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Friday, November 30, 2007

Like the 1Sky Platform? Vote for it.

1Sky is based on three pillars: create 5 million new Green Jobs, start a firm Moratorium on New Coal, and reduce emissions to 30% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% by 2050. Focus the Nation’s Choose Your Future Vote in January will present millions of voters with a menu of global warming policy solutions, including those and more.

Focus the Nation’s combination of education, civic engagement and action is without precedent. On January 31st, the nation-wide teach-in will include tens of thousands of professors from all disciplines focusing on global warming solutions for America.

Organizers in all fifty states are inviting hundreds of Senators and Representatives to participate in Green Democracy, a carbon-neutral platform for DC-District engagement on global warming policy solutions. From a room in the Capitol they will sit down in front of a computer and video-chat with their constituents on campuses across the country.
The culmination of the event is the nation-wide vote on policy solutions. What do you think we should do about global warming? Should we invest in so-called “clean coal” or real clean energy technology? Should we create new nuclear reactors or new green jobs? Should we make our cars cleaner or transition away from cars altogether?

You all have strong opinions on what the solutions should be. Make them heard, and start 2008 with solutions in mind.

Read more!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Beating Back the Coal Rush: Proposed Washington Coal Plant Halted!

No Coal!Great news from Washington state!

State energy facility siting regulators in Washington announced yesterday that they have halted permitting for a proposed coal-fired power plant near Kalama on the Columbia River in southwest Washington.

Before the state Energy Facility Siting Council will continue permitting the proposed coal gasification plant, the developers, Energy Northwest, must file a real plan for sequestering the greenhouse gas emissions the plant will emit, in accordance with a greenhouse gas emissions limit passed by the Washington legislature in 2007 (SB 6001),

The plan the developers initially filed essentially amounted to "well, we can't sequester emissions now but we'll figure out a plan to do it later." That doesn't cut it, the state Siting Council (reasonably) said.

This is a major set-back for the proposed plant - although it doesn't spell the end. If the developers come up with a real plan to sequester emissions, they could still build the power plant, which while more climate friendly, would still be coal-burning.

Washington's SB 6001 essentially sets an greenhouse gas emissions limit for any new power plants either in Washington, or outside the state but serving Washington customers, saying that they must be at least as clean as a state-of-the-art, high-efficiency natural gas plant. The bill essentially means no new coal plants for Washington!

However, the bill included a special provision for two coal plants that were already in the permitting and development process when the bill was passed: the Kalama plant, and another coal-gasification plant, the Wallula plant near Walla Walla, in southeastern Washington. If these plants are to be built, the law says, they must capture and sequester enough emissions to get below the emissions limit, or pay to reduce emissions at another power plant located in the western United States.

If either coal gasification plant - which use a newer technology that turns coal into cleaner-burning synthetic gas before burning it to make electricity, allowing some or all of the greenhouse gas emissions to be captured and stored underground - moves forward, it will either have to sequester roughly 60% or more of it's emissions, or pay to reduce a corresponding amount of emissions at another power plant in the western U.S, as required by the state law, Senate Bill 6001.

The Wallula plant is actively pursuing a sequestration plan and wants to be a national demonstration site for the new technology.

The Kalama plant however was making no plans to sequester emissions at this time, arguing that it was economically and technically infeasible. "So what!" said state siting regulators.

The laws the law, Energy Northwest, so get used to it!

Read more!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Support Youth Climate Activism While You Shop This Holiday Season

Dear WattHead readers,

If you (or your family and/or friends) are going to be purchasing any books online as gifts for friends and loved ones this holiday season, please help support the youth climate activism of the Cascade Climate Network while you shop

I've set up a "partner bookseller" account here at WattHead with Powell's Books online. Any purchases made at Powell's online from anyone who "clicked through" to Powell's site from a link at my blog will mean that 7.5% any purchases made during that visit to Powell's will go to me as commission, and that money will in turn go to support the Cascade Climate Network I'm involved with.

All you need to do is start your shopping experience by searching for the book you want using the Powell's search box, or clicking through any of the recommended books or topics at the "WattHead Bookstore" (it's on the lefthand column, a little way down the page). After you get to Powells' site, shop as normal, and the commission should flow through to me and the Cascade Climate Network (a screen shot of the search tool at my blog is attached to this email). Thanks, and happy holidays!

About the Cascade Climate Network

The Cascade Climate Network (CCN) is the first-ever effort by youth in the Pacific Northwest to launch a coordinated, region-wide campaign to address the climate crisis. The CCN consists of students and youth from across the Cascade Region* who are focused on actively addressing climate change in their bio-region, states, and schools.

Currently, the CCN is working to gather support for the Cascade Climate Declaration, a document emphasizing the need to address climate change in a clean, local, just, and ecologically sustainable manner.

The CCN will use the Declaration to build support from youth and students, as well as faculty, community members, and politicians in Washington and Oregon. By building broad support for the Declaration, the Cascade Climate Network (CCN) plans to hold elected officials, university and college presidents – and ourselves! – accountable to a set of five enduring principles, which should guide a rapid transition to a sustainable, just, and prosperous future for all.

Through our efforts, we hope to form a more unified regional youth climate movement that both reinforces our separate efforts at our own schools and campuses, and achieves real progress in our states, the region, and the nation.

Colleges and universities involved in the Cascade Climate Network include:

  • University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA
  • The Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA
  • Centralia College, Centralia, WA
  • Whitworth College, Spokane, WA
  • Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA
  • Portland State University, Portland, OR
  • University of Portland, Portland, OR
  • Portland Community College, Cascade Campus, Portland, OR
  • Portland Community College, Sylvania Campus, Portland, OR
  • Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR
  • Reed College, Portland, OR
  • Willamette University, Salem, OR
  • Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
  • University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
  • Lane Community College, Eugene, OR
  • Southern Oregon University, Ashland, OR
  • Central Oregon Community College, Bend, OR

  • Read more!

    Google Wants Green Energy, Cheaper, Faster

    Today, Google announced it's newest initiative: RE<C.

    RE<C aims to develop energy from renewable energy sources rather than more costly coal; initially focused on advanced solar thermal power, wind power technologies, enhanced geothermal systems and other potential breakthrough technologies. To accomplish this task with the urgency Google has put on the issue, it is hiring engineers and energy experts who will lead the research and development work. Next year, tens of millions of dollars will be invested by Google on the RE<C initiative, which will begin with efforts with solar thermal technology and investigating enhanced geothermal systems, and other renewable energy investments.

    "We have gained expertise in designing and building large-scale, energy-intensive facilities by building efficient data centers," said Larry Page, Google Co-founder and President of Products. "We want to apply the same creativity and innovation to the challenge of generating renewable electricity at globally significant scale, and produce it cheaper than from coal."

    Coal is currently the primary power source for many worldwide, supplying 40% of the world's electricity. Developing electricity from renewables that is cheaper than coal is key to reducing greenhouse gases.

    Google is already working with two companies that have promising scalable energy technologies. eSolar Inc., from Pasadena, CA, specializes in solar thermal power with potential technology to produce utility-scale power cheaper than coal. Makani Power Inc., out of Alameda, CA, is developing high-altitude wind energy extraction technologies aimed at harnessing the most powerful wind resources with the potential to satisfy a significant portion of current global electricity needs.

    More Information
    Read about Google's Green Commitment and RE<C Initiative

    Read Google's Press Release on the Launch of RE<C

    Ongoing Commitments
    Today's announcement represents just the latest steps in Google's commitment to a clean and green energy future.

    Google has been working hard on energy efficiency and making its business environmentally sustainable. Last spring the company announced its intention to be carbon neutral for 2007, and is on track to meet that goal. To this end, the company has taken concrete steps to reduce its carbon footprint and accelerate improvements in green technology, including:

    • Developing cutting-edge energy efficiency technology to power and cool its data centers in the U.S. and around the world.
    • Generating electricity for its Mountain View campus from a 1.6 Megawatt corporate solar panel installation, one of the largest in the U.S.
    • Accelerating development and adoption of plug-in vehicles through the RechargeIT initiative, including a $10 million request for investment proposals (
    • Joining with other industry leaders in 2007 to form the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, a consortium that advocates the design and use of more energy-efficient computers and servers (
    • Working on policies that encourage renewable energy development and deployment, such as a U.S. Renewable Energy Standard, through

    Read more!

    Sunday, November 25, 2007

    Not Seeing Eye-to-Eye with Congress? Want to?

    The buzz in Congress about Focus the Nation has representatives calling our Civic Engagement Director asking “Where is my invitation?” Want to know what your rep has to say about global warming? Here’s how: The Green Democracy model is providing a day of carbon-neutral DC-to-district engagement on Global Warming Solutions for America.

    There is no excuse for Congress not to give us the dialogue we deserve on real policy solutions. We’re working with Sight Speed and Congress to set up a room in the Capitol on January 31st, where politicians will sit down and video chat with their constituents back home in a non-partisan, solution-oriented discussion on climate change.

    Many teams have already sent the first wave of invitations. What about your senators and representatives? If you’re a Focus the Nation organizer, get those invitations sent in before the winter holidays – we’ve already written them – all you have to do is print, sign and send! If you aren’t, find a team in your town to help out or sign up to form one right now!

    Are you being adequately represented in Congress? Make your voice heard on January 31st?

    Read more!

    Friday, November 23, 2007

    Chinese Students Taking a Stand to Stop Climate Change

    I came across this post ChinaDialogue by Peng Li, a Masters student at Tsinghua University. It's great to hear about Chinese students organizing for a sustainable future all across China. I hope we can build bridges across language barriers between youth climate movements in the West and in China. We stand in solidarity!

    Campus action: Chinese students take a stand
    By Peng Li November 02, 2007

    Universities across China are buzzing with green activity, says Peng Li. From book swaps and fashion shows, to climate conferences and the Live Earth concerts, student green groups are leading the way.

    Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University is well-known for its trees and lawns, but visit today and you might find yourself appreciating another kind of “green”. Bins to deposit batteries for recycling are dotted around, while paper recycling facilities are seen all about campus. There are regular second-hand markets where books, including unwanted textbooks, find new homes. Invitations to save water and electricity are posted next to taps and light switches.

    Environmental activities have become ever more frequent at Tsinghua over the last few years, and they now account for a significant proportion of the campus cultural life. “Green Tsinghua day” is in its tenth year, and includes exhibitions, lectures and events encouraging reduction in plastic bag usage and paper recycling. It has had a lasting effect on thousands of students; efforts by student green groups have succeeded in persuading many students to make changes to their day-to-day lifestyles.

    At Peking University, another of China’s leading universities, the environment is also a key concern. The Peking University Environment and Development Association is China’s longest-established campus green group. It has been involved in awareness-raising, educational and practical activities for 16 years. In October 2006 they formed the first youth group in China to focus on climate change: the Clean Development Mechanism Club, and produced the “Handbook for Youth Action on Climate Change”. On Earth Day this year, the group surveyed climate-change awareness across 19 Chinese universities, at the same time as it organised activities to educate students about the causes and consequences of climate change, its urgency and the students’ own responsibility. With support from the China Environmental Protection Foundation, the group is currently carrying out a campus energy audit to understand the contribution universities make to greenhouse-gas emissions.

    Beijing Normal University has also featured a range of green activities run by student environmental groups, including fashion shows with environmental themes such as “the atmosphere”, “forests” and “water”.

    Meanwhile, Jiaotong University Student Association in Shanghai left campus to visit the city’s most polluted district: Shenzhuang, and take the message of environmental protection into communities and schools.

    Beijing Jiaotong University has been promoting energy conservation and saving water since 1987, and has adopted a range of technologies to achieve this end. In all, the university says, it has saved 5 million cubic metres of water and 1.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity. This tradition is an important part of what students are taught and are encouraged to sustain, and it has become an important part of the university’s culture.

    Some universities are even making these ideals a compulsory part of student life. Zhejiang Forestry Institute has far stronger rules on the use of water, power, air-conditioning and public spaces than many other institutions.

    Now, whether you are at Fudan University, Nanjing University or Xi’an Jiaotong University, almost all of China’s universities have students working to promote environmental awareness, persuading hundreds of thousands of fellow students to make changes to their lifestyles.

    Active student environmental groups in China number 2,500, according to incomplete statistics. And they are linking up, exchanging experiences and organising regional – and even national – events. For example:

    • In March, Campus green groups in Chongqing joined forces to publish guidelines for student groups working on climate-change issues, with the aim of launching large-scale activities to promote water conservation, energy efficiency and emissions reduction.

    • A number of Chinese universities, including Wuhan University and Renmin University, held a conference in Wuhan in June to promote on-campus green activities.

    • In July, the Shanghai Live Earth concert became a platform on which the China University Students Environmental Organisation Forum brought together student green groups to make a statement on the need to combat climate change.

    • Students from nine universities in Beijing used their summer vacation to teach cadres, farmers and teachers in rural areas about environmental technology.

    • In August, groups including Peking University’s Clean Development Mechanism Club and the China University Students Environmental Organisation Forum formed the China Youth Climate Change Action Network to guide student and youth projects on environmental issues. Twenty-three of these groups are developing a database of power use and emissions on China’s campuses. 

    • Eleven universities and research institutes, including Beijing Forestry University, North-Eastern Forestry University and Nanjing Forestry University, in October held a competition to increase understanding of forestry’s relation to climate-change issues.

    Hope for the future

    From energy efficiency to mitigating climate change, China’s students are looking for solutions. A lack of resources and experience, fundraising, management and publicity do present problems, and it is often difficult for groups to feel they have a lasting and wide-ranging impact. If they continue to care and to act, however, progress will continue.

    Chinese people sometimes refer to university students as “flowers of the motherland.” When our students graduate and leave university, their green lifestyles and concern for the environment will influence society as a whole. Let us hope that the Chinese people, already enjoying the fruits of economic growth, will then come to live more environmentally friendly lives and show concern for the worsening ecology of China and the world – and work to find solutions.

    Read more!

    Billy Parish Tells Congress "This Young Generation is Ready to Carry Out a Historic Power Shift"

    The following is the testimony delivered by Energy Action Coalition co-founder and coordinator, Billy Parish before the House Select Committee on Global Warming and Energy Independence during Power Shift 2007 Lobby Day, November 5th, 2007.

    It's taken me too long to get this posted, but it's well worth watching/reading. (The sound is not in synch with the video unfortunately, but here it is nonetheless. The full text is below the fold).

    For those who were there, let us remember that we have delivered a loud and clear message to our leaders on Congress. For those who missed Billy's inspiring testimony, read on or listen to/watch the video. Let us all keep our call for "Green Jobs", "80% by '50" and "No New Coal" as loud and clear as it was on the 5th of November. Thanks Billy for this testimony and for all you've done:

    Thank you, Chairman Markey, for inviting us here today. I want to also thank you and Speaker Pelosi for addressing Power Shift on Saturday night, and for your leadership over the past 30 years on these critical issues. I want to finally recognize the thousands of young people today standing shoulder to shoulder for the largest climate lobby day in U.S. history.

    Remember, remember, the 5th of November. An unstoppable movement has taken root in every school and every community in this nation. A generation has come to Washington today to lead, to be heard, and to find allies in this Congress who are ready to do what is necessary to solve our climate crisis.

    My name is Billy Parish, and I'm the coordinator of the Energy Action Coalition, a diverse alliance of 46 organizations working to support and strengthen the student and youth clean energy movement in the U.S. and Canada to create change for a clean, efficient, just and renewable energy future. I have brought with me our coalition's "Youth Statement of Principles on Climate and Energy" and other supporting documents for the Congressional record.

    We come here today with three demands for Congress:

    1. Create 5 million new jobs through a Clean Energy Corps to weatherize, solarize, rewire and rebuild this country. Let’s put people to work, and create green pathways out of poverty. Green Jobs Now! Green Jobs Now! Green Jobs Now!

    2. Cut Carbon at least 80% by 2050, 30% by 2020 and auction 100% of the pollution allowances from day 1. Science tells us we can aim for nothing less. 80 by 50! 80 by 50! 80 by 50!

    3. Pass an immediate moratorium on the construction of new coal plants. We should shift all federal subsidies from fossil fuels and nuclear to wind and solar, and create a just transition for workers from the old economy into the new green economy. No Coal! No Coal! No Coal!

    We will be heard because at 50 million strong, the Millennial generation outnumbers even the Baby Boomers by 3 million and represents the single-largest demographic age group in this country. Polling data, recent voter turnout, and the swelling ranks and increasing coordination of the youth climate movement all demonstrate that this young generation is engaged and ready to carry out a historic Power Shift. Youth turnout in the past two elections hit the highest level in at least 20 years, and is only on the rise.

    We are not alone: youth are assembling coalitions that are bringing together a diverse and powerful set of allies including unions, businesses, people of faith, farmers, civil rights groups and millions more. And we are not just here in D.C., we are in every Congressional district in America - and we are organizing.

    Politicians would be wise to take note. Exactly one year from today, we will have a new Congress and a new President. You have one year to prove that you are worthy of being our “representatives” in this government – and if you don’t, you will need to look for a new job, as millions of young voters throw their support behind more progressive, pro-environment candidates committed to ending the climate crisis and protecting the future of our generation.

    We will be heard because we are the ones we've been waiting for.

    As the Bush Administration and our federal government has done almost nothing for the last seven years, young people have organized and made change. Through the Campus Climate Challenge, tens of thousands of young people have engaged in the hard work of making their schools models of sustainability for the rest of society. In just the last year, 426 colleges have committed to becoming climate neutral, and more sign on every day.

    We are building partnerships with community groups to block the construction of new coal-fired power plants and launch a green wave of urban and rural renewal. As our government abandoned the people of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, tens of thousands of young people dropped everything to serve and rebuild. Over 6,000 of us came to Power Shift this weekend, thousands more took part in Step it Up around the country - a generation of solutions, but we know we cannot do it alone and have come to seek your help.

    And we will be heard because we are, quite literally, fighting for our lives.

    This can no longer be a political issue – for the survival of our people and our planet, we must put aside partisan politics and come together as humans, as mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, to heal ourselves and our planet.

    This is no small task.

    As Evon Peter told us on Saturday night, this is not only an ecological and economic crisis, it is a spiritual and cultural crisis that is centuries old. We must begin the long process of reconciliation with the original peoples of this land, with the people that were brought here against their will, especially those from Africa, and all the people that are poorly served by our society. We cannot sacrifice communities for our overconsumption today, not only because it is wrong for those communities today but because we will be sacrificing the basis of life for our children and future generations.

    I'm 26 years old and about to become a father. I implore the members of this 110th Congress to hear our demands – but I ask that you hear them not only as politicians, but also as mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. We can do this if we work together, but we must begin today.

    1. Green Jobs Now! Green Jobs Now! Green Jobs Now!

    2. 80 by 50! 80 by 50! 80 by 50!

    3. No Coal! No Coal! No Coal!

    Thank you.

    Other inspiring testimony from the Select Committee Hearing on Nov. 5th can be found online at The Gavel here.

    Read more!

    Two Year Anniversary of International Action: Montreal to Bali

    February 16th, 2005 saw the Kyoto Protocol go into effect, with its ratification by Russia. When the United States rejected the Kyoto Protocol in 2001, some feared that international climate actions would fail, but 36 countries are now working to reduce emissions under Kyoto (the most well known requirement of which is 5% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2012).

    December, 2005 saw the launch of It’s Getting Hot In Here at the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations in Montreal, Canada. Although this was the 11th Conference of Parties meeting to discuss international action to address climate change, it was the first Meeting of Parties, where the countries that ratified the Kyoto Protocol gathered to discuss how to meet its requirements and to begin looking at what happens after 2012.

    December 3, 2005 saw the world’s first International Day of Climate Action. Scheduled to coincide with the Montreal negotiations, tens of thousands of people around the world took action to call for strong implementation of reduction mechanisms. As a part of the 30,000 person march to the Palais de Congres where the negotiations were taking place, I was stunned by the number of people involved. That conference was my first major experience with the climate movement, and then and there I became devoted to climate activism.

    November 4, 2006 saw the world’s second International Day of Climate Action in preparation for the negotiations in Nairobi, Kenya. The demonstration in Montreal drew tens of thousands of people, in part because it was in a major metropolitan area in North America and fairly easy for large numbers of people to reach. Kenya is a little more difficult to travel to. However, with the momentum of the previous year’s actions, events in 48 countries around the world called for strong leadership in enacting the goals of Kyoto.

    December 8th, 2007 will see the third International Day of Climate Action, during the negotiations in Bali, Indonesia, with actions in 78 countries. This time around, the negotiations will be seriously looking into the international plan for emissions reductions after 2012. Although the United States is not a part of the Kyoto Protocol, there is the possibility that it will join in the post-2012 agreements. The US youth delegation in Bali is working to show the world a different America, one that is not abandoning the rest of the world in the fight against global warming, but rather one whose people are already fighting climate change on the local, state and recently the national level. They will show the international delegates the momentum from Power Shift, Step It Up and (hopefully) the mobilization around the Energy Bill in Congress.

    Although I will not be going to Bali, I will be participating in the International Day of Climate Action. The message for December 8th to world leaders is:

    “We demand that world leaders take the urgent and resolute action that is needed to prevent the catastrophic destabilisation of global climate, so that the entire world can move as rapidly as possible to a stronger emissions reductions treaty which is both equitable and effective in preventing dangerous climate change.

    We also demand that the long-industrialised countries that have emitted most greenhouse gases up to now take most of the responsibility for the adaptive measures that have to be taken, especially by low-emitting countries with limited economic resources.”

    The Global Climate Campaign states that “there is an overwhelming need to create a groundswell of global opinion to push for the urgent and radical action on climate change, without which we risk a global catastrophe of unimaginable proportions.”

    We are part of a global movement, and those of us not going to Bali can support it through our work to reduce emissions on the local, state and nation levels and through displays of solidarity. On December 8th, let’s show the world that the people of the United States are a part of the fight against global warming.

    Cross posted on It's Getting Hot In Here and Bali Buzz

    Read more!

    Industrialized Kyoto Countries Can Meet Reductions, If...

    On Tuesday, the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat announced (also here) that although emissions from 40 industrialized countries almost reached an all time high in 2005,

    Taken together, the countries that signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol are projected to achieve reductions on the order of 11 per cent for the first Kyoto commitment period, from 2008 to 2012, provided policies and measures adopted by these countries deliver the reductions as projected. The Kyoto Protocol commits industrialized countries to a 5 per cent reduction target in 2008-2012 compared to 1990 levels.

    This statement refers to the 36 States, which are the highly industrialized countries and countries undergoing transition to a market economy, which are the only ones legally bound to meet the emissions reductions. Although their emissions are still rising, mechanisms for reducing emissions are still being put in place, so their impacts have not taken effect yet.

    For the totality of Kyoto signatory countries, reductions of 15 per cent are feasible, should additional policies be planned and implemented.

    However, the developing countries have non-binding obligations to limit emissions, and combined with two major industrialized emitters who refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol (The United States of America and Australia) global emissions are likely to continue to rise. Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, has called on the countries who are major emitters (including the U.S.A., Australia, the developing former Soviet-bloc) to take a greater role in reducing global emissions.

    ...we should not hide the fact that there is continuing greenhouse gas emissions growth on the part of several countries and that they must do more to reign in their emissions.

    According to the International Herald Tribune, "Emissions by the United States, which rejected the Kyoto accord, grew by more than 16 percent from 1990 to 2005, and is projected to rise to 26 percent by 2012. "

    The negotiations in Bali, just a few weeks away, will focus on a post-2012 (the year by which reductions need to be met under the Kyoto Protocol) international climate change plan. Although the U.S.A. and Australia are not currently a part of the Kyoto Protocol, this does not prevent them from joining the post-2012 agreements. According to de Boer,

    A future, ambitious UN climate change regime needs to continue and expand the central elements of the Kyoto Protocol, whilst making use of other policy tools, such as carbon taxes and other effective policy packages. Only then can we ensure that the type of sweeping emission reductions that science tells us are needed are brought about and that the billions of dollars needed for measures to adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change are generated.

    Developing a post-Kyoto agreement will be tricky, especially in reducing emissions from developing countries while ensuring a just transition to an industrial economy, with major emitters like the U.S.A., Australia and China trying to avoid binding reduction goals, and the continued rise in global emissions making it more and more difficult to reach the scientifically necessary emission levels. However, I am hopeful that the negotiations in December will lay out a strong framework for developing this plan, and I am hopeful that the United States youth delegation will get their message across that the the people of the United States are working to reduce emissions, even if our government is not taking the lead.

    Cross-posted on It's Getting Hot In Here and Bali Buzz.

    Read more!

    Wednesday, November 21, 2007

    Stopping the Coal Rush - Map of Challenges (and Victories!)

    Here's a great resource I just stumbled across (hat tip to Alex Tinker). Sierra Club has compiled a Google Map (Google Earth version available too) of 138 proposed coal-fired power plants in the United States.

    Clicking each icon brings up lots of information on the proposed plant: when/where it was proposed, how big it is, where it's at in permitting/planning process, what actions have been taken against it, etc.

    At first look, this map is frightening: 138 coal plants practically covering the map of the US. But after poking around and looking at a few of the proposed projects, one thing is clear: there are amazing and courageous organizations - Western Resource Advocates, Montana Environmental Information Center, Sierra Club, NRDC, Southern Energy Network, Rainforest Action Network, Global Exchange, Greenpeace, and many many more - fighting each and every one of these plants. Youth activists are at the forefront of many of these fights.

    And guess what: we're winning!

    Many of these projects have stalled, been rejected by courts or regulators or simply withdrawn after public opposition.

    But we've got to keep up the fight.

    The shear number of these proposals means we must be ever vigilant and resolute in our efforts to block the development of dirty, carbon-spewing power plants at the same time that we work to shift our nation's priorities away from our dependence on dirty and depleting fossil fuels and towards a sustainable, just, and prosperous energy future.

    Keep at 'em!

    Read more!

    Tuesday, November 20, 2007

    Don't Turn Down the Heat: Changing Lightbulbs Isn't Enough to Stop Global Warming

    Riding your bike to work and changing your light bulbs may make you feel like you’re a part of the solution, but you’re not really making a difference. No matter how many of us stop driving gas guzzlers, swap out our incandescents and eat local, we still face the construction of 850 new coal plants in the US, China and India.

    It’s time for progressives to stop washing their hands of politics by “being the change they seek” and turn up the heat on decision makers in Congress and the industries responsible for this civilizational emergency.

    Focus the Nation is mobilizing millions of students, educators and citizens across the country in a day of education and civic engagement on global warming. We aren’t asking anyone to promise to join a carpool or turn down the thermostat. We’re challenging you all to educate each other and yourselves on global warming solutions, take that knowledge to the people in charge and demand action.

    If you aren’t already working on Focus the Nation, its time to start. We’ve got ten weeks left before the biggest day of civic engagement on global warming ever on January 31st.

    If you’re on a campus, find out who’s organizing at your school. If your school still isn’t signed up, take the initiative yourself. If you aren’t a student, then sign up your household, organization, business or faith group for a showing of the 2% Solution web cast with Van Jones.

    Don’t ditch your cruiser just yet. We’ve got a long ride ahead of us, and we all need to start pedaling a whole lot harder.

    Read more!

    Climate Cartoonist Hits It Dead-On

    Editorial cartoonist, Tim Toles, over at the Washington Post has been drawing up some pretty spot-on climate cartoons lately. Here's a couple funny-because-they're-all-too-true cartoons for you:

    Don't forget to the check out the little cartoon in the lower-right-hand corner of each of these.

    Read more!

    Sunday, November 18, 2007

    Ten Midwest Leaders Sign A Regional Climate Agreement

    From, by Juliana Williams:

    Today the Governors of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Kansas, Ohio, South Dakota and the Premier of Manitoba signed the Midwestern Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord at the Midwestern Governors Association (MGA) Energy Security and Climate Change Summit (See here, here and here).

    The Accord will

    • Establish greenhouse gas reduction targets and timeframes consistent with MGA member states’ targets;

    • Develop a market-based and multi-sector cap-and-trade mechanism to help achieve those reduction targets;

    • Establish a system to enable tracking, management, and crediting for entities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and

    • Develop and implement additional steps as needed to achieve the reduction targets, such as a low-carbon fuel standards and regional incentives and funding mechanisms.

    Indiana, Ohio and South Dakota are observing participants in the Accord, which means that the reduction system will include the three states but they will not be bound by the reduction targets. In addition to the Accord, the Governors of Nebraska and North Dakota joined the rest of the MGA in establishing the Energy Security and Climate Stewardship Platform which sets regional goals for advancing energy efficiency, promoting biobased products, producing renewable electricity, and developing advance coal and carbon capture and storage technology.

    This is the third major regional climate agreement in the country, following the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in the Northeast and the Western Climate Initiative. Between these three regional agreements, twenty US states, and two Canadian Provinces have adopted plans for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, with another seven states and two provinces as observers to the agreements. This means that well over HALF of the states in the United States are part of regional greenhouse gas reduction agreements. Almost half of the states in the United States have passed Renewable Electricity Standards (RES) or goals for state renewable energy use. Over 500 mayors have signed the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.

    With so much leadership in fighting global warming across the country, you would think that Congress would get it's act together and do something on the national level. Perhaps with this bipartisan move in the Midwest, the Senators and Representatives from these states will listen to their constituents and support a strong Energy Bill that includes both a national Renewable Energy Standard and increased fuel economy (CAFE standards). Maybe they just need to hear this message again and again. Well, as Rep. Ed Markey said at Power Shift 2007, youth need to be the voice of impatience in this country. Let's make them listen!

    Read more!

    Saturday, November 17, 2007

    Our Urgent Opportunity: Fighting for a Sustainable, Just, and Prosperous Future

    This is the text of a speech I delivered today at a rally in Portland, Oregon, highlighting today's release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's synthesis report and to urge our elected officials - our U.S. Senators - to step it up and become leaders in the fight for a brighter tomorrow:

    My name is Jesse Jenkins, and I’m a member of the Cascade Climate Network, the first-ever effort by youth in the Pacific Northwest to launch a coordinated, region-wide campaign to address the climate crisis. Students across Oregon and Washington are coming together to fight for climate solutions because we clearly understand that our futures are at stake.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report issued today sends a clear message to all who will head it: we stand at a key turning point in human history.

    The decisions we make today, both as individuals, and collectively as a society, will have profound impacts not only on our lives and the lives of our children, but indeed for all future inhabitants of this planet.

    The IPCC report paints a picture of the future that we should expect if we fail to solve the climate crisis we currently face.

    It is a dark and downright frightening future indeed.

    The report describes a future plagued by fire, flood and famine – stuff of biblical proportions. It describes a future where one of out every three species on this planet lies on the brink of extinction, a future where billions of humans lack adequate supplies of safe drinking water.

    This is truly a nightmarish scenario.

    Yet many of us today have a vision of another future.

    You see, the climate crisis we currently face clearly presents a tremendous and pressing challenge. But we are also at a unique moment of urgent opportunity, a chance to build a brighter tomorrow.

    We envision a future were we have broken our addiction to oil and shattered our dependence on dirty and depleting fossil fuels.

    We envision a future with a vibrant and prosperous economy, recharged by investments in energy efficiency, and clean, homegrown renewable energy.

    We envision a future where a new generation of Americans have found pathways into the middle class through good green collar jobs in an economy that is prosperous and sustainable, both ecologically and economically.

    We envision a future where parents can watch their children grow and thrive in a healthy environment, free of asthma, toxic pollution and smog.

    And we envision a just future where the burdens of our energy generation and use no longer fall on the poor or disadvantaged, at home or abroad, nor on future generations.

    We can make this future a reality, if we act today to begin a rapid and equitable transition to clean, renewable and local energy sources. This is our urgent opportunity, one that we have the ingenuity, hope and determination to seize.

    Many of us have begun to rise to the climate challenge and begin this transition to a sustainable energy future – in our cities, our communities of faith, on or campuses and in our homes.

    That is why, today, we come here to call on our elected officials to join with us to be leaders in the fight for a brighter tomorrow. Today we call on Senator Wyden and Senator Smith to help us launch the institutional and policy changes that we have already begun to make, as individuals and communities.

    I am 23 years old. In the year 2030, I will be 46. What that future will look like hinges upon our ability to rise to the climate challenge – to both avoid the nightmare future described by the IPCC and to seize the opportunity to forge a brighter future: a sustainable, just, and prosperous future for all.

    That’s why I’m counting on Senators Smith and Wyden. Help us Senators. Help us to end the climate crisis today and make our vision of a brighter tomorrow a reality.

    Read more!

    Friday, November 16, 2007

    Court Rejects Weak Fuel Economy Regulations, We Want More

    Let’s all thank the 9th Circuit court for stating the obvious. Thursday a three judge panel ruled that 23.5 mpg is not a high enough fuel economy standard for light trucks and SUVs. Why not? The court finally stated explicitly that standards must take greenhouse gas emissions into account. This is not an earth-shattering assertion, but it is progress.

    Now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can talk about a complete overhaul of fuel economy regulation. First of all, as long as there are different standards for cars and light trucks/SUVs, the numbers don’t mean a lot. Americans drive light trucks and SUVs as commuter cars, and the current legislation exempts vehicles like the 8,500-lb. Ford Excursion and 10,000-lb. H2. No matter how efficient our cars are, as long as these behemoths are driving alongside them, too much carbon is getting in to the air.

    California’s proposed fuel efficiency standards will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles 30% by 2016, in line with the overall target of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. They incorporate not only GHGs coming out the tailpipe but emissions over the lifetime of the vehicle – including those released during production, maintenance and scrapping.
    We cannot afford to settle for band-aids. We need real global warming solutions for America, and we need them now.

    Read more!

    One Movement!

    Read more!

    Wednesday, November 14, 2007

    Viva Atlanta?

    As Edward Abbey once said, “There is no lack of water in the Mojave Desert unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.”

    Ah, Las Vegas: Artificial oasis in the desert. Monument to speculative excess. Sin City.

    Whatever you choose to call it, Las Vegas is the largest per-capita consumer of water in the United States, coming in at a gluttonous 343 gallons/day (compare that to 200 in Los Angeles).

    The view of the Las Vegas strip from cruising altitude is quite impressive. To many Americans it’s a beautiful sight. Unfortunately for me, it’s hard to appreciate a city whose high-powered fountains propel water hundreds of feet into a sky choking on the CO2 emitted by powering the Strip’s bright lights. Keeping those lights on requires enough energy to generate 160,000,000 tons of CO2 emissions each year.

    All that CO2 reminds me of my destination. I’m on my way to Atlanta, where an epic drought is just another American story of global-warming induced disaster. There is talk of evacuating Atlanta in January, when the water is scheduled to run out.

    So here’s my question: Might residents of Atlanta like to see “Shut Down Las Vegas” as an option on Focus The Nation’s Choose Your Future Vote on January 31st? At what point do we start actively targeting the many excessive, fundamentally useless sources of energy consumption in an effort to address this civilizational emergency? Or is there a way to power all those lights without the emissions?

    Hmm….The Mojave sure is sunny.

    Source: EERE

    Read more!

    NWF Campaign Targets "Final 50" House Lawmakers to Sponsor Global Warming Bills

    Want to know which "Final 50" members of the House of Representatives stand between the status quo and real action to stop global warming? Good, because the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) wants to name names.

    NWF just launched a campaign to build support for global warming legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

    The "Final 50" campaign targets 50 representatives who have supported solutions to global warming - renewable energy, energy efficiency, etc. - but have yet to join the 170 other representatives who have co-sponsored either the Waxman (HR 1590, equivalent to Boxer-Sanders in the Senate) or the Olver-Gilchrest (HR 620, equivalent to McCain-Lieberman) cap-and-trade climate bills.

    If the Final 50 sign on to global warming legislation, that would push the total number of representatives supporting climate change bills to 220, a majority of the 435-person U.S. House of Representatives.

    Head to the Final Fifty site or read on below to see if your representative is one of the Final Fifty.

    NWF's "Final Fifty":

    Jason Altmire
    Joe Baca
    John Barrow
    Melissa Bean
    Judy Biggert
    Mary Bono
    Ginny Brown-Waite
    Vern Buchanan
    Jim Cooper
    Tom Davis
    Charles Dent
    Joe Donnelly
    Mike Ferguson
    Vito Fossella
    Rodney Frelinghuysen
    Jim Gerlach
    Gabrielle Giffords
    Charles Gonzalez
    Bart Gordon
    Tim Holden
    Darlene Hooley
    Bob Inglis
    Tim Johnson
    Marcy Kaptur
    Dale Kildee
    Carolyn Kilpatrick
    Peter King
    Tim Mahoney
    John McHugh
    John Murtha
    James Oberstar
    Collin Peterson
    Tom Petri
    Todd Platts
    Ciro Rodriguez
    Mike Ross
    John Salazar
    Stephanie Herseth Sandlin
    David Scott
    Chris Smith
    Vic Snyder
    Zack Space
    John Spratt
    Bart Stupak
    Betty Sutton
    Tom Udall
    Fred Upton
    Melvin Watt
    Heather Wilson
    Frank Wolf

    Head to to see the profiles of the representatives and to take action.

    Read more!

    "Young Activists are Shifting the Power" on Global Warming Says Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi

    The thousands of students and youth at Power Shift 2007 must have made an impression on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi, who attended the massive Saturday night festivities at Power Shift and delivered a presentation to a crowd hungry for action from Congressional leaders had this to say in a youth-focused email newsletter sent yesterday:

    Young Activists are Shifting the Power

    The 110th Congress has a powerful and effective ally to combat climate change: America's youth. Last week, thousands of students from the Power Shift 2007 Summit flooded the steps of the Capitol to show their commitment to a green future, where Speaker Pelosi addressed these young activists.

    "As you demonstrate today, young people want to end global warming and preserve the planet—God's beautiful creation," she said.

    The students extended their efforts by testifying in front of a committee established by Speaker Pelosi—the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming—in favor of active measures to improve the planet's environment.

    Two key priorities for this Congress are fighting climate change and working toward energy independence. Speaker Pelosi has highlighted these issues by establishing the "Green the Capitol" initiative. This project outlines a plan for the House to completely offset its carbon emissions by the end of this session of Congress. It also includes a plan to cut the House's energy consumption by half in 10 years.

    "An unstoppable movement has taken root in every school and every community in this nation," said Billy Parish, co-founder of the Energy Action Coalition, in his testimony last Monday. "A generation has come to Washington today to lead, to be heard, and to find allies in this Congress who are ready to do what is necessary to solve our climate crisis."

    The email included links to video highlights from the Congressional testimony and to several blog and news stories focusing on Power Shift. (But where's the link to It's Getting Hot In Here Madam Speaker?)

    Later in the email newsletter, Speaker Pelosi has this to say about America's youth:
    Speaker Pelosi: Young People are Hungry for Progress

    Recently, Speaker Pelosi accepted a Spirit of Liberty Award from People for the American Way. During the ceremony, she spoke about the continuous optimism of America's youth, from the time of the Founding Fathers to today.

    Speaker Pelosi noted that more than one quarter of those who drafted our Constitution were in their twenties and thirties. She said their optimism and impatience for progress were valuable in the founding of our nation.

    "With the impatience of youth, these young leaders founded our democracy," she said. "In my recent travels as Speaker, I have met with presidents, prime ministers, and kings. But I have been most impressed and inspired by my encounters with young people like you. Young people around the world are hungry for progress. They want to know if their leaders have the courage to stop war. They want equality, democracy, and freedom."

    Read Speaker Pelosi's full speech>>

    We're glad to be you allies, Madam Speaker. And damn right we're impatient! Now let's go get us a good energy bill, shall we? We're with you if you can stay strong!

    For video of Pelosi's speech at Power Shift see here (part 1) and here (part 2).

    [A tip of the hat to Sean Siperstein for sending along the email from Pelosi]

    Read more!

    Monday, November 12, 2007

    Time Magazine Says Its Time for Washington D.C. to Listen to the Millenials on Global Warming

    "With the Millennials set to be the largest demographic bloc in America history, it might be time for Washington to listen" to them when it comes to Climate Change, says Time Magazine in an article published online last week.

    In the wake of Power Shift 2007 and Step It Up 2, Time Magazine ran a story featuring interviews with Energy Action's Jessy Tolkan, 20-year old University of Tennessee-Knoxville junior, Katelyn McCormick, and yours-truly, Jesse Jenkins of the Cascade Climate Network. The story is accompanied by a long podcast interview with author, activist and Step It Up co-founder Bill McKibben.

    After talking about Power Shift in the intro paragraphs, the article gets into the main story: individual actions are insufficient to solve the climate crisis and it's high time to organize for climate solutions:

    Over the past few years there has been a grassroots groundswell on global warming, but the focus has been on personal action, small behavioral changes individuals can make — or more often, buy — to reduce their impact on the Earth. It's the light bulb theory — switch your wasteful incandescent lights for more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs, and you're doing your bit to save the planet.

    But while individual action is important — and the increasing ubiquity of green consumerism is a sign that the business world is getting the environmental message — the sheer scale of the climate challenge is so overwhelming that only a worldwide revolution in the way we use energy will be enough to stave off the worst consequences. That requires far-sighted political action from the top, starting in the capital of the world's biggest carbon emitter: Washington. Unfortunately, while scattered cities and states across America have begun to move on climate change — Gov. Schwarzenegger, take a bow — the federal government has been more roadblock than revolutionary.

    That will change only if politicians hear loud and clear that global warming matters to Americans, not just in the brand of light bulbs they buy, but where they cast their vote. The focus on individual solutions "rings hollow to a lot of people," says Jesse Jenkins, a member of the Cascade Climate Network and an environmental blogger. "The solution is to organize and organize and organize." And the agents of that change will be young people like Jenkins and Tolkan, the college-age members of the Millennial generation, born after 1980. These post Cold War kids have grown up with the threat of global warming — just as their parents grew up with the fear of nuclear war — and they know that they'll be left to cope with a warmer world tomorrow if nothing is done to slow carbon emissions today.

    So can Millennials shake off their reputation for apathy and create environmental change on a national level? Last weekend suggests they might be on their way. At the Power Shift conference, student activists gave testimony to members of Congress and demanded a slew of aggressive measures on climate change, including a 30% cut in carbon emissions by 2020 and 80% cuts by 2050. While students marched on Washington, activists from around the country launched Step It Up 2 on Nov. 3, a nationwide, single-day campaign to kickstart political movement on climate change. ...

    For the Millennials, climate change is emerging as the defining issue of their time, just as civil rights or Vietnam might have been for the generation before. "This is a new generation that sees itself at the forefront of a great movement, just like the greatest movements of the past," says Tolkan. With health care, Iraq and the economy all jostling for voters' attention, it remains to be seen whether climate change — still an amorphous threat to most Americans — can seize center stage, but Washington should know that there is a growing core of young activists out there who care about nothing more. "This past weekend, we gave politicians a bit of a heads up that we're watching and we're demanding change," says Katelyn McCormick, a 20-year-old junior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. "We've said what we want and now it's time for them to do something about it." With the Millennials set to be the largest demographic bloc in America history, it might be time for Washington to listen.

    Sounds like someone read this...

    Read more!

    Saturday, November 10, 2007

    Global Warming After Gore: Power Politics for the Power Shift

    Global Warming After Gore
    By Teryn Norris
    Published:, Nov 10th

    Al Gore’s Nobel Prize was a momentous event we should all applaud. Now it is time to move on and get smart about the climate movement’s next steps. First, we should deal with some of our own inconvenient truths: global warming continues to rank extremely low among voter priorities, and Congress is going nowhere fast. The question we should ask ourselves is, how can the climate movement retool its politics for the post-Gore era?

    It is high time for global warming activists to leave behind their focus on the “planetary crisis” and the regulatory-centered agenda, and embrace an energetic and inspiring vision that captures people’s minds, hearts and votes.

    Despite last year’s “tipping point” in public attitudes toward climate change, Pew polls find that it still ranks dead last among voter concerns. It is of little surprise, then, that the Washington Post recently ran a front-page article titled “Climate Is a Risky Issue for Democrats.” Nor is it surprising that the best provisions of today’s congressional energy bill would still allow U.S. carbon dioxide emissions to grow 22 percent by 2030, effectively making the recommendations of the world’s leading scientists unattainable.

    One of the most hopeful signs is young activists, who are already making the breakthroughs necessary to build an expansive climate movement. The Campus Climate Challenge has rapidly grown to include over 500 colleges and achieved hundreds of innovative clean energy policies across the country. Power Shift 2007, the first-ever national youth summit on global warming, drew 6,000 students to Washington, D.C., last weekend and featured guests ranging from Nancy Pelosi to Van Jones. Indeed, the youth movement is quickly becoming the largest and most influential student movement in nearly a half century.

    How can young activists best capture the moment? Thomas Friedman offered some ideas in his recent op-ed, “Generation Q.” He said that today’s young adults are “too quiet, too online, for [their] own good, and for the country’s own good.” We’ve got to wake up, he said, and reform our tactics: “Activism can only be uploaded, the old-fashioned way — by young voters speaking truth to power, face to face, in big numbers, on campuses or the Washington Mall.”

    But Friedman is mistaken. It is easy to get nostalgic for the ’60s, but the direction of today’s youth movement must be profoundly different from that of the baby-boomer era. Vietnam was about stopping a war. Civil rights were about equalizing freedoms. The energy and climate movement, in contrast, is about creating an entirely new clean energy economy — a fundamentally different undertaking that requires us to transcend the models of the past.

    The “old-fashioned” tactics of protest, demand and complaint just aren’t enough. Global warming is one of the most complex challenges the world has ever faced, vastly different from those of the 1960s. It calls upon us to innovate, politically and economically, at an unprecedented scale. Our politics must be retooled, not only to achieve immediate policy changes but to create new and lasting political majorities. And instead of constraining our economy, we need to unleash it, driving our engineers, scientists and manufacturers to hone their skills and knowledge, and put these forces to work toward building the next energy economy.

    A powerful climate movement — one capable of capturing the public imagination, defining new political identities and fully unleashing our economy — should put forth an even stronger vision of American greatness than the neoconservatives once offered. It must tap the optimism and can-do spirit embedded in our nation’s history that has driven us to overcome the daunting crises of the past. “A new story of American Power begins by acknowledging what our country is great at: imagining, experimenting and inventing the future,” argue Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger, authors of Break Through. “First we dream — and then we invent.”

    An “American Power” program would advance a massive public investment project — $300 billion to $500 billion — to develop and deploy clean energy technology, revitalize the economy, achieve energy independence and create millions of new jobs. Its politics would thus begin from a position of strength — innovation, economic growth and national security — speaking to the aspirations and securities that we all value as our birthright. And it would renew America’s global leadership by dedicating us to responsible energy use and creating drastically cheaper forms of clean technology for the developing world.

    The opportunity for such a resounding vision couldn’t be greater. The failure of the Iraq War and the collapse of the Bush presidency have left the American public hungry for an inspiring message that gives us new direction. Redefining American greatness around our inventiveness can unite us behind a common purpose, invigorating us to unleash our forces of innovation.

    Today the climate movement faces a choice. As it begins to emerge from the margins of the national debate, it can revitalize itself to become potent and expansive, or it can continue to define itself by an old-fashioned activism. Whether the movement will fully seize the moment is uncertain. But one thing is clear: Young people must begin advancing a new politics if we are to overcome this challenge and achieve a more secure and prosperous future.

    Read more!

    Youth Climate Activists Featured on House Select Committee, Discovery Channel, MTV, Treehugger, and Sierra Club Radio

    With the wrap-up of Power Shift, youth activists are getting the attention they deserve - testifying before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and being featured on Treehugger, Discovery Networks, and Sierra Club Radio. Oh yeah, and our own Jessy Tolkan destroying Pat Buchanan on Hardball. Post any more media hits you have in the comments!


    “Ring, Ring,” Elizabeth Martin-Perera, a Climate Policy Specialist with the NRDC’s Climate Center picks up the phone. It’s an acquaintance at BP. The voice on the other end asks, “What is this Power Shift thing that I keep hearing about. Is it something I should know about? Should I be concerned?” Powershift: Save the Polar Bears, Save the Humans

    Discovery Channel:
    Young People bring Green Demands to Capitol Hill. See it here

    Thousands of students from across the country gather in Washington, D.C., to shift attention to climate change and other green causes. See it here.

    Sierra Club Radio
    Sierra Club Radio host Orli Cotel is featuring a special show on "Youth and the Environment." The radio show interviews 17-year-old activists Q' Orianka Kilcher and Erica Fernandez, winners of this year's Brower Youth Award and Kim Teplitzky from Power Shift 07, the largest youth climate conference that took place this past weekend in Washington D.C. Also featured is Sierra Magazine's list of Top 10 "green" colleges and universities with Sierra Club's Jennifer Hattam. Download and listen to it yourself!

    Read more!

    Thursday, November 08, 2007

    Northwest Students Unite to Form Cascade Climate Network

    [This is a guest post by Jenny Bedell-Stiles, of the Cascade Climate Network]

    On October 5th-7th, the cosmos aligned on Mt. Hood, Oregon for the birth of the Cascade Climate Network (makin’ us a Libra). For this weekend twenty-one student and youth activists representing ten colleges and universities across Oregon and Washington converged at a cabin owned by a certain small liberal-arts-college-that-will-not-be-named for one of the most exhilarating and exhausting weekends of my life.

    There was good home-cooked vegan food for all, a sauna to enjoy, and the odd game of ping-pong to be played, but that’s not what brought us together. We came together to kick-off the Cascade Climate Network and plan a coordinated campaign for youth climate activists in the Pacific Northwest.

    Previously only a “virtual” network, organized online and over the phone, the Cascade Climate Network (CCN) is the first-ever effort by youth in the Northwest to launch a region-wide campaign to address the climate crisis.

    Throughout the weekend, participants drafted the Cascade Climate Declaration, a document emphasizing the need to address climate change in a clean, local, just, and ecologically sustainable manner.

    The CCN will use the Declaration to build support from youth and students as well as faculty, community members, and politicians in Washington and Oregon. By building broad support for the Declaration, the Cascade Climate Network (CCN) plans to hold elected officials, university and college presidents – and ourselves! – accountable to a set of five enduring principles, which should be incorporated into any energy and global warming policy.

    It took a weekend of long hours, hot consensus-based discussions and then another week of drafts, revisions, edits and more consensus – have you ever tried writing a document with 21 authors! But in the end, the Cascade Climate Declaration emerged as a testament to the strength of principles, the clarity of vision, and the commitment of Pacific Northwest youth to making a sustainable, just, and prosperous future a reality. Due to talented facilitation, a respectful communication structure (yeah for *sparkle fingers*), and ideas born of optimism and expertise, we created a document that I’ve never been prouder to stand behind. It’s a work of art and process, and it’s going to serve as an amazing organizing tool.

    The CCN is now undertaking a momentous campaign that bridges the gap between campus organizing and local political involvement. All the schools in the region have been doing a great job on climate issues individually, especially on their campuses, but now with the CCN we will at last be able to bring together our collective and impressive capabilities under one awesome umbrella – and use the Declaration as a jumping off point to build off of campuses to affect the state and region as well.

    We plan to get 10+ student governments and 10,000+ individual students and faculty to sign their support to the Declaration by January 31st when Focus the Nation kicks off. Recognizing that regionalism is important, but also acknowledging the powerful national movement underway, the CCN is working closely with Focus the Nation organizers and will be presenting the campaign at Power Shift this weekend. Look for us there!

    Check out our online e-collaboration site to find out more and to view our baby (the Declaration) and other work.

    Read more!

    Legislative Shenanigans Underway on Congressional Energy Bill

    At Power Shift this past weekend, we heard that the Congressional Energy Bill was a critical down payment on a clean and prosperous energy future, and Nancy Pelosi and Ed Markey promised to deliver it this fall. They called for our help pushing it through, and now it appears it’s time to follow through. It’s time to step up the power shift!

    As Democrat and Republican leaders maneuver, negotiate, and deal on the Congressional Energy Bill this week, there appears to be some nefarious shenanigans underfoot and a possible cave-in on support for renewable energy in process. Now might be time to call your Senators and Representatives...

    Energy Bill Shenanigans

    First, Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) is working to strip the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) title out of the Senate Energy Bill and attach it wholesale to the Ag Bill currently under debate in the Senate. Domenici claims he's just trying to save the RFS from the potentially floundering Energy Bill, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) says he's got more sinister motives.

    According to lots of folks, including Reid, Domenici is really trying to kill the Energy Bill with this move.

    Remember that Domenici was the man who led the filibuster in the Senate that blocked both the Renewable Electricity Standard and the tax package that would have shifted billions in unnecessary royalties and closed loopholes to provide $32 billion in tax incentives from the oil and gas industries to fund clean, renewable energy.

    As David Roberts at GristMill writes,

    "The RFS is one of the key planks holding support for the energy bill together, bringing in some midwestern Republicans to compensate for the auto and oil Dems that have bailed [due to fuel economy standrd increases and the shift in subsidies from oil to renewables]. If the RFS falls out of the energy bill, the coalition falls apart."
    So by pulling out the Renewable Fuels Standard, Domenici seems to be trying to pull the plug on the embattled Energy Bill. Without the RFS, and the farm-state Rs it brings along, the Energy Bill is unlikely to get the 60 votes necessary to pass filibuster in the Senate (likely led - again! - by Senator Domenici).

    And as if that's not bad enough, Mr. D. is also trying to tack on his beloved massive loan guarantee for new nuclear power plants to the Ag Bill.

    Yeah, "what do nukes have to do with agriculture?" Well, not much, but Domenici plans to try to make it germane by calling the federal loan guarantees "loan guarantees for renewable fuel facilities." Then in a bit of wonderful D.C. trickery, the amendment lumps nuclear power plants within the list of eligible "renewable fuel facilities." Nice one Pete.

    The loan guarantees, which total $50 billion in the Senate version of the Energy Bill, would essentially put John and Jane Q. Taxpayer on the hook for any loan defaults by new nuclear power plant developers. The guarantees are necessary because no sane investment bank would finance a new nuclear power plant given the risk and uncertainty in permitting a new nuke.

    So when Wall Street won't foot the bill for new nukes, let's put our taxpayers on the hook, or at least that's Senator Domenici's philosophy here. Good thing nuke developers have never defaulted on loans before ... oh wait!

    All part of retiring Senator Domenici's legacy of fighting renewable energy. He can't retire soon enough, if you ask me.

    Possible Cave-in on Renewable Energy Brewing

    So, with influential Republicans working to kill the fragile coalition supporting the Energy Bill, embattled Democratic leaders are considering jettisoning the support for renewable energy in the House version of the Energy Bill.

    According to rumors flying around D.C. and across the blogosphere, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid are considering stripping the 15% by 2020 Renewable Electricity Standard (or Renewable Portfolio Standard) and the $32 billion tax package for renewable energy from the Energy Bill in order to try to keep increased fuel economy standards in the bill.

    Stripping the RES and the tax title would mean Dems had been forced to cave on just about everything that President Bush has complained about and Senator Rs had fought against.

    The 35 mpg by 2020 increase in CAFE standards is critical, especially at a time when oil is trading at nearly $100 per barrel. However, the support for clean, homegrown renewable energy in the Energy Bill is equally critical and the Democratic Leadership needs to be clear that the RES and tax title are not ballast to be thrown overboard in stormy waters.

    It's time to send Pelosi, Reid and your own reps and senators a clear message that the Energy Bill must include all three provisions: increased fuel economy standards, a renewable electricity standard, AND a tax package for clean, renewable energy.

    Let President Bush veto a critical energy bill at a time of record high energy prices and explain that to the American people. Let House and Senate Rs explain why they blocked efforts to save Americans energy and money, help kick our oil addiction, invest in clean, homegrown, renewable energy sources and put America on a path to a sustainable and prosperous energy future.

    But DO NOT cave in.

    This isn’t the “change” we voted for in November 2006, and we’ll be voting for new leaders in 2008 if our current set can’t get the job done. We’re behind you Pelosi, but not if you cave. We want a Power Shift, and we’ll get it!

    Read more!

    Power Shift Students Say "We Want More"

    I’m going to join everyone in saying that Powershift was absolutely mind-blowing! The energy there was incredible and no words can describe what we all felt when we were together as a growing movement with its eyes on a clean energy future. We are ready to take this to the next level.

    It’s Getting Hot In Here should continue to grow and tell the stories from around the world (see here).

    I wanted to share with everybody Ted Glick’s Future Hope Column for this week. Ted, one of the best activists in the nation, has been fasting for over 60 days now. He was at Powershift sharing with all of us young people the incredible energy that this movement has. His column sums up what most of us feel like after Powershift:

    “Words fail me as I try to figure out how to capture in words the profound significance of the student-based Power Shift conference which took place November 2-5 at the University of Maryland and on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

    Historic—Powerful—Deep—Amazing—Awesome—Astounding—Incredible—Hope at the Highest Level: these are the adjectives and phrases that come to mind.

    So what happened?

    Read on here...

    Read more!

    Thursday, November 01, 2007

    Majora Carter Says Showing Up For Climate Solutions is MORE Than Half the Battle

    GI Joe has got it wrong, according to Majora Carter, the dynamic Executive Director of Sustainable South Bronx. Carter, who works to connect poverty alleviation and the environment in ways that benefit both concerns, argues that "showing up is more than half the battle."

    Well plenty of young people - roughly 5,500 in fact - will be showing up at this weekend's Power Shift 2007 conference, the first national youth summit to address the climate crisis, November 2nd-5th. The summit, the largest-ever of it's kind, will bring students and youth from every state in the nation together for a weekend of training, action, and movement-building in College Park, Maryland, outside of Washington D.C.

    The Energy Action Coalition and Power Shift outreach and organizing team recently talked to Majora about the upcoming national youth climate summit and the broader youth climate movement.

    Power Shift: What made you excited to participate in Power Shift as a speaker?

    Majora Carter: I never had a chance like this when I was young—or even lately for that matter. This is a unique experience that I want to contribute to. We need reinforcements out here, and I don't want to have [young people] start from nothing. If I can pass on anything I have learned, then it is my duty and distinct pleasure to do so.

    With Power Shift on the horizon, what stage of development do you see the youth climate movement at? Where is it going next?

    In the South Bronx, we are connecting the public health issues we live with every day with the climate issues Power Shift is addressing. Communities suffering from environmental injustice are point sources for global warming gases everyone is trying to curb. I think people are beginning make the connection between our decades of toxic concentration and wet polar bears, but we still have a long way to go.

    What role do you see the youth climate movement playing in the broader push for climate solutions and a new energy future?

    They have more time to attack these problems since they don't have kids or mortgages to pay. We have to act fast before they get too entrenched in the hyper-consumption that our society advocates.

    What kind of impact do you see the youth climate movement having on electoral politics (especially the 2008 elections)? How can youth maximize their impact?

    Politicians know that the youth vote is not yet strong. In the decades since Nixon ended the draft, under 25 voting is quite low. If there is a substantial turnout in 08, the 2010 races will consider youth, but right now, young people have a huge credibility gap that they must get over before politicians really take them seriously.

    What, in your estimation, will be the biggest deciding factor/have the biggest impact on making positive legislative as quickly as possible?

    Money or votes. If you don't have one, you had better have the other.

    When you talk to people about climate change, what do you encourage them to do to make a difference?

    Contribute money to people and organizations that they see making a difference. Believe it or not, the really effective ones have the hardest time raising money. That's because they are too busy working to go out and fund raise; and because there is a culture of failure that plagues the "do gooder" mileu. Women have it even harder. For every $20 that goes to any non-profit run by a man, only $1 goes to a woman-led non-profit. There are loads of problems wrapped up in that statement, and I won't even go into race; but once we start to explore these issues, it might affect how we all support each other. I hope so.

    What is your favorite aspect of the "1Sky" principles?

    It's the first one for sure: new green collar jobs. These can't be exported and include all levels of ability and education. These are the opportunities for traditionally excluded sectors of our society that will both clean up our environemental and economic inequalities.

    What are you personally working on after Power Shift?

    Van Jones and I are pushing ahead with Green For All, and I am writing a book about how we can save the world by "Greening the Ghetto" first.

    Anything else you'd like to add?

    I want to thank everyone for showing up. It's more than half the battle - there is no battle unless we show our numbers and push.

    This nation's hyper consumption comes at the cost of many people's dignity, health and quality of life. As a creative culture, we can find ways to satisfy our needs and avoid those transgression. Will it mean some sacrifice during the transition? Yes. But think of what the WW II generation endured here in America. Now think of what they endured in Europe at that time. Fighting Nazis wasn't easy; fighting your planet is simply not possible.

    When I think of the youth coming to Power Shift, I hope that they will be the next "greatest generation" and pick up where their parents have failed.

    For other interviews in this series see:

  • Bill McKibben Says It’s Time to “Organize, Organize, Organize” for a Cleaner Future

  • Michael Shellenberger Says It's Time for a Breakthrough on Climate Change Part 1 and Part 2

  • ________________________________

    Majora, a native and lifelong resident of the South Bronx, founded Sustainable South Bronx in 2001 to fight for environmental justice through innovative, economically sustainable projects that are informed by community needs. She earned a 2005 MacArthur Fellowship for her vision, drive, and tenacity as an urban revitalization strategist.

    More information, agenda and registration for Power Shift are available at and information on Energy Action Coalition is available at

    Check out It's Getting Hot In Here for frequent dispatches from the youth climate movement.

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