ACTION ALERT: Demand a Presidential Climate Debate

July 19th, 2019 - by Oil Change International & teleSUR & The New Yorker

ACTION ALERT: Under Pressure, DNC to Vote on #ClimateDebate

Oil Change International

(July 17, 2019) — This weekend, I joined dozens of fellow climate activists to disrupt a Democratic National Committee (DNC) panel at the progressive Netroots Nation conference. Our message to the DNC is loud and clear: We demand a climate debate!

We packed the room, started a chant, and then several people directly impacted by the climate crisis told their heartfelt stories. The whole thing was live-streamed, and after we left the room, our chant continued in the halls. 

We will not let up! Due to our collective, ongoing efforts, the call for a climate debate has been gaining serious momentum. Here’s the latest: Under intense pressure from grassroots activists, 21 presidential candidates, and even its own membershipthe DNC has voted to reevaluate the #ClimateDebate issue and put it to a vote.

The proposal will now be reviewed by the DNC’s resolutions committee before potentially going up for a full vote in late August. That means we have just one month to put the pressure on DNC members to make the right decision.

You may have seen some talk of a separate “climate forum” in the news recently. To be clear, we want as much conversation of the climate crisis during the 2020 election period as possible – but this proposed forum is an inadequate substitute and our demands remain unchanged.

We need a climate debate fully sanctioned by the DNC that brings the candidates on stage together to directly engage each other on their plans and approaches to the climate 

Tom Perez and the DNC need to create a real platform to discuss solutions to the climate crisis. Only a true climate debate will put the climate crisis front and center, and allow this issue to have the attention – and airtime – required. As we said last month, the DNC may be saying “no” now, but we’re not going to take no for an answer.

While this DNC vote is a victory, it’s ridiculous to have to wait for this process to run its course while we’re in the midst of a crisis with the future of the planet and humanity at stake. We need a debate where candidates can dive into the critical details of their bold plans to confront the climate crisis and tackle the fossil fuel industry. The DNC needs to get with the program and endorse a full climate debate.

In declining to host a climate debate (so far), the DNC continues to ignore the stark reality of the urgent crisis we’re facing. Let’s get it to change its tune.

ACTION: Keep the pressure on! Tell members of the DNC to vote YES for a climate debate.

P.S. Want other ways to keep pressuring the DNC? Send a Tweet to DNC Chair Tom Perez and make a quick phone call to the DNC. 

Thank you so much for sticking with us in this fight.

Amanda Mourant is theDigital Director of Oil Change US.

Dramatic Warming Projected in World’s Major Cities by 2050

Researchers examined the climate of the world’s 520 major cities using 19 variables that reflect variability in temperature and precipitation.

(July 11, 2019) — By the year 2050, London’s climate will resemble Madrid’s today; Paris will be more like Canberra; Stockholm like Budapest and Moscow like Sofia, according to a new analysis published Wednesday that yet relied on “optimistic” projections.

The changes will be even more dramatic for the world’s major tropical cities like Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, and Singapore which will experience unprecedented climate conditions, resulting in extreme weather events and intense droughts.

The study was carried out by scientists from ETH Zurich and published in PLOS ONE on Wednesday.

Future projections were estimated using established modeling that was intentionally optimistic, meaning it assumed carbon dioxide emissions would stabilize by the middle of the century through the implementation of green policies, with a mean global temperature increase of 1.4 Celsius.

The team then compared climate similarity of current and future cities to one another, and the results make for dire reading.

Across the northern hemisphere, cities in 2050 will resemble places that are over 1,000 kilometers further south towards the equator.

Those closer to the equator won’t see drastic warming but will likely have more extremes of drought and rainfall.

Overall, 77 percent of the world’s cities will experience a “striking change” in climate conditions, while 22 percent will experience “novel” conditions — i.e. something that has never before been encountered.

In Europe, summers and winters will get warmer, with average increases of 3.5 Celsius and 4.7 Celsius, respectively.

While the modeling used in the analysis is not new, the purpose of the paper was to organize that information in a way that will inspire policy makers to act.

“The point of this paper is to try to allow everyone to get a better grasp on what’s happening with climate change,” lead author Jean-Francois Bastin told AFP.

Bastin, who is from Belgium, added it was not certain that by 2060 his country would experience sub-zero temperatures in winter, a necessary condition for wheat seeds to become activated.

As summer temperatures surge, more people in northern Europe will purchase air conditioners, adding to the strain on electric grids and possibly creating a vicious cycle, he added.

“It’s been more than 30 years that most of us have agreed that there is a climate change which is caused by human activity, but still we fail to really transform that in to global actions,” he said.

Why Donald Trump Suddenly Decided to Talk About the Environment

Bill McKibben / The New Yorker

 (July 11, 2019) — “Brazen” might as well be the official motto of the Trump Administration. Even so, it’s hard to top the most ecologically unsound President in modern American history giving a speech on Monday touting his environmental record while standing in the East Room of the White House beside David Bernhardt, the former oil lobbyist who is the Interior Secretary, and Andrew Wheeler, the former coal lobbyist who is the administrator of the EPA—both of whom have been trying to gut America’s environmental laws.

Oh, and on the day when a rainfall described by local authorities as “historic” managed to flood the White House basement.

By now, we are used to Trump’s big-lie technique. Even by that standard, however, the claim that “we are working harder than many previous Administrations, maybe almost all of them,” on environmental protection will be believed by exactly no one for whom words have not yet lost their common-sense meaning.

Trying to parse the nonsense of Trump’s speech sentence by sentence is silly, so concentrate instead on its underlying meaning: the oil companies clearly won a crucial battle with Trump’s election, postponing their moment of reckoning. (Less so the coal barons, whose decline was already too far advanced). But they clearly sense that they are losing the war, and more decisively than before.

Trump’s big-man folly—withdrawing from the Paris climate accords, for instance, when it would have been easy enough to sabotage progress more quietly—has decisively discomforted the suburban voters that he must retain for reëlection.

By all accounts, it was the President’s pollsters who insisted on this strange talk, because they are desperately afraid that they are losing those independents (particularly women) who have come to fear the physical future that climate change is imposing.

What does it mean, after all, to boast that we have the “cleanest air” ever, when wildfire smoke now obscures swaths of sky for large portions of the year? What does it mean to say the water is cleaner than it was in 1970, when water now drops from the sky in such volumes that insurance companies have begun to declare cellars “uninsurable?”

The absurdity of the whole enterprise is clear when you remember that Trump doesn’t even believe that global warming is real—he has stated this repeatedly. In that case, only fear of the polls could possibly drive him to stress that America’s carbon emissions are down (except for, um, last year, when they went, um, up). Why else would he care? So that’s craven as well as brazen.

But cravenness is probably a good sign—it means that the school strikers and the divestment campaigners and the pipeline protestersand the marching scientists have carried the debate. The tiny minority of climate deniers currently wield federal political power, but it’s finally beginning to sink in with the broader public that climate change is the threat of our time.

Among Democrats, that process is well advanced—by some measures, climate change is the No. 1 voting issue in the primary, and, indeed, they are announcing serious cash-on-the-barrelhead plans to do something about it. But Trump’s performance on Monday must indicate that it’s also increasingly the case among independents, the group that holds the key to his electoral future.

This is good not because it means that Trump will act—he won’t. It’s good because it means that if we move past Trumpism there’s at least a somewhat greater chance that the larger political system will move, too. But, at this point, it’s also hard to believe that political action will be swift enough or comprehensive enough to make a decisive difference.

After all, the Obama Administration, which sincerely believed that climate change was real, succeeded only in replacing some coal-fired power generation with natural gas, which in turn succeeded only in replacing heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions with heat-trapping methane emissions. (It’s not clear that total greenhouse-gas emissions budged at all during the Obama years.)

If the GOP maintains any political traction at all in the next dispensation, it will be hard to pass legislation like the Green New Deal, which represents precisely the scale of commitment needed to catch up with the out-of-control physics of global warming. If the Trump follies have lowered the bar to the point where a return to Obama-era politics is all that’s politically possible, then significantly slowing the rise of the planet’s temperature by federal action will remain difficult.

So it’s profoundly important that activists keep the pressure on other power centers, too: on state and local governments, and on the financial institutions that keep the fossil-fuel industry afloat. To use an unfortunately apropos metaphor, all that pressure will eventually force a hole in the dam. The political flop sweat that Trump was trying to mop up on Monday is a sure small sign of the coming deluge.

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