Denver Calls on Colorado Senators to Reject the Keystone XL Pipeline
[Editors note: On Tuesday, May 6, 350 Colorado organized and hosted an anti-Keystone XL rally calling on Sen. Udall (D-CO) and Sen. Bennet (D-CO) to join with them in their fight against the pipeline. With only 72 hours to get the word out, the action was a great success— almost 150 people turned up to show their support of a Keystone XL pipeline veto. Campaign organizer Katie Falkenberg sums up the day of action below.]
Rallying for Solutions
We started the morning with a rally in support of expanding Demand Side Management (policies that aim to reduce energy consumption through energy efficiency) with Frack Free Colorado, Sierra Club, Clean Energy Action. We wanted to get the message out across that Colorado needs affordable solutions for converting to renewable energy and Demand Side Management is the best answer. We knew Gov. Hickenlooper (D-CO) was across the street and we hope he got the message loud and clear that expanding DSM is crucial to combating climate change and protecting the environment.
Sending Udall a Message
Next, we gathered up our banners, signs and mock pipeline and marched all the way from the Capitol to Sen. Udall’s office where another mini rally commenced featuring some amazing speakers. I was blown away by the amount of people waiting for us at his office when we arrived—well over a hundred people were there.
What Will Bennet Do?
When we went to deliver the letters and signatures to Sen. Udall’s staff they seemed to be a bit unprepared. With a big Senate race against a Republican with a strong pro-petroleum stance, we know he could swing either depending on the cash flow. We made sure to send Sen. Udall's staff a strong message that no matter how much money gets pumped into the senate race, Colorado stands strongly against the Keystone XL pipeline.
The march continued on to Sen. Bennet’s office, back through the 16th Street mall, complete with chanting and singing. No doubt, we had the attention of everyone within eye and ear shot. A huge thanks to Jonny 5 of the Flobots for leading us and keeping the crowd momentum up. We couldn’t have done it without him.
Again, we were met with a promise to deliver our message to the Senator, who was believed to be heading to Washington this week for a crucial Keystone XL Senate vote. Bennet has in the past said he is in favor of the pipeline, but as of last week he was still undecided on his vote for this issue. He has stated in the past:
“I do support it,” Sen. Bennet said in an interview. “I wish we were supporting it as part of a broad energy strategy for the U.S. And maybe someday we’ll get to a place where we are actually pursuing a broader energy strategy for the U.S.”
350 Colorado has heard that Sen. Udall will likely vote against the bill. It appears the tide could be turning against Big Oil. Sen. Bennet is one of the last undecided members of the Senate. It’s time he do what’s right for Colorado and the climate, and vote against the pipeline.
DC office – 202-224-5941 or 877-768-3255 (toll free for Coloradans)
Colorado office – 303-650-7820
DC office – 202-224-5852
Colorado office – 303-455-7600
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By Dolf Gielen and Morgan Bazilian
John Kerry helped bring the world into the Paris climate agreement and expanded America's reputation as a climate leader. That reputation is now in tatters, and President-elect Joe Biden is asking Kerry to rebuild it again – this time as U.S. climate envoy.
Energy Is at the Center of the Climate Challenge<p>The <a href="https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/1/" target="_blank">effects of climate change</a> are already evident across the globe, from <a href="https://theconversation.com/100-degrees-in-siberia-5-ways-the-extreme-arctic-heat-wave-follows-a-disturbing-pattern-141442" target="_blank">extreme heat waves</a> to <a href="https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/12/" target="_blank">sea level rise</a>. But while the challenge is daunting, there is hope. Solar and wind power have become the <a href="https://www.irena.org/publications/2020/Jun/Renewable-Power-Costs-in-2019" target="_blank">cheapest forms of power generation globally</a>, and technology progress and innovation continue apace to support a transition to clean energy.</p><p>In the U.S. under a Biden administration, long-term national climate legislation will depend on who controls the Senate, and that won't be clear until after two run-off elections in Georgia in January.</p><p>But there is no shortage of <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2020-biden-climate-change-advice/" target="_blank">ideas for ways Biden</a> could still take action even if his proposals are blocked in Congress. For example, he could use executive orders and direct government agencies to tighten regulations on greenhouse gas emissions; increase research and development in clean energy technologies; and empower states to exceed national standards, <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-emissions-california/defying-trump-california-locks-in-vehicle-emission-deals-with-major-automakers-idUSKCN25D2CH" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">as California did in the past with auto emission standards</a>. A focus on a just and equitable transition for communities and people affected by the decline of fossil fuels will also be key to creating a sustainable transition.</p><p>The U.S. position as the world's largest oil and gas producer and consumer creates political challenges for any administration. U.S. forays into European energy security are often treated with suspicion. Recently, France blocked <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/frances-engie-backs-out-of-u-s-lng-deal-11604435609" target="_blank">a multi-billion dollar contract</a> to buy U.S. liquefied natural gas because of concerns about limited emissions regulations in Texas.</p><p>Strengthening cooperation and partnerships with like-minded countries will be critical to bring about a transition to cleaner energy as well as sustainability in agriculture, forestry, water and other sectors of the global economy.</p>
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We Need More Than Listening<p>By now we have all become sadly accustomed to the current administration sidelining scientists, most prominently Dr. Anthony Fauci, because the facts they provide do not fit with the political rhetoric of the moment.</p><p>I have <a href="https://www.csldf.org/2019/08/22/csldf-helps-climate-scientist-maria-caffrey-fight-for-scientific-integrity/" target="_blank">my own history</a> of filing a scientific integrity complaint with the National Park Service (which falls under the Department of the Interior) after senior ranking employees attempted to censor one of my scientific reports. I know all too well the damage and pain that these actions cause, not just for the individual scientist, but also because these <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/attacks-on-science" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">attacks on science</a> over the last few years have undermined sound, evidence-based decision making.</p><p>President-elect Biden has repeatedly said that he will <a href="https://thehill.com/homenews/521638-trump-biden-will-listen-to-the-scientists-if-elected" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">listen to the scientists</a>. While this is certainly a welcome change, listening can only take us so far. This past week Lauren Kurtz from the <a href="https://www.csldf.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Climate Science Legal Defense Fund</a> and my colleague <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/about/people/gretchen-goldman" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Gretchen Goldman</a> published <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ten-steps-that-can-restore-scientific-integrity-in-government/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">an article</a> listing 10 actions the new administration should implement to show their commitment to strengthening government science:</p><ol><li>Clearly prohibit political interference and censorship.</li><li>Protect scientists' communication rights.</li><li>Acknowledge that attempts to violate scientific integrity, even if ultimately not fruitful, are still violations.</li><li>Protect federal scientists' right to provide information to Congress and other lawmakers.</li><li>Commit to incorporating the best science as part of agency decisions.</li><li>Elevate agency scientific integrity policies to have the full force of law.</li><li>Publicly release anonymized information about scientific integrity complaints and their resolutions at every agency.</li><li>Institute an intra-agency workforce, potentially under the White House <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/2020-09/strengthening-science-and-si-at-ostp.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Office of Science and Technology Policy</a>, to coordinate scientific integrity efforts across agencies, foster discussion of policy improvements, and standardize criteria for policies across agencies.</li><li>Strengthen whistleblower protections.</li><li>Ensure that policies cover all actors who will be dealing with science.</li></ol>
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