoid the worst effects of climate change.”

*#121  Extreme heat and humidity levels must be limited for human survival*

A recently released study suggests that limiting global warming to 1.5° C will likely prevent most of the tropics from exceeding the limits of human ability to adapt to the combined effects of extreme heat and humidity.  A greater rise in global temperatures would make it likely that areas of the tropics would experience episodes of greater than 35°C in wet-bulb temperature. Wet bulb temperature is so-called because it is measured by a thermometer that has its bulb wrapped in a wet cloth, helping mimic the ability of humans to cool their skin by evaporating sweat. A wet bulb temperature of 35°C is the limit of human adaptability. Prolonged exposure to higher temperatures can be fatal, even for healthy people. (Roughly 3 billion people live in the topical zone.)

*#122  The economic benefits of climate actions to meet the Paris goals will be five times greater than their cost*

Studies done by the “Drawdown” project find that while huge investments will need to be made for a worldwide transition to renewable energy and to limit global warming, the benefits/savings resulting from  those investments will be roughly 5 times greater than their cost.  This is true even before the public health benefits of cleaner air and the savings from limiting climate catastrophes are included in the calculation.

*#123  Canadian Supreme Court backs national carbon tax*

The Supreme Court in Canada has ruled that a federal tax on carbon is constitutional.  Canada has a national carbon tax that some provinces opposed and challenged.  In its ruling the Court said that fighting climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions was a matter of “national concern” protected under the constitution. The court wrote, “This matter is critical to our response to an existential threat to human life in Canada and around the world.”

*#124   New Zealand forces banks to reveal climate impact of loans*

New Zealand became the first country to force its banks to reveal the impact that their loans will have on the climate crisis. Polls show that large majorities of USers support such plans, too.

*#125   Worldwide CO2 emissions still rising*

Despite all the goals that have been set, summits held, and actions taken, global CO2 emissions are still rising each year.  The rate of the rise is still accelerating.  A 50% decrease from 2010 levels is needed to avoid the catastrophic results of exceeding a 1.5°C rise in global temperatures, and is still technically possible.  RC is partly about getting an accurate picture of reality.

*#126   Banning flying to destinations reachable by train*

The French parliament took a first step toward banning short-haul domestic flights between destinations easily served by trains. The idea came from a citizens’ climate assembly. The measures taken so far are very limited, but the principle has been established.  Travel by train is much less carbon intensive than flying.


*#127  What’s your next step?*

What is your next action step to address the climate crisis?  What are the sessions for you to have next?  What step can you take in your personal lifestyle?  What action can you take to work with others and help organize bold actions?

*#128   Scientist Rebellion*

A new group called Scientist Rebellion includes scientists from over 20 countries.  They recently participated in 4 days of direct action to expose the magnitude of the climate crisis.  Their actions included hunger strikes in Europe, Djibouti, Mexico, and Australia; teach-ins; plastering buildings with scientific papers; and chaining themselves to government buildings.

*#129  Consign coal to history*

In less than a decade the UK has reduced its use of coal for generating electricity from 40% of electric power to less than 2%.  The UK head of the upcoming UN COP climate summit has called on all nations to eliminate international finance of coal, to abandon coal power, and to make this year’s UN climate talks the moment the world “consigns coal to history.”

*#130  Increase in methane emissions*

2020 saw the largest single increase in methane in the atmosphere since we started taking measurements, in the nineteen-eighties. Methane traps heat in the Earth’s atmosphere at roughly 86 times the rate of carbon dioxide and is a major contributor to climate change.

*#131 Young people win*

Young people have been taking their governments to court over climate change and are starting to win.  The German Supreme Court ruled that some provisions of the 2019 climate change act were unconstitutional and "incompatible with fundamental rights," because they lacked a detailed plan for reducing emissions and placed the burden for future climate action on young people.  A court in Paris ruled that France is legally responsible for its failure to meet emission cutting targets.  Both suits were brought by young people.

*#132  Bad day for big oil*

One day in late May, big international oil companies suffered 3 major set-backs in one day. ExxonMobil shareholders, over the strenuous objections of management, elected three dissident directors to its board, all committed to climate action. At Chevron 61% of shareholders voted to require the company to cut emissions from the use of its products. A court in the Netherlands ruled that Shell Oil, an international company headquartered in the Netherlands, must cut oil and gas carbon emissions from use of its products by 45% by 2030.

*#133   50% higher is bad news*

In May the global level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached a new dangerous high: 420 parts per million–50% higher than the pre-industrial level of 280. This undesirable benchmark is particularly problematic because carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for 1,000 years or more. Worse yet, the average rate of increase in the last few years has been faster than ever.

*#134  Conservative international energy agency says no more oil or gas wells or coal mines*

The International Energy Agency (IEA), which has generally been supportive of the fossil fuel industry, issued a major new report that finds that it is still possible for the world to get to net zero emissions by 2050 and lays out a pathway for getting there.  The pathway requires that no new wells or mines be opened beyond those already in operation now.

*#135  Major wind farms coming in the U.S.*

The Biden administration in the U.S. has approved the nation’s first major wind farm, off the Atlantic coast of Massachusetts, and has opened two areas of the Pacific coast of California to wind farm development for the first time.

*#136  Indigenous news items

Indigenous people in Nevada, U.S. have secured federal government permits for two large solar projects on tribal lands.  In Washington state in the Northwest U.S. two tribes have received federal funds for relocating communities away from coastal areas threatened by rising sea levels and other climate change effects.  As the Hoh tribe chairwoman said, “Tribes, especially those on the coast, are living with the impacts of climate change every day. The stronger storms, increased erosion, and rising temperatures we see at Hoh should serve as a call to the nation to do the real work needed to address the climate crisis.” (Thanks to Judy Gibson for this info.)

*#137  Fires and floods in Europe

Thousands of people were displaced from their homes in July and some have died as a result of nearly two hundred forest fires blazing across southern Turkey. There was a similar picture in parts of Greece and Italy, as scorching temperatures and low rainfall left forests tinder-dry.  These fires occurred only shortly after deadly catastrophic rain and flooding in Germany and Belgium.  Meanwhile scientists have become much more able to show that it is climate change that has dramatically increased the likelihood of such disasters.

*#138  Renewable energy generation grows in the U.S.

A report out in July from the U.S Energy Information Administration shows that in 2020 renewable energy became the second greatest source of electricity in the U.S., even though it is still only 21% of the electric supply. Previously, renewable energy trailed both coal and nuclear energy.  The greatest source of electricity in the U.S. is still fossil fuel methane gas (40%), often called “natural gas.” 

*#139  Australia’s “biggest climate polluter”

AGL is a multi-billion dollar energy company in Australia with lots of dirty coal power-plants.  A Greenpeace campaign to expose AGL’s huge contribution to Australian carbon emissions led to the company suing Greenpeace.  Greenpeace not only won in court, but the suit led to over 900 news stories around the world with almost every one of them including some variation of the phrase “AGL, Australia’s biggest climate polluter.”  Australian power prices have dropped due to increased inexpensive renewable energy and AGL’s stock price has fallen dramatically. (Thanks to Nicky Page for this info.)

*#140  Major impact of indigenous resistance to fossil fuel projects in North America*

Indigenous peoples have developed highly effective campaigns in the fight against extraction projects in North America that utilize a blended mix of non-violent direct action, political lobbying, multimedia, divestment, and other tactics to accomplish victories.  A new report shows that Indigenous communities resisting fossil fuel projects in North America cumulatively over the last 10 years have stopped or delayed billions of tons of greenhouse gas pollution– an amount equivalent to at least 25 percent of the annual U.S. and Canadian emissions.

*#141  The world’s first climate change famine?*

Madagascar, an island nation off the coast of East Africa, is on the brink of experiencing the world's first "climate change famine", according to the United Nations, which says tens of thousands of people are already suffering "catastrophic" levels of hunger and food insecurity after four years without rain.


*#142  Agro-forestry making a difference in Kenya*

In Kenya, 35,000 farmers have started using agro-forestry methods to re-green excessively dry, hardened, depleted soils.  By planting annual crops and useful trees like mango, orange and neem together, vegetables and animal forage crops receive enough cooling shade and moisture for them to take hold out of the scorching sun. These farmers are part of the “Drylands Development Programme”.  As each farmer learns what combination of crops and trees works for them, the results are rapidly shared with researchers and fellow farmers through an app, speeding the rate at which all the program participants can benefit from the knowledge.

*#143  Hopeful news from the Tibetan Plateau permafrost*

As permafrost melts, it releases carbon dioxide and methane that worsen climate change. Scientists were recently pleasantly surprised to discover that in the Tibetan Plateau, which makes of 10% of the world’s permafrost, as it has begun to melt, new plants have started to grow. These plants are taking up more carbon dioxide through photosynthesis than the permafrost is emitting.  It is unknown whether other areas of melting permafrost will exhibit similar results.

*#144  Seaweed farming in Sri Lanka and elsewhere in Asia*

Seaweed farming offers a pathway for developing the “blue” (ocean-based) economy and creating sustainable livelihoods. According to a new report there is potential for significant seaweed faming in Sri Lanka. Globally, seaweed aquaculture is one of the fastest-growing components of food production, with 99% of production taking place in Asia. A new report says if the sector is scaled up further, it could generate 500 million metric tons dry weight by 2050 and completely replace fishmeal and fish oil in animal feed, provide protein for humans, and save vast amounts of land and freshwater 

*#145  An unprecedented **joint climate declaration by international Christian religious leaders*

In an unprecedented joint declaration, global Christian leaders Pope Francis, the leader of the Roman Catholic church, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of the Orthodox church, and the archbishop of Canterbury, <https://www.theguardian.com/uk/justin-welby> who is the leader of the global Anglican communion, have joined forces to warn that the world is facing a critical moment as the climate crisis threatens the future of the planet.

*#146  China to stop funding coal plants abroad*

At the UN General Assembly meeting in September, China announced that it will stop building coal plants in other countries.  This is a big deal because China has been the largest funder of coal projects in the world.  However, China has not said anything about stopping building coal plants within China which it apparently plans to continue, at least for a while.

*#147  Support for climate action grows in the U.S.*

In the United States, a survey conducted in September this year found that support among voters for the President and the Congress to take action on climate has increased among members of both political parties. A record high 94% of liberal Democrats and 80% of moderate/conservative Democrats say global warming should be “a high or very high priority for the president and Congress.”

 #148  Emerging economies slam Cop26 net zero push as ‘anti-equity’

Leading up to COP26, a group of 24 developing nations have accused the rich nations of unfairly imposing a universal 2050 net zero goal on the developing world. Instead, developed countries should “aim for their full decarbonisation within this decade” to allow developing countries more time to grow their economies and meet energy demands, the statement said. (If the developed nations eliminate their emissions quickly enough, developing nations could continue to have some emissions beyond 2050 and the world could still meet the Paris goals.)


#149  Support grows for the U.S. to provide financial support to
developing nations for climate mitigation and adaptation

One of the critical issues to be discussed at the UN climate conference in Glasgow is financial support from wealthier countries that have emitted the most carbon pollution to help developing countries that have emitted the least carbon pollution and are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. A new survey finds a growing majority of voters in the U.S. support providing financial aid and technical support to developing countries to limit their greenhouse gas emissions (66%) and to help them prepare for the impacts of global warming (61%). Support does not yet exist for the U.S to pay its full “fair share.”


#150  The New Coal – Plastics and Climate Change

As of 2020, the U.S. plastics industry is responsible for at least 232
million tons of CO2e gas emissions per year. This amount is equivalent to the average emissions from 116 average-sized coal-fired power plants. The U.S. plastics industry’s contribution to climate change is on track to exceed that of coal-fired power in the United States by 2030.


*#151  Uruguay is a renewable energy model*

Over the past 10 years, Uruguay has gone from being dependent on fossil fuel imports for power to a renewable energy pioneer, with nearly 100% of its power now coming from renewable sources.


Last modified: 2021-11-13 17:47:38+00