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A Simple $hift Could Save Our Planet

Climate

Fossil Free San Francisco State University

A global movement is uniting to challenge the fossil fuel industry in a fight for the planet and our future and students across the country are leading the way.

$hift aims to mobilize people to join the divestment movement that is sweeping the nation, exposing divestment from the fossil fuel industry as a practical solution for creating the systemic change that is necessary to sustain a livable planet. This short film by Jamie Oliveira, Jennifer Fong, Seth Hahn and Nicole Blunt, in cooperation with San Francisco State University's Health Equity Institute and Fossil Free SFSU, documents the stories, ideas and actions behind groups like Fossil Free SFSU, 350.org, 350 Bay Area, Fossil Free SF and other divestment campaigns, uncovering the truth about climate change and revealing the case for divestment.

Scientists estimate we can only emit 565 more gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere to sustain a livable planet. Fossil fuel companies currently have enough coal, oil and gas reserves to emit 2795 more gigatons of carbon. That's five times the livable amount. If we want to avoid disastrous consequences of climate change, we have to leave 80 percent of those reserves in the ground.

If it is wrong to wreck the climate, then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage. We believe that educational and religious institutions, city and state governments, and other institutions that serve the public good should divest from fossil fuels.

We want institutions to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil fuel companies, and divest from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within five years. Two hundred publicly-traded companies hold the vast majority of the world’s proven coal, oil and gas reserves and they are the companies we’re asking our institutions to divest from.

Our demands to these companies are simple, because they reflect the stark truth of climate science:

  1. The companies need immediately to stop exploring for new hydrocarbons.
  2. They need to stop lobbying in Washington and state capitols across the country to preserve their special breaks.
  3. Most importantly, they need to pledge to keep 80 percent of their current reserves underground forever.

This documentary takes a look at climate change as a social justice issue and exposes divestment as a practical solution for creating the systemic change that is necessary if we want to truly $hift our behavior and sustain a livable planet.

Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.

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Protesters gathered outside US Bank and Wells Fargo locations around the U.S. to protest investment in the Dakota Access Pipeline on Dec. 1, 2016. This photo is from a protest outside US Bank in south Minneapolis, Minnesota. Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

By Jake Johnson

As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.


Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.

AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.

"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."


The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.

"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.

As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."

"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

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