Extinction Rebellion Kicks Off Week of Civil Disobedience to Demand Climate Action
By Jake Johnson
The Extinction Rebellion movement kicked off a week of marches, demonstrations and peaceful civil disobedience across the U.S. and around the world on Monday to demand "systemic changes to stop global warming while there's still time left."
In Scotland, climate campaigners plan to shut down Edinburgh's North Bridge to get their government's attention. Similar disruptions are planned in dozens of cities across the U.S. and the United Kingdom.
According to Extinction Rebellion — which several climate activists in the U.K. launched last year — tens of thousands are expected to take to the streets in nearly 40 countries across six continents.
As the Guardian reported Sunday, American activists "hope the arrival of Extinction Rebellion will be a watershed moment for the U.S. environmental movement, shifting it from what they see as a tepid response to the cavalcade of disasters threatening the livability of the planet."
View a map of Extinction Rebellion regional groups to find an event near you.
"Governments have failed us," Bea Ruiz, national coordinator for Extinction Rebellion U.S., said in a statement. "Those who are most vulnerable and least responsible for this crisis are the ones who are suffering the most. People are dying. Species are disappearing. Everything is at stake."
"It's time to do what's never been done before in the fight against climate change—a collective and coordinated international rebellion that will continue to escalate until our demands are met," Ruiz added.
Sue from Bristol: “the science is telling us we only have eleven years. We have to start decarbonising now. We have… https://t.co/kSHXDWxrqs— Extinction Rebellion (@Extinction Rebellion)1555322645.0
Site meeting at #parliamentsquare one of the five sites to be occupied today as start of the… https://t.co/ZkDkO3Gf5C— Extinction Rebellion (@Extinction Rebellion)1555319562.0
The international movement issued a set of straightforward demands to political leaders around the world: Declare "a climate and ecological emergency" and act immediately to "halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025."
"It's time to declare a climate and ecological emergency," Miriam Robinson of Extinction Rebellion Melbourne said in a statement. "We are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction, but the government has been pouring billions of dollars into fossil fuel infrastructure—more gas hubs, ports, coal mines and roads, while sadly neglecting and degrading the natural world."
Petitions, phone calls and letters to government officials are no longer sufficient to confront the scale of the global climate crisis, Extinction Rebellion organizers said. Only civil disobedience on a massive scale, they argued, can force governments to act.
"Governments prioritize the short-term interests of the economic elites, so to get their attention, we have to disrupt the economy. They have left us with no other option," organizers said in a statement. "This moment demands action that is proportionate to the threat we face."
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
By Simon Montlake
For more than a decade, Susan Jane Brown has been battling to stop a natural gas pipeline and export terminal from being built in the backcountry of Oregon. As an attorney at the nonprofit Western Environmental Law Center, she has repeatedly argued that the project's environmental, social, and health costs are too high.
All that was before this month's deadly wildfires in Oregon shrouded the skies above her home office in Portland. "It puts a fine point on it. These fossil fuel projects are contributing to global climate change," she says.
Moderates Feeling the Heat<p>If elected, Mr. Biden has vowed to stop new drilling for oil and gas on federal land and in federal waters and to rejoin the 2015 Paris climate accord that President Donald Trump gave notice of quitting. He would reinstate Obama-era regulations of greenhouse gas emissions, including methane, the largest component of natural gas.</p><p>The Biden climate platform also states that all federal infrastructure investments and federal permits would need to be assessed for their climate impacts. Analysts say such a test could impede future LNG plants and pipelines, though not those that already have federal approval. </p><p>Climate change activists who pushed for that language say much depends on who would have oversight of federal agencies that regulate the industry. Some are wary of Biden's reliance on advice from Obama-era officials, including former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who is now on the board of Southern Company, a utility, and a former Obama environmental aide, Heather Zichal, who has served on the board of Cheniere Energy, an LNG exporter. </p>
The Push for U.S. Fuel Exports<p>As vice president, Biden was part of an administration that pushed hard for global climate action while also promoting U.S. oil and gas exports to its allies and trading partners. As fracking boomed, Obama ended a 40-year ban on crude oil exports. In Europe, LNG was touted both as an alternative to coal and as strategic competition with Russian pipelines.</p><p>That much, at least, continued with President Trump. Under Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the agency referred to liquified U.S. hydrocarbons as "<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/29/us/freedom-gas-energy-department.html" target="_blank">freedom gas</a>."</p><p>Mr. Trump has also championed the interests of coal, oil, and gas while denigrating the findings of government climate scientists. He rejected the Paris accord as unfair to the U.S. and detrimental to its economy, but has offered no alternative path to emissions cuts. </p><p>Still, Trump's foreign policy has not always served the LNG industry: Tariffs on foreign steel drove up pipeline costs, and a trade war with China stayed the hand of Chinese LNG importers wary of reliance on U.S. suppliers. </p><p>Even his regulatory rollbacks could be a double-edged sword. By relaxing curbs last month on methane leaks, the U.S. has ceded ground to European regulators who are drafting emissions standards that LNG producers are watching closely. "That's a precursor of fights that will be fought in all the rest of the developed world," says Mr. Hutchison. </p><p>Indeed, some oil-and-gas exporters had urged the Trump administration not to abandon the tougher rules, since they undercut their claim to offer a cleaner-burning way of producing heat and electricity. "U.S. LNG is not going to be able to compete in a world that's focused on methane emissions and intensity," says Erin Blanton, a senior research scholar at the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. </p>
Stepping on the Gas<p>In July, the Department of Energy issued an export license to Jordan Cove's developer, Canada's Pembina Pipeline Corp. In a statement, Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said the project would provide "reliable, affordable, and cleaner-burning natural gas to our allies around the world."</p><p>As a West Coast terminal, Jordan Cove offers a faster route to Asia where its capacity of 7.8 million tons of LNG a year could serve to heat more than 15 million homes. At its peak, its construction would also create 6,000 jobs, the company says, in a stagnant corner of Oregon.</p><p>But the project still lacks multiple local and state permits, and its biggest asset – a Pacific port – has become its biggest handicap, says Ms. Blanton. "They are putting infrastructure in a state where there's no political support for the pipeline or the terminal, unlike in Louisiana or Texas," she says. </p><p>Ms. Brown, the environmental lawyer, says she wants to see Jordan Cove buried, not just mothballed until natural gas prices recover. But she knows that it's only one among many LNG projects and that others will likely get built, even if Biden is elected in November, despite growing evidence of the harm caused by methane emissions. </p>
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