350 Updates

Nobody expected this from Obama's climate speech.


President Obama just finished his first major climate speech to the country -- and he said things that NOBODY expected.

In his speech, the President drew a line in the sand on the Keystone XL pipeline: if it significantly increases climate pollution, he won’t approve it. And in a move that made me jump for joy, he gave a shout-out to the growing fossil fuel divestment movement.

The other policies he laid out were, for the most part, steps in the right direction. Ending the ability of power plants to emit unlimited carbon pollution, investing in clean energy, preparing for climate impacts, and and reengagement in the international climate process -- these are all huge victories for the climate movement.

This was only possible because of the movement that we’ve all worked together to create. Our fossil fuel divestment campaign has caught fire. In February, we worked with our allies to hold the largest climate rally in US history to tell the President to move Forward on Climate -- and now he really is.

Right now is a critical time for us to up the ante -- we're aiming to raise over $100,000 in the next 24 hours to expand our campaign to stop Keystone XL and spark a huge push for bold climate action. Click here to chip in: www.350.org/game-on

One thing is clear after the President's speech: our fight just got bumped up to a whole new level. The fossil fuel industry is already taking to the airwaves to attack the President’s climate plan -- and they’re going to fight even harder for the Keystone pipeline.

The President said that the pipeline could only be approved if the project doesn’t "significantly exacerbate the climate problem." We all know that Keystone would do exactly that, and the nation’s top climate scientists are unanimous in describing the pipeline as a major threat to our planet. But we don’t want to celebrate prematurely -- the President did leave himself some wiggle room to approve Keystone. The State Department hired big oil contractors to write their report on the pipeline, and they said it wouldn't 'significantly' increase emissions. Their arguments have been picked apart by journalists, scientists, even the Environmental Protection Agency -- but there’s still a chance the administration could hide behind this weak analysis.

In the coming days and weeks, we’ll put your donation to work. We’ll expand our efforts to make sure Keystone protests greet the President at all his public events, work with allies like CREDO Action on the KXL “Pledge of Resistance,” and continue to wage an online, media, and grassroots campaign against the project.

The speech wasn’t without its missteps. The President announced loan guarantees for so-called “advanced” fossil fuel projects, and gave shout-outs to natural gas from fracking. On the whole, the plans he laid out weren’t nearly ambitious enough. The truth is, the President alone can’t deliver the type of real climate action we need, like putting a price on carbon. Keystone XL, fossil fuel divestment, and our other campaigns are building a grassroots movement to end Big Oil's stranglehold on Washington -- and now is the time to ramp them up. Click here to support a bold grassroots climate movement. 

I'm writing this letter from Istanbul, where our team is here with 500 youth climate activists from all over the world for Global Power Shift -- the first ever convergence of its kind. We watched the speech huddled around laptops and jumped up and down when we heard the parts about Keystone and divesting.

350.org started in 2008, while President Obama was still just a candidate -- and we all hoped that one day he might be a political leader who would rise to the climate challenge. Today that challenge is more urgent than ever, our movement is stronger than ever, and the President's speech has given us a new glimmer of hope. Game on.


May for the whole team at 350.org


Welcome to Global Power Shift!

It’s here! Over the past 24 hours, nearly 500 young people from 130 countries around the world have descended on Istanbul for Global Power Shift, a week long conference to help build a global climate movement.
This evening, a few of the global facilitators who will be leading sessions here at Global Power Shift welcomed participants to the summit during a raucous evening plenary. The welcomes were an introduction to Global Power Shift, but also a way of setting the tone and nature of the summit.
Navina Khanna, an Indian-American organizer and activist who is helping facilitate at Global Power Shift told a story about her split national identity and welcomed, “Everyone who has a strong cultural identity and everyone who doesn’t.”
Sotheary Sao, a Global Power Shift trainer from Cambodia, got big, knowing applause from the crowd when she said, “I would like to welcome everyone who had quite big problems with visas to get here.” Many Global Power Shift had to wait for weeks to get visas to come to Turkey, often traveling many hours back and forth to a capitol city to process their paperwork.
“What’s most important is that we all get to inspire each other based on our stories, and each of us has an authentic story to tell,” said Nanjira Sambuli, a facilitator from Kenya who will be leading workshops throughout the summit. Storytelling and communication are a big focus of Global Power Shift, from how to give a public speech to writing a compelling email.
Joao Scarpelini, one of the lead coordinators of Global Power Shift from Brazil, said to big cheers, “I want to welcome everyone that believes in the power of young people.” Participants at Global Power Shift range from teenagers to people in their forties, but all share the energy, ambition, and daring of youth.
The Turkish hosts of Global Power Shift also welcomed participants to the summit. “We are here to stand against more than 50 coal fired power plants,” said Mahir Ilgiz, the lead Turkish organizer for Global Power Shift. “Let’s start shifting power here in Turkey.”
Tomorrow morning, participants will hear from some of the lead organizers behind the Gezi Park and Taksim Square demonstrations that have rocked Turkey for the last few weeks. On Friday, participants will take part in a march to protest new coal plants in Turkey, part of a global day of events led by Greenpeace International.


Huge Movement in Australia Right Now

In the wake of Bill McKibben's Do the Maths tour of Australia, the movement is moving so fast it's hard to keep up with. Here's an update from one of our team on the ground there, Georgia Bamber.

After an amazing tour in Australia by 350 founder, Bill McKibben, 350 Australia has hit the ground running.  We are so excited about our new divestment campaigns and the opportunities we have to make a real difference in Australia towards mitigating the impacts of climate change.

We now have 7 hubs operating across Australia in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth, Hobart and Byron Bay.  Each is a hive of climate activity with post tour meetings being held, ongoing volunteer recruitment and the initial planning phases of our divestment campaigns underway.  If you are interested in joining one of these groups we would love to hear from you (just email us at australia@350.org).  The more the merrier!

On the divestment front things are already getting exciting.  Three city councils/local governments have already signaled their interest in divesting.  Our message is clearly getting out there and we are not the only ones talking about the carbon bubble.  Australia’s Climate Commission released a report earlier this week agreeing that 80% of fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground if we are to avoid disastrous and catastrophic climate change.   Of course the coal industry could not let this pass and were quick to jump in to debunk the report but despite herself, Nikki Williams only seemed to strengthen the argument for the ‘carbon bubble’.  If you want to have a listen to what she has to say check it out here.

Next week is going to be a big week, with the international day of action against coal planned for 29 June.  Events are being held all around the world to demonstrate the strength of the global movement calling for an end to coal.   If you would like to lend your support check out this website and help end the age of coal. Here in Australia we are joining with our friends from Market Forces and will be releasing an open letter to the big 4 banks, ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac letting them know that it is no longer OK to continue to fund the climate destroying coal industry.   We will keep you posted of developments but in the meantime if you bank with one of the big 4 in Australia, put them on notice and let them know where you stand.

Over the next few months we will be running divestment training courses, divestment forums in each of the major cities and ramping up our campaigns.  There is a lot of work to be done but we are energised and ready to fight.

To follow 350.org Australia on Facebook, click here and then hit 'LIKE' and on Twitter click here to follow @350Australia

To check out how you can join the campaign from Australia, visit gofossilfree.org/australia


"As temperatures rise, so do we."

We just sent out this email to our friends in the USA. Not on our email list yet? Sign up here to receive crucial updates from the climate movement. 


As we head into the thick of summer, things are heating up, and I'm not talking about the weather.

For the past month, we've been working with organizers and activists all over the country on organizing mobilizations to bring the heat to the fossil fuel industry, starting in late July. Here's just some of what's in store:

Folks in Ohio are gearing up to address the fracking industry with power in numbers, Nebraska and Houston are ramping up local campaigns to show that community power can stop the Keystone XL pipeline, Utah is bustling around plans to stop the first US tar sands development, and Massachusetts activists are organizing to shut down Brayton Point Coal Plant, the largest fossil fuel plant between Maryland and Maine.

And here's more exciting news: in the past few weeks, we've been working in close partnership with organizers to put even more actions on the map.

In Richmond, California we're supporting local community groups hosting a Festival of Resistance against Chevron's Bay Area refinery on August 3rd. Thousands of people from across the region will challenge Chevron for their support of tar sands development, the impacts their dirty refinery has on the surrounding residents, and their poor safety standards that caused a massive fire last year.

And in Portland, Oregon on July 27th we're supporting a regional mobilization on the Columbia River to keep fossil fuel exports out of the Pacific Northwest. (boaters are encouraged, but we need you on the shore as well!)

This is a going to be a big summer because we're a big movement. Thousands of people have already signed up to join these actions -- click here to be a part of an epic summer of action: joinsummerheat.org/map

In solidarity,

Rae and the Summer Heat Team


Climate Change and Public Health: Free course on NextGenU!

Our team at 350.org had the honor of playing a very small part in developing a vitally important new course being offerred for free online at NextGenU. Here's the quick blurb from the course page on the NextGenU website:

This Climate Change and Health Certificate teaches about the effects of climate change on human health (through online didactics), and gives a chance to practice techniques to reduce those effects (with globally-available peers and mentors). All components of this training (like all NextGenU.org trainings) are free, including registration, learning, testing, and a certificate of completion.

The climate crisis touches all aspects of our lives -- and understanding how it intersects with human health is, quite literally, a vital matter. If you're interested in diving deeper, head on over to NextGenU and sign up!


Palo Alto stands up to Keystone XL (Again!)

This post was written by Lisa Altieri, an organizer with 350 Silicon Valley

On June 6th over 400 people, local residents and activists from all over the San Francisco Bay Area protested in Palo Alto to tell President Obama – STOP the Keystone XL Pipeline as he was attending a fundraising event for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee at a private home in Palo Alto.  Many protesters were supporters of the President including some who worked on his campaign.  We were there to make sure he knows we are counting on him to keep his promises on climate and clean energy and protect our planet for future generations.

One of the biggest challenges we face on climate is the timeline on impacts – people can and do make change on a large scale in the face of a crisis.  We have seen this in history where societies mobilize and take action in the face of adversity.  But with climate, the crisis will come long after we have emitted the CO2 – the reality is there is a time lag between when we emit CO2 and when the impacts occur.  The intense storms, fires and droughts we are experiencing here in the US and globally are the results of emissions 40-50 years ago due primarily to the time it takes the oceans to warm.

Since the full effects of our emission will not be immediately visible to spur action, we need to be vocal – we need to speak for the planet loudly and often until it is clear we MUST act and we MUST act NOW.  And above all we need to make sure that we provide people a vision of where we are going – not only can we do this, but where we are headed, the solutions, will create a far better world than we have now.  Done right, the solution will not destroy our economy, but create jobs, provide cleaner air and a much safer planet.  On June 6th, we were one voice as part of the many voices around the world, we spoke for the planet and we spoke LOUD!

The best part of the event for me was the great coalition on climate we are building here.  350, 350 Silicon Valley and all our 350 local groups in the Bay Area are working to build coalitions with other local and national groups to work together to make our voices heard.  The event in Palo Alto was organized by a coalition including the Sierra Club, CREDO Action, the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth.  It is through these coalitions, coming together and working together that we will be stronger – we will be louder and we will really make and impact.  It was wonderful working with everyone on the event and I look forward to building and growing our coalition and our local climate movement.

We’re following up this great event with a meetup to talk about next steps (over margaritas!) Here is the info and where to go to sign up:

What: 350 Silicon Valley Meeting & Margaritas

When: Tuesday, June 25th 7 pm, Palo Alto

Join us for Margaritas and learn about our new 350 Silicon Valley Group!  If you already know about us, join us anyway and meet some other members!  We will talk about our local campaigns and how you can get involved and take action on climate change.  And of course enjoy some Margaritas...  Hope you can make it!



16 US Cities at risk of climate-fueled storm surges

Those of us who live in low-lying places like Dhaka, New York City or Dresden know what a storm surge looks like: subways flooding, houses washed away, people left homeless, and disrupted lives and livelihoods. Hurricane Sandy alone, fueled by Atlantic Ocean waters that were 5 degrees warmer than normal, cause over $60 billion in destruction, and left tens of thousands homeless. A new report from  CoreLogic details how 16 cities on the East and Gulf coasts of the US might fare with sea-level rise and climate-fueled storm surges. The numbers are staggering. All told, 4.2 million homes are at risk of storm surges in these areas, which represents about $1.1 trillion of property. The likelihood of these kinds of dangerous and costly surges is intensified by sea-level rise, as represented by the blue maps. For those that say the costs of transitioning to clean energy are too onerous, these maps and the background data help paint a picture of the costs of inaction.  You can pick up a copy of the CoreLogic report here.


"To My Foreigner's Eye"

I've seen Bill McKibben speak quite a few times, but today was something special. Speaking at the National Press Club, in Canberra, Australia, Bill delivered what a friend who was also listening called a "flawless" speech. It was something special that is for sure. Here it is in full. Tomorrow we are off to Melbourne and to another packed out theatre of 800+ people. You can follow our progress on Twitter: @350Australia #DotheMaths and on Facebook here.

Speech to the National Press Club, Canberra, Author and co-founder of 350.org, Bill McKibben

To my foreigner’s eye, there is a profound and interesting disconnection between the way that Australians view their fossil fuel resources, and the way that physics views those same deposits. This disconnection spells bad news for the planet, and perhaps also for the Australian economy, as it seems likely to lead to a series of bets that go disastrously wrong. My hope is that Australia might gain a more clear-eyed view of the future, seeing it more through the eyes of physics as it were, in hopes of charting a sounder course. A course that would, inevitably, require keeping most identified coal, gas and oil deposits safely underground.

Australia has vast fossil fuel deposits, some of the largest known on the planet; the most important are probably the coal beds. To Australians, and especially to the very wealthy men and women who own those holdings, these are the source of future wealth—enough wealth to allow you to build a whole fleet of replica Titanics, say. And so the plans are on for the rapid expansion of mine, rail, and port necessary to dig that coal and send it abroad to be burned.