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RiverLover

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Gender: Female
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Dec 1, 2011, 12:59 PM
Number of posts: 7,830

About Me

FDR Populist Progressive who believes the environment trumps all. We\'re sinking the only ship we\'ve got, and govt leaders are ignoring it.

Journal Archives

Introducing 'Keep It in the Ground' Bill, Sanders Goes Big on Climate

Introducing 'Keep It in the Ground' Bill, Sanders Goes Big on Climate
Published on Wednesday, November 04, 2015
Common Dreams

Proposed legislation by presidential candidate and Senate colleagues—which would keep majority of fossil fuels on public lands and offshore areas from being exploited—described as 'historic'

by Sarah Lazare, staff writer



.....The Keep It in the Ground Act was introduced by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

The bill was cosponsored by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).


Specifically, the proposed legislation would block corporations from pursuing new and non-producing leases for coal, oil, gas, shale, and tar sands extraction on federal land. In addition, it would ban offshore drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans and halt new and non-producing leases in the Pacific and Gulf of Mexico.

"We are taking on the Koch brothers and some of the most powerful political forces in the world who are more concerned with short-term profits than the future of the planet," said Sanders in a statement accompanying the bill. "I’ve got four kids, and I’ve got seven beautiful grandchildren. We have a moral responsibility to leave our kids a planet that is healthy and inhabitable."

The introduction of the bill follows an appeal issued in September by over 400 climate organizations and environmental leaders—including Asian Pacific Environmental Network and Indigenous People's Power Project—calling on Obama to halt new leasing on public lands and oceans, and insisting this is the single greatest thing he could do as president to curb the climate crisis.

"Over the past decade, the burning of fossil fuels from federal leasing has resulted in nearly a quarter of all U.S. energy-related emissions and nearly 4 percent of global emissions," the letter stated.

In a study published in the journal Nature earlier this year, scientists concluded that, in order to stave off climate disaster, the vast majority of fossil fuel deposits around the world—including 92 percent of U.S. coal, all Arctic oil and gas, and a majority of Canadian tar sands—must stay "in the ground."

Bill Snape, senior counsel to the Center for Biological Diversity, told Common Dreams that—because of this stark warning—Wednesday's legislation is "historic."

"Obviously Obama's Clean Power Plan is not enough, and not even close if it is by itself," Snape emphasized. "All of the technical standards, all of the state cooperation, it matters for nothing if we do not keep the vast majority of fossil fuels in the ground."

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/11/04/introducing-keep-it-ground-bill-sanders-goes-big-climate

*This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

(Bold for emphasis is my own)




(xposted in environment & energy forum)

Warning From KY: Managerial Democrats Can Lose to Extreme Republicans

Warning From Kentucky: Managerial Democrats Can Lose to Extreme Republicans
by John Nichols
The Nation
11/4/15

A Republican referred to as “Kentucky’s Trump” just beat a mainstream Democrat in a race the Democrats should have won.

Democrats who think they can win simply by highlighting the extremism of Republicans—a popular notion as Dr. Ben Carson, Donald Trump, and Senator Ted Cruz rank high in Republican presidential polls—would do well to consider the case of Kentucky.

Yes, Kentucky—where cautious Democrats just clashed with extremist Republicans. In an exceptionally low-turnout election, in which two-thirds of eligible voters failed to cast ballots, the Republicans prevailed.

....snip....Democrats have dominated Kentucky statehouse politics with only a few exceptions since the end of the Civil War. Even as other border states were following Southern states into the Republican fold, and even as Republicans were winning federal elections in Kentucky, Democrats (some of a populist persuasion, some with strong personal followings) have held their own in state races.

The party has lost Kentucky’s governorship in only two elections over the past 70 years. They held it even in 2011, just after the 2010 Republican-wave election that saw the GOP take control of statehouses in far bluer states such as Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan.

This year, Kentucky Democrats took the “safe” route. They discouraged populists such as former Lieutenant Governor Dan Mongiardo, a coal-country physician who talked of running “a campaign for the soul of our Democratic Party,” and settled on state Attorney General Jack Conway, who lost a 2010 Senate race to Republican Rand Paul. Conway had plenty of money, plenty of statewide name recognition and the solid record of outgoing Democratic Governor Steve Beshear to run on. Conway repeated his talking points and presented himself as a suitably experienced, if drably managerial, successor to the popular Beshear. But it wasn’t enough. Conway lost. Badly.

Full story~
http://www.thenation.com/article/warning-from-kentucky-managerial-democrats-can-lose-to-extreme-republicans/

Re:KeystoneXL - "This is a desperate play by a company that knows it's on thin ice"

Request to suspend application makes it clear KXL has been defeated by the climate movement. Campaigners call on Obama to 'end this.'

By Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams
Published on
Tuesday, November 03, 2015


Neil Young and Daryl Hannah walk with First Nations and climate activists during a 2014 protest at the National Mall in Washington D.C. (Photo: Stephen Melkisethian/cc/flickr)

......On Monday, TransCanada Corporation sent a letter (pdf) to Secretary of State John Kerry requesting the department to suspend its review of the Presidential Permit application for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, citing ongoing litigation in Nebraska over the pipeline route.

Environmental groups, which for years have fought an impressive grassroots battle against the international project, said the request was an indication that the pipeline giant knew it would not win approval under the current administration. Thus, TransCanada is calling a "timeout," hoping to push the decision ahead to a time when the declining oil markets—and perhaps government leadership—are more in their favor.

"This is a desperate play by a company that knows it's on thin ice," states a petition launched by climate group 350.org. It continues: "By calling for a suspension, TransCanada is hoping to avoid the pre-election rejection by President Obama that many are predicting. They are playing for time, hoping that by leaving the project in limbo they can avoid losing outright—and that maybe a year from now all those pesky activists will have gone away."...

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/11/03/smelling-rat-groups-tell-obama-foil-transcanada-and-ban-kxl-outright




A NYT article (won't allow copy/paste) posted 10 hours ago, saying that Obama will not allow them to stop his decision on KXL and that he is going to reject their application. This will make it so that even if a rethug or a willing corporate dem becomes our next president, they would have to start the application process over from scratch....

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/04/us/politics/obama-wont-yield-to-companys-bid-to-delay-keystone-pipeline-decision.html?_r=0

This is a WIN for activists!!! (kow)

"Why We Can Be Hopeful About Climate Change" (Slate)

Why We Can Be Hopeful About Climate Change
November 3, 2015
by Eric Holthaus
Slate, Science

This month, world leaders will gather in Paris to negotiate the future of our planet’s atmosphere. Putting it that way may seem like overstating the meeting’s importance, but that’s exactly what they’ll be doing. On the table is the first-ever global agreement on climate change, and some media reports are playing up the sense of optimism in the air. And it’s true: There are a few very good reasons for hope....

Reducing emissions quickly is the best solution, but after decades of delay, it’s getting really, really hard to make the numbers work. That’s why I’ve been really pessimistic about humanity’s chances of preventing a worst-case climate change scenario for a while now.

I mean, really pessimistic. In a recent article in Rolling Stone, I made the case that it may already be too late to prevent the loss of critical biodiversity in the world’s oceans, with devastating consequences for all of us. Last month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced a global coral bleaching event that’s on its way to becoming the worst in history. A recent study into the value of the “ecosystem services” provided by coral reefs—a heartbreakingly wonky way of saying that people’s lives depend on them—found that reefs, which support a quarter of all marine life, were third only to Earth’s forests and fresh water supply in terms of importance to humanity. Nearer-term impacts of climate change such as these are probably already unavoidable, and in some cases, the longer-term viability of cities and ecosystems is still very much in question.

........The blunt fact is that the world has done less than nothing to tackle climate change since it became a political issue in the 1990s: Global emissions have actually risen 40 percent since the previous international climate treaty in 1997 and very likely will keep rising until at least 2030 no matter what happens in Paris.

So, where’s the hope?

.........Snip...........The U.N.’s own assessment of all the pledges, released last week, framed the remaining challenge most accurately: We’re definitely seeing a slow down of emissions growth, but no peak yet. That means we’re still going to be making the problem considerably worse for the foreseeable future, just not as bad as we could have. So, um, yay!

While most close climate watchers—myself included—have bemoaned the fact that the 2-degree goal is probably no longer possible, there’s a huge achievement on the horizon in Paris that’s clearly worth a victory dance: The nightmare worst-case scenario, in which the planet warms by 4.5 degrees or more, is now likely off the table.....

Read in full~
http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2015/11/paris_pledges_will_avoid_worst_case_climate_change_scenario.html


( Meanwhile Americans Largely Unconcerned About Climate Change )


Montana Activists Score a Global Victory Against Climate Change

Fighting to Keep Coal in the Ground, Montana Activists Score a Global Victory Against Climate Change
Sunday, 01 November 2015
By Alexis Bonogofsky, Truthout | Report

If you are concerned about the climate, you should be paying attention to what is happening in southeast Montana.




To avoid catastrophic climate change, a recent study in the journal Nature found that 92 percent of coal reserves in the United States must stay in the ground to keep global temperature rise under 2 degrees Celsius. Montana has the largest amount of recoverable coal in the United States, close to 120 billion tons - almost one-quarter of known US reserves.

Arch Coal, a major US coal mining and processing company, has been pushing hard to gain access to Montana's coal reserves since 2010.

"Montana could be the energy capital of the United States if the state government and the state's community desire that to happen," Arch Coal CEO Steven Leer told the Billings Gazette in 2010 after his company leased 1.5 billion tons of coal in the Otter Creek Valley in southeast Montana.

To this day, however, no permits have been issued for a coal mine in Otter Creek.

The mining project does not suffer from a lack of support from Montana's politicians or from a regulatory environment unfriendly to their ambitions. What they suffer from is a severe lack of community support. There is a dedicated community of people in southeast Montana who fiercely love their land and have organized quietly and resolutely, keeping billions of tons of coal in the ground.

Their repeated victories in bringing ranchers, Northern Cheyenne tribal members, Amish farmers and others together to fight the coal mines constitute one of the most inspiring - and most overlooked - stories of climate change activism in this decade.


Northern Cheyenne, local ranchers, Amish and conservationists gather to view proposed Tongue River Railroad route near the Otter Creek Coal Tracts in southeastern Montana. Photo by Beth Raboin


How the Struggle Began

On January 17, 2013, a winter storm blew through southeast Montana. The wind was bitterly cold and roads were treacherous but the people came anyway.....

Read the rest of this inspiring story here~
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/33471-fighting-to-keep-coal-in-the-ground-montana-activists-score-a-global-victory-against-climate-change

The War on Solar

The War on Solar
October 26, 2015
By Sara Gutterman, Co-founder & CEO, Green Builder Media

Fossil fuel interests are waging a shady war on solar through backroom transactions and bootleg deals. How long will they be able to rig the game? Eighty-four percent of US voters are in favor of “taking action to accelerate the development and use of clean energy”, but major fossil fuel interests don’t care as long as their profits are at stake.

A recent report by the Environment America exposed 12 special interest groups that are waging aggressive anti-solar campaigns in states across the country to quell the exponential growth that the solar industry has recently been experiencing.

....The report highlights specific organizations that have worked hard to hinder the proliferation of solar in the US, including:

The Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the trade group that represents US investor-owned electric utilities, launched the current wave of anti-solar advocacy with a 2012 conference warning utilities of the challenges solar energy posed to their traditional profit centers. Since then, EEI has worked with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) on model legislation to repeal state renewable electricity standards and ran an anti-solar public relations campaign in Arizona.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) provides utility and fossil fuel interests with access to state legislatures, and its anti-net metering policy resolution has inspired legislation in states like Washington and Utah.

The Koch brothers have provided funding to the national fight against solar by funneling tens of millions of dollars through a network of opaque nonprofits. One Koch front group, 60 Plus, ran a TV and internet anti-net metering campaign in Arizona. The Koch-funded campaign organization Americans for Prosperity (AFP) carries out anti-solar energy organizing efforts. In Florida and Georgia, AFP has run misinformation campaigns against net metering and other solar policies.

The Heartland Institute, a think tank with backing from the fossil fuel industry, helped draft the language for ALEC’s “Electricity Freedom Act,” and has spread misleading information about the impacts of solar energy.

The Consumer Energy Alliance is a Houston-based front group for the fossil fuel industry, representing fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron and Shell Oil. In Wisconsin in 2013, CEA submitted 2,500 dubious signatures in support of a utility rate case to increase costs for solar customers.

As part of its campaign to discourage rooftop solar power, Arizona Public Service, the biggest utility in Arizona, has funneled money through nonprofit groups in order to fund anti-net metering advertisements and has been accused of improperly cultivating influence with the state commission that regulates utilities.

Duke Energy, the largest utility in the US, has positioned itself through investments in utility-scale solar plants to be seen as a champion of solar energy – all while spending millions on campaign contributions to keep anti-solar politicians in office in Florida and lobbying against third party solar agreements in North Carolina.

American Electric Power (AEP) has backed anti-solar campaigns in states including Ohio and West Virginia. In West Virginia, AEP successfully lobbied for a bill to limit the net metering cap to 3 percent of utility peak demand.

In Utah and Nevada, subsidiaries of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy are running active campaigns to halt the growth of solar power. In Nevada, subsidiary NV Energy has lobbied to prevent the raising of Nevada’s net metering cap. With Nevada solar power on track to reach the cap limit in early 2016, a stagnant cap could damage the state solar power industry.

The Salt River Project, a public utility in Arizona, passed perhaps the most damaging anti-solar provision in the country: a demand charge for solar customers that will increase utility bills by an average of $50 per month, which has all but killed the growth of rooftop solar in the utility’s territory. The passage of the fee was based in part on an internal SRP analysis that was criticized for failing to account for solar energy’s value to the grid and to the environment.

In Ohio, FirstEnergy led the fight to make Ohio the first state in the country to freeze its renewable energy standard – resulting in annual private investment in Ohio solar energy dropping by more than $100 million. FirstEnergy has also sustained a series of regulatory attacks against Ohio net metering policy.

We Energies, Wisconsin’s largest utility, has submitted a nearly continuous stream of proposals to the Wisconsin Public Services Commission (PSC) to halt the growth of solar, including proposals to limit net metering and to impose surcharges on solar owners.


.....Rather than innovating new business models through which they can capitalize on the inevitable future of renewable energy and leverage a smart grid that enables distributed sources of energy, these entities are grasping onto obsolete paradigms that ultimately do each and every one of us a disservice.......

http://www.energymanagertoday.com/the-war-on-solar-0117313/

http://www.greenbuildermedia.com/green-builder-media-new-posts

http://www.environmentamerica.org/

Pro-war, pro-wall street, pro-big oil, pro-big ag....but in the past 2 yrs she has come around on

gay marriage.

We keep enabling Dems who act like rethugs, we will keep getting the same thing. But the Dems like to talk liberal when they're campaigning. That's always nice. Its not so nice when afterwards, when they're in office & they're doing all to help big business & screwing us over while making excuses, is when its not so nice. And its getting old.

We needed that change Obama talked about in 08 & the country went crazy for. We still do.

Al Gore: Optimist?

Al Gore: Optimist?
by Michael Grunwald
Politico

In a Miami conference center the size of a football field, 1,200 climate activists are getting ready to watch a slide show....

...Snip....

.....The former vice president still begins and ends his presentation with photos of the earth from space, iconic reminders of what’s at stake. He still lectures in that much-mocked wooden style, with sporadic flashes of passion detectable more by changes in volume than delivery. The big difference in the updated version of the slide show is that a decade ago, Gore mostly warned about what could happen. Now he shows what’s already happening.



It’s scary stuff, and it’s supposed to be. Some of it is visually scary, like a downpour that looks like an airborne tidal wave descending on Tucson, Arizona, or a helicopter rescuing residents of an apartment complex floating down a Japanese street. Some of it is intellectually scary, like charts illustrating how 14 of the 15 hottest years ever recorded have been recorded since 2000, how extremely hot days have become 100 times more common in just three decades, how climate change is driving unprecedented droughts, floods, wildfires and mudslides. Gore constantly updates his presentation: At least a dozen of his slides in Miami were from the previous few months, including news footage of Biscayne Bay flooding local streets the previous night.

...Big huge Snip...worth reading at link....

....IT’S DEPRESSING STUFF, and Gore knows it. In fact, before he began his presentation, he warned the trainees that when they delivered their own versions, they would have to work within a time budget, for obvious reasons; a complexity budget, because there are only so many tough concepts an audience can digest; and a “hope budget,” because audiences also have limited tolerance for doom and gloom.

“Despair is paralyzing,” he told the crowd. “When people feel like there’s no hope—well, might as well party on; let’s not worry about the problem. We need to deliver the message that we’re winning. The hope is real. It’s not a forced smile.”

Gore gives his audiences plenty of reasons to hope—the decline of coal in the U.S., the global solar boom, the upcoming climate talks in Paris, the vocal support of Pope Francis. He cites Wall Street reports on how clean energy is getting cheaper than coal in much of the world. He notes that Costa Rica was powered entirely by renewables for 100 straight days, and that Christiana Figueres, a Costa Rican who is a top United Nations official, was a graduate of his slide-show training.

At times, though, his smile seemed a bit forced. I told him later that I think of him as a glass-half-empty guy. On the campaign trail, it always looked like his handlers had to remind him 10 times a day that America loves optimists, and after his wrenching defeat in 2000, he seemed even more like a missionary who was spreading the gospel because he knew it was the right thing to do even though he doubted the heathen would get the message. But he told me no, he’s very much an optimist. I mentioned the hope budget, and he said that’s just a tactic for building political will because unrelenting bad news can create a feeling of futility.

“That doesn’t mean I’m prone to that feeling,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for 40 years. I’m not vulnerable to that.”

A moment later, though, he revised and extended his remarks.

“I guess I would modify that slightly,” he said. “Anyone who works on the climate issue has an internal dialogue, the struggle between hope and despair. All my colleagues struggle with that. But I’ve always come down on the side of hope.”...

http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2015/10/al-gore-optimist-000295


Click here to read the author's full interview with Al Gore.

I thought this article & Gore's words was so apropos for our group here. We have a struggle it seems with that concept of hopelessness vs hope. I'll always fall on the side of hope. We have to at least try. Mother Nature is extremely resilient.




Its safer in Europe where Monsanto hasn't bought off as many politicians & university profs.

EU Nations Ban GMOs

In addition to the glyphosate backlash, Monsanto has had to deal with several EU countries who have said no to the company's GM crops. A new European Union law signed in March allows individual member countries to be excluded from any GM cultivation approval request. European opposition to GMOs has been strong: Unlike in the Americas and Asia, where GMO crops are widely grown, only Monsanto's pest-resistant MON810, a GMO maize, is grown in Europe. Several nations have taken advantage of the new exclusion law: Scotland, Germany, Latvia, Greece, France and recently, Northern Ireland, have all invoked it.

http://www.alternet.org/environment/monsanto-suffers-several-2015-setbacks




A Harvard Kennedy School professor wrote a widely disseminated policy paper last year in support of genetically modified organisms at the behest of seed giant Monsanto, without disclosing his connection, e-mails show.

Monsanto not only suggested the topic to professor Calestous Juma. It went so far as to provide a summary of what the paper could say and a suggested headline. The company then connected the professor with a marketing company to pump it out over the Internet as part of Monsanto’s strategy to win over the public and lawmakers, according to e-mails obtained through a public records request.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/10/01/harvard-professor-failed-disclose-monsanto-connection-paper-touting-gmos/lLJipJQmI5WKS6RAgQbnrN/story.html

Sherrod Brown's OpEd on Fixing Our Broken Tax Code (Its GOOD) - Add your voice!

Fixing a broken tax code
by Sherrod Brown

As a Cleveland Indians fan, I have grown used to saying “wait until next year.”

But as a legislator, this saying infuriates me – particularly when it comes to our tax system. Our tax code is so broken that it creates incentives for multinational corporations to move jobs and profits overseas – profits they’d like to return to the U.S. and revenue that our Treasury needs.

But as a member of the Senate Finance Committee, I’ve seen targeted Democratic and Republican tax reform efforts stifled due to the hope of comprehensive tax reform in the future, a future that is always way over the horizon.

In baseball, hope can triumph over reason. But as policymakers, we have an obligation to act when opportunity presents itself, rather than wait for next season.

And right now there is a political opportunity to solve two of America’s pressing economic problems at the same time.


Over the past several months, I worked with Democrats and Republicans on a special International Tax Reform Working Group to explore challenges facing our international tax system.

In our current system, nobody wins. American corporations can legally shift profits overseas to avoid taxes in the U.S.

Not only does this deprive our tax base of needed revenue, but it also prevents these same corporations from accessing profits to invest in the U.S. or return money to shareholders. Meanwhile, foreign companies that are able to access American companies’ overseas cash threaten to take over U.S. corporations.

At the same time, our trust fund for infrastructure projects is nearly empty.

Our roads, bridges, rail lines, and ports are in need of critical repairs to ensure that American commuters can efficiently get to work and that American businesses can transport and sell their products. For years now we have needed a long-term highway bill with increased investment, but have been forced to settle for the lowest political denominator of short-term, flat-funded patches.

Later today at the Cleveland City Club, I’ll outline a bipartisan path forward. Earlier this month, our International Tax Working released a bipartisan framework to reform international taxes and generate needed revenue to pay for long-term and robust infrastructure improvements. At the same time, the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Paul Ryan, began similar discussions with the White House.

Here’s how reform would work: we would create a new, simplified international corporate system that eliminates incentives to offshore profits.

First, the new system would allow corporations to pay taxes in the country in which they were earned.

Second, we would eliminate tax havens by creating a county-by-county global minimum tax. This means that if a company is manufacturing products in a foreign nation for sale in a foreign country, they would pay nearly all of their tax to that foreign country and then be free to use their profits as they see fit. But if a company is moving profits to a tax haven and generates little economic activity in that nation, than it would owe the U.S. the minimum tax immediately.

Third, the new system should include robust incentives to locate R&D jobs and manufacturing in the U.S.


This new system would allow corporations to make investments driven by economics – and not tax arbitrage – while introducing new rules to prevent them from using debt structuring to hide profits generated in the US. Finally, this new system would allow the return of nearly two trillion dollars in profits stranded overseas through a one-time tax. That tax would be used to fund a long-term transportation bill at the increased levels our country needs.

We know that a reasonable tax on locked-out, overseas funds is enough to pay for pressing infrastructure needs across our country. In my home state of Ohio, the Brent Spence Bridge – which connects Ohio and Kentucky and moves goods totaling 4 percent of our GDP each year – has been described as “dangerous” and “obsolete.” There are similar “Brent Spences” around the entire nation that also need repair now.

With a pressing deadline to shore up our infrastructure trust fund, now is the time to act. Reforming our international tax system provides us with an opportunity to increase global competitiveness while investing in infrastructure. We cannot wait until “next season.” After all, as any Indians fan knows, next season has been “just around the corner” for 67 years.

Co-Sign Sherrod's Letter


Please add your voice!

We are NOT the United States of Corporations. Let's remind them!
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