‘Time to Do It for Real,’ Advocates Say as Biden Claims He’s ‘Practically’ Declared Climate Emergency

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Original article by Julia Conley republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

“There’s nothing more important than what happens today,” said one environmental lawyer. “And there’s no person in the world with more power to do good than Joe Biden.”

In an interview with The Weather Channel Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden signaled he has no plans to formally declare a climate emergency, claiming that his climate policies are sufficient and that, “practically speaking,” a national emergency has already been declared.

When asked if he will take the unprecedented step in order to unlock executive powers to drastically cut fossil fuel emissions, Biden told correspondent Stephanie Abrams, “I’ve already done that.”

The president pointed to $368 billion that was included in the Inflation Reduction Act to invest in clean energy production, actions being taken to conserve land, and his decision to rejoin the Paris climate agreement as evidence that he is taking all the steps that experts have said are necessary to fight the climate crisis.

“We’re moving,” Biden said.

The interview aired days after a reporter asked White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre about the status of Biden’s reported climate emergency deliberations, noting that NASA climate scientist Peter Kalmus recently wrote in an op-ed that not declaring an emergency is “anti-science.”

Jean-Pierre did not directly address the question but defended Biden’s record, saying he “believes in science” and “talks about climate change.”

“And, you know, it is such a difference to what we see from Republicans who don’t even acknowledge climate change,” she added. “We’re going to continue to move forward to do everything that we can not just here in America, but globally, to be a leader in fighting climate change.”

Kalmus called Jean-Pierre’s response “barely coherent” and demanded to know why the White House won’t declare a climate emergency.

“It’s not enough for Biden to ‘practically’ declare a climate emergency,” said the Institute for Policy Studies on Wednesday after Biden’s interview aired. “It’s time to officially announce one.”

Last summer, Biden reportedly began considering declaring a climate emergency as extreme heat overtook much of the country.

As numerous climate action groups have outlined, a climate emergency declaration would be far from a symbolic gesture. The action, taken under the National Emergencies Act, would allow the White House to:

  • Reinstate the federal ban on crude oil exports—lifted by Congress in 2015—which could slash fossil fuel emissions by as much as 165 million metric tons per year;
  • End oil and gas drilling in more than 11 million acres of federal waters;
  • Halt the investment of hundreds of billions of dollars in fossil fuel projects abroad; and
  • Unlock federal funds that could be used to construct renewable energy infrastructure in communities that are especially vulnerable to climate disasters.

Biden’s comments came weeks after scientists said last month was the hottest month on record, with millions of people from Asia to Western Europe and the United States facing temperatures close to 130°F. The World Weather Attribution said in late July that the extreme heat would have been “virtually impossible” without the climate crisis and continued emissions of heat-trapping gases by the fossil fuel industry.

“As we suffer through these fossil fuel heatwaves, megafires, and floods, [Biden]’s leaving immense powers on the shelf for combating the crisis,” Kassie Siegel, director of the Climate Law Institute of the Center for Biological Diversity, told Common Dreams. “But now is the time for him to actually declare a climate emergency under the National Emergencies Act.”

Siegel added that by dismissing direct questions about an official climate emergency declaration, the White House appears to be employing “the oldest strategy in the book,” long used by administrations that have denied the climate crisis and the need to shift the renewable energy.

“The unfortunate reality is that doing some good things is simply not enough, because we are in a physical climate emergency,” Siegel said. “It is a question of survival and every day counts. There’s nothing more important than what happens today… And there’s no person in the world with more power to do good than Joe Biden.”

While the president has taken some steps to undo harm done to communities by extractive industries—announcing protections from uranium mining for one million acres near the Grand Canyon on Tuesday and launching a $20 billion initiative to invest private capital into clean technology projects last month—he also infuriated climate advocates and experts earlier this year when he approved the Willow drilling project in Alaska. The project could produce more than 600 million barrels of crude oil over three decades and lead to roughly 280 million metric tons of carbon emissions.

The White House also drew criticism last month for its announcement of new regulations for fossil fuel leasing, despite Biden’s campaign promise to ban oil and gas leases on federal lands.

“The truth is, the Biden administration has devastated communities and wildlife by backing disastrous fossil fuel projects from Alaska to Appalachia,” Siegel told Common Dreams. “And what he does today is going to make a huge difference for how much devastation comes in the future.”

Siegel added that with the United Nations set to convene a Climate Ambition Summit on September 20 in New York, “there has never been a better time for Biden to actually declare a climate emergency.”

At the summit, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres aims to “accelerate action by governments, business, finance, local authorities, and civil society.”

The People vs. Fossil Fuels coalition, comprised of more than 1,200 advocacy groups, said it plans to mobilize ahead of the summit for a March to End Fossil Fuels in New York, aiming to “push President Biden to make a climate emergency declaration official and stop approving these deadly fossil fuel projects once and for all.”

“Now that President Biden says he’s ‘practically’ declared a climate emergency, it’s time to do it for real,” said the coalition. “The president should follow through on his rhetoric and immediately declare a national emergency that would unlock new executive powers to speed up the deployment of clean energy and halt fossil fuel expansion.”

Original article by Julia Conley republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

Continue Reading‘Time to Do It for Real,’ Advocates Say as Biden Claims He’s ‘Practically’ Declared Climate Emergency

Gen Z for Change Leader Interrupts Biden Press Secretary to Demand Climate Action

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Original article by Julia Conley republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

Elise Joshi, executive director of Gen Z for Change, interrupted White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre at an event on July 27, 2023 to demand climate action from the Biden administration. (Photo: screenshot/Gen Z for Change)

“Asking nicely hasn’t worked out,” said Elise Joshi as she stood up during the White House press secretary’s remarks.

Shortly after U.S. President Joe Biden angered climate campaigners by failing to mention fossil fuels in his remarks about new protections for millions of people facing extreme heat, the executive director of a youth-led advocacy group decided to address the administration directly about officials’ refusal to end support for the planet-heating oil and gas industry.

Elise Joshi, 21, stood up as White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was addressing a crowd at an event hosted by the voter engagement group Voters of Tomorrow. The campaigner spoke about Gen Z for Change’s long-stated demand that Biden declare a climate emergency—a move that would unlock numerous resources to fight the climate crisis and expedite the shift away from oil and fossil gas.

“Excuse me for interrupting, but asking nicely hasn’t worked out,” said Joshi. “A million young people wrote to the administration pleading not to approve a disastrous oil drilling project in Alaska, and we were ignored. So I’m here channeling the strength of my ancestors and generation.”

An event staffer approached Joshi, but Jean-Pierre urged them to “let her talk,” allowing the campaigner to demand that Biden “stop approving new oil and gas projects and align with youth, science, and frontline communities.”

When Joshi was finished speaking Jean-Pierre acknowledged that she had brought up the Willow project, an oil drilling operation that was approved on public land in Alaska this year. The project is expected to produce more than 600 million barrels of crude oil over the next three decades—releasing about 280 million metric tons of heat-trapping carbon emissions.

Joshi also noted that the Biden administration has approved drilling projects at a faster rate than the Trump administration.

As other Gen Z for Change campaigners called on the White House to “declare a climate emergency,” Jean-Pierre defended Biden’s record by saying he has “taken more action on climate change than any other president,” and said she would speak to Joshi privately after the event.

“We can talk through all that he has done and all that he wants to do, and we can also listen to you,” said the press secretary.

The White House can show it is listening to young people, said the advocacy group Sunrise Movement, by declaring a climate emergency.

U.S. Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.), who has also called for far-reaching climate action and at 26 is the youngest member of Congress, applauded Joshi for speaking out.

“I join the movement in asking the president to declare a climate emergency,” said Frost.

Original article by Julia Conley republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

Continue ReadingGen Z for Change Leader Interrupts Biden Press Secretary to Demand Climate Action

My day with Just Stop Oil

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I travelled to London on Monday to protest with Just Stop Oil (JSO). It was supposed to be the last day of their month of October actions and so it was my last opportunity to participate and show solidarity with them. I didn’t know at the time that JSO activists had targeted MI5, Bank of England and News Corp that day. They then had a 32nd day of action on the first of November that targeted Downing Street. I had wanted to join them from the start of October but simply wasn’t able to for weeks because of commitments involving an elderly person needing support.

I arrived at about 11.30, half an hour later than JSO’s meeting time. I was very pleased to find them near the Department of Defence opposite Downing Street. I was worried that I might not find them and would be wasting hours wandering around London until I could catch my booked coach back.

There were about 35 of us from all over the UK. Ages were from late teens and I would say about 70% like me fifty or over, some able to be there because they were retired and still fit. There were about three wearing Christian dog-collars. I recognised one from an image of him used on this blog before.

Image of a Just Stop Oil participant getting arrested at Kingsbury oil terminal.
A Just Stop Oil participant getting arrested at Kingsbury oil terminal. A JSO / Vladamir Morozov image.

I’m going to end this quickly because I’m suffering from a temporary health condition (Baker’s cysts) that causes a lot of pain. My reasoning is affected because of the pain and the painkillers that I’m taking.

JSO activists have no choice but to cause disruption. The climate crisis is a huge, real and immediate crisis.

JSO are very concerned with the safety of their participants. Marches are stewarded very well.

There is a choice to get arrested or not. JSO know the boundaries, how far they can push it until they are arrested. I was marching in the area around Parliament. Although there were arrests, those arrested were willing to be arrested.

Leafleting for JSO is challenging because you meet people who have a go at you.

JSO were not keen on letting me have the megaphone because they didn’t know me and didn’t know what I was going to say in the presence of many police officers.

There is a policy of getting out of the way of emergency vehicles despite what Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and others claim.

Just Stop Oil’s Phoebe Plummer who threw soup on Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London.
The painting is undamaged because it was behind glass.

ed: Just Stop Oil’s demand is no NEW oil or gas.

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Extinction Rebellion scientists: why we glued ourselves to a government department

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Charlie Gardner, University of Kent; Emily Cox, Cardiff University, and Stuart Capstick, Cardiff University

One recent Wednesday, while most scientists around the world were carrying out their research, we stepped away from our day jobs to engage in a more direct form of communication.

Along with more than 20 others from Scientists for Extinction Rebellion and assisted in our efforts by Doctors for Extinction Rebellion, we pasted scientific papers to the UK government’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). A group of us glued ourselves to the building, and nine scientists were arrested.

This kind of action may seem extreme for a scientist, but these are no ordinary times. As most members of the UK public now recognise, addressing the climate crisis requires drastic changes across society. In 2019, the UK parliament itself declared a climate emergency – and in an emergency, one must take urgent action.

Seemingly endless academic papers and reports highlight the need for the immediate and rapid decarbonisation of the global economy if we are to avert climate change so serious that it risks the collapse of human civilisation. The International Energy Agency, a respected policy advisory body to countries around the world, warned in 2021 that “if governments are serious about the climate crisis, there can be no new investments in oil, gas and coal, from now – from this year”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has stated that “it is time for us to listen to the warnings of the scientists” on the climate emergency. But despite this, the UK government is choosing not to wind down the fossil fuel industry, but instead to expand it.

The government recently published its energy security strategy. However, rather than focusing on home insulation, energy efficiency and onshore wind as most experts suggest, the strategy promotes the expansion of oil and gas production.

Such measures do very little to address the pressing issues of rising fuel bills or heavy imports of Russian oil and coal. And as a self-proclaimed leader in global climate action, the UK’s doubling down on fossil fuels also sends a dangerous message to the rest of the world.

Evidence alone is easily ignored

In a choice between fossil fuels and a liveable planet, the government has chosen oil and gas. For scientists who have dedicated their lives to research, this is hard to take. Many of us do our work in the belief that, if we provide scientific information to decision-makers, they will use it to make wise decisions in the public interest.

Yet the global response to the climate crisis, despite decades of increasingly dire warnings, shows this to be naive. The reason is as simple as it is obvious: governments don’t respond to science on these matters, but to the corporate interests that invest so heavily in political donations and lobbying.

Scientists must face a difficult truth that doesn’t come easily to those of us who are most comfortable working diligently on experiments and journal articles: evidence alone, even if expertly communicated, is very easily ignored by those that do not wish to hear it.

If we are to help bring about the transition away from fossil fuels that the world so urgently needs, we are going to have to become much harder to ignore. This does not mean disregarding the evidence or abandoning our integrity: quite the opposite. We must treat the scientific warnings on the climate crisis with the seriousness that they deserve.

Become hard to ignore

History suggests that one of the most powerful ways to become hard to ignore – and one of the few options available to those who do not have deep pockets or the ear of politicians – may be through nonviolent civil disobedience, the refusal to obey certain laws in order to bring public and media attention to an unjust situation.

From universal suffrage to civil rights for people of colour and action on the Aids pandemic, many of the most progressive social changes of the 20th century were brought about in this way. Many would likely agree that such actions are morally justified in a planetary emergency.

The recent blossoming of environmental civil disobedience movements around the world, led by Extinction Rebellion and the Greta Thunberg-inspired youth strikes, has been hugely influential in changing the global conversation on climate. These movements have been linked to an unprecedented surge of public concern and awareness about the climate crisis.

The scientists arrested on that Wednesday included an expert in energy policy, an air pollution specialist, three ecologists and two psychologists, across all career stages from junior researchers to established professors. Some work on the planetary crisis itself, others on our societal responses to it, but none of us took our actions lightly.

Our understanding of our planetary peril obliges us to take action to sound the alarm, even if it means risking our civil liberties. And we are not alone. On April 6 more than 1,200 scientists in 26 countries participated in a global Scientist Rebellion, which included pasting scientific papers to the UK headquarters of oil giant Shell.

Civil disobedience doesn’t always need a particular target to be effective, because the main objective is to ring the alarm by generating media and wider public attention. Extinction Rebellion protests, for example, has targeted fossil fuel infrastructure, media and finance institutions and airports used by private jets, in addition to the general disruption caused by roadblocks.

But we went to BEIS because, as the government department responsible for climate change, it should be leading the transition away from fossil fuels. Instead, through enabling and promoting new fossil fuel extraction, it is doing the opposite.

Recent acts of law-breaking by scientists may seem radical, but the world’s most senior diplomat disagrees. On the release of the IPCC’s latest report, the UN Secretary General António Guterres said: “Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals. But the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels.”

He could not have said it more clearly: while we scientists may have been breaking the law, it is the government that’s placing us all in danger.

Charlie Gardner, Associate Senior Lecturer, Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent; Emily Cox, Research Associate, Environmental Policy, Cardiff University, and Stuart Capstick, Senior Research Fellow in Psychology, Cardiff University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

First dog

Continue ReadingExtinction Rebellion scientists: why we glued ourselves to a government department

Climate protest news 13 April 2022 / 2

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Extinction Rebellion goes door-knocking for new recruits

Extinction Rebellion climate change activists have been door-knocking across London to attract new members.

The group says it is carrying out three days of “deep-canvassing”, approaching people in their homes to “listen to their concerns” about climate change.

Residents are being invited to local talks, to learn about the campaign and how to get involved.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) says the “outreach” exercises are part of a “week of action” in the capital.

XR says despite polls suggesting a high level of concern about climate change, “rarely do people have the opportunity to share their thoughts and fears about the world”.

Protestors enter Shell HQ in London to tell workers to ‘jump ship’

Climate protestors have stormed a Shell (LON: SHEL) office to tell its workers to leave the oil giant, according to reports.

Climate protestors have stormed a Shell (LON: SHEL) office to tell its workers to leave the oil giant, according to reports.

Extinction Rebellion UK has Tweeted to say that campaigners are currently inside the supermajor’s London headquarters.

Videos have also appeared online of demonstrators gluing themselves to the reception desk at the Shell base and demanding “to talk to HR”.

Widespread protests have taken place in London today as XR and Just Stop Oil activists call for an “immediate end” to oil and gas.


I went on TV to explain Just Stop Oil – and it became a parody of Don’t Look Up

Miranda Whelehan

I wanted to sound the alarm about oil exploration and the climate crisis, but Good Morning Britain just didn’t want to hear

Civil resistance is really not about protests or marches, it is about responding to a situation beyond our worst nightmares. At Cop26, the people who run things effectively confirmed that they were going to let billions of the poorest people on this planet die in order to keep business as usual going.

Well, to that we say no. We will not continue as generations have before and allow our actions today to have devastating consequences on those tomorrow. It is time to break that cycle and stand up for what is right. “If governments are serious about the climate crisis, there can be no new investments in oil, gas and coal, from now – from this year.” That is a direct quote from Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency. He said that last year. Time has quite literally run out. It only takes one quick search on the internet to see what is happening. Somalia. Madagascar. Yemen. Australia. Canada. The climate crisis is destroying lives already and will continue to unless we make a commitment to stop oil now.

Kwasi Kwarteng declares ‘we won’t switch off oil and gas production’ after protesters glue themselves to building

The Business Secretary has insisted the Government will not switch off domestic oil and gas production as climate change activists targeted his department in an act of “civil disobedience”.

But in a message to the activists posted on social media, the Business Secretary said: “You cannot – and we won’t – switch off domestic oil and gas production.

“Doing so would put energy security, jobs and industries at risk – and would simply increase foreign imports, not reduce demand.”

The group said the demonstration was part of a week of “civil disobedience” by XR in London.

“The action is planned to continue until the UK Government agrees to implement Extinction Rebellion’s immediate demand: to end all new fossil fuel infrastructure immediately,” it said.

Comment by dizzy: I understand that XR and Just stop oil are demanding an end to any expansion to oil and gas and not stopping domestic production as Kwarteng is claiming.

Continue ReadingClimate protest news 13 April 2022 / 2