Mayors of 12 Major Global Cities Pledge Fossil Fuel Divestment
By Jessica Corbett
In another win for climate campaigners, leaders of 12 major cities around the world — collectively home to about 36 million people — committed Tuesday to divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in a green, just recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement from C40 Cities — a global network of communities dedicated to tackling the climate emergency — came on day two of Climate Week NYC, some of which is being held online because of the COVID-19 crisis.
"Now is the time to divest from fossil fuel companies and undertake investment and policy change that prioritizes public and planetary health, building back a more equal society and addressing this climate emergency," declared New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
"In New York City, we know that taking action on climate change is not optional," added de Blasio, whose community has been hit hard by the pandemic. "As we recover from COVID-19, we must make our cities even stronger."
In 2018, de Blasio and London Mayor Sadiq Khan established the first-of-its-kind Divest/Invest Forum to help city leaders shift money away from fossil fuels and toward the creation of low-carbon jobs. Khan said Tuesday that his city has "demonstrated that divestment is possible and indeed essential for our future."
"Through our work with New York and C40, I'm delighted to bring together 10 more cities to join us in taking Divest/Invest action," he added. "As the world recovers from COVID-19, we need to work together to ensure a fairer, fossil-fuel-free green recovery."
Berlin, Bristol, Cape Town, Durban, Los Angeles, Milan, New Orleans, Oslo, Pittsburgh and Vancouver have all signed on to C40's declaration, "Divesting from Fossil Fuels, Investing in a Sustainable Future."
We are proud to be one of 12 cities around the world committing to @c40cities' declaration “Divesting From Fossil… https://t.co/qelg6N2x7o— LDNMayor Environment (@LDNMayor Environment)1600791776.0
"We're in a make-or-break decade for the preservation of our planet and our livelihoods," said C40 chair and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. "Our declaration makes a clear statement: If we're serious about a sustainable, just, and prosperous future, we have to put our money where our mouth is, remove public dollars from companies harming the Earth, and power our cities with bold investments in low-carbon industries."
Specifically, the mayors are committing to taking all possible steps to divest city assets from fossil fuel companies and increase investments in climate solutions; calling on pension funds to follow suit; and advocating for fossil-free and sustainable finance by other investors and all levels of government. A C40 statement called the declaration "a critical next step towards realizing the vision for a Global Green New Deal, announced last October at the C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark."
The mayors' latest move comes as western U.S. states including California battle unprecedented wildfires while the Gulf Coast recovers from Hurricane Sally and prepares for the possibility of more storms. Scientists have emphasized that both the intense blazes and slow-moving, destructive hurricanes are connected to global heating that results from human activity, especially the burning of fossil fuels.
"The declaration sends a loud clear message to the fossil fuel industry," said 350.org executive director May Boeve, whose advocacy group has spearheaded demands for a green, just recovery. "As we watch wildfires burn in the U.S. and devastating floods in parts of Africa, we know that fossil fuels are not a safe investment: the sector is too volatile to be deeply vulnerable, it is time to divest from fossil fuels and invest in the green and just recovery of the future."
Globally, over $200 billion in COVID-19 recovery funding has been pledged to fossil fuels. Boeve argued that "it is essential to ensure that today's investments do not lock-in polluting technologies and carbon-intensive industries. Investments should instead support the solutions we need to avert climate breakdown, create good jobs, advance environmental justice, and support livable communities."
Signatories to the C40 declaration agree. "Pulling out of climate-damaging and ethically problematic investment strategies is a key step in the transition to a sustainable economy," said Michael Müller, governing mayor of Berlin. "The fact that C40 cities are taking this ambitious step and actively promoting divestment sends an important political signal."
Last year, the Vancouver City Council took action to divest city and staff pensions from fossil fuels. By signing the declaration, said Mayor Kennedy Stewart, "we are furthering this work, which aligns with City Council's 2019 vote to unanimously recognize a global climate emergency and local climate crisis."
Former Vancouver City Councillor Andrea Reimer participated Tuesday in an NYC Climate Week event, hosted by Stand.earth, about local efforts to facilitate "a just transition to renewable energy, a green recovery, and a livable climate."
We’re live at #ClimateWeekNYC! Our “Cities Lead: Phasing Out Fossil Fuels” event is happening 2-3:30pm ET today. Fo… https://t.co/c4cpi7KlQU— Stand.earth (@Stand.earth)1600797624.0
The event — which also featured speakers from Stand.earth, Baltimore, Berkeley, and King County, Washington — included sample policies, success stories and resources for grassroots organizers and local government leaders.
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Rebecca Niemiec and Kevin Crooks
Colorado voters will decide on Nov. 3 whether the state should reintroduce gray wolves (Canis lupus) after a nearly 80-year absence. Ballot Proposition 114 would require the state to develop and oversee a science-based plan to restore wolves, focused in Western Colorado and initiated by the end of 2023.
Back by Popular Demand?<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDUzOTQxNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNzI4NTkyMX0.BeRR61CH6a-TWwSw1p4kmng4x4tXRaSMKyTRHKIHmOw/img.jpg?width=980" id="1f7fe" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="339e3443dc63f3be06e24a82f0b37a03" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9aec767b3325e364a8605524504f95ab"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wTx_jqpqqfU?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Clashing Values<p>Proposition 114 has strong support in Colorado. <a href="https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/people-predators/public-perspectives-on-wolves-and-wolf-reintroduction-8-004/" target="_blank">Statewide surveys </a> conducted by phone, by mail and online over the past two decades have found that 66% to 84% of respondents supported reintroducing wolves. This support is consistent across different regions of the state and diverse demographic groups.</p><p>In a <a href="https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.9074" target="_blank">survey of Colorado residents</a> that we conducted in 2019, the prospect that wolves could contribute to a balanced ecosystem was the most commonly cited reason for supporting reintroduction. Other arguments included people's cultural and emotional connections to wolves, and <a href="https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/people-predators/moral-arguments-related-to-wolf-restoration-and-management-8-011/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">moral arguments</a> that restoring a species humans had eradicated was the right thing to do.</p><p>While overall public support is strong, over half of Colorado's 64 counties have passed <a href="https://www.drovers.com/article/wolf-reintroduction-ballot-colorado" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">resolutions against restoring wolves</a>. Many ranching and hunting associations are actively campaigning against the ballot measure.</p><p>In our 2019 study, we found that media coverage in the state focused more strongly on <a href="https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.9074" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">perceived negative impacts</a> associated with wolf reintroduction than on beneficial effects. Surveys show that resident concerns include threats to <a href="https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/people-predators/wolves-and-human-safety-8-003/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">human safety and pets</a>; <a href="https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/people-predators/wolves-and-livestock-8-010/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">wolf attacks on livestock</a>; and the potential for wolves to <a href="https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/people-predators/wolves-big-game-and-hunting-8-001/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reduce deer and elk populations</a>, threatening hunting opportunities.</p>
Who Decides?<p>This measure is the first giving voters in the U.S. an opportunity to weigh in on bringing back a native species. Addressing the issue through a ballot measure adds a unique twist to public and media discussions about wolves.</p><p>Supporters call it a democratic way to ensure that the <a href="https://www.cpr.org/2020/09/29/should-wolves-be-brought-back-to-colorado-a-rancher-and-a-biologist-have-their-say/" target="_blank">public's values are recognized</a>. They also argue that voters are deciding only whether wolves should be reintroduced, while allowing experts at the <a href="https://cpw.state.co.us/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">state wildlife agency</a> to create a reintroduction plan <a href="https://www.steamboatpilot.com/news/election/howl-you-vote-wolf-advocates-opponents-ask-colorado/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">based on the best available science</a>.</p>
<div id="4c11f" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="dec8674441e02372e50b796d848e4130"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1316474105315483649" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">According to a recent poll of 900 demographically representative likely voters, two-thirds supported “restoring wol… https://t.co/74LMG1PYtW</div> — High Country News (@High Country News)<a href="https://twitter.com/highcountrynews/statuses/1316474105315483649">1602706860.0</a></blockquote></div>
Finding Consensus<p>Studies suggest that ballot initiatives like 114 will <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2017.07.032" target="_blank">become more common</a> as public values toward wildlife change and more diverse groups seek to influence wildlife management. For us, the key question is how to recognize and incorporate these differing values as agencies make decisions.</p><p>Research drawing on insights from <a href="https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/people-predators/dialogue-and-social-conflict-about-wolves-8-009/" target="_blank">psychology, political science and sociology</a> suggests that it is critical to run<a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QppmBszEF6zsNnhBJ7Q2-pSWRR-Zx_ln/view" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> truly participatory processes</a> that engage government agencies and people who have a stake in the issue in shared decision-making. Fostering dialogue between groups that value wildlife differently can build empathy and mutual understanding and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2014.07.015" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">foster compromise</a>. Broadening the conversation in this way is essential for coexisting with carnivores with minimal impacts on predators and people.</p>
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Fish exposed to endocrine-disrupting compounds pass on health problems to future generations, including deformities, reduced survival, and reproductive problems, according to a new study.
Low Levels Lead to Generational Impacts<p>Researchers exposed inland silverside fish to bifenthrin, levonorgestrel, ethinylestradiol, and trenbolone to levels currently found in waterways.</p><p>"Our concentrations were actually on the low end" of what is found in the wild, DeCourten said, adding that it was low amounts of chemicals in parts per trillion.</p><p>Bifenthrin is a pesticide; levonorgestrel and ethinylestradiol are synthetic hormones used in birth controls; and trenbolone is a synthetic steroid often given to cattle to bulk them up.</p><p>Such endocrine-disruptors have already been linked to a variety of health problems in directly exposed fish including altered growth, reduced survival, lowered egg production, skewed sex ratios, and negative impacts to immune systems. But what remains less clear is how the exposure may impact future generations.</p><p>For their study, DeCourten and colleagues started the exposure when the fish were embryos and continued it for 21 days.</p><p>They then tracked effects on the exposed fish, and the next two generations.</p>
Inherited Problems<p>DeCourten said the altered DNA methylation is one of the plausible ways that future generations would experience health impacts from previous generations' exposure. Hormone-disrupting compounds have been shown to impact DNA methylation, which is an important marker of how an organism will develop.</p><p>"Methyl groups are added to specific sites on the genome, [the exposure] is not changing the genome itself, but rather how the genome is expressed," she said. "And that can be inherited throughout generations."</p><p>In addition, Brander said there are essentially different "tags" that exist on DNA molecules, which tell genes how to turn on and off. She said the exposure to different compounds may be "influencing which methyl tags get taken on or off as you proceed through generations."</p><p>The researchers said the study should prompt future toxics testing to consider impacts on future generations.</p><p>"The results … throw a wrench in the current approach to regulating chemicals, where it's often short-term testing looking at simple things like growth, survival, and maybe gene expression," Brander said.</p><p>"These findings are telling us we really at least need to consider" the next two generations, she added.</p>
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