The plan meant to unite Biden and Bernie voters on climate is here

by Emily Pontecorvo, Grist


Highlights

  • After Senator Bernie Sanders dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination, he joined forces with Former Vice President Joe Biden to create a climate task force
  • Other members of the task force included Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Sunrise Movement co-founder Varshini Prakash, and Catherine Flowers, the founder of the Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice, Secretary of State John Kerry, former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy, and former Biden policy advisor Kerry Duggan
  • The platform focuses on environmental justice, eliminating pollution, creating union jobs in clean energy, and other policies reminiscent of the Green New Deal
  • Varshini Prakash helped shape the platform by changing the target dates form 2050 to 2035 and introduced benchmarks such as electrifying school buses, retrofitting buildings, and increased energy efficiency within the first 5 years of Biden’s presidency
  • The task force also incorporated a “Tribal Needs Assessment” to support more than 500 tribes in the energy transition

Fossil fuel divestment and the transition to 100% clean energy is critical to achieving The Climate Center’s goals under the Climate-Safe California Platform.


Read More: https://grist.org/politics/the-biden-and-sanders-unity-task-force-on-climate-heres-their-new-plan-sunrise/

Want to tear down monuments to racism and segregation? Bulldoze L.A. freeways

by Matthew Fleischer, The Los Angeles Times


Highlights

  • The construction of freeways was a direct result of Los Angeles’s racist past, creating a city segregated on the basis of race, causing the destruction of black neighborhoods and the elimination of beneficial transportation 
  • The Red Car transit system provided access to residents throughout the city, creating thriving, diverse neighborhoods, but disappeared once cars became more accessible
  • A mass influx of African-Americas moving west from the South resulted in more Jim Crow-based laws in LA
  • The 1944 Federal-Aid Highway Act allocated funds for nearly 2,000 miles of freeways in California, which were then used to break apart unsegregated and black communities
  • Predominately white areas such as Beverly Hills  and South Pasadena were able to protest and fight any plans for freeways in their neighborhoods
  • Car-dependent suburbs developed away from the city and accessible public transit as a means to keep black Angelenos from moving in
  • These freeways serve as physical barriers from white neighborhoods to black neighborhoods and these disparities are still seen today

The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California campaign calls for clean mobility solutions, including a phase-out of all gas-powered vehicles to eliminate air pollution in our most vulnerable communities. 


Read More: https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-06-24/bulldoze-la-freeways-racism-monument

U.S. states have spent the past 5 years trying to criminalize protest

by Naveena Sadasivam, Grist


Highlights

Minnesota has recently been the site of continued protests focused on racial equality and police brutality. The state has also seen many protests concerning the building of new fossil fuel infrastructure such as large pipeline projects. Over the past four years, state lawmakers have introduced ten bills criminalizing protests that include jail time and heavy fines.

  • Various bills were introduced after the murder of Philando Castile by police in 2016 when protesters shut down a major highway. Other bills concerned protests that were against a planned replacement of a pipeline that ran through Alberta, Canada to Wisconsin  
  • Some bills would have allowed protesters to be jailed for up to a year, fined offenders up to $3,000 each, and allowed cities to sue protesters for the cost of police response
  • There are two bills proposed this year:  One would make trespassing on property with oil and gas facilities punishable by up to three years in prison with a fine of $5,000
  • A report by PEN America says that 116 anti-protest bills were proposed in state legislatures between 2015 and 2020 and 23 bills in 15 states became law
  • Minnesota state senator Paul Utke sponsored a bill that would have made training, hiring, or counseling those who end up trespassing on property with a pipeline a felony punishable with up to ten years in prison and a $20,000 fine after the Dakota Access Pipeline protests

The Climate Center’s urgent climate policy goals will only be achieved if we also close the climate gap and ensure that lower-income communities and communities of color get climate justice.


Read more: https://grist.org/justice/states-criminalize-protest-george-floyd-philando-castile-enbridge-dapl

Unequal impact: The deep links between racism and climate change

by Beth Gardiner, Yale Environment 360


Highlights

Elizabeth Yeampierre, co-chair of Climate Justice Alliance, shares the correlation between the United States’ racist past and the current climate crisis

  • Climate movements typically center around conversation and protecting wildlife while not advocating for the protection of Black and Brown people who are directly impacted by climate change and environmental racism
  • Climate change stems all the way back to colonial times, where indigenous lands were exploited and used for extraction of natural resources in the name of capitalism
  • The treatment of Black and Indigenous people present-day can be compared to the early days of America, where enslaved people were given poor housing and food
  • The communities impacted by COVID are the same ones experiencing pollution, and they will continue to feel the worst effects of the climate crisis
  • Policies, such as the Green New Deal, must include frontline leaders and frontline communities in order to better serve all people
  • A just transition of labor must look at the process and impacts of achieving sustainability to ensure that frontline communities are not experiencing more pollution in pursuit of sustainability

The Climate Center’s urgent climate policy goals will only be achieved if we also close the climate gap and ensure that communities of color are no longer disproportionately harmed. There cannot be climate justice without racial justice.


Read more: https://e360.yale.edu/features/unequal-impact-the-deep-links-between-inequality-and-climate-change?ct=t(RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN

The climate justice movement must oppose white supremacy everywhere

by Mattias Lehman, Medium


Highlights

Mattias Lehman of the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led climate movement working for the end to the climate crisis, shares how environmental groups need to focus more on racial inequality.

  • The climate movement is typically focused on nature-based initiatives such as “Save the Trees” and “Save the Polar Bears,” but rarely provides emphasis on saving the Black and Brown communities that have been experiencing environmental racism throughout history
  • The climate crisis is a major contributing factor to the migration of peoples to other countries. Many are seeking refuge from drought and famine
  • Environmental groups must speak out on injustices within the immigrant communities because immigrants are directly impacted by climate effects. To be silent is to be complicit with the racism that keeps these communities on the frontlines, in detention centers, and held in cages
  • Supporting and working towards defunding, reforming, and abolishing structures in this country built on principles of systemic racism is an important step for building a just, green, and equitable future

The Climate Center’s urgent climate policy goals will only be achieved if we also close the climate gap and ensure that communities of color are no longer disproportionately harmed. There cannot be climate justice without racial justice.


Read more: https://medium.com/sunrisemvmt/the-climate-justice-movement-must-oppose-white-supremacy-everywhere-by-supporting-m4bl-4e338cf91b19

DNC climate group calls for larger federal investment on climate than Biden’s current plan

by Rachel Frazin, The Hill


Highlights

  • The Democratic National Committee Climate Council released a set of policy recommendations for a greater investment than Joe Biden’s climate plan
  • Joe Biden’s climate plan would spend $1.7 trillion over the next decade to address climate change, whereas the Climate Council plan endorses spending $10-16 trillion over the same period
  • Michelle Deatrick, leader of the Climate Council, emphasizes that this plan would be the boldest policy the party has adopted:

“These policies center environmental justice for frontline and vulnerable communities, urgent climate action, and worker empowerment… If adopted, these platform recommendations would be the most ambitious policies addressing the climate crisis ever adopted by the Democratic Party.”

  • Biden’s plan calls for reaching a 100% clean energy economy and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050  and halving the carbon footprints of buildings by 2035
  • The Climate Council calls for almost-zero emissions by 2040, banning crude oil exports, denying permits for new fossil fuel infrastructure, a permanent ban on fracking, and 100% renewable energy in electricity generation, buildings, and transportation by 2030

The Climate Center works toward electrifying buildings and vehicles using 100% clean energy sources such as solar and wind to eliminate fossil fuel-based emissions. 


Read more: https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/501147-dnc-climate-group-calls-for-larger-federal-investment-on-climate

Bold and just climate policy needed now: Support Climate-Safe California

The COVID-19 crisis, while devastating on many levels, has also increased trust in science and the role of government, essential to reversing the climate crisis.

We are (re)learning that we ignore science at our peril and advance preparation saves lives. As a society, COVID-19 is giving us a taste of what’s to come if we do not take significant steps to flatten the climate curve very soon.

Your generous gift today supports The Climate Center’s urgent efforts to flatten the climate curve fast, as the latest science demands.

Working from home–and in too many cases, losing jobs and having no options but to remain at home– has led to projections that global emissions could drop by more than 5.5% this year.

But even a 10% drop would result in warming emissions that are “higher than in any year before 2010. Emissions cuts in 2020 alone will, therefore, have little impact, unless they are followed by longer-lasting changes.”

COVID has spread lightning fast and unemployment has quickly skyrocketed. Similarly, the effects of climate change are hitting us harder and faster than ever before

With 9 of 15 global tipping points already activated, what we do today can either unleash an inhospitable hothouse Earth or secure a climate-safe future.

Although numerous organizations have been working on climate for many years, the speed at which the crisis is growing surpasses current efforts. We urgently need to make climate policy progress commensurate with the worsening climate reality.

Per the latest science, massive reductions of warming emissions with the beginning of drawdown from the atmosphere are required by 2030 to prevent catastrophic impacts. Our only hope is to enact bold policies now, not decades later.

The Climate Center’s new Climate-Safe California campaign aims to do just this.

Climate-Safe California is a powerful, comprehensive, and unique science-driven campaign, filling a major gap within today’s climate movement.

We must ensure that California commits soon to achieving drawdown greater than emissions (net-negative emissions) and resilient communities by 2030.

The time is now to enact the bold climate policies required by science to avoid catastrophic impacts, starting here in the world’s fifth-largest economy.

Establishing this critical deadline sets the stage for enacting a range of new policies to achieve massive greenhouse gas reductions, major increases in sequestration on working and natural lands with biodiversity and resilience co-benefits, and significant support to all of California’s communities to plan for and enact resilience measures.

Achieving Climate-Safe California’s vision is not a question of IF or WHEN. We have no choice but to make this a reality now to secure a healthy, vibrant future for all.

We are only as resilient as the most vulnerable, another stark lesson from COVID-19.

Indeed, we will only achieve these urgent goals by committing to enacting climate-safe policies that ensure lower-income communities are no longer disproportionately harmed. We understand that there cannot be climate justice without racial justice. 

We also understand that we will only achieve these urgent goals by securing a just transition for workers whose livelihoods depend on fossil fuel industries.

Your support of Climate-Safe California will help ensure that state policy timelines are accelerated while securing an equitable and just transition to a clean energy future.

As goes California, so goes the world. Climate-Safe California will catalyze global action to help secure a healthy, vibrant future for all.

As Congressman Jared Huffman, who enthusiastically joined almost 200 other endorsers, wrote:

 “I applaud Climate-Safe California for recognizing that solving our climate crisis requires setting the bar high enough to actually meet the challenge. I endorse this effort to keep California on that course, leading our country and the world toward climate solutions.”

COVID-19 has demonstrated that both individual actions and coordinated government action are essential. Governments have acted unusually fast, investing unbudgeted trillions into addressing the pandemic. The same must happen to solve the climate crisis.

Accelerating government policy timelines and increasing investments are key to channeling market forces that will ultimately allow everyone to participate in the clean energy economy.

Key to changing government policies is building a cross-sectoral, unified movement focused on timely climate action. Collectively, we will ensure that our leaders in Sacramento do the right thing.

Toward that end, The Climate Center team is working to secure endorsements, establish a diverse statewide alliance that bridges climate action silos, build clout in Sacramento, engage experts to develop policy pathway options, mobilize climate opinion leaders, and develop grassroots partners in key geographies of the state.  

We’ve met with almost 100 organizations, experts, and opinion leaders. We’ve hired specialists in policy and labor. We’ve secured support in the Governor’s revised budget to help local communities plan for clean energy and backup storage in anticipation of expanding fire seasons.

We’re gaining momentum and we need your help to keep moving forward!

Join us today by making your most generous gift to Climate-Safe California. Our future depends on it!

At a time when many nonprofits and businesses are cutting back due to COVID-19, our board recently recommitted to growing The Climate Center’s extraordinary efforts.

Thanks to you, we successfully demonstrated that speed and scale greenhouse gas reductions are achievable in California.

With your help, The Climate Center played a key role in facilitating the phenomenal growth of Community Choice Energy from just two agencies five years ago to 21 today—now serving 88% fossil-fuel-free energy to 11 million Californians, one-quarter of the state

We are building on this amazing success by collaborating with a wide range of interests from business and local government to labor and environmental justice groups across the state.

Together we will reshape our future—the healthy, vibrant, equitable, and climate-safe future that is still possible if we act today! 

“Climate-Safe California is the bold pathway that leads toward shared prosperity on a healthy planet – exactly what California and the world need now,” as L. Hunter Lovins, President of Natural Capitalism Solutions and Rocky Mountain Institute co-founder noted in her endorsement.

Please dig deep and be as generous as possible with a gift today (or mail to PO Box 3785, Santa Rosa, CA 95402). And please endorse Climate-Safe California today if you haven’t yet!

With your support, we will continue to advance our work to secure a climate-safe future for all. Thank you!

The Climate Center Stands Against Racism, Police Violence and Environmental Injustice

The Climate Center stands in solidarity with communities of color and with the protesters in the streets. We join them in demanding an end to institutional racism, police violence, white supremacy, and the environmental injustices that many Black, Brown, Asian and Indigenous communities experience daily.

Shared responsibility and equitable, inclusive solutions are fundamental values we strive to embody in our efforts to realize speed and scale greenhouse gas reductions.

Our urgent climate policy goals will only be achieved if we also close the climate gap and ensure that communities of color are no longer disproportionately harmed. There cannot be climate justice without racial justice. Read more here.

Deforestation, oil spills, and coronavirus: Crises converge in the Amazon

by 


Highlights

  • Brazil now has the second-highest number of documented COVID-19 cases, with 400,000 confirmed cases and 25,000 deaths
  • According to the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil, an indigenous rights organization, the mortality rate among the indigenous population of nearly one million is double that experienced in Brazil overall
  • The entire Amazon region has seen an estimated 2,278 positive cases and 504 deaths across approximately 73 different Amazon indigenous nations
  • Rapid deforestation is still occurring while the pandemic spreads through the Amazon
  • Under his administration, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has granted amnesty for fines for illegal deforestation, slashed budgets for environmental law enforcement, criticized scientists, and blamed indigenous communities for last years fires
  • Other environmental threats to the Amazon include two oil pipelines that collapsed in Ecuador, releasing roughly 15,000 barrels of oil into the Amazon’s waterways

Scientists are increasingly warning that to avoid catastrophic impacts from climate change, the world’s governments must implement massive reductions of warming emissions and begin a drawdown of greenhouse gases (GHG) from the atmosphere over the decade ahead. There are dozens of scalable solutions available now to reverse the climate crisis. Endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to avert dire consequences and inspire greater climate action worldwide.


Read More: https://grist.org/justice/deforestation-oil-spills-and-coronavirus-crises-converge-in-the-amazon/

Climate Justice is Racial Justice

The recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and too many others at the hands of police, are abhorrent and intolerable. Institutional racism, intentionally interwoven into the American fabric since long before our nation’s founding, has locked in major inequalities for people of color in wealth, income, education, health, jobs, housing, and public safety.

Black, Brown, and Indigenous people are more likely to be killed by police than white people, with virtually no officers charged, let alone convicted.

Toxic oil and gas infrastructure – from freeways to oil rigs–are often sited in communities of color, dangerously close to homes, schools, and hospitals due to historic redlining and redevelopment. Constantly in the pall of polluted air, they suffer from significantly lower life expectancy and higher rates of asthma, cancer, and other diseases than white people and those in wealthier neighborhoods.

And these same communities of color are being hit much harder by the dual pandemics of COVID19 and climate.

There cannot be climate justice without racial justice.

Shared responsibility and equitable, inclusive solutions are fundamental values we at The Climate Center strive to realize in our efforts to achieve speed and scale greenhouse gas reductions. We stand in solidarity with communities of color. We stand in solidarity with the protesters in the streets.

The climate movement cannot remain silent any longer. To achieve our urgent climate policy goals, we must close the climate gap to ensure communities of color are no longer disproportionately harmed. We must end police violence, white supremacy, and the environmental injustices that many Black, Brown, Asian and Indigenous communities experience daily.

Take action today. Learn about systemic racism, talk about it, speak out against it, practice anti-racism, and demand racial justice. Together we can ensure a just transition to a clean, green, and equitable future.

Following are a handful of the many resources available online: Systemic Racism Explained (short video), 5 Ways to Show Up for Racial Justice Today, Activism & Allyship Guide, 15 Things Your City Can Do Right Now to End Police Brutality, Anti-Racism Resources for White People, and 8 Ways Environmental Organizations Can Support the Movement for Environmental Justice.