Category: Climate Change
More Against Trump: Huge Climate Change Marches Against President’s Policies
Demonstrators sit on the ground along Pennsylvania Ave. in front of the White House in Washington, Saturday, April 29, 2017, during a demonstration and march.

More Against Trump: Huge Climate Change Marches Against President’s Policies

© AP Photo/ Pablo Martinez Monsivais

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People’s Climate Marches are taking place in Washington, DC, and hundreds of other locations around the globe today, one more action in an ongoing series of responses to the environmental policies of US President Donald Trump.

Coinciding with Trump’s 100th day in office, the global event, an offshoot of the 2014 global climate change march — the largest in history — is centered around the march in Washington DC, where some 200,000 marchers have taken to the streets as temperatures hover in the mid-90s.With luminaries including former US Vice President Al Gore, billionaire aerospace leader Richard Branson and Hollywood superstar Leonardo Dicaprio in attendance, the protests are seen as a continuation of the current increase in popular activism in the wake of Trump’s election.

Including heavily attended events such as the Women’s March in January and the March for Science last week — as well as multiple protests at airports to fight the Trump administration’s immigration travel ban — the level of popular activism in response to the policies of Trump’s administration is unusual, and perhaps unprecedented.

In what is considered to be the most divisive US presidency in modern times, Trump’s administration in just its first 100 days has quickly rolled back newly implemented Environmental Protection Agency regulations regarding the use of fossil fuels, including coal, and introduced sweeping budget cuts. Trump also approved the hotly-disputed Keystone XL pipeline, which the administration of US President Barack Obama had formerly blocked.

Trump is undoing everything Obama did. He doesn’t realize climate change impacts everyone. It impacts him. Change is inevitable, and only we can solve it — the impact is just changing the way we live,” said a marcher, according to CNN.

Although official tallies are not currently available, police put the number in the hundreds of thousands in Washington, DC, and in cities across the globe, tens of thousands more are said to be participating.

Bernie Sanders Storms CNN To Blast Trump’s ‘Pathetic’ EPA Leader For Denying Climate Change

Bernie Sanders Storms CNN To Blast Trump’s ‘Pathetic’ EPA Leader For Denying Climate Change

Sanders’ outrage came after the new EPA leader questioned whether CO2 was a contributing to climate change.

Bernie Sanders Storms CNN To Blast Trump’s ‘Pathetic’ EPA Leader For Denying Climate Change

Bernie Sanders stormed CNN on Thursday to blast Donald Trump’s EPA leader, Scott Pruitt, for making the ridiculous claim that carbon dioxide is not a primary contributor to climate change.

The Vermont senator and former presidential candidate slammed Pruitt’s comment as “pathetic” and “sad.”

Sanders said:

Honestly, I wish I could come up with another word. It is pathetic that that is the position of the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. The debate is over. Something like 90 percent of the scientists who have written peer reviewed on this subject agree that is it human activity and CO2 emissions that are causing devastating problems already in the United States and around the world. That you have a head of the Environmental rProtection Agency who denies that reality in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence – not only is it sad, it is a real threat to the wellbeing of this country and the world.

Sanders’ outrage came after the new EPA leader questioned whether CO2 was a contributing to climate change, saying there was still “tremendous disagreement” about it.

“I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact,” Pruitt said in an interview on Thursday. “So no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.”

That’s right – the guy appointed by Trump to “protect” the environment can’t even admit what’s causing climate change. In his confirmation hearing earlier this year, Pruitt offered similar feelings, saying that the human contributions to climate change are still up for debate.

In an administration that has spent its short time in power rolling back environmental regulations and making sure coal companies can dump their sludge into our water systems, this is no surprise. But it doesn’t make it any less troubling.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Cruz Meets With Protesters, Declines Invitation to Town Hall

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017

Contact: Eli Magaña

520-549-4212 ,

Feb. 21 – Sen. Ted Cruz Meets With a Handful of Protesters Inside His Office,

Declines to Have Town Hall Meeting

Today, about 250 Houston-area residents staged a “Town Hall Without Ted Cruz” outside his Houston office

on 808 Travis Street where they discussed their concerns about the Trump administration’s recent actions

that threaten the middle-class, working people, immigrant families, refugee protections, the environment and

civil rights.

Protesters made prearranged appointments to send up three delegations to Cruz’s office to deliver

invitations to a “Recess Town Hall,” which was scheduled to take place the same day at 6pm at Axelrod on

1517 Alabama Street in Houston. Each of the 51 invitations had handwritten questions on the back for the

Senator from protesters outside the building.

None of the delegation groups knew beforehand that the Senator was upstairs waiting.

“He met with each delegation separately,” said Christy C. Callahan, a Galveston resident who was in the last

of the three delegations. “The meeting was cordial, and our group spoke with him for about 40 minutes. We

will continue to hold demonstrations outside of his office every Tuesday at noon during the first 100 days

since the Women’s March or until he agrees to meet with the public for a free and open town hall meeting

about the issues.”

Cruz declined the invitation to the town hall meeting at Axelrod, and would not commit to any town hall

meetings with constituents this year.

Rallies and delegations also occurred at the offices of Congressman Will Hurd (R-23) in Socorro and San

Antonio on the same day. Participants were told that Hurd was outside the country, and staff would not

commit to town hall meetings in the District.

Today’s demonstrations were part of a nationwide #ResistanceRecess movement during the Congressional

recess that is calling on Washington D.C. politicians to show voters their plans for healthcare,

comprehensive immigration reform, environmental protections and other policies that impact families in our



A World in Shambles: An Interview With C.J. Polychroniou

Interviewed by Marcus Rolle and Alexandra Boutros – 3rd January 2017

A World in Shambles: An Interview With C.J. Polychroniou

“We live in ominously dangerous times” stated the opening line of an article by C.J. Polychroniou (with Lily Sage) titled “A New Economic System for a World in Rapid Disintegration,” which was recently published in Truthout. And while the aforementioned piece was mainly a scathing critique of global neoliberal capitalism and a call for a new system of economic and social organization, its underlying thesis was that the world system is breaking down and that contemporary societies are in disarray.

Is the (Western) world in shambles? We interviewed C.J. Polychroniou about the current world situation, with emphasis on developments in Europe and the United States, and sought his views on a host of pertinent political, economic and social issues, including the rise of the far right and the capitulation of the left.

Marcus Rolle and Alexandra Boutri: Let’s start by asking — what exactly do you have in mind when you say, “We live in ominously dangerous times?”

C.J. Polychroniou: We live in a period of great global complexity, confusion and uncertainty. It should be beyond dispute that we are in the midst of a whirlpool of events and developments that are eroding our capability to manage human affairs in a way that is conducive to the attainment of a political and economic order based on stability, justice and sustainability. Indeed, the contemporary world is fraught with perils and challenges that will test severely humanity’s ability to maintain a steady course towards anything resembling a civilized life.

For starters, we have been witnessing the gradual erosion of socio-economic gains in much of the advanced industrialized world since at least the early 1980s, along with the rollback of the social state, while a tiny percentage of the population is amazingly wealthy beyond imagination that compromises democracy, subverts the “common good” and promotes a culture of dog-eat-dog world.

The pitfalls of massive economic inequality were identified even by ancient scholars, such as Aristotle, and yet we are still allowing the rich and powerful not only to dictate the nature of society we live in but also to impose conditions that make it seem as if there is no alternative to the dominance of a system in which the interests of big business have primacy over social needs.

In this context, the political system known as representative democracy has fallen completely into the hands of a moneyed oligarchy which controls humanity’s future. Democracy no longer exists. The main function of the citizenry in so-called “democratic” societies is to elect periodically the officials who are going to manage a system designed to serve the interests of a plutocracy and of global capitalism. The “common good” is dead, and in its place we have atomized, segmented societies in which the weak, the poor and powerless are left at the mercy of the gods.

I contend that the above features capture rather accurately the political culture and socio-economic landscape of “late capitalism.” Nonetheless, the prospects for radical social change do not appear promising in light of the huge absence of unified ideological gestalts guiding social and political action. What we may see emerge in the years ahead is an even harsher and more authoritarian form of capitalism.

Then, there is the global warming phenomenon, which threatens to lead to the collapse of much of civilized life if it continues unabated. The extent to which the contemporary world is capable of addressing the effects of global climate change — frequent wildfires, longer periods of drought, rising sea levels, waves of mass migration — is indeed very much in doubt. Moreover, it is also unclear if a transition to clean energy sources suffices at this point in order to contain the further rising of temperatures. To be sure, global climate change will produce in the not-too-distant future major economic disasters, social upheavals and political instability.

If the climate change crisis is not enough to make one convinced that we live in ominously dangerous times, add to the above picture the ever-present threat of nuclear weapons. In fact, the threat of a nuclear war or the possibility of nuclear attacks is more pronounced in today’s global environment than any other time since the dawn of the atomic age. A multi-polar world with nuclear weapons is a far more unstable environment than a bipolar world with nuclear weapons, particularly if we take into account the growing presence and influence of non-state actors, such as extreme terrorist organizations, and the spread of irrational and/or fundamentalist thinking, which has emerged as the new plague in many countries around the world, including first and foremost the United States.

What is the state of the Left in today’s Europe?

Since the collapse of Soviet communism, the European Left has been in a state of complete disarray, although the crisis of Europe’s Left dates back to the 1970s — i.e., long before the collapse of “actually existing socialism.”  But let’s be clear. What do we mean today by the term European Left? The European Socialist and Social Democratic parties abandoned long ago any pretext to being “socialistic” and, in fact, have become advocates of austerity and staunch supporters of free-market capitalism. There are some communist parties still around, but most of them are completely marginalized and lack political influence.

Only in Greece do you have a communist party that still carries some influence inside the labor movement, but it is essentially a Stalinist party and has actually worked hard to maintain political stability and thus the status quo. Nonetheless, until very recently, the Greek Communist Party was far more popular than the Coalition of the Radical Left, popularly known as Syriza, which has been in government since January 2015, thanks to the terrible financial and economic crisis that broke out in early 2010 and has since converted the country to a German/European protectorate.

There are, of course, grassroots movements and parties of the radical Left to be found in virtually every European country, but they lack mass popular support. The rise of Syriza in Greece was seen as representing a new dawn for the European Left, but its complete sellout to the euro masters and its actual conversion to a neoliberal and thoroughly corrupt political party has actually been one of the biggest setbacks for progressive forces throughout the continent.

You were expressing strong reservations about Syriza, in fact through these pages, long before its rise to power. What actually went wrong with the Greek Radical Left?

Syriza was a loose organization of various leftist groups (old-fashioned euro communists, anarcho-communists, Maoists and even social democrats), and its appeal was confined mainly to the intellectual class. It lacked a cohesive ideological worldview and, in fact, [it] was difficult to pinpoint its stance on a variety of crucial issues due to the many political factions that it represented.

Naturally, the great majority of the Greek voters saw Syriza as being nothing more than a movement of political clowns, with Alexis Tsipras at its helm. However, a close look around Syriza’s core leadership would have revealed a group of people who were simply political opportunists, people hungry for power. To me, therefore, it was obvious that, in the event that Syriza came to power, two things would happen: first, a split between radicals and opportunists, and second, the capitulation of the opportunists (Alexis Tsipras and his gang) to the domestic economic elite and the euromasters. And this is precisely what has happened.

After five years of brutal austerity and the sharpest decline of the standard of living in any postwar European country, the Greek people voted into power Syriza, believing that its leader, Alexis Tsipras, would carry through with his pre-election promises of ending austerity and subsequently re-boosting the economy, tearing into pieces the EU/IMF bailout agreements, and forc[ing] the cancellation of a major portion of the debt. But shortly after coming to power, the opportunists realized that the option was either complete surrender to the capitalist forces or stepping down from power. They opted for the former, just so they could stay in power, even if it meant completing the carry out of the neoliberal agenda of the European Union and the IMF as part of the financial bailout of the country.

Syriza has been in power for nearly two years now, and, during this time, it has shoved the neoliberal agenda down the throat of the Greek people with more forcefulness and determination than any previous government. It agreed to a new, far more brutal and humiliating bailout plan, and is now overseeing the complete privatization of the economy and the further deterioration of the standard of living, thereby fulfilling the long-held view of the European neoliberal masters that Greek wages and the nation’s standard of living should not be above those found in nearby Balkan countries like Bulgaria and Romania. Any public official or government minister standing in the way to the implementation of the neoliberal agenda was either isolated or pushed out of the government. Indeed, one of Tsipras’ most pronounced traits as prime minister of Greece is the ease with which he is selling out his former comrades.

To secure his goals and aims, i.e., the sellout of the country, he even ended up recruiting as his lackeys academics from abroad, such as the president of the (allegedly progressive) Levy Institute, Dimitri Papadimitriou, and his wife, Rania Antonopoulos, who is currently serving as the Greek Alternate Minister for Combatting Unemployment. Shortly after having accepted the position of Minister of Economy and Development as a result of a recent cabinet reshuffle, Papadimitriou — when asked about his research as an economist in which he challenged the European dogmas of austerity and neoliberalism and advocated the introduction of a “parallel” currency for the deeply ailing Greek economy — replied by saying that, “until last week I was an academic, and academics may say … things. But when the time comes to implement a program, then they realize that some things may have been wrong!”

Of course, the Greek media had a feast over the amazing opportunism and the hypocrisy of this man, but his reaction has been rather typical among pseudo-progressives and social democrats all throughout modern history. Unsurprisingly, Papadimitriou also went on to say that Greeks, Spaniards and Italians live beyond their means, thereby displaying his obedience to the EU and IMF masters, and that one of the major comparative advantages that Greece now enjoys is that it is a country with “cheap labor.”

What has been happening in Greece may represent an extreme example because of the actual state of the economy, but it is quite representative of the state of politics of contemporary European Left. That is, a Left without political convictions and values, a Machiavellian Left that prefers to serve the Masters of Mankind than seek to reorganize society from below.

What is your explanation for the rise of Donald Trump, and do you actually see a future in “Trumpism”?

Understanding the phenomenon of Donald Trump demands that we look beyond the individual himself and, instead, into the way US society has evolved over the last few decades. Millions of Americans have seen their livelihoods either entirely collapse or be threatened by economic forces which they neither understand or control. For example, they (and Donald Trump) blame Mexico and China for the loss of American jobs, but no one is taking the trouble to point out to them that the bulk of the products that China, for example, exports to the United States are being produced by US or multinational corporations who opted to move their operations outside the US in order to take advantage of cheap labor opportunities. In the meantime, wages in the US have remained stagnant over the course of the last 25 years for the great majority of the population, while the economy has grown considerably. But the economic gains end up almost exclusively in the hands of a tiny corporate and financial elite, which also controls the political agenda.

“Trumpism” and disingenuous populism represent the future of American politics, especially since the economic policies that the Trump administration will implement will surely further deteriorate the state of inequality in this country and thus do nothing to ameliorate anger and anxiety about the future, which were the driving forces that sent so many people into Donald Trump’s arms.

Note: This interview has been condensed and edited for concision. Reprinted with permission from Truthout.

The 2016 Election Debacle: What Was the Message of the US Working Class?


By James Thompson

According to the website , here is how the popular vote shakes out:


Donald Trump

Republican Party








Hillary Clinton

Democratic Party







Gary Johnson

Libertarian Party







Jill Stein

Green Party






Other candidates  




What does this mean?

The US working class made strong statements in this election. However, few people got the messages.

For many years, the US working class has allied itself without question to the Democratic Party. This year, something different happened. Let’s cut the cards according to the issues, rather than the despicable, confusing bourgeois candidates.

  1. War with Russia

Donald Trump, Gary Johnson, and Jill Stein all opposed the Obama strategy of deepening the war on Syria. All the above candidates in one way or another opposed the risk of war with Russia over Syria. Only secretary Clinton advocated continuing the Obama policy of confrontation with Russia and Syria. 51% of voters in the US stated by their votes that they oppose war with Russia and continued efforts to depose President Assad of Syria. This means that 65,668,258 people voted for peace and 60,839,922 voted for continued war. It appears that peace has a mandate.

  1. Women’s rights

Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein all advocate for women’s rights. Donald Trump has made many disparaging comments regarding women which suggest he is a sexist misogynist. 52% of voters in the US stated by their votes that they favor women’s rights. This means that 66,215,322 people voted to support women’s rights. It appears that women’s rights has a mandate.

  1. Opposition to Donald Trump

52.7% of the population voted against Donald Trump in his bid to become POTUS. 67,039,872 people voted against Donald Trump. 60,265,858 people voted for Donald Trump. Clearly, Donald Trump does not have a mandate. 52.7% of the population oppose President-elect Donald Trump’s misogynist, racist, xenophobic, chauvinistic platform and policies.

  1. Climate change

Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein all recognize the serious issue of climate change facing the world. Only Donald Trump denies the importance of climate change. This means that 52% of voters in the US are mindful of the seriousness of global climate change. 66,215,322 voters recognize that climate change is a serious issue, whereas only 60,065,858 voters are oblivious to the devastating effects of climate change. Concern over climate change has a mandate.

  1. The US Electoral System Is Rigged

Donald Trump, Gary Johnson, and Jill Stein recognize that the US electoral system is rigged. Only Hillary Clinton maintains that the US electoral system is functioning properly. However, even Hillary Clinton seems to have some reservations about the intervention of the FBI in the outcome of the general election. Even discounting Ms. Clinton’s reservations, 51% of voters made a statement that the US electoral system is rigged. 65,668,258 voters agreed with Donald Trump that the US electoral system is rigged, whereas 60,839,922 were unclear about the fairness of the US electoral system. It is clear that voters recognize the unfairness of the US electoral system. The exposure of the rottenness of the electoral system is obvious and can never be retracted.

Although some pundits have pronounced that the US working class is dead politically, nothing seems further from the truth. The US working class has made strong statements for peace, women’s rights, opposition to fascism, support for efforts to reverse climate change, and support for real change in the US electoral system. Anyone listening?

Trump’s climate change denialism portends dark days, climate researchers say

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump © Jonathan Ernst
Although he has moved to protect his golf course from rising sea levels, President-elect Donald Trump has sung a denialist tune about global warming. Opting out of domestic and international climate change mitigation efforts look to be next.

Upon taking office, Trump is expected to declare the US will exit the Paris climate accord. The non-binding international pledge was agreed to in December and commits nations to ensuring the Earth’s warming remains under 2 degree Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), a level climate scientists believe is necessary to ward off the worst impact of catastrophic climate change. The pact includes efforts to further reduce warming and carbon emissions beyond the 2 degree Celsius mark. The agreement only went into effect last week.

Trump has repeatedly called global warming a “hoax” perpetuated by China. His America First Energy Plan includes promises to rescind the “job-destroying”Climate Action Plan, or Clean Power Plan, pledges to “save the coal industry,” and an exit from the Paris Climate Agreement, among a host of other plans to nix environmental regulations that restrict drilling or are “contrary to the national interest.” Trump’s plan does not mention that the Obama administration has overseen a historic boom in domestic oil production thanks in no small part to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, technologies.

Trump has also promised to stock his administration with a roster of climate change deniers and skeptics connected to fossil fuels who have long expressed contempt for clean energy or carbon reduction plans. Despite his rhetoric, Trump’s business interests have at least acknowledged that rising seas connected to global warming threaten his golf course in Scotland.

“A Trump presidency might be game over for the climate,” top climate researcher Michael Mann said, according to the Guardian. “It might make it impossible to stabilize planetary warming below dangerous levels.”

If the US, which emits the second-most greenhouse gases worldwide, exits the already-tenuous Paris agreement, expect other nations, especially top polluter China, to follow America’s lead, experts say.

“If Trump steps back from that, it makes it much less likely that the world will ever meet that target, and essentially ensures we will head into the danger zone,” Michael Oppenheimer, professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University and a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, told the New York Times.

John Sterman, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management and a senior adviser for the nonprofit Climate Interactive, told Live Science that, in the Paris accord, the US pledged to cut emissions of around 22 gigatons of carbon dioxide. The entire agreement for all nations targets a total of around 100 gigatons of carbon dioxide.

“Many nations may decide that if the United States won’t live up to its agreement, why should they?” Sterman said.

Inside the US, President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, instituted by the US Environmental Protection Agency, calls for states to cumulatively “cut carbon pollution from [power] plants by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030,” among a host of other initiatives to curb emissions. All of these programs are on the chopping block, according to Trump’s stated plans.

“Under my presidency, we will accomplish complete American energy independence,” Trump’s energy plan states. “Imagine a world in which our foes, and the oil cartels, can no longer use energy as a weapon. But President Obama has done everything he can to keep us dependent on others.”

Trump will work in tandem with a Republican-led Congress that has long fumed over any climate change mitigation actions directed by the Obama administration, even statements made by the Pentagon that global warming is a top threat to stability around the world.

In January 2015, upon the beginning of the current, 114th US Congress, 39 GOP senators, or 72 percent of the Republican majority, were considered climate change deniers, according to Mother Jones. Meanwhile, more than half of the Republican majority in the US House deny that humans have caused global climate change, ThinkProgress reported. In March, reported that the 182 climate change deniers in Congress have received more than $73 million from oil, gas, and coal companies during their political careers.

This year is on track to be the world’s hottest year on record, besting the previous two years.

Africa/Global: Climate Threat, Action Tracks

AfricaFocus Bulletin
November 10, 2016 (161110)
(Reposted from sources cited below)

Editor’s Note

“Africa is already burning. The election of Trump is a disaster for
our continent. The United States, if it follows through on its new
President’s rash words about withdrawing from the international
climate regime, will become a pariah state in global efforts for
climate action. This is a moment where the rest of the world must
not waver and must redouble commitments to tackle dangerous climate
change,”  Geoffrey Kamese, Friends of the Earth Africa.

For a version of this Bulletin in html format, more suitable for
printing, go to, and
click on “format for print or mobile.”

To share this on Facebook, click on

[This version of this AfricaFocus Bulletin sent out by email contains
only brief excerpts from each article. For more extensive excerpts,
read on-line at; for
full articles go to the link cited in each case.]

There is no doubt that the election of Donald Trump poses an extreme
threat to action on climate change, as on a host of other
interconnected issues. But, in this case, as in many others, it is
important to remember that a U.S. president, no matter how powerful,
is only one of the forces affecting the outcomes.

Yes, this is a major setback, but the threat did not begin with
Trump and the struggles to combat it must and will continue – on
multiple fronts. While no one organization or movement can fight on
all fronts, those forces fighting for justice and for a future for
our planet must have a vision of a wider background than one U.S.
presidential election.

The context is not only the United States, but the world. And the
arenas are not only political (at multiple levels of government, and
even within the executive branch of the federal government itself),
but also technical, economic, and activist (from divestment to
protest sites such as the Dakota Pipeline). No one organization or
even movement can be on all fronts at once, but together we must
find ways to strategies embedded in a wider vision rather than
engage in fruitless debates about which action track is the “most

This AfricaFocus Bulletin consists of excerpts from a selection of
statements and articles illustrating the multiple tracks on which
action to combat the threat of global warming can and must take
place, globally, in Africa, and in the United States.

* The first two statements are reactions from climate activists to
the additional threat posed by the election of Donald Trump.

* The third highlights the continuing technical and economic success
of cheap off-grid and mini-grid solar in Africa, which is now
estimated to be reaching 10% of the 600,000 Africans living off
national  electricity grids.

* The next provides a summary of both the necessity and the economic
and technical viability of a comprehensive transition away from
fossil fuels, from Oil Change International and a coalition of
related organizations.

* The fifth is an open letter from climate activist groups to the
Equator Principles Association of banks committed to social
responsibility principles, calling for withdrawal of support for the
Dakota Access Pipeline.

* The sixth is an update from the International Energy Agency,
revising upwards its projections for growth of renewable energy

* And the last is a report from South Africa’s Council for
Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) noting that “new power
from solar PV and wind today is at least 40% cheaper than that from
new baseload coal today.”

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on the environment and climate
issues, visit

Other background articles worth noting:

“There’s no way around it: Donald Trump is going to be a disaster
for the planet,” Vox, Nov 9, 2016

“10 Ways You Can Help the Standing Rock Sioux Fight the Dakota
Access Pipeline”

25 Snapshots from the Stillwater Pow Wow

++++++++++++++++++++++end editor’s note+++++++++++++++++

“Deep breaths. Now let’s plan the fight ahead,”, Nov 9, 2016

[Excerpts: full text at]

Here’s what I’m keeping in mind right now:

* This is a global movement. It’s more important than ever to
remember our connection with people in literally every country who
are fighting the fossil fuel industry right now — many in the
toughest conditions imaginable. I believe in our collective power
like nothing else.

* The fossil fuel industry is in a fight for its life. When we
expose their lies, stop their pipelines, divest from their stocks
and take away their social license — they fight back. Their
investment in this election was no secret, and they’re going to
double-down in its aftermath.

* Local fossil fuel resistance is taking root everywhere. Not only
has the fight against the Dakota Access pipeline spread like
wildfire, but other campaigns against fracking, pipelines, and coal
are too many to name. None of us are giving up or going home today.


Global Community Must Unite Against Trump to Avoid Climate

Friends of the Earth International

Joint Press release

9 November 2016

As news of Donald Trump’s victory in the US Presidential Election
reached Marrakech, climate justice groups gathered at the COP22
United Nations annual climate change talks reacted:

“Whilst the election of a climate denier into the White House sends
the wrong signal globally. The grassroots movements for climate
justice – Native American communities, people of color, working
people – those that are at this moment defending water rights in
Dakota, ending fossil fuel pollution, divesting from the fossil fuel
industry, standing with communities who are losing their homes and
livelihoods from extreme weather devastation to creating a renewable
energy transformation – are the real beating heart of the movement
for change. We will redouble our efforts, grow stronger and remain
committed to stand with those on the frontline of climate injustice
at home and abroad.. In the absence of leadership from our
government, the international community must come together redouble
their effort to prevent climate disaster,” said Jesse Bragg, from
Boston-based Corporate Accountability International.

“For communities in the global south, the U.S. citizens’ choice to
elect Donald Trump seems like a death sentence. Already we are
suffering the effects of climate change after years of inaction by
rich countries like the U.S., and with an unhinged climate change
denier now in the White House, the relatively small progress made is
under threat. The international community must not allow itself to
be dragged into a race to the bottom. Other developed countries like
Europe, Canada, Australia, and Japan must increase their pledges for
pollution cuts and increase their financial support for our
communities,” said Wilfred D’Costa from the Asian Peoples’ Movement
on Debt and Development.

[continued on-line]


As prices plunge, Africa surges into clean, cheap solar energy

Maina Waruru

Mail and Guardian, 12 Oct 2016

Solar systems in Africa can now provide electricity for many
households for as little as $56 a year.

Last August Kenya won $36 million in support from France to put in
place 23 mini-grid systems in northern Kenya that will use solar
panels, wind or a combination of the two. (Bloomberg) Last August
Kenya won $36 million in support from France to put in place 23
mini-grid systems in northern Kenya that will use solar panels, wind
or a combination of the two. (Bloomberg) Until almost two years ago,
James Mbugua, a farmer living in Karai, a village on the outskirts
of Kenya’s capital, relied on kerosene to light his house, and a car
battery to power his television so he wouldn’t miss the news.

Part of the reason he couldn’t plug into the power grid, despite
being so close to Nairobi and in an area where electricity is
readily available, is that he lives on government land as a
squatter, with no papers to show he owns the 70-foot by 80-foot
parcel where he has put up a makeshift house.

Now, however, he has found an alternative: An affordable solar
system to power his home.

“I could not go on like that and had to seek an alternative way of
lighting my house and I discovered that with only $150 I could use
solar to light my house and power the television plus radio,” he
told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The money for the purchase, he said, came from a loan from his
community savings group, which asks members to contribute $5 a month
and then offers loans from that pot of cash.

The father of five grown children is one of the millions of people
across Africa who are taking advantage of falling prices of home
solar panel systems to get cheaper, cleaner and more reliable

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), home
solar systems in Africa can now provide electricity for many
households for as little as $56 a year – a cost lower than getting
energy from diesel or paraffin.

Of the estimated 600 million people living off-grid in Africa, about
10 percent of them are now using off-grid clean energy to light
their homes, according to IRENA statistics.

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The Sky’s Limit: Why the Paris Climate Goals Require a Managed
Decline of Fossil Fuel Production

Greg Muttitt, September 22, 2016

Oil Change International, in collaboration with, Amazon
Watch, APMDD, AYCC, Bold Alliance, Christian Aid, Earthworks,
Équiterre, Global Catholic Climate Movement, HOMEF, Indigenous
Environmental Network, IndyAct, Rainforest Action Network, and

September 2016

Press Release

A new study released by Oil Change International, in partnership
with 14 organizations from around the world, scientifically grounds
the growing movement to keep carbon in the ground by revealing the
need to stop all new fossil fuel infrastructure and industry
expansion. It focuses on the potential carbon emissions from
developed reserves – where the wells are already drilled, the pits
dug, and the pipelines, processing facilities, railways, and export
terminals constructed.

Key Findings:

The potential carbon emissions from the oil, gas, and coal in the
world’s currently operating fields and mines would take us beyond
2deg C of warming.

The reserves in currently operating oil and gas fields alone, even
with no coal, would take the world beyond 1.5°C.

With the necessary decline in production over the coming decades to
meet climate goals, clean energy can be scaled up at a corresponding
pace, expanding the total number of energy jobs.

Key Recommendations:

No new fossil fuel extraction or transportation infrastructure
should be built, and governments should grant no new permits for

Some fields and mines – primarily in rich countries – should be
closed before fully exploiting their resources, and financial
support should be provided for non-carbon development in poorer

This does not mean stopping using all fossil fuels overnight.
Governments and companies should conduct a managed decline of the
fossil fuel industry and ensure a just transition for the workers
and communities that depend on it.

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An open letter to the Equator Principles Association

Civil society groups call for stronger climate commitments in EPs
and a halt to financing the Dakota Access Pipeline

By: BankTrack,Friends of the Earth US,others & RAN

For full version, including signatories and references, visit – Direct URL:

Nov 7 2016

[For contact on this letter:]   To:  Mr. Nigel
Beck, Standard Bank, Chair of the Equator Principles Association,
All Equator Principles Financial institutions (EPFIs)

Concerning:  Equator Principles climate commitments, and EPFI
financing of the Dakota Access Pipeline, for discussion at your
Annual Meeting and Workshop in London

Dear Mr. Beck,

The undersigned organizations are writing to you, as Chair of the
Equator Principles Association, to urge the Association at its
upcoming Annual Meeting in London to address two distinct and
important issues:

* Equator Principles Financial Institutions (EPFIs) must take long
overdue, concrete steps to strengthen their climate commitments.

* Our deep concern about the involvement of a substantial number of
EPFIs in the financing of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL).

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IEA raises its five-year renewable growth forecast as 2015 marks
record year (Paris)

International Energy Agency 25 October 2016 – Direct URL:

The International Energy Agency said today that it was significantly
increasing its five-year growth forecast for renewables thanks to
strong policy support in key countries and sharp cost reductions.
Renewables have surpassed coal last year to become the largest
source of installed power capacity in the world.

The latest edition of the IEA’s Medium-Term Renewable Market Report
now sees renewables growing 13% more between 2015 and 2021 than it
did in last year’s forecast, due mostly to stronger policy backing
in the United States, China, India and Mexico. Over the forecast
period, costs are expected to drop by a quarter in solar PV and 15
percent for onshore wind.

Last year marked a turning point for renewables. Led by wind and
solar, renewables represented more than half the new power capacity
around the world, reaching a record 153 Gigawatt (GW), 15% more than
the previous year. Most of these gains were driven by record-level
wind additions of 66 GW and solar PV additions of 49 GW.

About half a million solar panels were installed every day around
the world last year. In China, which accounted for about half the
wind additions and 40% of all renewable capacity increases, two wind
turbines were installed every hour in 2015.

“We are witnessing a transformation of global power markets led by
renewables and, as is the case with other fields, the center of
gravity for renewable growth is moving to emerging markets,” said Dr
Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director.

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Comparative Analysis: The cost of new power generation in South

Chris Yelland

Daily Maverick, 9 November 2016

In a presentation dated October 14, 2016, the head of CSIR’s Energy
Centre, Dr Tobias Bischof-Niemz, and Ruan Fourie, energy economist
at CSIR’s Energy Centre, provide a comparative analysis for new
power in South Africa based on recent coal IPP bid price
announcements by Minister of Energy Tina Joemat-Pettersson on
October 10, 2016, and other data.

This study is seen as important for any review of the draft update
to the Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity (Draft IRP)
currently in progress by the Department of Energy (DoE).

The Draft IRP was to have been presented to the Cabinet last week,
and thereafter made available to the public for comment, but this
has since been delayed, with no further dates being given.

Since the previous due date of end March 2016, the request for
proposals (RFP) for the proposed 9.6 GW new nuclear build in South
Africa has also been further delayed from the revised issue date of
end September 2016.

However, it is known that in the meantime various stakeholder
structures reporting to the Minister of Energy are currently
reviewing the Draft IRP and its proposals for new renewable,
baseload coal and nuclear power, and making further input and

The CSIR study shows the significant reduction in the cost of energy
from wind and solar PV generation technologies in South Africa since
submission of bids for Window 1 of the renewable energy IPP
programme (REIPPP) on November 4, 2011, to those of the expedited
round of Window 4 on November 4, 2015.

The result of this reduction is that new power from solar PV and
wind today is at least 40% cheaper than that from new baseload coal

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