Open thread for night owls: 100% renewable energy will give us a chance for eco-justice and equity

Open thread for night owls: 100% renewable energy will give us a chance for eco-justice and equity

Jamie Henn is co-founder and Director of Strategic Communications for the international climate campaign 350.org. At CommonDreams, he writes—Fossil Free Fast: A Climate Resistance Game Plan for 2018

[T]here’s an Achilles heel to Trump and his cronies’ plan to smother the nation with pipelines and smog, because no matter the actions they take in Washington, D.C., these fossil fuel projects need to get built in towns, cities and counties across America. Trump can crow all he wants about coal, oil and gas, but ultimately, it’s not his little hands doing the construction. Even with the full backing of the White House, the only way a fossil fuel project moves forward is if it can secure all the necessary permits and local support. That can be tough for new mines and it’s especially difficult for major pipelines, which often run through multiple states and dozens of towns and counties along their proposed routes.

Which brings us to the first way that we’re going to fight back in 2018: organizing in our communities to stop all new fossil fuel projects.

Right now there isn’t a project in North America that doesn’t face some form of community resistance. From British Columbia to Pennsylvania, local groups are building alliances to resist any new project the industry throws our way. By working together, we can hold back fossil fuel projects long enough so that renewables take over and the economic case for building these pipelines and mines disappears. We’re not going to win every fight, but so far, the resistance is working and even the most inevitable seeming projects are now facing stiff opposition. [...]

That’s job number one: stop all new fossil fuel projects. But playing defense isn’t enough, we also want to go on offense to build the world that works for all of us, not just a wealthy few. Which brings us to job number two.

The second way we’re going to fight back in 2018 is driving forward a fast and just transition to 100% renewable energy for all.

Together, we’re going to use 2018 to build a groundswell for 100% renewable energy in cities and towns across America. By the end of the year, our goal is to have won at least 100 commitments from communities to go to 100% renewable energy in a just and equitable way. More than that, we want to show the inevitability of the entire country moving in this direction. That means a lot of public education to show people this world is possible, and a lot of political pressure to make sure that every candidate for elected office has signed onto our goal of 100% for all.

For many climate advocates, the 100% piece will seem clear.  Over the last decade, advances in renewable energy technology have made it possible to get all of our power from the sun, wind and water. New breakthroughs in battery storage mean that old concerns about the “reliability” of renewables are quickly fading away. The vision of a carbon-free world is quickly coming into focus.

But what about the justice and equity piece? We know that our current fossil fuel-based energy system, and all the pollution that comes with it, didn’t just get built on a whim. It was enabled by and has perpetuated deep social inequality. While predominantly white, affluent communities can flip on the light switch and still enjoy clean air and water, poorer communities of color are often stuck with a power plant or oil refinery polluting their neighborhoods and threatening their children’s health. Meanwhile, because of corporate monopolies and a lack of worker protections, the vast wealth being created by the fossil fuel economy has flowed in one direction: upwards. As fossil fuel billionaires have pocketed ever more profits, workers and entire communities have been left behind. Climate change just exacerbates these pre-existing inequalities. The same communities who have born the brunt of our pollution based economy are often on the front-lines of climate impacts.

With the transition to 100% renewable energy, we have perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity to rebuild our economy in a more just and equitable way. Through public investments, we can guarantee that it’s not just the rich who can afford to put up solar panels, but those who live in public housing or rental units who are first in line for retrofits and upgrades. 

“Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism as I understand it.”
George Orwell, Why I write (1946)

On this date at Daily Kos in 2011—Texas governor declares fast-track emergency for abortion restrictions:

Remember how Texas is having such a huge budget crisis that the Legislature has been forced to slash funding for one of its favorite pet projects, crisis pregnancy centers?

Well, apparently, the budget crisis is over because Gov. Rick Perry is insisting that the Legislature focus its attention on the most important issue ever:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has suggested to pro life activists that a bill in the Texas Legislature requiring women seeking abortions to have a sonogram taken of their fetus will be placed on the emergency fast track for passage.
That's right -- passing even greater restrictions on women's access to reproductive health care is an emergency in Texas, budget be damned. Not to mention that this legislation, if it passes, will inevitably lead to litigation, as it has in pretty much every other state where similar laws have been enacted. Nothing like a costly lawsuit to really help out with the state's budget crisis, huh, Governor? This is the same Gov. Perry who, less than two years ago, declared that Texas might have to secede from the union because "the federal government has become oppressive. I believe it’s become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of its citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state."

On show Kagro in the Morning today’s: Wow! What a day! Trump toddles off to Davos and leaves us to learn, seven months after the fact, that he tried to fire Mueller. Dutch intelligence service says it literally saw Cozy Bear hack the State Department and the DNC. No collusion! You're the puppet!