September 22, 2013 by John Crapper
Two years ago, retired NASA climatologist James Hansen famously said that if we allowed the development of Keystone XL, it would be “game over” for the climate. But today there were over 200 Draw the Line actions that took place across the country saying emphatically that that is not going to happen. You can click here to see where they occurred. I attended the one in Seattle. The keynote speaker was Bill McKibben. It was a great day of environmental activism. Please go below the fold to check out the pictures I took and some key things I learned.
There were workshops (in two sessions) on topics including: an overview of all of the infrastructure projects currently on the table in the Northwest, tar sands in Washington State, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the current status of the coal train proposals, ocean acidification, a possible WA carbon tax, Nonviolent Direct Action, and Plant for the Planet. There were kids art-making and Plant for the Planet tents in both sessions; and the whole event was family friendly.
The sessions were very informative and very well attended.
Following these workshops the crowd (between 1,000 -1,500) gathered to hear the speeches. Right before the speeches began the Plant for the Planet Amassadors confronted the nasty train trying to ship coal from west coast ports to markets in Asia.
These young Ambassadors were the first to speak and immediately touched the hearts of all in the crowd.
Then Friends of the Earth president Erich Pica took the stage.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn introduced the keynote speaker of the day – 350.org founder Bill McKibben.
The day ended with people making pledges to continue the fight and partake in acts of peaceful civil disobedience if necessary.
And a human line in the sand.
Below are the workshops I attended and links so you can learn what I learned today.
A “free trade” agreement that would set rules on non-trade matters such as food safety, internet freedom, medicine costs, financial regulation, and the environment. 2. A binding international governance system that would require the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and any other country that signs on to conform their domestic policies to its rules. 3. A secret trade negotiation that has included over 600 official corporate “trade advisors” while hiding the text from Members of Congress, governors, state legislators, the press, civil society, and the public.
From 350Seattle: This agreement is very bad news for anyone who cares about the environment. This agreement consists of 29 chapters and most have nothing to do with trade but instead impose limits on domistic food safety, health, environmental and other policies. The texts of these chapters have not been released to the public but 600 U.S. corporate “trade advisors” have full access. In essence the TPP privileges “investor rights over national sovereignty. Investor rights basically give corporations the same rights as sovereign nations and veto power over national laws.
For more information please investigate the following links.
For environment-specific information:
http://www.sierraclub.org/… (specific to fracking)
http://www.sierraclub.org/… (ditto, long version)
Recent economic conditions have been putting the brakes on these projects in general.
That message – that end times are upon us for global coal markets – is the gist of recent reports from Citi, Sanford Bernstein Company (proprietary), Deutsche Bank, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, and Goldman Sachs. Citi’s report is the most recent, forecasting “peak coal” in China by the end of the decade. Perhaps the most significant for those following the proposed Northwest coal terminals is Goldman Sach’s recent warning to investors that the window of opportunity for global thermal coal infrastructure is slamming shut.
The two sites receiving the greatest push for expansion are Cherry Point, close to Bellingham, WA and Longview, WA
Largely due to the success of public comments the scope of the environmental impact statement (EIS) will evaluate a broad range of impacts.
1. A detailed assessment of rail transportation impacts in Whatcom County near the project site, specifically including Bellingham and Ferndale.
2. An assessment of how the project would affect human health, including impacts from related rail and vessel transportion in Whatcom County.
3. An evaluation of greenhouse gas emissions from terminal operations, and rail and vessel traffic.
In addition the study will include:
4. A detailed assessment of rail transportation on other representative communities in
Washington and a general analysis of out of state rail impacts.
5. An assessment of how the project would affect human health in Washington.
6. A general assessment of cargo ship impacts beyond Washington waters.
7. An evaluation and disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions of end use coal combustion.
We are in the public comment period to determine the scope of the environmental impact statement.
From Friends of the Earth:
If approved, the Millennium Bulk Terminals proposal in Longview, WA, would be the largest permitted coal export terminal in the United States, with plans to export 48.5 million tons of coal annually.
In addition to saying NO, this is your opportunity to provide input on what impacts you believe should be considered. There are a myriad of potential impacts from increased train and shipping traffic — harm to our fragile marine eco-systems, global warming and more. What’s important is that you voice your concerns!
Protect the Northwest from dirty coal exports – speak out at the hearings for the new Longview, WA, coal terminal. There are five hearings across the area to attend. Please RSVP for one here.
The five hearings:
Sept. 17, Cowlitz Expo Center, Longview, WA
Sept. 25, Spokane Convention Center, Spokane, WA
Oct. 1, The Trac Center, Pasco, WA
Oct. 9, Clark County Fairgrounds, Vancouver, WA
Oct. 17, Tacoma Convention Center, Tacoma, WA
Carbon Tax (Taken directly from the website):
The best climate change policy in the world is British Columbia’s carbon tax. (More on BC from our 2012 NY Times op ed, from this 2012 Sightline post, and from The Economist in 2011, plus here’s some historical perspective.)
Our vision is to bring a similar policy to Washington State to improve the state’s economy and the state’s environment. That means following BC’s lead by implementing a carbon tax of $30 per ton of CO2 (equivalent to about $0.30 per gallon of gasoline, $0.03 per kWh of coal-fired power, or $0.015 per kWh of natural gas-fired power). Such a tax would reduce carbon emissions and still raise about $2.3 billion per year in Washington State.
Plant for the Planet: I wrote about this extensively in our Climate Change SOS’s Hummingbird blogathon in my post entitled: Hummingbirds – Plant for the Planet. but they basically call for a 3-point plan.
1. Planting 1,000 billion trees.
2. Leave the fossil fuels in the ground.
3. Poverty into the museum through climate justice.
This article was originally posted at DailyKOS