Jagmeet Singh’s call for fossil fuels ban leapfrogs the Leap Manifesto

“The NDP is coming late to the issue of dealing comprehensively with climate change. Can it compete effectively with Elizabeth May’s Greens on this front? We shall see.” – Thomas Walkom

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on May 7 in Ottawa. “The NDP is coming late to the issue of dealing comprehensively with climate change. Can it compete effectively with Elizabeth May’s Greens on this front?” asks Thomas Walkom.
Jagmeet Singh’s New Democrats have discovered climate change. 

The party had been reluctant to take too uncompromising a stand on global warming for fear of alienating potential voters. That reluctance has gone.

Now the NDP is calling for an end to the entire fossil-fuel industry in Canada.

“The future of our country cannot involve fracking,” Singh said Monday in Ottawa, referring to a controversial method of drilling for oil and natural gas. “It cannot involve the burning of any fossil fuel.”

He said Canada must adhere to carbon reduction targets that are much stricter than those proposed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government if it to seriously fight climate change.

And he declared that he now opposes ambitious plans by British Columbia’s NDP government to build a massive liquefied natural gas project in the province’s north.

[In the past] the Leap Manifesto’s call to ban any new fossil-fuel energy projects, from pipelines to fracking, was seen as too radical. No more. Now, with his call for a Canada free of fossil fuels, Singh has outleapt the Leapers. MORE

 

Evidence for man-made global warming hits ‘gold standard’: scientists

Scientists say humanity cannot afford to ignore these clear signals. However Canada’s entrenched neoliberal politicians seem to be tone deaf: massively subsidizing fossil fuel production and refusing to leave fossil fuels in the ground. The NDP and Greens are the only ones listening.

Illustration of earth melting because of global warming.

There’s a 99.9999 percent chance that humans are the cause of global warming, a new study reported Monday. Getty Images

OSLO (Reuters) – Evidence for man-made global warming has reached a “gold standard” level of certainty, adding pressure for cuts in greenhouse gases to limit rising temperatures, scientists said on Monday.

“Humanity cannot afford to ignore such clear signals,” the U.S.-led team wrote in the journal Nature Climate Change of satellite measurements of rising temperatures over the past 40 years.

They said confidence that human activities were raising the heat at the Earth’s surface had reached a “five-sigma” level, a statistical gauge meaning there is only a one-in-a-million chance that the signal would appear if there was no warming.

Such a “gold standard” was applied in 2012, for instance, to confirm the discovery of the Higgs boson subatomic particle, a basic building block of the universe.

“The narrative out there that scientists don’t know the cause of climate change is wrong,” he told Reuters. “We do.”

Mainstream scientists say the burning of fossil fuels is causing more floods, droughts, heat waves and rising sea levels. MORE

 

Energy democracy: taking back power

Energy democracy: Coal to wind

Executive summary

Electric utility (re)municipalization is gaining popularity as a strategy to shift away from a reliance on fossil fuel extraction in the context of combating climate change. Across the world—from Berlin to Boulder—communities have initiated campaigns to take back their power from investor-owned (private) utilities and create publicly owned and operated utilities. Moreover, such efforts are increasingly taking on the perspective and language of energy democracy.

Energy democracy seeks not only to solve climate change, but to also address entrenched systemic inequalities. It is a vision to restructure the energy future based on inclusive engagement, where genuine participation in democratic processes provides community control and renewable energy generates local, equitably distributed wealth (Angel, 2016; Giancatarino, 2013a; Yenneti & Day, 2015). By transitioning from a privately- to a publicly owned utility, proponents of energy democracy hope to democratize the decision-making process, eliminate the overriding goal of profit maximization, and quickly transition away from fossil fuels.

Utilities are traditionally profit-oriented corporations whose structures are based on a paradigm of extraction. Following the path of least resistance, they often burden communities who do not have the political or financial capital to object to the impacts of their fossil fuel infrastructure. Residents living within three miles of a coal plant, for instance, are more likely to earn a below-average annual income and be a person of color (Patterson et al., 2011); similar statistics have been recorded for natural gas infrastructure (Bienkowski, 2015).

These utilities are in a moment of existential crisis with the rise of renewables. From gas pipelines to coal power plants, their investments are turning into stranded assets, as political leaders and investors realize that eliminating fossil fuels from the energy mix is paramount to creating healthy communities and stemming climate change. MORE

It’s time to stop calling climate activists hypocrites

The talking point is based on a logical fallacy, and those who employ it should stop

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Ever heard the argument that climate protesters are hypocrites because they drive cars, use petroleum products and otherwise don’t practice what they preach? It’s a PR line designed to shut down criticism without addressing its substance, and, what’s worse, it’s a logical fallacy.

This isn’t about politics. Everyone has the right to their opinion, and if yours is that climate change isn’t real, or isn’t a threat, or that it is but we should keep burning fossil fuels anyway, you’re welcome to it. But if your argument rests on a non-sequitur, then don’t be surprised when the rest of us point and laugh when you trot it out.

The central fallacy is this: one doesn’t need to abstain from using the oil that powers society today in order to argue for change tomorrow.

Whether you agree with them or not, climate activists are participating in a social debate over how we respond to climate change. They’re advocating for a broad shift away from fossil fuels and a corresponding investment in renewable energy. In many cases they’re just arguing that government subsidies currently going to oil companies should be redirected to the development of alternative energy sources.

“We must fight in the world we have, not the world we want.”

They aren’t denying they use petroleum products; we all do. They’re arguing that this fact itself is a problem and advocating for societal change. MORE

 

Will there be a market for the coming explosion of electric cars?

EVs will become as cheap to own as gas-powered vehicles in 2022, even with no tax breaks or subsidies. But can we count on car buyers make the rational choice?

[Source Image: Volkswagen]

Electric vehicles still make up only a tiny fraction of total car sales. But in 2017, the industry reached a new milestone, selling more than 1 million cars. In 2018, sales may have more than doubled. By 2022, according to a recent report from Deloitte, electric cars will reach a tipping point: owning an electric vehicle will be as cheap as owning one that runs on fossil fuels, and sales will grow much more quickly.

“By 2022, we believe EVs will reach cost parity with gasoline or diesel vehicles regardless of subsidies,” says Jamie Hamilton, the U.K. automotive strategy lead at Deloitte. In some markets, because of subsidies, electric cars have already reached that point. The numbers consider the total cost of ownership–that is, not just the sticker price, but how much less it costs to charge an electric car each year instead of buying gas or diesel, and how much less the vehicles cost to maintain.

If you live in the U.K., Germany, France, the Netherlands, or Norway, an electric car is already a better deal, according to another recent report from the International Council for Clean Transportation. MORE

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What is the Green New Deal and how would it benefit society?

This story was originally published by The Guardian and appears here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey, along with dozens of co-sponsors, have introduced a vision for the Green New Deal. One Republican called it a “socialist manifesto”. Many environmental advocacy groups have hailed it, but some say it doesn’t go far enough. Others warn that its broad scope and the long list of progressive social programs it endorses could hinder its climate efforts.

So what is the Green New Deal?

The proposal outlines the broad principles of a plan simultaneously to fight inequity and tackle climate change. It does not contain policy details or advocate for specific ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But with a broad brush it aims to make the US carbon-neutral – net zero carbon emissions – in 10 years.

The Green New Deal recognizes that transition would require massive change. It endorses ways of ensuring that vulnerable populations – including the poor, people of color, indigenous populations and communities already facing environmental degradation – take part in the planning process and benefit from the green economy.

Would it end the use of coal, oil and natural gas?

No. But it would aim to offset any remaining greenhouse gas pollution with forests that absorb carbon dioxide, for example. It does not specifically address what role nuclear power or fossil fuels with carbon capture technologies would play. Nuclear power represents half of the carbon-free energy in the US, but it runs on mined uranium. Fossil fuels with carbon capture would still require drilling and cause pollution.

How ambitious is the Green New Deal?

Incredibly ambitious, both on climate change and with its reimagining of society.

Fossil fuels are deeply embedded in the US economy. Of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the US in 2016, 28% were from electricity, 28% were from transportation, 22% were from industry, 11% were commercial and residential and 9% were from agriculture. MORE

Fossil fuels are bad for your health and harmful in many ways besides climate change

Fossil fuels are bad for your health and harmful in many ways besides climate change

Pumpjacks dot the Kern River oil field outside Bakersfield, Calif. Credit: James William Smith/Shutterstock.com

Many Democratic lawmakers aim to pass a Green New Deal, a package of policies that would mobilize vast amounts of money to create new jobs and address inequality while fighting climate change.

Led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, they are calling for massive investments in  and other measures over a decade that would greatly reduce or even end the nation’s overwhelming reliance on fossil fuels.

As experts in environmental geographysociology, and sustainability science and policy, we wholeheartedly support this effort. And, as we explained in a recently published study,  is not the only reason to ditch fossil fuels.

While conducting our research, we constantly encounter new evidence that depending on fossil fuels for energy harms people and communities at every point along fossil fuel supply chains, especially where coal, oil and natural gas are extracted.

The , oil and  industries are also major contributors to human rights violationspublic health disasters and environmental devastation. MORE

A critical solution to climate change is right here in the West

In pursuit of a ‘Green New Deal,’ don’t forget public lands.

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Saint Mary Lake in Glacier National Park, Montana. DAVE SIZER/FLICKR

Despite the willful denunciation of proven climate science by the White House and some members of Congress, there is a hopeful awakening in the United States: Young activists are stepping forward to demand a Green New Deal that guarantees climate action, justice and economic security for all.

It is not a single law, but rather a collection of policies that embody many of the actions needed to expand clean energy, grow job opportunities, reduce climate pollution, improve air and water quality, and enhance the resilience of communities

In any plan to help us transition from an economy built on fossil fuels to one driven by clean energy, our public lands should feature prominently. MORE

‘Momentum is growing’: reasons to be hopeful about the environment in 2019

As we reflect on a year of extreme weather and ominous climate talks, Guardian environment writer Fiona Harvey explains why 2019 could see some much-needed breakthroughs

People enjoying the heatwave on Bournemouth beach in Dorset as the hot weather spread across the UK in summer, marking the driest start to a summer since modern records began in 1961.
 People enjoying the heatwave on Bournemouth beach in Dorset as the hot weather spread across the UK in summer, marking the driest start to a summer since modern records began in 1961. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA

There are clear signs of hope on climate change also in the rapidly falling cost of renewable energy technology, which is now competitive with fossil fuels. And the Keep it in the ground campaign has succeeded in encouraging many investors to move their money out of fossil fuel stocks.

Avoiding meat and dairy is “single biggest way” to reduce your impact on Earth

But most of all the civil society campaigns which have ramped up in 2018 and look set to increase their momentum in the coming year are taking effect. Public opinion around the world is that our leaders, governments and businesses should be doing more on this vital issue. This can be seen in some unexpected ways, such as the rise of veganism and flexitarian eating, as people seek to reduce their impact on the climate from eating meat. Through well-publicised and effective movements and actions, more and more people are refusing silently to acquiesce in ignoring the dangers to the climate. SOURCE

100+ Cities Commit to Clean with 100% Renewable Energy

We have some very good news to share.

Commit to Clean: 100 City Celebration

Just a few days ago, a huge milestone in our collective journey to 100% renewable energy was reached when Cincinnati, Ohio became the 100th city to pledge a switch to 100% renewable electricity by 2035. With your help, we’ve seen cities across the country make the pledge, from Denton, Texas to Santa Barbara, California. With every city that Commits to Clean through 100% renewable energy, we take another important step toward reducing the negative health effects caused by climate change and the burning of fossil fuels. The solution is here and we’ve seen that it not only is attainable—it’s a solution being embraced across the nation because of the power in our collective voice. MORE

Take Action

Cities and communities across the country are ready for a just transition to 100% clean, renewable energy! Tell your mayor and local leaders you’re ready for 100% clean energy for all! TAKE ACTION