Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Climate & Economic Justice - Conversation with Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben and more

Hangout with Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, and more

WHEN:    FRIDAY, Feb. 5, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

WHERE: Hangouts On Air - Broadcast for free

WHAT: No more small steps for the Climate and Economic Justice Movement. Now is the time to LEAP!

WHO: A conversation with Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis (This Changes Everything), Bill McKibben ( and Asad Rehman (Friend of the Earth UK) and special guests.

REGISTER: Click Here

To celebrate the Leap Year, people are gathering to mobilize towards new economic and energy systems. 

Learn more about Leap Year 2016

Friday, January 29, 2016

FORUM: Paris Climate Agreement - What's Next for the World?

U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21)

~ Reflections on the Historic Climate Agreement ~

What's next for the world?

Join six Ithacans who participated in COP21 in Paris, for personal reflections on the 195-nation agreement on Climate Change. Followed by a community conversation about next steps.

Introduction: Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton

  Bob Howarth, Cornell University
  Sandra Steingraber, Ithaca College, author
  Karen Pinkus, Cornell University
  Allison Chatrchyan, Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture
  Johannes Lehmann, Cornell University
  Colleen Boland, We are Seneca Lake

Wednesday, February 3 at 7:15-8:45pm
Tompkins County Public Library, Borg Warner Room
Ithaca, NY [Map] 

Event Poster - click here

Sponsored by:  Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, Tompkins County Planning Department, Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

TALK: 'Carbon Tax' - Citizens Climate Lobby

A New York State carbon tax bill was introduced in Sept. 2015 by two Democratic legislators, Assemblyman Kevin Cahill of Dutchess County and Sen. Kevin Parker of Brooklyn. 

The bill, A8372 Cahil / S6037 Parker, starts taxing CO2 emissions from coal, oil, natural gas and biofuels at $35 per ton and increases the rate annually by $15/ton, to a ceiling of $185 per ton. 

The bill proposes returning 60% of revenues to low- and moderate-income households, with the remaining funds used to prepare for climate change, invest in renewable energy, and build transportation infrastructure. 

More Information on emerging developments in U.S. carbon taxing in NY State and other states is HERE.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Fossil Fuel Industry Misinformation Delayed Action on Climate Change For Decades

America has been duped on climate change

By Robert Brulle | January 6, 2016 | The Washington Post

Robert Brulle is a professor of sociology and environmental science at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He is co-editor of "Climate Change and Society: Sociological Perspectives."

Future generations will look back on our tepid response to global climate disruption and wonder why we did not act sooner and more aggressively. Climate change will adversely impact present and future generations, as well as all species on Earth. Our moral obligation to protect life requires us to act.

Yet even after the recently completed United Nations climate conference, we are still on track for dangerous levels of climate change. Why haven’t we acted sooner or more aggressively? One answer can be found in the split over the veracity of climate science.

Recent scholarship documents the coordinated efforts of conservative foundations and fossil fuel corporations to promote this uncertainty. Amplified by conservative media, this campaign of disinformation and omission has significantly altered the nature of the public debate and led to political polarization around the issue, making meaningful legislative action nearly impossible.

These findings are supported by recent investigative news reports, which show that since the 1970s, top executives and scientists in the fossil fuel industry have been well aware of the evidence that their products amplified climate-warming emissions. They conducted their own extensive research on the topic and participated in ongoing scientific discussions. The American Petroleum Institute, an industry trade group, even circulated the results to its members. By 1978, a senior executive at ExxonMobil proposed creating a worldwide “CO2 in the Atmosphere” research and development program to determine an appropriate response.

Unfortunately, that path wasn’t taken. Instead, in 1989, a group of fossil fuel corporations, utilities and automobile manufacturers banded together to form the Global Climate Coalition. This group worked to ensure that the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions, was not adopted by the United States. In public statements, the Global Climate Coalition continued to deny that global warming was occurring and emphasized the uncertainty of climate science.

The spreading of misinformation continued. In 1998, API, Exxon, Chevron, Southern Co. and various conservative think tanks initiated a public relations campaign, the goal of which was to ensure that the “recognition of uncertainties (of climate science) becomes part of the ‘conventional wisdom.'”

While that coalition disbanded in 2001, ExxonMobil reportedly continued to quietly funnel climate misinformation through “skeptic” think tanks, such as the Heartland Institute, until 2006, when its funding was exposed. The company — the nation’s largest and wealthiest — continues to work with the American Legislative Exchange Council, a so-called public-private partnership of corporations and conservative legislators, to block climate change policies.

For years, ExxonMobil had been a participant in public efforts to sow doubt about climate change. Yet at at the same time, the corporation was at the leading edge of climate science and its executives were well informed regarding the scientific consensus on climate change. This allegedly deceitful conduct has generated public outrage and recently led New York’s attorney general to initiate an investigation into whether ExxonMobil has misled the public and investors about the risks of climate change.

While important, these legal proceedings cannot fully address the larger moral issues of corporate social and political responsibility. Just as Congress investigated the efforts of the tobacco industry to dupe the public into believing its products were harmless, we need a full and open inquiry into the conduct of ExxonMobil and the other institutions whose misinformation campaigns about science have delayed our efforts to address climate change.

The central concern here is the moral integrity of the public sphere. The Declaration of Independence says the legitimacy of government is based on the consent of the governed. But when vested interests with outsize economic and cultural power distort the public debate by introducing falsehoods, the integrity of our deliberations is compromised.

Such seems the case today when we consider the fossil fuel industry’s role in distorting discourse on the urgent topic of climate change. If vested economic interests and public relations firms can systematically alter the national debate in favor of their own interests and against those of society as a whole, then the notion of democracy and civic morality is undermined. Congress can and should act to investigate this issue fully. Only then can we restore trust and legitimacy to American governance and fulfill our moral duty to aggressively address climate change.

Naomi Klein, Author and Climate Justice Activist, to Speak

Reflections on the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference

Featuring: Naomi Klein

Sunday, January 24, 2016 – 4:00pm

Finger Lakes Community College, Canandaigua [MAP]
Known for her political analyses and criticism of corporate globalization and of corporate capitalism, Naomi Klein is the author of five books, including The Shock Doctrine, a bestselling critical analysis of the history of neoliberalism, which promotes a high-consumption, ­carbon-hungry system.

Her latest book is This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate (2014). Klein writes that “Our economic system and our planetary system are now at war.” 

“There is still time to avoid catastrophic warming,” she contends, “but not within the rules of capitalism as they are currently constructed. Which is surely the best argument there has ever been for changing those rules.” 

MODERATOR: Michael Winship, an award-winning television writer and producer, will moderate the conversation with Ms. Klein.

Online Tickets $15 - PURCHASE HERE

Thursday, January 7, 2016

State of the Climate Rally at Cuomo's State of the State Address

A State of the Climate Rally and March will be held in Albany on January 13th preceding Governor Cuomo's State of the State address. 

Climate activists will rally and march at the State Capitol to Demand Action: Support 100% Renewable Energy, Climate Justice, Energy Democracy, and a Just Transition from dirty Fossil Fuels to Clean Energy. Stop Gas Infrastructure.

The rally will start at 10:30AM. At 11:20AM we'll march to the state concourse for the Governor’s State of the State Address and budget release.

All the state’s elected officials will have to pass us in state concourse on their way into the address, which starts at 12:30PM. We will carry signs, props and leaflets.

CONTACT: Sue Hughes Smith, Rochester People's Climate Coalition,

Speaker Themes: Say No! to Fossil Fuels, Pipelines; Stop Oil Bomb Trains; No to Coal and Nukes; Divest from Fossil Fuels.  Say Yes! to Wind, Solar, Geothermal; Conservation and Efficiency; Energy Democracy; A Green New Deal; A carbon Tax.

Sponsors: 100% Renewables Now NY, 350NYC, The Solutions Project, Peoples Climate Movement NY, PAUSE, Sane Energy Project, Bronx Climate Justice North, Green Education and Legal Fund, NYS Sustainable Business Council, Green Party, Rochester People’s Climate Coalition, Grassroots Environmental Education, Stop the NY Gas Fracked Pipeline, Food and Water Watch, United for Action, NYC Friends of Clearwater, Citizen Action of NY, Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition, WESPAC, We Are Seneca Lake, Fossil Free Tompkins (list in formation). Sponsors endorse the themes, not the position of the individual speakers.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Local Plea for Climate Justice was Heard at Paris Talks

UB Law students presented WNY climate pledge 
to national figure

By David Kowalski

The Rise Up For Climate Justice Campaign of Western NY created a pledge calling on President Obama and U.S. negotiators in Paris to make bold cuts in global warming pollution and to ensure justice for communities and workers during the necessary shift from dirty fossil fuels to clean energy sources. 

The campaign succeeded in outreach efforts to diverse groups of people and organizations in WNY and asked them to endorse the Climate Justice Pledge. Signatories included people of different faith groups, labor unions, students, people of color, indigenous peoples, teachers, community activists, environmentalists, artists, performers and local politicians.

Following a well-attended September rally at Niagara Square and subsequent events, the campaign sponsored a community Gathering on November 28 in Buffalo. About 200 supporters of the campaign gathered in the Temple Beth Zion auditorium to express their concerns about climate change and participate in various ceremonies.

                                       Community Gathering       Photo credit: Jim Anderson
[Click image to enlarge]

One ceremony at the Gathering involved the campaign's Climate Justice Pledge. A scroll bearing names of organizations and people who signed the Pledge was presented by Lynda Schneekloth, chair of the local Sierra Club Niagara Group, to University at Buffalo Law students Bridget Steele and Andrea DiNatale.
UB Law students accept the scroll of Pledge signers. Photo credit: Nate Schneekloth
The students and their faculty adviser, Jessica Owley, planned to transport the Pledge scroll to Paris and deliver it to a national Sierra Club official who could pass it on to a U.S. negotiator at the U.N. Climate Conference.

The scroll contained 2,361 names of citizens, organizations and local public officials from Western New York who signed the Climate Justice Pledge. Among the organizations were 17 labor unions, 13 faith groups, 9 socio-economic & civic groups, 7 union leaders, 3 peace groups, 9 elected officials, 1 political party, and 8 environmental groups. The list is here.

Scroll of Climate Justice Pledge signers. Photo credit: Lynda Schneekloth
The UB student-faculty contingent traveled to Paris and arrived at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which ran from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12. They shared their observations, opinions and photos through social media, primarily on a website called SUNY Buffalo Law School’s Climate Change Blog.

On Dec. 9, a blog titled "WNY Climate Justice Pledge Makes It to Paris" was posted on their website. As it turned out, the Pledge not only made it to Paris, the students managed to connect with a national figure, Michael Brune, the Executive Director of the national Sierra Club, and present to him the scroll of WNY Climate Justice Pledge signers!
Michael Brune holding the Scroll presented by Alyssa Erazo, reading the Pledge, and Collin Doane.
Following the presentation describing the significance of the WNY Climate Justice Pledge scroll and the diversity of pledge signers, Michael Brune accepted the scroll and said "This is how we will win."

"Twenty minutes after receiving the scroll from the representatives of Buffalo, Mike Brune was set to meet with John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State, to convey to the US Delegation the hopes of the American people, including Western New Yorkers," Chris Kennedy wrote in her blog post. She added:
"I would like to think that it was the commitment and enthusiasm of the people of Western New York that made John Kerry decide that the U.S. needed to support a Climate Change Agreement with a Legally Binding Transparency System.

Although that may not be the case, I am sure it is not coincidence that Kerry changed his tune shortly after meeting with Sierra Club Executive Director Mike Brune who passed our message and our scroll along."
John Kerry served as the top U.S. negotiator at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris. We may never know what transpired between John Kerry and Michael Brune, who heard WNY Climate Justice Pledge message when he received the scroll and said "This is how we will win."

What is clear is that, thanks to this terrific group of young law students and their University at Buffalo faculty advisor, the Western New York plea for Climate Justice was indeed heard at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. And for that accomplishment alone, we can all feel very proud of them and extremely grateful.

UB law students (L to R): Bridget Steele, Leah Bernhardi, Christina Kennedy, Alyssa Erazo, and Collin Doane. (Center) Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club in holding the WNY Climate Justice Pledge scroll. (Far Right) Sandy Chelnov, Rise Up for Climate Justice Campaign.
 [Click image to enlarge]