In the second issue of Energy Justice Now, we explore connections between the various types of dirty energy many of you are fighting and the need for better solidarity within our movement and between our issues. Too many great grassroots activists have been so focused on their issue that they end up promoting other dirty technologies as solutions, like anti-coal activists promoting natural gas, or anti-fracking activists promoting biomass.
We're excited by studies showing we can meet our energy needs without nuclear power or any combustion technologies (fossil fuels or biomass/waste incineration). One such study shows that by 2030 our electricity needs can be met solely with wind, solar and energy storage, with 99.9% reliability and affordably (no government subsidies). It's about time that we show with confidence that no dirty energy sources are needed. The solutions are ready to go now--no "transition fuels" are needed.
Energy Justice Now
will provide critical reporting on the entire spectrum of the dirty
energy resistance, highlighting the voices of community organizers
battling fossil fuels, nuclear power, and biomass and waste incineration
from sea to shining sea. We are accepting submissions at Josh [@]
Solidarity Needed Between Coal, Gas, Incinerator Fighters
- by Mike Ewall, Energy Justice Network
Most progress in stopping polluting energy and waste industries is accomplished by grassroots activism, stopping one project at a time. Many assume that grassroots groups are "NIMBY" types just pushing polluters from one community to another. However, 50% to 95% of each wave of industrial development in recent decades has been blocked, be it coal, gas or nuclear power plants, biomass or waste incinerators, landfills or related industries. Most groups quickly move from NIMBY to "Not in Anyone's Backyard" (NIABY) mindsets once they see the bigger picture and get networked with similarly-targeted communities.
We need to step up the solidarity in the face of new trends, however. We're seeing coal use declining, but rising record levels of natural gas use, and stronger-than-ever push for waste and biomass incineration as a climate solution. We're even seeing this in the Obama Administration's CO2 and waste deregulation rules, which threaten to do more harm than good as coal power plants are encouraged to switch to these false solutions.
It's now fairly well documented that natural gas is worse than coal for the climate, due to leakage throughout the system and the fact that methane is now known to be 86 to 105 worse than CO2 over a 20-year time-frame. It's also now well-documented that trash incineration is 2.5 times as bad as coal for the climate, and that biomass incineration is 50% worse -- and that these are not "carbon neutral" as claimed. It's also a fact that trash incineration is far worse than coal by every other measure of pollution.
The Ten Commandments of Movement Solidarity
- by Josh Schlossberg, Energy Justice Network
After a decade of grassroots advocacy, my personal belief is that the greatest obstacle to positive change in the world isn’t corporations, the government, or the 1%, but lack of movement solidarity.
And no, I’m not pretending to be some modern day Moses bringing the divine truths down from the mountain. I’m just someone who has participated in the entire spectrum of the environmental movement, from mainstream to “radical,” on both coasts, who has witnessed a lot of unnecessary failures over the years, in large part because people can’t figure out how to work together.
Since my work these days focuses on the health and environmental impacts of dirty energy — nuclear, fossil fuels, and biomass/trash incineration — most of the specific examples I give in this article will come from that realm. However, chances are the “Ten Commandments of Solidarity” can also apply to your movement, whatever it is…unless it’s evil. In which case, it won’t, so don’t bother.
Now, I’ll admit that limiting this list to just ten points is arbitrary, so if you’ve got other “commandments,” please post them in the comments, where I’ll ignore them…Just kidding, I’ll read and carefully consider them, because that’s what solidarity looks like.
Cowardly Climate Report Urges Business as Usual
- by Shannon Wilson, Eco Advocates Northwest
The National Climate Assessment Report released by the Obama administration in May revealed some harsh truths about the climate chaos our species is facing. However, a studious reading of the report will show that it merely provides cover for business as usual, green-washes the Democratic Party, and promotes destructive solutions such as turning our remaining natural forests on public lands into bio-energy feed lots for industry.
The Obama Climate Assessment asserts that current worldwide emissions of 34 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year can be allowed to peak at 44 billion tons by 2045. This is counterintuitive — and many scientists might say it’s outright insane, based on the information that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other scientists reveal in peer-reviewed research from around the world.
The Climate Assessment notes that 50 percent of the CO2 released takes up to 100 years to be cycled out of our atmosphere, and the remaining 50 percent can take upwards of 1,000 years. Based on that fact alone, emissions must be reduced from the current 34 billion tons starting today if we expect the biosphere to continue to sustain humans over the next 50 years.
It seems that the Obama administration and the Democratic Party expect endorsements from national environmental organizations for merely admitting that global climate chaos is occurring. However, the report makes it clear the administration and Democratic Party have little or no intention to implement tangible plans to actually reduce emissions.
Mike Ewall, Josh Schlossberg, and Samantha Chirillo
Editors, Energy Justice Now
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Logo by Alex Zahradnik Design
Energy Justice Summer
This summer, SustainUS and Energy Justice Network are launching a joint project called Energy Justice Summer to work in solidarity communities directly impacted by fracking in Pennsylvania.
By supporting and joining our campaign, you will help stop fracking and bring about a more just energy future. From the frontlines of fracking in Pennsylvania to the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, people are suffering because of continued fossil fuel extraction. We need to show that fracking is unacceptable and that young people will stand in solidarity with the communities most impacted.
Sign up here for Energy Justice Summer to tell us more about you and get notifications of our events and actions as they are announced!
Justice Map (JusticeMap.org)
Energy Justice Network is committed to environ-mental justice for people of color and the working class. To this end, we've developed a high resolution map of race and income in the US.
You can use this tool to demonstrate proximity to dirty energy facilities and to organize in your community.
Unlike most online maps, this one can be saved as an image. You customize the map to show the area and layers that you want, then click "Save as Image," which opens an image in a new browser window. You can save this image to your PC by right-clicking or hitting "Control" and clicking on a Mac.
Try out advanced mode and drawing tools to show demographics within certain distances of a facility, or to mark a facility on the map, save it to share a short link to your custom map.
Questions and comments: Aaron@energyjustice.net
Learn about dirty energy impacts and the alternatives through our factsheets:
Clean Energy Solutions
Energy and Environmental Justice
Woody Biomass Incineration
"Clean Coal" Power Plants
Natural Gas & Fracking
Energy Justice Network Email Lists
Energy Justice Network hosts seven different email lists
each focused on opposing a particular form of dirty energy, from
Nuclear, to Natural Gas, to Coal, to Biomass/Waste Incineration, to
Ethanol, to Tire Burning, to Power Lines.
To sign up for any (or all) of the lists, send an email to
Niaby @ energyjustice [dot] net, specifying in the email subject
which list you’d like to join and we’ll be in touch!