Sunday, November 26, 2017

Workshop on Climate Justice in Western NY

Climate Justice Workshop

Sam Magavern and UB Law | December 1, 2017, 10 am

Please join Sam Magavern of the Partnership for the Public Good and a team of seven University at Buffalo Law School students for a workshop on climate justice. 

This Climate Justice Workshop will be held December 1, 2017 from 10am to Noon at 617 Main St. (Market Arcade - Map) in the First Floor Community Rooms.

Topics to be covered include:
·         Climate change impacts on Western New York
·         The climate justice movement in Western New York
·         Electric buses
·         Community-owned solar power
·         Methane leakage from natural gas pipelines
·         State carbon taxes
·         Divesting from fossil fuels and investing in renewables
·         Making public school food more nutritious, sustainable, and just
·         How to grow and sell produce in the City of Buffalo

Free and open to the public.  To reserve a seat, please email by November 28.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


A Time to be Thankful for Family, Friends, Food and More.

The image is Norman Rockwell's painting "Freedom from Want" (1943), which is often referred to as 'The Thanksgiving Picture'. Rockwell inserted a self-portrait in the lower right corner.

The painting was inspired by the speech delivered by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to Congress in his State of the Union address (1941). Roosevelt spoke about Four Freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom from fear, freedom of worship, and freedom from want.

Now, more than ever, let's be thankful for our Freedoms, and celebrate them!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Pricing Climate Pollution in NY State will generate Billions for Clean Energy Investments and over 100,000 Jobs Annually

Polluters Must Pay their Fair Share to Fund the Needed Increase in NY State’s Renewable Energy Investments
to Stabilize the Climate and Protect Health

ALBANY, NY -- New York State must increase public clean energy investments by $4-5.5 billion per year in order to exceed its emission reduction targets, according to a groundbreaking report released today by the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at UMass. This level of public investment would generate between 145,000 and 160,000 jobs annually in the first ten years, and could be achieved by placing a fee on climate pollution starting at $35/ton of emissions in 2021. The study is available at this link.

"Governor Cuomo has taken some good steps on climate and clean energy, but New York State is simply not close to being on track even to achieve the state's own goals for renewable energy build out, much less taking adequate action to support global climate stabilization," said Dr. Robert Pollin, lead author of the study and Distinguished Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. “The Governor has the chance to show visionary leadership on climate change, but he must take action commensurate to the scale and urgency of the problem; this report lays out how."

The release of the study follows on the heels of last month’s announcement from NYSERDA that a total of 150,000 jobs currently exist in clean energy in New York. This level of new clean energy jobs would be created every year with increased state investment in clean energy, according to the PERI study.

“As countries gather for the 23rd U.N. climate conference, this report couldn’t be more timely,” said Jessica Wisneski, Deputy Director at Citizen Action of New York. “Governor Cuomo has pledged to meet and exceed the minimum requirements set by the Paris Climate Accord, and this report demonstrates how he can do that while creating tens of thousands of jobs.”

The study found that these clean energy jobs would cover a range of fields, including engineering, construction, sales, assembly, management, and office support, and that the growth in clean energy jobs would benefit both women and minority workers, who are underrepresented in the fossil fuel sector.

“New York State can protect our families’ health, create hundred of thousands of jobs, and invest in ambitious renewable energy solutions by making corporate polluters pay for the damage they’re doing to our air and our climate,” said Rahwa Ghirmatzion, Deputy Director at PUSH Buffalo. “We’ve known it for decades, and now expert economists are saying it too.”

The authors propose funding the necessary increases in state renewable energy investment with a polluter fee levied per ton of greenhouse gas emissions, rising from $35/ton in 2021 to $75/ton in 2030, which would generate an average of $7.1 billion annually. The study assumes that between a quarter and a half of the polluter fee revenue will be rebated to households. Revenue from a polluter fee will also provide the funding necessary to support workers transitioning out of the fossil fuel industry and into the new energy economy.

The study concludes that this transformative clean energy program can be accomplished at little to no cost to consumers, because the average cost of delivering a given supply of electricity from clean renewable sources will be roughly equal to, if not cheaper than, virtually all fossil-fuel based technologies.

Friday, November 17, 2017

CLIMATE ACTION: 'Call-the-Governor Day' Organized by Statewide Clean Energy Coalition - Tuesday Nov. 21

This Tuesday, November 21st, NY Renews is organizing a statewide Call-the-Governor Day. 

Our goal is to have over 1,000 New Yorkers call into the Governor’s office, and demand that he show visionary leadership in his 2018 State of the State. 

We need him to commit to 100% renewables, and make corporate polluters pay for the damage they're doing to our health and our climate. 

Tell Governor Cuomo to do 2 things in his State of the State Address:  
  • Support the Climate and Community Protection Act; and
  • Create thousands of jobs and support a just transition to renewable energy by making corporate polluters pay their fair share.
That's it!

Join us TODAY Tuesday, Nov.21 
from 9am-9pm!

It’s time to ask Governor Cuomo to walk his talk. The Governor has pledged to meet and exceed the standards set by the Paris climate accords.

A new report by one of the most respected climate economists in the country shows exactly how Cuomo can live up to his promises: by increasing investment in the transition to 100% renewable energy and making corporate climate polluters pay for the damage they’re doing to our health and our climate.

Today, let’s call the Governor and ask him to live up to his promises to be a climate leader. Our goal? To have over 1,000 New Yorkers call into the Governor’s office, and demand that commit to visionary climate action in his 2018 State of the State address in January.

If you’re at your computer or smartphone, follow this link to call Governor Cuomo’s office. You'll hear a brief recorded message with tips and instructions, then you'll be patched through to Gov Cuomo's office.

If you're not at a computer, you can reach the instructions & Governor Cuomo by dialing 518-241-4793.

Dr. Robert Pollin’s report from the University of Massachusetts shows a just transition to clean energy in New York means making corporate polluters pay for the true cost of their emissions, and then investing that money in the New York we want to build: a state with good jobs, clean air, and healthy communities safe from climate disaster.

Governor Cuomo will not commit to truly ambitious climate action without hearing thousands of his constituents demand it. It’s up to us to make that happen.

Thanks for calling, and spread the word!

WORKSHOP: Local Solutions to the Climate, Jobs, and Health Crises affecting Marginalized Communities in Buffalo

100% BUFFALO WORKSHOP: Will explore local solutions to the climate, jobs, and health crises affecting marginalized communities across Buffalo, with an introduction to Movement Generation’s Just Transition framework and the NY Renews campaign.

WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 30, 5:30pm-8:00pm

WHERE: Grant St. Neighborhood Center, 271 Grant St., Buffalo

BREAKOUT SESSIONS: Renewable Energy, Regional Transit, Local Food Systems, and Worker Empowerment

CONTACT: John Washington at 884-0356 or

Facebook Event: click here

For Information about 100% Buffalo, see The Buffalo News article:

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Pollution-Free Electric Vehicles are the Future

Electric Vehicles Can Benefit All Utility Customers
February 14, 2017 Luke Tonachel | NRDC

Despite the Trump administration’s apparent affection for the fossil fuels industry, individual states are looking at the numbers and coming up with a different conclusion: The future belongs to pollution-free electric vehicles, and the sooner we get them on the road, the better off we’ll all be. And there are some important new studies out that give a hint of just how much everyone will benefit.

From Massachusetts and New York to California, state governments are embracing plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) and are setting—and achieving—goals to put PEVs on the road and removing petroleum-burning cars and trucks. States are finding that they can realize big benefits from at least three directions:
  • Electric vehicle owners will see their vehicle operating costs go down.
  • All residents will likely see electric rates kept in check.
  • All consumers will enjoy cleaner air and better health as more polluting vehicles are rendered obsolete.
Multibillion-dollar savings

The latest in a series of studies by M.J. Bradley & Associates, commissioned by NRDC, project huge consumer savings in New York, Connecticut, Maryland, and Pennsylvania as more PEVs take the road in those states. An earlier report also found billions in savings for consumers in Massachusetts. The researchers conclude that electric cars and plug-in light trucks will have lower operating costs and much lower carbon pollution. The group also projects that all utility customers will benefit because additional utility company revenue from PEV charging can support operation and maintenance of the existing distribution infrastructure, thus reducing the need for future electricity rate increases.

The analyzed eastern states seek to be market leaders in Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) deployment. Most have signed on to a ZEV Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to put 3.3 million ZEVs on the road across eight states (NY, MA, VT, CT, RI, MD, CA and OR) by 2025. Additionally, they are promoting electric vehicle sales through purchase rebates and reduced-cost charging programs.

Read the article at the Natural Resouces Defense Council

Paris to Ban Fossil Fuel Cars by 2030
Yale Environment 360
October 12, 2017 | E360 Digest

Paris announced it will ban all gas- and diesel-fueled cars within city limits by 2030, allowing only electric vehicles onto its streets, according to Reuters. The decision is the latest effort by the city to grapple with its intense smog and air pollution problem, as well as combat climate change. These concerns have already led Paris to impose temporary driving bans, no-car zones, and restrictions on cars older than 20 years.

France had previously set an electric vehicle-only goal by 2040, but Paris officials said the new rule will push large cities to phase out fossil fuels even sooner.

“This is about planning for the long term with a strategy that will reduce greenhouse gases,” said Christophe Najdovski, a transportion policy expert in the office of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

Cities across the globe have announced similar plans in recent months to reduce or eliminate gas- and diesel-fueled cars. Oxford, England, for example, announced this week that it will ban fossil fuel vehicles within its city center starting in 2020.

China Fossil Fuel Deadline Shifts Focus to Electric Car Race
Bloomberg News |September 10, 2017

China will set a deadline for automakers to end sales of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, becoming the biggest market to do so in a move that will accelerate the push into the electric car market led by companies including BYD Co. and BAIC Motor Corp.

The world’s second-biggest economy, which has vowed to cap its carbon emissions by 2030 and curb worsening air pollution, is the latest to join countries such as the U.K. and France seeking to phase out vehicles using gasoline and diesel. The looming ban on combustion-engine automobiles will goad both local and global automakers to focus on introducing more zero-emission electric cars to help clean up smog-choked major cities.

The U.K. said in July it will ban sales of diesel- and gasoline-fueled cars by 2040, two weeks after France announced a similar plan to reduce air pollution and meet targets to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

Read more at Bloomberg News

Renewable Energy: 'Energy is a party' when the Sun and Bicyclists power the Music
At outdoor parties in Paris and elsewhere, booming speakers and turntables playing the music are powered entirely by two large solar panels and two bikes linked to generators, pedaled by partygoers.

“We can party all night, after the sun has gone down,” says C├ędric Carles, founder of Solar Sound System, a collective that sponsors the events. “If the pedaling stops, it means people don’t want any more music.”

Each Solar Sound System site hosts public parties, which are often free, paid for by the profits they make from hiring out the technology for private events, from drinks proceeds and from sponsors.

The founders want their gigs to make the idea of alternative energy feel concrete rather than theoretical. The choice of venue, too, often reflects an ethos of community and sustainability.

The collective also takes the technology to schools and to international events, such as the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.

“Most rhetoric and campaigns about energy are anxiety-inducing,” says Carles. “They make people afraid, with talk of climate change and taxes. Here the idea is to have a celebration, to inverse this tendency we have to associate energy with feeling pressured. For us, energy is a party.”

(See full article by Josh Jacobs at Financial Times, Oct. 26)

Monday, November 6, 2017

Federal Agencies Report that Humans are the Dominant Cause of Climate Change

Directly contradicting the Trump administration position on climate change, 13 federal agencies released an extensive scientific report that says humans are the dominant cause of the global temperature rise that has occurred since 1901, creating the warmest period in human history.

Over the past 115 years, global average temperatures have increased 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius), leading to record breaking weather events and temperature extremes. According to the report, the global, long-term warming trend is “unambiguous” and there is “no convincing alternative explanation” that anything other than humans are to blame because of the cars we drive, the power plants we operate, and the forests we destroy.
Surprisingly, the report was approved for release by the White House. However, the findings come as the Trump administration is defending its climate change policies on several fronts. 

Public drafts of the report have circulated for months, making it politically perilous to tinker with the findings. So, with editing a high-risk affair and the report required by Congress, the administration may have just decided to downplay it, said John Holdren, who ran the Office of Science and Technology Policy under President Barack Obama.

"It would do more harm to block this report than to let it out," Holdren, now a Harvard University environmental policy professor, said in an interview. "They’re letting it out on a Friday afternoon, which is pretty much the standard approach for letting out something that you don’t want to get a lot of attention." 

The government is required to produce the national assessment every four years. This time, the report is split into two documents, one that lays out the fundamental science of climate change and the other that shows how the United States is being affected on a regional basis. Combined, the two documents total over 2,000 pages.

The first document, called the Climate Science Special Report, is a finalized report, having been peer-reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences and vetted by experts across government agencies.

The climate of the United States is strongly connected to the changing global climate. The short statements listed below highlight past, current, and projected climate changes for the United States and the globe: