Climate Moments

by Russ Vernon-Jones

For use in your RC classes (see 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.

#263   From the SAL Handout “Staying Hopeful and Engaged in the Climate Emergency”

“The climate emergency is a problem humans created, and it is a problem humans can solve. We even know what to do to solve it! We know what steps to take and the solution is within our reach. We simply need to bring enough people along with us as we make demands that cannot be ignored and we create needed changes in human activities.”

#262   Victory for climate protesters in Argentina

Amid mass protests in Argentina, new president Javier Milei has dropped his plans for a spate of free market “reforms” because he doesn’t have the votes in the Argentinean Congress. One of the proposals that has been stopped would have removed protection from the country’s forests, another would have endangered its huge glaciers, wrecking a water source Argentineans will need to cope with future droughts.

#261 U.S. puts indefinite pause on permitting new gas export terminals

It was a major victory for climate activists when U.S. President Biden put an indefinite pause on all permits for new LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) export terminals, citing climate change as “the existential threat of our time.” The fossil fuel industry is proposing a huge expansion of exports from the U.S., already the biggest exporter of gas and oil in the world. Stopping this expansion is critical to limiting global emissions and slowing the climate crisis.

#260   Fossil fuel emissions for energy may finally have peaked

Scientists are cautiously optimistic that 2023 may have been the year that global fossil fuel emissions for energy finally peaked, and that they will now start to decline. It appears that the steady rise of wind and solar power is on track to outpace the world’s growing demand for energy – meaning renewables will start to displace fossil fuels on a global scale. It would have been much better for the world if humanity had started to decrease emissions years ago. It will only be significant if humanity now dramatically accelerates the decline in the use of fossil fuels and other sources of emissions, but it is potentially a critical turning point.

#259  Fossil fuel drilling is more harmful to birds than windmills

A new paper documents that oil and gas drilling does far more damage to bird populations than wind turbines. A detailed study of bird populations and biodiversity found that the onset of shale oil and gas production reduces subsequent bird population counts by 15%, Wind turbines did not have any measurable impact on bird counts. Shale oil and gas wells generate constant noise and light pollution, water disturbances, and road traffic.

#258  The world added 50% more renewable energy in 2023 than in 2022

According to the International Energy Agency, the amount of renewable energy capacity added to energy systems around the world grew by 50% in 2023, reaching almost 510 gigawatts (GW), with solar PV accounting for three-quarters of additions worldwide. The largest growth took place in China, which commissioned as much solar PV in 2023 as the entire world did in 2022, while China’s wind power additions rose by 66% year-on-year. The increases in renewable energy capacity in Europe, the United States and Brazil also hit all-time highs.

#257  Political courage in the UK

A conservative member of Parliament in the UK announced in early January that he is resigning his seat in protest over his own party’s government bill to allow new oil and gas drilling licenses to be issued. He wrote, “I can no longer condone nor continue to support a government that is committed to a course of action that I know is wrong and will cause future harm.”  The latest IPCC report makes it clear that no new fossil fuel projects can be initiated if the world is to have any chance of meeting agreed upon climate goals.

#256  One quarter of humanity under drought in 2022-23

The United Nations estimates that 1.84 billion people worldwide, or nearly a quarter of humanity, were living under drought in 2022 and 2023, the vast majority in low- and middle-income countries. Olive groves have shriveled in Tunisia. The Brazilian Amazon faces its driest season in a century. Wheat fields have been decimated in Syria and Iraq, pushing millions more into hunger after years of conflict. And the fear of drought has prompted India, the world’s biggest rice exporter, to restrict the export of most rice varieties. The approaching El Niño weather pattern is bad news for maize, or corn, in two regions that rely on it: Southern Africa and Central America.

#255  Australian protesters shut down world’s largest coal port

Over 3000 protesters converged on the largest coal export facility in the world in Newcastle, Australia and shut it down for more than 30 hours.  Although the protest was peaceful, over 100 were arrested. Many took to the water in kayaks, blocking shipping lanes. The protesters included some coal miners, some RCers, and many others. It was the largest civil disobedience climate protest in the history of Australia. They succeeded in stopping half a million tons of coal from being exported.

#254  Canadian youth win in court – climate case will go to trial

In Canada, a panel of three judges of the Federal Court of Appeals have ruled in favor of youth plaintiffs, allowing a case they filed in 2019 to go forward to trial. The youth claim Canada’s federal government is contributing to dangerous climate change. The case argues that the youth are already being harmed by climate change and the federal government is violating their rights to life, liberty, and security for failing to protect public trust resources.

#253  Global initiative brings first species back from “extinct in the wild” to “endangered”

Some 95 species that are “extinct in the wild” have been surviving in zoological and botanical institutions. Now one, the Scimitar-Horned Oryx, has become the first species downgraded to “endangered.” It was declared extinct in the wild in 2000, but was reintroduced a few years ago in Chad and now there have been 510 calves born in the wild. This is a magnificent creature and it provides hope that other species of threatened Saharan antelopes can have a future.

#252  Sustaining All Life at COP28

The SAL delegation at COP28 presented 5 days of workshops, a forum, listening circles, intro classes, and a daily game. For instance, Janet Kabue wrote that the forum on “Colonization and Racism in Africa: Relevance to the Climate Emergency” led by Onii and Urbain had speakers from Trinidad and Tobago, Ghana, and Uganda whose powerful talks about the effects of colonization and racism on their lives, communities, and environment led to big sessions. Our delegation was led by Nazish Riaz and Iliria Unzueta. SAL delegates attracted people to our intros by walking around with signs asking:

  • What emotional support does your organization need to stay engaged in the climate crisis?
  • How do you handle your feelings about the climate emergency?
  • Would you like to learn tools to sustain your climate action?

Diane wrote,  “There was a lot of interest in our work and we left with contact information for more than 280 people in 75 countries, mostly people from the Global South. All of our events were interpreted into Arabic, and many into French and Spanish.”

#251  China’s emissions to fall

China’s emissions, which have been rising for years (except for some brief COVID-driven pauses), are expected to fall in 2024 and probably continue to fall after that.  The reason is that the rate of installation of renewable energy generation has been so rapid in China, that it now exceeds the growth in demand for electricity.

#250  Half of all global emissions come the world’s richest 10%  (which includes most of the middle class in the richer nations)

The world’s richest 10% encompasses most of the middle classes in “developed” countries – anyone paid more than about $40,000 (£32,000) a year. The lavish lifestyles of the very rich – the 1% – attract attention. But the 10% are responsible for half of all global emissions, making them key to ending the climate crisis. (The International Energy Agency data shows that the poorest 10% in the US still have a per capita footprint bigger than 90% of those in India.)

#249  World’s first zero-waste island

The tiny Greek island of Tilos has undergone a green revolution, becoming energy self-sufficient and permanently closing its landfill site. The island used to send 87% of it’s trash to a landfill, but now diverts 100% of it to recycling, composting, re-use, building materials, and fuel for the cement industry. A sustained, thorough, re-education effort reached the entire population and achieved full participation. There are no public trash cans on the island and all visitors to the island are oriented to participate successfully.  This change has made Tilos more beautiful, enhanced community spirit, and increased eco-tourism.

#248  Within many nations the emissions of the top 10% exceed the emissions of the bottom 50%

Data from the International Energy Agency (IEA) details the energy-related CO2 emissions per person in 2021 in a dozen major countries (including Japan, India, the U.S. , the UK, Russia, China, Mexico, and Brazil), plus the 27-nation EU. Within all these nations, the emissions of the top 10% are as high as those of at least the bottom 50%. In the US and China the situation is even less equal: the emissions of the top 10% are higher than the bottom 70% combined.
In the US and Canada, road transport makes up about a third of the footprint of the top 10%. The transport emissions of the richest 10% are the same as the transport footprint of the bottom 70% of the population in those countries.
Experts say that taking these differences into account will be important in designing effective climate policies.

#247  Victory by young climate activists in the U.S.

In the United States, youth climate activists in the Sunrise Movement have been pushing for a civilian climate corps – a government program to employ and train young people to address the climate crisis.  They finally succeeded -- the  President of the U.S. recently announced the creation of the “American Climate Corps”, a program which will train more than 20,000 young people next year alone in clean energy, conservation and climate resilience related skills.

#246  Fossil fuel subsidies exceed $1 trillion per year

An analysis released in late August by the International Institute for Sustainable Development shows that the G20 countries spent at least $1 trillion on fossil fuel subsidies in 2022. The G20 is 20 of the countries with the largest economies in the world, including China, Russia, the U.S., India, Indonesia, the African Union, the EU, etc.

#245  More than a gigawatt of new solar is being installed every day

The International Energy Agency recently announced that although “the pathway to 1.5°C has narrowed in the past two years,” an unprecedented surge in clean energy production is keeping that window open. The world is now installing more than a gigawatt of new solar every day–the equivalent of a new nuclear power plant every day. About half of that is being installed in China.

#244  “Darkness into hope”

The term “just transition” refers to transitioning to renewable energy and sustainable economies in a way that is equitable and doesn’t cost workers or community residents their health, environment, jobs, or economic assets.  The term does not yet exist in some languages.  A recent wonderful translation of the term into Bengali uses a phrase that literally means “darkness into hope.”

#243  State of California takes bold climate action

In California, U.S., the legislature has passed and the Governor has announced he will sign a bill requiring large companies that do business in California (which is most of the biggest companies) to publicly disclose their carbon footprints. This will include information about emissions in their supply chains and in their end-users. This is expected to put significant pressure on corporations and the financial industry to reduce emissions. The state of California has also just sued several of the world’s biggest oil companies, claiming their actions have caused tens of billions of dollars in damage and that they deceived the public by downplaying the risks posed by fossil fuels. This has been called the “most significant” legal action against the fossil fuel industry in U.S. history.  California is a state, not a country, but has the fourth largest economy in the world after the U.S., China, and Japan.

#242  Deadly floods in Libya

More than 4,000 persons are confirmed dead as a result of catastrophic September flooding in Libya.  Additionally, more than 8,000 were still missing two weeks afterward. “Ferocious” rains inundated the area and then caused two major dams to burst. Flood waters swept away homes, roads, bridges, and other structures. Health services and food resources are severely limited.

#241  Ecuador votes to end oil drilling in Amazon area

Following a decade-long fight led by Indigenous activists and environmental leaders, nearly 60% of Ecuadorians voted in nation-wide referendum to end oil drilling in one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth. The vote will halt the development of all new oil wells in the Yasuní national park in the Amazon. Ecuador has become one of the first countries in the world to set limits on resource extraction through a democratic vote. This vote will keep hundreds of millions of barrels of oil in the ground.

#240  Huge “End Fossil Fuels” Protests

Over 600,000 protesters participated in more than 700 end-fossil-fuel actions in 65 countries in mid September. This included 75,000 who marched in New York City’s March to End Fossil Fuels (including over 100 RCers who marched in the Sustaining All Life delegation and more who marched with other groups).  This followed protests earlier in September in the Netherlands where over 10,000 blocked a major highway to protest newly revealed government subsidies to fossil fuels. The Netherlands police detained 2,400 demonstrators.

#239  Enhanced geothermal system makes useable electricity without fossil fuels

For the first time, a company has demonstrated that an “enhanced geothermal system” can produce electricity that is commercially viable.  Using technology that was developed for fracking gas and oil, this project injects water into wells 8,000 feet deep where it is heated by the earth and then brought back to the surface where the heat is used to generate electricity. This technology should be workable in many areas. It is reported to be the first new fossil-free technology for generating electricity since the invention of the solar panel. It remains to be seen whether this will become a significant source of renewable energy.

#238  Amazon nations agree on indigenous rights and collaboration but fail to commit to ending deforestation and oil development

Eight Amazon nations met in Brazil recently in a major rainforest summit.  They agreed on protecting indigenous rights and on some climate policies and collaboration, but failed to commit to ending deforestation by 2030.  Brazil has already made such a pledge, but was unable to get the agreement of the others.  They also failed to agree to end new oil development in the Amazon, as Columbia’s president has advocated.

#237  Mali replaces diesel-powered microgrids with solar

The country of Mali in Africa is getting electricity to more of its population. Until recently it was using decentralised diesel-powered mini-grids – sets of small electricity generators – to supply rural areas. Now, it is converting those into small solar grids. Funded by foreign grants, one recently installed solar mini-grid system is designed to supply clean energy to 123,000 people across 32 villages. It will help Mali cut total carbon dioxide emissions by 5,000 tonnes – a thousand such mini-grids could almost wipe out the country’s carbon footprint.

#236  Young people win court case against government promoting fossil fuels

In the first ruling of its kind in the United States, a Montana state court decided last week in favor of 16 young people who sued the state alleging it had violated their right to a “clean and healthful environment” by promoting the use of fossil fuels. The judge found that a state law that prevents consideration of climate change in making permitting decisions violates the state constitution.  Her ruling requires Montana, a major coal and gas producing state, to consider climate change when deciding whether to approve or renew fossil fuel projects. While the decision is still subject to appeal, even this finding is expected to have a significant impact—resulting in more cases being brought successfully throughout the United States.

#235 “March to End Fossil Fuels” in New York City, USA

In the U.S. a broad coalition of climate groups is organizing a “March to End Fossil Fuels” on September 17, 2023 in New York City to demand bold action by the national President and others. A delegation from Sustaining All Life (SAL) will participate in the march.  RCers able to get to NYC without a large carbon footprint are invited to join us. The March coincides with the Secretary General of the UN, António Guterres, hosting a first-of-its-kind Climate Ambition Summit at the UN in NYC “to accelerate action by governments, business, finance, local authorities and civil society.”

#234  World Bank calls for end to government subsidies of fossil fuels

In June, the World Bank released a report calling for current subsidies for fossil fuels to be used for addressing climate change instead.  According to the World Bank press release, In 2021 governments spent $557 billion “to artificially lower the price of polluting fuels, such as oil, gas, and coal.... [These funds] exacerbate climate change, and cause toxic air pollution, inequality, inefficiency, and mounting debt burdens. Redirecting these subsidies could unlock at least half a trillion dollars [per year] towards more productive and sustainable uses.”

#233  Extreme flooding, wildfires, and heat

In early July there was intense flooding, exacerbated by climate change, simultaneously in Spain, India, Turkey, England, the United States, Haiti and Japan. There were over 850 wildfires burning in Canada with 540 of them “out of control.” The 7 hottest days on Earth in the last 100,000+ years all happened in July 2023 (average global temperature).

#232  South Korea, a model of dealing with food waste

Food waste is a major contributor to climate change both because of the methane it emits and because the energy that went into producing and transporting the food is wasted. South Korea has developed a system that keeps 90% of food waste out of landfills and incinerators and turns it into animal feed, fertilizer and fuel for heating homes. Historically, South Korea had a high percentage of waste, but it is now a model that is being studied by other countries and cities.

#231  New York state has become the first state in the U.S. to ban fossil (“natural”) gas in new buildings.

A new law in New York state in the U.S. bans gas-powered stoves, furnaces and propane heating and effectively encourages the use of climate-friendly appliances such as heat pumps and induction stoves in most new residential buildings across the state. It requires all-electric heating and cooking in new buildings shorter than seven stories by 2026, and for taller buildings by 2029.

#230  Increase in renewable energy in Australia leads to lower electricity costs

In the first quarter of 2023 the price of electricity in Australia has fallen because of increased renewable energy.  Rooftop solar output has grown 23% over a year ago and is reducing the demand for fossil gas and coal to make electricity. Carbon pollution emissions have fallen as a result. This rate of installation of renewable energy will have to accelerate still further to meet the nation’s renewable energy goals.

#229  Coal mining to stop at largest open-cast (open-pit) mine in the UK

Coal mining at Ffos y Fran – the UK's largest opencast mine – is going to stop.  After years of campaigning the local Welsh residents have persuaded the local council to reject plans to extend the life of the mine. Councillors said that "no local or community benefits would be provided that clearly outweigh the disadvantages of the lasting environmental harm of the development." Because of this decision, mining at Ffos Y Fran must be stopped immediately and the mine restored by the owner as soon as possible—a definite win for the climate movement.

#228  A recent, rapid heating of the world's oceans has alarmed scientists

In April, the global sea surface hit a new record high temperature. It has never warmed this much, this quickly. Scientists don't fully understand why this has happened. But they worry that, combined with an expected strong El Niño system which will heat the ocean further, ocean temperatures could soon be at very concerning levels. As the BBC said, “Warmer oceans can kill off marine life, lead to more extreme weather and raise sea levels. They are also less efficient at absorbing planet-warming greenhouse gases.”  As the earth system accumulated heat from 1971-2020, 89% of it was absorbed by the oceans.

#227   Huge investment firm to vote in favor of climate resolutions at bank shareholder meetings

A huge European investment firm, Legal and General Investment, that manages $1.5 trillion in assets, announced that as a shareholder in 5 of the biggest banks in the world, it will vote its shares in favor of resolutions that demand that the banks stop financing fossil fuel expansion.  The banks have encouraged their shareholders to vote against these resolutions, in the face of a growing world wide movement demanding that the big banks stop financing fossil fuels.

#226   Floating farms in India and Bangladesh are transforming community life

In southern India and Bangladesh, rising sea levels and flooding from intense storms have threatened agriculture and ruined farmland with saltwater.  A project sponsored by a UN adaptation fund is having success enabling local people to create floating hydroponic vegetable farms powered by solar power and an irrigation unit that removes saltwater. The project involves 12 local villages and 2,200 households and produces food for an even wider region. The bamboo float rafts are made by local workers and are more resilient to extreme weather.  Farming on them doesn’t use the harmful chemicals that had been needed to grow food in depleted soil. The project provides sustainable food production and has restored a sense of community life.

#225   Rain- 25 inches in 7 hours

In early April, Ft Lauderdale, Florida in the U.S. got 25 inches of rain in 7 hours. The previous record rainfall there for the entire month of April was 19 inches. This unprecedented type of storm is made much more likely as a result of the much greater amounts of moisture in the atmosphere as a result of global warming. Many scientists think it is likely that such storms will occur more frequently in the coming decade in many parts of the world.

#224  African climate expert rejects geoengineering experimentation in Africa and calls for more capital to be available to African countries for renewable energy

Dr. Chukwumerije Okereke, director of the Center for Climate Change and Development at Alex Ekwueme Federal University in Nigeria, has written a report opposing geoengineering as a way of responding to climate change. Most of the speculative geoengineering proposals are ways to try to deflect more of the sun’s heat away from the Earth. He says that these are risky and he especially opposes using Africa as a place for experimentation with untested technologies. He indicates that what African countries need most to cut down on use of fossil fuels is access to capital to invest in renewable energy.

#223  Historic oceans treaty

Nearly 200 countries have agreed to a legally-binding “high seas treaty” to protect marine life in international waters, which cover around half of the planet’s surface. Healthy oceans can help combat climate change by locking away carbon, and provide food security and livelihoods to more than 3 billion people, the vast majority of whom are in the Global South. “This is a historic day for conservation and a sign that in a divided world, protecting nature and people can triumph over geopolitics,” said one oceans campaigner at Greenpeace Nordic. The treaty still must be formally ratified by the nations.

#222  Indigenous youth protecting forests in the Philippines

Indigenous youth in the southern Philippines are keeping alive an ancient forest monitoring practice known as “panlaoy” to help protect ecosystems on the slopes of a biodiversity-rich mountain. Panlaoy requires immersion in the forest, where participants observe, document and assess the condition of the ecosystem and any threats to it. It includes spiritual practices and passing on traditional ecological knowledge and forest management practices from one generation to another, as well as learning about the people’s collective struggle for land and self-determination. Throughout the world, the land management of indigenous peoples is a model of sustaining all life.

#221  Chinese courts backed to help with emissions reduction

One of China’s top courts has encouraged judges to hear climate-related cases and weigh up carbon impacts to help the country achieve its emission reduction goals. Climate litigation has been difficult in China because, unlike many other countries, it does not have specific legislation to combat climate change. But the judiciary has signaled a willingness to engage with the issue. This new document gives courts across China the green light to hear cases related to energy conservation and emission reduction, low-carbon technology, carbon trading and green finance, and to promote climate change mitigation and adaptation.

#220  EU agrees to push for worldwide phaseout of fossil fuels at COP28

The European Union countries have agreed to push for the global phaseout of fossil fuels at COP28. It is part of the bloc’s promise to support and accelerate the energy transition ahead of the climate summit in Dubai this coming November. Faced with climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution and the fallout of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the EU says that “our dependence on fossil fuels leaves us vulnerable.”

#219  “Turbocharged green transition” in Europe

When Russia invaded Ukraine, the loss of Russian fossil gas for heating and powering Europe was expected to cause blackouts, recession, and deaths from cold throughout Europe.  While the Europeans certainly have experienced difficulties and hardships, the predicted disasters, for the most part, have not occurred. Instead, the European Union “turbocharged the green transition” and potentially accelerated the transition to full decarbonization by a full decade. In 2022, for the first time, more of Europe’s electricity came from wind and solar than from gas and coal. Another major cause was voluntary conservation by the public which reduced the demand for fossil gas by some 24%. Rising prices and fear of catastrophe may have motivated this level of conservation, but it did reveal what’s possible, at least in the wealthier nations.

#218  Extreme heat deaths

According to the Guardian newspaper, more than a thousand people have died from extreme heat in the last three years in the city of Phoenix, Arizona, in the United States—the richest country in the world. About half of them were people who had no housing. Another study finds that globally some 600,000 people die each year from heat. Not all of these deaths are the result of climate change, but a great many are.

#217  India pledges to invest $4.3 billion in green technology

India is the second most populous nation in the world and the third greatest emitter of greenhouse gases. Its government has just pledged to invest $4.3 billion toward its goal of decarbonizing the economy.  One billion of that will be spent on transmission lines that can take renewable energy produced in sparsely populated regions to the population centers. Other funds will produce more renewable energy, develop green hydrogen production, build irrigation systems for farming in drought prone regions, and manufacture battery storage.

#216  New Possibilities at the World Bank

The President of the World Bank, a climate-denier who was appointed by Donald Trump, has resigned. Under his leadership the World Bank has still been advancing money for coal and other fossil fuel projects and doing little to help vulnerable nations deal with climate change. This creates an opportunity to appoint someone who could lead the bank to get large amounts of money invested in Africa and other frontline regions for climate action.

#215  In the Amazon, Indigenous and Locally Controlled Land Stores Carbon, but the Rest of the Rainforest Emits Greenhouse Gases

A new study finds that forests managed by Indigenous peoples and other local communities in the Amazon region draw vast amounts of planet-warming carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. The rest of the rainforest has become a net source of the greenhouse gas emissions because of high rates of deforestation.

#214   Shell to pay $16m to Nigerian farmers over oil damage

Shell has agreed to pay $16m to four Nigerian farmers and their communities to compensate for damage caused by pollution coming from leaks in its oil pipelines.  The sum was agreed to in negotiations after a Netherlands court found Shell was responsible for the damage. Although the amount of compensation is not huge, this development is seen as a milestone for rural communities across the Niger Delta region and environmental activists, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation.

#213   Thunberg joins protest against German coal mine expansion

Around 6,000 protesters—including climate activist Greta Thunberg—marched through mud and rain to a German village demonstrating against the expansion of a coal mine. Thunberg said, “This is a betrayal of present and future generations… Germany is one of the biggest polluters in the world and needs to be held accountable.”

#212   Colombia to issue no new oil or gas exploration contracts

The government of Colombia has decided it will not issue any new oil and gas exploration contracts and instead will direct investments to tourism and renewable-energy sources. Their energy minister said, “While [this] has been very controversial, it is a clear sign of our commitment in the fight against climate change. This decision is absolutely urgent and needs immediate action.” Oil currently accounts for about a third of Colombia's exports.

#211  Electric vehicle battery plant unionized

Autoworkers at a plant that makes batteries for General Motors electric vehicles in the U.S. have voted to unionize.  This election at a factory in Ohio, where the vote was 710 to 16 to join the United Auto Workers, is considered a big victory for labor unions in the emerging electric vehicle market in the U.S.

#210  Largest bank in Europe to stop funding fossil fuel projects

The largest bank in Europe, and the 8th largest bank in the world, London-based HSBC, has announced that it will stop funding any new oil and gas developments globally. Their statement said, “Given the [...] urgency of today’s global energy crisis, we plan to accelerate our activities in renewable energy and clean infrastructure, aligned with our previously announced ambition to provide $750 billion to $1 trillion in sustainable finance and investment by 2030.” HSBC was previously a fairly major investor in fossil fuel projects, so this is a significant step. None of the largest banks in the U.S. has stopped investing in oil and gas

#209 More states in U.S require all new cars be zero emissions by

Oregon and Washington, two West Coast states in the United States, have just joined California (the other West Coast state) in requiring that by 2035 all new cars sold must be zero-emission vehicles.  This is good news for the climate and will also reduce air pollution—especially benefiting low-income Global Majority and Indigenous people who disproportionately live near highways. The three states are also aligned on a rule to accelerate the transition from diesel to zero emission trucks.

#208  Vietnam

Vietnam and a group of rich nations have reached an agreement that will provide Vietnam with $15.5 billion from the wealthy nations, in a mix of public and private funds, grants and loans, to accelerate its transition to renewable energy.  Vietnam is currently one of the top 20 coal users in the world.  This deal will enable Vietnam to peak its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (instead of 2035), source 47% of its power from renewable energy by 2030, and save hundreds of millions of tons of carbon emissions. This is similar to a deal that the G7 nations reached with South Africa last year and with Indonesia last month. In each case the low-income nation has had to battle in the negotiations to get more of the financial package to be grants rather than loans.

#207  SAL Workshops at COP27

SAL workshops at COP27 included:

·       Emotional burdens of oppression and the climate crisis

·       Strategies to build solidarity: activism that work in the long term

·       Youth listening circle

·       African listening circle

·       Introduction to the tools of Sustaining All Life

·      The climate crisis in Africa

·      Staying hopeful as we face the climate crisis

·      No human enemies: a strategy for climate justice organizing

·      What does race have to do with it: racism and the climate emergency

·      Muslims and Jews united for climate change

·      and many more

#206  SAL at COP27

The SAL delegation to COP27 was led by Janet Kabue, of Nairobi, Kenya and Iliria Unzueta, of Mexico City, Mexico and included RCers from many nations. The delegation had a presence in both the Green Zone, where civil and indigenous society groups held workshops, exhibitions, performances, dialogues, etc.; and also in the more restricted Blue Zone that included the official plenary space, negotiation rooms, and pavilions. Many people expressed interest in our work and engaged actively with the RCers in both zones.

#205  Sustaining All Life – from the SAL website at

“Sustaining All Life (SAL) is a global organization that allies with and supports organizations and individuals working to end the climate crisis by providing tools that assist people to:

• address emotional barriers to effective climate organizing
• uncover and heal from damage and separation caused by oppression.

SAL has attended the United Nations Conferences of the Parties (COPs) and other climate conferences since 2015, and was at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

SAL bases our work in the theory and practice of Re-evaluation Counseling (also known as Co-Counseling or RC).”

#204  COP27

The recently concluded UN climate conference, COP27, came to an historic, unanimous agreement to create a “loss and damage” fund that will channel funds from wealthier high-emitting countries to poorer nations suffering the disastrous effects of climate change. There are many details yet to be worked out and it remains to be seen if it will be successfully implemented, but it is a significant accomplishment by the “developing” nations that have been calling for such a fund for 30 years. COP27 did not produce any significant new commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or curb the use of fossil fuels.

#203 Climate vulnerable nations considering stopping debt payments

Leading up to COP27 (the UN climate conference this fall) 55 of the
countries most vulnerable to climate change are considering stopping payments on $685 billion dollars of debt until the wealthy nations agree to pay for climate damage.  They estimate that loss and damage resulting from climate change have reduced their countries’ wealth by about 20% in the last 20 years – an aggregate loss of some half a trillion dollars.  These losses have been caused by the emissions of wealthy countries, while the emissions levels of these poorer countries have been extremely low. One idea under consideration is “debt for climate swaps” – arrangements in which debts are forgiven in exchange for developing countries investing in climate mitigation, adaptation and recovery within their own countries.

This would enable the climate vulnerable countries to spend their money on climate action at home, rather than paying it out to the already wealthy countries.

#202  Plastics from waste material, not fossil fuels:

Researchers at the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have demonstrated that virgin plastic can be made by a process that heats mixed waste via renewable energy without the use of fossil fuels. One of the authors of the study says, “There are enough carbon atoms in waste to meet the needs of all global plastic production. Using these atoms, we can decouple new plastic products from the [extraction of oil and gas]. If the process is powered by renewable energy, we also get plastic products with more than 95% lower climate impact than those produced today.”  More research and development is needed and ongoing, but eliminating all use of oil in making plastics would have global impact.

#201 From the RC Unified Goal on the Climate, 2022

“We in the RC Community commit ourselves to encouraging and supporting
every one of us to act against and discharge any distress that might keep us from playing an active role, as large and radical as necessary, to resolve the climate emergency. For most of us, this will involve uniting with others to publicly oppose irrational policies and visibly support rational solutions.”

#200 Celebration

I invite you to celebrate and appreciate yourself for every time you have put your mind on the climate crisis, every bit of discharge you have done on it, and each action, large or small, that you have taken. Let’s all remember that we are significant and connected.

#199 Community organizes to ban and remove oil wells

“Communities for a Better Environment”, an environmental justice group in the major city of Los Angeles in the U.S., has been rallying the community around the issue of pollution and health — and pushing for change.  Earlier this year they won an important victory: The Los Angeles City Council voted to ban new oil and gas wells in the city and to phase out the many existing ones. Now the activists and community members are continuing their work to make sure that the city follows through on this commitment.

#198 Disproportionate impact of floods and other climate disasters on
women and girls

According to the United Nations, women and children are 14 times more
likely to die than men as a result of “natural calamities.”  According to the Pakistani *Express Tribune *the recent flooding in Pakistan is having a disproportionate harmful effect on women and girls.  Gender-based violence is increasing in the midst of the crisis left by the floods.  73,000 pregnant women are expected to deliver babies in the next month with many lacking access to adequate health care facilities.

#197  Electric vehicles increasing rapidly in China

In China, 25% of all the new cars sold in the last quarter were electric
vehicles.  (In the United States roughly 5% are electric.) Prices in China start at $5,000 for a small electric car.  China has doubled the number of EV chargers to roughly 4 million in the last year. (It would be better to have more mass transit and fewer cars, but if there are going to be cars, having them not burn fossil fuels is essential for addressing climate change.)

#196   From the new RC Unified Goal on Climate

“Humans are on an unsustainable path that puts at risk most of Earth’s life forms, including ourselves. This path was created and is supported by destructive irrational policies carried out by the governments, institutions, and industries of our societies, for example, the fossil fuel industries. These policies must be completely transformed, beginning now." [This is the opening statement of our new goal.]

#195   Majority say climate change should be a priority for their governments

People across the world are ready for climate action. A new poll including 192 countries shows most people are worried about climate change and say it should be a priority for their government.  Jonathan Foley, at Project Drawdown, recently said, "There are huge climate challenges facing us, but also some tremendous progress to build on. Instead of giving in to catastrophic doomism, we can redouble our efforts now, and bend the curve even more. It’s not game over. It’s game on!”

#194   More wind power being installed

In the UK, work has begun on the foundations for the world’s largest windfarm -- Dogger Bank, off the coast of Yorkshire. When the 277-turbine array is complete, it will power 6 million homes.  Another big offshore windfarm, Seagreen, is also now under way in Scotland. With regard to onshore wind power in the UK, Octopus Energy announced a plan to replace 1,000 older turbines with new, more powerful ones.

#193   Poland meets 2030 goal for solar 8 years early and leads Europe in installing heat pumps

Poland was moving slowly toward renewable energy, but now the Russian war with Ukraine and resulting cuts in the availability of Russian gas, are motivating the Polish to rapidly accelerate their installation of renewable energy. The country led Europe in installations of renewable-friendly heat pumps per capita this year, with their sales more than doubling compared to a year ago. Just last year, Polish policymakers aimed to install 10 gigawatts of solar panels by 2030 — a goal it has already surpassed.

#192   Pakistan

After experiencing a high temperature of 123.8°F (51°C) earlier this summer in Jacobabad, Pakistan is now experiencing truly catastrophic, unimaginable, flooding.  Literally, a third of the country is underwater; 33 million people have been displaced from their homes; and more than 1200 have died.  A few countries have pledged millions of dollars of aid, but damages are now estimated to be in excess of $10 billion.  The situation is prompting new discussions about how the world will pay for the loss and damage caused by climate change.  Pakistan emits less than 1% of global emissions.

#191  High natural gas prices may force countries to seek alternative energy resulting in “permanent demand destruction for gas"

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has revised down its forecast for global gas demand until 2024 by almost two-thirds after prices rose to record levels due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  Although some growth is still expected in demand for gas, it is now expected to be greatly reduced as countries seek alternative sources of energy. Permanent demand destruction occurs when the price of a commodity is so high it becomes unaffordable for too many consumers.  While some gas may be replaced by other fossil fuels, solar installations are expected to increase dramatically.

#190  New Technologies for the storage of energy are on the way

Wind and solar energy have the severe drawback of being directly available only when the wind blows and the sun shines. For the modern world, renewable energy must be accessible without interruption. The number of companies developing “Long Duration Energy Storage” (LDES) is growing rapidly and many approaches are being explored. One promising approach for LDES is to store liquid CO2, derived from cement plants, under high pressure when renewable energy is available and to release the stored energy when it is needed. The CO2 stays locked up and in this way is kept from escaping into the atmosphere. While the various approaches have yet to be developed to scale, there is considerable optimism that storage more effective than batteries will be developed soon.

#189  China is developing solar energy production at breakneck speed

According to the China Renewable Energy Engineering Institute, China will add 100 GW of solar generated electricity in 2022 alone. By 2025, China is planning to add 570 GW of renewable energy, about half as much power as all power plants combined in the U.S. (including fossil fuel plants). Experts at Carbon Brief predict that, if this pace continues, China could reach its goal of peak CO2 emissions by 2030 four years earlier, in 2026.

#188  China is expanding wind power at a  breath-taking pace

Researchers at BloombergNEF predict that China will develop more than 50% of the huge increase in off-shore wind power expected worldwide between 2021 and 2035. China is also increasing on-shore wind power generation by 50 GW in this year alone—the fastest increase in the world.

#187   American Medical Association declares climate change a “public health crisis”

With climate change negatively impacting the health in the U.S. and around the globe, in June the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted policy declaring climate change “a public health crisis that threatens the health and well-being of all people.” Building on existing efforts to address the climate crisis, the new policy specifically mobilizes the AMA to advocate for policies that limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions aimed at carbon neutrality by 2050, and support rapid implementation and incentivization of clean energy solutions and significant investments in climate resilience through a climate justice lens.

#186  EU lawmakers back ban on new fossil-fuel cars from 2035

The European Parliament voted in June to support a law banning the sale of new fossil fuel cars after 2035. The vote upholds a key pillar of the European Union's plans to cut net planet-warming emissions 55% by 2030, from 1990 levels - a target that requires faster emissions reductions from industry, energy and transport. The law is not yet final. Wednesday's vote confirms the parliament's position for upcoming negotiations with EU countries on the final law.

#185   Canada to ban single use plastics

Canada will ban the production and importation of single-use plastics by the end of the year as part of an effort to boost its fight against pollution and climate change. The Environment Ministry said most plastic grocery bags, cutlery and straws will be included in the ban with a few exceptions for medical needs. Exporting these plastics will be banned by the end of 2025. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hailed the move as a significant effort to fight climate change: He noted that the ban will result in the “estimated elimination of over 1.3 million tons of plastic waste and more than 22,000 tons of plastic pollution.”  Kenya, Great Britain, and the EU have implemented a similar ban on single-use plastic goods.

#184 In the Philippines, a Landmark Finding Moves Fossil Fuel Companies’ Climate Liability into the Realm of Human Rights

The Philippines is one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world--hit by an average of 20 cyclones each year. Climate activists petitioned the Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights to declare the world’s largest fossil fuel companies “accountable for either impairing, infringing, abusing or violating human rights” because of their contribution to climate change.

   In a report this year the Commission found that the world’s largest fossil fuel companies had “engaged in willful obfuscation and obstruction to prevent meaningful climate action.” The companies continue to deny climate science and try to slow a transition away from fossil fuels, the report said, driven “not by ignorance, but by greed.” As the first national human rights body to weigh in on fossil fuel companies’ role in driving climate change, the commission determined that corporations have obligations under human rights law and can be held liable if they neglect them.  Although not binding, the report has broad international implications.

#183  Pollution causes 9 million premature deaths each year

The Lancet Commission on pollution and health has reported that pollution is now responsible for 9 million premature deaths each year (one in six deaths worldwide). While often thought of as a local problem, it is now clear that it is a global problem.  They write, “a large-scale, rapid transition away from all fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy is an effective strategy for preventing pollution while also slowing down climate change, and thus achieves a double benefit for planetary health.”

#182  New Australian Prime Minister committed to renewable energy

Australia has elected a new prime minister, Anthony Albanese, rejecting the incumbent who was a strong supporter of the coal industry.  Albanese has promised to make Australia a “renewable energy superpower.”

#181 High temperature of 120°F (49°C) and devastating floods

India and Pakistan are in the 3rd month of an extreme heat wave that has included high temperatures of 120°F (49°C) in Delhi and kept temperatures over 100° for more than a month.  Scientists say that climate change has made such a heat wave 30 times more likely.  India and Bangladesh have also experienced heavy pre-monsoon rains and floods that have washed away towns and villages and left millions of people homeless.

#180  Activist organizing leads to UN statement – phase out fossil fuels, financial support for the poorest, and a just transition

The UN, meeting officially (Stolkholm+50 meeting), with every member state represented and agreeing, has issued its “Key Recommendations for Accelerating action towards a healthy planet for the prosperity of all.” It declares that as part of “system wide changes in the way our current economic system works” we must “phase out of fossil fuels while providing targeted support to the poorest and most vulnerable in line with national circumstances and recognizing the need for financial and technical support towards a just transition.” This is the first time the UN has actually adopted such a statement. Activist pressure played a vital role. The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty activist network initiated support for organizations of indigenous people, young people, faith people, peace advocates, parents, national political climate champions, and more, around the world, to engage fully, prepare submissions, and participate in the conference process.  When the first draft of the conference statement was weak they redoubled their efforts with thousands of personal letters, getting journalists and opinion leaders to write about it, and organizing a pre-Summit event for policy-makers on a global just transition from fossil fuels.  The pressure worked.  The final conference statement was much bolder.

#179  The “purest form of love”

“Being an environmentalist is the purest form of love; after all, we donate our life, our time, and our passion, to something so beautiful — taking care of the only home we have.” Renata Padilha, a Brazilian climate activist who helped create the Brazilian Fridays for the Future movement and is fighting a proposed power plant and advocating for zero waste – with 350 Latin America

#178  Week-long scientific resistance to government and industry inaction on the climate emergency – April 2022

Over 1,000 scientists and academics in over 25 countries took over 63 disruptive, non-violent actions and engaged in civil disobedience targeting governmental, scientific and corporate institutions, many risking arrest in order to highlight the urgency and injustice of the climate and ecological crisis. Actions included bridge and building occupations, entrance blocking, sit-ins, strikes, pasting of scientific papers and posters, marches, theatrical performances, teach-ins and outreach events. The countries where actions occurred included Spain, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Congo, France, Germany, USA, Norway, Sweden, UK, Austria, Italy, New Zealand, Holland, Thailand and Brazil.

#177  How to save coral reefs

Julia Baum, a marine biologist at the University of Victoria, in British Columbia, has been researching climate-threatened coral reefs for years. But recently she decided to make a change. “I’ve realized the best way I can help to save coral reefs is not to work on coral reefs,” she says. “It’s to work on the energy transition.” That’s because climate change is caused chiefly by the burning of fossil fuels, which now accounts for 86 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. And unless we rapidly transition to clean energy, all other efforts to save corals—or our warming planet—won’t matter.

#176  Indigenous resistance using social media

Indigenous people in remote Brazilian Amazon rainforests have recently gotten internet access.  They are now using phones, video, and social media to galvanize the public and pressure authorities to respond swiftly to environmental threats from illegal gold miners, landgrabbers and loggers.  In one recent case photos and a tearful video about a destructive, gold-seeking, dredging barge that had invaded indigenous territory went viral on social media, helped organize indigenous opposition, and led to prompt police action to stop the environmental crime – a clear demonstration of the power of Indigenous networks.

#175  Suit against the UK for financing a gas project in Mozambique continues

"Friends of the Earth-UK took the UK government to court for financing a multimillion pound/dollar gas mega project in Mozambique – on the grounds that it failed to properly consider the UK’s climate commitments. The judges did not agree, but one High Court judge ruled that the government’s action was unlawful. This is hugely significant and enough to send the case to an appeal.

#174  Mega-drought in U.S. threatens drinking water and electric power

The Western U.S. is in the midst of its worst mega-drought in1,200 years. So far, most of the concerns surrounding the drought have revolved around the supply of water to California, Nevada and Arizona. However, the water level in Lake Powell recently fell to its lowest level since the human-made lake was first filled over 50 years ago, putting the dam’s ability to generate electric power at risk.  The dam currently provides power to about 5 million customers.

#173  Indigenous knowledge

In a section on climate-resilient development, a recent IPCC report says including local and Indigenous knowledge leads to decisions that are "more effective and sustainable, because they are locally appropriate and lead to more legitimate, relevant and effective actions." After heavy river flooding, a small town in the North West Territories of Canada is incorporating Indigenous Dene knowledge into a jointly managed retreat away from an unsustainable river island community location.

#172  Major Milestone for Wind Energy in the U.S.

For the first time ever, on April 5, 2022, wind energy was the second largest source of electricity in the U.S., surpassing coal, nuclear, and oil.  So-called “natural gas,” also described as “methane gas,” is still the greatest source of electricity in the U.S.

#171  Reforestation in Kenya

In Migori County, Kenya, the local rural community has successfully regenerated 50% of their once denuded forest by planting at least 300,000 trees in just five years.  Combining natural regeneration of existing trees with planning native, nursery grown seedlings has been key to their success.  They are now working on exporting the community’s methods to other reforestation projects across Kenya. The trees protect farmland and homes from floods and also sequester carbon.

#170  Installing solar over parking lots in the U.S.

A recent study shows that Connecticut (a populous state in the U.S.) could generate more than a third of the state’s annual electricity consumption with solar canopies built over large, existing parking lots.

#169  Rights of Nature law

Panama recently enacted a Rights of Nature law, guaranteeing the natural world’s “right to exist, persist and regenerate.”  The nation joins a host of other countries in embracing a legal movement that gives land, trees, rivers, coral reefs and mountains unique legal rights, similar to humans, corporations and governments.

#168  Climate change and war in Ukraine have the same roots--fossil fuels

Soon after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Svitlana Krakovska, the head of the Ukrainian IPCC delegation, said, “We will not surrender in Ukraine, and we hope the world will not surrender in building a climate resilient future. Human-induced climate change and the war on Ukraine have the same roots—fossil fuels—and our dependence on them.”  (The IPCC is the United Nations group of climate scientists.)

#167  Severe drought in southern Africa

Three consecutive rainy seasons have failed in the Horn of Africa, causing severe drought that is ruining harvest, killing livestock, and causing increasing hunger.  In early February the UN estimated 13 million people face famine as a result of the climate change induced drought.

#166 South African Indigenous People win court case against international oil corporation, Shell

Indigenous communities from the Wild Coast of South Africa’s Eastern Cape won a landmark legal victory late last year against energy and petroleum giant Shell. The court cited the Indigenous people’s deep cultural connection to the ocean. The court ruled that Shell’s efforts to explore for shale gas off the country’s eastern coast failed to include meaningful consultation with local communities and  ignored a crucial aspect of local custom.  This has been hailed as a victory in the battle against climate change and also a victory in overcoming the legacies of colonialism.

#165 Increase in efficiency of solar panel

The efficiency of new solar panels has risen significantly recently, resulting in a big improvement in the generating capacity per acre of solar panels.  This means that much less land area will need to be used in the transition to renewable energy.

#164  Major companies not cutting emissions as much as they say they are, or as much as is needed

A new study of 25 of the biggest corporations on earth (including Apple and Ikea) from The New Climate Institute, a European think tank, finds that many of these companies have promised 100% reduction in emissions, but that their actual plans are likely to accomplish only a 40% reduction.  Much of this results from continuing to emit while relying on “offsetting” emissions by buying and protecting forests.  Too many end up counting forests that were never going to be cut down anyway, or forests that burn up in fires. Meanwhile their ad campaigns are designed to make it look as though they are making substantial reductions in emissions, when they aren’t.

#163   What is 4 million?

We are all part of a large worldwide climate movement.  On September 20, 2019 4 million people took to the streets to demand climate action in over 2,500 events, in over 163 countries, on all 7 continents. People of all races, ages, religions, and nationalities are committed to humanity making the changes needed for a sustainable future. (The Guardian wrote that 6 million people participated over the course of that week of protests.) Let's put our hope in the people, and each help grow the movement.

#162   What is 1.6 and 2.1?

The U.S. fair share of funding for developing nations to address the climate crisis, which the U.S has played such a large role in creating, is calculated to be at least $1.6 trillion dollars between now and 2030. This seems like a lot of money until you consider that the billionaires of the U.S. have increased their wealth by $2.1 trillion dollars just since the beginning of the COVID pandemic.  That's just the billionaires, not even all of the top 1%.  They could be taxed to pay all of the U.S. fair share and still all be billionaires.

#161   What is 51 and 400?

Humanity is currently emitting CO2 at the rate of 51 Gigatons per year. According to the IPCC, the world's remaining carbon budget if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C is 400 Gt in total. At the world's current rate of emissions we will use up our carbon budget in about 8 years. (The 400 Gt budget is estimated to give us a 2 in 3 chance of not exceeding 1.5°C.) Could there be a stronger case for immediate rapid reductions in emissions everywhere?

#160   What is 1977?

The year that oil giant Exxon knew about the harmful effect of fossil fuels on the climate. They then began, and are still continuing, to spend millions of dollars publicly promoting doubt, denial and disinformation about climate change, and influencing politicians--seriously setting back efforts to address the climate crisis.

#159  Agrivoltaics

Agrivoltaics is a field of study on how to combine agriculture with solar energy in a way that augments the performance of both. Researchers, farmers, and solar businesses are collaborating to prove that when planting crops under solar panel arrays, the plants grow better and need less watering, while the panels produce more electricity. Pilot projects with as many as 3,000 solar panels are proving the effectiveness of this approach. The panels are generally mounted high enough to drive a tractor under them. Experts have identified southern Africa, the Middle East, and western North America as the most appropriate places for these projects.

#158  Fishermen’s union sues fossil fuel companies

The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, a union representing 900 family-owned fishing boats on the Pacific coast of North America, is suing Chevron, Exxon, BP, Shell, and other oil and gas companies for covering up research that warned about the dangers of burning fossil fuels. The union wants compensation for damage caused by global warming and to meet the cost of new infrastructure to cope with the climate crisis. They also demand changes in fossil fuel industry behavior. They decided to sue after a major toxic algae bloom shut down most of the crab fishing, resulting in devastating financial losses for the fishing families. Suits against fossil fuel companies by young people, social justice groups, municipalities, and others across the world are increasing.

#157  New York City bans use of “natural” gas in new buildings

The largest city in the United States just banned the use of so-called “natural gas” in new buildings—effective in buildings of less than 7 floors by the end of 2023 and 2027 for taller buildings.  There are still exemptions for hospitals, commercial kitchens and laundries.  Buildings will be required to use electricity for heating and cooking.  State law requires all electricity to come from carbon-free sources by 2040.

#156  A majority of total urban greenhouse gas emissions come from just 25 cities

Just 25 of the world’s cities account for 52% of total urban greenhouse gas emissions. This means that focusing on these cities can make a huge difference to the arc of long-term warming. 56% of the world’s population now lives in cities.  Cities are facing increasing probabilities of extreme weather events.

#155  Massive amounts of carbon stored in Canada’s terrestrial ecosystems

A new study has measured, for the first time, how much carbon is stored in Canada’s landscapes. Canada stores a massive 405 billion tonnes of carbon in its terrestrial ecosystems — equivalent to about 30 years of human-caused global greenhouse gas emissions at 2019 emission levels. Large carbon storage areas are often found in Indigenous territories, as a result of millennia of responsible management by Indigenous Peoples. About five per cent of Canada's carbon is stored in vegetation (trees, shrubs, grasses, dead leaves and roots). The remaining 95 percent is found in the top one metre of soil (with 24 per cent of this soil carbon is found in peatlands).

#154  Criminal indictments against two fossil fuel executives

Sweden has brought criminal indictments against two fossil fuel executives for “grave war crimes”.  The executives had demanded that the Sudanese government seize an area containing an oil field so their company could profit, even though they knew it would involve military action that was contrary to international humanitarian law. The prosecutors are also seeking to confiscate profits the company made in this debacle.

#153   Indigenous man appointed to head National Park Service in the U.S.

Chuck F. Sams III was recently appointed and confirmed as the head of the National Park Service in the United States.  His is the first Native American to serve in this role. He was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate, a body that has been very divided on most issues for a number of years. Sams is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

#152   Climate refuges likely to reach 200 million by 2050

A majority of the 30.7 million people displaced from their homes in 2020 were fleeing floods, wildfire, drought or heat waves, according to a report released recently by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. And these trends are only likely to increase in the next decades. According to a World Bank report released in September-- more than 200 million people are likely to migrate over the next three decades because of extreme weather events or the slow degradation of their environments.  Most will be displaced within their home countries. But experts say that about a fourth of the people who flee will cross borders, seeking a better life in a different land.

#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.

#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.

#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.”

 #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.)

#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.”

#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.

#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, 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.

#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 

#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.

#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.

#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.

#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.

#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.)

#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.”

#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.

#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.)

#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 off the Pacific coast of California to wind farm development for the first time.

#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.

#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.

#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.

#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.

#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.

#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.”

#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.

#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?

#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.

#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.

#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.

#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.”

#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.

#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.)

#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 [electric vehicles] will have 20 percent of the global market by 2025 and 50 percent by 2030, and a chance of 100 percent by 2040. Their current share is 4 percent globally, and 2 percent in the United States. An EV boom of that scale would mean a steep decrease in emissions from transportation, which will help in global efforts to avoid the worst effects of climate change.”

#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.

#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.)

#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.

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

A recent report on “New Insights in Climate Science 2020” 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.

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

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.

# 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.

#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 $258 billion USD.

#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.

#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.

*Note: 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.

#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

#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.

#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.

#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.

#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.

#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 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.”

#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.” This 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.     

#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.”

#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.”

#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.

#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

#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.

#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.

#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.

#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.

#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.

#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.”

#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.

#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.

#91  From Marcie Rendon, ILRP for Native Americans:

“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.

#90  Asking 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, listed here. 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.  Spend a bit of time in your RC class, exploring this page on the website together and counseling each class member on inviting people they know.

#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?

#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 practice 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, the full schedule, register, and donate [here]. 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.

#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.

#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.

#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.

#84 Tim Jackins and Barbara Love from “An Unprecedented Opportunity” in Present Time, July 2020

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.”

#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.

#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.” (;   “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)

#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.)

#80 from Jane Fonda, June 2020

“Frankly, climate and racial injustice don’t seem like two separate causes anymore.”

#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: Democrat and Republican are the two large political parties in the United States.)

#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.

#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, “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.

#76 Major fossil fuel divestment by faith institutions

In mid-May of 2020 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.

#75  Happy Leap Year!

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.”

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

#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.

#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.”

#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.”

#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.

#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 now available on the RC website. Janet 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.”

#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?

#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.

#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.”

#66 New Report from

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 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.

#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.

#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.

#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. identified this as one of the “top 10 people-powered moments of 2019.”

#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, even the largest financial institutions in the world are feeling the pressure of people power from the climate movement now.

#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.

#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.”

#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.

#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)?

#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.  (provided by Marijke Wilmans, an RCer in the Netherlands.)

#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.

#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.”

Read this SAL handout, which includes a fascinating list of examples of “internalized capitalism” and how all of us can overcome 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.

#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.

#52  SAL Delegation at UN COP in Madrid

From the Sustaining All Life delegation at the UN COP in Madrid (31 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.

#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 full 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.”

#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.”

#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.)

 #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 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.

#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.

#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.

#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.

#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.

 #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

  #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 

  #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.

#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.

#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.

#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

#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.

#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.

#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.”

#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.

#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.

#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

#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.”

#30 What are your memories of wind?

#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

#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!

#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. 

#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.”

#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.

#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.

#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.

#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.

#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 “Fossil Free News”

#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.”

#19  What are your pleasant memories of flowers?

#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 and Portugal ran on renewable energy for the entire month of March, 2018. In many places, it’s now cheaper to build and run new wind and solar farms than to run existing coal plants.  – reported by Wendy Becktold in the Sierra Club magazine, Jan 2019

#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 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.

#16  The last five years have been the five warmest years in the history of accurate measurement which goes back more than a century. Reported by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

#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.)

#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.”

#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?)

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

Suggested by Marcie Rendon, ILRP for Native Americans

#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.

#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.)

#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.

#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)

#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

#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….” 

#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

#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.”

#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

#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.

#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!

Last modified: 2024-02-20 20:01:18+00