If a Tar-Sands Project Fails in the Forest…

Coming Clean: The blog of Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune

Michael Brune

Oct 1, 2014

Back in March, I wrote about the Keystone XL “it’s not about the pipe,” saying that any rejection of new tar-sands pipelines serves the purpose of keeping this dirty oil in the ground. Some good news from last week proves the point that I and others have been making. The Norwegian energy firm Statoil announced that it would pull the plug on a planned multibillion-dollar, 40,000 barrel per day destructive tar-sands project in Alberta. What reason did they give? Rising costs and “limited pipeline access which weighs on prices for Alberta oil, squeezing margins and making it difficult for sustainable financial returns.” (Translation: We are kicking Keystone’s keister.)

In fact, Statoil’s is actually the third Canadian tar-sands cancellation this year. This latest one, though, is both the largest and the first in-situ project to get the axe. The other two were strip-mining operations, which carry a higher overhead. If you can’t make the numbers work for an in-situ tar-sands mine, then your business model is in trouble.

And if Statoil’s project is in trouble, you can bet the whole tar-sands industry is looking over its shoulder. They may wish they hadn’t, because we’re gaining on them.

Unless you’ve watched tar-sands mining firsthand (an experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone but a couple of Wichita billionaires), it’s impossible to comprehend how nightmarish it really is. (Last week’s “In Focus” photo feature from The Atlantic comes close, though). No rational reason exists for doing this to our planet — unless you count greed. Sadly, some people do. But even if you are willing to destroy 50,000 square miles of boreal forest just to make a profit, there’s no way to justify destroying our future in the process.

No one knows exactly how much oil lies under Alberta’s tar-sands fields — perhaps as much as 3 trillion barrels. But we do know that it would take far less than that to put our planet on a path to runaway climate disruption.

I’ve said before that we cannot let that happen. Today, I’m proud to say that we aren’t letting that happen. Over its lifetime, the Statoil project alone would have released a total of  777.4 million metric tons (MMT) of CO2 into our atmosphere. For comparison, the EPA projects that its Clean Power Plan will be eliminating up to 555 MMT of CO2 emissions annually by 2030. Every single tar-sands project cancellation is a huge victory for the hundreds of thousands of people who’ve stood up to fight Keystone XL.

But as I said, it’s not about the pipe. It’s about stopping the expansion of tar-sands mining while we still can. The three dominos that have fallen this year in Alberta are just a beginning.

Let’s keep ‘em falling: Tell President Obama he needs to reject this pipeline for good.

Memories and Images of the Peoples Climate March

Thanks to long time Sierra Club member Nancy Bryant for this great message!

Memories of the “Great March”

Nancy C. Bryant

On Saturday, 8pm, September 20, our charter bus, along with nine other buses from NC, took off for New York City for the People’s Climate March the next day. The 55 people on our bus were to join what we had hoped would be 250,000 others, but which would become 400,000 at the final tally.

Now, why would 400,000 people come from all over the US and Norway and Canada, and who knows how many other counties, to march for one day? People of all ages, all colors, cultures and backgrounds. People singing, playing instruments, chanting, shouting, carrying signs and posters and waving flags and flying birds and giant parachutes, people walking, in strollers, in wheelchairs, on floats, on bikes, on scooters, on roller skates, dancing, prancing……..

I’ll tell you why. Because they care about what is happening to this, our fragile planet earth. They care about the future of their children and grandchildren and all living things on this earth. They care about the climate that is now changing so rapidly that we see it in front of our eyes, if we look about and pay attention to the climate. Just ask the farmers who were there. Just ask our local farmers. They want fossil fuels to continue being replaced with renewal energy sources, not 10 years from now, not 50 years from now, but now. They want the fracking to stop. They want our climate to get back into balance instead of heating up.

At first, my stepson, Jeep Bryant, and I marched with the contingent of people of faith and scientists, but later we joined the indigenous peoples of the world. There were people from labor, families, students, elders, environmental justice, community groups, neighborhood groups, the City Council of NYC, the head of the UN, movie and pop culture advocates – every possible group of people concerned about the issues.

The people who marched were marching with hope and exhilaration, knowing that millions more of us would also march for our fragile earth and the future for generations to come if they could. Deb from Anson, James from Montgomery and Harry from Richmond, my busmates, join me in saying that it was a highlight of our lives to be marching on Sunday, sharing the hope of a better world.

And now for some scenes from the People’s Climate Change March.

Enjoy the memories. Rekindle the passion. Take some action on the Climate Cris today and everyday…

PCM ImagesPCM Art and Photos

And for a special treat, listen to the “Voices of the the Peoples Climate March” by Brian Kasher

The audio stream includes over forty (40) mini-interviews; street music from: the Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band, Rocket McFlyy, the Raging Grannies and more; chants, Central Park crickets, police helicopters, and general crowd ambiance. Two-hundred fifty three (253) sounds clips were recorded during the March.

PCM Voices 1

VOICES OF THE PEOPLE’S CLIMATE MARCH Volume 1

PCM Voices 1

Thanks to Sierra Club Central Piedmont Group member Brian Kasher for his passion to share a very powerful day in New York City – The People’s Climate March – and to issue a call to action. Great work Brian!

The Voices project documents the People’s Climate March exclusively from the aural perspective of one of the 400,000 plus marchers for change. Please share with your friends, your networks, and add your voice by continuing the conversation.

This audio stream includes over forty (40) mini-interviews; street music from: the Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band, Rocket McFlyy, the Raging Grannies and more; chants from the street, Central Park crickets, police helicopters, and general crowd ambiance. Two-hundred fifty three (253) sounds clips were recorded during the March. The intro and epilogue were recorded by Greenpeace USA and Sierra Club organizers after the March though the music and crickets are from the March.

Click, Listen and Pass it on! This soundtrack is produced to be part of your networking and organizing toolkit. We need more people to get involved, plug in and be actively engaged in the change process right now! Join a group, write a letter, March and add your voice to the conversation advocating change for the better!

Brian Kasher

10 Buses, Hundreds of North and South Carolinians Attend Historic People’s Climate March

Thanks to Becky Bereiter and the TWC news team for seeing us off to New York City and the People’s Climate March as we joined 400,000 folks calling for Climate Action and Climate Justice!! Check back on our website for more national AND rider coverage!

PCM TWC News14 Coverage

Hundreds of North Carolinians Headed to NYC for People’s Climate March

CHARLOTTE — Hundreds of North Carolinians left for New York City Saturday night to take part in what is being called the largest march in history addressing climate change.

More than 100,000 people from around the country are expected at Sunday’s People’s Climate March.

The event comes ahead of next week’s United Nations Climate Summit. World leaders will gather to focus on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen climate resilience.

“I think people are starting to see the severe storms, the flooding, the excess heat, and it’s starting to impact people’s pocketbooks,” said Bill Gupton of the North Carolina Sierra Club. “We have the have the same kind of movement we had with the civil rights movement and the labor movement.”

President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak at the summit. He is expected to urge his fellow heads of state to be as ambitious as possible as they negotiate a complicated, global treaty to reduce emissions. The treaty is set to be finalized in 2015.

Demonstrators hope Sunday’s March will help apply public pressure.

“They’re going to see it in the streets and they’re going to realize that this is not just an academic issue,” said Alan Harwick of Greensboro. “This is something that’s affecting real people now, and I think the march will show that.”

Other demonstrations are planned around the world in Delhi, Jakarta, and Rio de Janeiro. The UN Climate Summit is Tuesday.

http://centralnc.twcnews.com/content/news/all_nc_news/712078/hundreds-of-north-carolinians-headed-to-nyc-for-people-s-climate-march/#sthash.VZpY7yO7.dpuf

Why We Must March!

Great article. And in other news…

The People’s Climate March has gone global!

A weekend to bend the course of history

In September, heads of state are going to New York City for a historic summit on climate change. With our future on the line, we will take a weekend and use it to bend the course of history.

In New York City there will be an unprecedented climate mobilisation – in size, beauty, and impact. This moment will not be just about New York or the United States. Heads of state from around the world will be there, as will the attention of global media.

Our demand is for Action, Not Words: take the action necessary to create a world with an economy that works for people and the planet – now. In short, we want a world safe from the ravages of climate change.

We know that no single meeting or summit will “solve climate change” and in many ways this moment will not even really be about the summit. We want this moment to be about us – the people who are standing up in our communities, to organise, to build power, to confront the power of fossil fuels, and to shift power to a just, safe, peaceful world.

To do that, we need to act – together.

Join the Global Weekend of Action

 

People’s Climate March = Marching for the Future

Bill McKibben, Eddie Bautista, LaTonya Crisp-Sauray | September 14, 2014

On Sunday, Sept. 21, a huge crowd will march through the middle of Manhattan. It will almost certainly be the largest rally about climate change in human history, and one of the largest political protests in many years in New York. More than 1,000 groups are coordinating the march—environmental justice groups, faith groups, labor groups—which means there’s no one policy ask. Instead, it’s designed to serve as a loud and pointed reminder to our leaders, gathering that week at the United Nations to discuss global warming, that the next great movement of the planet’s citizens centers on our survival and their pathetic inaction.

As a few of the march’s organizers, though, we can give some sense of why we, at least, are marching, words we think represent many of those who will gather at Columbus Circle for the walk through midtown Manhattan.

PCM Bright Eyes

We’re tired of winning the argument and losing the fight. And so we march. Poster by James Jean

We march because the world has left the Holocene behind: scientists tell us that we’ve already raised the planet’s temperature almost one degree Celsius, and are on track for four or five by century’s end. We march because Hurricane Sandy filled the New York City subway system with salt water, reminding us that even one of the most powerful cities in the world is already vulnerable to slowly rising ocean levels.

We march because we know that climate change affects everyone, but its impacts are not equally felt: those who have contributed the least to causing the crisis are hit hardest, here and around the world. Communities on the frontlines of global warming are already paying a heavy price, in some cases losing the very land on which they live. This isn’t just about polar bears any more.

But since polar bears can’t march, we march for them, too, and for the rest of creation now poised on the verge of what biologists say will be the planet’s sixth great extinction event, one unequalled since the last time a huge asteroid struck the Earth 66 million years ago.

And we march for generations yet to come, our children, grandchildren and their children, whose lives will be systematically impoverished and degraded. It’s the first time one century has wrecked the prospects of the millennia to come, and it makes us mad enough to march.

We march with hope, too. We see a few great examples around the world of how quickly we could make the transition to renewable energy. We know that if there were days this summer when Germany generated nearly 75 percent of its power from renewable sources of energy, the rest of us could, too—especially in poorer nations around the equator that desperately need more energy. And we know that labor-intensive renewables would provide far more jobs than capital-intensive coal, gas and oil.

And we march with some frustration: why haven’t our societies responded to 25 years of dire warnings from scientists? We’re not naïve; we know that the fossil fuel industry is the 1 percent of the 1 percent. But sometimes we think we shouldn’t have to march. If our system worked the way it should, the world would long ago have taken the obvious actions economists and policy gurus have recommended—from taxing carbon to reflect the damage it causes to funding a massive World War II-scale transition to clean energy.

Marching is not all, or even most, of what we do. We advocate; we work to install solar panels; we push for sustainable transit. We know, though, that history shows marching is usually required, that reason rarely prevails on its own. (And we know that sometimes even marching isn’t enough; we’ve been to jail and we’ll likely be back.)

We’re tired of winning the argument and losing the fight. And so we march. We march for the beaches and the barrios. We march for summers when the cool breeze still comes down in the evening. We march because Exxon spends $100 million every day looking for more hydrocarbons, even though scientists tell us we already have far more in our reserves than we can safely burn. We march for those too weak from dengue fever and malaria to make the journey. We march because California has lost 63 trillion gallons of groundwater to the fierce drought that won’t end, and because the glaciers at the roof of Asia are disappearing. We march because researchers told the world in April that the West Antarctic ice sheet has begun to melt “irrevocably”; Greenland’s ice shield may soon follow suit; and the waters from those, as rising seas, will sooner or later drown the world’s coastlines and many of its great cities.

We don’t march because there’s any guarantee it will work. If you were a betting person, perhaps you’d say we have only modest hope of beating the financial might of the oil and gas barons and the governments in their thrall. It’s obviously too late to stop global warming entirely, but not too late to slow it down—and it’s not too late, either, to simply pay witness to what we’re losing, a world of great beauty and complexity and stability that has nurtured humanity for thousands of years.

There’s a world to march for—and a future, too. The only real question is why anyone wouldn’t march.

Eddie Bautista is executive director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance. LaTonya Crisp-Sauray is the recording secretary for the Transport Workers Union Local 100. Bill McKibben is the founder of 350.org and a TomDispatch regular.

http://ecowatch.com/2014/09/14/peoples-climate-march-future/