Fact Check: Time to End Climate Silence

The Vigil to End Climate Silence kicked off this evening in Boston’s Government Center. People from all walks of life will be calling for an end to the political silence over climate change. This election year, it was put on the back burner while politicians focused on more pressing matters of the economy and foreign policy. This seems reasonable, so long as one ignores three, apparently inconvenient, things:

1) There is general scientific consensus that the climate is changing right now, that it is affecting us right now, and it will be much easier to deal with now than later.

“However, even with an 80 per cent emissions cut, damages will be large: any impact that occurs below a temperature rise of 1 °C (Figs. 1 and 2) is likely to be unavoidable, even under the most stringent mitigative action. Residual damage will be great unless we invest in adaptation now. Much of the damage could be avoided by adaptation, but again, this would require a much larger effort than is currently planned.”

M Parry, J Palutikof, C Hanson, J Lowe

Nature Reports Climate Change 2008


“ …we can state, with a high degree of confidence, that extreme anomalies such as those in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 were a consequence of global warming because their likelihood in the absence of global warming was exceedingly small.”

– J Hansen, M Sato, R Ruedy

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 2012


“The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has reaffirmed the position of its Board of Directors and the leaders of 18 respected organizations, who concluded based on multiple lines of scientific evidence that global climate change caused by human activities is now underway, and it is a growing threat to society.”

–  American Association For the Advancement of Science 2009


2) A neat separation between climate change issues and economic issues is vanishing. [Check out the sources above]

3) The partition between climate change issues and foreign policy issues is predicted to crumble.




Gus Speth (who’s many hats have included Vermont Law School Professor of Law, Chairman of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality, and Keystone XL protester/arrestee) gave a rousing speech, followed by another fantastic one by Craig Altemose of Better Future Project to a small but dedicated crowd of 40 or so people. The vigil was organized by 350MA,  Students for a Just and Stable Future and several other local organizations. The gathering included organizers from Occupy Boston and Veterans for Peace. There are stalwart folks out there as I write this tonight, keeping vigil and stubbornly working to break the silence. They will be there throughout the week and I am sure they would love company.

Link: 350ma.org/vigil 

Tweet: #climatesilence


Remaining Hobet 45 Protesters Offered Plea Deal

A quick update on the 10 people that were waiting a final hearing on Tuesday, after they were arrested for shutting down the Hobet 45 coal mine (a nonviolent protest against the practice of mountaintop removal, its impact on public safety and local ecology, and its impact on global climate trends).

“UPDATE 8/7/12:  The remaining 10 arrestees were offered the same plea deal in Lincoln County Court this morning.  All have accepted the deal.  All arrestees have now been released at of 2:30 pm.  Thanks for all of your steadfast support.  More soon.”

… from the RAMPS website. This means all protesters involved are now out of jail.

~ Nuevaspora

Massachusetts volunteers tell Congress to price carbon

[Submitted by Gary Rucinski, of CCL which works with individuals and elected representatives from all parts of the political spectrum to find ways of mitigating climate change. They are currently working to build support for the Save Our Climate Bill as a means of establishing a Carbon Fee and Dividend.]

Citizens Climate Lobby in D.C.

CONTACT: Gary Rucinski, gary@rucinskis.com, 617-803-8038

F O R    I M M E D I A T E    R E L E A S E

WASHINGTON, July 30 – As the worst U.S. drought in half a century grips much of the nation and experts point to climate change as a factor, volunteers from Massachusetts came to the nation’s capital last week to ask that Congress put a price on carbon that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Massachusetts residents Susan Labandibar, Gary Rucinski, Jack Thorndike, Karen van Hoek, and David Gordon Wilson joined volunteers from the U.S. and Canada attending the Third Annual Citizens Climate Lobby International Conference in Washington, D.C. They visited the offices of Massachusetts’ congressional delegation to make their case for a progressive, revenue-neutral tax on carbon. Legislation for such a tax has been introduced in the U.S. House as the Save Our Climate Act (H.R. 3242). (Massachusetts Representatives Michael Capuano, James McGovern, and John Olver are co-sponsors of HR 3242.) They thanked Rep. Capuano personally for signing on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 3242.

For Gary Rucinski, the group leader of the Boston area CCL chapter, the visits on Capitol Hill left him hopeful that the U.S. could start reducing greenhouse gas emissions before it’s too late:

“I was energized by how we doubled the number of conference attendees and meetings on the Hill compared to last year’s conference. Congressional aides listened to our position and demonstrated their respect for CCL’s work by asking detailed questions about our proposal for putting a price on carbon. They are striving to find solutions and grateful for citizen involvement.”

At a packed reception held at the end of their first lobbying day, Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), co-sponsor of the Save Our Climate Act, told volunteers, “This is about future generations more than it is about us, because things are going to get worse if we don’t dramatically alter the political and legislative trends of this country.”

Former Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC), who introduced a carbon tax bill in the previous Congress but lost his bid for re-election, spoke to an appreciative crowd about making the case for a carbon tax: “What you’re here to do is to help people in Congress to see that there are people willing to see the true costs [of fossil fuels]… The conservatives can get into this thing if we can show that this is about free enterprise and accountability. It’s about fixing market distortions so that true costs are accounted for.”

A few days before CCL’s conference, Inglis launched his Energy & Enterprise Initiative to talk about the conservative rationale for a revenue-neutral carbon tax. An introductory video on the Initiative’s home page features former Reagan economist Art Laffer.

CCL Executive Director Mark Reynolds came away from the week of lobbying buoyed by the prospects for a carbon tax in the next Congress.

“We’ve had some great conversations on the Hill this week with a number of Republican offices, which makes me optimistic that we can get a bi-partisan bill introduced early in the next Congress. The big topic of the moment right now is the fiscal cliff, but the climate cliff will make that look like a picnic if we don’t put a price on carbon soon.”


Update on 20 Protesters Arrested at Hobet 45 Coal Facility

Update from RAMPS site (yesterday):

Great news from the Lincoln County Court today.  Half of our arrestees had their bail reduction hearings today.  Instead of reducing their bails, the court offered a plea deal.  In exchange for pleading guilty to the trespassing charge only, our activists were offered a $500 fine and 1 years probation.  Nine arrestees have accepted the deal and will be released today.  The other protester assigned that magistrate is Dustin Steele, who is free and has not taken the deal.  What a relief and victory for all who have supported the Hobet 20.

This isn’t over however.  The remaining 10 prisoners have a different magistrate and their hearing isn’t until Tuesday the 7th.  There is no guarantee they will be offered the same deal or in fact any deal at all.  We must keep the pressure on and continue to support our brothers and sisters in jail.

Dorian Williams waiting with the other 9 people for a hearing on Tuesday.

For more information please see the RAMPS site.

~ Nuevaspora

Dustin Steele Released on Bond; 19 Hobet Protesters Still In Jail

Brief Update:

The RAMPS website reported today that Dustin Steele was released on bond. The 19 other protesters are still in Jail. The 20 were arrested after temporarily shutting down the Hobet 45 coal mine  in Lincoln County West Virginia by attaching themselves to equipment, in a protest against mountain top removal.

~ Nuevaspora

Was Hobet 45 Protester Severely Beaten After Arrest?

If so, is he now receiving proper medical care?

Over the past day and a half, unconfirmed reports have come in regarding one of the 20 protesters arrested for temporarily shutting down the Hobet 45 coal mine. (They were protesting mountain top removal practices.) Initially, I did not pass this on because these reports are not first hand and I am not a trained or experienced journalist. I have neither the time nor expertise to thoroughly investigate or confirm this kind of story, especially one that is this serious. I was also concerned about the safety of those involved. The following statements are forwarded excerpts from forwarded email- coming through two separate channels:

Received via e-mail on evening of 7/30/12 (original date uncertain):

“I have a report from yesterday afternoon that Dorian and all the other women arrested in the protest are together in jail, healthy and in good spirits.

Unfortunately, the men have not fared as well. Dustin Steele, the twenty year old son and grandson of WV coal miners, was taken out of his cell yesterday and badly beaten by police. Other inmates reported that as he left the room where they hurt him, he struggled to or was unable to walk.”

Received via e-mail, 7/31/12 (original date also 7/31/12):

“On Saturday 50 people occupied the mountaintop removal site of the Hoget Mine in West Virginia. Twenty of them were arrested and have been in  jail ever since. Three or four people arrested were from Asheville. One of the protestors, Dustin Steele, was injured by police, and is being denied medical care.”

After speaking with RAMPS organizers, I contacted the ACLU to get information. The ACLU national office directed me to the West Virginia chapter. The ACLU in West Virginia will only provide legal advice if a request is sent in writing by the person filing the complaint. This means Steele himself would have to write a paper letter and then send it from jail. I was told people often send such complaints from jail. It is unclear how viable an option this would be in Mr. Steele’s case. I passed this information on to RAMPS organizers, who are already working with two lawyers, and cannot speak directly to the situation beyond that.

Now, this information is now being posted. It is in the hopes that someone experienced in investigative reporting will consider pursuing these very serious allegations further.

  ~ Nuevaspora

Update on 20 arrested at Hobet 45 coal mining complex

Many updates have been filtering in, mostly through email. We have been told that the 20 arrested for shutting down Hobet  mine in Lincoln County, West Virginia are still in jail and in the process of raising funds for a bail set at $25,000 each. Other information is trickling through, some very serious. For the moment such stories will not be passed along as they deserve more than “telephone style” reports.

Instead, I would encourage people to read Sue Sturgis’ brief article in Facing South (for The Institute of Southern Studies). She discusses a mounting body of research associating strip mining with cancer, birth defects, and other serious illnesses amongst those living in the area, and the recently introduced H.R. 5959 (the ACHE Act) that would place a legal moratorium on mountain top removal coal mining.

In the mean time organizers are trying to raise money for the 20 protesters being held.

Sturgis’ Article

To donate to the bail fund: http://rampscampaign.org/

Dorian Williams (in blue) with others protesting mountain top removal at Hobet 45

~ Nuevaspora