Will the end of net neutrality make climate activism harder? Perhaps- groups like 350 have used the open internet to organize globally. Since the tax bill in Congress is so bad for renewables, last Tuesday’s election of Doug Jones might have real consequences for climate if he can be seated soon. Listen in as we discuss.

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The tax proposal before Congress will be damaging to the clean energy industry. Listen in and then call your Member of Congress.

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Wildfires destroy parts of California, while the 45th president destroys a national monument. Listen in as we discuss.

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A report that African Americans are more likely to live in toxic neighborhoods near oil installations is our starting point. This unsettling fact leads us to consider an idea from the IEA recognizing the synergy between fair energy availability and carbon pollution reduction, as well as the concept of a circular economy from a UN document. (See the links for our 2015 discussion of the Next System Project.) Of course, all this is at odds with our capitalist/consumerist dogma. Is capitalism the enemy or the savior of our planet? On a happy note, Tesla has released an electric 18-wheeler that can go 500 miles. Watch out, Peterbilt!

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The world made more progress on climate at the ‘23rd Conference of the Parties’ in Bonn, putting some meat on the bones of the Paris Agreement. The US gummint was present and unhelpful, but American cities and states were there in force. As evidence of the ‘sub-national’ efforts to say #WeAReStillIn, the state of Virginia moving to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI.) This is encouraging on many levels. This good news is topped off by a new study showing that in many places of the US, it is long-term cheaper to run renewable wind and solar than it is fossil fuel. That is something to be thankful for! Listen in.

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This week, we discuss two significant sleeper issues that will influence climate policy for a long time to come, and a few local initiatives for Massachusetts residents. Charlie Pierce highlighted the first understated, but very important, issue in a report for Esquire. A right-wing movement is pushing state legislatures to approve the idea of holding a new constitutional convention to rewrite the constitution. The convention would be open and would focus on the balanced budget amendment. Twenty-eight states have signed on to this campaign; thirty-four are needed to pass an amendment to the constitution. There is a possibility that if the movement can gain those last six states, it could create stringent regulations that limit the government’s ability to act on climate change.
Another issue of concern is that Mitch McConnell is intent on loading the federal bench with right-wing conservatives who are light on experience but heavy on ideology. These are very young lawyers who will be in these lifetime appointments for decades. Having a federal bench replete with judges that are subservient to right-wing philosophies will make it very difficult for environmental laws to succeed.
Massachusetts listeners, please be on high alert and make calls to your state representative about the following critical local issues. There is a bill before the MA legislature that would eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to assist cities and towns in making regulations to protect air and water quality. Additionally, the Baker Administration released a statement indicating that he feels no political risk by opposing a carbon tax. MA climate hawks can help the movement away from fossil fuels by reminding him that natural and fracked gas should not be part of our energy portfolio.

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There is a lot going on in Bonn this week, at the annual climate conference. In addition to working out the details of the Paris Accords, there were protests of the US gummint shilling for coal, and protests against Jerry Brown for not being pure enough. Listen in as we discuss.

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Tax reform is the big buzz in Washington, D.C. this week, but notable for climate hawks is the fact that the program is attacking renewable energy. This reform is more of a “tax cut” program, and it slashes many of the direct credits on the taxes paid by the renewable energy industry. That credit is critical for making renewable energy proposals financially viable. Notably, these credits were part of a major bipartisan deal reached in December 2015.

In a turn of strange, but good news, however, the federal government released the most recent National Climate Assessment (NCA). The NCA says that climate change is driven almost entirely by the burning of fossil fuels and details climate damage across the United States that is already unfolding. This report provides robust support for the endangerment finding, which is the root statement that carbon dioxide is a polluting gas and must be regulated by the Supreme Court. It is a crucial piece of documentation that can be used in the efforts to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Globally, an interesting but unclear situation is happening in Saudi Arabia that will have consequences for climate issues over the coming decades. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is consolidating power and making radical changes in Saudi Arabia. The young prince wants to go public with Saudi Aramco and reinvest it into things like green energy. He recognizes that there is a post-oil future and he wants to be on the top of it. While this could be good news for renewable energy, there is a dark side to his major foreign policy moves. History has shown that these types of initiatives often collapse into destabilizing international quagmires. It is certainly something to watch. Tune in for more details.

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Tuesday’s election has good news for Climate Hawks, with the prospects for state level climate action improving. That, coupled with efforts like America’s Pledge at the Bonn climate conference make us feel better. Listen in.

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About 13% of Massachusetts citizens get their electric power through local “Municipal” utilities. These are a good opportunity to make our state’s energy usage cleaner. Listen in to Carol Oldham, MCAN’s Executive Director, as she describes ways to help these Muni’s reduce carbon emissions. After that, use this map of electric utilities to check your supplier and then send an email to: Info@massclimateaction.net for information on how you can help your town’s utility go green.

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