Climate Action US Climate Action Network's Blog 2016-06-29T20:31:27Z http://blog.usclimatenetwork.org/feed/atom/ WordPress USCAN <![CDATA[USCAN2016: Conference Report]]> http://blog.usclimatenetwork.org/?p=4077 2016-06-29T20:31:27Z 2016-06-29T20:05:57Z Related posts:
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The USCAN 2016 Conference

Author: Keya Chattterjee, Executive Director USCAN

From June 13-15 in Miami, Florida , climate leaders from all around the United States (and the world) came together for the USCAN National Conference. On the eve of a crucial moment for the climate movement, our meeting had five goals: Solidarity (to build relationships and trusts across the movement), Equity (to put equity & justice at the core of how we approach climate), Alignment (build shared understanding of the ‘big picture’ strategy challenges facing us all, and how we can work separately and differently, but together, in facing them), Power (to build capacity, energy and power in our network in a critical year) and Miami (to lend strength to the work of local climate activists in Miami and the Southeast). In those three days we saw some tremendous work from our members, that led to some really impressive results. Conference attendees have access to the full notes from each session, along with 100s of photos. What follows is my  report.

Solidarity: Who Showed Up

Building on the success of our 2015 national conference, this conference was our biggest and most diverse conference yet, with over 280 climate leaders from over 120 organizations and over 30 states. We had delegations of staff and members from national groups such as NAACP, Sierra Club, SEIU and Moms Clean Air Force, as well as from grassroots organizations like the New Jersey Organizing Project, the Colorado People’s Alliance and EEECHO from Gulfport Mississippi. What set this year’s conference apart from last year’s was that we did not co-host this year — everyone in attendance was a member of USCAN, or a member of the Miami Climate Alliance (our awesome local partner) — reflecting a network that continues to grow broader and more diverse. We also had even stronger participation from green groups compared to last year, with groups like Center for Biological Diversity, Clean Water Action, Earthjustice, Environmental Defense Fund, Greenpeace, League of Conservation Voters, National Wildlife Federation, World Wildlife Fund, Union of Concerned Scientists, the Climate Reality Project and 350.org bringing teams of staff. If you’d like to know more, check out the photos below, and see the full list here!

Taken by: Tyler Greer

Taken by: Tyler Greer

Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley Taken by: Adriana Mereuta

Rev. Dr. Gerald L. Durley
Taken by: Adriana Mereuta

Alignment: Working Together in New Ways

The conference did not have an official theme, but one of our 5 goals was to build more solidarity, and there was a clear desire through the week to work together across the full breadth of our movement. The tone was set on the morning of the first day when Rev Dr Gerald Durley, Mary Kay Henry, and Selwin Hart spoke in different ways to how our struggle for climate justice is and can be connected to the struggles for racial and economic justice in a broader movement for justice. This theme of working across silos within our movement, and intentionally advancing climate, economic, racial and gender justice, was continued in breakout groups across the week. One of our key learnings from this week is that this network really wants to come together and work in new and deeper ways for a broader kind of climate justice. At the same time, conversations surfaced that many members also have a long history of working with the center-right and business leaders, and this intersectionality may challenge their base.

Mary Kay Henry Taken by: Adriana Mereuta

Mary Kay Henry
Taken by: Adriana Mereuta

We also learned some important lessons about the role of conflict in togetherness. The first panel of the day brought leaders from across the movement onto the stage to answer the question, “how do we get action at the scale needed in the next 5-10 years?”, and saw some honest disagreement between Will Lawrence from the Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network, Rev Leo Woodberry from Kingdom Living Temple, and Jeremy Symons from EDF, amongst other speakers on the panel (a conversation that was echoing amongst participants on Twitter, and visible on blog posts presented in advance of the conference). Our learning from this is that surfacing conflict in an honest way can be an important step to greater togetherness, but that it requires thoughtful follow up — are we inviting conflict for conflict’s sake, or do we have a plan and a process to work through that conflict together and coming out stronger together?

Taken by: Ardiana Mereuta

Keya Chatterjee, Greg Dotson, Jeremy Symons, Rev Leo Woodberry, Liz Perera, Will Lawrence, Janet Redman Taken by: Ardiana Mereuta

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Keya Chatterjee, Greg Dotson, Jeremy Symons, Rev Leo Woodberry, Liz Perera, Will Lawrence, Janet Redman Taken by: Ardiana Mereuta

There was plenty of learning, sharing, and ‘taking stock’ in the five strategy panels. Each of these five areas were designed and led by ‘co-chairs’ from our membership, in an attempt to capture the big ‘streams’ of work happening in our movement in five areas: Racial & Economic Justice and Just Transition; 100% Renewables; Keep It In the Ground; Adaptation and Preparedness; and International Policy. You can read the full notes here. Each of these panels were designed and led by its co-chairs to encourage participants to think of the breakout sessions they might like to propose and lead in open space, leading to action & concrete next steps.

Taken by: Kyle Gracey

Taken by: Kyle Gracey

When we made space for our members to self-organize through the open space breakouts, they delivered in some powerful ways. You can read the full notes from the breakouts here. One group organized a team to build support for a pro-solar referendum in Florida in August, and got half the room to commit to ask their organizations to support the measure. Another breakout group of coastal frontline communities from NJ to LA to FL launched a campaign and team for a flood insurance program that actually works for frontline communities. The climate & trade justice group built strategy between activists from youth, frontline and big green constituencies, and secured a large number of commitments from those present to record video messages asking the DNC platform committee to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Miami: Spotlight on Frontline Leadership

We were thrilled to hold this year’s conference in Miami: a unanimous decision from our steering team of members, and graciously hosted by our partner(s) in the Miami Climate Alliance. As a city on the frontlines of the climate crisis — facing an urgent threat from sea level rise, with increasingly extreme weather, and where ‘climate gentrification’ sees climate-racial-economic injustice combine as rich coastal developers displace high-elevation low-income communities of color in neighborhoods like Liberty City, Little Haiti and Overtown — Miami made the climate crisis very real and present for us. One of our five goals was to lend support to this movement.

We kicked off on Sunday with coverage in El Nuevo Herald, earned by our local partners. We were delighted to hear from several Miami-based and Miami-focused speakers on Tuesday, as Nicole Hernandez Hammer, Xavier Cortada and Caroline Lewis laid out for us the challenge that they’re facing and how they’re building to face it. We were even more excited to take 200+ people to the streets later that day, to join in an action led by the Miami Climate Alliance and our awesome steering team member David McDougal from The New Florida Majority. We caused quite a stir marching through the Intercontinental Hotel with a giant turkey-on-a-stick (to mark the water contamination from the nuclear plant at Turkey Point)! The action made the challenge of heatwaves on health real, as it was very hot outside. The way that 200+ leaders showed up despite that heat, and donated over $300 on the spot when asked to fund a climate justice summer camp in Liberty City, I think that shows how ready our network is to get behind Miami. Our learning from this is that our national conferences can be powerful moments to support local climate justice activism, if we are intentional about supporting and giving space to those leaders.

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Action led by the Miami Climate Alliance

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The seas are rising and so are we!

Equity & Power: Building Members’ Capacity

Two of our goals for this conference were to build more power and equity in our movement, and we built member leadership and capacity-building into everything we did. Most of the heavy lifting in planning the conference was done by our members, through the 9-person steering team, the 3-person facilitation team, the 20-person training team, the 12 members who co-chaired panels…not to mention the 10-person team from the Miami Climate Alliance that led the action. All told, over 45 members took not just volunteer roles but leadership roles

Early morning team huddle.

in running the conference, many of whom did so for the first time and were able to gain usable skills and experience, share and learn from each other, and teach us a lot as staff. One of our key learnings from this is that member-led processes don’t just lead to deeper engagement and more learning, they actually lead to better outcomes for the network.

For the first time we also built in a climate organizing workshop for 96 organizers, as part of the USCAN Organizing Hub. With a training team of 16 member organizers who worked through the weekend to prepare, led by a core team of Aura Vasquez (CPD), Ife Kilimanjaro (Greenpeace), Jake Waxman (LCN), Liz Pallatto (Sierra) and Belinda Rodriguez (EAC), we ended up on Wednesday morning with a long wait-list and having to turn people away, from a workshop that participant surveys identified as very useful, leading us to conclude that our members want more resources and support for organizing. The focus of the workshop was on three organizing practices — story, strategy and the Jemez Principles — around ½ of participants said that they would take what they learned back to their communities and organizations, and ¾ said they would be willing to help continue this kind of Organizing Hub workshop in future. Several people made specific commitments to build the Jemez Principles into their organization and their work, leading us to conclude that having organizing and action spaces attached to conferences works.

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Organizing Workshop

What’s Next? What Can You Do?

As a USCAN staff, we will be checking in with members working on five of the ‘working together’ breakout groups that developed clear next steps and identified people to lead them: the Carbon Pricing and Renewables group, the Funding for the Grassroots group, the Flood Insurance group, the International Climate Policy group, and the Intersectionality group. We will also be working with that group of 96 organizers to explore ways to keep the Organizing Hub and workshops like this one going in the future on a more medium to long term basis.

If you’d like to take action to keep building from this moment, you can:

  • Volunteer to lead/support one of those five working groups above, and click here!
  • Reach out to the individuals you met at the conference and strengthen your connections. Attendees have access to the conference list here.
  • Join USCAN list serves and engage in conversations that support one another. USCAN members can request more information about lists by contacting: operations@usclimatenetwork.org
  • Register for our webinar about USCAN’s strategic planning process

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USCAN <![CDATA[Successes on My Mind, GreenLaw Success Story 8.2.14]]> http://blog.usclimatenetwork.org/?p=4063 2014-08-02T15:00:40Z 2014-08-02T14:56:41Z Related posts:
  1. Standing for the Rights of Local People: Earthjustice Success Story 7.7.14
  2. Engaging Business on Climate: Ceres Success Story 6.7.14
  3. Moral and Momentous Climate Action: Interfaith Power & Light Success Story 7.26.14
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In the pursuit of clean air, clean water, and clean energy, we have limited resources. Sometimes, the lack of resources can feel insurmountable. However, the truth is that there are organizations that provide much needed support in an effort to protect citizens and the environment. Please join me as we highlight one those organizations, GreenLaw, for this week’s Success Story Saturday.

greenlaw_logoWebsite:  http://greenlaw.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GreenLaw.org

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GreenLaw_GA

GreenLaw is a Georgia-based nonprofit law firm serving environmental and community organizations that have been adversely impacted by pollution. GreenLaw champions the right of every Georgian to breathe clean air, drink clean water, live in healthy communities, and enjoy Georgia’s natural beauty. They achieve these goals by providing free high-quality legal and technical assistance to environmental organizations and community groups throughout Georgia. And guess what…they are winning by:

1) Doubling down on dirty power

Stopped proposed coal-fired plants in Georgia – Plant Ben Hill in Ben Hill County: Clean air advocates and environmental groups won big when Power4Georgians (P4G), the only company trying to develop expensive new coal plants in Georgia, agreed to cancel the proposed Ben Hill coal-fired power plant. The company also agreed to comply with critical new safeguards against mercury pollution and invest $5 million in energy efficiency and renewable projects. This inspiring win was part of a group effort with involvement from the Sierra Club, the Fall Line Alliance for a Clean Environment (FACE), Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), and the Ogeechee Riverkeeper, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center and GreenLaw. Go team! Recently filed legal challenges to oppose the sole remaining proposed coal-fired plant in Georgia – Plant Washington outside Sandersville: Sounds like déjà vu, doesn’t it? Good thing there is an experienced team fighting for the maximum protections against toxic air pollution. To stay up to date on this (and more), please join GreenLaw’s email list.

 July 29th-- At the public hearing session for the Clean Power Plan in Atlanta, supporters participated in a march downtown. (Photo Credit: Rudi Navarra)

July 29th– Outside the public hearing session for the Clean Power Plan in Atlanta, supporters also participated in a press conference, Play-in, rally, and marched downtown. (Photo Credit: Rudi Navarra)

– Successfully challenged the Title V air permits for five Georgia coal-fired plants that resulted in an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) order requiring the facilities to reduce their coal dust emissions; – Filed comments and organized testimony in favor of the EPA’s regulations limiting carbon emissions from new and existing power plants;

2) Promoting clean energy

Intervened in Georgia Power’s 2013 Integrated Resource Plan before the Georgia Public Service Commission, which resulted in an additional 525 megawatts of solar being added to Georgia’s energy portfolio and the decertification of 15 coal- and oil- fired units; This exciting expansion of new solar capacity was part of Georgia Power’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP)–a 20-year plan for how Georgia will get its energy–previously dominated by coal, nuclear, and natural gas. GreenLaw represented the Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Coosa River Basin Initiative in this year’s IRP.

Successfully advocated for the purchase of 250 megawatts of wind energy to be added to Georgia’s energy portfolio in 2014–the first time ever that wind energy will be used in Georgia; The two contracts under consideration will import power from Blue Canyon Wind Farm, the nation’s largest wind farm, near Lawton, Oklahoma. The project has been producing clean energy since December 2003 and has been expanded multiple times. According to Georgia’ Power’s analyses, these wind purchases are cheaper than other forms of electric generation already on the grid and will put downward pressure on rates.

3) In case that wasn’t enough to brighten up your day…

(Photo Credit: James Holland. Source: GreenLaw)

(Photo Credit: James Holland. Source: GreenLaw)

They’ve also made big waves with their clean water program, too. GreenLaw made history by announcing that their client, the Ogeechee Riverkeeper, (ORK), had entered into an historic settlement on claims arising out of the biggest fish kill in Georgia history. Back in 2011, a textile plant owned by King America Finishing had been found to have an unpermitted discharge that led to the death of some 38,000 fish in and around Screven County, Georgia.  The settlement  put in place comprehensive and stringent environmental protections and established programs to aid in restoration efforts along the Ogeechee River. Check out the story here Even as a non-Georgia resident, it is great to see all the progress achieved by supportive organizations like GreenLaw. Be sure to check out the GreenLaw website for more! Keep up with their updates on social media! Facebook Twitter We are thankful to have GreenLaw as part of the US Climate Action Network, and look forward to continuing to connect and spread their critical work!

The Success Story Saturday blog is about SUCCESS in the climate action network. Our network is composed of a diverse array of organizations, united by a common goal of acting on climate change, coming together to produce immense positive results. THAT’S powerful. THAT’S worth sharing. The success stories featured here will include a range of triumphs, including landmark accomplishments of USCAN members, inspirational collaborations in the network, general flourishing of critical organizations, and more. Each story will have one thing in common: a reason to feel optimistic.

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USCAN <![CDATA[Moral and Momentous Climate Action: Interfaith Power & Light Success Story 7.26.14]]> http://blog.usclimatenetwork.org/?p=4006 2014-07-26T18:10:25Z 2014-07-26T15:55:42Z Related posts:
  1. Five Ways Climate Solutions Spreads Hope and Inspires More Action on Climate Change: Success Story Saturday 7.12.14
  2. Engaging Business on Climate: Ceres Success Story 6.7.14
  3. Standing for the Rights of Local People: Earthjustice Success Story 7.7.14
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If you follow climate politics, you know it can often feel like the moral, pro-action voices in the debate are drowned out (pun intended) by those who choose to turn a blind eye. However, you may be happy to hear that while some politicians argue themselves into a stand-still, the morally-motivated folks with Interfaith Power & Light are marching swiftly forward.  Regardless of whether you yourself are a person of faith, we think you’ll find this ethical climate action to be remarkable.

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Website: http://www.interfaithpowerandlight.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/interfaithpowerandlight

Twitter: https://twitter.com/interfaithpower

Interfaith Power & Light is composed of groups from a diverse array of religious backgrounds, and has affiliates in 40 U.S. states.  Acting to be truly good “stewards of the Earth” for the benefit of all people, Interfaith Power & Light is taking momentous, measurable action.

Before we dive into their incredible accomplishments so far, we’d like to give you a glimpse of how important the work of Interfaith Power and Light is. Did you know there are 370,000 American congregations? There are approximately 60 million weekly worshippers in the U.S. Those stats are impressive. Think about that potential for morally-based climate advocates. Wow.

And now, three ways Interfaith Power and Light continues to be wildly successful:

 

1) Cool Congregations Certification

Make room, LEED, the Cool Congregations Certification is here!  Interfaith Power & Light has sparked a huge boost in action by recently launching this national program, giving much needed recognition to congregations acting on climate.  Already, there are 20 Certified Cool Congregations.  Listen: these first 20 congregations are averaging 42 percent greenhouse gas reductions,  preventing 2.2 million pounds of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere each year.  They’re also saving money on energy, freeing up funds to help others move towards clean energy!

Ready to have your hope boosted even further? Notice that key word “average.” Yep.  Half of those congregations have achieved over 42 percent carbon reductions. Take a look:

 

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a) St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Framingham, MA has achieved 110 percent carbon reduction.  You read that correctly. Through 168 solar panels, they produce three times as much energy as the church uses. Where does that extra clean energy go?   It is used by churches who are unable to install their own solar panels!

In this photo,  St. Andrew Episcopal Church in Framingham celebrates the church’s new solar panels with Bishop Bud Cederholm blessing the panels via a cherry picker.

Image Credit: Interfaith Power & Light

 

 

 

 

b) Crosslake Presbyterian in Crosslake, MN is another climate champion, Gold Certified Cool Congregation, achieving a 110 percent carbon reduction equivalent. This cocoolcongregation2ngregation uses geothermal heating and cooling, energy efficient doors, windows, lighting, and insulation, solar panels, and wind energy. To top if off, they maintain a parcel of forest, to offset even more carbon. They aren’t even done yet! Next, they plan to triple their photovoltaic system, applying the dollar value of electricity produced to the purchase of solar furnaces for Habitat for Humanity homes, lowering energy costs for low-income families. Taking care of the planet, and taking care of each other. Talk about a win-win.

Image Credit: Interfaith Power & Light

 

 

There are 18 other Certified Cool Congregations with stories you would love. There are also toolkits, tips, and resources for faith groups interested in being involved and/ or becoming certified HERE.

You also don’t want to miss the success stories from this year’s Cool Congregations CHALLENGE, which challenged congregations to act in one of five different climate and energy categories.  Click here to find out how to enter the challenge for next year!

Look: if these congregations can have negative carbon footprints, and if these varying Cool Congregation Certified houses of worship can average 42 percent carbon emission reductions, surely U.S. states can comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA)’s 30 percent carbon pollution reduction target.

Speaking of the EPA, the next area of successful work we’d like to highlight is  Interfaith Power & Light’sinvolvement with…

 

2) The Clean Power Planmoralobligation

The EPA Clean Power Plan has been at the forefront of everyone’s mind lately.  As you may know, there are four public EPA hearings coming up. These provide a vital opportunity for citizens to participate in the discussion on the proposed standards  for  power plants.   True to form, Interfaith Power & Light  has seized this opportunity to be involved in climate action. Here are a few highlights:

a) State chapters including Iowa Interfaith Power & Light  and USCAN member NC Interfaith Power & Light held their  own hearings on the carbon pollution standards, transcribed the comments, and submitted them to the EPA en masse. Wow.

 

b)  Several other state Interfaith Power & Light chapters have sent out action alerts, calls for volunteers, and resources to enable congregations to participate in the Clean Power Plan hearings. These acting chapters include:

USEPA Photo by Eric Vance. Public domain image

In this photo, Virginia Interfaith Power & Light Board Member Reverend M. Dele speaks with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

Image Credit: Interfaith Power & Light      

 

3) Carbon Covenant

As if the Cool Congregations program and the Clean Power Plan involvement weren’t enough, Interfaith Power & Light runs a wonderful program called Carbon Covenant. Carbon Covenant addresses the number one source of carbon emissions in the developing world, deforestation.  The program protects forests from illegal logging, promotes sustainable livelihoods, and reforests degraded lands. Here are two of the projects:

 

a) Save the Monks Community Forest in Cambodia4929906920_c165681f6e_z

In the face of widespread deforestation, this project helps the Samron monks protect  an 18,261 hectare area of forest and the livelihood of the surrounding communities. Illegal logging has plummeted, local villagers are now engaged in the action, and hope for the future of the forest and  region is rising!

 

Image Credit: Interfaith Power & Light

b) Restore Deforested Lands in Ghanadeforestation

This project is introducing alternative livelihood programs to unemployed youth and women; establishing woodlots of about 10 acres each in every project community; reducing bushfires by 50 percent ; and regenerating 30 percent of the forest cover in degraded areas and generally promoting awareness and education about the need to conserve forest resources.

Image Credit: Interfaith Power & Light

 

See MORE projects of Carbon Covenant here!

 

Regardless of whether you are associated with a religion, this climate action is inspirational, right?  There are so many effective and hope-restoring Interfaith Power & Light programs that we couldn’t possibly tell you about all of them here.

  • Be sure to check out their website for more!
  • Keep up with their updates on Social Media!

                        Facebook

                        Twitter

  • Last and certainly not least, if you know of a church, mosque, temple, or other any religious group who might be interested, tell them about Interfaith Power & Light!   

We are thankful to have Interfaith Power & Light as part of the US Climate Action Network, and look forward to continuing to connect and spread their critical work!

 

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The Success Story Saturday blog is about SUCCESS in the climate action network. Our network is composed of a diverse array of organizations, united by a common goal of acting on climate change, coming together to produce immense positive results. THAT’S powerful. THAT’S worth sharing. The success stories featured here will include a range of triumphs, including landmark accomplishments of USCAN members, inspirational collaborations in the network, general flourishing of critical organizations, and more. Each story will have one thing in common: a reason to feel optimistic. 

 

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USCAN <![CDATA[A Leading Resource for State and Federal Climate Policy: Georgetown Climate Center Success Story 7.19.14]]> http://blog.usclimatenetwork.org/?p=3991 2014-07-26T16:06:31Z 2014-07-19T18:21:53Z Related posts:
  1. Five Ways Climate Solutions Spreads Hope and Inspires More Action on Climate Change: Success Story Saturday 7.12.14
  2. Standing for the Rights of Local People: Earthjustice Success Story 7.7.14
  3. State Legislators Seek Federal Climate and Clean Energy Jobs Bill
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In the face of climate change, successful action is dependent on credible, engaging, and innovative resources.

That’s where Georgetown Climate Center comes in.georgetown

Website: http://www.georgetownclimate.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/georgetownclimate

Twitter: @Climate_Center

 

The nonpartisan Georgetown Climate Center at Georgetown Law seeks to advance effective climate, energy, and transportation policies in the United States – policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help communities adapt to climate change. They are producing incredible, engaging, and critical tools and resources for states, stakeholders, policy-makers, and citizens. GCC is an Associate Member of USCAN (they are not tied to USCAN policy positions), and we are very excited to show you some of their latest successful projects!

Here are three highlights of Georgetown Climate Center’s recent work:

1)   Supporting Carbon Pollution Reduction from the Power Sector

The Georgetown Climate Center has played a key role bringing states and power companies to the table to discuss the development and implementation of EPA’s proposed rule to limit carbon pollution from the power sector since President Obama rolled out his climate plan at Georgetown University last year. Recent resources include:

  • A Detailed Summary of EPA’s Proposed Carbon Pollution Limits for the Power Sector (June 2014) – This summary is intended to help states, stakeholders, and the media better understand the recently proposed EPA rule and its impact.  It focuses on elements of the proposal of particular interest to states.
  • A State-by-State Carbon Pollution and Energy Tool (May 2014) – This tool enables users to compare states on energy and pollution criteria, generate data maps, and access full energy profiles for each state. More advanced features enable users to create their own regions to gain unique insights into the energy and pollution data and explore regional collaborations. Regional approaches can be used to comply with the new EPA rule.

 

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2)  Providing Adaptation Resources, Expertise, and Guidance

For years the Georgetown Climate Center has provided planners, policymakers, and academics with a rich source of resources through its on-the-ground resiliency work with communities and its Adaptation Clearinghouse.

The center works with states, local communities, and federal agencies to provide legal and policy solutions for preparing climate impacts. In response to President Obama’s Climate Plan, the center has also been working to bring together state and local officials, NGOs, and academic scholars with federal agency partners to provide the administration with recommendations on how federal agencies can better support state and local adaptation.

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Recent resources include:

  • 20 Good Ideas for Promoting Resilience (July 2014) – The 20 ideas contained in this report include a collection of planning, funding, regulatory, and investment efforts already taking place in different U.S. states and communities to prepare for and reduce the risks of climate change. These ideas offer insights and lessons for others to learn from and build upon in developing their own responses to a changing climate.
  • Preparing for Climate Impacts: Lessons Learned from the Front Lines (July 2014) ­– In this synthesis report to the Kresge Foundation, the Georgetown Climate Center shares some of the lessons learned from its adaptation work in recent years and includes a number of short case studies highlighting successful efforts and barriers to change.
  • Insights into Media Coverage of Climate Change and Severe Weather Events in New Jersey (June 2014) –  This survey provides insights into the media’s ability to deliver news to the public about severe weather events and access critical information during and immediately following disasters like hurricanes Sandy and Irene. The survey, developed for the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance by Rutgers University and the Georgetown Climate Center, also revealed useful insights into media coverage of climate change adaptation.

 

3)  Supporting Low-Carbon Transportation Policies

With the support of the Georgetown Climate Center, 11 states and DC launched the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) in 2010 to develop the clean energy economy and reduce oil dependence and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. The Center staffs and facilitates the initiative and its ongoing policy deliberations. It also hosts dialogues with states around the country to share best practices and lessons learned.

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Recent transportation-related resources include:

 

Impressed?

 

Check out even more resources on the GCC website: http://www.georgetownclimate.org/

Keep up with GCC updates on social media! :

https://www.facebook.com/georgetownclimate

@Climate_Center

Tell your climate advocate friends!

 

Because effective climate action depends on reliable resources and tools, the success of Georgetown Climate Center contributes to the successful advancement of climate policy. The wealth of nonpartisan, engaging, credible  information coming from Georgetown Climate Center gives us a reason to feel optimistic. We are proud to have Georgetown Climate Center as an Associate Member of U.S. Climate Action Network! Give them some love!

 

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USCAN <![CDATA[Five Ways Climate Solutions Spreads Hope and Inspires More Action on Climate Change: Success Story Saturday 7.12.14]]> http://blog.usclimatenetwork.org/?p=3954 2014-07-12T16:51:16Z 2014-07-12T11:13:15Z Related posts:
  1. Engaging Business on Climate: Ceres Success Story 6.7.14
  2. Standing for the Rights of Local People: Earthjustice Success Story 7.7.14
  3. Moral and Momentous Climate Action: Interfaith Power & Light Success Story 7.26.14
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In a twisted way, this is an exciting time.  Hear us out. In the face of the immensely daunting, painfully urgent issue of climate change, there are three (primary) ways that we can react. In order from worst to best reactions, the options are:  A) denial,  B) hopeless acceptance, or  C) head-on, full-force tackling of the issue.

Why are these times exciting?

Because organizations like Climate Solutions are choosing option C.

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Website: http://climatesolutions.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/climatesolutions

Twitter: @climatesolution

 Empowering, productive, and optimistic,Climate Solutions spreads hope and inspires action on climate in many ways. Here are the top five.

 1)  The Solutions Stories Project

Spreading the word about what people are already accomplishing!

Have you ever needed a pick-me-up about climate, and wished that there was, say, a remarkable compilation of wide-ranging, inspiring climate solution stories, complete with videos?  We know you have. Welcome to your new favorite webpage.

The latest Solution Story: A former Texas oilman and a public health advocate stand up to Big Oil.

2) Strategic Innovation Programs

Harnessing human innovation to solve climate issues!

Climate Solutions’ Strategic Innovation programs catalyze replicable, scalable, economically practical solutions to climate change. They are incredible, effective, and cover major bases.

climatesolutions2  climatesolutions3  cs3 

Image credit: Climate Solutions

3) Broad, Winning Campaigns

Empowering the people to have a voice!

For over a decade, Climate Solutions has led successful initiatives to deliver climate and energy policy that accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to a clean energy economy. The Northwest has emerged as a center of climate leadership, and Climate Solutions is an active catalyst, advocate, and campaign hub for this leadership.

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Image Credit: Climate Solutions

4) Business Engagement

Climate activism from an economic standpoint!

Climate Solutions started and hosts Business Leaders for Climate Solutions(BLCS), which brings together executives, entrepreneurs, and investors who are committed to strong action to reduce global warming pollution and a transition to a clean and energy-efficient economy. BLCS now includes over 1,000 powerful business leaders who are preparing to manage climate risks, seizing clean-energy opportunities, and promoting broad, sustainable prosperity!

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Image Credit: Climate Solutions

5) You (yes, you) can be part of the solution

a. Engage

Stay in touch and learn about ways that you can be involved with important climate and clean energy issues!

b. Learn

Check out their compilation of resources!

c. Participate in Events

In the Northwest and beyond.

d. Last and certainly not least, GIVE THEM SOME LOVE!

We are proud to have Climate Solutions as a member of the U.S. Climate Action Network. We look forward to watching them continue to harness the power of human innovation to address climate change!

 

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About: This blog is about SUCCESS in the climate action network. Our network is composed of a diverse array of organizations, united by a common goal of acting on climate change, coming together to produce immense positive results. THAT’S powerful. THAT’S worth sharing. The success stories featured here include a range of triumphs. Each story has one thing in common: a reason to feel optimistic.

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USCAN <![CDATA[Standing for the Rights of Local People: Earthjustice Success Story 7.7.14]]> http://blog.usclimatenetwork.org/?p=3926 2014-07-26T16:08:51Z 2014-07-07T17:33:31Z Related posts:
  1. Engaging Business on Climate: Ceres Success Story 6.7.14
  2. Five Ways Climate Solutions Spreads Hope and Inspires More Action on Climate Change: Success Story Saturday 7.12.14
  3. Moral and Momentous Climate Action: Interfaith Power & Light Success Story 7.26.14
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Happy Monday! Today we have a BIG SUCCESS to celebrate: this past week’s landmark victory of the rights of local people over the oil and gas industry.

This is the success story of a small town, Dryden, NY, that refused to surrender their community to exploitation by a powerful industry. They enlisted the legal help of USCAN member organization Earthjustice, and together fought for the rights of communities everywhere. The result: in the world of fracking, the tables have turned.

 

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Facebook: www.facebook.com/earthjustice

Twitter: https://twitter.com/earthjustice

Website: http://earthjustice.org/

 

The Story

In 2007, the oil and gas industry began pressuring the people of the lovely little town of Dryden, NY to lease their land for fracking.  Representatives of the industry hounded them time and time again, telling them that even if they did not sign the lease, the company would drill anyway.  Instead of submitting, these residents came together. Local lawyers Helen and David Slottje combed through zoning laws, and found that, despite the industry’s assertions, municipalities legally had the right to keep oil and gas industry out. Neighbors spread awareness on the extensive dangers of fracking, gathered signatures, and presented petitions to the Dryden Town Board. Presented with the evidence and overwhelming public opposition, the bipartisan Board voted unanimously to ban fracking in Dryden. More than 170 other towns in New York followed suit!

Of course, the fracking industry wasn’t done yet. The billionaire-owned gas and oil company sued to overturn the ban. They lost, but then appealed, with ample funding to back them. This is where Earthjustice, a non-profit legal voice on the side of people and communities, stepped in to help. The fate of hundreds of towns rested on the precedent the case would set.

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Earthjustice Managing Attorney Deborah Goldberg

Photo Credit: CHRIS JORDAN-BLOCH / EARTHJUSTICE

Earthjustice Managing Attorney Deborah Goldberg used her 25 years of court experience to fight the good fight for Dryden in New York’s highest court. This past week, on June 30th, the Court of Appeals sided with Dryden and Earthjustice. New York municipalities have the right to use zoning laws to keep fracking out of their borders. With towns across the United States fighting for their rights against exploitation by the fossil fuel industry, this case sets an enormously important precedent.

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Communities throughout the United States began to pass similar measures, including in the highlighted states. Shale basins—areas of potential fracking—are shaded in red. Clockwise from top: Citizens in Longmont, CO, call for fracking bans within city limits (photo by FreeRangeLongmont.com). A rally in Dallas, TX (photo courtesy of Texas Campaign for the Environment). Los Angeles Councilmember Mike Bonin speaks at a press conference after introducing a motion to place a moratorium on fracking within city limits (photo courtesy of Mike Bonin’s office).
SHALE DATA: ENERGY INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION

 

(To hear more about this story, check out the wonderful official page here: http://earthjustice.org/features/photos-dryden)

 

Wow! How about more info on these empowered folks at Earthjustice?

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Since its founding in 1971, Earthjustice has been acting on behalf of the public and morality, “using the power of the law to defend our right to a healthy environment.” They have over 1000 clients, and 50+ victories per year.

 

They act to:

1) preserve the wild: http://earthjustice.org/the-wild

2)  fight for healthy communities: http://earthjustice.org/healthy-communities

3) and to advance clean energy and healthy climate http://earthjustice.org/climate-and-energy

 

If you haven’t already, check out Earthjustice and give them some appreciation!

Website: http://earthjustice.org/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/earthjustice

Twitter: https://twitter.com/earthjustice

We are proud to have Earthjustice as a member of U.S. Climate Action Network, and look forward to their continued success on the right side of history!

 

This blog is about SUCCESS in the climate action network. Our network is composed of a wide and diverse array of organizations, united by a common goal of acting on climate change, coming together to produce immense positive results. THAT’S powerful. THAT’S worth sharing. The success stories featured here include a range of triumphs. Each story has one thing in common: a reason to feel optimistic.

Stay tuned for the next success story, coming up on July 12! #climatenetwork

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USCAN <![CDATA[Engaging Business on Climate: Ceres Success Story 6.7.14]]> http://blog.usclimatenetwork.org/?p=3906 2014-07-26T16:06:20Z 2014-06-07T15:43:05Z Related posts:
  1. Standing for the Rights of Local People: Earthjustice Success Story 7.7.14
  2. Five Ways Climate Solutions Spreads Hope and Inspires More Action on Climate Change: Success Story Saturday 7.12.14
  3. A Leading Resource for State and Federal Climate Policy: Georgetown Climate Center Success Story 7.19.14
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This blog is about SUCCESS in the climate action network. Our network is composed of a diverse array of organizations, united by a common goal of acting on climate change, coming together to produce immense positive results. That’s powerful. That’s worth sharing. The success stories featured here will include a range of triumphs, including landmark accomplishments of USCAN members, inspirational collaborations in the network, general flourishing of critical organizations, and more. Each story will have one thing in common: a reason to feel optimistic. 

Ceres

 

Happy Success Story Saturday! Today’s delightful story is about non-profit organization and USCAN member Ceres. If you are passionate about acting on climate and need a boost, keep reading.

CeresA quarter of a century ago, after the Exxon Valdez oil spill on March 24, 1989, a small group of investors decided that they needed to act, and came together with an idea. The idea was to bring environmentalists and capitalists together to forge a new sustainable business model, one that would protect the health of the planet and the long-term prosperity of its people. Today, Ceres is a thriving non-profit organization that is mobilizing a powerful network of investors, companies, and public interest groups to accelerate and expand the adoption of sustainable business practices and solutions to build a healthy global economy.

…and they’re accomplishing BIG things. Here a few of their successes:

1)     Corporate Call to Action:  In April 2013, Ceres launched the climate declaration, a corporate call-to-action on climate change.  Today, over 750 companies (including Apple and Sprint) and thousands of individuals have signed. More: http://ow.ly/xINPI

2)      BICEP:  Ceres also launched BICEP (Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy), which has been instrumental in mobilizing businesses (including Annies and Clif) to speak out on climate change. More: http://ow.ly/xJLxq

3)      EPA Clean Power Plan: For the release of the standards this week, Ceres mobilized 173 major companies and investors in support of the rules. http://ow.ly/xIOZm

4)      Clean Trillion Initiative: Ceres also recently launched a Clean Trillion initiative, a challenge to the world to invest an additional $1 trillion in clean energy/ year. More: http://ow.ly/xIPen

5)      25 Years of More Achievements: Over the course of the last 25 years, Ceres has accomplished a long list of accomplishments.  http://ow.ly/xIPiP

Want to stay in touch with this effective and inspirational non-profit?

Help them create their next success.

Add your voice to the hundreds of businesses and individuals calling for carbon limits that will help protect our planet as well as our economy by joining their Thunderclap action:

We are proud to have Ceres as a member of the US Climate Action Network, and look forward to continued coordination with them and all USCAN members as they #ActOnClimate.

P.S. This is the third edition of our weekly Success Story Saturday series. Don’t miss out, scroll down to see the first two stories!

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USCAN <![CDATA[Clean Air Act Digest, 12.16.13]]> http://blog.usclimatenetwork.org/?p=3888 2013-12-16T19:43:24Z 2013-12-16T18:38:52Z Related posts:
  1. Clean Air Act Digest, 6.29.12
  2. Clean Air Act Digest, 9.20.12
  3. Clean Air Act Digest, 3.1.12
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Clean Air Act Digest

 

UPDATES

Thank you to our readers who filled out the Clean Air Act Digest survey. We are pleased that Digest readers have found it to be a useful resource. Since the time Digest was created, a few years back, supporters of Clean Air Act protections have been successful in fending off congressional attacks. As the frequency of these attacks has declined, so has our readership. Therefore, this will be the final issue of the Clean Air Act Digest.

We hope that you enjoy this last issue and continue to stay linked in on these issues through the bi-weekly CLEAN call (contact Lara Levison at
llevison@climatenetwork.org for more information), USCAN’s website, and the regularly updated NRDC blog, Switchboard.

Sincerely,
The Clean Air Act Digest Team at USCAN and NRDC
Lara, Marie, Jamie, Jeni, & Suzanne.

Congress:

As reported in previous issues of Digest, Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) have released draft legislation that would repeal the current Clean Air Act authority to set standards for America’s biggest carbon polluters. Although Rep. Whitfield is actively seeking cosponsors for his bill, no legislative activity is expected on these bills before the Senate and House members leave for holiday recess. On November 13, close to 80 organizations sent a letter to both the House and Senate in opposition of this draft legislation. Click here if you would like to have your group added on to the letter, which now has over 100 organizations signed on.

Senate:

On November 21, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) invoked the “nuclear option” for executive branch and judicial nominees. This change in Senate rules prevents filibusters of nominations, except those for the Supreme Court, allowing nominees to be confirmed by a simple majority vote, rather than requiring a 60-vote supermajority. This change is expected to hasten the appointment of many judges and executive positions that have been left vacant for an extended period of time.

On December 10, a simple majority vote was used to approve Washington lawyer Patricia Millett to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. This vote was significant as the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is the nation’s second most powerful court and one that regularly hears pivotal Clean Air Act cases (see below for an example). Millett was confirmed by a roll call vote of 56-38, giving Democratic-appointed judges in the DC Circuit Court a 5-4 majority over
their Republican President-appointed counterparts.

House:

On December 12, the House passed a bipartisan budget agreement for fiscal year 2014 and 2015 that would reduce the sequester spending cuts and guarantee that the government will not shut down in January. Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) negotiated the deal which had a final vote of 332-94 in the House. This deal would avoid truly crippling cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other public health and environmental programs, although they still remain largely underfunded. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill this week.

On December 3, Representative Morgan Griffith (R-VA) introduced legislation entitled the EPA Maximum Achievable Contraction of Technocrats (MACT) Act of 2013 (HR 3641). This legislation would cut the EPA’s workforce by 15 percent. This is a blatant attack on the EPA’s role in protecting public health and the environment.

Courts:

On December 10, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the federal Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR). This rule would require 28 states in the East, Midwest, and South to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOX) that would otherwise cross state lines and worsen air. The DC Circuit Court struck down the rule in August of 2012; a later petition for rehearing was rejected in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals; subsequently, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. EPA estimated that the rule as proposed would have prevented 14,000-36,000 premature deaths, 240,000 cases of aggravated asthma, and 1.9 million missed
school or workdays in the year 2014 alone.

Also on December 10, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit Court began oral arguments on the Mercury and Air Toxics Rule. Leading public health, environmental, and civil rights organizations are supporting the EPA’s 2012 rule against industry and corporate polluters who filed a lawsuit challenging this rule when it was issued in 2012. The rule would limit mercury, arsenic, and lead pollution from coal-fired power plants, preventing up to 11,000 premature deaths, nearly 5,000 heart attacks, and 130,000 asthma attacks every year once implemented. For more information, see the press release by Earthjustice, which is representing the NAACP, Sierra Club, Clean Air Council, and Chesapeake Bay Foundation in this case.

 

 

ACTION ALERT

Add your Voice: Demand Limits to Carbon Pollution from New Power Plants

In September, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a revised proposal to reduce carbon pollution from new power plants. This is an important step in protecting American families from harmful, unregulated carbon pollution and protecting the future of our planet.

Join the 3.2 million voices that have already urged the EPA to support a limit on carbon pollution!

Alerts:

Speak Out in Support of Carbon Pollution Rules for New Power Plants, American Sustainable Business Council Action Alert

Stand Up to Big Polluters: Support the EPA’s Action on Climate Change, League of Conservation Voters Action Alert

Tell the EPA You Support their New Limits on Carbon Pollution from Power Plants, Moms Clean Air Force Action Alert

Demand Limits to Carbon Pollution, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Action Alert

Don’t Let Big Coal Kill the EPA’s Crucial, New Rules, Save Our Environment Action Alert

Fight Back Against Climate-Destroying Carbon Pollution, Sierra Club Action Alert

Tell the EPA You Support Strong Standards to Reduce Power Plant Carbon Emissions, Union of Concerned Scientists Action Alert

 

 

NEW MATERIALS

Clean Air has its Day in Court, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Blog, 12.13.13

Civil Rights, Public Health, Green Groups Defend Life-Saving Toxic Pollution Controls in Court, Earthjustice Press Release, 12.10.13

Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Major Interstate Pollution Safeguard, Earthjustice Press Release, 12.9.13

Even Bigger Carbon Reductions, Even Lower Costs, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Blog, 12.9.13

Power Sector Opportunities for Reducing Carbon Dioxide: Wisconsin, World Resources Institute (WRI) Report, 12.13

African American Leaders Celebrate Cleaner Cars and Healthier Communities, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, 11.20.13

source: http://www.gloriousmind.com/animals-waving-goodbye/

“Thanks for reading!”

 

Above is a sampling of the most recent resources related to upholding the Clean Air Act. Don’t forget USCAN has a series of pages that compile items like these and much more:

Congressional Attacks on the Clean Air Act

Industrial Carbon Pollution Standards

Standards for Power Plants and Other Major Emitters

Clean Vehicle Standards

 

Clean Air Act Digest is a publication put together by US Climate Action Network and Natural Resources Defense Council. Please contact Lara Levison at llevison@climatenetwork.org for more details. Click here for past issues.

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USCAN <![CDATA[UN Climate Negotiations Wrap Up in Warsaw, Climate Action Hotline, 11.25.13]]> http://blog.usclimatenetwork.org/?p=3877 2013-11-26T16:34:25Z 2013-11-25T23:13:23Z Related posts:
  1. Update: Week Two of the UN Climate Negotiations in Warsaw, Climate Action Hotline 11.22.13
  2. Updates from the International Climate Negotiations in Warsaw, Hotline 11.15.13
  3. Dispatches from Durban: How do you spell “climate negotiations”?
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US Climate Action Network

UN Climate Negotiations Wrap Up in Warsaw

UNFCCC Executive Secretary & COP19 President
Photo credit:flickr.com/photos/unfccc/

After a long overnight session and an extra day, the UN climate negotiations concluded Saturday evening in Warsaw, Poland. A few key issues—including climate finance, loss and damage, and next steps forward on the 2015 climate deal—divided countries in the final few hours, as did old differences on the respective responsibilities of developed and developing countries.

Loss and Damage: Words carry weight in the climate negotiations. In the context of documents that could one day become the basis for a global agreement, otherwise inconsequential phrasing choices matter. One word, “under,” lead to near-deadlock in the climate talks on Saturday.

By that point, countries agreed to set up a new system to tackle loss and damage—climate impacts that they cannot prevent or tackle with adaptation. This decision was an apparent step forward in a discussion that has been tense since last year’s climate negotiations in Doha.

Despite that progress, on Saturday countries still disagreed as to whether the system for loss and damage should “live” under structures already in place to deal with climate adaptation, or whether loss and damage should be treated as its own, separate issue. Exhausted negotiators finally struck a reluctant compromise to house the loss and damage system, or “mechanism,” under adaptation for now, including some language clarifying the differences between loss and damage and adaptation, and decided to revisit the decision in three years.

Finance: On climate finance—a topic of heated discussion in Warsaw— outcomes were mixed. On the one hand, countries left Warsaw with little progress on their collective game plan for delivering the $100 billion per year by 2020 agreed in Copenhagen in 2009. It is also unclear when countries will begin committing money to the Green Climate Fund. For developing countries, both of these issues are critical.  

On the other hand, countries did achieve a goal of setting aside $100 million for an international climate adaptation fund, and also agreed to deliver more finance for a forests initiative called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+). Some experts also note that countries have at least agreed to hold more structured discussions about how they will ramp up to the larger $100 billion goal.

2015 Deal: In another example of word-choice stalemate, some of the late-breaking discussions centered around whether developing countries will be expected to take on “contributions” or “commitments” under the climate agreement slated to go into effect in 2020 (“contributions” came out on top).

In the final hours of negotiations on Saturday, countries agreed to a general timeframe for offering their own longer-term climate goals “well in advance” of the 2015 negotiations in Paris, France.  Many agreed with the need for countries to go home and do their “homework” on these targets in advance of next year’s talks in Lima, Peru where draft negotiating text for the 2015 agreement is expected to be discussed. Unfortunately, they did not come to agreement on what those goals should look like, or on how countries’ goals should be evaluated relative to fairness, adequacy, or urgency.

Some of our members and allies feel that as necessarily incremental meetings on the road to a new global climate agreement,the Warsaw negotiations achieved what needed to be achieved. Others in our community feel that any gains continue to be overshadowed by the slow pace of progress, ambition backsliding and lack of political will from key governments, and industry influence on the process. All seem to agree that supporting and pushing action by governments at home is key to moving solutions forward at the global level. For journalists’ and US Climate Action Network members’ reactions to the negotiations, be sure to check out our resource page: http://bit.ly/I3Y8AV.  

In preparation for the next round of negotiations set for December 2014 in Lima, Peru, countries will continue to meet throughout the next year. Particularly of note: United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is hosting a September 2014 UN leaders’ summit on climate change in New York. Organizers hope the September summit will increase countries’ political will going into next year’s negotiations in Lima by making climate change an urgent priority for more heads of state around the world. Please refer to the USCAN website, usclimatenetwork.org, for periodic updates on our members’ plans building toward the Leaders’ Summit.

For more background on what to expect in the lead-up to the 2014 UN climate negotiations in Peru, hear more from Climate Action Network Latin America CANLA Director Enrique Maurtua Konstantinidis: Video.

That’s a wrap from the USCAN team on the ground in Warsaw—it’s time to head home for Thanksgiving and start planning for Peru! We have enjoyed sharing a little of our experience with you.  Be sure to let us know what you think of these updates at mrisalvato@climatenetwork.org so that we can do our best to tailor future Hotlines to meet your needs.  

Please fill out this quick survey to let us know how we can improve the Climate Action Hotline for you: Survey

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USCAN <![CDATA[Update: Week Two of the UN Climate Negotiations in Warsaw, Climate Action Hotline 11.22.13]]> http://blog.usclimatenetwork.org/?p=3870 2013-11-22T11:13:54Z 2013-11-22T11:13:54Z Related posts:
  1. UN Climate Negotiations Wrap Up in Warsaw, Climate Action Hotline, 11.25.13
  2. Updates from the International Climate Negotiations in Warsaw, Hotline 11.15.13
  3. A Week of Extremes, Climate Action Hotline 9.12.11
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US Climate Action Network

Update: Week Two of the UN Climate

Negotiations in Warsaw

COP19 Climate March

On Saturday, in a peaceful climate march, people from around the world took to the streets outside the UN Climate Talks in Warsaw (COP19) to demand climate justice. Photo Credit: Jamie Henn/350.org

 

The second and final week of the 19th annual international climate negotiations is well underway in Warsaw, Poland. These meetings are meant to put the world on the path to the next international climate agreement, which countries aim to complete in 2015 and put into action in 2020. While the climate negotiations may seem half a world away, what happens at home matters to what happens here. At this point, most of the key discussions in the negotiations have been handed from issue negotiators to high-level ministers who have been arriving over the past few days. As the Warsaw meetings wrap up, the negotiations will be driven by political rather than technical discussions, with phone-calls bouncing between capitals and countries’ Warsaw delegations.

Climate ambition is one of the biggest discussions here as negotiators enter the final hours of talks, especially with a few key countries announcing they will be decreasing—rather than increasing—their short-term emissions reductions goals. On climate ambition, delegates are having two discussions: one about countries’ collective climate ambition in the lead up to 2020, and one about what countries want to achieve together after a new climate agreement goes into effect in 2020. One of the trickiest parts of the conversation is that pre-2020 and post-2020 climate successes depend on one another. In grappling with these issues and more, negotiators got a dose of perspective: in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, Philippine negotiator Yeb Sano delivered a global petition from 590,000 people calling for greater ambition to his fellow delegates from around the world.

Countries that have already shared their pre-2020 climate goals with the world find themselves in a bit of a comfort zone here in Warsaw, without too much political pressure to increase their ambition. Most of the country-to-country peer pressure is on countries that have not declared any climate commitments yet. Meanwhile, much of the civil society pressure is directed at Australia and Japan. News broke this week that both countries may be backsliding on commitments. Japan has drastically cut the emissions reduction goal it announced in 2009 (25% below 1990 levels by 2020). Projections now put Japan’s 2020 emissions above 1990 levels by over 3%. Similarly, a restructuring of Australia’s domestic climate policy may be in process. If completed, the move could increase emissions by 2020.

For longer term commitments beyond 2020, some countries do seem to be coalescing around the idea of “nationally-determined commitments,” an approach US negotiators feel would help ensure broad participation and a strong climate agreement in 2015. The basic idea behind the proposal is that each country would put their own goal on the table, and the new global agreement would add them up. Under the proposal, countries would in theory get to “review” one another’s climate goals and actions and ratchet up ambition, but many elements of how the review process would work remain unclear. Some members of US civil society here support the “nationally-determined commitments” approach, while others worry it would not add up to science-based global emissions reductions, or include sufficient measures to ensure fairness among various countries’ contributions.

Discussions among civil society on the influence of the fossil fuel industry within the negotiation process intensified earlier this week surrounding a coal industry summit also hosted in Warsaw. By later in the week frustrations had mounted, culminating in the decision by some civil society groups to withdraw from the negotiations, in protest of the lack of political will needed to rise to the climate challenge. Meanwhile others remained inside the talks to continue advocacy for key decisions that can still be made at these talks, including a roadmap for the 2015 agreement and for ramping up climate finance. The groups that withdrew stand in solidarity with the people affected by climate impacts around the world, as does the entire Climate Action Network.

Finally, climate finance and loss and damage (or, the effects of climate change beyond the limits of adaptation) are hot topics here, and those discussions are likely to grow even more lively before delegates go home this weekend. Stay tuned for more updates on climate finance and loss and damage in our next and final readout from this year’s climate negotiations.

 

In the next Hotline:

With so many issues at play, it is pretty unusual to have a theme day at the climate negotiations, but Wednesday was climate finance day here in Warsaw. In Copenhagen in 2009, developed countries promised developing countries a total of $100 billion per year by 2020 to support avoided deforestation, clean technologies, and climate adaptation. For the most part, countries remain unsure of both where those funds will come from, and how they will gradually begin to increase their level of funding toward that goal over the next few years. How will these finance issues play out as the Warsaw meetings come to a close? What will happen to loss and damage, another central issue in the negotiations?  And last but not least, how will the overall outcome of these meetings measure up to civil society groups’ expectations?  Find out in the next USCAN Hotline!

Additional resources:

Looking for more information? Check out our special webpage (updated daily): http://bit.ly/I3Y8AV

 

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