June 11, 2019
Our title comes from a sign in the London Extermination Rebellion last month. Forces are aligning for a grand battle about whether to have a grand response as climate change begins to frighten more and more people. Some surprising side switching is going on too. We explore some of the details.…
First the news.

Action Alert! Stop the Williams NESE Pipeline —Send Comment Here!

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has decision making power to stop this pipeline. They have very specific, legal criteria that gives them the power to deny Williams’ application. Read below for more info and a link to all our ACTIONS to an easy-to-access, online prompts that helps you write your comment letter that will be sent direct to the DEC. We will continue to add a new subjects in the coming days.

Background: When the DEC denied Williams a WQC on May 15, 2019, a major reason it gave for the denial was the fact that the NESE project “would result in greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions, which cause climate change and thus indirectly impact water and coastal resources.” However … when Williams re-applied on May 17, 2019, it responded that, “without agreeing that this comment is relevant to the Water Quality Certification,” building the NESE would reduce GHG emissions… CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION TO FORM YOUR COMMENT ON CLIMATE AND WATER IMPACTS

Background: When the DEC denied Williams a WQC on May 15, 2019, a major reason it gave for the denial was that construction of the NESE “would have major impacts to habitats due to the disturbance of shellfish beds and other benthic resources.” However… in Williams’ re-application submitted on May 17, 2019 (“WQC Application”), it responded that, while indeed, construction of the proposed pipeline would indeed destroy whatever shellfish beds lay in its path, it would offer “compensatory mitigation.” CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION TO FORM YOUR COMMENT ON IMPACTS THIS PIPELINE WILL HAVE ON SHELLFISH & BENTHIC ORGANISMS THAT ARE CRUCIAL TO OUR ECOSYSTEM

Background: When the DEC denied Williams a WQC on May 15, 2019, a reason the DEC gave for the denial was that the construction schedule did not provide any buffers that would keep it from impinging on “time-of-year” restrictions should Williams encounter any delays. These restrictions ensure that vulnerable species can migrate and spawn without impediment. However… in Williams re-application on May 17, 2019, Williams responded that it had made the construction plan shorter to ensure that it wouldn’t impinge on the migration and spawning of sensitive marine species. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION TO FORM YOUR COMMENT ON THEIR UPDATED CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE AND HOW IT IS EVEN MORE HARMFUL

WATCH THIS SPACE FOR MORE! https://www.stopthewilliamspipeline.org/sendcomment

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New Jersey DEP Denies Permits for Natural Gas Pipeline Under Raritan Bay

DEP Denies Permits for Natural Gas Pipeline Under Raritan Bay – NJ Spotlight

Dredging of contaminated sediments and construction of compressor station near habitat for barred owl cited; company is expected to resubmit application

For the second time in less than a month, regulatory authorities have blocked, at least temporarily, a nearly $1 billion new natural gas pipeline that would cut through portions of New Jersey and under Raritan Bay to supply New York City and Long Island.

In a decision announced late on Wednesday, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection denied two crucial permits sought by the Williams Companies for the Transco Northeast Supply Enhancement project, although the application can be resubmitted with remedies for problems cited by the state agency.

In denying waterfront and coastal wetlands permits for the project, the DEP found the application failed to demonstrate a practical alternative to building a compressor station on 16 acres of land in Franklin Township near habitat for barred owl. The state also concluded that dredging of contaminated sediments with mercury, arsenic and PCBs would impair surface water quality in the bay.

Further reading: Working to Reverse the Legacy of Lead in New Jersey’s Raritan Bay

The denial of the permits is a significant victory for environmental groups, who deluged Gov. Phil Murphy’s office with calls and petitions opposing the project. It marks one of the few times they have stopped any of the dozen or so new fossil-fuel projects pending in New Jersey.…—Tom Johnson, “DEP Denies Permits for Natural Gas Pipeline Under Raritan Bay,” NJ Spotlight, 6/6/19

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NEW YORK STATE direct action TOUR WITH THE YOU ARE HERE MAP

Throughout May, June & July 2019, Sane Energy Project and 350.org will travel across New York on the ‘Sit, Stand Sing’ tour.

This tour is a collaboration with communities featured on the You Are Here map  of fracking infrastructure. Each tour stop entails trainings on organizing skills like strategy, direct action and movement building.

Our goal is to connect communities across the state to build the sustainable and renewable world we know is possible. 

Sign Up for an event near you:

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. We give greatest thanks to the Park Foundation for their generous grant to make this project possible.

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Action Alert! Fracked Gas in East Greenbush

Click to download full size flyer

National Grid plans to build a new pipeline from Bethlehem, under the Hudson River, across East Greenbush to North Greenbush to expand fracked gas use in the Capital District.  WE OPPOSE THIS PROJECT.

 

Join us to learn more and get involved. – Flyer attached

 

Pipeline Forum – East Greenbush Library

Wednesday June 12 at 7 pm

Speakers – Becky Meier, of Stop NY Fracked Gas Pipeline

                Jessica Azulay, of Alliance for a Green Economy

Burning of fracked gas increases greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to the climate crisis. Building the pipeline will disrupt our community, and release toxic chemicals in our neighborhoods, right across the river from Albany. 

This pipeline is not needed. It is a desperate attempt by Niagara Mohawk to increase profits for a few more years when they know the gas industry is dying.  Their profits will be at the expense of our climate and our community. Help us stop this dangerous project!

For more info:

Facebook page: Albany Loop/ E37 Fracked Gas Pipeline Proposal Public Forum
Website: Community Advocates for a Sustainable Environment website
Email: Ruth Foster, rmfosterny@gmail.com

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After Standing Rock, protesting pipelines
can get you a decade in prison and $100K in fines

After Standing Rock, protesting pipelines can get you a decade in prison and $100K in fines

The push to punish pipeline protestors has spread across the U.S.

Cherri Foytlin and her fellow protestors spent much of last summer suspended 35-feet in the air in “sky pods” tied to cypress trees. They were hoping to block the Bayou Bridge Pipeline from running through their part of Louisiana.

At the time, Energy Transfer Partners was building the pipeline to move oil between Texas and St. James Parish in southern Louisiana, crisscrossing through the Atchafalaya Basin, one of the largest swamps in the country. Foytlin and others with the group L’Eau Est La Vie (“Water Is Life”) set up wooden platforms between trees along the proposed path of the pipeline. The construction crew couldn’t build the pipeline with a protestor dangling above.

Though the protesters were on private land with the landowner’s permission, some were eventually arrested by St. Martin’s Parish Sheriff’s deputies in mid August. The pipeline was completed in March, yet Foytlin could still face up to five years in prison and $1,000 in fines.

That’s because Louisiana’s Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, signed HB 727 into law last spring, making trespassing on “critical infrastructure” property a much more serious crime than garden-variety trespassing. What was once a misdemeanor is now a felony. The law takes a broad view of what’s “critical”: pipelines, natural gas plants, and other facilities, as well as property on a proposed pipeline route, even if the pipeline isn’t there yet.…—Naveena Sadasivam, “After Standing Rock, protesting pipelines can get you a decade in prison and $100K in fines,” Grist, 5/14/19

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Court to Big Fracking Company:
Trespassing Still Exists — Even for You

Court to Big Fracking Company: Trespassing Still Exists — Even for You

In a key property rights decision, two West Virginia residents scored a rare victory from the state Supreme Court.

Seven years ago this month, Beth Crowder and David Wentz told natural gas giant EQT Corp. that it did not have permission to come onto their West Virginia farm to drill for the natural gas beneath neighboring properties.

EQT had a lease that entitled the company to the gas directly beneath their farm, but it also wanted to use a new, 20-acre well pad to gather gas from 3,000 acres of adjacent or nearby leases.

The company ignored their warnings. It built roads and drilled a well, and it put in horizontal pipes stretching for miles in all directions.

Crowder and Wentz sued — and they’ve been fighting EQT in court ever since. On Wednesday, the West Virginia Supreme Court ended the matter with a surprisingly straightforward and unanimous conclusion: Going onto someone else’s land without their permission is trespassing.

Gas and other mineral companies must obtain permission from surface owners in order to use their land to reach reserves under other properties, Justice John Hutchison wrote for the court.

“The right must be expressly obtained, addressed, or reserved in the parties’ deeds, leases, or other writings,” he wrote.

Attorney Dave McMahon, who represented Crowder and Wentz, broke the news to them by phone.

“The short answer is, we won. And we won big time,” he said.…—Kate Mishkin, Ken Ward Jr., “Court to Big Fracking Company: Trespassing Still Exists — Even For You,” Truthout, 6/9/19

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Respect Existence or Expect Resistance

‘This Is an Emergency. We Need the Democrats to Act Like It’:
Outrage as DNC Announces It Will Not Host
2020 Debate on Climate Crisis

‘This Is an Emergency. We Need the Democrats to Act Like It’: Outrage as DNC Announces It Will Not Host 2020 Debate on Climate Crisis

“The DNC is silencing the voices of Democratic activists, many of our progressive partner organizations, and nearly half of the Democratic presidential field, who want to debate the existential crisis of our time.”

Sparking a torrent of backlash from Democratic White House contenders, environmental organizations, and youth climate leaders, the Democratic National Committee announced Wednesday that it will not host a climate-specific presidential primary debate and will punish candidates who attend a debate hosted by any other organization.

News of the DNC’s decision was made public by 2020 presidential candidate and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who was the first Democratic contender to call for a debate focused solely on the climate crisis.

“Today, my team received a call from the Democratic National Committee letting us know that they will not host a climate debate,” Inslee said in a statement. “Further, they explained that if we participated in anyone else’s climate debate, we will not be invited to future debates. This is deeply disappointing.”

“This move is a slap in the face to the hundreds of thousands of activists and all of the candidates calling on the DNC to hold a dedicated climate debate.” —Brandy Doyle, Credo Action

Inslee said he will pressure the DNC leadership to change its mind, arguing that the climate emergency “merits a full discussion of our plans” rather than the “short exchange of talking points” typical of past presidential debates.

Further reading Why Is the DNC Stifling Climate Change Debate in 2020?
Jay Inslee Says He May Defy the DNC on a Climate Change Debate
The Democratic Party Is Trying to Downplay Climate Change. Don’t Let It

“The DNC is silencing the voices of Democratic activists, many of our progressive partner organizations, and nearly half of the Democratic presidential field, who want to debate the existential crisis of our time,” Inslee said. “The next president must make defeating this crisis the top priority of the nation. And I will continue to do everything I humanly can to ensure the climate crisis is at the top of the national agenda.”…—Jake Johnson, “‘This Is an Emergency. We Need the Democrats to Act Like It’: Outrage as DNC Announces It Will Not Host 2020 Debate on Climate Crisis,” Common Dreams, 6/6/19

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US schools accused of censoring climate crisis message in graduation speeches

US schools accused of censoring climate crisis message in graduation speeches

Students say authorities have barred them from reading a prepared text encouraged by the Class of 0000 movement

Schools and colleges across the US have been accused of censoring students who have attempted to use their graduation speeches to speak out on the unfolding climate crisis.

A youth-led movement called Class of 0000 is encouraging students to read out a prepared text at their graduation ceremonies that warns of “catastrophic climate change” and tells elected leaders to “have plan to get to zero emissions, or get zero of our votes”.

More than 350 students set to speak at ceremonies as valedictorians, or in other roles, have pledged to read the message, but many have complained that educational authorities have barred them from doing so as the global climate emergency is deemed too political to mention.

In the US education system, a valedictorian is typically a student with the highest academic performance in the class. This student delivers a farewell speech for the class at its graduation.

Emily Shal, an 18-year-old senior, was told by her school that the climate message was “too controversial” for her graduation speech as class president. Shal read the speech at a talent show before the graduation ceremony and said she still received backlash from school authorities.

“The administration were very mad, they were pissed,” said Shal, who attends Whittier Tech high school in Haverhill, Massachusetts. “Everyone was telling me I was in trouble. They now consider me rogue and rebellious. I was really worried about repercussions.”

Worried that she would be dragged off stage if she made the climate speech, Shal decided to apologize and comply with the demand not to mention climate change at the ceremony last week. She said a large majority of her classmates consider climate a “huge topic” that needs to be addressed.

“The school thinks it is a political issue that shouldn’t be brought up,” she said. “My freedom of speech was definitely taken away. We are tearing down our home, the Earth, and it should be our No 1 concern in the world. But it’s not.”…—Oliver Milman, “US schools accused of censoring climate crisis message in graduation speeches,” The Guardian, 6/7/19

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The Great Insect Dying:
A global look at a deepening crisis

The Great Insect Dying: A global look at a deepening crisis

Recent surveys hint at an insect apocalypse. But are insects at risk globally? Mongabay talks with 24 scientists on 6 continents to find out in an exclusive new series.

  • Recent studies from Germany and Puerto Rico, and a global meta-study, all point to a serious, dramatic decline in insect abundance. Plummeting insect populations could deeply impact ecosystems and human civilization, as these tiny creatures form the base of the food chain, pollinate, dispose of waste, and enliven soils.
  • However, limited baseline data makes it difficult for scientists to say with certainty just how deep the crisis may be, though anecdotal evidence is strong. To that end, Mongabay is launching a four-part series — likely the most in-depth, nuanced look at insect decline yet published by any media outlet.
  • Mongabay interviewed 24 entomologists and researchers on six continents working in over a dozen nations to determine what we know regarding the “great insect dying,” including an overview article, and an in-depth story looking at temperate insects in the U.S. and the European Union — the best studied for their abundance.
  • We also utilize Mongabay’s position as a leader in tropical reporting to focus solely on insect declines in the tropics and subtropics, where lack of baseline data is causing scientists to rush to create new, urgently needed survey study projects. The final story looks at what we can do to curb and reverse the loss of insect abundance.

In recent months a debate over whether a global insect apocalypse is underway has raged in the mainstream media and among researchers. To assess the range of scientific opinion, Mongabay interviewed 24 entomologists and other scientists working on six continents, in more than a dozen countries, to better determine what we know, what we don’t, and, most importantly, what we should do about it. This is part one of a four-part exclusive series by Mongabay senior contributor Jeremy Hance. Read Part II, “Vanishing act in Europe and North America” here.

Dust stirred up by the wind turns a Kenyan sunset deep scarlet. Then, as day fades to night, millions, maybe billions, of insects, fly to the artificial lights of homes found at the edge of the bush. One of those residents is Dino Joseph Martins, and while his evidence is anecdotal, the entomologist is a highly qualified observer. Martins has vivid recollections of a time when the abundance of insects swirling around the lights illuminating his outdoor dinner table were staggering.

“You would struggle to sit down to eat your supper because you would have endless beetles and [flying] things falling in your bowl of soup,” he said. Today, “that happens far less.” Now, dinner in the African bush may be a pleasanter affair, but it’s much more disquieting.…—Jeremy Hance, “The Great Insect Dying: A global look at a deepening crisis,” Mongabay, 6/3/19

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Solar, onshore wind costs set to fall below new fossil fuel energy

Solar, onshore wind costs set to fall below new fossil fuel energy:…

LONDON (Reuters) – Electricity generated by onshore wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies will in the next year be consistently cheaper than from any fossil fuel source, a report showed on Wednesday, boosting the case for energy sources that don’t emit carbon.

The trend for cut-price renewable energy is already set but the report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) gives fresh evidence of the speed of the decline, driven by increased production runs and technology improvements.

“Onshore wind and solar PV are set by 2020 to consistently offer a less expensive source of new electricity than the least-cost fossil-fuel alternative without financial assistance,” said IRENA, a government-backed body that aims to support countries in their transition to sustainable energy sources.

Further reading New Report Details Vast Scope and Scale of Emerging Fracking Infrastructure Boom
GE ‘badly’ misjudged the clean energy transition, costing investors almost $193B: IEFFA

The global weighted average cost of electricity generated by concentrated solar power fell by 26% last year from a year earlier, data compiled by the agency showed. Bioenegy fell by 14%, solar PV and onshore wind by 13%, hydropower by 12% and geothermal and offshore wind by 1%.

Costs of $0.03 to $0.04 per kilowatt hour (kWh) for onshore wind and solar PV are already possible in some parts of the world.

Record-low auction prices for solar PV over the past couple of years in Chile, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates for example have seen a cost as low as $0.03/kWh, IRENA found.…—Nina Chestney, “Solar, onshore wind costs set to fall below new fossil fuel energy,” Reuters, 5/29/19

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Economy vs. Ecology

A rigorous indictment of our economic system which, based on unlimited growth, will kill us eventually if we don’t act. And we have to act fast, because there’s this threat of a sudden massive burst of methane from the arctic offshore looming over us…

How can all this be? Well, unfortunately we are led by money. It is acting like a virus that has infiltrated our minds and our cultures in every level in society.

Watch and share this video, as our survival depends on us understanding this basic principle by which our self-destructive society is organized. We have to change this principle immediately, collectively.

This is Stuart Scott’s most viewed talk from the COP20 back in 2014. It went viral in 2015 and was the most viewed video on this channel until recently. We are re-releasing it now, with improved visual quality, because we think it deserves all the attention it can possibly get.—Stuart Scott, “Economy vs. Ecology (Remastered),” UPFSI|YouTube, 6/6/19

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‘We’ve created a civilisation hell bent on destroying itself
– I’m terrified’, writes Earth scientist

Climate change: ‘We’ve created a civilisation hell bent on destroying itself – I’m terrified’, writes Earth scientist

Why radical changes to society are needed if we are to escape environmental disaster.

The coffee tasted bad. Acrid and with a sweet, sickly smell. The sort of coffee that results from overfilling the filter machine and then leaving the brew to stew on the hot plate for several hours. The sort of coffee I would drink continually during the day to keep whatever gears left in my head turning.

Odours are powerfully connected to memories. And so it’s the smell of that bad coffee which has become entwined with the memory of my sudden realisation that we are facing utter ruin.

It was the spring of 2011, and I had managed to corner a very senior member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) during a coffee break at a workshop. The IPCC was established in 1988 as a response to increasing concern that the observed changes in the Earth’s climate are being largely caused by humans.

Further reading White House Blocked Intelligence Agency’s Written Testimony Saying Climate Change Could Be ‘Possibly Catastrophic’
‘Existential’ Risk of Climate Crisis Could Lead to Civilizational Collapse by 2050, Warns Report

The IPCC reviews the vast amounts of science being generated around climate change and produces assessment reports every four years. Given the impact the IPPC’s findings can have on policy and industry, great care is made to carefully present and communicate its scientific findings. So I wasn’t expecting much when I straight out asked him how much warming he thought we were going to achieve before we manage to make the required cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.

“Oh, I think we’re heading towards 3°C at least,” he said.

“Ah, yes, but heading towards,” I countered: “We won’t get to 3°C, will we?” (Because whatever you think of the 2°C threshold that separates “safe” from “dangerous” climate change, 3°C is well beyond what much of the world could bear.)

“Not so,” he replied.

That wasn’t his hedge, but his best assessment of where, after all the political, economic, and social wrangling we will end up.

“But what about the many millions of people directly threatened,” I went on. “Those living in low-lying nations, the farmers affected by abrupt changes in weather, kids exposed to new diseases?”…—James Dyke, “Climate change: ‘We’ve created a civilisation hell bent on destroying itself – I’m terrified’, writes Earth scientist,” The Conversation, 5/24/19

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How Powerful Mining Corporations
Plunder the Global South with Impunity

How Powerful Mining Corporations Plunder the Global South Without Consequence

Corporate plunder in the global mining industry is severely aggravating social and economic inequalities.

The big driver of the world economy is a plundering process where powerful corporations loot the natural resources of low-income countries.

These highly influential multinational corporations (MNCs) facilitate the expatriation of profits and natural assets from resource-rich but capital-poor countries by engaging in a wide range of morally egregious profit maximization practices, such as:

  • Intentionally establishing operations in countries where it is possible to exploit low-wage workers.
  • Investing in locations where it is possible to take advantage of regressive tax codes.
  • Ensuring business-friendly production-sharing agreements with local governments.

These predatory practices carried out by MNCs deprive developing countries from being able to benefit equitably from their own natural resource supply and ultimately undermine their pursuit of emancipatory economic development policies.

How do systematic underdevelopment and exploitation of developing countries and their peoples occur? Two common strategies of corporate plunder through global extractive industries are rent-seeking and wage exploitation.

Who Controls the Global Extractive and Mining Industries?

Over the past several decades, multinational corporations have emerged as the primary actors in facilitating global trade and natural resource extraction, yielding tremendous profits.

Large corporations, which account for the bulk of international trade and resource extraction, have experienced rising rents under hyper-globalization, leading to heightened profits. This was confirmed by empirical analysis of the largest 2,000 MNCs, which revealed that the share of profits of extractive MNCs rose from 9.3 percent in 1996 to 13.3 percent in 2015.

Meanwhile, a separate study, which measured the influence of corporate power in the global supply chain (GSC), estimated that about 80 percent of global trade (in terms of gross exports) is linked to the international production networks of transnational corporations.…—Nate Singham, “How Powerful Mining Corporations Plunder the Global South Without Consequence,” Truthout, 6.9/19

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Scotland just became the first country to declare a climate emergency.

‘They want governments around the world to declare a climate emergency. They say that’s what the science tells us, and they are right.’

If there was ever a time to panic about climate change, it would be now. Temperatures have demonstrably risen over the past decades, and in October, the United Nations warned that we only had 12 (now 11) years until climate change becomes irreversible. It’s clear that we should have taken action a long time ago, but at this point, we have to effect change ASAP. Luckily, some countries are starting to realize this—like Scotland.

On April 29, “The Independent” reported that the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon declared a climate emergency and pledged to combat global warming. At the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) spring conference, Sturgeon acknowledged that youth climate strikers partially influenced her decision.

A few weeks ago I met some of the young climate change campaigners who’ve gone on strike from school to raise awareness of their cause,” Sturgeon said, per “The Independent.” “They want governments around the world to declare a climate emergency. They say that’s what the science tells us, and they are right.”

Today, as First Minister of Scotland, I am declaring that there is a climate emergency and Scotland will live up to our responsibility to tackle it,” she continued.…—Anna Sheffer, “Scotland just became the first country to declare a climate emergency,” GOOD Magazine, 6/5/19

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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 editor@thebanner.news.