Stories of Hope and Courage

True stories that contradict despair.  Learn what's happening, take these stories to your sessions, share them with your friends.  Spread hope!

UPDATE

Spain, Europe’s second largest carmaker, plans combustion engine ban

Spain is proposing to ban fossil fuel subsidies, dump investments that encourage dirty energy use and drive lighter diesel and petrol vehicles off the road.

It marks a significant turnaround for one of Europe’s larger coal-mining, gas-importing and auto-manufacturing countries. Fracking would also be banned nationwide.

In a draft of country’s Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition, published on Tuesday, the five-month-old socialist government proposes to reduce Spain’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20% by 2030 and 90% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels. The 2030 goal would amount to a 37% reduction from current levels, which Madrid called more ambitious than any other EU country.

This is Spain’s first national law on emissions reduction and clean energy goals.

 

Lisa Marcus, Seattle Co-Counselor and organizer with 350 Seattle, makes beautiful art to bring hope and liveliness to climate actions.

Videos

Water Pipes that Generate Power: Portland, Oregon, US installs water pipes that generate hydro-electric power.

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, Al Gore's sequel to An Inconvenient Truth. Trailer. 

Before the Flood, Leonardo DiCaprio.  Beautiful National Geographic film showing climate change unfolding.  Can be rented online.  Trailer.

Laniakea: The Supercluster of Galaxies that Includes the Milky Way: gives some perspective to our struggles.  

Restoring the Rainforest: beautiful video about one man’s action to restore the rainforest.

Green Gold: Environmental film maker John D. Liu documents large-scale ecosystem restoration projects in China, Africa, South America and the Middle East, highlighting the enormous benefits for people and planet of undertaking these efforts globally. 

Years of Living Dangerously While every episode is not hopeful, the existence of the series is.  2 seasons of "Years of Living Dangerously" (US  documentary television series focusing on global warming) have been shown in 75 countries in 2014 and 171 countries and 45 languages in 2016. All episodes can be found on the internet. A description of all episodes can be found on Wikipedia.  Season 2 in particular addresses solutions.

The Yes Men Fix the World  A true story about two gonzo political activists who, posing as top executives of giant corporations, lie their way into big business conferences and pull off the world's most outrageous pranks.

Forest Man  Since 1979, Jadav Payeng has been planting hundreds of trees on an Indian island threatened by erosion. In this film, photographer Jitu Kalita traverses Payeng’s home—the largest river island in the world—and reveals the touching story of how this modern-day Johnny Appleseed turned an eroding desert into a wondrous oasis in this award-winning short video.

Books

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Every Proposed to Reverse Global Warming

Drawdown maps, measures, models, and describes the 100 most substantive solutions to global warming. For each solution, we describe its history, the carbon impact it provides, the relative cost and savings, the path to adoption, and how it works. The goal of the research that informs Drawdown is to determine if we can reverse the buildup of atmospheric carbon within thirty years. All solutions modeled are already in place, well understood, analyzed based on peer-reviewed science, and are expanding around the world.

http://www.drawdown.org/

 

Our Stories

Standing Up to Fracking in the North of England

I work with Reclaim the Power (RtP), including supporting the community in Lancashire, in the north of England, in their fight against fracking (hydraulic fracturing). 


As “Rolling Resistance,” we successfully blockaded a fracking site every working day in July 2017. 


In April, May, and June of 2018 the local community followed up with “United Resistance.” There was a different theme for each week: women, unions, Greens, health, faith groups, and more. Reclaim the Power organised a mass action camp, “Block Around the Clock,” and enough people participated that the fracking company was unable to get vehicles in or out of the site for fifty-five hours. We danced, sang, held workshops, and slept out on the busy road. With a bike-powered projector we screened the inspiring Australian film, The Bentley Effect, about community resistance to fracking.

Sheena Mooney


Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England


 

YOUTUBE VIDEO: CHARCOAL BURNING--THE UNSUNG EVIL IN NWOYA

Alfred Oryem, ARP in Gulu, Uganda, made a YouTube video about the harm resulting from cutting trees to make charcoal and what can be done about it.

After two decades of war and life in the IDP camps, the Acoli people returned home only to find an increased population of trees in their once deserted land. As a result, many learnt how to burn charcoal while others resorted to selling their farmland to commercial charcoal dealers. With the rampant cutting down of trees, the people soon realised that lives face a serious danger as a result of their activities on the environment coupled with global climatic change.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvXZ17BsVL0&feature=youtu.be

  

WE BANNED FRACKING IN NEW YORK, U.S.

Several years ago, when I was in my late 60’s, I found out that our rural home and property was surrounded by properties owned by others (totaling
1,000 acres) that were leased to gas companies for hydro-fracking (deep well gas drilling). I began to organize my town to ban this drilling. In the process I joined a movement throughout the state of New York, U.S.A. and together we were able to ban hydro-fracking from the entire state. As a part of my organizing, three of us decided to run for public office on a renewable resource program, and we created a new political party, Fenner Neighbors, and secured our place on the ballot. Although we ran unsuccessfully, twice, we only lost by 12 votes and then 8 votes, which forced the party that won to come out in favor of the hydro-fracking ban.

Today I have taken up the cause of renewable energy. I have joined the board of directors (governing group) of the Fenner Renewable Energy
Education (FREE) center. The FREE center educates thousand of young people and adults each year about solar, wind, hydro, geo-thermal and other forms of renewable energy. Our program is located in the middle of 25 wind turbines in our rural town.

Phil Rose
New York, U.S.

 

CLIMATE ACTION IN NEW YORK CITY

Last night I met New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Charlene McCray. I spoke to them personally about #SANDY5: JOIN THE MARCH FOR CLIMATE ACTION. The march is on the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, which damaged our city 5 years ago. I relayed the demand that he divest the city workers' pension funds from fossil fuels and support frontline communities. Speaking to him was a major blow (contradiction) to my feelings of insignificance and fear.

This coming Saturday I will march across the Brooklyn Bridge with Action Corps NYC, the group I lead, and with thousands of others. We will march for our fellow New Yorkers who, after 5 years, still cannot return to their homes, damaged by Hurricane Sandy. We will march for our Boricua brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico. We will march for you and me.

And we will keep marching and lobbying, writing and calling, singing and praying -- and counseling! We will not be silent, and you my beloved counselor, will not be left alone.

Isaac Evans-Frantz
West Harlem Community
New York City, USA

 

LISTENING PROJECT IN ENUGU, NIGERIA

I was part of the Care of the Environment Sensitization, a Listening Project organised by RC Community, Enugu-Nigeria on 29th May. We met as a community at a popular junction in Trans-Ekulu called NOWAS Junction, Enugu, Nigeria. After briefing ourselves on what the nature of the CoE Sensitization/Listening Project should be, we commenced by distributing handbills with inscriptions like:

"We Speak Earth"

"Stop Hurting the Earth"

"Join Hands Let Us Protect Mother Earth"

The handbills drew the attention of people and some inquired more about what our interest was. We quickly used the opportunity to tell them about RC and at the same time listened to them talk on how they feel about the condition of our environment in view of the activities of humans.

The people were very excited about the sensitization and very receptive of RC. I was amazed listening to the people talk about how hurt they are at the speedy degeneration of our environment; they readily poured out their hearts. It called my attention once more to the fact that we are not alone in this; yet I must acknowledge that some were insensitive to it.

So far the community has had several people calling through the contacts information on the handbills we shared. And I am very happy that I connected with them.

Find attached the handbills and some of the pictures taken during the event.

With love,
Rev. Chijioke Agbaeze
RC GRA Community, Enugu-Nigeria

 

At the intersection of monetary reform, the environment and the role of labour unions

I've started a short documentary film project on monetary reform and have gathered a group of talented well-informed people who want to help.  Although I have a good handle on the basics, it's still foreign territory for me (both on the filmmaking end and on the monetary reform end)  so I'm having to consult LOTS of folks, including one contact from film school who is a communications specialist AND who also happens to be a leader in the Canadian Labour Congress with the environment portfolio. This is the largest labour organization in Canada representing 3.3 million workers for more than 50 years.

Well, guess what?? He's asked me to talk about my film at the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) Convention next month in Toronto!!  It'll be the intersection of monetary reform, the environment and the role of labour unions.   Unbelievable!!!! I'm being stretched in many ways, but am having SOOO much fun.  People are all eager to help, they want to get involved, and we don't even have any funding for the film!!  They all want to contribute their time/talents to make this succeed.  I'm bursting with HOPE thanks to this experience.

Bo-Young Lim
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 

Neighborhood involvement in London

I am involved in two connected local projects which I think bring hope and connection.

I live in a street in London with around 75 homes. Most are families and some are couples or single people like me, some with sharers. We love our street and like to think it is a friendly place to live.  There are people from at least a dozen different countries/backgrounds.

Every year we have a street party and last year at that time I started to ask people to think about our immediate environment.  Young people designed shopping bags to avoid using supermarket plastic bags. We also had a day when people sowed seeds and planted flowers around the trees in the pavements. Young people drew labels so that we knew what would come up and people walking past would be deterred from standing on the little flower beds.  Later in the year we had a film night to watch three short movies: one local, one global, and one inspirational.

We now have the bags available and we have had another sowing/planting day.  This year at the street party we asked people to sign up to the 'Dahomey Road Eco-club' and choose if they wanted to take part in 1) street gardening, 2) tool sharing, and 3) eco-film nights.  Lots of people did.

It's been important to get allies and there are now a number of enthusiastic adults and young ones.  

We are learning as we go and we aim to keep up the momentum.  Getting together and enjoying each others' company and nature brings hope in a city where people can be easily isolated.

With love,
Fio Adamson
London

 

 A while ago some of our students started asking other students where they heard about climate change and almost none of them had heard about it in schools.

What we found out is that science teachers in United States are scared about teaching about climate change even though most of them would like to be able to. It's seems like it's a bit like teaching about evolution and people's religious objection to science and where people came from.

A year and a half ago the young people at my organization, Youth on Board, heard that the State of Massachusetts was redoing its science standards and were able to push for some rewording to make sure that the words "climate change" were included in pieces of the state standards.  Once the state standards were changed it was easier for us to work with Boston public schools on creating curriculum around climate change.

We then formed a team of five teachers and five students to work on curriculum over the summer.  Five lessons of curriculum were created all three levels of school in the United States, elementary, middle school, and high school.

For the school year, there is a team of 8 young people called the Climate team (my son Adam is on the team) who are refining the curriculum, getting some schools to pilot it, and having an official launch to get people excited about it in the spring.  This is historic!

Jenny Sazama
ARP, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, USA

 

 Here is a brief hopeful story from COP22 that I haven’t written down before. One day when I was distributing flyers for one of SAL's Indigenous events, I spoke with someone at the Green Zone Indigenous Space and asked if I could leave some information there. She looked at the flyer and said, “Oh, Sustaining All Life! They were in Paris. They are an AMAZING group!” She let me leave the flyers.  

Victor Nicassio
Los Angeles, California, US

 An RC Teacher in Massachusetts, USA, Eric Toensmeier, has written a book: The Carbon Farming Solution.  

"If widely implemented, carbon farming practices have the capacity to sequester hundreds of billions of tons of carbon from the atmosphere in the coming decades. And if we combine carbon farming with a massive global reduction in fossil fuel emissions, it can bring us back from the brink of disaster and return our atmosphere to the 'magic number' of 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide. Unlike high-tech geoengineering strategies, these practices can also feed people, build more fertile soils, and contribute to ecosystem health."  p. 3

The book is a "toolkit" for communities, governments, and farmers, providing the rational behind carbon farming and strategies for implementation, as well as a starting place for selecting appropriate crops and practices for your home region.  p. 5 

 

 I recently had a conversation on my “Hello Climate Change” podcast (like a radio show but the recordings are available on the internet) with the president in charge of programming for the U.S. television network, the Weather Channel. I was encouraged to learn that conveying information about climate change is one of the primary goals of their organization this year, and that in the many many conversations he’s had the topic, he’s come to the conclusion (without the benefit of RC) that the best way to communicate begins with listening.  

Amy Kalisher
Connecticut, USA

 

 I find it very hopeful that my persistence in heading toward a goal of helping everyone in my community become aware of climate change and moving to action is paying off (resulting in increase in awareness and people taking action).

I am gathering people around me who are starting to take initiative, research projects, meet with each other without me, become community spokespeople who link social justice with environmental issues.

I am building relationships with key people throughout our community - leaders in health care, non-profits, social justice organizations, the arts, politicians- and helping all of them start to think about climate change and how their work connects.

In our team meetings people of the global majority (who are the majority of the group) have felt safe to express why racism has been a barrier to participating in other environmental organizations.

Just learned the local film festival is going to host a series of 6 films with an environmental justice theme this year! I believe that's a result of my conversations with the director.

I have learned how to make committed requests for action: to ask specific people to take a specific action in a specific time period. It's similar to fundraising, where if we don't ask, they most likely won't give.  When I ask, people usually respond positively.

Nancy Faulstich
Watsonville, California

 

Sustaining All Life at the U.N. climate talks

Sustaining All Life in Paris (2015), Marrakech (2016), and Bonn (2017) made a lasting impression on the global movement against climate change. We led dozens of events, attended by several thousand people.  We came home with the contact information of over 800 people who wanted more information about us and our tools.  Our materials are in fifteen languages and we are just beginning.  See: www.rc.org/sustainingalllife

  

News Stories 

Successful fight to save the Hambach forest

The successful fight to save the Hambach forest in the heart of Germany's lignite mining region is an important victory in the face of the enormous challenge of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

On the eve of the IPCC report release, 50,000 people came together in solidarity to save the Hambach forest and take a stand against coal. The nearly 12,000 year-old forest has been under threat from coal company RWE who planned to cut down the forest to expand a nearby coal mine. The Hambach mine is one of the single biggest sources of carbon in Europe. 

Initially, local police had tried to prevent the “Save Hambi, Stop Coal”demonstration from taking place, but a local court lifted the ban after a last minute appeal. On the day, the crowd was victorious and defiant. After several hours of listening to speeches and bands, thousands of people streamed into the forest and joined Ende Gelände’s action, helping to build new blockades and treehouses and bringing a nearby coal digger to a halt. 

Now that the clearcutting of the forest has been stopped until another court case reaches a decision (which is likely to take at least two years), RWE has been forced to reassess its plans to expand the Hambach mine and announced recently that it will scale back its excavation activities until at least 2020. 

Carbon Neutrality Coalition Growing

Nineteen countries have now committed to developing and publishing long-term strategies by 2020 that set out how they plan to achieve 'carbon neutrality' during the second half of the century.   The hope is that if a number of major economies submit plans to strengthen the emissions reduction proposals they submitted under the Paris Agreement before the treaty comes into full effect in 2020 then others will similarly ramp up ambition. 

Member nations include New Zealand, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Finland, Iceland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the Marshall Islands, Sweden, France, Germany, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Spain, and Canada. The Carbon Neutrality Coalition was established in December 2017 and also saw 32 cities around the world pledge to go carbon neutral by 2050.

Exponential Climate Action Roadmap (Report to the Global Climate Action Summit)

Emissions have peaked in 49 countries (40% of global greenhouse gas emissions) and 10 countries have announced plans to become carbon neutral by 2050. 9,138 cities have committed to the Global Covenant of Mayors for climate and energy representing 10% of the global population. 430 companies have committed to science-based targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

U.S. Democratic Nation Committee (DNC) bans contributions from fossil fuel companies

On Tuesday, in a unanimous vote, the DNC banned contributions from fossil fuel company Political Action Committees (PACs). The DNC already rejects corporate PAC contributions that conflict with its party platform. This resolution singles out the fossil fuel corporations, that are “drowning our democracy in a tidal wave of dark oily money.”

“They have deceived the public about the impacts of climate change, fought the growth of clean renewable energy, and corrupted our political system,” the resolution states.  

EU taken to court over 2030 emissions target

Ten families filed a climate lawsuit on Thursday against the European Parliament and the European Council over the EU’s emissions target.

They claim the “inadequate” target to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions at least 40% by 2030, as compared to 1990 levels, does not protect their fundamental rights.

In the application, dubbed the People’s Climate Case, they say their livelihoods have been and will be put at risk by climate change and call for higher ambition.

The 10 families are from Portugal, Germany, France, Italy, Romania, Kenya and Fiji. They are joined by the Swedish Sami Youth Association Sáminuorra.

TRANSFORMATIVE CITIES PROJECT

Transformative Cities is an opportunity for progressive local governments, municipalist coalitions, social movements and civil society organizations to popularize and share their experiences of tackling and finding solutions to our planet’s systemic economic, social, political and ecological crisis.

The initiative draws on the emerging wave of transformative political practices taking place at municipal level worldwide, by launching a unique award process that will ensure that the lessons and inspiration of these cities becomes viral.

Visit website: http://transformativecities.org/

National Climate Action on Paris Agreement

Paris Agreement: All 197 signatories now taking national climate action
All 197 signatories to the Paris Agreement now have at least one national law or policy on climate change, according to updated research from the LSE Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change, covered by BusinessGreen. Since the Paris deal was agreed in December 2015, some 106 new climate change laws and policies have been created worldwide, the study finds, bringing the total to more than 1,500 measures. Last year, Carbon Brief published a map from the Grantham climate database, showing the extent of global coverage. 

Poor People's Campaign

The Poor People's Campaign has adopted Ecological Devastation as a fourth point for organizing, adding to the historically central themes of Systemic Racism,  Poverty and Inequality, and War Economy and Militarism.  

Indonesian mosques to take up the mantle of fighting climate change

Indonesia will establish 1,000 “eco-mosques,” the country’s vice president announced at this month’s UN climate summit in Bonn.

The Southeast Asian nation is home to some 260 million people, fourth after China, India and the U.S. Nearly 90 percent of them identify as Muslim, according to 2010 census data.

Indonesia also has some of the greatest expanses of rainforests, peatlands and mangroves — carbon-rich environments that are rapidly disappearing as industry expands.

“The environmentally friendly mosque or ‘eco-mosque’ program is expected to instill mosques with a concern about the mutual relationship between living things and the environment for the sustainable livelihoods of us all,” Vice President Jusuf Kalla said in a statement.

Practically, the initiative “will help the mosques to source renewable energy, manage their water and food needs sustainably, reduce and recycle waste and provide environmental education,” Thomson Reuters Foundation reported.

More broadly, it aims to cultivate among worshippers a sense of stewardship toward the natural world, in part through education programs that frame the environmental movement as a moral challenge.

 

"I'm Just More Afraid of Climate Change than I am of Prison"

A group of activists in the northwest of the U.S. shut down pipelines bringing tar sands oil into the U.S. from Canada to bring increased attention to climate change and the importance of fighting against continued fossil fuel use.  They committed the civil disobedience knowing they would be arrested (they notified the oil companies so that their actions would not be dangerous to others).  Several have been tried and convicted, and the prison sentence for the first "valve turner" to be convicted is now beginning.

 

To Fight Climate Change, New York City Takes On Oil Companies

New York City sues five major oil companies, seeking to collect billions of dollars in damages to pay for city efforts to cope with the effects of climate change. The lawsuit says that the oil companies — BP, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell — were aware for years that burning fossil fuels caused climate change but hid the conclusions of their own scientists. It says that the city has spent billions of dollars and will spend billions more to deal with the consequences of climate change, such as the effects of Sandy, and it seeks to hold the companies responsible for those costs. 

 

A few news and goods to end the year, sent in by RCers (and more below)

Due to the sustained pressure of indigenous peoples and their allies, a court in Brazil *revoked the license for a massive proposed open-pit gold mine* along the Xingu River. And just yesterday, thousands of indigenous leaders and community members completed a 200-mile march into Quito, Ecuador where the President agreed to meet with them and committed to *prohibit all new mining concessions in indigenous territories* and *reinstate indigenous bilingual education!*

The snow leopard has been moved from the endangered species list to the vulnerable list.

The French parliament on December 19 voted to ban the production of all oil and gas by 2040.  

California is poised to hit 50% renewables target a full decade ahead of schedule.

Conservationists agreed to plant 73 million trees over the next 6 years in the Amazon rainforest. New Zealand's next prime minister wants to plant 100 million trees next year.  Ecowatch.

 A shoe company in Argentina makes shoes from recycled tires and employs only single moms from rural areas.  

Honeybee populations are increasing.

The fifth RC class teaching outline is now available.

 

One Planet Summit

On the second anniversary of the adoption of the Paris agreement, World Leaders gathered in Paris to form the "One Planet Coalition" and mobilize trillions of dollars toward transforming the world’s energy and agricultural sectors to help keep global temperature rises to below 2 degrees and support developing countries’ national climate action plans. Participants in the summit launched an array of landmark commitments to demonstrate that public and private finance are rapidly being deployed in both developed and developing countries to strengthen sustainable development and assist nations toward achieving their national climate action plans. Some announcements made during this summit:

Funding $10 billion by 2025 in smallholder projects related to renewable energy access, agroforestry, water access and responsible agriculture

$9 billion Euro investments by 2020 in sustainable cities, sustainable energy and connectivity, sustainable agriculture, rural entrepreneurs and agribusiness 

US Women “climate smart agriculture programme” addressing food insecurity in the Sahel by connecting women and youth farmers directly to customers, suppliers, information, markets and finance, expecting to double their income in 3 years.

More details can be found here.

 

Mega-Bank cuts funding to fossil fuel projects

French Mega-bank BNP Paribas announced that it's cutting its funding for extreme oil and fracked gas projects in the US and Canada. Specifically: BNP Paribas will not fund new exploration, production, transportation and export projects related to Tar sands, fracked gas and the Arctic, nor the companies involved. The announcement includes a ban on funding Keystone XL and TransCanada, Line 3 and Enbridge, a Texas fracked gas export facility and any future gas export terminals in the Gulf; and more!  

 

Top 11 Reasons for Climate Hope

A new website, Climate Interactive (Tools for a thriving future) have a section on the Top 11 Reasons for Climate Hope.

Global climate finance increased by 18% in 2014

More money than ever before was invested in low-carbon and climate-resilient growth in 2014--$392 billion.  

But note, that while public support is significant it totals less than a third of government subsidies for fossil fuel consumption, which reached around $493 billion in 2014. 

climatefinancelandscape.org

 

US mayors back plan for cities to use only renewable energy 

 

California Governor Invites Nations to Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, September 2018

In an affront to President Trump’s controversial decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate-change agreement (and during his appearance at the G20, Jerry Brown will announce today a major initiative, inviting nations around the world to join California at a global “climate action” summit meeting in San Francisco.

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/07/06/jerry-brown-one-ups-trump-on-climate-change-with-g20-announcement/

 

New Report: 2020: The Climate Turning Point

It is still possible to meet the Paris temperature goals if emissions peak by 2020 at the latest, and there are signs to show we are moving in that direction as global CO2 emissions have not increased for the past three years. We will need an enormous amount of action and scaled up ambition to harness the current momentum in order to travel down the decarbonisation curve at the necessary pace; the window to do that is still open.  Preface

Introduction:  The evidence that a 2020 climate turning point is within our grasp is growing every day. Global CO2 emissions have already plateaued, and are expected to remain flat over the coming years thanks, in no small part, to China’s economic transformation, as well as the exponential growth in renewables worldwide. There are many signs that an irreversible direction of travel has been set: investment shifts, technology breakthroughs and cost reductions, a deepening understanding of eco-system services, resilient business and government leadership, as well as a staggering upsurge of citizen activism - all indicate that change is inevitable.

But when it comes to climate, timing is everything and we need to step-up the pace of change, accelerating a rapid drawdown in global emissions by 2020. Our shared mission is to ensure 6 critical milestones are met by 2020:

1. Renewables outcompete fossil fuels as new electricity sources worldwide

2. Zero emissions transport is the preferred form of all new mobility in the world’s major cities and transport routes

3. Large-scale deforestation is replaced with large-scale land restoration, and agriculture shifts to earth-friendly practices

4. Heavy industry - including iron & steel, cement, chemicals and oil & gas - commits to being Paris compliant

5. Cities and states are implementing policies and regulations to fully decarbonize buildings and infrastructure by 2050

6. Investment in climate action is beyond USD $1 trillion per year and all financial institutions have a disclosed transition strategy

Just as the Paris Agreement was a deeply shared endeavor, so delivering on its promise must be too. Our success in Paris was not an accident; it was the result of us rallying behind a common strategy, and abandoning resignation for a can-do attitude that accepted this challenge as our own. In this next phase, we will need to come together once again. Meeting these 6 milestones will not be easy, and we will need to support each other along the way to ensure the transition is just and equitable. But just as we delivered success in Paris, so we can deliver the 2020 climate turning point too. This is our moment. This is our great opportunity.  

 

The World at 1°C , May 2017

Renewable energy continues to hold great promise — so much so that the two climate “bogeymen” countries, China and India, are fast being seen as climate champions. China has increased its solar output by 80% over the last three months alone, adding the world’s largest floating solar power plant to its grid. This month India saw its energy sector veer further towards wind and solar with the price of utility-solar energy falling below the price of coal-fired power. In fact, renewable electricity is growing so quickly in India that the country is on track to be 8 years early in meeting its goal of attaining 40% renewable energy by 2030. Under a new draft electricity plan India could reach 57% renewable energy by 2027.

Even traditionally oil-dependent countries in the Middle East have their sights set on renewables, with new research suggesting that not only could the region go 100% renewable by 2030, but it could do so at a third the cost of relying on fossil fuels. Iran this month approved a $3 billion investment in its renewable sector, and in Yemen inspiring individuals like Anwar Al-Haddad have already helped the capital city Sanaa source over half of its electricity from solar energy.

In Europe, too, the renewable revolution is coming on in leaps and bounds. Renewables made up 90 percent of new power added to Europe’s grid last year. In the North Sea, the giant Gemini wind park — capable of meeting the energy needs of 1.5 million people — opened. In Germany, wind and solar power output increased by 23% in April compared to last year.

At the same time, dirty energy is being phased out in many places. The Chinese government has suspended new coal-fired power plants in 29 provinces, while the new South Korean president has ordered the closure of the ten oldest coal plants in his first term, as the country struggles to combat air pollution. Indonesia has scaled back its coal-fired electricity plan. Even Saudi Arabia moved to limit global oil supply

 

Hopeful book on climate change:  Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Every Proposed to Reverse Global Warming

Drawdown maps, measures, models, and describes the 100 most substantive solutions to global warming. For each solution, we describe its history, the carbon impact it provides, the relative cost and savings, the path to adoption, and how it works. The goal of the research that informs Drawdown is to determine if we can reverse the buildup of atmospheric carbon within thirty years. All solutions modeled are already in place, well understood, analyzed based on peer-reviewed science, and are expanding around the world.

http://www.drawdown.org/

 

Fracking Bans

Four countries: France, Bulgaria, Germany, Scotland, and three states  in the U.S. (New York, Vermont, and this week--Maryland) have banned fracking.  The following countries have moratoriums on fracking:  UK, Romania, Denmark, Ireland, South African and the Czech Republic.

 

Doctors Warn Climate Change is Harming Our Health

More and more groups are speaking out against climate change, including this medical consortium representing more than 400,000 physicians.  

Climate change isn’t just happening in the Arctic Circle and Antarctica where more ice is melting year after year. Its impact is being felt right here at home, and it’s posing a threat to the health of millions of Americans, say doctors representing 11 top U.S. medical societies. They are joining forces in Washington, D.C., today to speak out about the health risks posed by climate change.

They announced the formation of a new organization, the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health — made up of family physicians, pediatricians, obstetricians, allergists, internists and other medical experts — and are meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to discuss their concerns. More than half of all U.S. doctors are members of one of the participating groups, which include the American College of Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

They’ll also present a new report, “Medical Alert! Climate Change is Harming Our Health,” which includes scientific evidence and accounts from doctors who see climate change exacerbating a wide range of health issues, including: 

 

Good News from Washington, D.C.

A group of senior Republican statesmen have formed a Climate Leadership Council. They argue that Republicans need to take a leadership role on fighting climate change, a problem which they say the evidence is growing too compelling to ignore. They are pushing for a carbon tax on oil, natural gas, and coal. Proceeds would be used to pay dividends to US taxpayers. 

 

Maryland Legislature Overrides Veto of Clean Energy Jobs Act 

In 2016, legislators voted overwhelmingly and in a bipartisan fashion to pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act, an important step in moving away from fossil fuels and combating global warming. It was a key element of Maryland’s plan to meet its emission reduction targets by ramping up Maryland’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 25 percent by 2020, meaning that electricity providers are required to supply more energy from solar and wind.

The Governor vetoed the bill, erroneously calling it a “sunshine and wind tax. With broad public support, legislators were able to override the veto.

And even though this increase is fairly modest, there’s no underestimating the environmental impact of using more renewable energy. First and foremost, it will improve air quality. Baltimore City has the highest rate of premature mortality from air pollution in the United States, and 75 percent of Marylanders live in areas that received a D or F air quality grade from the American Lung Association. Using Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) models, it’s estimated that the Clean Energy Jobs Act would prevent up to 50 premature deaths and 600 asthma attacks annually.


U.S. Court of Appeals Blocks Executive Order

President Trump's executive order banning admittance of refugees and citizens of 7 Muslim countries into the U.S. for 90 days was blocked by a Federal District Court in Seattle, and upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  Not only is the order racist and Islamophobic, it raises an important issue of climate justice.   

Climate change is becoming more and more the cause of migration. The UN High Commission on Refugees estimates that by 2050 there will be 250 million climate refugees, and by then climate will be the largest cause of migration.  The U.S. is and has been one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gasses, and people from the countries targeted by the executive order are from some of the countries that are and will continue to be most harmed.  

Climate justice requires that we open our borders for climate refugees from the countries most harmed to live in those countries like the U.S. that caused the harm, and are among the most stable places in our planet. 

 

Valve-Turner Freed!

In a resounding recognition of the threat of climate change, a jury in Washington State has refused to convict a local climate activist of two felony counts stemming from an act of civil disobedience (shutting off one of the pipelines bringing tar sands oil into the U.S.) in October of last year. The activist confessed to the act, even submitting into an evidence a video of himself manually turning off the valve.  In his defense he talked about his action as an attempt to bring awareness about climate change and move people to take action to stop it. Although he had no legal defense, after more than five hours of deliberation at least one juror refused to convict him, so he was released.  (A person can only be convicted of a crime on a unanimous vote.)  February 3, 2017  

 

Barack Obama Transfers $500 million to Green Climate Fund

Barack Obama has heeded calls to help secure the future of the historic Paris agreement by transferring a second $500 million installment to the Green Climate Fund, just three days before he left office. The fund was a key aspect of the Paris accord and is used to assist developing countries with adaptation and mitigation. It was established in 2010.  The U.S. had pledged $3 billion.  

 

China Cancels 103 Coal Plants, Mindful of Smog and Wasted Capacity (New York Times, January 19, 2017)

China is canceling plans to build more than 100 coal-fired power plants, seeking to rein in runaway, wasteful investment in the sector while moving the country away from one of the dirtiest forms of electricity generation, the government announced in a directive made public this week.  That includes dozens of projects in 13 provinces, mostly in China’s coal-rich north and west, on which construction had already begun. Those projects alone would have had a combined output of 54 gigawatts, more than the entire coal-fired capacity of Germany, according to figures compiled by Greenpeace.

The cancellations make it likelier that China will meet its goal of limiting its total coal-fired power generation capacity to 1,100 gigawatts by 2020. That huge figure, three times the total coal-fired capacity in the United States, is far more than China needs. Its coal plants now run at about half of capacity, and new sources of power, like wind, solar and nuclear, are coming online at a fast clip.

Electricity generated from coal is the biggest source of the greenhouse gases that lead to global warming, and pollution from such plants contributes to the miasma of smog that has blanketed much of China this winter. But despite the vast amount of capacity added in recent years, China’s coal use has been on the decline since 2013.

 

Veterans Ask for Forgiveness and Healing in Standing Rock (Indian Country Media Network, December 7, 2016)

When veterans Wes Clark Jr. and Michael Wood Jr. sent out the call for U.S. military veterans to deploy to Standing Rock, they felt confident they could muster at least 2,000 people.  More than 4,000 vets showed up, despite a raging blizzard and –27 degree temperatures.  

Working together, Veterans Stand for Standing Rock, Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War came to serve and protect some 15,000 people who had come from all over the world to support Standing Rock.

On December 5—the birthday of Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer, who led the Battle of Little Bighorn against Lakota and Cheyenne warriors—Clark and other vets got down on bended knee to beg forgiveness from the Lakota people. Clark said:

“Many of us, me particularly, are from the units that have hurt you over the many years. We came. We fought you. We took your land. We signed treaties that we broke. We stole minerals from your sacred hills. We blasted the faces of our presidents onto your sacred mountain. Then we took still more land and then we took your children and then we tried to make your language and we tried to eliminate your language that God gave you, and the Creator gave you. We didn’t respect you, we polluted your Earth, we’ve hurt you in so many ways but we’ve come to say that we are sorry. We are at your service and we beg for your forgiveness.”

 

Article about Sustaining All Life in Catholic National Newspaper

"A less religious form of spirituality was also very present in the Agora at the “re-evaluation counseling” booth. Not only were people gathered for prayer on their lunch hour, they were also standing in long lines outside a booth under the name of “Sustaining All Life.” There they engaged in a process of sitting and listening called “re-evaluation counseling.” The lines stretched at each end of the booth, longer than for those taking pictures of themselves standing in front of electric cars.

Sustaining All Life is an international grassroots organization based in Seattle that is teaching re-evaluation counseling to the globe. Re-evaluation counseling is a well-defined theory and practice that helps people of all ages and backgrounds exchange effective help with each other in order to free themselves from their emotional scars or hurts. By taking turns listening to each other and encouraging emotional release, people can heal old hurts and become better able to think, to speak out and to organize a world where human beings and other life forms are valued and the environment is restored and preserved.

This listening might well be the only way we can get to the roots of an environmental crisis. It is surely small and likewise surely important. We must learn to touch it and each other.” 

 

Citizen Involvement in Electricity Production 

The challenge of climate change is global and it demands action on an international scale, such as the Paris Agreement. But a large part of the solution will be local, involving all of us in the way energy is produced and consumed.

The potential for citizen involvement in electricity production is considerable. A recent study showed that by 2050 half of all Europeans could produce their own electricity either at home, as part of a cooperative, or in their small business. Counting generation from wind and solar power alone, these small actors could meet almost half of Europe’s total electricity needs.

Even more people could support the energy transition, and share in the benefits, by storing power in batteries, electric vehicles and smart boilers. This enables the grid to draw power when it’s cheap and plentiful, and temporarily lighten the load if there’s a peak in demand.

These projections may seem generous, but they must be considered in the context of the unprecedented fall in wind and solar prices. Since 2009, the price of solar panels has fallen by 80% and wind turbines by 40%. And it won’t stop there. Renewable energies are becoming competitive with fossil fuels and new nuclear, such as Hinkley Point, where EDF will try to build the most expensive reactors in the world and provide electricity at an unprecedented cost.

 

Landmark U.S. Federal Climate Lawsuit

“Exercising my ‘reasoned judgment,’ I have no doubt that the right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life is fundamental to a free and ordered society.” –U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken

On November 10, 2016 Judge Ann Aiken issued an opinion and order denying the U.S. government and fossil fuel industry’s motions to dismiss a constitutional climate change lawsuit filed by 21 youth. The decision means that the youth, age 9 to 20 and from all over the U.S., now have standing because their rights are at stake, and now their case is headed to trial.

The youth had filed their constitutional climate lawsuit against the federal government in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon in 2015. Also acting as a plaintiff is world-renowned climate scientist Dr. James E. Hansen, serving as guardian for future generations and his granddaughter. Their complaint asserts that, through the governments affirmative actions in causing climate change, it has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources.

 

Indigenous rights are key to preserving forests, climate change study finds (The Guardian, November 2, 2016)

The world’s indigenous communities need to be given a bigger role in climate stabilisation, according to a new study that shows at least a quarter of forest carbon is stored on communal land, particularly in Brazil.

The research by a group of academic institutions and environmental NGOs is the most comprehensive effort yet to quantify the contribution of traditional forest guardians to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Authors say the expansion of tribal land rights is the most cost-effective way to protect forests and sequester carbon – an issue that they hope will receive more prominence at the upcoming United Nations climate conference in Marrakech.

The paper by the Rights and Resources Initiative, Woods Hole Research Centre and World Resources Institute aims to encourage governments to recognise indigenous land rights and include tribal input in national action plans. Currently this is not the case for 167 of 188 nations in the Paris agreement, including Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which are home to some of the world’s biggest forests. It is also likely to feed into a growing debate in Brazil, which has won kudos for recognising more indigenous land than any other country in the past decade but is now under a new government that has yet to be tested in international climate talks.

Based on satellite surveys of 37 tropical countries, the study estimates community-claimed lands sequester at least 54,546m tonnes of carbon – roughly four times the world’s annual emissions.

 

First Bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus Formed in U.S. House of Representatives

The Climate Solutions Caucus is a bipartisan group in the US House of Representatives which will explore policy options that address the impacts, causes, and challenges of our changing climate. The caucus was founded in February of 2016 by two south-Florida representatives Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) who will serve as co-chairs of the caucus.

“The Caucus will serve as an organization to educate members on economically-viable options to reduce climate risk and protect our nation’s economy, security, infrastructure, agriculture, water supply and public safety,” according to documents filed with the Committee on House Administration.

Membership will be kept even between Democrats and Republicans.

The story of how this came about is chronicled in this Citizen's Climate Lobby blog, and in Episode 7 of Years of Living Dangerously. 

 

Volcanic rock can quickly store CO2

A new technique turns climate-warming carbon emissions to stone. In a test program in Iceland, more than 95 percent of the carbon dioxide injected into basaltic lava rocks mineralized into solid rock within two years. This surprisingly fast transformation quarantined CO2 from the atmosphere and could ultimately help offset society's greenhouse gas emissions, scientists report in the June 10 Science.

Science News, July 9, 2016

 

Ratification of Paris Accord

As of 12 January 2017: 194 Parties signed the Agreement, 123 Parties ratified. It entered into force on November 4, 2016.

See a table showing signing/ratification status of each country and percent of emissions.  

 

 

China Plans to Reduce Citizen Meat Consumption (The Guardian, June 2016)

The Chinese government has outlined a plan to reduce its citizens’ meat consumption by 50%, in a move that climate campaigners hope will provide major heft in the effort to avoid runaway global warming.

New dietary guidelines drawn up by China’s health ministry recommend that the nation’s 1.3 billion population should consume between 40g to 75g of meat per person each day. The measures, released once every 10 years, are designed to improve public health but could also provide a significant cut to greenhouse gas emissions.

Globally, 14.5% of planet-warming emissions emanate from the keeping and eating of cows, chickens, pigs and other animals – more than the emissions from the entire transport sector. Livestock emit methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas, while land clearing and fertilizers release large quantities of carbon.

China now consumes 28% of the world’s meat, including half of its pork. However, China still lags behind more than a dozen other countries in per capita meat consumption, with the average American or Australian consuming twice as much meat per person compared to China.

 

Renewables Added at Record Pace

New solar, wind and hydropower sources were added in 2015 at the fastest rate the world has yet seen. Investments in renewables during the year were more than double the amount spent on new coal and gas-fired power plants, the Renewables Global Status Report found. For the first time, emerging economies spent more than the rich on renewable power and fuels. For a number of years, the global spend on renewables has been increasing and 2015 saw that arrive at a new peak according to the report. China, the US, Japan, UK and India were the countries adding on the largest share of green power, despite the fact that fossil fuel prices have fallen significantly. (BBC News

Full report

 

Megadam in the heart of Amazon cancelled

More than 1.2 million people around the world joined the Munduruku Indigenous People to say no to the SLT dam and pressure multinational companies like Siemens to distance themselves from the project.

Other Brazilian agencies like FUNAI (National Indigenous Foundation) and federal public prosecutors in the Brazilian state of Pará had recommended that IBAMA cancel the license because the project would displace Munduruku communities, making it unconstitutional. Part of the Munduruku Indigenous land called Sawré Muybu – an area in the process of been officially recognised as Indigenous Land – would have been flooded by the dam. 

 

Oil drilling was given the big heave-ho...

BP was about to bring its “Deep Water Horizon version 2.0” to Australia’s southern coast, but constant campaigning pressured BP to pull out from its oil drilling plans.

Statoil also pulled out of plans to drill off the west coast of New Zealand's North Island (though is planning to drill elsewhere).

And best of all, Obama and Trudeau banned offshore drilling in parts of the Atlantic and Arctic Ocean.

 

Hopeful Websites

The EcoTipping Points Project--EcoTipping Points are levers for restoring sustainability to our imperiled environment – small actions that tip the balance from decline to restoration by tapping the inborn power of nature and human societies to heal themselves.

Many environmental and social problems are so complex and overwhelming it’s hard to know where to begin. But pioneering communities around the world are showing what it takes to succeed.

As we assemble their stories, the scientific goal of the EcoTipping Points Project is to better understand what made them successful. The pragmatic goal is to help people identify "tipping point" levers right at home – concrete actions that they and their community can act upon. The EcoTipping Points Project is dedicated to making the stories and their lessons known through the media, workshops, and direct collaboration with community groups.


Last modified: 2018-11-14 16:37:17+00