Energy

250 US Mayors Adopt 100 pct Renewable Energy Resolution by 2035

At the conclusion of the US Mayors Conference on June 26 more than 250 city mayors sent a strong message to the Trump administration and Congress. Not only did they call for full commitment to the Paris Accord and the Clean Power plan, but they resolved that:
The United States Conference of Mayors supports cities establishing a community-wide target of powering their communities with 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2035; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors proclaims its commitment to equity, affordability, public participation, and access for all people in America as cities pursue this transition to 100% clean, renewable energy; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that priority should be given to the lowest cost measures to meet energy needs including efficiency, weatherization, cogeneration, district heating and cooling, decentralized electricity generation and smart grids/micro grids, the use of industrial waste heat, building controls, automated lighting, solar-powered hot water heaters and programs that create an energy-saving culture in our nation’s cities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that given the economic development, job creation, and job training potential of clean, renewable energy, the transition to 100% clean, renewable energy should include structured mechanisms to include low-income citizens in the benefits to be derived from the transition, including creating quality careers adhering to local source hiring, a just transition for workers displaced by fossil fuel reduction, equitable access through ownership and benefits to create new opportunity for historically marginalized communities, and affordable clean energy options.

France to End Sale of Gasoline and Diesel-Powered Cars by 2040

On July 6 France joined Norway and India in planning to end the sale of gasoline and diesel cars. France’s deadline is 2040, but auto maker Volvo has already stated that in 2019 all their new models will be either hybrids or fully electric.

Ireland Set to Ban Onshore Fracking

On June 28 a bill to ban on-shore fracking in Ireland was sent for the Irish president’s signature. As pointed out earlier in the public debate, Ireland is a big flood plain and an extremely bad place to frack. This action follows similar national bans by Germany, France, and Bulgaria.

PEDUTO TO TRUMP: PITTSBURGH WILL MOVE TO 100% CLEAN ENERGY

Pittsburgh, PA. – Just hours after Donald Trump claimed to be represent the voters of Pittsburgh in his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, Mayor Bill Peduto today announced his support for a goal of powering Pittsburgh entirely with clean and renewable energy by 2035.
Mayor Peduto joins a growing coalition of Mayors for 100% Clean Energy who have similarly announced support for a goal of powering their communities with 100 percent renewable energy such as wind and solar.

“Donald Trump said he was elected by voters of Pittsburgh, but his misguided decision to withdraw from the Paris climate does not reflect the values of our city,” said Mayor Peduto. “Pittsburgh will not only heed the guidelines of the Paris agreement, we will work to move towards 100 percent clean and renewable energy for our future, our economy, and our people”
Mayors for 100% Clean Energy, an initiative of the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Campaign, represents a growing number of mayors from across the country who have endorsed a community-wide goal of transitioning entirely to renewable energy. The full list of Mayors for 100% Clean Energy can be found here.
On Wednesday, Columbia, South Carolina Mayor Steve Benjamin along with his Mayors for 100% Clean Energy introduced a landmark resolution to the U.S. Conference of Mayors that would formally establish support from the nation’s mayors for the goal of 100 percent renewable energy in cities nationwide.
“For every terrible decision Trump makes, local leaders like Mayor Peduto are fighting to make sure clean energy continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Today’s announcement shows how grassroots activists, frontline communities, local governments, and concerned people across the United States can and will continue to drive the transition away from fossil fuels to 100% clean and renewable energy,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune.
“Pittsburgh is the first post-industrial city in the United States to aim to power itself with 100 percent clean energy,” said Eva Resnick-Day, Community Organizer at the Sierra Club. “Our city has always been on the forefront of innovation and today’s announcement by Mayor Peduto shows that we will continue to be.”
Ahead of the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting in Miami Beach in June, Mayor Peduto’s endorsement serves as a powerful message to the broader mayoral community regarding the opportunity and benefit that city leaders see in the transition to 100 percent renewable energy.
“Pittsburgh knows that our children’s future and the future of our workforce are one and the same,” said Glenn Grayson, Organizer with One PA. “We are working hard to invest in clean energy technology not only for the future of our planet, but for the health of our children, and the health of our economy.”

More than 25 U.S. cities have now committed to transition entirely to clean and renewable energy.

“Cities can help lead the transition away from dirty fuels to renewable energy, but it will require boldness and ambition to get it done.  I’m proud to stand with my fellow Mayors for 100% Clean Energy to call for a transition to 100 percent clean and renewable energy in my community,” said Mayor Peduto.

Climate Marches Launch Resistance to Trump Administration

PCM buses group

Pittsburghers drive at RFK Stadiumm for the Peoples March, April 29. (Photo courtesy of Fred Kraybill.)

In Washington on April 29 more than 200,000 people in the Peoples March for Climate, Jobs, and Justice showed that the Trump administration’s attacks on the environment and the climate movement will be resisted with passion and reason. Joining the huge throng of indigenous people and members of labor unions, faith-based organizations, and environmental groups were three busloads of people from SW Pennsylvania. Across the nation Sister Marches involved a further 100,000 people, and here in Pittsburgh about 1,000 people marched in Oakland.

The long day for the 150 bus riders began at 4:30 am. In DC the weather was hot and humid, but the atmosphere was exciting and inspiring. As one of the riders wrote afterwards:

“I derived hope from this event. It’s an unfortunate aspect of my nature to envision the worst possible future and to expect very little of my fellow human beings. My default mindset is that people are selfish and primarily look out for themselves. But when I see tens of thousands of diverse people from all over the country (and world) marching to protect the planet for future generations with possibly very little to directly gain for themselves, it gives me hope that all is not lost. While I can’t say I’m optimistic about the future, I can say that I feel energy building and see a light growing brighter. My fervent hope is that this carries us all to a better place where the planet and all living creatures can thrive in a sustainable way. I see this movement as being about more than just the environment; it’s about a just and compassionate way of living and working in the world. Like everyone else, I’m fumbling my way forward trying to be better than I’ve been. For me, this march was a gift of energy and hope to keep me moving in that better direction.”

Our thanks go out to the folk who represented SW Pennsylvania in the national march and who took part in the march in Oakland. Thanks are also due to these local groups for their financial support of the bus riders:  Allegheny Group Sierra Club, Group Against Smog and Pollution, Marcellus Protest, and 350 Pittsburgh.

Sierra Club’s 100 pct Clean Energy Campaign Comes to Pittsburgh

Smaller Mayors iconWith climate deniers blocking climate action in Washington and state capitols, the Sierra Club recently launched a national ‘Ready for 100‘ clean energy campaign. A major goal is to urge city mayors to commit to achieving 100 pct clean energy for their cities by 2035. So far 27 mayors have made that commitment.

Now Pittsburgh has been chosen as the first ‘old industrial city’ to be included in the national campaign, with Eva Resnick-Day as the full time organizer based in Pittsburgh. The immediate goal is to persuade Mayor Bill Peduto to publicly endorse 100% renewable by the June 23-26 U.S. Mayors Conference in Miami Beach. If you don’t believe that 100 pct renewable energy is really doable, please check HERE for 10 case studies.

 

Trump’s Climate Policy Legally Challenged by 17 States, but not PA

On March 27 Donald Trump ordered Scott Pruitt, the head of the EPA, to review and revise the measures set in place by Barack Obama to reduce the emission of GHG emissions. A central target of these measures is the Clean Power Plan. Following Trump’s order, the EPA asked the US court of appeals in DC to delay proceedings related to the Clean Power Plan while the Obama regulations are being reviewed

In a counter move, on April 5 the attorneys general of seventeen states asked the to reject EPA’s request for a delay. Leading the … was New York’s attorney general, who argued ““In order to repeal Obama-era protections, the Trump Administration must replace those protections, as well — and we know how well repeal-and-replace went the first time around.“

Pennsylvania’s attorney general was not among those of the seventeen states filing the motion

Message to the Trump Administration: 2016 Was Earth’s Hottest Year on Record

January-December-2016-Global-Temp-Percentiles-Map-460x300

 

President Trump, please take note, “the globally averaged temperature for 2016 was the highest since record keeping began in 1880”. 2016 was hotter than 2015 and 2015 was hotter than 2014, due in large part to wormer ocean surface temperatures. Sixteen of the 17 record years have occurred since 2000.

In the US 2016 was the second hottest year on record, with 15 ‘weather disasters’ causing $46B in damage. For Pittsburgh 2016 was the second warmest year in the 69 years of record keeping, being 3.0 DegF above the 1981-2010 average.average

According to the World Meteorological Office, the largest contributors to the rising temperatures continue to be man-made greenhouse gases like CO2, resulting in acidification of the oceans and minimum ice caps in the polar oceans.

Keystone XL Pipeline is NOT a Done Deal – Send Trump a Message

Starting with support for the rally in Washington DC in February 2013, Pittsburgh’s environmental community has seen the Keystone XL Pipeline as a major symbol of what is wrong with our national energy policy. Citing climate change, on Sept. 6, 2015 President Obama rejected the pipeline. Since then we have opposed the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline. On January 24 President Trump signed an executive order that reopens the discussion of whether these pipeline should be built or completed, much to the consternation of groups like the Sierra Club.

Because the actual consequences of Trump’s action are unclear, sending a personal message to President Trump will be timely.

Why there is uncertainty about Trump’s executive order is explained by Duncan Meisel of 350.org:

  • He did *not* approve Keystone XL or Dakota Access. He briefly succeeded in confusing a lot of people on this point
  • On DAPL he told the Army Corps of Engineers to “consider” revoking the environmental review placed on it by the Obama Administration.
  • On Keystone XL, he invited TransCanada to re-apply and if they do, mandated a final decision on the pipeline within 60 days and waived input from environmental agencies.
  • And when TransCanada does re-apply, they no longer have permits in Nebraska, and their permits in South Dakota are being challenged.
  • Trump also placed conditions on approval of the pipelines — like limiting oil exports, and determining where the steel comes from — that the oil companies might not accept.

Obama Protects Arctic and Atlantic Oceans from Off-Shore Drilling

On November 18 the Obama administration released its 5-year plan for offshore oil and gas leasing. Although still allowing O&G development from 2017 through 2022 in ten areas of central and western parts of the Gulf of Mexico, the plan no longer allows leasing in Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. The single leasing area outside the Gulf is part of Cook Inlet off the Gulf of Alaska. Dropped from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s draft plan offered in March is the leasing areas in the Arctic’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas in 2020 and 2022.

The plan now heads to Congress, with a 60-day waiting period until it becomes final. If President Trump wishes to revise these leasing limits it will probably take several years.

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement:
For years, the Arctic Ocean has been left vulnerable to oil drilling that would devastate its pristine waters, Alaska Native villages, and coastal communities, and the marine life these communities depend on. But thanks to the Obama administration’s leadership, the Arctic Ocean, like the Atlantic Ocean earlier this year, will remain protected from fossil fuel development.

“Alaska Native leaders, activists across Alaska and the Lower 48, and the American people made their voices heard — and President Obama listened. We applaud the President and his administration for listening to these calls, safeguarding the Arctic and the Atlantic oceans and helping ensure that the Arctic’s coastal communities may continue their way of life.

“From forging the Paris climate agreement, to the Clean Power Plan, to today’s news that he is protecting the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, President Obama continues to build on a climate legacy without equal, and the Sierra Club will mobilize more forcefully than ever to ensure it remains intact.

“The removal of our waters from offshore drilling plans is paramount to protecting coastal communities in Alaska and across the Eastern and Western seaboards. The action taken today by the Obama administration recognizes this, and we must and we will continue to build on these efforts to ensure all our coastal communities — including the Gulf of Mexico — are protected from the threat offshore drilling presents.

Read the Fall 2017 Sierran



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