U.S. Mayors Back 100% Renewable Energy, Vow To Fill Climate Leadership Void

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (right) and Michael Bloomberg address the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Bloomberg announced a $200 million grant program to support city initiatives in areas including climate change. Credit: Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By Nicholas Kusnetz for Inside Climate Change – As the nation’s mayors closed their annual meeting on Monday in Miami Beach, they sent a clear signal that cities are looking for action on climate change and are eager to fill a policy gap created by the Trump administration. The United States Conference of Mayors, which includes both Republican and Democratic mayors from cities across the nation, adopted a series of resolutions that are far more assertive than federal climate policy, including a pledge supporting cities’ adoption of 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. “We are showing the world that cities and mayors can and will lead the transition away from fossil fuels to 100 percent clean, renewable energy,” said Columbia, South Carolina, Mayor Steve Benjamin, a co-sponsor of the resolution, in a statement. Cities have been pushing for stronger action on climate change for years, but the efforts have taken on new urgency since President Donald Trump took office in January. After Trump announced his intention to withdrawthe United States from the Paris climate agreement, more than 200 cities joined with nearly a dozen states and hundreds of businesses to announce that they would remain committed to the goals of the agreement.

Southwest’s Deadly Heat Wave Previews Life In A Warming World

Large parts of the U.S. Southwest have been feeling like Death Valley this week as a heat wave has boosted temperatures to 120 degrees and beyond. Credit: David McNew/AFP/Getty Images

By Phil McKenna for Inside Climate News – The extreme heat baking the Southwestern U.S. isn’t finished yet. The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning today for parts of Southern California and Arizona, including Phoenix, through Monday, saying temperatures are forecast to reach 108-118 degrees each day. In its alert, the weather service warned of “a major increase in the potential for heat-related illness and even death.” The week has provided a preview of the risks scientists warn are ahead as greenhouse gas emissions continue to raise global temperatures. Thermometers in the Phoenix area edged up to around 120 degrees for three straight days this week, flights were grounded as the rising temperatures decreased the air density, and the city’s main burn treatment center saw twice its usual number of patients with burns caused by walking barefoot on hot pavement or getting into cars that had been heating up in the sun. Several heat-related deaths were reported in the Las Vegas area and in California. In California, where San Diego County set a record at 124 degrees, some communities faced power outages as air conditioners ran non-stop.

Newsletter - Positive Actions You Can Take This Summer

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. This week, we look at some of the current struggles in the United States and ways that you can get involved this summer. From protecting health care, net neutrality and the environment to building positive alternatives that transform our current dysfunctional systems, there is something for everyone to do. Read on to learn what’s happening and how to take action. This is the time to rise up and protect our families, communities and planet.

Climate Change Is Shrinking The Colorado River

Lake Powell, photographed April 12, 2017. The white ‘bathtub ring’ at the cliff base indicates how much higher the lake reached at its peak, nearly 100 feet above the current level. Patti Weeks

By Brad Udall and Jonathan Overpeck for The Conversation – The nation’s two largest reservoirs, Lake Mead on the Arizona/Nevada border and Lake Powell on the Arizona/Utah border, were brim full in the year 2000. Four short years later, they had lost enough water to supply California its legally apportioned share of Colorado River water for more than five years. Now, 17 years later, they still have not recovered. This ongoing, unprecedented event threatens water supplies to Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson, Denver, Salt Lake City, Albuquerque and some of the most productive agricultural lands anywhere in the world. It is critical to understand what is causing it so water managers can make realistic water use and conservation plans. While overuse has played a part, a significant portion of the reservoir decline is due to an ongoing drought, which started in 2000 and has led to substantial reductions in river flows. Most droughts are caused by a lack of precipitation. However, our published research shows that about one-third of the flow decline was likely due to higher temperatures in the Colorado River’s Upper Basin, which result from climate change.

Fighting Climate Change Can Be A Lonely In Oil Country, Especially For A Kid

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By Neela Banerjee and Zahra Hirji for Inside Climate News – RAYNE, Louisiana—As far back as Jayden Foytlin can remember, her cousin Madison came over to celebrate her birthday. The girls had been best friends since they were toddlers and spent nearly every weekend together, playing video games and basketball in their driveways. This year, things were different. In the weeks before Jayden’s 14th birthday, Madison’s mother stopped arranging get-togethers. She didn’t answer texts inviting Madison to Jayden’s birthday party. “We thought that maybe she was out of town with her family,” Jayden said. “Or I thought that maybe Madison had a sleepover the same day as my birthday.” The text that cleared matters up came on the afternoon of Jayden’s birthday, as she and her family piled into their hybrid SUV to go roller skating. Madison’s mother wrote that her daughter wasn’t allowed to see Jayden anymore. She was keeping Madison away because Jayden is one of 21 young plaintiffs suing the federal government over its alleged failure to curtail fossil fuel development and address climate change.

13 U.S. Cities Defy Trump By Posting Deleted Climate Data

From EcoWatch

By Lorraine Chow for EcoWatch – More than one dozen U.S. cities have banded together to post deleted climate change information and research from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website that was notoriously scrubbed by the Trump administration. In May, Chicago became the first city to host the deleted pages, and now other mayors are following in Rahm Emanuel’s footsteps by creating their city’s own “Climate Change is Real” website. The “Climate Change is Real” website contains information on the basic science behind climate change, the ways weather is impacted from increased greenhouse gas emissions and actions the federal government has taken to reduce the impact. Major cities including Atlanta, Boston, Houston, San Francisco and Seattle have joined the effort. According to a statement from San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s office, the pages were launched Sunday to ensure that the public has readily available access to research information the EPA has developed over the last many decades.

Study: Climate Change Is Producing Adverse Health Effects

Climate activists march in Paris in 2014. On Thursday, a coalition of international NGOs and individual climate activists have demanded that France lift its imposed bans on large protest for the COP21 talks. (Image: Screenshot from YouTube)

By Reynard Loki for AlterNet – The Earth’s rapidly changing climate due to human activity has ravaged the planet in numerous ways, causing melting glaciers and ice sheets, heat waves, droughts, wildfires, deadly hurricanes, species extinction, and ecosystem losses. But climate change may also be impacting us on a very personal level that many of us don’t even realize: our health. According to a recent report published by the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health, climate change is becoming a serious public health enemy. “The changes in our climate are creating conditions that harm human health through extreme weather events, reduced air and water quality, intense heat waves, spread of vector-borne diseases, and other mechanisms,” said Mona Sarfaty, the director of MSCCH, in a statement. The consortium represents more than 400,000 American physicians—more than half of all U.S. physicians. Many of these medical professionals, Sarfaty said, “know firsthand the harmful health effects of climate change on patients.” Dr. Sarfaty, who also serves as the director of the Program for Climate and Health at the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, highlighted groups that are particularly at risk: “While climate change threatens the health of every American, some people are more vulnerable and are most likely to be harmed, including: infants and children; pregnant women;

Climate Change, Hope, And Revolution: Notes For Dark And Gloomy Times

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By John Foran for Resilience – The other day I was invited to speak in a colleague’s Environmental Studies class, called, simply, “Hope.” It happened to be the day after Donald Trump had uttered his calculated, genocidal stupidities about the Paris Agreement (which he kept calling the “Paris Accord”). By now, a hundred thousand words of outrage, resolve, and analysis have been written and spoken. Let’s go in the opposite direction, then. I’m trying to remember when I first associated hope and revolution. I had been working on a theory of revolutions (long story, longer project). I was searching for what prompted ordinary people to leave everything behind and engage in what seem to outsiders to be extraordinary acts of courage and determination. After some time I felt this arose from what I have come to call (sociologist that I am fated to be) strong and vibrant political cultures of opposition and creation. The bedrock of what I mean by a radical political culture is the subjective side of life here on Mother Earth: memories, experiences, and emotion. Ideologies – generally this meant some form of “socialism” throughout the twentieth century, or today, thinking wishfully, perhaps, “ecosocialism”

Over 1,400 U.S. Cities, States And Businesses Vow To Meet Paris Climate Commitments

Growing groups of cities, states and businesses are vowing to meet the United States' Paris climate commitments, even if President Trump is pulling out. Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

By Georgina Gustin for Inside Climate News – President Donald Trump may be yanking the United States from the Paris climate agreement, but states, cities and businesses are filling the vacuum by making their own commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions—and the numbers are mounting. On Monday, more than 1,000 companies and institutions, including more than a dozen Fortune 500 businesses, signed onto a statement—”We Are Still In”—saying they’re committed to meeting the Paris targets. The statement calls Trump’s decision “a grave mistake that endangers the American public and hurts America’s economic security and diplomatic reputation.” By Tuesday, the coalition’s numbers had climbed past 1,400. A dozen states that together represent the world’s third-largest economy and more than 200 cities had also committed to the Paris accord through various coalitions. In the wake of Trump’s decision to leave the Paris climate agreement, the world’s biggest economies denounced the move and insisted they would remain in the pact. While the president claimed he would contemplate a renegotiation of a deal that “puts America first,” the UN and several U.S. allies said renegotation isn’t in the cards. Many Americans are not wavering, either.

Three Arrested Blocking Fast-Tracked FERC Commissioner Approvals

Ted Glick remains in DC jail overnight due to additional charges from the nonviolent disruptive direct action today at the #SenateENR confirmation vote for new #FERC commissioners. Please send love to Ted and follow along for updates, get involved with the resistance & abolition of rogue agencies, and please donate to the #ResistFERC campaign legal fund: http://bit.ly/VacateFERC

By Jimmy Betts for Beyond Extreme Energy. The week following Trump’s announcement that he will pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord, three individuals representing a coalition of nearly 170 groups opposing Trump’s nominees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) disrupted a committee vote to advance the candidates. Three individuals were arrested during the committee vote. They stood up and spoke out about FERC’s abusive practices and disregard for the environment. Jess Rechtschaffer arrested at Senate hearing protesting FERC appointees June 6, 2017 by BXE. Jess Rechtschaffer arrested at Senate hearing protesting FERC appointees June 6, 2017 by BXE. The coalition, made up of local and national groups focused on various issues, is demanding that senators vote no on Trump’s nominations until the Senate holds investigations into FERC’s the abuses of power and law. The campaign has been building for more than five months and has included call-in’s, letter-writing drives, Twitter storms, lobby days, and civil resistance focused on educating senators and pressuring them to oppose the nominations.

GGJ Statement On Trump’s Withdrawal From Paris Agreement

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By Staff of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance – While the accord was far from what the planet needs, Trump’s reckless decision underscores a key overarching issue with the Paris Agreement in the first place. When the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015, we put out this report entitled “We Are Mother Earth’s Red Line: Frontline Communities Lead the Climate Justice Fight Beyond the Paris Agreement.” We laid out 5 key concerns in the report. Our number one concern (see page 6) with the agreement was “The Agreement relies on voluntary versus mandatory emission cuts that do not meet targets scientists say are necessary to avoid climate catastrophe.” Trump’s withdrawal is a clear example that voluntary pledges are not enough. “Donald Trump is showing us the art of breaking a deal,” says Tom BK Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network. “By abandoning the Paris Agreement, this administration will further perpetuate environmental racism and climate injustice against Indigenous peoples experiencing the worst effects of climate change across the globe. We’ve stated before that the Paris Agreement falls short of embracing the sort of climate solutions that lift up human rights and the rights of Indigenous peoples.

Paris Is Burning

Climate activists march in Paris in 2014. On Thursday, a coalition of international NGOs and individual climate activists have demanded that France lift its imposed bans on large protest for the COP21 talks. (Image: Screenshot from YouTube)

By James P. Hare for Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung – With Trump’s decision to formally withdraw from the Paris Agreement, he has put an end to months of apparent indecision. This withdrawal does not dissolve the agreement, which still includes nearly every nation on the planet, but it is hard to imagine how an already weak agreement can be expected to slow—not to mention reverse—greenhouse gas emissions without the participation of the United States. Seeing this decision as anything other than a nail in the coffin of the global climate regime is nothing but wishful thinking. For an administration that has promoted a seemingly unending series of bad policies—from healthcare to immigration to militarism to the unceasing transfer of wealth from working people to the wealthy—this may be its worst. When future generations look back at the harm done by this president, they may remember this as his greatest crime. This is not to minimize the damage of his other policies or of the racism, xenophobia, and misogyny that drove his campaign and brought him into the White House, but climate change is the ultimate issue. It will affect everyone while exacerbating existing inequalities, and we only have one chance to get it right.

Newsletter: Our Responsibility After Trump's Climate Withdrawal

White House climate protest Kids for a Clean Planet. June 1, 2017 by John Zangas

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement follows the path of previous presidents who have undermined international climate agreements. We disagree with Trump but it is important to understand his actions in the context of the history of the United States regarding previous climate agreements. Once again, the political problems in the US are bigger than Trump. His action brings greater clarity to the inability of the US government to confront the climate crisis and clarifies the tasks of people seeking smart climate policy.

White House Protest Rebukes Trump For Paris Climate Agreement Exit

Climate Protest Invest in Solutions June 1, 2017 by John Zangas

By John Zangas for DC Media Group. Dozens of speakers, including leaders of think tanks, former government officials, and representatives from environmental groups converged on the White House Thursday afternoon to criticize President Donald Trump for his decision to back out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Trump’s decision to rescind the US endorsement of the Accord was seen as a set back to collective efforts to curb climate change. The Paris Climate Accord was signed in December, 2015 by 195 countries, and was heralded as a first step towards reducing climate change inducing gases. The US now joins a short list of two countries that did not endorse the accord, namely Syria and Nicaragua. The accord provides for five year incremental reviews and adjustments to keep up with sciencetific developmets as more is learned from the evolving climate situation. It also provides a means of gradually weening civilization off carbon based fuels. One by one speakers railed against Trump’s decision, calling it a “head in the sand” and “climate change denier’s” response on behalf of fossil fuel industry interests.

In Praise Of Trump Pulling Out of the Paris Climate Pact

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By Ken Ward for The Hill. It’s also true that withdrawal from Paris deprives mainstream environmental organizations and the foundations and funders that guide them of a key deliverable, and that could risk eroding support for them. Perhaps that’s not such a bad thing. Many of them have pursued an utterly bankrupt strategy of understating the climate problem, negotiating with the fossil fuel industry, and cherry-picking small victories to showcase organizational accomplishments at the expense of a functional movement strategy. Pulling out of Paris takes false hopes off the table, and opens the way for building an effective climate movement. So as committed climate activist who knows we’re running out of time, I say, let’s get on with it. It’s also true that withdrawal from Paris deprives mainstream environmental organizations and the foundations and funders that guide them of a key deliverable, and that could risk eroding support for them. Perhaps that’s not such a bad thing. Many of them have pursued an utterly bankrupt strategy of understating the climate problem, negotiating with the fossil fuel industry, and cherry-picking small victories to showcase organizational accomplishments at the expense of a functional movement strategy. Pulling out of Paris takes false hopes off the table, and opens the way for building an effective climate movement. So as committed climate activist who knows we’re running out of time, I say, let’s get on with it.