Tuesday, April 26, 2016

GASLAND Film Director Bringing New Film to WNY


Climate Justice Coalition
of Western NY
 Free and Open to the Public
Join Josh Fox and concerned citizens in Pendleton on Tuesday, May 3rd at 6:30PM where the local community is fighting the proposed National Fuel Northern Access Project. That project would bring fracked gas from Pennsylvania through a new pipeline and into new dehydration and compressor stations that bring noise and toxic air pollution. To add insult to injury, the gas will be exported to Canada.  

Planet-warming fossil fuels are history. Nature's clean, renewable energy sources are the future. We need to let go of the past and invest in the future!

Watch the film Trailer

Interview of Josh Fox about his film and related issues HERE

Climate Justice Coalition of WNY: List of Spring 2016 Events is Here

Social Media:
Facebook.com/RiseUpforClimateJustice
Twitter.com/RU4CJBuffalo
niagarasierraclub.com/rise-up-for-climate-justice

Funded in part by grant from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and the Sierra Club Niagara Group

NY State Attorney General Speaks on Climate Change and Economic Justice in Buffalo

By David Kowalski

Eric Schneiderman    photo D.Kowalski
NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman visited Buffalo on April 21 and presented a talk to a full auditorium at the Frank E. Merriweather Library. The event was sponsored by the Climate Justice Coalition of WNY, NY Renews, Open Buffalo and PUSH Buffalo and was followed by a panel discussion led by Clarke Gocker.

Schneiderman's talk on climate change and economic justice is covered below. A subsequent story will cover another part of the talk about his office's investigations of fossil fuel industries responsible for the global warming pollution and their denial of the problem.

Eric Schneiderman spoke about the need to unite the campaigns that deal with the crisis of climate change with a campaign to deal with economic inequality. He said that the two have to go hand in hand if we are going to save the planet and if we’re going to be the country that we’re supposed to be. He added:
The movement that we have to build has got to go beyond the traditional environmental movement. We have to get everyone to understand that we are all in this together, and that we have to deal with the issue of the destruction of our planet while building a world that supports all families. We can do this. Because this does require a revamping of our energy sector, new jobs will be created. We have to make sure they are good, family-supporting jobs that go to the people that need them in every community.
We have to take action and we have to say what people don't say enough, which is, climate change is real, and it's happening now, and it's affecting us now.
It is undeniable that Earth is warming. Last month was the hottest March since humans began to use instruments to measure the temperature. The month before that was the hottest February ever, the month before that the hottest January ever, 2015 was the hottest year ever, 2014 was the second hottest.

Schneiderman said that the northeastern United States is seeing much more violent and much more frequent storm patterns. In 2011, Hurricane Irene dropped over 11 inches of rain in 24 hours causing catastrophic flooding in the Hudson River Valley and the Adirondacks. Thirty-one counties were declared disaster areas.

The following year, Superstorm Sandy hit New York Harbor with increased intensity because it passed over ocean water warmed by heat trapped by greenhouse gases and was 9°F warmer than it would have been in the past. Also, the sea level was over a foot higher than it was before the beginning of the 20th century, before burning of fossil fuels accelerated. Consequently, Sandy flooded an additional 80,000 people's homes that would have been had the water had been at the pre-industrial sea level.

"There is no responsible scientist who disputes the fact that burning fossil fuels is contributing to warming of the planet. There is no legitimate debate as to that," Schneiderman said.

He pointed out that the argument against environmentalism is usually couched in terms of destroying jobs and hurting the economy. Schneiderman said:
You are the people who are going to build a movement that says we know that’s all a lie. We know the way to create good green family-supporting jobs is to lean in to the move to renewables. And the states that lean in early, are the states that are going to do better in this incredibly competitive Global market.
New York I'm proud to say is leaning in. But as most you know public officials do what their constituents make them do. And this is true of our friends as well as our enemies. We need to encourage our friends and give them support and we need to dissuade our enemies from opposing our efforts to re-establish equality and the state of the planet. It's not really much more complicated than that.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Film Screening: 'CATCHING THE SUN' - Free

WHEN: Friday, April 29 at 6:30 PM

WHERE: Daemen College (Schenk Hall), Main St., Amherst [Map]

Sponsors: Sierra Club Niagara Group, Daemen College Department of Global & Local Sustainability, League of Women Voters Buffalo Niagara, and the Climate Justice Coalition of Western NY

Watch the film trailer:



"A must-see film. An eye-opening look at workers and entrepreneurs on the forefront of the clean energy movement that will transform, and enliven the way you see the future. What is clear is the wonderful opportunity the transition to clean energy represents." 
– MARK RUFFALO
An unemployed American worker, a Tea Party activist, and a Chinese solar entrepreneur race to lead the clean energy future. But who wins and who loses the battle for power in the 21st century?

Through the stories of workers and entrepreneurs in the U.S. and China, Catching the Sun captures the global race to lead the clean energy future. Over the course of a solar jobs training program, Catching the Sun follows the hope and heartbreak of unemployed American workers seeking jobs in the solar industry.

With countries like China investing in innovative technologies and capitalizing on this trillion-dollar opportunity, Catching the Sun tells the story of the global energy transition from the perspective of workers and entrepreneurs building solutions to income inequality and climate change with their own hands. Their successes and failures speak to one of the biggest questions of our time: will the U.S. actually be able to build a clean energy economy?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Green Drinks: Help Us Build YOU a better Environmental Summit

 

Join us for Green Drinks
When: Thursday April 28th
Where: D'Arcy McGees 257 Franklin Street Buffalo, NY 14202
Time: 4:00PM - 7:00 PM


Join us for the next Green Drinks at the always fabulous D'Arcy McGees with Bob Knoer and the organizers of the WNY Environmental Summit.

They're trying to make the Summit more innovative and poignant than ever with a fun, quick and interactive process where we'll solicit your input.

We're going to poll people with small note cards while they're socializing to find out:

What topics are you most interested in hearing expert speakers discuss?

What workshops or training sessions would be a draw and get you to attend the Environmental Summit this year?


We want to know!

Mark your calendar's and RSVP today. Light food will be provided. The first 50 people to RSVP to Green Drinks with Melanie McMahan at melanie@buffalo-energy.com will receive a free drink ticket at the event.

There will also be a raffle for your participation and input for The Summit.

If you're interested in being more active with the WNY Environmental Summit this year, please include this in your email to Melanie.


Community Event with NYS Attorney General: Climate Change & Economic Justice


Join Attorney General Schneiderman and others on Thursday, April 21, for a conversation on moving to renewable energy quickly in New York State.  

In addition to the Attorney General's talk, there will be a panel of organizations and groups working on climate justice issues in WNY and a presentation of NY Renews, a coalition focused on bringing clean energy and energy democracy to our region. 

Reimagining Capitalism: Transitioning to a Regenerative Economy

RENEW Distinguished Lecture                    
with John Fullerton

WHEN: Friday, April 22nd at 4:00 pm
WHERE: CFA Screening Room, UB

Reception to follow lecture and discussion
Registration Required
Register Here

Global threats — from climate change and accelerating inequality, to the financial crisis of 2008 — have led an increasing number of thought leaders and policymakers to question the long-term viability of today’s mainstream, extractive economy.  This lecture will look at the emergence of the Regenerative Economy as a necessity.

All living and non-living systems share universal principles and patterns of systemic health and development that, if effectively harnessed, they can be utilized to benefit society and the economy. Or, to put it another way, the entire system can prosper if it is designed to do so.

This holistic approach emphasizes ethics, caring and sharing, and building healthy human networks to create a new paradigm for capitalism, rather than an incrementally improved model. A Regenerative Economy naturally seeks to harmonize the multiple kinds of capital essential to planetary well-being (financial, social, environmental, etc.).  This lecture will cover the interconnected principles of a Regenerative Economy and how we can work together to affect this paradigm shift.

John Fullerton is the founder and president of Capital Institute, “a collaborative working to explore and effect the economic  transition to a more just, regenerative, and thus sustainable way of living on this earth through the transformation of   finance.” Previously, he was a managing director of JPMorgan where he managed multiple capital markets and derivatives businesses around the globe and then ran the venture investment activity of LabMorgan as Chief Investment Officer through the merger with Chase Manhattan Bank in 2001.

RENEW Distinguished Lecture Series in Energy, Environment & Water Sustainability seeks to promote dialogue and interaction with UB’s faculty and students with renowned leaders in science, technology and policy in academia, industry, and government. RENEW promotes interdisciplinary research activities to position UB as a global leader in select areas of energy, environment and water (www.buffalo.edu/renew).

Monday, April 11, 2016

VICTORY IN LANDMARK CLIMATE CASE

FEDERAL COURT AFFIRMS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF CHILDREN

DENIES MOTIONS OF GOVERNMENT AND FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY IN 
YOUTH’S LANDMARK CLIMATE CHANGE CASE

EUGENE, Oregon - On April 8, 2016, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin of the federal District Court in Eugene, OR, decided in favor of 21 young Plaintiffs, and Dr. James Hansen on behalf of future generations, in their landmark constitutional climate change case brought against the federal government and the fossil fuel industry.

The Court’s ruling is a major victory for the 21 youth Plaintiffs, ages 8-19, from across the U.S. in what Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein call the “most important lawsuit on the planet right now.” These plaintiffs sued the federal government for violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property, and their right to essential public trust resources, by permitting, encouraging, and otherwise enabling continued exploitation, production, and combustion of fossil fuels.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Philip Gregory with Cotchett, Pitre, & McCarthy of Burlingame, CA, said: “This decision is one of the most significant in our nation’s history. The Court upheld our claims that the federal government intensified the danger to our plaintiffs’ lives, liberty and property.

Judge Coffin decided our Complaint will move forward and put climate science squarely in front of the federal courts. The next step is for the Court to order our government to cease jeopardizing the climate system for present and future generations. The Court gave America’s youth a fair opportunity to be heard.”

As part of Friday’s historic decision, Judge Coffin characterized the case as an “unprecedented lawsuit” addressing “government action and inaction” resulting “in carbon pollution of the atmosphere, climate destabilization, and ocean acidification.”

In deciding the case will proceed, Judge Coffin wrote: “The debate about climate change and its impact has been before various political bodies for some time now. Plaintiffs give this debate justiciability by asserting harms that befall or will befall them personally and to a greater extent than older segments of society.”

“It may be that eventually the alleged harms, assuming the correctness of plaintiffs' analysis of the impacts of global climate change, will befall all of us. But the intractability of the debates before Congress and state legislatures and the alleged valuing of short term economic interest despite the cost to human life, necessitates a need for the courts to evaluate the constitutional parameters of the action or inaction taken by the government. This is especially true when such harms have an alleged disparate impact on a discrete class of society.”

Dr. James Hansen, guardian in the case for all future generations, and world renown climate scientist said, “Science clearly establishes that our planet’s increasing energy imbalance – caused in substantial part by our government’s support for the exploitation and combustion of fossil fuel – imposes increasingly severe risks on our common future. Now, from Eugene Oregon, comes a prescient and insightful ruling from a federal district court.  Judge Coffin in effect declares that the voice of children and future generations, supported by the relevant science, must be heard.  We will now proceed to prove our claims.  It is perhaps not too late for serious action to preserve a viable climate system that will be required by our posterity.”

Read the full press release here.

Read the Court's order here.

Bill McKibben: Fracking Will Not Save Our Climate

Global Warming’s Terrifying New Chemistry

Our leaders thought fracking would save our climate. They were wrong. Very wrong.

By Bill McKibben | March 23, 2016 | The Nation

Global warming is, in the end, not about the noisy political battles here on the planet’s surface. It actually happens in constant, silent interactions in the atmosphere, where the molecular structure of certain gases traps heat that would otherwise radiate back out to space. If you get the chemistry wrong, it doesn’t matter how many landmark climate agreements you sign or how many speeches you give. And it appears the United States may have gotten the chemistry wrong. Really wrong.

There’s one greenhouse gas everyone knows about: carbon dioxide, which is what you get when you burn fossil fuels. We talk about a “price on carbon” or argue about a carbon tax; our leaders boast about modest “carbon reductions.” But in the last few weeks, CO2’s nasty little brother has gotten some serious press. Meet methane, otherwise known as CH4.

In February, Harvard researchers published an explosive paper in Geophysical Research Letters. Using satellite data and ground observations, they concluded that the nation as a whole is leaking methane in massive quantities. Between 2002 and 2014, the data showed that US methane emissions increased by more than 30 percent, accounting for 30 to 60 percent of an enormous spike in methane in the entire planet’s atmosphere.

To the extent our leaders have cared about climate change, they’ve fixed on CO2. Partly as a result, coal-fired power plants have begun to close across the country. They’ve been replaced mostly with ones that burn natural gas, which is primarily composed of methane. Because burning natural gas releases significantly less carbon dioxide than burning coal, CO2 emissions have begun to trend slowly downward, allowing politicians to take a bow. But this new Harvard data, which comes on the heels of other aerial surveys showing big methane leakage, suggests that our new natural-gas infrastructure has been bleeding methane into the atmosphere in record quantities. And molecule for molecule, this unburned methane is much, much more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide.

The EPA insisted this wasn’t happening, that methane was on the decline just like CO2. But it turns out, as some scientists have been insisting for years, the EPA was wrong. Really wrong. This error is the rough equivalent of the New York Stock Exchange announcing tomorrow that the Dow Jones isn’t really at 17,000: Its computer program has been making a mistake, and your index fund actually stands at 11,000.

These leaks are big enough to wipe out a large share of the gains from the Obama administration’s work on climate change—all those closed coal mines and fuel-efficient cars. In fact, it’s even possible that America’s contribution to global warming increased during the Obama years. The methane story is utterly at odds with what we’ve been telling ourselves, not to mention what we’ve been telling the rest of the planet. It undercuts the promises we made at the climate talks in Paris. It’s a disaster—and one that seems set to spre2ad.

The Obama administration, to its credit, seems to be waking up to the problem. Over the winter, the EPA began to revise its methane calculations, and in early March, the United States reached an agreement with Canada to begin the arduous task of stanching some of the leaks from all that new gas infrastructure. But none of this gets to the core problem, which is the rapid spread of fracking. Carbon dioxide is driving the great warming of the planet, but CO2 isn’t doing it alone. It’s time to take methane seriously.

To understand how we got here, it’s necessary to remember what a savior fracked natural gas looked like to many people, environmentalists included. As George W. Bush took hold of power in Washington, coal was ascendant, here and around the globe. Cheap and plentiful, it was most visibly underwriting the stunning growth of the economy in China, where, by some estimates, a new coal-fired power plant was opening every week. The coal boom didn’t just mean smoggy skies over Beijing; it meant the planet’s invisible cloud of carbon dioxide was growing faster than ever, and with it the certainty of dramatic global warming.

So lots of people thought it was great news when natural-gas wildcatters began rapidly expanding fracking in the last decade. Fracking involves exploding the sub-surface geology so that gas can leak out through newly opened pores; its refinement brought online new shale deposits across the continent—most notably the Marcellus Shale, stretching from West Virginia up into Pennsylvania and New York. The quantities of gas that geologists said might be available were so vast that they were measured in trillions of cubic feet and in centuries of supply.

The apparently happy fact was that when you burn natural gas, it releases half as much carbon dioxide as coal. A power plant that burned natural gas would therefore, or so the reasoning went, be half as bad for global warming as a power plant that burned coal. Natural gas was also cheap—so, from a politician’s point of view, fracking was a win-win situation. You could appease the environmentalists with their incessant yammering about climate change without having to run up the cost of electricity. It would be painless environmentalism, the equivalent of losing weight by cutting your hair.

Webinar: NYS Clean Energy Standard - Tuesday, April 19th

Across New York, people like you are stepping up to make New York a leader on climate and build a bright future with a robust renewable energy economy.

Our work to secure an enforceable Clean Energy Standard is getting started and we need you with us every step of the way.

Grassroots pressure played a key role in getting Governor Cuomo to set the goal of 50 percent renewable energy by 2030, and now it's up to grassroots activists to hold Governor Cuomo and our state accountable to this goal by making sure the new Clean Energy Standard is enforceable.

Join us in a Webinar on Tuesday April 19th to learn more!


Here are the details:

WHO: Sierra Club & Alliance for a Green Economy staff, and you!
WHAT: Clean Energy Standard Webinar
WHEN: 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 19
WHERE: Online! RSVP Here.

Questions? Contact David Alicea at david.alicea@sierraclub.org

New York is making progress towards being a climate leader and it's up to citizens like you and me to make sure this Standard isn't just for show, that it has real teeth. We must make sure it changes the way New Yorkers get our energy.

On the webinar we'll talk about Sierra Club's goals for the standard and how you can play a role in the upcoming months to help make that happen. If you already committed to attend a Clean Energy Standard Hearing, the webinar will be a good first step for preparing to attend.

See you on the webinar,
David Alicea
Organizing Representative
New York Beyond Coal