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Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Bill McKibben, Michael Brune, Among Others Will Risk Arrest Today at White House to Stop Tar Sands, Keystone XL Pipeline

Climate
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Bill McKibben, Michael Brune, Among Others Will Risk Arrest Today at White House to Stop Tar Sands, Keystone XL Pipeline

EcoWatch

Fifty American leaders—including Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (Waterkeeper Alliance), Michael Brune (Sierra Club), Bill McKibben (350.org), Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr. (Hip Hop Caucus), civil rights legend Julian Bond, actress Daryl Hannah, Nebraska rancher Randy Thompson and others on the frontlines of climate change—will risk arrest today in front of the White House to demonstrate the depth of their support for decisive action against climate change. For the first time in its 120-year history, the Sierra Club will participate in this civil disobedience action to convey the severity and urgency of action on climate.

Pete Nichols, national director of Waterkeeper Alliance, Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., president of Waterkeeper Alliance, and his son Conor Kennedy standing in front of the White House.

"It's unfortunate that civil disobedience is the only recourse against a catastrophic and criminal enterprise that will enrich a few while impoverishing the rest of humanity and threatening the future of civilization," said Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., president of Waterkeeper Alliance.

2012 was the hottest year on record, half the country is in severe drought, and superstorm Sandy just flooded the greatest city in the world—New York. A global crisis unfolds before our eyes and immediate action is required. President Obama has the executive authority to make a significant and immediate impact on carbon pollution, and he can begin by saying no to Big Oil by rejecting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.



Civil disobedience is the response of ordinary people to extraordinary injustices. Americans have righted the wrongs of our society—slavery, child labor, suffrage, segregation and inequality for gays and immigrant workers—with creative nonviolent resistance. Climate change threatens the health and security of all Americans, and action proportional to the problem is required—now.

The participants risking arrest have released the following letter to explain their collective action:


“We’re here today to show the depth of our resolve that President Obama take immediate, decisive action against climate change—to show that if the president leads, the vast majority of Americans will rally behind him. We’re not here today to protest the president, we are here to encourage and support him. We lived through horrors of Superstorm Sandy, the Midwest drought, wildfires, and the hottest year on record: we know in our bones that the time has come to do more than we have, and all that we can.



“The president can’t work miracles by himself. An obstructionist Congress stands in the way of progress and innovation. But President Obama has the executive authority and the mandate from the American people to stand up to the fossil fuel industry, and to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline right now.



“And we’re here to show something else—that the movement for a clean energy revolution is a broad and powerful one. In 2011 we were moved by the 1,253 Americans who went jail to protest Keystone in the biggest civil disobedience action in many years in this country. Today we are 50 people at the White House representing millions of Americans in every state, in every community. Today we risk arrest because a global crisis unfolds before our eyes. We have the solutions to this climate crisis. We have a moral obligation to stand for immediate, bold action to solve climate disruption. We can do it, and we will.”

 Stay tuned to EcoWatch for the latest developments on today's action.

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

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A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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