Send a message to Todd Stern, the U.S. Climate Change Envoy

The world demands climate action!

Tell the US Climate Change Envoy to seek strong and equitable international commitments at the Lima summit.
Peoples Climate March
Send Your Letter

On Monday, December 1, the UN Climate Change Conference kicks off in Lima, Peru. This is an important opportunity to demonstrate to leaders from across the globe that the world demands action now on climate.

Send a message to Todd Stern, the U.S. Climate Change Envoy. Ask him to reaffirm the United States’ commitment to cut carbon emissions and to seek strong and equitable commitments from the leaders of other countries.

I’m excited to be attending the Lima conference as part of a Sierra Student Coalition delegation. Across the globe, students and youth are voicing our generation’s concern about the dire consequences of climate change and the need for immediate action.

In September, I attended the People’s Climate March and was struck by the growth of our movement — indigenous and frontline communities, labor unions, faith groups, and climate activists of all ages marched as one. We sent a clear message and the world took notice! “When you have more than 400,000 people in the streets of NYC… that’s political will that’s getting exercised,” said Todd Stern after the march.

The talks in Lima will set the stage for Paris climate negotiations in 2015, where an agreement on global climate action will be sought. The recent U.S./China climate agreement demonstrates that world leaders are taking our message to heart. However, we can and must do more to avert climate catastrophe.

Make your voice heard in Lima! Ask the U.S. Climate Envoy to build global consensus for strong and equitable climate action.

Thank you for speaking up,

Natalie Lucas
International Committee Chair
Sierra Student Coalition

NC Sierra Club Footnotes Online – November 2014

North Carolina Chapter Sierra Club

Dear Sierran,

With Thanksgiving coming next week, we at the NC Sierra Club would like to take a moment to express our appreciation for all of the hard work done by our volunteers. From working to elect conservation-minded candidates to celebrating our wilderness areas, Sierrans have shown time and again what people can do to preserve and protect our state’s natural heritage.

We hope you enjoy the upcoming holidays, and as always, it’s a pleasure working with and for you.

Your staff at the NC Sierra Club

Take Action: Protect Our Forests

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The U.S. Forest Service is currently in the process of revising the management plans for North Carolina’s Pisgah and Nantahala National Forests, which determines the future of our forests for decades to come. These plans only get revised once every 15-20 years and this is a critical time to let your voice be heard!

The Forest Service is proposing a large proportion of the landscape for “timber production”, rather than a balanced plan that will provide for recreation, natural resources, sensitive ecosystems, wildlife, wilderness protection and timber harvesting.

Click here to send in your comments to the US Forest Service and let them know that we should protect our forests!

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2014 Annual Report

The NC Sierra Club’s 2014 Annual Report & Ballot has been mailed to all members! It should arrive at homes across the state this week.

Aside from updates on our work this year, the annual report includes a Message from the Chair, recognition of our financial supporters, information about electing local and state volunteers to leadership positions in the Sierra Club, and more!

But you don’t have to wait to receive your report from the Postal Service to check it out. Click here to read the 2014 Annual Report online!

 

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Electing Today’s Environmental Leaders

Every Sierran in North Carolina can vote in Chapter elections. This year, there are five candidates running for three open seats on the NC Sierra Club’s Executive Committee. Chapter elections information can be found by clicking here: https://nc2.sierraclub.org/2014Ballot

Also, every Sierra Club member in North Carolina belongs to a local group, and these local groups are holding their elections now, as well! Click here for information about electing your local Sierra Club leaders:  https://nc2.sierraclub.org/2014LocalBallots

All elections are open now and close on Dec. 15th. Don’t miss your chance to vote!  Click here to vote now!

Not a member yet?  Click here to become a bona fide Sierran today!

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Wilderness Spotlight: Croatan National Forest

The 160,000-acre Croatan National Forest lies between the Atlantic Ocean and the Neuse River and contains a variety of ecosystems, which are further protected within four separate wilderness areas set aside in 1984. The forest is cherished for its pine forests, salt estuaries, bogs, and pocosins. Being suitable for hiking, camping, hunting, and trail biking make these wilderness areas great places to explore and connect with nature.

Click here to read Nancy Card’s full blog post about this national forest and the four wilderness areas within it.

 

 News Worth Sharing

Coal Ash

The newly formed Coal Ash Management Commission (CAMC) held its first meeting last week. The meeting itself mostly provided the commissioners with information about coal ash in North Carolina.

The website for the CAMC has the presentation from that all day meeting and is chock-full of useful information. Click on the link to keep an eye on CAMC and their upcoming work: http://www.camc.nc.gov/meetings.html.

Offshore Drilling

Earlier this month, state officials hosted a closed door meeting about potential offshore drilling off the Eastern Seaboard. And even though elected officials, federal agencies and state bureaucrats attended the meeting, the public was shut out. The federal government is currently evaluating whether to allow drilling off our coast in federal waters. Governor McCrory is an advocate for opening up the Atlantic coast to offshore drilling.

The NC Sierra Club was instrumental in pointing out the lack of transparency. Hopefully future meetings will allow public participation. Read our response to the closed door meeting in the Associated Press story here: http://wapo.st/1vqbbDT.

Solar

North Carolina is a national leader in solar power; however, uncertainty around several solar policies have many businesses and solar supporters worried. Dave Dewitt at WUNC produced a great story about the solar policies in our state and the challenges they face. Click the link to read and listen to his story:  http://wunc.org/post/solar-business-booming-nc-how-long.

And find out more information about our Solar Is Rising campaign at SolarIsRising.org!

Want to know the latest? Join us on Facebook or Twitter!

Join us on Facebook NC Chapter on Twitter

Natural Gas Pipelines: Regulation and Risk for North Carolina

Big thanks to Clean Water for North Carolina for this important report.

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If you missed the other updates, check them out at “We Don’t Want Your Pipeline” By Robin and Linda Williams (Oct 4), Duke Energy/Dominion/Piedmont Natural Gas Pipeline – Keystone XL of the East? (Sept 17),   They’re Building A Pipeline Song – Help Protect the Wilderness (Sept 15), Duke Energy/Dominion/Piedmont Natural Gas Pipeline – Communities Voice Opposition (Sept 15), Duke Energy/Dominion Pipeline – N.C. Public Meetings, VA/WV Local Government and Community Reactions (Sept 13),  Opposition Growing in Virginia Over Atlantic Coast Pipeline (Sept 12), Update on Duke Energy/Dominion Fracking Gas Pipeline (Sept 10) and  “Fracking boom prompts $5B Dominion gas pipeline” (Sept 7).

Senate votes on Keystone XL tomorrow! Take action now!

Keystone XL Urgent Senate vote

Take Action

Big Oil-backed members of Congress are obsessed with Keystone XL. They’re so obsessed, in fact, that their very first priority after coming back to Washington is to try to derail the ongoing environmental review process and force approval of that dirty tar sands pipeline in Congress.

Why? Because that’s what Big Oil wants them to do.

The Senate will vote TOMORROW on approving Keystone XL. Take action now to urge your senators to vote NO on Keystone XL!

It’s astounding that while President Obama is hammering out a historic international climate deal with China, polluters and their political allies are still desperately chasing their climate-killing pipedream. It’s clear whose interests they are serving — and it certainly isn’t America’s.

The federal review process is in place to make sure new pipelines serve our national interest, and that includes protecting our climate, land and water. Approving Keystone XL would open the floodgates of climate-killing tar sands crude flowing through the U.S. It would ensure more disastrous oil spills, threaten sources of drinking water for millions, disrupt wildlife, and increase rates of cancer and other health problems in Canada and in refinery communities here in the United States. Keystone XL is all risk and no reward.

Act now to remind your senators that our climate, our land, our water and our health are not for sale to Big Oil. Urge them to reject this attempt to hijack the review process and approve Keystone XL!

If you have any doubt who these pro-pipeline politicians are working for, consider this: The representatives who voted to approve KXL in the House last Friday received on average 10 times more money from the oil industry than those who voted against it. Clearly it was cynical money well spent.

Together, we’ve kept Keystone XL from being built for more than six years — keeping more than one billion metric tons of carbon pollution out of the atmosphere to date. We’ve come too far to have Big Oil write a fat check and buy the approval of this dirty tar sands pipeline from the U.S. Senate.

It’s critical that your senators hear from you before it’s too late. Take a minute right now to stop the approval of Keystone XL!

Thanks for all you do for the environment,

Michael Brune
Sierra Club Executive Director

The Urgent Case for a Ban on Fracking

Thanks to Food and Water Watch for this excellent report.

The Urgent Case for a Ban on Fracking

September 16th, 2014

In recent years, the term “fracking” has come to mean far more than just the specific process of extracting oil and natural gas by injecting large volumes of various mixes of water, sand and chemicals deep underground, at extreme pressure, to create fractures in targeted rock formations.

Today, the term “fracking” represents the host of problems that this dangerous practice entails. This report details evidence on the many reasons why fracking should be banned, including:

  • Producing massive volumes of toxic and radioactive waste. The disposal of this waste is causing earthquakes and putting drinking water resources at risk.

  • Pumping hazardous pollutants into the air. Fracking utilizes over 100 dangerous chemicals known to cause life-threatening illnesses, including cancer.

  • Destabilizing the climate. Fracking wells release large amounts of methane gas, which is known to trap 87 times more heat than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and contributes greatly to global warming.

  • Disrupting local communities. Fracking presents a broad number of consequences for people living in areas where it is occurring, including damage to public roads, declines in property value, increased crime and an increased demand on emergency services.

  • Turning homes into explosive hazards. Contaminating water wells with methane and other flammable gases from fracking puts families’ health, safety and property at high risk.

  • Causing thousands of accidents, leaks and spills. More than 7,500 accidents related to fracking occurred in 2013, negatively impacting water quality in rivers, streams and shallow aquifers.

Urgent Case Fracking Banurgent_case_for_ban_on_fracking

What’s 86 Times More Potent Than Carbon Dioxide?

Send a message to protect our air, health and planet.

Take Action: Protect Our Climate from Methane
Take Action: Big Oil Must Stop Poisoning Communities
Methane — it’s the greenhouse gas that flies under the radar. But pound for pound, methane is 86 times more potent over a 20-year period than carbon dioxide. As the oil and gas industry pushes to frack more, President Obama needs to come up with a plan for cutting this dangerous greenhouse gas. President Obama and his administration can ensure the protection of our climate and our communities by taking an important first step — regulating methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.

Take Action
Tell President Obama and his administration to step up, cut methane, and help us move toward a future where our homes, schools, and businesses are powered with clean energy.

 

Send a message to protect our treasures.

Take Action: Protect Boulder-White Clouds as a National Monument
Take Action: Protect Boulder-White Clouds as a National Monument
Boulder-White Clouds in central Idaho is filled with 150 alpine peaks that rise over 10,000 feet in the air. It is the crown jewel of Idaho wilderness and is treasured by, and outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world. But as population grows and industry looks to expand, the fate of this pristine region is uncertain. Boulder-White Clouds is the largest unprotected roadless forest landscape left in the lower 48 states. But with your help we can change that and protect Boulder White-Clouds for future generations to enjoy.

Take Action
Tell President Obama that Boulder-White Clouds should be our nation’s next national monument.

That Which Doesn’t Kill Us…

Great post-election message from the Sierra Club.

“It’s no secret what’s going on here: The same people who are poisoning our air and our water are also poisoning our democracy.”

~ Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director

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

Nov 7, 2014

That Which Doesn’t Kill Us…

Michael Brune Follow me on Twitter and Facebook. View my blog.

Yes, the election hurt. We feared it would be bad — and it was worse. By now we’ve all heard the Wednesday-morning quarterback analyses of how and why the Democratic Party gave up control of the Senate and lost a bunch of other races around the country. For the Sierra Club, it’s especially painful to know that in far too many places we have lost long-standing, hard-working champions for clean energy, for the climate, and for the environment. And believe me, it’s not going to be easy to see climate-denier James Inhofe chairing the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and Big Oil booster Lisa Murkowski picking up the gavel at the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Not to mention Kentucky coal senator Mitch McConnell as Senate Majority Leader — that’s a dirty-fuel dream team right there.

I could go on. But the fact is that losing elections is part of having a democracy. I may not be happy about it when good candidates lose, but I can accept it and move on. There’s one troubling aspect of this election, though, that none of us should accept: an attack of democracy itself.

Without question, a rash of discriminatory voter-suppression laws in 21 states kept millions of Americans from voting in this election. Did these new voting and registration laws affect the outcome of this election? It’s definitely possible. The New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center for Social Justice has already made a strong case that in at least four states (Virginia, Kansas, Florida, and North Carolina) enough votes were suppressed to make a difference in specific close races.

It’s no secret what’s going on here: The same people who are poisoning our air and our water are also poisoning our democracy. This erosion of voting rights affects all of the work that we care about: clean energy, conservation legislation, climate legislation. The Sierra Club, along with a coalition of environmental groups, workers’ groups, and civil rights organizations, and others, will redouble our efforts to stop this assault on our democracy.

Even without voter suppression, though, this would have been a disappointing election for people who care about clean energy and the environment. But that doesn’t mean that there weren’t any bright spots. Here are a few things to keep in mind as we dust ourselves off and prepare for what will be a challenging couple of years.

First, this election marked a huge turning point for climate change as an issue. Two successful senate candidates, Gary Peters in Michigan and Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire, leaned in hard on clean energy and climate. Perhaps even more telling, we’re starting to see Republican candidates back away from outright climate denial — at least rhetorically. That’s why Colorado’s Cory Gardner ran an ad claiming — falsely — that he supports wind energy.

Poll after poll has shown that the public wants clean air, clean water, and climate action. They want an end to tax breaks for oil companies and they want more investments in clean energy now. It’s extremely unlikely they’ll get progress from Congress on those issues during the next two years — instead they will almost certainly see them attacked. You can bet that will be a big issue in 2016.

Second, although the oil and gas industries saw plenty of their candidates succeed, they were by no means invincible. In Nebraska, eight-term congressman Lee Terry, an ardent climate denier and proponent of the Keystone XL pipeline, was defeated. In cities and counties in Ohio, California, and (for the first time ever) Texas, activists succeeded in getting fracking bans passed — despite being massively outspent. And in the refinery town of Richmond, CA, Chevron failed miserably in its attempt to defeat a slate of pro-environment and clean energy candidates, even after it spent at least $3 million (that’s $72 per registered voter) on negative ads.

Third, the most important clean energy and climate champion of all is still in office. President Obama has made fighting climate change a priority, especially during the past two years, and there’s no reason to doubt that he will stay that course. He has significant authority to speed up the transition to clean energy and to establish an even stronger climate and environmental legacy. He’s also got plenty of ink left in his veto pen.

Another thing to remember: We’ve been here before, more times than we care to remember, and the political outlook was as bleak or bleaker than it is today. If we look back at what happened, though, progress didn’t stop — in fact, we came out stronger. The most successful activist campaign in Sierra Club history — Move Beyond Coal — began and flourished under Bush/Cheney. When Ronald Reagan put James “mine more, drill more, cut more” Watt in charge of the Interior Department, it inspired a generation of activists who are fighting for wilderness, wildlife protection, and clean energy to this day. Sure, we’re probably going to be playing more defense during the next couple of years. But guess what? We are really good at playing defense. After all, we have something that’s actually worth defending.

Our job now is to sharpen our insights, strengthen our programs, and find new and even more-effective ways to make the clean energy future a reality. As we do that, we’ll see a new wave of voters becoming engaged in the political process who know that protecting nature and replacing dirty fuels with clean energy not only makes air and water cleaner and helps to stabilize our climate but also saves money and creates jobs at the same time. That will be a winning ticket all the way.