Friday, March 9, 2018

MARCH & RALLY: Cuomo - Walk The Talk on CLIMATE! Get on the Bus to Albany

On April 23rd, we will march on the State Capitol to tell Governor Cuomo we don’t want more talk. We demand 3 bold actions to fight climate change, create good jobs, and ensure justice for all:
  1. Stop all fracking infrastructure projects
  2. Move to 100% renewable energy
  3. Make corporate polluters pay
The day of action will have two major components:

- A march on the State Capitol in Albany on April 23 and rally.

- An opportunity to participate in civil disobedience/direct action in the afternoon.

You are welcome to join for both, or join us for the march & rally and cheer on our allies participating in direct action.

Join us for the March & Rally –  Starting at 12pm in Sheridan Hollow and marching to the East Park of the Capitol Building in Empire State Plaza in Albany (exact route details to be confirmed).

Buffalo Buses to Albany: If you want to join a bus from Buffalo to the event, email your RSVP to both John ( and Rahwa ( who are with PUSH Buffalo.

If you are interested in participating in civil disobedience, please RSVP here: - You will be given information about attending a two-day action camp to learn and prepare before the event, and you will also be joining us for the march & rally.

More info about the event and the difference between Governor Cuomo's talk and walk on climate at

Statewide Coalition Demands Cuomo make Polluters Pay for a Clean Energy Transition

NY RENEWS delivers symbolic $7Billion check at the State Capitol - 2.27.2018

Coalition Calls for Polluter Fee to Fund Transition to Renewable Energy

February 28, 2018

ALBANY, N.Y. — Climate activists delivered a symbolic $7-billion check to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday, saying that's what New York stands to gain through a corporate polluter fee. The activists had just attended the Environmental Conservation Committee's budget hearing.

According to Dan Sherrell, the campaign coordinator for New York Renews, the governor's budget doesn't go far enough to address the growing effects of climate change but imposing a polluter fee on greenhouse-gas emissions could pave the way to 100-percent renewable energy by 2050.

"We could be raising $7 billion in revenue a year that could be invested in environmental-justice communities to protect them from the worst effects of climate change and in renewable energy," he says.

The governor has called for a program to bring solar power to 10,000 low-income New Yorkers, the development of offshore wind, and the closure of all coal-fired power plants.

Cuomo also has called for expansion of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multistate compact for reducing power-plant emissions. But Sherrell says a corporate polluter fee would be more effective.

"It will raise more revenue and it will be a more aggressive price," he notes. "And critically, it will be across the economy, so it will also tackle buildings and transportation which together make up almost 80 percent of the state's emissions."

He says the governor's office has indicated interest in creating a polluter fee but has made no commitment to pursue it.

New York has been a national leader in developing clean-energy strategies. But Sherrell notes other states are now considering corporate polluter fees as a way to advance their efforts, and they could soon leave New York behind.

"Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington state is making this his priority issue for this year," he adds. "Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey has spoken about it and has also committed to 100 percent renewable energy, which Gov. Cuomo has not."

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and New York Sen. Kristen Gillibrand have expressed support for carbon pricing as a way to boost investment in renewable energy.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY

NY RENEWS at Gov. Cuomo’s Exec. Budget Hearing on Environmental Conservation - 2.27.2018

Nuclear Waste Must be Secured and Our Waters Protected -- Take Action!

Buffalo Niagara Region has a serious waste problem and perhaps none is so serious as the West Valley Nuclear Waste Facility 30 miles south of Buffalo.  An array of nuclear waste has been stored and some buried on an erodible plateau since the 1960s, put in place before there were any laws on the siting of such dangerous waste.  This site is managed by the Department of Energy and owned by the NYS Energy Research and Development Authority, agencies responsible for cleaning up the waste and protecting public health and our waters.

Charley Bowman, of the Sierra Club Niagara Group, points out that “the protection of fresh water supplies underpins organized existence of human beings. There are enormous amounts of radioactivity (100,000’s of Curies) buried and stored at the West Valley nuclear waste site. Some of that radioactivity is escaping beyond the site boundaries and now resides in the surrounding unstable soils, trees and creeks. Some of the radioactive elements will be dangerous for millions of years.”

The Department of Energy begins Scoping Hearings for a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on March 19, 20 and 21, to determine the final disposition of this waste site.  Joanne Hameister who has been working with the Coalition on West Valley Nuclear Wastes since the 1970s states that her group “has been involved with the decision process for four decades.  After three Environmental Impact Statements and a fourth to begin in March, billions of dollars, a lot of surveys and studies, lawsuits and many 'duct tape' solutions to problems, we might have a direction for the future of the site.  The next decision must protect the water of the Great Lakes, Erie and Ontario, drinking water for millions of people downstream and for thousands of generations that could inherit these risks of radiation if we do not 'do the right thing' now.  It is a big order: dig it up, secure the waste and do not forget it.”

 “The government scoping meetings March 19, 20 and 21 are the public’s chance to tell the Department of Energy and NY Energy Research and Development Authority that we want full cleanup of the West Valley nuclear waste site. But the only way the deadly waste will be removed from the Great Lakes watershed is if our elected officials MAKE IT HAPPEN.”  Diane D’Arrigo argues that “the Department of Energy, NYSERDA, all their contractors and other ‘regulatory agencies’ will not step up unless they are forced to do so” based on the communities experience with the 2010 Environmental Impact Statement that delayed the decision for over a decade.

Hearings will be held at three different locations: 

Monday, March 19, 2018, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
West Valley Volunteer Hose Company, Inc., Firemen’s Memorial Hall and Training, 9091 Route 240, West Valley, NY 14171, in the Main Hall.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018, from 6:00p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Erie Community College, City Campus, Post Office Building, 121 Ellicott Street, Buffalo, NY 14203, in the Minnie Gillette Auditorium.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Seneca Nation of Indians Cattaraugus Council Chambers, 12837 Route 438, Irving, NY 14081

Pat Townsend of the Interfai th Climate Justice Community says that she is “already writing my comments to email them to DOE and NYSERDA during the public comment period that has just started. I remember the rainfall that caused the Gowanda flood of 2009 and the landslide it caused at West Valley. With our crazy, changing weather, who knows what erosion will do to the West Valley nuclear wastes? I've seen the maps: erosion could take radioactive waste right down the creeks to Lake Erie and Buffalo's water."

--  Submitted by Lynda Schneekloth, Sierra Club Niagara Group

More information:

Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Information Center 
Sierra Club Niagara Group

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Report: 100% Renewable Energy with Grid Stability is Possible and Economical

New Mark Z. Jacobson Study Draws A Roadmap To 100% Renewable Energy

February 8th, 2018 by Steve Hanley | CleanTechnica

Last August, Mark Jacobson, a renewable energy expert and senior fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University, was the leader of a study that identified how 139 countries around the world could obtain 100% of their energy from renewable sources by 2050. But that study got some pushback from people who questioned its assumptions. The naysayers said the study relied too heavily on energy storage solutions such as adding turbines to existing hydroelectric dams or storing excess energy in water, ice, and underground rocks.

A Response To Critics

Those criticisms stimulated another piece of work from Jacobson and his colleagues at the University of California at Berkeley and Aalborg University in Denmark. They are now back with a new report they believe thoroughly addresses the concerns brought up by skeptics of the first report. It begins by breaking those 139 counties into 20 regions and proposing energy storage solutions uniquely suited to each region.

Here’s how Jacobson summarized the work and the findings in an email to CleanTechnica:
The previous paper (in Joule) estimated the number of devices in each of 139 countries needed to provide power for each country in the annual average with 100% wind, water, and solar (WWS).

This new paper takes the next step, which is to divide the 139 countries into 20 world regions, then to see if the grid can stay stable in each region every 30 seconds for 5 years, and what is the resulting cost.

Utilities and policy makers alike are concerned that all the wind and solar we propose for the annual average numbers in the first paper won’t allow the grid to stay stable — that the lights will go out. This is the biggest barrier for the large-scale implementation of renewables.

This paper new shows that there is not only one solution but multiple solutions to the grid reliability problem — thus large penetrations of renewables can indeed keep the grid stable at low cost.

In addition, we find that the wind turbines needed would reduce global warming by ~3% and quickly. That is a new conclusion as well.
That sounds good. Will policy makers and utilities listen now? That’s the trillion-dollar question. Either way, it will certainly help fill out the CleanTechnica Answer Box.

“Based on these results, I can more confidently state that there is no technical or economic barrier to transitioning the entire world to 100 percent clean renewable energy with a stable electric grid at low cost,” Jacobson said for his university press team at Stanford.

“This solution would go a long way toward eliminating global warming and the 4–7 million air pollution-related deaths that occur worldwide each year, while also providing energy security. Our main result is that there are multiple solutions to the problem,” he says. “This is important because the greatest barrier to the large-scale implementation of clean renewable energy is people’s perception that it’s too hard to keep the lights on with random wind and solar output.”

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Community Solar News: Clean, Cost-Saving Energy for Sisters of St. Joseph -- NY State Expands Maximum Solar Project Size

Sisters of St. Joseph installs community solar power system

Project will provide 1 megawatt of power to the 212-acre Brentwood campus.

By Mark Harrington | February 7, 2018 | Newsday Long Island

Long Island’s first “community” solar installation that allows a group of ratepayers to collectively share in the cost-benefits of a large solar array is officially operating in Brentwood.

The new system, the result of a LIPA-approved rule change in 2016, will provide 1 megawatt of power to hundreds of residents and offices of the Sisters of St. Joseph, a 212-acre campus in Brentwood that is home to the Catholic order of religious women.

The project is owned by NextEra Energy Sources and operates under contract to the Sisters. Construction was completed late last year by EmPower Solar of Island Park.

The system will offset an estimated 63 percent of the campus’ energy needs, and save the Sisters of St. Joseph some $22,000 in electricity costs a year, NextEra said. The contracted price of energy from the system is around 14 cents a kilowatt-hour, said Tara Rogers, spokeswoman for the Sisters. That’s well below the approximately 19 cents average LIPA customers pay.

NextEra, of Jupiter, Florida, will maintain the system under a 25-year contract, in which all the power is sent to the LIPA grid, with energy virtually metered and credited to accounts on campus.

LIPA approved “community distributed generation net metering” in early 2016 to allow home and business customers to collectively build green-energy sources and share in the benefits among “members.” It can be cheaper for customers than individual home solar installations because of the members can share in the cost savings of building a larger array, LIPA said.

Community solar has a relatively small impact on the overall LIPA rate base, according to LIPA’s analysis at the time the program was approved. Each 12 megawatts of solar will have $1.95 million cost impact, an amount recovered on the revenue decoupling mechanism on LIPA bills. For the Brentwood project, that means a cost of around $165,000.

The Sisters’ solar array, consisting of 3,192 panels, is located on five acres designated as “degraded woodlands” beside a rain garden. The Sisters have a Sustainable Land Ethic Statement that encourages green building and sustainable uses.

Full article at Newsday

NY Spurs Community Solar by Upping Project Size Threshold

By Sneha Ayyagari & Miles Farmer  | February 22, 2018 | NRDC

In a win for solar power in New York, the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) released an order expected to encourage more communities to pursue shared solar projects by increasing the maximum size of community solar projects eligible for credits from 2 MW to 5 MW.

The initiative, known as the Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER) proceeding, aims to credit projects for the benefits that they provide to the electric system and to society. Expanding the size threshold will allow solar developers to reduce soft costs by allowing them to take advantage of the economies of scale afforded by including a larger number of panels within one project, and avoiding the need to arbitrarily divide development sites into multiple discrete projects. Put simply, larger community solar projects will now be eligible for a financial credit, allowing communities to build and finance projects more effectively and efficiently.

As explained in a previous blog, the VDER initiative sets credit rates for customers that subscribe to service from Distributed Energy Resources (DER), smaller energy projects that interconnect to the local utility system. These projects are generally located closer to homes and businesses where electricity is consumed than large power plants, avoiding the need to send power through large high voltage transmission lines. The PSC is phasing in VDER in stages, so while its first order setting up the rules for the new program provides a credit framework for community solar projects (the mid-size projects you see atop big box stores, factories, apartment buildings, or adjacent to communities in previously vacant land), it is expanding this framework to include other technologies like stand-alone energy storage and combined heat and power, as well as smaller projects on individual rooftops.


Friday, February 23, 2018

COMMUNITY FORUM: Don't want Nuclear Waste in Your Water? Get Informed and Take Action!

Presentation by 

Professor Emeritus of Neurology, University at Buffalo &
Senior Scientist, Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Thursday, March 1 at 7:00 PM,
Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1300 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo.
(across from Albright Knox Art Gallery) [Map]

The Presentation will be followed by a Panel Discussion 
Learn how to make comments at Scoping Hearings

For detailed information on the Scoping Hearings, 
Click Here and see Page 2 of the document. 


Thanks to the Burchfield Penny Art Gallery, the Western New York Environmental Alliance, Sierra Club Niagara Group

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Presentation: LOCAL CLIMATE GOALS - What are they? How can we meet them?

The Sierra Club

Climate & Clean Energy Writers Group

Thursday, February 15, 2018


What are they? How can we meet them?

County Executive Mark Poloncarz recently released the report Erie County Commits to Paris - How Erie County Can Meet U.S. Target Reductions for Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Come get the facts on what the local sources are for greenhouse gases (GHG). Learn about the County's plans to reduce GHG emissions both in-house and in the community.

6:00-7:30 PM
Crane Branch Library
633 Elmwood at Highland
2nd Floor Meeting Room

Free & Open to the Public - Writers and Non-Writers alike for information

Price Carbon Pollution to Fund a Transition to Clean Energy and Green Jobs


A Need for a Pollution Tax

FEB. 5, 2018

To the Editor:

Re: “New Jersey Rejoins Regional Emissions Program It Quit Under Christie” (news article, Jan. 31):

When it comes to cutting carbon emissions, participating in a cap-and-trade program like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is important, but it’s only a partial solution. After all, the initiative covers emissions solely from power plants, whereas transportation produces the bulk of New York’s emissions. And so far, the initiative has not cut carbon at the speed science tells us is required to avert dangerous warming.

To do that, we’ll need a more comprehensive and aggressive form of pollution pricing. Your article highlights the laudable effort by Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State to tax fossil fuel pollution directly and reinvest the revenue in renewable energy. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York will soon have the same opportunity.

NY Renews, a coalition of 140 environmental, labor and community groups across New York State, has been developing a proposal — likely to be introduced in Albany this year — to invest in job-creating clean energy and resiliency projects for coastal communities, using revenue from a polluter fee.

We need Governor Cuomo to be a real climate leader and embrace this common-sense idea, and lead the country in passing it into law.


The writer is director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition, a member of NY Renews.

~    ~    ~

State should follow New York City's lead taking on big oil

By Ashley Dawson, Commentary
January 28, 2018 | Times Union

“Put a price on carbon emissions so that Big Oil pays for the damage done to our health and environment, and so that we can bankroll a transition to clean energy and fair-labor green jobs.”

The Empire State Building was lit up bright green Jan. 10 to celebrate the precedent-setting announcement by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other city officials: New York City is going to divest its $5 billion pension fund from fossil fuel-related investments. The city also has filed suit against the five biggest oil corporations to recover the billions of dollars in damage climate change has inflicted on the city.

It was a historic moment. The biggest city in the world's most powerful nation came out against the planet's richest, most powerful and most irresponsible industry. But it will take time for New York City's actions to have an impact. Divestment is not expected to happen until at least 2022. Big Oil has legions of lawyers who are experts in using the courts to obstruct justice and forestall reparations.

Although New York City's stand against Big Oil certainly sends a loud and emboldening message to the world, we need to be far more ambitious at the state level. We need state politicians to step up with concrete policy proposals that speed the transition away from fossil fuels. Otherwise, New York City's divestment could be nothing but hollow political posturing.

There certainly doesn't seem to be any meaningful coordination toward divestment on a state level. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last month that he is directing the state to begin looking into divesting its own substantial pension funds from fossil fuels. However, the following day, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, sole trustee of the state's $200 billion pension fund, responded that "there are no immediate plans to divest our energy holdings."

Last summer, as President Donald Trump announced his intention to back out of the Paris Agreement, the state Legislature considered the Climate and Community Protection Act (CCPA), which mandated the elimination of fossil fuels from New York's economy within 35 years. The CCPA set fair-labor standards for all green projects and ensured that at least 40 percent of the benefits of transitioning to a zero-carbon economy would be directed to the disadvantaged New York communities that have contributed the least to climate change but will bear the brunt of it. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich called the CCPA "the most progressive climate equity policy we've seen."

But the CCPA died after state Sen. Tony Avella, D-Queens, declined to push Senate leaders to bring the bill to a vote. Avella is a member of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), whose members all cosponsored the bill in the Senate in the first place. But the IDC caucuses with Republicans. Cuomo, who refused to make the CCPA a priority in his 2018 executive budget, has often sided with the IDC and has not pushed for them to rejoin the Democrats. Given the war declared on blue states by the Trump administration, the days of such antics by right-wing Democrats should be numbered in a place like New York.

It's time for the citizens of New York to show the rest of the country we can lead the way beyond fossil fuels. Put a price on carbon emissions so that Big Oil pays for the damage done to our health and environment, and so that we can bankroll a transition to clean energy and fair-labor green jobs. These corporations are not and never will be good citizens. They have known the facts about climate change for at least four decades and have done everything to obscure reality and sow public confusion. They have corroded our democracy and wrought havoc on our planet in the name of profits. As de Blasio put it, it's time that these corporations take responsibility for what they've done.

More Information:
Ashley Dawson is the Barron Visiting Professor at the Princeton Environmental Institute and professor at the City University of New York's Graduate Center and the College of Staten Island. He is the author of "Extreme Cities: The Peril and Promise of Urban Life in the Age of Climate Change."

~    ~    ~

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

State Comptroller announces $2 Billion Boost in Climate-Smart Investments

New York’s Giant Pension Fund Doubles Climate-Smart Investment


The $2 billion boost was announced at the Investors Summit on Climate Risk, where top fund managers discussed finance for a low-carbon, clean energy future.

By Nicholas Kusnetz  | Feb 1, 2018  |  Inside Climate News

America's third-largest public pension fund is ramping up its climate-savvy investments, New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced to global finance leaders on Wednesday.

The fund, a huge and influential investor, plans to double its stake to $4 billion in a portfolio of companies that disclose and seek to lower their emissions of global warming pollution.

"We've particularly been concerned about how we can address the issue of climate risk and benefit our portfolio," DiNapoli said, speaking at the Investor Summit on Climate Risk, where money managers called for investors to face up to the risks of climate change and to accelerate action to fight global warming.

As the summit was underway at the United Nations on Wednesday, the UK Government's Met Office published an ominous new five-year forecast that adds urgency to the investors' climate concerns: Annual global temperatures could reach 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels within the next five years, the Met Office warned. The aim of the Paris climate agreement is to prevent warming from getting much beyond that level. 

The $2 billion in additional investment DiNapoli announced will go into a low-emissions index fund that New York's Common Retirement Fund created in 2016. While the low-emissions index fund—which has had an annualized investment return of 16.5 percent—represents just a fraction of the pension fund's more than $200 billion in assets, DiNapoli said he hopes to continue to grow the low-carbon portfolio.

The special climate fund is based on a traditional index fund made up of leading corporations, except that it weights its investments by considering whether the companies disclose their carbon footprints and act to reduce them.

Shareholders Push for Risk Disclosure

DiNapoli is one of several powerful officials from the city and state of New York who have sought to pressure fossil fuel companies and influence their investment and risk management practices. The city has launched litigation seeking to recover climate damages and pledged to divest its pensions funds from fossil fuel producers, and the state's attorney general has been in a long fight with ExxonMobil on its climate record.

Corporations have come under increasing pressure in recent years to better disclose the risks they face in a future of rising temperatures and greater restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions. DiNapoli's office helped lead a resolution approved last year by Exxon shareholders that requires the oil giant to report on those risks annually.

Monday, February 5, 2018

2017: Historic and Most Expensive Year of U.S. Weather and Climate Disasters on Our Continuously Warming Planet

Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters
1st Quarter Release | National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

The U.S. has sustained 219 weather and climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including CPI adjustment to 2017). The total cost of these 219 events exceeds $1.5 trillion. This total now includes the initial cost estimates for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

In 2017, there were 16 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States. These events included 1 drought event, 2 flooding events, 1 freeze event, 8 severe storm events, 3 tropical cyclone events, and 1 wildfire event. Overall, these events resulted in the deaths of 362 people and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted.

[Click image to enlarge]

During 2017, the U.S. experienced a historic year of weather and climate disasters. In total, the U.S. was impacted by 16 separate billion-dollar disaster events tying 2011 for the record number of billion-dollar disasters for an entire calendar year. In fact, 2017 arguably has more events than 2011 given that our analysis traditionally counts all U.S. billion-dollar wildfires, as regional-scale, seasonal events, not as multiple isolated events.

More notable than the high frequency of these events is the cumulative cost, which exceeds $300 billion in 2017a new U.S. annual record. The cumulative damage of these 16 U.S. events during 2017 is $306.2 billion, which shatters the previous U.S. annual record cost of $214.8 billion (CPI-adjusted), established in 2005 due to the impacts of Hurricanes Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

Read more at NOAA

World's Oceans Were Hottest On Record In 2017, Study Finds
by Mary Papenfuss | 1.27.2018 | HuffPost

The world’s oceans in 2017 were the hottest ever recorded, scientists revealed in a new study recently published.

Institute of Atmospheric Physics - [Click image to enlarge]
The findings were based on an updated analysis of the top 6,000 feet of the world’s seas by the Institute of Atmospheric Physics and the Chinese Academy of Science.

“The long-term warming trend driven by human activities continued unabated,” researchers said in the study, which was published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Sciences. “The high ocean temperatures in recent years have occurred as greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere have also risen.”

Owing to its “large heat capacity, the ocean accumulates the warming derived from human activities; indeed, more than 90 percent of Earth’s residual heat related to global warming is absorbed by the ocean,” according to the researchers. “As such, the global ocean heat content record robustly represents the signature of global warming.”

While ocean temperatures dropped slightly in 2016 because of a massive El Nino effect, the last five years were still the hottest recorded for the world’s oceans. The second hottest ocean year was 2015.

Read more at HuffPost

Global Heat Records 2017

1.18.2018  |  Climate Signals | NASA Map

2017 is among the hottest years on record, spawning a number of all-time global heat records, and it occurred without the warming influence of El Niño, which boosted the global average temperatures of the previous two record hot years. According to the NASA surface global temperature dataset, 2017 was the 2nd-hottest year on record for the globe. By NOAA's calculations, it was the 3rd hottest.(The two datasets use different baseline periods and methods to analyze Earth’s polar regions and global temperatures.)

The NASA map below shows Earth’s average global temperature from 2013 to 2017, as compared to a baseline average from 1951 to 1980. Yellows, oranges, and reds show regions warmer than the baseline temperature. (Credits: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio) 

One of the strongest findings of climate science is that global warming amplifies the intensity, duration and frequency of extreme heat events. These events occur on multiple time scales, from a single day or week, to months or entire seasons.

The number of local record-breaking monthly temperature extremes worldwide is now on average five times larger than expected in a climate with no long-term warming, implying that on average there is an 80 percent chance that a new monthly heat record is due to climate change.

An April 2017 study found that anthropogenic global warming had a significant hand in the temperatures seen during the hottest month and on the hottest day on record throughout much of the world from 1931–2016. The study found that climate change made heat records more likely and more severe for about 80 percent of the area of the globe with good observational data.
Read more at Climate Signals

Sunday, January 28, 2018


 On January 31st, the day after Trump’s first State of the Union, Climate movement leaders and Community organizers will gather in Washington D.C. to share our plan to win at ‘Fossil Free Fast: The Climate Resistance.’

The event will feature: Senator Bernie Sanders, co-founder Bill McKibben, Rev. Lennox Yearwood from Hip Hop Caucus, Jacqueline Patterson from the NAACP, and many other exciting speakers and performances.

This event has ended, but you may watch a video recording of the event at C-Span - Click Here

This inspiring event will be live-streamed at 8:00 PM ET -- and thousands across the country will watch with their friends and family. Will you join them?

Watch a short Video: Click Here

Sign up for a watch party near you -- or if there isn’t one happening yet, sign up to host one!  

Go to:

Watch TONIGHT, Wednesday 1/31 at 8 PM:
Livestream Link

For more information, see the following article at Common Dreams:

Fossil Free Fast: A Climate Resistance Game Plan for 2018 
With the transition to 100% renewable energy, we have perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity to rebuild our economy in a more just and equitable way.

The Climate Resistance Strategy for 2018:
- stop all new fossil fuel projects
- a fast and just transition to 100% renewable energy for all
- continuing and expanding the fossil fuel divestment movement

Read more at Common Dreams  


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Naomi Klein, Author & Activist: Polluting Industries, Climate Disruption and Justice

Speech by Naomi Klein
delivered on the day of the historic announcement that New York City is divesting from fossil fuels and suing five oil majors who knowingly deepened the climate crisis.

For a very long time, our movements have been insisting that principles of justice need to be at the center of the response to the climate crisis – a crisis that plays out in the most perversely unjust ways right now.

Justice means that people who did the least to create this crisis but are bearing the heaviest risks and most toxic burdens need to be first to benefit from green economic development and job creation.

Justice also means that workers in polluting industries are not sacrificed or left behind. And justice means something else too, something most politicians are loath to talk about because the wealth and power of fossil fuel companies is so vast.

It means that the corporate interests that did the most to get us into this mess – with their pollution and with their campaigns of wilful misinformation – are going to have to pay their true share of the tremendous costs of climate disruption, and of delayed transition. Because right now we have it upside down and backwards.

As it stands, the costs of sea level rise and ferocious and unprecedented weather events are offloaded on to the public, with taxpayers stiffed with the ballooning bills. And as governments absorb these costs, there is less money for schools, for affordable transit and housing, for health care. And, in yet another bitter irony, this hurts the people who are already impacted by climate change the most.

This city saw all this in dramatic fashion during Sandy, when it was the people in public housing who were left for weeks in the cold and dark.

Meanwhile, the extravagant profits from destabilizing our planet’s life support system, earned from ignoring and suppressing the scientific consensus – well, those are systematically privatized.

Earlier this decade, ExxonMobil alone made $45 billion in profits in a single year– more than any company in history. Enough to pay Rex Tillerson, then its CEO $100,000 a day.

In short, the status quo means the poor are paying again and again for the polluters to get even richer. It’s a world upside down. But that starts to change today.

By suing these five oil majors who knowingly deepened the climate crisis, and simultaneously beginning the process of divesting $5-billion from fossil fuel companies, New York City is taking a game changing first step in turning the world right side up. And not to overstate the case, but I actually think this could change the world.

There have been lawsuits before that have tried to sue the fossil fuel giants for climate damages. The tiny Arctic community of Kivalina, population 383, which attempted to recover the costs of having to relocate. Some citizens of the low-lying Pacific Island of Vanuatu– population 300,000 – that began a similar suit. A lone Peruvian farmer, suing a German coal giant for the risks to his home. A small group of Gulf Coast Mississippi homeowners, with the help of a scrappy lawyer, who tried to sue the fossil fuel companies after Hurricane Katrina.

These have been valiant attempts, but in every case, the industry has relied on the relative weakness and poverty of its accusers, sometime managing to quash suits before they were filed.

And that is why today’s news is so historic. Because bullying isn’t going to work here the way it has in the past. This lawsuit is coming from the largest city in the most powerful country on the planet, a city which also happens to be the financial capital of world.

And now that New York City has thrown down in such a big way – on divestment, on polluter pays — it’s going to embolden all kinds of other actors to step up as well. Other cities around the world. Universities. Foundations. Other states. Even entire nation states.

As of today, everyone needs to up their ambition. Be bolder. Move faster. It’s what our planet requires. And it’s what justice demands. No politician on the planet is doing enough. But there can be no doubt that the bar for what it takes to call yourself a climate leader has just been dramatically raised.

The full text is at

Inspired by NY City's Lawsuit against Fossil Fuel Companies over Climate Change, USA's 2nd Biggest City Considers Similar Move

Los Angeles could become the next city to sue fossil fuel companies over climate change

Natasha Geiling - Jan 17, 2018 - ThinkProgress

When New York City announced last week that it would be suing five of the world’s most powerful fossil fuel companies for their role in creating — and perpetuating — global warming, environmental activist Bill McKibben lauded the move as “a major tipping point” in the movement to companies accountable for climate change.

Now, the second largest city in the United States appears to be following New York’s lead, exploring the potential for filing a similar lawsuit against fossil fuel companies. On January 13 — just three days after New York publicly announced its lawsuit — two Los Angeles city councilmembers introduced a motion asking the City Attorney to look into legal options against fossil fuel companies, as well as prepare an official legal statement in support of New York City’s case.

Councilmember Mike Bonin (D), who introduced the motion along with Councilmember Paul Koretz (D), told ThinkProgress that the inspiration for the motion came directly from the example set by New York.

When I saw the news about what de Blasio was doing, it made me say, ‘Why the hell aren’t we doing this here?’” Bonin said. “We like to think that the winds blow from the West to the East, but occasionally, the winds come back.”

Bonin, who represents the western part of Los Angeles, including many of the city’s coastal neighborhoods, called the potential lawsuit part of a “multi-pronged” approach to tackling the issue of climate change through city government. In 2016, the city council unanimously supported a motion to transition to 100 percent renewable energy, and that the local transportation agency has taken steps to transition its municipal fleet of buses from diesel engines to electric. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) has pledged to push forward with local climate action in the face of the Trump administration’s federal agenda, which has prioritized fossil fuel extraction over renewable energy.

"We are facing a federal government that is engaged in — if I was going to be charitable, a dereliction of duty, but I think it’s actually a deliberate sabotage our our planet," Bonin said. “It’s incumbent upon the cities to lead.”

If Los Angeles does decide to file a lawsuit against fossil fuel companies, it would join a group of seven other cities and counties — which, save for New York, are all located in California — seeking to hold companies similarly accountable. Six of those cases claim damages associated with climate-fueled sea level rise, and ask that fossil fuel companies pay into a fund to help offset the cost of updating infrastructure to withstand rising waters. Only Santa Cruz — which filed its lawsuit in late December — is attempting to tie the action of fossil fuel companies to not just sea level rise, but changes in the hydrologic cycle resulting from an increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases — things like drought and wildfire. While it’s unclear what route Los Angeles would take if it chooses to pursue a lawsuit, Southern California recently witnessed the largest wildfire in modern recorded history this December, fueled by a combination of above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation that scientists say is consistent with climate change. To make matters worse, in the wake of December’s Thomas Fire, parts of Southern California experienced heavy rain that caused the scorched soil to turn into devastating mudslides, killing 20 people.

It’s personal for me,” Bonin said about climate change. “We’ve been living through a couple months of real hell with wildfires and mudslides, and it really underscores the importance of not just getting off of fossil fuels but taking whatever steps we can to get there.”

Monday, January 22, 2018

Presentation: The Death of Fossil Fuels -- What Shape will it Take?

The Sierra Club
Climate & Clean Energy Writers Group


Thursday, January 25, 2018 at 6:00PM - 7:30PM

Crane Branch Library, 633 Elmwood at Highland
2nd floor Meeting Room

Free & Open to the Public - Writers and non-writers

Experts tell us that we need to leave 80% of current fossil fuel reserves in the ground if civilization is to survive climate change. Can this happen? Will this happen? How will fossil fuel interests be brought under control? Under the laws of supply and demand will fossil fuels get really expensive or cheap as they become an insignificant energy source? 

Contact for more information

Monday, January 15, 2018

Educational Presentation: Divest from Fossil Fuels? YES!



Educational Presentation


Rev. Peter Cook, Executive Director
NYS Council of Churches

Monday, January 22, 2018    7:00 PM
St. Joseph’s University Church - Community Hall
3269 Main St, Buffalo  14214 [Map]

Sponsored by the Interfaith Climate Justice Community of WNY
The NYS Council of Churches participates in the Divest NY campaign and Rev. Cook will help ICJC focus on ways that we might become involved.  The Council of Churches also advocates for the NYS Climate and Community Protection Act, legislation that would allow NYS to reach 100% renewables by 2050 or before.   

Please plan to attend this important meeting.
 Free & open to the public.

•    Governor Cuomo recently announced that he supports divesting New York’s public pension funds from fossil fuel companies. 
•    New York City and the State together plan to #DivestNY’s $390 billion pensions from fossil fuels: “an undeniable victory for the global divestment movement”

Bill McKibben, co-founder, issued the following statement:
"The dam has broken: after years of great activism,  New York has taken a massive step towards divesting from fossil fuels. Coming from the capital of world finance, this will resonate loud and clear all over the planet. It’s a crucial sign of how fast the financial pendulum is swinging away from fossil fuels.”

Thursday, January 11, 2018

New Yorkers Celebrate as NYC Mayor announces Divestment from Fossil Fuels, Files Climate Lawsuit

[Click image to enlarge]
#DivestNY victory reverberates around the world as New Yorkers vow to keep up the fight for bold climate action

 January 10, 2018  |

New York, NY — Today, following over five years of persistent campaigning from New Yorkers, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the City is moving forward with full fossil fuel divestment. The city’s five pension funds, a combined $191 billion, will divest $5 billion in securities from over 100 fossil fuel reserve owners.

New York’s announcement brings the total number of global divestment commitments to 810 institutions representing more than $6 trillion in assets.

“New York City today becomes a capital of the fight against climate change on this planet. With its communities exceptionally vulnerable to a rising sea, the city is showing the spirit for which it’s famous: it’s not pretending that working with the fossil fuel companies will somehow save the day, but instead standing up to them, in the financial markets and in court,” said Bill McKibben, co-founder of “Ever since Sandy, New Yorkers understand the risk, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable. Now, thanks to Mayor de Blasio and his team, the city is fighting back, and in ways that will actually matter.”

In addition to this multi-billion-dollar hard-won divestment, Mayor de Blasio announced the City is launching a lawsuit against five major oil companies, including ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Shell, and ConocoPhillips for climate damages. With New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman investigating ExxonMobil, and seven municipalities across California fighting similar damage lawsuits, this announcement adds significant momentum to the #ExxonKnew campaign to hold fossil fuel corporations accountable for the role in climate destruction.

“New York City is standing up for future generations by becoming the first major city to divest our pension funds from fossil fuels,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “At the same time, we’re bringing the fight against climate change straight to the fossil fuel companies that knew about its effects and intentionally misled the public to protect their profits. As climate change continues to worsen, it’s up to the fossil fuel companies whose greed put us in this position to shoulder the cost of making New York safer and more resilient.”

Naomi Klein, author and activist, said, “Emanating from the financial capital of the world, the message of today’s historic announcement is unmistakable: investing in fossil fuel companies is a high-risk, bad bet. New York City is now leading cities and states to not only divest from fossil fuel companies but also insist that the corporations that profit from destabilizing our shared planet pay for the mess they knowingly created. As of today, the entire fossil fuel sector finds itself under a cloud of huge potential court-imposed costs, as well as the growing global momentum of investor flight. That means no matter how many oil and coal leases the Trump Administration hands out, the economics of new drilling will make less and less sense. This is very good news.”

“Today is a momentous day in the fight against corporate greed exploiting our communities and fueling climate chaos,” said Betámia Coronel, US Reinvestment Coordinator, “While the oil-washed White House rolls back protections, New York City has leapt forward in modeling climate leadership. Divesting our city’s pensions from the dirtiest companies is an enormous hard-won first step; holding companies like Exxon accountable for their role in climate deception is next. Today’s announcement is a rallying signal to cities all over the world that the dawn of a fossil free world has arrived.”

This New York City announcement is sending ripples around the world, reinvigorating divestment fights from California to Japan and beyond. The San Francisco pension board is scheduled for a long-awaited divestment vote on January 24.

On January 31, the day after the State of the Union, is launching Fossil Free US, with leaders including Senator Bernie Sanders, Bill McKibben, Varshini Prakash, and Rev. Lennox Yearwood speaking at a livestreamed event in Washington D.C. to lay out the plan for the climate resistance in 2018 and beyond. is building the global grassroots climate movement that can hold our leaders accountable to science and justice. Our network extends to 188 countries. 350 uses online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions to oppose new coal, oil and gas projects, take money out of the companies that are heating up the planet, and build 100% clean energy solutions that work for all. 

New York City will Divest from Fossil Fuels -- Filed Lawsuit against Major Oil Companies

Empire State Building on Jan.10, 2018
[click image to enlarge]
Climate Action: Mayor, Comptroller, Trustees Announce First-In-The-Nation Goal to Divest From Fossil Fuels

January 10, 2018  |

City also filing suit against five largest fossil fuel companies, seeking damages to help protect city from climate change

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and other trustees of the City’s $189 Billion pension funds today announced a goal to divest City funds from fossil fuel reserve owners within five years, which would make New York City the first major US pension plan to do so. In a first-in-the-nation step towards the goal of divestment, the Mayor and Comptroller will submit a joint resolution to pension fund trustees to begin analyzing ways to divest from fossil fuel owners in a responsible way that is fully consistent with fiduciary obligations. In total, the City’s five pension funds hold roughly $5 billion in the securities of over 190 fossil fuel companies. The City’s move is among the most significant divestment efforts in the world to date.

"New York City is standing up for future generations by becoming the first major US city to divest our pension funds from fossil fuels,” said Mayor de Blasio. “At the same time, we’re bringing the fight against climate change straight to the fossil fuel companies that knew about its effects and intentionally misled the public to protect their profits. As climate change continues to worsen, it’s up to the fossil fuel companies whose greed put us in this position to shoulder the cost of making New York safer and more resilient.”

“This is a first-in-the-nation step to protect our future and our planet – for this generation and the next. Safeguarding the retirement of our city’s police officers, teachers, firefighters and city workers is our top priority, and we believe that their financial future is linked to the sustainability of the planet. Our announcement sends a message to the world that a brighter economy rests on being green,” Comptroller Stringer said. “It’s complex, it will take time, and there are going to be many steps. But we’re breaking new ground, and we are committed to forging a path forward while remaining laser-focused on our role as fiduciaries to the Systems and beneficiaries we serve.”

The Mayor also announced that the City has filed a lawsuit against the five largest investor-owned fossil fuel companies as measured by their contributions to global warming. The City will be seeking damages from BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Royal Dutch Shell for the billions of dollars the City will spend to protect New Yorkers from the effects of climate change. This includes damages to pay for harm that we’ve already seen and damages that are necessary to address harm we expect to happen over the course of this century.

New York City’s lawsuit seeks to recover the billions needed to fund climate change resiliency measures that the City needs to implement to protect the City, its property, and its residents from the ongoing and increasingly severe impacts of climate change. This includes physical infrastructure, like coastal protections, upgraded water and sewer infrastructure, and heat mitigation, but also public health campaigns, for example to help protect residents from the effects of extreme heat. To recover from past harm and prepare for future events, New York City is already executing an over $20 billion resiliency program to protect New Yorkers and build resilience against rising seas, more powerful storms, and hotter temperatures.

Recently uncovered documents make it clear that the fossil fuel industry was well aware of the effects that burning fossil fuels would have on the planet’s atmosphere and the expected impacts of climate change as far back as at least the 1980s. Nonetheless, they deliberately engaged in a campaign of deception and denial about global warming and its impacts, even while profiting from the sale of fossil fuels and protecting their own assets from the effects of rising seas and a changing climate. More than half of the greenhouse gas pollution from the fossil fuel industry has occurred since 1988, according to a recent analysis. Sea levels have risen about one foot since 1900 with much of that rise due to climate change, the most powerful storms are becoming more frequent, and flooding is becoming more frequent and intense.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Governor Cuomo's 2018 Climate Announcements Fall Short, says NY Renews Coalition

January 3, 2018  | NY Renews   

In his 2018 State of the State address, Governor Cuomo announced several significant climate-related initiatives – but fell short of supporting a comprehensive and equitable plan to hold polluters accountable and move New York State to 100% renewable energy on a timeline commensurate with the urgency of the crisis. 

“The Governor has moved New York from a walk to a jog on climate, but what we need is an all-out sprint,” said Rahwa Ghirmatzion, Deputy Director of PUSH Buffalo, a member of NY Renews.

The Governor’s support for congestion pricing, the augmented emphasis on offshore wind and energy efficiency, and the inclusion of equity concerns in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), all represent real progress and warrant sincere praise. But with an issue as grave as climate change, we do not have the luxury of mistaking positive steps for truly sufficient policies.

The Governor should have taken the opportunity to support a comprehensive legislation package that reorients all sectors of the economy and governance to creating a 100% renewable future and holding corporate polluters accountable for the damage they cause to New Yorkers’ health and well-being. The legislative platform proposed by the NY Renews coalition embodies those goals, through the Climate and Community Protection Act (S6617A/A8270A) and a soon-to-be-released proposal for massive investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy, underwritten by a corporate polluter fee.

“With climate change doing real damage to communities of color from Houston to Puerto Rico, this is a historic moment that requires more than incremental steps. Ultimately, Cuomo’s legacy will be judged in jobs created, disasters averted, and the urgency and equity of his climate vision,” said Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, a member of NY Renews.

A study from the University of Massachusetts found that putting a modest $35/ton fee on corporate polluters’ emissions would generate over $7B and 150,000 new jobs for New York every year. That revenue could be invested in building clean energy infrastructure, improving mass transit, supporting fossil fuel industry workers, sustaining communities burdened by climate change, and more. It’s a simple, common sense approach to fighting the climate crisis: price pollution, and fund solutions. In his general embrace of congestion pricing for NYC, he’s already demonstrated a willingness to do just that, albeit on a small scale. To truly lead the just transition our communities so desperately need, he will need to think bigger in 2018 and enact a fee for all emissions from corporate polluters, not just those coming out of tailpipes in lower Manhattan.

Governor Cuomo still has an opportunity to include the Climate and Community Protection Act and a corporate polluter fee in his executive budget in the next few weeks, which would help ensure their passage into law.

NY Renews is a state-wide coalition of over 100 groups: labor unions, community groups, environmental organizations, faith communities, environmental justice advocates and more. We find inspiration in our diversity of perspectives, and strength in our breadth of expertise. 
Join us at

Jan. 9, 2018: Cuomo has to do more to tackle climate crisis. By Clarke Gocker, PUSH Buffalo, Director of Policy & Strategy. Letter in The Buffalo News

Jan. 10, 2018: State needs to expand clean, renewable energy. By Ellen Banks, Sierra Club Niagara Group, Chair of Climate & Energy Committee. Letter in The Buffalo News