March 17, 2008

Global Warming at TBA

Notes: Some answers to audience questions are tucked in at the end of each speaker's section, I wasn't able to hear Podesta's opening remarks, so I can't tell you about them.

Carl Pope, Sierra Club: Important to get energy markets right, so that low-income people can get access to low-carbon energy services. Need to finance open source, low-carbon technology, and energy sustainability for developing economies.

Why business as usual is bad for ordinary Americans -- A construction worker who needs a pickup truck can't get one that does 40(?)mpg, because "GM and Ford would rather sell him something that does half the job [that they can build] on a 20-year-old assembly line." If we don't start retrofitting 5 million houses and apartments a year, which would boost the construction industry by 32%, will end up with foreclosure crisis because of how much people's energy bills are going to go up.

The energy sector in this country was consciously designed to be inefficient and slow. Need a competitive, innovative energy market.

Twenty percent of greenhouse gas emissions are from deforestation, often illegal and at gunpoint. We need to recognize that the "global timber trade is not a market, but a crime ring."

There may be some place for biofuels in the future, but the programs being funded right now are slogans hiding destruction. Biofuels cannot be allowed displace fuel efficiency. "Motorfuels are a very precious commodity" and can't be wasted.

Marjorie Alt, Environment America: "The science is getting better and better, which means the story is getting worse and worse."

Interesting that most activity has been local, but local communities are already seeing effects. In New England, just in the last 10-15 yrs, the maple syrup industry has moved up the continent to Canada, leaving the US. State and local governments taking the lead to cap emissions and promote green jobs.

We need 100% carbon auction, can't continue paying people to pollute. The Lieberman-Warner climate bill doesn't stand up well, even if it's a shift in the right direction.

Jessy Tolkan, Energy Action Coalition: Young people who showed up for PowerShift engaged in the largest ever lobby day on global warming told their legislators that they wanted the boldest solutions possible. "We don't just need to solve this problem, we need to solve it in the right way. ... We need a moratorium on coal."

"We are voting in record numbers." Young people will show up to the polls in November, but will make a lot of noise about global warming before that. Want to force everyone running for office to come out with strong statements on climate change, because after the election, they'll continue their activism and insist on fair solutions that don't disproportionately impact lower income people.

Adrienne Maree Brown, Ruckus Society: Ruckus Society teaches people how to engage in nonviolent direct action so they can push for radical policy changes.

There are a lot of technical changes that can be made, but there are four adaptive changes that could be made.

1) Time for environmental justice to swallow environmentalism. Need to understand that communities of color and those in poverty, those on the front lines, will be our salvation.

2) Environmental justice in practice means protecting the votes of those least likely to have their votes counted. Communities most impacted by global warming are the same communities that most often get disenfranchised.

3) Need a shift in organizing. Local, sustainable, biodiverse systems are a good organizing model for politics, instead of the current federal election organizing model.

4) Action in an election year -- being polite has never been enough to make change happen. Sometimes need to "scream at" before you can "work with". We remember visionary actions like people sitting at lunch counters and making salt. Need to advance the front line of vision, show the candidates the world we want. Even if they don't listen, these actions builds a movement that can hold them accountable.

Look at current Ruckus Society organizing projects and the campaign for the separation of oil and state.

The public needs to make it impossible for the government to say no to what we want them to say yes to. Citizens need to step up.

John Podesta, Center for American Progress: Next president needs to demonstrate that energy issues are the top priority of the federal government, which is a large user of energy.

Media responds to pressure, they need to be called out when they give credence to climate propaganda. This is why Media Matters is so effective.

The United States needs to become a leader in clean technologies to restore our moral authority to work with other countries. Need to coordinate a worldwide research base, invest strategically in R&D, Dept. of Energy needs to demonstrate projects in a way that makes them market acceptable and open up the electricity grid to innovation.

Posted by natasha at March 17, 2008 01:03 PM | Environment | Technorati links |