April 30, 2019
This society, this culture, this civilization is overexposed and over-extended in so many dimensions that it can be described as metastable: in which its own posture leads to instability rather than stability (think of a triangular block resting on its base and getting a shove —and the same block balanced on its tip getting the same shove). This edition we explore a few dimensions of our overexposed position.
But first the news.
YOU ARE HERE
Mapping local fracking infrastructure
and communities of resistance
The You Are Here Map visualizes local fracking infrastructure connections in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The map is intended to connect people to local grassroots groups fighting gas infrastructure, and to be used as an educational tool for elected officials and community groups. Clic
k around, explore, learn and share.
The You Are Here Map project is a collaboration between Sane Energy Project and FracTracker Alliance. Thanks to everyone who contributed the process every step of the way. Special thanks to Clean Air Council for helping us to include great data. Other dataset credits go to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA); New York State GIS Clearinghouse; The PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for their information on frack waste.
Action Alert! Stop the Cricket Valley Fracked Gas Power Plant!
Demand a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for this unnecessary gas facility
Call Cuomo: 877-235-6537
Monday, Mothers Out Front delivered this letter to decision makers in Albany. Please show your support by calling Governor Cuomo today asking for a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Cricket Valley Energy Center.
Action Alert! Standing With Species
Write in Support
of A Pollinator-Friendly County Resolution
A Pollinator Friendly County Resolution proposed by citizen conservation group, Save the Pine Bush, was approved by committee and will voted on by the Albany County Legislature on Monday May 13, 2019.
The measure was proposed as one way counties can address insect declines at the local level by: planting native host and nectar plants in parks and along roadways; put out brochures to educate consumers about neonicotinoid free plant suppliers, untreated seeds and sustainable agriculture. Another brochure advises gardeners re most critical plants to support declining insects. The county also pledges to encourage conservation easements and pollinator education
To support this Resolution, please write Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy. Also. Please consider proposing a similar ordinance in your county!
Letter to the Editor: Clute Park Is Not For Sale
Seneca Lake’s Clute Park in Watkins Glen has endured as a public park for almost 100 years, beginning in 1922. The Downtown Revitalization Initiative committee decided to include Clute Park as a business development zone. A public park is not a blank slate for businesses to carve up for the images of a few. The ideas proposed by the DRI visualize Clute Park as a place suited for profit-making, for controlling public space for the desires of those who can afford to commandeer the public space for private use.
Clute Park is not for sale. It belongs to us, we the public, not we the development company. We the public pay for Clute Park, we support it, we need it. More importantly, we use it. We bring our children and grandchildren there to play, swim and enjoy the shady old trees and the magnificent access to the waters. Some of us fish there, use the skateboard facilities, play basketball, and when some of the grounds freeze in winter, we even ice skate there – no fee! We park along the canal for an unobstructed view of the lake and can visit there even in inclement weather. We attend festivals there and many have their weddings with Seneca Lake as witness. Any day of the year you might see some of us walking our dogs. Clute Park’s ancient (they’re older than almost all of us) trees are also lofty perches for the Bald Eagles who come to look for lunch. Clute Park is also a stop in the international wildlife migration routes with dozens of bird species camping out on the lake and grounds.
If you value Clute Park as your public access to Seneca Lake, with its unconstructed, natural environment, a place away from the hustle and bustle of business and commotion – a place proven to be a psychological necessity for human beings – then speak up. Contact the Mayor and Trustees of the Village of Watkins Glen, on their web site or call 607.535.2346. Do it now. —Mary Churchill, Watkins Glen
It’s On Each One of Us
In this video, Dahr Jamail, who chronicles the catastrophic reality of our situation, both in articles and in his new book ‘The End of Ice’, had a conversation with Stuart Scott in March 2019. In his own words: “Many many people get it now, and it’s time to take some radical steps. And that starts of course with each one of us, individually.”…—Dahr Jamail, Stuart Scott, “It’s On Each One of Us,” YouTube|UPFSI, 4/25/19
The risks of overinvestment in oil and gas
Overexposed: 1.5°C and the risks of overinvestment in oil and gas | Global Witness
The IPCC’s report on 1.5°C and the risks of over-investment in oil and gas
Overinvestment in oil and gas creates risks for investors, regardless of whether the world is effective in tackling climate change.
Overinvestment in oil and gas creates risks for investors, regardless of whether the world is effective in tackling climate change. Either investors face assets being stranded as demand for fossil fuels falls in a transition to a low carbon economy, or the over-investment contributes to excess emissions from fossil fuels, the failure to transition and the financial costs of a dramatically changed climate.
|Further reading||Global Climate Coalition: Documents Show How a Fossil Fuel Lobby Group Manipulated UN Climate Negotiations|
|Big oil is set to spend $5 trillion on fossil fuels we can’t afford to burn.|
This report assesses what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s landmark report on 1.5°C means for the future of investment in the upstream oil and gas industry. By comparing data from the IPCC’s climate models with forecasts from industry analysts Rystad Energy, this report demonstrates the degree to which future production and capital expenditure (CAPEX) is incompatible with limiting warming to 1.5°C.
In October 2018, the world’s leading authority on climate change published its groundbreaking report on limiting warming to 1.5°C, the temperature goal of the Paris climate agreement. The IPCC’s report demonstrated, unequivocally and comprehensively, the enormous risks from climate change that remain if warming reaches 2°C and the significant benefits of limiting warming to 1.5°C. The IPCC also found that limiting warming to 1.5°C is still possible if ambitious action is taken now, drawing on a range of climate scenarios demonstrating how that goal could be achieved.
Capital investment in new fields is incompatible with 1.5°C
Our analysis compared average oil and gas demand in the IPCC scenarios that are not reliant on high levels of future carbon capture or removal with industry production forecasts. It found that over the next decade:
- Any production from new oil and gas fields, beyond those already in production or development, is incompatible with limiting warming to 1.5°C;
- All of the $4.9 trillion forecast capex in new oil and gas fields is incompatible with limiting warming to 1.5°C; and,
- 9% of oil and 6% of gas production forecast from existing fields is incompatible with limiting warming to 1.5°C.
The oil and gas industry is at a crucial turning point. Capex has fallen by over a third since 2014, largely because of a slump in oil prices. Yet it is forecast to rise by over 85% over the next decade, reaching over $1 trillion a year. Two thirds of that investment is set to take place in new fields where development has not yet started and investments have not yet been sanctioned. Major capex projects that are forecast to be approved in new fields over the next decade include US domestic shale expansion, the Vaca Muerta shale in Argentina, the Kashagan oil field in Kazakhstan and the Yamal megaproject in Russia.…—Murray Worthy, “Overexposed: 1.5°C and the risks of over-investment in oil and gas,” Global Witness, 4/23/19
The World Economy Is A Pyramid Scheme
The World Economy Is A Pyramid Scheme, Steven Chu Says
The world economy is based on ever-increasing population, said Nobel laureate Steven Chu, a scheme that economists don’t talk about and that governments won’t face, a scheme that makes sustainability impossible and that is likely to eventually fail.
“The world needs a new model of how to generate a rising standard of living that’s not dependent on a pyramid scheme,” Chu said at the University of Chicago.
Chu didn’t specify what that new model would look like, but he offered a solution to the population growth the current one relies on.
“Increased economic prosperity and all economic models supported by governments and global competitors are based on having more young people, workers, than older people,” Chu said. “Two schemes come to mind. One is the pyramid scheme. The other is the Ponzi scheme. I’m not going to explain them both to you, you can look it up. But it’s based on growth, in various forms.”
For example, healthy young workers pay the health care costs for aging workers and retirees, the former energy secretary said, a scheme that requires increasing numbers of young workers. And economic growth requires more and more people to buy more and more stuff, with dire environmental consequences.
There are at least two problems with that:
• “Depending on a pyramid scheme or a Ponzi scheme, there’s no such thing as sustainability,” Chu said.
• As standards of living increase, population growth declines. So if the economy succeeds in raising standards of living, it undermines itself.…—Jeff McMahon, “The World Economy Is A Pyramid Scheme, Steven Chu Says,” Forbes, 4/5/19
Steven Chu is a co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics (1997) Former Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab & professor of physics & molecular & cellular biology. Dr. Chu served as the Secretary of Energy from January 21, 2009, to April 22, 2013.
Arctic Drilling Ruling Brings Hope to Native Villages, Subsistence Hunters
Arctic Drilling Ruling Brings Hope to Native Villages, Subsistence Hunters
Hunters worry about marine mammals and a way of life, but there are also some mixed feelings as the Trump administration goes full bore on oil and gas drilling.
If there is one place that has most felt the Trump administration’s push to rapidly expand fossil fuel development, it might be Nuiqsut, a small village nestled on Alaska’s North Slope.
The village has become almost entirely surrounded by oil and gas drilling over the past three decades, and the Trump administration has been aggressively pushing for more drilling in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, just west of the village, and off the coast to the north.
“It’s really overwhelming to try to keep up with everything that’s going on,” said Martha Itta, tribal administrator to the native village and also its vice mayor. She is one of a handful of people in the community trying to ensure the village has a voice as the federal government works to open offshore areas to drilling, rewrite the management plan for the National Petroleum Reserve and clear the way for companies to expand drilling. “There’s a lot of times when we miss out submitting comments on projects or we didn’t fully get to analyze what’s being said and done in these projects,” she said.
On Friday, a federal judge brought a rare wave of relief for Itta with a ruling that effectively halted plans for offshore drilling in much of the Arctic Ocean off Alaska.
More than three-quarters of the residents of Nuiqsut, a village of 400, live off the food they hunt and the fish they catch. In the fall, whaling crews travel more than 75 miles to Cross Island, and a successful hunt means ample food for the community. “The ocean is connected to our river, so our fish flow through there. Our whales. It’s all connected,” said Itta. “It would affect our diet and what we eat. Our way of life, pretty much.”…—Sabrina Shankman, “Arctic Drilling Ruling Brings Hope to Native Villages, Subsistence Hunters,” InsideClimate News, 4/3/19
‘We’ve got the message’: Michael Gove
tells climate protesters to end disruption
‘We’ve got the message’: Michael Gove tells climate protesters to end disruption
Michael Gove has told environmental protesters “we’ve got the message” as campaigners vow the disruption in London will continue for weeks. The Environment Secretary’s comments came after some activists glued themselves to a train and others chained themselves to Jeremy Corbyn’s garden fence. A total of 340 people
Michael Gove has told environmental protesters “we’ve got the message” as campaigners vow the disruption in London will continue for weeks.
The Environment Secretary’s comments came after some activists glued themselves to a train and others chained themselves to Jeremy Corbyn’s garden fence.
A total of 340 people had been arrested by Wednesday evening during ongoing protests in Parliament Square, Waterloo Bridge, Oxford Circus and Marble Arch this week.
Scotland Yard could not confirm whether or not anyone had been charged with any criminal offences.
Asked about the Extinction Rebellion protests on the BBC’s The One Show, Mr Gove said: “I do worry sometimes about some of the scenes we’ve seen and some of the activity that goes on.
“So I think it’s appropriate for people to make their feelings known but I also think, we’ve got the message, we understand that action needs to be taken.
“And in fact some of the activity that’s been going on on the streets has actually stopped people doing their jobs and also impeded, for example, people getting around London in a way that’s appropriate.”
XR, who are demanding a meeting with the Government to discuss what they describe as an impending climate disaster, says that direct action is needed to force authorities to act urgently on climate change and wildlife declines and halt a “sixth mass extinction”.
One Show presenter and naturalist Chris Packham joined protesters at Oxford Circus, saying: “I believe the world’s leaders are not acting urgently enough to avert a climate catastrophe.
“As long as it is peaceful and democratic then they can count on my support.”
Taking a fence
The comments come after four members of the group used a bike lock to attach themselves to a fence and glued their hands together outside Jeremy Corbyn’s house.
Two of the protesters, who said they “support” the Labour leader, were in tears after Mr Corbyn declined to arrange a meeting outside his home.
David Lambert, 60, who walked from Gloucester to London to glue himself to Mr Corbyn’s fence, told The Guardian: “We are here because we are supporters of Jeremy Corbyn and he is the best hope this country has got to get us out of this.
“But we need system change and a transformation of our consumer economy and we know he is a person who has the authority and power to deliver that.”…—Benjamin Butterworth, “Extinction Rebellion: Michael Gove tells climate activists ‘we’ve got the message’ as they threaten weeks of disruption,” iNews, 4/17/19
Rethink Activism in the Face of Catastrophic Biological Collapse
Rethink Activism in the Face of Catastrophic Biological Collapse
In a world where a future is no longer guaranteed, where do we find the motivation to act? Here’s a framework.
This is a hard piece to write, partly because we, too, are baffled. Environmental collapse, coupled with living in the sixth mass extinction, are new territory. We are still in the process of confronting the reality of living with the prospect of an unlivable planet. These thoughts emerge out of our sober forays into an uncertain future, searching for the right ways to live and serve in the present. The second reason for our reluctance to share this contemplation is anticipation of the grief, anger and fear it may trigger. We visit these chambers of the heart frequently, and know the challenges of deep feeling, particularly in a culture that denies feelings and pathologizes death.
As the unthinkable settles in our skin, the question of what to do follows closely. What is activism in the context of collapse? Professor of sustainability leadership and founder of the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS) at the University of Cumbria (UK) Jem Bendell’s definition of collapse is useful: “the uneven ending of our current means of sustenance, shelter, security … and identity.” Bendell isn’t the first to warn of collapse — NASA warned of it five years ago. Anyone who takes in the realities of our times will need to find their own relationship to the hard truths about converging environmental, financial, political and social unraveling. There are billions on the planet who are already experiencing the full direct effects of this right now. Forty percent of the human population of the planet is already affected by water scarcity. Humans have annihilated 60 percent of all animal life on the planet since 1970.
Described here, borrowing from Bendell’s analysis, are three responses to imminent collapse. The first is characterized by intensifying efforts to fix the mess we have created. The idea here is that if we just work harder, we can change the situation. The second is mitigation of inevitable suffering and loss, easing the pain and harm that is already underway. Mitigation slows the demise down, giving us the time for the third, which is adaptation to the life-threatening scenarios before us, or in Bendell’s words, “deep adaptation.”
The three-tier framework we’re suggesting is more like a spectrum, and the tiers interlace at times. As our understanding of the biosphere catastrophe evolves, we may shift our focus of activism. Our age and stage of life also affect where we invest our lifeblood.…—Dahr Jamail, Barbara Cecil, “Rethink Activism in the Face of Catastrophic Biological Collapse,” Truthout, 3/5/19
Court rules Trump can’t OK mining on public lands
without environmental reviews
PUBLIC LANDS: Judge: Trump can’t OK mining without environmental reviews
A federal judge has ruled the Trump administration must complete an environmental analysis before lifting an Obama-era moratorium on coal leasing on public lands. It’s the latest blow to President Trump’s efforts to expand fossil fuel production.
The Trump administration must complete an environmental analysis to support its decision to lift an Obama-era moratorium on coal leasing on public lands, a federal judge ruled Friday.
Judge Brian Morris for the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana stopped short of requiring the broad programmatic environmental impact statement that Obama Interior Secretary Sally Jewell had begun, but he ordered Trump officials to initiate some level of National Environmental Policy Act review.
The decision is a major blow — the latest of many — to the Trump administration’s efforts to expand fossil fuel production.
Shortly after taking his post, former Trump Interior chief Ryan Zinke halted the previous administration’s review of the coal program and called for expedited coal lease applications and modifications (Greenwire, March 29, 2017).
“The legal consequences that flow from the Zinke Order are evident,” Morris wrote in a late Friday ruling.
“With the Zinke Order’s implementation, all BLM land became subject to lease applications with terms of twenty years,” Morris found, referring to the Bureau of Land Management. “The Zinke Order directed new lease applications to be ‘expedit[ed].’ The PEIS process immediately stopped without full review of the concerns raised in the Jewell Order.”…—Pamela King, “PUBLIC LANDS: Judge: Trump can’t OK mining without environmental reviews,” E&E News, 4/22/19
Banks increasing exposure to fossil fuels
despite promises to fight climate change
Banks increasing exposure to fossil fuels despite promises to fight climate change: report
Australia’s major banks have been getting back into fossil fuels over the past year — casting doubt on their seriousness in tackling climate change through their investments — according to environmental campaign group Market Forces.
The group’s analysis compared the banks’ reported exposures to fossil fuels and renewable energy over the past year.
|Further reading||Companies, investors go green to make more money, HSBC says|
|Why Australian company directors have started caring about climate change|
|Can we quit coal in time to avoid climate change catastrophe?|
Since committing to supporting the Paris Agreement, the major banks’ exposures to coal, oil and gas had been falling significantly year on year, it said, but a review of the banks’ reporting in 2018 showed a mixed bag, with some of the banks increasing their exposure to fossil fuels.
The study found that between 2015 and 2017 the big four banks were shedding exposure to fossil fuels – coal mining, oil and gas extraction, coal power and gas power – at more than 10 per cent per year.…—Nassim Khadem, “Banks increasing exposure to fossil fuels despite promises to fight climate change: report,” Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 1/15/19
World’s second largest emperor penguin colony
World’s second largest emperor penguin colony ‘disappears overnight’
Thousands of chicks drowned after an ice shelf in Antarctica collapsed
The world’s second largest emperor penguin colony is believed to have been effectively wiped out overnight, with thousands of chicks drowning after an ice shelf in Antarctica collapsed.
Since the catastrophic collapse of the ice sheet at Halley Bay in 2016, no breeding has been detected in the area, scientists say.
Usually 15,000 to 24,000 breeding pairs of emperor penguins flock each year to the breeding site – around 5-9 per cent of the entire global emperor penguin population.
The bay in the Weddell Sea was previously considered a refuge for penguins in one of the coldest parts of the continent, and was expected to remain suitable for penguins this century despite climate change affecting Antarctic sea ice.
Yet almost no emperor penguins have been there since, according to a team from the British Antarctic Survey, who used high-resolution satellite photographs of the birds’ guano over time, to reveal the findings.
“We haven’t seen a breeding failure on a scale like this in 60 years,” says one of the study’s authors Phil Trathan, who is head of conservation biology at the British Antarctic Survey.…—Harry Cockburn, “World’s second largest emperor penguin colony ‘disappeared overnight’ with thousands of chicks wiped out,” The Independent, 4/25/19
Our Mother Earth Says #MeToo
XR Opening Speech, London, 15 April 2019
Our Mother Earth Says #MeToo – XR Opening Speech, London, 15 April 2019
I’m glad to be here in Oxford Circus where today we challenge the circus of lies that is our political system and mainstream media.
I am an academic, a Professor at a University. So my profession is meant to be all about finding and sharing truths. But I discovered that most of us have been too afraid to look closely at what is happening in our world and what we are doing to it.
For over 20 years I slaved away at changing business and finance to be a little kinder to people and planet. Then a couple of years ago I was invited to speak at a conference on climate change and business. As the time to speak came close I felt a rising fear. To get up on stage and give another pep talk? To say well done and let’s do more? It had begun to feel like a lie. I ditched my standard speech and told a room of climate specialists that I think it is too late to save this system. Too late for tinkering around the edges. I spoke without any idea what it means we should do now. Apart from how we must stop pretending to ourselves and to the world. And start speaking our truth.
We have come out on to the streets today to raise our voices in alarm. We knew climate change was coming, but we didn’t know how fast. 17 of the last 18 years were the hottest ever recorded. We have woken up to the warm dawn of dangerously hot century. Forests are catching fire, harvests failing, animals and insects dying off in vast numbers. The extra energy trapped from our carbon emissions is warming the oceans by as much as if six atomic bombs are going off every second. That’s an explosion of warming and turbulence that we cannot turn off.
Our media have failed us. When it was over 20 degrees during mid-winter most of us thought it was nice but weird and scary. But on TV and newspapers we were told how people were just happy to be basking in the warmth. The same journalists scoff at climate change when a blast of Arctic air is forced down on Britain precisely because of the breakdown of normal air patterns.
Last year we saw how chaotic weather could begin to threaten our own lives.
In the UK and in many European countries we grew a fifth less vegetables and grains because it was too hot and dry. Imagine that year on year, globally, and worse. If the authorities think today is a bit of a headache imagine if we were all hungry right now.
In the last few years we have seen more worrying information from the world’s most credible organisations. Just last month the UN’s weather organisation reported that the global sea level is rising faster and faster. That tells us that the warming of our global climate is speeding up. Which suggests the Earth has begun to heat itself because of what we have started.
So I’m sorry, our future climate is not under our control.
So what do we do? Go home?
We gather and rebel not with a vision of a fairy-tale future where we have fixed the climate, but because it is right to do what we can. To slow the change. To reduce the harm. To save what we can. To invite us back to sanity and love.
The truth is we are scared and we are brave enough to say so.
The truth is we are grieving and we are proud enough to say so.
The truth is we are traumatised and we are open enough to say so.
We are angry and we are calm enough to say so and invite others to join us.
And though we are uncertain, we are smart enough to say so.…—Jem Bendell, “Our Mother Earth Says #MeToo – XR Opening Speech,” Jem Bendell Blog, 4/15/19
And That’s A Wrap! Thanks to everyone who sent in news, action announcements and comments this week. Send kudos, rotten tomatoes and your story ideas, your group’s action events, and news of interest to intrepid climate change and environmental justice warriors! Send to firstname.lastname@example.org.