Friday, February 29, 2008

Oil Hits Record Price. Gas Nearing $4.00. President Bush, Clueless...

Happy Friday! Oil hit record-prices today: $103.05 per barrel. Bully for us...

That tops the inflation adjusted high of $102.53 set in 1980. Oil first inched over $100 to welcome in the new year on January 2nd and has hovered around $100 since then, routinely spiking into new record territory. Now we've blown past the final record: the inflation adjusted highs reached in the '80s.

This news comes as analysts predict $4.00 per gallon gasoline when refiners switch over to reformulated blends in Spring.

Of course, you and I already know that. We see it every time we drive past a gas station, or god forbid, actually pull in to fill up our tanks!

You'd assume President Bush would be clearly aware of the state of gas prices as well, given how much they impact average Americans every day. Well, you might assume that about another president anyway... I wasn't too shocked to learn that President Bush is actually completely clueless that gas prices are soaring towards $4.00!

In a press conference today, he revealed his complete ignorance of what life is like for real Americans on the street in an interview that began with a simple question from Peter Maer of CBS News. Here's the transcript of the exchange, courtesy of NTYimes blog, "the Lede":

Q: What’s your advice to the average American who is hurting now, facing the prospect of $4 a gallon gasoline, a lot of people facing –

MR. BUSH: Wait, what did you just say? You’re predicting $4 a gallon gasoline?

Q: A number of analysts are predicting –

MR. BUSH: Oh, yeah?

Q: — $4 a gallon gasoline this spring when they reformulate.

MR. BUSH: That’s interesting. I hadn’t heard that.
"I hadn't heard of that?!" Seriously?! Well that explains a lot...

Like why President Bush has routinely blocked the US Congress's fiscally responsible attempts to re-invest wasteful oil subsidies to kick-start new sources of clean, homegrown renewable energy.

Three times now, the House of Representatives of the 110th Congress has passed bills that would end wasteful subsidies to oil companies designed to spur domestic oil exploration at a time when oil priced in at about $20.00/barrel. With oil prices at record levels over five times higher than when Bush took office, it's simply fiscally irresponsible to shower an industry recording record profits with taxpayer subsidies while denying the most promising and fastest growing clean, homegrown renewable energy technologies critical incentives that spur their growth.

The House passed their third attempt to correct this irresponsible tax spending and shift funds to extend critical renewable energy and energy efficiency tax credits, as well as support purchases of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Perhaps the third time's a charm, but this victory could be short lived, with President Bush again threatening to veto and a Republican-led filibuster in the Senate expected (again!).

But I guess if President Bush doesn't have a clue what oil and gasoline prices are really like these days, he can be forgiven for ignorantly and irresponsibly defending oil subsidies to Exxon, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and friends... These oil companies are incidentally reaping record profits off of the record prices paid by every-day Americans at the pumps, all while the economy tanks... But maybe President Bush doesn't know that either.

So maybe we should go light on President Bush... After all, he doesn't know any better!

But WE, the every day American tax payer do!

WE know that lavishing subsidies on established and highly profitable industries is a pretty poor use of taxpayer money.

We ALSO know that subsidizing the energy industries of the past will not help us solve the energy challenges of the future! To do that, we're going to have to be Energy Smart! We're going to have to invest in new, clean, domestic energy sources like wind, solar, geothermal, energy efficiency, new 100+ mpg plug-in hybrid cars and more in order to have an energy supply that is sustainable, both environmentally AND economically.

WE know better, so let's let the Senate and President Bush know it's time to re-invest! Let your Senators know it's time to be smart with our energy subsidies.

Tell the Senate to pass H.R. 5351 the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008 so we can take a step towards a sustainable, prosperous and secure America!

[Update: For an excellent video, courtesy of MSNBC via Crooks and Liars, showing a clip of the President's press conference, as well as lots of hooey about why telecoms need immunity for spying on Americans, head here. Gotta love our Commander in Chief. I for one feel safe in his hands...]

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Can Coal Ever Be Clean? Check Out “Burning the Future: Coal In America” to Find Out

Can coal ever be clean?

These guys are spending tens of millions trying to convince you, the American voter, that the future of America's energy lies with "clean coal."

A new documentary film, "Burning the Future: Coal in America" aims to clue Americans in on why "slightly less deadly coal" is probably a more accurate term for what the spooked coal industry is trying to push these days. Or maybe "laundered coal." But "clean?" Check out the trailer and see what you think:




Here's the film's short synopsis:

In Burning the Future: Coal in America, writer/director David Novack examines the explosive forces that have set in motion a groundswell of conflict between the coal industry and residents of West Virginia. Confronted by an emerging coal-based US energy policy, local activists watch the nation praise coal without regard to the devastation caused by its extraction. Faced with toxic ground water, the obliteration of 1.4 million acres of mountains, and a government that appeases industry, our heroes demonstrate a strength of purpose and character in their improbable fight to arouse the nation's help in protecting their mountains, saving their families, and preserving their way of life.

"Burning the Future" will be airing next week, starting Sunday March 2nd, on LinkTV on Cable and DirectTV. From the site:

How/where can you see BTF?


TUNE IN: Sunday, March 2 at 9:30 p.m. PT, Monday, March 3 at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT, Saturday, March 8 at 5:00p.m. ET/2:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. PT, Sunday, March 9 at 10:30 a.m. ET/7:30 a.m. PT and Friday, March 14 at 11:00 p.m. ET/8:00 p.m. PT

LINK TV is available as basic service on DIRECTV channel 375, Dish Network channel 9410, and select cable stations. Check LinkTV.org http://www.linktv.org/programs/special_burning for all show times and full program information.

I've emailed the film's folks to see about getting copies on dvd at some point soon for airing's (since I don't get cable or DirectTV). I'll post an update on details if I get a response. If you DO get LinkTV, check it out!

No coal is clean coal!

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Spooked Coal Industry Fights Back, Trying to Buy the 2008 Elections

Coal is Over bannerThe coal industry, running scared from the increasingly powerful No Coal movement, is fighting back by trying to buy the 2008 elections.

According
to AP
, the coal industry is spending tens of millions of dollars on advertising and fake "grassroots" front groups to make sure that whoever wins in November, coal's future is secure. But the youth climate movement isn't going to let them get away with it!

We're already going toe-to-toe with the coal-front group "Americans for Balanced Energy Choices" on the ground in primary states. We're fighting proposed coal plants across the country and beating back the coal rush. We've pushed banks to scrutinize investments in dirty energy. We're spending our spring breaks fighting dirty energy extraction and mountain top removal at Mountain Justice Spring Break, and we're going to be a force to be reckoned with in the 2008 elections. And now we're talking about a nationally-unified "No Coal!" effort and nationwide actions against fossil fuels on Fossil Fools Day.

So it's David-and-Goliath time folk: we're pulling out our slingshots and we'll keep on hammering on the giant - the coal industry. We've got them mighty uncomfortable if they are spending tens of millions of dollars to fight back.

And sure, we're up against a giant, but remember that there are two kinds of power in the world (as my friend Jenny says): money and people. So we might not have much of the former, but we're certainly strong on the latter, and growing stronger every day!

So here's to people power, taking on an industry intent on peddling a dirty energy future and putting billion dollar coal companies on the defensive!

And here's to our vision of a sustainable, just, and prosperous future that inspires us to seek alternatives to a dirty energy future and ignore the coal industry's package of lies!

Keep fighting the fossil fools. As I say here at WattHead, a sustainable, just, and prosperous energy future is possible, and we can make it real.


[Update 2/28/08: Here's a link to the Americans for Balanced Energy Choices ads running in Ohio right now and in Iowa during the Caucuses. One of these, the "Ohio Jobs Ad," attacks green jobs head on. ABEC is a coal-industry funded "astroturf" group, a fake grassroots organization that claims to have 1500,000 members, "people like you." When you click on the ABEC Supporters tab, you find out who ABEC, really is. Supporters including "America's Coal-based Electricity Providers:"

* AMEREN Corporation
* American Electric Power
* Arch Coal, Inc.
* Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation
* Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc.
* Basin Electric Power Cooperative
* BHP Billiton
* Buckeye Industrial Mining Co.
* Buckeye Power, Inc.
* Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp.
* CONSOL Energy Inc.
* CSX Corp.
* Detroit Edison
* Duke Energy
* First Energy Corporation
* Foundation Coal Corp.
* Hoosier Energy
* Norfolk Southern Co.
* Peabody Energy Corp.
* Southern Co.
* Tri-state Generation & Transmission Assn. Inc.
* Union Pacific Railroad
* Western Farmers Electric Cooperative

Oh yah, people just like you and me. We're all CEOs of major coal companies, right?!]

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

$5,000 Breakthrough Generation Fellowships

Breakthrough Generation — the new youth initiative of Ted Nordhaus & Michael Shellenberger’s think tank, The Breakthrough Institute — is now recruiting for a Fellowship Program that will select up to ten of the country’s top young organizers and thinkers to develop a vision and strategy for a new youth progressive movement. We are seeking highly motivated, capable, and innovative young leaders who are willing to challenge accepted political norms and possess an ability to think and work in new ways. Breakthrough Generation Fellowships will include:

  • $5,000 grant: to support Fellows in the pursuit of independent projects that both achieve on-the-ground local green solutions and advance the larger movement for a major national investment in clean energy;
  • Spring summit: April 18-20;
  • Summer conference: June 15-22 at the Breakthrough Institute;
  • Fall summit: date and location to be determined;
  • Readings and discussion program: to be conducted throughout the year with the Fellows, Breakthrough Institute Founders, and other advisors and experts;
Applications should be submitted by email to generation-at-thebreakthrough.org by 5:00 P.M. (PST) on March 21, 2008. Applicants should use the editable document version of the application available on the website, www.breakthroughgen.org.

Download Application Here (180 Kb)

Entrants will receive an email confirmation after submission. Finalists will be determined by March 24th and may be asked to take part in a phone interview the following week before Fellows are announced on March 28th. For those who are interested in becoming involved with Breakthrough Generation but cannot commit to a full Fellowship, we will select a limited number of individuals to participate in the April summit along with our Fellows and Advisors. Please direct all questions to generation-at-thebreakthrough.org or visit the Breakthrough Generation webpage at www.breakthroughgen.org.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Have you seen the green desert?

Norman Foster's utopia is designed for the Masdar Initiative in Abu Dhabi to be the "world's first zero-carbon and zero-waste city."

The project has a 6 million square meter sustainable development plan mixing planning used for walled cities with technology to achieve zero carbon and zero waste. Foster + Partners, master-planners of the initiative, and Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, the main drivers for the work, hope the project will also be a center of new thought on energy production.

According to Foster, “the environmental ambitions of the Masdar Initiative – zero carbon and waste free – are a world first. They have provided us with a challenging design brief that promises to question conventional urban wisdom at a fundamental level. Masdar promises to set new benchmarks for the sustainable city of the future.”

The city will be car free and pedestrian-friendly thanks to compact street planning and a maximum distance of 200 meters to the nearest transportation and/or amenities hub. Thanks to carefully planned growth and resource production (with wind, photovoltaic farms, and fields surrounding the area), the city plans to be entirely sulf-sustaining.

Read more on the Masdar Initiative

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cascade POWER SHIFT Summit Wraps Up Two Weeks of Intense Northwest Climate Action!

Cascade POWER SHIFT 2008, the Northwest's largest youth climate summit, ended on February 11th, wrapping up two weeks of intense climate action across the Northwest that also included nearly 50 Focus the Nation events across the region on January 31st, a giant rally in Oregon's Capitol to oppose new liquefied natural gas importation on February 6th, and Oregon and Washington's first-ever youth global warming lobby days in both Salem and Olympia on February 11th.

That's a lot of climate ass-kicking! No wonder I'm exhausted today...



Cascade POWER SHIFT registrationCascade Power Shift: Mobilizing Youth for Climate Justice took place February 8-10th at the University of Oregon campus in Eugene, Oregon, and brought together over 200 young people from more than 20 colleges, universities and high schools across Oregon and Washington. The weekend summit was followed by a Citizen Action Lobby Day on Feb. 11th in both Salem and Olympia brought dozens of students and youth to their state capitols to amp up both youth political engagement as well as politicians’ response.

Entirely volunteer-driven and youth-organized, the weekend was sponsored by the Cascade Climate Network, the new network of Northwest youth climate activists, and pulled together people from across the region for a blow-out event aimed at training, engaging and activating hundreds of youth in the region to take on the most important challenge and opportunity of our generation: climate change.

Cascade POWER SHIFT workshopA great line-up of keynote speakers and panels introduced summit attendees to important climate change issues in the region, such as the prospect of green jobs and social justice opportunities as well as false solutions like proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal plants. Experienced students and community activists also provided dozens of skill-building trainings and facilitated campaign kick-off sessions for new regional campaigns, including efforts to win state climate victories, rise to the climate challenge on campuses, seize opportunities to create new green jobs and fight off false solutions like LNG.

Cascade POWER SHIFT partyWe learned, we met new friends, we were energized by our fellow activists. Oh ya, and of course, we partied!

“The amount of passion and energy popping-up in so many communities throughout the Cascade Region is powerful and hopeful,” said Jesse Hough, summit organizer and OSPIRG student leader at the University of Oregon. “Creative, thoughtful and inspired youth are stepping-up, and it’s especially exciting to work with people who have never thought of themselves as activists before.”

On Monday, Cascade Climate Network members followed up the Cascade POWER SHIFT summit with youth global warming Citizen Action Days in Olympia and Salem, taking their energy and passion directly to the statehouse. We fanned out throughout both state capitols on Monday to meet with our elected officials, testify in committee hearings and support state climate solutions (download the archived audio here to listen to the passionate testimony of three CCN members in Oregon's House Energy and Environment Committee! Fast forward to about 39 minutes in to the hearing...)

In Oregon, we began our lobby day with a press event, featuring Cascade Climate Network members, and a fun game of "Dirty Energy Dodgeball" on the steps of the Capitol! Not willing to stick to the boring old script for press events, CCN Citizen Action Day in Oregon began with lobby day participants “taking a shot at global warming,” lobbing dodge balls at a human-sized dirty energy target as other CCN-members dressed dirty energy “lobbyists” defended. Now THAT'S how you kick-off a lobby day!

Cascade POWER SHIFT Lobby Day - Dirty Energy Dodge Ball

Judging from the feedback from the weekend, attendees came out of the weekend jazzed and energized with new connections, friends and allies and plenty of new ideas for action. At least several minds were blown! Mission accomplished for the now-exhausted Cascade POWER SHIFT organizers...

I've been simply stunned by the amazing individuals I've met since about twenty of us came together to form the Cascade Climate Network just last October. We are getting connected, getting engaged and getting active, and I cannot wait to see what the next four months has in store for Northwest youth climate activism. Here's to building a sustainable, just, and prosperous future for all!

_______________________________

The Cascade Climate Network is a group of college students and recent graduates working toward climate change solutions. We are completely volunteer-driven and are active at over 20 college and university campuses in Washington and Oregon.

For more information, go to www.CascadeClimate.org

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Midwest Oil Refineries Gobble Up Canadian Tar Sands, Spew Greenhouse Gasses

Midwest oil refineries are gobbling up more and more crude oil from Canadian tar sands and are set to belch out up to 40 percent more greenhouse gas emissions in the next decade.

According to the Chicago Tribune, oil refineries across the Midwest are set to expand (see graphic) and are planning on processing heavy crude oil from Canadian tar sands, part of an industry-wide trend to buy more Canadian crude.

Canada has huge reserves of tar-soaked clay and sand known as "tar sands" lying under the swampy forests of northern Alberta. At today's higher oil prices, these tar sands are seen as a profitable and reliable source of oil but they require environmentally devastating mining processes and vast amounts of energy to extract. The resulting heavy crude oil requires also more energy to process at refineries. Researchers have calculated that refining the Canadian tar sands crude produces 15 percent to 40 percent more carbon dioxide emissions than conventional oil, the Tribune reports. (Editors note: I believe this does not include "upstream" emissions resulting from the energy intensive mining processes.)

As the Tribune points out, with no greenhouse-gas regulations currently in place, oil companies face no costs for the extra pollution they will churn into the atmosphere.

"This is a glaring example of how our energy policy and climate policy are at cross purposes," said Judi Greenwald, director of innovative solutions at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. "Companies are making decisions that really don't make sense on a national level when you fail to take climate change into account."

Increasing reliance on environmentally destructive and carbon-intensive tar sands is a very worrying trend and presents a glaring inconsistency as Midwestern governors, leading presidential candidates and the US Congress all work on policies that will help drive greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

"If carbon isn't considered in these huge investments, we are going to be stuck with a tremendous burden," said Henry Henderson, a former Chicago environment commissioner who now heads the Natural Resources Defense Council's Midwest office.

Like coal-to-liquids synthetic fuels, this un-conventional source of fuel may help reduce reliance on Middle Eastern oil, but only exacerbates global warming. Comprehensive global warming regulations are needed quickly so that decisions about alternative fuels incorporate both concerns about energy independence AND global warming and do not simply trade one huge problem - our oil addiction - for another - accelerating climate change.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune.

[A hat tip to Grist. Graphic from the Chicago Tribune and Wikipeida]

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Senate clean energy stimulus fails by one vote: 59-40*

The Senate stimulus package, which would have given a much needed boost to green technology through production tax credits, failed to pass a Senate filibuster vote last night, with one no-show. Who was the no show? Sens. Obama and Hillary -- exhasuted from their extremely tight primary race -- managed to return to the Senate for this high-profile vote last night... wait, who was the no-show during the critical energy bill vote last year? Oh right, that would be the "green" Republican presidential hopeful, Senator John McCain.

We must hold McCain accountable for his pathetic voting record, or lack thereof, as the candidates continue to march down the campaign trail. His absence and statement that he would have voted no, had he even showed, coupled with the undeserved credit he has received for being "greener" than his oil-, coal- and uranium-stained Republican counterparts, is unfortunate. McCain's green title died last night when he failed to participate in another critical vote to stimulate the growth of our green economy.

Regardless of which way Senator McCain would have voted, his spokeswoman claims he would have voted no and he simply said it "it's very hard; obviously, I've missed a lot of votes. There's no doubt about it," Senator McCain is just that: a SENATOR and his job is to vote on behalf of his constituents. His vote does matter, did matter, and if he wants to win the Whitehouse in '08 he must convince the American people that their votes matter. By choosing not to fulfill his duty it is clear he will be a deadbeat on the issues we care so much about.

Let the takeaway message from this post be the following: John McCain has received undeserved praise for his empty stance on environmental issues and he cannot be trusted to fulfill campaign promises. If he were elected, it is becoming clear we would see only a trail of unbroken promises, a tally of missed votes and opportunities for four more years; we simply cannot afford it.

Read more for an interesting fact, and the * ...

Another fact: In the 110th Congress, out of 450 votes, McCain missed 56.7% of all votes. The only one who missed more was a senator who had a brain hemmorhage. It does seem that Senator McCain is truly out to lunch, and not fit to be our President.

*- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) switched his vote to 'no' at the last moment, a parliamentary move that allows him to bring the measure up for revote, making the final vote 58-41... but 59-40 is a much better number for the headline don't you think?

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Are We Living in the Anthropocene?

The Earth's rock layers tell us stories about our natural history; most recently the layers tell us stories of undeniable, human-induced global environmental change. This month, the Geologic Society of America (GSA) publication GSA Today features an article authored by a sizable group of geoscientists from London who suggest that we have so profoundly altered our planet since the Industrial Revolution that human activity has left, and will continue to leave, a permanent imprint on the Earth's stratigraphic record (see figure to left).

They suggest that these changes are on such a large scale that we have entered a new geologic epoch defined and dominated by human activity. They further propose that we officially rename our current epoch the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene was originally suggested in 2002 by Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen who won the prize in 1995 for his work on the depletion of ozone... and geologists have casually referred to this time as the Anthropocene for quite some time.

"Humans have caused a dramatic increase in erosion and the denudation of the continents, both directly, through agriculture and construction, and indirectly, by damming most major rivers, that now exceeds natural sediment production by an order of magnitude."
There are visible changes to our oceans (an increase in acidity due to carbon release), as well as major biotic changes (extinction events)...


They suggest we may enter a "super-interglacial," with Earth reverting to climates and sea levels last seen in warmer phases 1-5 million years ago. They also discuss stratigraphic evidence found today that is similar to other major geologic time boundaries (including the mass extinction that occurred at the K/T boundary).

"The combination of extinctions, global species migrations, and the widespread replacement of natural vegetation with agricultural monocultures is producing a distinctive contemporary biostratigraphic signal. These effects are permanent, as future evolution will take place from surviving (and frequently anthropogenically relocated) stocks."

The evidence for human-induced global warming surrounds us; it is in the air we breathe, the oceans we travel, and even in the rock beneath us. The stories the Earth tells us will continue to be written; we will continue to shape the stratigraphic record, and we can choose to stop our reckless release of global warming pollution, and avoid the looming mass extinctions and further degradation of our natural resources.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

"Stuff" for a more sustainable and just world

Tides Foundation, Funders Workgroup for Sustainable Production and Consumption and Free Range Studios present a short film from Annie Leonard called "Story of Stuff."

This short (21-minute) look at the real production and consumption patterns sheds light on the intrinsic connections between environmental and social issues. These intertwined topics include government agendas, materialism and consumption, working conditions and even limited resources.

Leonard highlights ways to make real change in the current depleting pattern and to help make a more sustainable and just world. She includes ideas about recycling, equity, economics and green energy. The call to us as citizens is to reclaim the process we, and our "stuff," are a part of and make it better.

Citizenshift has two options you can watch: a short clip here or the full version here.

Enjoy, and get started changing the cycle!

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Wall Street announces “Carbon Principles” - but what do they mean?

So, big news on Wall Street today regarding coal and our climate. Three of the largest investment banks (Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, and JP Morgan Chase) announced the formation of the “Carbon Principles” - a set of guidelines the banks will follow when lending money to carbon-intensive projects, such as coal-fired power plants.

While the banks don’t go so far as to say they WON’T finance coal-fired power plants - if I were the CEO of a utility or coal company - I’d be worried. Here’s my analysis of these principles:



WHAT’S GOOD:

  • Banks are REALLY keen on not having any accountability for their investments -legally, or for their brand image. They want to pretend an economy is only numbers and to be accountable only for the math and profits - not for the real-world, on-the-ground impacts their participation in the economy has. Banks are happy to address the carbon footprint of their internal operations (pushing papers around is relatively benign, atmospherically-speaking) - but if their footprint includes their “financed emissions” - they start to look bad. REALLY bad. The fact that banks are even talking about the impacts of their investments, and that they have a responsibility they have towards socially and ecologically responsible lending practices is a good first step. Banks weren’t even really talking about coal or their financed emissions a year ago.
  • The banks pledge “Enhanced Diligence” in evaluating the carbon risks of coal-fired power plants, which includes the potential liability for future carbon regulation, requirements for carbon storage and sequestration, and to prioritize zero/low carbon projects. Again - the banks aren’t saying straight-up they won’t fund coal - but they at least appear to putting up a few hurdles for carbon-intensive projects to gain financing. I can’t see how they would be able to fund a coal-fired power plant if they are actually honestly abiding by these principles.
  • Utility companies were rumored to have involved in drafting these principles initially - but in the end they were not signatories to the principles, they are merely listed as being “consulted”. Did they get coal cold feet in the process of drafting this document? Does this mean that the utilities see serious intent from the banks’ to put a damper on coal? That remains to be seen - but it’s a good sign.
Read on for what's bad...

WHAT’S LACKING:

  • These principles don’t have any sort of binding commitments to reduce their financed emissions. While guidelines are nice - there simply needs to be a complete moratorium on coal-fired power plants and other carbon-intensive industries. This is the crucial step for our climate - and banks should have an outright moratorium on financing new coal development - not merely guidelines.
  • These principles only partially address the problems of coal - they still ignore incredibly destructive extraction methods such as mountaintop removal mining.
  • Environmental Defense and NRDC are not listed as signatories either - does this mean even they see this document as not being substantive enough to fully endorse? That too, remains to be seen.
  • Bank of America is noticeably absent from the principles. As a leading financier to some of the dirtiest coal developments in the country - where are they in this process?
  • Despite big past commitments to “green banking” - Wall Street still pours money to King Coal hand over fist. Banks need to be much more transparent about where their investments are going - all the major Wall Street banks finance hundreds of times more money to dirty energy than to clean energy. I hope the tides are changing - but so far they haven’t walked their own talk.

You can see the banks’ press release here, and Rainforest Action Network’s official response here.

For the past year, a huge coalition of groups has been campaigning on Wall Street Banks’ to end their financing of the dirty coal industry. Groups such Rainforest Action Network, Energy Action Coalition, Rising Tide North America, Coal River Mountain Watch, and many more have been leading the campaign - holding hundreds of public demonstrations, filing shareholder resolutions, and taken non-violent direct action to demand that banks stop banking on the destruction of our climate.

Our strategy of campaigning against the financing of coal is two-fold. First - we are demanding that banks (where many of us hold our checking accounts, credit cards, mortgages, or student loans) should not be profiting from, nor accelerating the destruction of our climate, environment, and communities. We are taking the money out from under carbon-intensive industries like coal and tar sands - rather than fighting one destructive project at a time.

But just as importantly - we are demanding a future where our economy is in sync with our ecology - where investments are made in clean energy, sustainable development, and justice for our communities. As we are seeing now with a looming recession, the credit crisis, and mortgage meltdowns across the country - our current economy is destroying the social and ecological fabrics of our society. People are demanding a new world - based on clean energy, ecological principles, social justice, and an economy that works for people, not profit.

-Matt

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