Everything You Wanted to Ask Your State Official About Carbon Goals, But Were Afraid to Ask

 Energy Exodus-Susan

Photo from 350MA Energy Exodus, Summer 2013

Given the lack of action at the Congressional level on setting limits to carbon extraction, the states must play a leading role in the urgent task of transitioning to a low-no-carbon future. This Guide can be helpful to you in many situations, for example, when meeting with your state legislators to express concern about their delay in enacting plans to meet the carbon-reduction deadlines of the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act[1].

Also, the Guide is useful during this current election campaign for Governor, when you will be able to ask the candidates questions regarding the state’s energy policies—quickly you can separate the competent candidates from the climate-ignorant candidates. Accompanying each of the following questions is a link (in endnote) to a reference document, article, or video to further educate the officials that can only respond with “That’s a very good question.”

Questions re--The Context of the Problem

If a 2-degree C increase in global temperature is to be avoided, how much of the existing carbon reserves must stay in the ground?[2]

 Has the Massachusetts average temperature been rising since 1990? How much?[3]

 What are the projections for changes in regional temperature and rainfall due to climate change?[4]

 What are the projections for sea level rise and inundation?[5]

Where will the flood level be in Boston under different storms?[6]

 Questions re-Accountability for the Problem of Global Warming

What percentage of global green house gases are caused by sources in the United States?[7]

 How is the national government addressing the problem?[8]

 What are the main contributors in Massachusetts to carbon-loading of the atmosphere?[9]

Questions re-State Actions to Reduce Carbon Emissions

What is the law in Massachusetts regarding percentage reductions and deadlines for meeting its carbon reduction goals?[10]

 Given that the individual states have considerable authority to enact programs and policies to reduce carbon, what is Massachusetts doing?[11]

 How would additional fossil fuel infrastructure, e.g., gas plants, affect the state’s plan to reduce carbon emissions?[12]

 Questions re-State Transition to Renewable Energy

 How will state government ensure a transition to a fossil free energy economy?[13]

 Are you aware that the state government does not yet have a plan for meeting the reduction goals for 2050 (i.e., 80% of its 1990 carbon levels) as required by law?[14]

 Do you support passage of S.1225 to divest state pension funds from fossil fuels? (The Massachusetts state pension fund holds approximately $1.4 billion worth of assets in fossil fuel companies.  If the companies continue with business-as-usual to profit from wrecking the planet, shouldn’t Massachusetts divest itself from these funds, especially since our local economy is well-suited to designing and building renewable energy infrastructure?)[15]

 [1] Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008, http://www.mass.gov/eea/air-water-climate-change/climate-change/massachusetts-global-warming-solutions-act/;

 [3] http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk: and http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/crutem4/ ;  (go to Google Earth crutema4 map with Boston Station_42.5N 67.5Wkmz);
END
Submission by Susan Redlich to “Turning Down the Heat” https://class.coursera.org/warmerworld-001

 

 

Awesome Actions (And More Needed!)

Looking for ideas for your direct actions? Climate Reality’s monthly conference call on March 21 with organizers around the country provides a bloom of ideas for spring-boarding into action. Contact info for the groups on the call is at end of blog.

For a map of this week’s actions across the country see:
http://www.tarsandsblockade.org/weekofaction/planned_actions/. Included on the map is Massachusetts’ protest at TransCanada’s office in Westborough, and in New Haven, Connecticut, a protest at TD Bank, one of the biggest financiers of the pipeline. Occupy Pipeline New York has actions on Saturday at TD banks.

TD Protest_Occupy the Pipeline NYC

More ideas (in green) from groups on the call:

SHARE YOUR MATERIALS. Follow http://occupythepipeline.blogspot.com/ They will upload your materials or send to KXLBlockade@gmail.com . Materials for actions against TD Bank: http://bit.ly/TDdivest

SHARE YOUR NEWS  Tar Sands Blockade provides on-line media support for actions across the country.

BE THEATRICAL TO ATTRACT MORE MEDIA ATTENTION. A well-rehearsed funeral procession at the TransCanada office in Massachusetts, with original song by Meladeego, (www.FuneralforOurFuture.wordpress.org) that involved 100 protesters on March 11 could be re-staged at other blockade target sites.

Funeral for our future

Video at www.FuneralforOurFuture.wordpress.com

Greenpeace and NCWARN in North Carolina issued a call to “Get Out Your Shoes” for a campaign aimed at Duke Energy to “Walk In Our Shoes”. The campaign against inequitable serial rate hikes by Duke Energy in North Carolina also was a call for people to think of the climate impacts and to walk on a renewable path. Shoes were donated to a non-profit. The actions were followed by a sticker campaign “Give the rate hike a boot!”.

At an anti-fracking protest at a land auction by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, people showed up in haz mat uniforms. Puppets work too, such as the ostrich puppet that buries its head in the sand, and a polar bear with a pre-purchased ticket entering a corporate fund-raising event.

INCLUDE A CULTURAL COMPONENT TO ACTIONS.     Invite local groups to perform such as the Raging Grannies singing parodies of familiar songs; dancers; and bands.

TARGET THE FUNDING STREAMS.      Tar Sands Blockade.org’s corporate action strategy targets the funding streams that bank-roll or profit from toxic projects. The TD Bank is the site of several protests, e.g., Montpelier, VT. In Seattle, “Stop Tar Sands Profiteers Week of Action” continues strong with over 40 rallying at a pipeline company Michels Construction office outside Seattle.

SHOW UP AT PUBLIC MEETINGS AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF AVENUES FOR COMMENT.    Delaware Riverkeeper Network staged a People’s Hearing when they were silenced during a Delaware River Basin Commission meeting. Their campaign against fracking wants the Commission to look at the cumulative effects of proposed pipelines across the river basin, not one by one. Although the DRBC stopped gas drilling in the basin, pipelines are starting to cut across the basin carrying gas from other states. Riverkeepers had followed the public process earlier by attending hearings and submitting comments, to no effect. With warning, they attended the Commission meeting on March 6 and took over the meeting in order to present testimony that the regulations aren’t working sufficiently and the Commission continues “to sit on its hands and let FERC do the regulatory process.” Power already exists in the DRBC compact to make regulations. People (120+) stood up to give public testimonies from their seats; when the Commissioner called a recess in the back room, the protesters chanted and continued the meeting for 2 hours. They presented a citizen resolution for a vote, but were denied. Although not successful in bringing a vote against pipelines, the action helped with building their organization and increasing dialogue. The Riverkeepers had laid the groundwork through public comment.

SHOW OFF SUSTAINABILITY IN YOUR TOWN.      The Berkeley Climate Action Coalition organized a Sustainability Walk and Neighborhood Asset Mapping Event by inviting the public on a walking tour of locally sustainable businesses and organizations.

EXPAND ON EARLIER ACTIONS.     When 26 people handcuffed themselves together at the TransCanada office in Westborough MA earlier this month they were following on the heels of 8 students that chained themselves together inside the office in January. More than 75 supporters showed up as well. Within two weeks of the March action, another demo occurred at same location.

GET SUPPORT AND CARE FOR YOURSELF.   Have you experienced organizer fatigue? Standing up to big oil can be exhausting. Some activists in Texas are facing a year in prison right now. Others have spent several weeks at a time. We have to have support and self-care to keep it up.

To hear the recording of the full call: https://www.freeconferencecallhd.com/playback.html?n=81941444-17-65-67-17-65-67-17-65-678-17-65-6732-17-65-67765174820;0OTMzNDY4MDI=1
Presenters:
Tar Sands Blockade – Ethan Nuss. http://www.tarsandsblockade.org/weekofaction/
Funeral for our Future – Adam Greenberg  http://www.funeralforourfuture.wordpress.com/
Delaware Riverkeeper Network – Faith Zerbe http://www.delawareriverkeeper.org/
The Berkeley Climate Action Coalition –Marna Schwartz http://www.ecologycenter.org/climatecoalition/
NCWARN – Connie Leeper http://www.ncwarn.org/
The Center for Biological Diversity – Rose Braz  http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/

No Tar Sands Oil Pipelines. Not in the Northeast. Not Anywhere.

Demonstrators braved freezing temperatures on January 23 to urge legislators in the New England states to “freeze” proposals for shipping tar sands bitumen oil from Alberta, through ExxonMobil pipelines leading to Portland, Maine. A protest demonstration in Portland, Maine, is scheduled for January 26.  This event is expected to be the largest cross-border pipeline action the northeast has ever seen. More on this event at http://www.tarsandsfreene.org/about  Map of pipeline route: http://tinyurl.com/bkcthzx.

Because the project would be a substantial modification of the current pipeline crossing, opponents are demanding that first, a presidential permit be required, per State Department Executive order 11423, as well as a complete environmental impact statement which includes an analysis of the tar sands climate impact. Scientists have found that extracting and burning tar sands will cause catastrophic global warming.

Then President Obama must keep Tar Sands out of New England by refusing to issue this pipeline a new Presidential Permit.

Also this month, groups of citizens mobilized by 350MA are visiting their local Congressional offices with an explicit “ask”:  that the elected official publicly take a stand against projects that would transport tar sands oil in the U.S., particularly the proposed Northeast Tar Sands Pipeline. On Jan.14, for example, ten people met with a staff person in Congressman Markey’s Medford, MA, office to ask that Congressman Markey take all necessary steps to block development of tar sands oil pipelines and make a public statement committing to:  “No tar sands oil pipelines.  Not in the Northeast. Not anywhere.”  The participants emphasized the urgency of taking a stand as ExxonMobil, the majority owner of the Portland-to-Montreal pipeline, is moving forward with plans to reverse flow to accommodate Canadian tar sands oil shipped from Alberta.  The pipeline currently ships conventional crude from Portland to Montreal. If allowed, the company would be able to export tar sands through the east coast.

Image

Today: Tar Sands Protests Across the East Coast 1/21/13

This Martin Luther King Day, our friends at 350 MA have reminded us that actions are planned along the US and Canadian costs protesting expanded distribution of tar sands crude. The bitumen derived fuel source has been widely criticized, as it results in higher green house gas emissions than conventional oil. Extraction from the Athabasca tar sands have received particular scrutiny, due to the impacts that the extraction process has had on indigenous communities in the area.

Export to the west is blocked by legal disputes. Export to the south has been somewhat hampered by legal disputes and protests (primarily in texas). Export to the North is blocked by the Arctic. Todays protests are focused on export to the East.  For a more in depth synopsis, see Susan Redlich’s post: On the Front Lines of  Tar Sands Resistance.

Also, check out the Occupy New England 3rd Regional Convergence in Portland Maine on January 26th. Working with 350 New England this gathering will have a strong focus on transitioning away from fossil fuels including the expansion of tar sands and natural gas derived from fracking (especially the Algonquin Pipeline).

Today’s schedule (via Vanessa Rule):

SOLIDARITY ACTIONS  — to sign up for a MA action.


United States
  MASSACHUSETTS

1/23/2013

Amherst — ExxonMobil Station, No Tar Sands Picket, 399 Northampton Street 12:30 – 1:30pm, Contact: John Berkowitz, johnpberk@gmail.com.

Amherst – Human Pipeline demonstration, Amherst Common, 3pm Contact: Sarai Zelada and Lundy Bancroft at srzelada9@gmail.com

Billerica – ExxonMobil Station, 441 Boston Rd 3-6pm Contact: Debbie Bernstein at djbernstein2@gmail.com

Boston – Mass Canvass and Human Pipeline across Copley Square Copley Square, MA 1/23/2013 4; 5:30 Dorian Williams 773-289-2240 dorianswilliams@gmail.com

Cambridge/Somerville – ExxonMobil Station, 816 Memorial Drive, 3-6pm Contact: Rachel Wyon at r.wyon2010@gmail.com

Concord – ExxonMobil Station, 1089 Concord Turnpike Station, 3-6pm Contacgt: Jas Smith at jasssmith@yahoo.com

Greenfield – ExxonMobil Station, 142 Mohawk Trail, 3-6pm Contact: George Aguiar at geogruven@gmail.com

Mattapan – ExxonMobil Station , 1181 Blue Hill Road, 3-6pm Contact: Sierra Kahn at sierrakahn@hotmail.com

Newton – ExxonMobil Station, 845 Moody Street, 3-6pm Contact: Eric Packer at epacker@fwg.com

NEW HAMPSHIRE/VERMONT

1/23/13

Lancaster, NH – Hands Across the Connecticut River, Lancaster Bridge at Route 2 and the Connecticut River, Noon Contact: Corry Hughes at stoptrailbreaker.nh@gmail.com

MAINE

1/23/13

Bangor – Bangor Tar Sands Free New England Rally and Congressional office visits, 11am – 2 pm Contact: Read Brugger read@350Maine.org

Greater Portland – 1) 11:30 Rally/Protest in South Portland. 2) Possible Congressional Office Visits 3) Attendance @ the City of Portland Council Hearing @ 7 pm regarding anti-Tar Sands Resolution 1) notable Tar Sands target – to be identified 2) Portland 3) Portland Contact: Bob Klotz at 350maine@gmail.com

1/25/2013

Rockland – TB Bank Informational Picket, TD Bank, 34 School Street, Noon Contact: Aimee Moffitt-Mercer at aimee@midcoast.com

VERMONT

1/23/13

Burlington – Flashmob: No Pipelines! Wall of Resistance and Solidarity, Church Street and Main Street 12:30- 1:00 CONTACT: Ruby Perry at ruby@350vt.org

1/26/13

Burlington – Line 9 – No Tars Sands Oil across Ontario, Burlington Public Library, 2331 New Street 2pm-5pm Contact: Elysia Petrone at epetrone@lakeheadu.ca

Canada

1/19/2013

Montreal, Quebec – THE TAR SANDS COME TO QUEBEC: A community forum to build resistance and alternatives to tar sands pipelines Concordia University – Hall Building 1455 De Maisonneuve W. 9AM – 6PM Amara Possian a.possian@gmail.com

1/23/2013

Ottawa – Oil Sands-Free Ontario, Parliament Hill 3 pm Contact: Alex Guest at alexcguest@gmail.com

1/26/2013

Toronto – StopLine 9 – Hendon Ave at Yonge St (at Line 9) 1pm

Toronto – No Line 9! block at Rally for Rights and Democracy, Allan Gardens (Jarvis & Carleton) 1 pm – 4 pm by Rising Tide Toronto

Toronto – No tar sands in our communities – United Across Borders Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen Street West 10:30:00 Contact: Sabrina Bowmansbowman@environmentaldefence.ca

Quick Update on Westborough Eight

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The Keystone XL protesters who used chains and glue to bind themselves together in TransCanada’s Westborough, MA office have all been processed. They are, left to right, Ben Thompson, 22, a PhD student studying Mathematics at Boston University, Dorian Williams, 21, an Anthropology major at Brandeis University, Shea Riester, 22, a recent graduate of  Brandeis University and a student of social movements, Devyn Powell, 20, and International Relations and Environmental Studies major at Tufts University, Emily Edgerly, 20, an Environmental Studies major at Tufts University, Lisa Purdy, 20, an Environmental Studies major at Brandeis University, Alli Welton, 20, a History of Science major at Harvard University, and Ben Trolio an Environmental Conservation Studies major at the University of New Hampshire.

To understand their reasons for doing this, please see their blog and bios.

Most, if not all, are members of Students for a Just and Stable Future (SJSF). (Some have also been active in CASEJ) Around the time of their release SJSF tweeted the following:

“The costs of action are far less than the costs of inaction.” The hope of these youth is to inspire you to fight w/ @350Mass@KXLBlockade

Later followed by:

Wanna hang out with these kids? @350Mass TOMORROW @ First Church Cambridge 11 Garden St Cambridge, MA [ 6 – 7pm potluck, 7 – 9pm meeting ]

This and other actions around the country kicked off an anticipated series of protests against Keystone XL and tarsands that will span the next several days. Now, what will it take for the present leaders to heed the message of the coming generation?

~ Nuevaspora

Local Climate Activist Arrested In Texas KXL Protest

We have just received word that Murtaza Nek, MIT graduate and active participant in 350 Massachusetts and Students for a Just and Stable Future was arrested in a protest against the construction of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline. Readers may recognize him as the young man who has voiced the importance of climate justice at several Occupy Boston events.

The southern leg of the Keystone XL is presently under construction with the intent to bring tar sands crude from Alberta, Canada to Huston ports. Last year, Dr. James Hansen, prominent climate scientist, head of NASSA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and adjunct professor at Columbia University explained the risk in a New York Times Op Ed:

Canada’s tar sands, deposits of sand saturated with bitumen, contain twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by global oil use in our entire history. If we were to fully exploit this new oil source, and continue to burn our conventional oil, gas and coal supplies, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eventually would reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era, more than 2.5 million years ago, when sea level was at least 50 feet higher than it is now. That level of heat-trapping gases would assure that the disintegration of the ice sheets would accelerate out of control. Sea levels would rise and destroy coastal cities. Global temperatures would become intolerable. Twenty to 50 percent of the planet’s species would be driven to extinction. Civilization would be at risk.

The update on Murtaza comes from climate and social justice advocate Dorian Williams, who writes:

Dear fellow proponents of climate justice,

Many of you may know Murtaza Nek as he has been an active participant of 350 Massachusetts and Students for a Just and Stable Future. Recently he took a trip down to Texas to contribute to the Tar Sands Blockade’s fight against the construction of the southern leg of Keystone XL Pipeline.
 
As of 11:50am on January 3rd, Murtaza was arrested in Texas while trying to provide direct support to his friends partaking in a particularly vulnerable tree sit for the Tar Sands Blockade. 
 
You can learn more and see the footage of the arrest here: http://tarsandsblockade.org/15th-action/
 
For those of who have not had a chance to meet Murtaza, he has been an amazingly strong and dedicated ally in this movement. Having accomplished Climate Summer this past year, where he biked from town-to-town across Massachusetts supporting climate action and discussion, Murtaza brought back his organizing and bike power here. Every week, Murtaza would bike from Worcester to Cambridge and back to participate in SJSF and 350MA meetings, helping organize and participate in actions targeting fossil fuels like tar sands and natural gas.
 
Now he needs our commitment and support in return. Please spread the word and consider donating to the legal fund that would enable his release: https://www.wepay.com/donations/tsbdonate.
 
In Peace and Solidarity,
Dorian

Murtaza Nek is one of several protesters who have recently been arrested in protests against Keystone XL’s southern leg. For more information on the tar sands, check out the following links:

Hansen’s TED talk

Photographer Garth Lenz on Alberta Tar Sands: The True Cost Of Oil

~ Nuevaspora

High School Students Explain Significance of Climate Change

On Saturday Oct. 27th, this young woman spoke to the threat and magnitude of climate change before a crowd at the week long Vigil to End Climate Silence in Boston’s Government Center. It would be three days before several elected officials would choose to follow suit, responding the the shocking destruction of Hurricane Sandy. On this election day, voters are still wondering where many candidates stand on this issue.

Recording by Susan R.

Update: Don’t miss this amazing essay, posted today on Climate Progress, from 16 year old climate activist and now Sandy survivor, Maya Faison.

“I am 16 years old and I am currently in my home in Laurelton, Queens.  It is day six with no heat, no power and no gas in my mom’s car to escape.
Trees are down all over my neighborhood and at night it is pitch dark, with only the moon as light. I feel paralyzed with cold.

…Our nation is in danger and my future is in danger.
This is the future I want: a country that is better prepared for climate and environmental disasters, and is working proactively to mitigate global warming. Just like we have fire drills in school, we need to have evacuation plans and disaster preparedness kits.  We must rely less on oil and more on alternative energy, and reduce carbon emissions by any means necessary. We need more preservation of natural resources and less consumption. We cannot continue to provide subsidies to oil and gas companies that are wreaking havoc on our earth.  Science matters, and we must educate the next generation on the realities of climate change so we are all working to promote a better, more sustainable future.”

~ Nuevaspora