March 2010

Pledge to Call Your Senators March 1, 2010 : 3:00 PM

Repower America is asking its members to pledge to call their Senator this week and ask them to “support a strong clean energy and climate bill that will create more jobs and less pollution.”

You can take this vital action today by clicking here.

Our goal is to bombard Senate offices with more then 20,000 calls, demonstrating the significant public support for solving the climate crisis.

Senator John Kerry is wrapping up his climate bill in the next two weeks, so action now is more important then ever before.

Pledge to make a call today by clicking here.


Reid Wants a Bill ASAP March 2, 2010 : 3:56 PM

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has told John Kerry that he would like a climate bill to bring to the floor of the Senate ASAP. Last week John Kerry told reporters:

"The majority leader is deadly serious about making progress this year on climate and energy reform. He's been a hero every step of the process and he's been in constant communication. Senators Lieberman, Graham and I have been meeting every day and we're on a short track here, piecing together legislation and working with our colleagues so it can be finished and rolled out soon."

Right now we need to increase the pace of our efforts. Call your Senator today and ask them to “support a strong clean energy and climate bill that will create more jobs and less pollution” by clicking here.


Coral Reefs Disintegrating March 3, 2010 : 6:58 PM

Another sad result of the climate crisis:

"The world's coral reefs will begin to disintegrate before the end of the century as rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere make the oceans more acidic, scientists warn."

"The research points to a looming transition in the health of coral = ecosystems during which the ability of reefs to grow is overwhelmed by the rate at which they are dissolving."

"More than 9,000 coral reefs around the world are predicted to disintegrate when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels reach 560 parts per million. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today stands at around 388ppm, but is expected to reach 560ppm by the end of this century."


$2.2 Trillion!!! March 5, 2010 : 9:23 AM

Every year the world’s largest companies cause $2.2 trillion in environmental damage to the planet and most of the time pick up none of the tab. According to the Guardian:

"The cost of pollution and other damage to the natural environment caused by the world's biggest companies would wipe out more than one-third of their profits if they were held financially accountable, a major unpublished study for the United Nations has found."

"The report comes amid growing concern that no one is made to pay for most of the use, loss and damage of the environment, which is reaching crisis proportions in the form of pollution and the rapid loss of freshwater, fisheries and fertile soils."

"Later this year, another huge UN study - dubbed the "Stern for nature" after the influential report on the economics of climate change by Sir Nicholas Stern - will attempt to put a price on such global environmental damage, and suggest ways to prevent it. The report, led by economist Pavan Sukhdev, is likely to argue for abolition of billions of dollars of subsidies to harmful industries like agriculture, energy and transport, tougher regulations and more taxes on companies that cause the damage."

More than half of this damage is caused by the emissions of greenhouse gasses. The longer we delay, the more it will cost future generations to clean up our mess.

That is why it is vital that you call your Senator this week and demand they “support a strong clean energy and climate bill that will create more jobs and less pollution.” Take action today by clicking here.


Extreme Ice March 7, 2010 : 5:19 PM

NOVA has produced an extremely informative hour-long show called Extreme Ice. For example, the first section of the show, titled “In Extremis,” explores how:

"Around the world, glaciers and ice sheets have begun breaking apart and accelerating toward the oceans faster than ever imagined possible. With his Extreme Ice Survey, photographer James Balog is trying to alert the world to this unsettling fact."

You can watch the show online by clicking here.


63,000 Calls in 72 Hours March 8, 2010 : 6:22 PM

Congratulations to all the members of Repower America who made more than 63,000 calls to their Senators last week.

Everyday we are moving closer and closer to passing climate and green jobs legislation and that is due to your efforts. I’ll be calling on you to take action again in the next few weeks, and I know you’ll come through.


Great Article By Maggie Fox March 9, 2010 : 5:37 PM

Last week, Alliance for Climate Protection CEO Maggie Fox posted an excellent piece at the National Journal’s Energy and Environment Experts Blog.

She wrote:

“Despite what the professional skeptics might claim, the overwhelming consensus on global warming remains unchanged. Less than a handful of small mistakes in a 4,000-page document do not undermine decades and volumes of important, careful scientific research, no matter what the paid pundits and pessimists try to spin. We cannot ignore that global temperatures have steadily increased in the past century, or that the past 10 years were the hottest decade on record. These are facts. Nor can we ignore that as the climate crisis worsens, we could see more severe flooding, more destructive hurricanes and longer droughts.”

“We have every reason to be confident in the overall conclusions of the U.N. report, which is based on thousands of peer-reviewed studies and multiple forms of analysis. At the same time, we can all welcome the increased transparency that will come from an independent committee that will review the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s work. What we do not need is to taint objective science with partisan conclusions, which is exactly what some climate change deniers in the US Congress are trying to do. We should not try to manipulate science to our own political ends or to serve the politics of the day. As a nation and a people, we need to respond to scientific evidence with effective and smart solutions. The severity of the crisis befalling our planet requires nothing less.”

“Which is why the Senate is currently crafting a proposal to limit carbon pollution and spur investments in clean energy. Comprehensive clean energy and climate policies can create millions of new American jobs and strengthen our national security, all the while reducing the pollution that causes global climate change. Now is the time to make sure we pass strong, comprehensive legislation that involves our entire economy and benefits the whole planet.”

Read her entire post by clicking here.


A Disappointing Litmus Test March 11, 2010 : 3:17 PM

The Chicago Tribune reports:

“It wasn't long ago that Marco Rubio and Tim Pawlenty, two of the brightest fresh faces in the Republican Party, supported legislation to limit the greenhouse gas emissions that are blamed for global warming. But in recent weeks both have suddenly begun to express doubts about whether burning coal, powering cars with gasoline and other human activities in fact have anything to do with a warming Earth.”

“The shifts by Rubio and Pawlenty -- as well as other prominent Republicans -- reflect the rising power of climate change skeptics in the GOP, where global warming is becoming a litmus test for conservatives.”

The idea that a rejection of science is a litmus test for Republican candidates is both incredibly disappointing and scary. No political party should require its members to reject fact as a prerequisite for electoral office.


The Roots of Denial March 15, 2010 : 11:59 AM

Naomi Oreskes, a professor at the University of California, San Diego, recently presented her views on the roots of climate crisis denial in a lecture at the University of Rhode Island: [Link]

“Oreskes said the skeptics similarly attacked the science around acid rain, the ozone hole, secondhand cigarette smoke, global warming and the pesticide DDT.”

"In every case, they denied the severity of the problem and said the science was uncertain," Oreskes said. "It was always the same argument. They always used the tobacco strategy and said it would be wrong for the government to interfere with the marketplace. It was all about using this play from the tobacco playbook."

We know the tactics, funders and mission of climate crisis deniers. It is our job to combat and debunk their skepticism at every turn. Incidentally, Oreskes has an important book that will be published soon, titled Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming.


Romney Bucks the Trend March 17, 2010 : 12:07 PM

Last week I wrote about the disappointing litmus test being foisted upon GOP candidates. In his new book, Mitt Romney bucks the trend, writing:

“I believe that climate change is occurring — the reduction in the size of global ice caps is hard to ignore. I also believe that human activity is a contributing factor.”

We can have disagreements about the solutions to this crisis, but we need to acknowledge fundamental truths. The science proving the existence of the climate crisis is not in question. That is where our debates about policy need to begin.


Witnesses to the Climate Crisis March 18, 2010 : 3:41 PM

Last Monday, women whose lives had been impacted by the climate crisis came to Capitol Hill to tell their powerful stories. For example, Marisa Marcavillaca of Peru told members of Congress:

"Nature is disrupted. It rains when it shouldn't rain." Marisa Marcavillaca of Peru said through a translator. "We have freezing temperatures when we shouldn't have freezing temperatures. Because our yields are down, it is difficult to feed our children."

“Warmer temperatures in her farming area have spurred plant diseases, and the quality of agricultural seeds has degenerated, cutting into local women's ability to earn a living, she said.”

All over the world, people are feeling the impact of the climate crisis. There are defenders of the status quo who argue that solutions to the climate crisis will harm those living in poverty. These women are witnesses to the fact that just the opposite is true.


New Jobs March 19, 2010 : 11:16 AM

Representative Ed Markey wrote a great piece at the Huffington Post highlighting some of the green jobs created by the Recovery Act:

“Our goal must not simply be to create jobs, but to launch entire new industries in efficiency, wind, solar, advanced batteries, and other critical growth sectors. Here are just a few examples of how the clean energy provisions in the Recovery Act are meeting this challenge head-on:”

The State of Ohio, whose Director of Department of Development testified today, has already weatherized more than 8,100 homes since last July and is ahead of schedule in reaching their goal of 32,000 homes. This has allowed 1,500 workers to keep their jobs while creating an additional 1,000 new jobs in Ohio. Best of all, the low income households receiving the efficiency work will save $350 a year on their energy bills -- that translates into a $1.67 return for every dollar invested in weatherization.”

Suniva, a solar company in Georgia, is using an advanced, home-grown solar technology to leapfrog the competition and sell into the global market. They are exporting 90 percent of their solar panels and are sold out through mid-2011. In the process, they have been able to leverage Recovery Act support to grow the company from 2 employees in 2007 to 150 today. A quarter of this workforce is returned veterans and highly skilled autoworkers who had been laid off when the local plants closed.”

“A decade ago, we had a grand total of 470 megawatts of solar electricity installed in the United States. With the Recovery Act, we installed 480 megawatts of solar in 2009 alone. In 2010, the solar industry is likely to bring online the capacity equivalent of a new nuclear power plant. Solar energy programs in the Recovery Act supported more than 10,000 new jobs in 2009, and it is likely to support another 30,000 in 2010.”

Read more of Rep. Markey’s post by clicking here.


2,000 Scientists and Economists March 22, 2010 : 5:44 PM

Recently more than two thousand climate scientists and economists came together to demand the Senate take immediate action to solve the climate crisis.

"We call on our nation’s leaders to swiftly establish and implement policies to bring about deep reductions in heat-trapping emissions," the scientists write in the letter. "The strength of the science on climate change compels us to warn the nation about the growing risk of irreversible consequences as global average temperatures continue to increase."

The demand for action is clear from all sectors. The Senate must now be brave enough to forge ahead even in the face of resistance by those opposed to solving the climate crisis, primarily those parties with a financial interest in the status quo.


LA Carbon Reduction Surcharge March 23, 2010 : 1:15 PM

For years, I have been fighting to solve the climate crisis, strengthen our national security and revitalize our economy.

The State of California, and especially the City of Los Angeles, have always been strong partners in bringing about this green revolution. Los Angeles is uniquely positioned to lead this revolution and address the causes of climate change because, unlike other cities, they own and operate their own utility. So they have the power to decide to green their power system by reforming their utility.

And last week, that is exactly what they did.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles has introduced one of the most forward-thinking clean energy plans I have ever seen. He's calling it a Carbon Reduction Surcharge. It allocates a portion of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's rate collection into a trust fund to create a renewable energy and efficiency trust fund to invest in clean, green energy and job creation.

This innovative proposal can be the catalyst the Department of Water and Power needs to power Los Angeles' use of green energy. The Carbon Reduction proposal provides a dedicated revenue stream for investing in renewable energy production. And this investment will lower greenhouse gas emissions while enabling the City of Los Angeles to invest locally its own green economy and stimulating job creation exactly when Los Angeles needs it most.

I hope the Los Angeles City Council supports this Carbon Reduction proposal. Los Angeles' efforts and the Mayor's leadership in fighting for and investing in America’s clean energy future should be applauded.


A Good Meeting March 25, 2010 : 11:22 AM

Green groups met on the Hill last week with John Kerry and the results were positive:

“If a large collection of environmental groups is worried about the direction of Senate energy and climate legislation, they didn’t show it publicly Thursday evening.”

“High-level officials from 10 or so groups met with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) for roughly 1.5 hours in his Senate office.”

“The meeting came a day after Kerry and Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) met with a cross section of industry trade groups about their upcoming bill – a measure that’s expected to include several industry-friendly concessions as the senators seek traction for their uphill effort this year.”

“Green group officials exiting the meeting Thursday declined to discuss specifics about the session.”

“We had a very encouraging meeting, and we are looking forward to continuing to work together to pass a comprehensive bill this year,” said Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, after the meeting broke up.”

We are coming down the home stretch in the Senate. It's time for all of us to make our voices heard in the fight for clean energy and green jobs.


Taking Care of Climate and Job Concerns March 28, 2010 : 12:06 PM

Kevin Curtis, Program Director at the Alliance for Climate Protection, has a great post up at the National Journal's Energy and Environment Experts blog:

“Solving the climate crisis is one of the defining issues of our time. Acting to stop catastrophic climate change is not a matter of public opinion, it is about responding to a reality. And Americans have consistently supported action to address this reality. Poll after poll has shown a large majority of Americans acknowledge the reality of climate change, despite the best efforts of professional skeptics who have tried to discredit the overwhelming scientific evidence. Of course, the polls show that Americans are very concerned about the weak economy and high unemployment rates — it’s the worst economic situation most Americans have ever faced. Yet the polls also demonstrate that Americans, in contrast to much of the hyperbolic rhetoric on this issue, understand that addressing climate change will also help the economy.”

A recent survey at Stanford University found that 75 percent of Americans acknowledge that global temperatures are rising. While the poll found a 5 percent decline from the year before, it attributed this shift to a minority of Americans who do not trust climate scientists, and might be persuaded by short-term events such as changes in the weather. A recent poll by Republican pollster Frank Luntz found nearly two-thirds of Americans believe climate change is likely caused by humans.”

Read his entire post by clicking here.


$3 Billion Green Investment Bank March 28, 2010 : 4:35 PM

There was some exciting news from the U.K.: [Link]

“The Labour government will unveil a 2 billion pound ($3 billion) "green" investment bank in Wednesday's budget to help Britain's transformation to a low carbon economy, a government source said on Sunday.”

The bank will fund projects such as offshore wind power generation and “eco-friendly waste management.” Other nations have recognized the need to invest in green technology. President Obama has taken some great first steps, but now it's time for the Senate to pass green jobs and climate legislation.


A Great Video from Operation Free March 29, 2010 : 5:40 PM

Operation Free, a coalition of veteran and national security groups who focus on the climate crisis, produced this excellent video:


A Climate Bill Can Help Farmers March 29, 2010 : 11:09 PM

Tom Vilsack made an important point to the National Farmers Union: [Link]

"The U.S. agriculture secretary told a farm group on Monday that a well-designed climate bill would provide opportunities for farmers and ranchers to make money in contracts for carbon offsets."

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture "is committed to helping Congress design and implement a carbon offsets market that will provide significant income opportunities to America's farmers and ranchers."


China Moves Forward March 30, 2010 : 12:17 PM

China continues to show it is taking green energy production seriously:

“China Huaneng Group, the nation’s biggest power generator, targets a capacity to produce about 35 percent of its electricity from clean energy by 2020 as the country seeks to cut pollution, President Cao Peixi said.”


What the death of coral means March 31, 2010 : 11:06 PM

According to the Associated Press:

"Coral reefs are dying, and scientists and governments around the world are contemplating what will happen if they disappear altogether."

"The idea positively scares them."

"Coral reefs are part of the foundation of the ocean food chain. Nearly half the fish the world eats make their homes around them. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide -- by some estimates, 1 billion across Asia alone -- depend on them for their food and their livelihoods."

If the reefs vanished, experts say, hunger, poverty and political instability could ensue.
"Whole nations will be threatened in terms of their existence," said Carl Gustaf Lundin of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.