What Should McKibben and the Climate Movement Do Next?

Climate hawks won a (relatively) big and “unlikely” victory this week.  Thanks to the leadership of Bill McKibben — with the help of countless others,  including many people who read Climate Progress — we stopped the Obama administration from its original plan to mindlessly permit the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

IF Obama is reelected — which is no more than about 50-50 at this point — then I agree with McKibben that the Keystone pipeline is probably dead.  But even setting aside the climate benefit of slowing the exploitation of the tar sands, the pipeline victory is far more than symbolic.

The key point is it absolutely would not have happened without the  emergence of an organized protest movement (see “A Climate Movement Is Born“).

So the victory hints at the possibility of even greater victories to come.  And so that leads to the weekend question:  What Should McKibben and the Climate Movement Do Next?  Bill will, I’m quite sure, read your comments.

116 Responses to What Should McKibben and the Climate Movement Do Next?

  1. CW says:

    Work with OWS folks for electoral reform.

  2. CW says:

    And anyone else too including, I suspect, many tea partiers. I should probably say more broadly “democratic reform”, including campaign finance and the many other related issues.

  3. Rick says:

    I’ve been struggling with this question for so long and don’t know what to do. On the one hand, I completely agree with those (Mr. McKibben, one of my personal heroes, among them) who have pointed out that building the climate movement is about so much more than just elections. It’s about building power and speaking authentically to fellow citizens and the transforming of hearts and minds, the kind of stuff that happens every day. On the other hand, climate change is such a deeply entrenched systemic problem that nothing short of politics can solve it. Nothing short of an aggressive national and international climate policy will get us anywhere near where we need to go. And, according to the IEA’s most recent warning, we have only a few years in which to make enormous strides. It seems to me that electing any of the current Republican candidates for president would be game over, far more so than a single pipeline (which they would all approve if elected anyway). They would all be held hostage by the rabid denialist ideology of their own party (which will likely control one if not both chambers of Congress) and by the fossil fuel interests that fund their campaigns. They wouldn’t just fail to make progress, they would take us backwards. They would annihilate not just crucial environmental regulations but entire departments of the federal government. So it seems to be that if electing a Republican would mean, among other things
    1. approving Keystone XL
    2. defunding clean energy research and subsidies
    3. wiping out the DoE and EPA
    then electing a Republican would mean eliminating any real chance of dealing with the climate crisis and averting the worst impacts. Given that, how can the climate movement do anything but marshal all of its power behind electing Obama?

  4. Gordon Chamberlain says:

    The sabotage of the electric vehicle in California should be made aware to more people. The CEOs and Board of Directors sabotaged the development of new technology using fraudulent evidence to support their position that customers did not want electric vehicles. Like wise fraudulent science was used the TransCanadas CEO and Board of Directors used to justify building a pipeline over the Ogahalla Aquifer. Show the consequences of floods in Australia, Pakistan, and now Thailand this is just the beginning if we do not respect the consequence climate destabilisation is going to have. Another suggestion Warming and change are inaccurate labels global climate destabilisation is more accurate and truthful. Tell us the Truth Campaign about the carbon footprint of vehicle, homes, air gravel and food production can be lead by leading corporations to shame the other. The campaign to expand the criminal code to include ecocide the large scale long term destruction of our environment our life support system must be enacted

  5. BA says:

    First, I have the greatest respect for Bill McKibben. He seems to be an all around decent guy and is a very effective leader. I also think he is quite realistic about the challenges we face. My understanding is that his organizations next target is fracking in the lower 48 states. That sounds like a good fight because, like tar sands, it represents more mindlessly destructive extraction at great cost to water resources which we just cannot afford at this point.

    However, no matter how valuable the XL victory is I cannot help believe even now we won the battle and lost the war in light of the fact that Obama just opened up the Arctic to more off shore oil drilling. That seems to be the political compromise for killing the XL which was perhaps dieing of its own costliness anyway.

    Saving the planet from disastrous climate change tipping points means protecting the arctic at all cost. We need to declare it an international ecological preserve under the greatest of protections.

    The problem of course is that the arctic is very remote and that plays to the fossil fuel industries advantage. It seems the logical place for the fight to stop arctic off shore drilling then is once more back in Washington D.C. Can the momentum be re-captured once again? The media will probably cast such efforts as XL Pipeline Protest II, the Sequel (yawn). [I can already hear npr.] Maybe I will have to save up for a plane ticket and dust off my luggage because the ring of people around the White House will need to be 50 people deep.

  6. Kota says:

    Replace it with a green pipeline. We need to deploy, deploy, deploy. Google map everyone that wants off fossil fuel in the USA and see what can be connected. Let’s start while also trying to change the system.

  7. Andy Hultgren says:

    Target key municipalities and/or states for passage of any of the following:
    — Carbon tax (think big! San Francisco, Boulder, and Mongomery County in MD did it.)
    — Feed-in tarrif for renewables (state level only)
    — Improved permitting processes for renewables
    — Building code reformation/updating
    — Bicycle infrastructure
    — Mass transit
    — Zoning reformation encouraging high density and mixed use residential/commercial development
    — Development of an energy efficiency and renewable energy revolving loan fund.

    When I say target “key” municipalities and states, I mean places where has a strong number of members, where local culture allows for a reasonable hope for success, and where victories would make headlines.

  8. Pythagoras says:

    Lisa Hymas has a great piece on Grist today about the difference in opinion between Gen X, Gen Y and the Silent generations. According to Hymas (who is referencing a Pew poll), Gen X and Gen Y are highly in favor of strong pollution controls, alternative energy, and action to curb global warming. It is the Silent Generation–ages 66-83–that are more inclined to roll back pollution controls and doubt the legitimacy of global warming.

    The Silent Generation is a very politically active group that votes in higher percentages than others. So it seems to me that Bill and the others at should really look to create cross-generational dialogue between grandchildren and their grandparents.

    I could see something very effective as Gen Xers writing a letter on Earth Day to their grandparents asking them for their support in handing to this next generation an economy that values clean air and clean water, that protects the special places in the world, and one that is powered by clean renewable alternative energy.

  9. Wes Rolley says:

    While we need to acknowledge any victories that we have, no matter how small, and I think that this is really smaller than McKibben claims, we have to broaden the scope of the campaign or we will be left in a small corner wondering what happened. Even if Keystone XL is stopped, and it is not evident that this is any more than a political move by Obama so that he does not lose enviro support, the Canadian Government believes that Alberta will keep the government solvent for a long time. The sands will be mined and the oil will be produced whether it is piped to Texas or not.

    To win over most Americans, we will have to do two additional things: (1) End corporate personhood. Move to Amend ( working pass the constitutional amendment that would nullify Citizens United. (2) Perhaps in conjunction with OWS, go after the Ponzi scheme known as perpetual growth. At the local, state and federal level, governments count on growth the pay for current projects. We know it can’t continue. We need to shout this from the rooftops.

  10. Joy Hughes says:

    Mobilize the movement for community owned renewables – everyone can own their own solar panels! We call these “community solar gardens.”

    We still need to organize for an appropriate policy in most areas, but some states are already on line – MA, VT, ME, WA, and CO, and new legislation is in the pipeline in California (SB 843) and soon in Maryland and DC.

    A solar gardener is a combination community organizer and project manager for local solar power. Next week, on community solar day, November 20, the Solar Gardens Institute is sponsoring a solar gardener training:

  11. Mark Spohr says:

    I don’t think this is a victory. Obama only delayed the decision until after the election to keep the environmentalists from voting against him. After the election he (or the Republican victor) will approve the pipeline.

  12. Chris Lock says:

    During the news day yesterday, CBC was talking to our finance minister and Albertans. The next way to get the tar sands to market is the Gateway Pipeline through pristine native lands of northern British Columbia to the west coast. Check out the August 2011 National Geographic. This tar is going to be exported one way or another. If Keystone doesn’t happen, then Gateway will, or another Keystone route will be found. Canada continues to push its oil hard.

    Federal Natural Resources minister says that China will invest and buy tar sands oil.

  13. Mark says:

    Run an X prize contest

    $10,000 award for most effective building mural; Entry requires creative commons license for unrestricted use of design

    Organize “10,000 walkers”

    Participants pledge to boycott all fossil fuel transport for one year, if 9,999 other people make the same pledge. (I did this myself during Gulf War 1… it was very effective for inspiring thought and conversation among many people)

  14. Charlotte J says:

    While this postponement of the Keystone XL pipeline is a victory in the battle against dirty energy and environmental destruction,we have not yet won the war. Tar sands will continue to be mined and refined and now will be shipped via rail, which in many ways is a more precariously (and prone to spills) than the pipeline. The movement should build on this victory and demand the end of transportation of tar sands oil through the US and the cessation of its use in our energy supply system. Clearly this is a big reach (and unlikely to happen except maybe if Obama is re-elected, but even then its chances are slim), but that would really be the crowing jewel in this hard fought campaign.

    I also think that mountain top removal is one of the most insidious, horrible manifestations of our dependence on dirty coal. Not to mention the cause of the destruction of countless communities in rural Appalachia. Any victories we can score to halt mountain top removal and push wind energy and conservation would really impact the viability of coal and hopefully significantly lesson our use of it (and not to mention bring some needed media attention to the destruction and havoc that coal causes).

    Those are my thoughts- congratulations to all for making this happen. Its really amazing.

  15. Peter Joseph says:

    Focus on the Save Our Climate Act of 2011, just introduced by Rep. Pete Stark. It’s the carbon pricing method advocated by Jim Hansen and Citizens Climate Lobby and it represents the trim-tab that can begin the shift of the energy market to non-carbon sources. To pass, the US House needs replacement parts with climate conscious reps. Obama’s move will put climate on the electoral front burner. We need to conflate the twin monsters of joblessness and climate disasters and offer hope for both in a greening economy.

  16. Steve says:

    Delaying Keystone — a tremendous victory that has energized climate activists — may slow the flow of oil, but it will not decrease demand. For this, we need a price on carbon at the national level. There’s a bill that’s been introduced in Congress, Rep. Pete Stark’s Save Our Climate Act, which taxes carbon and returns revenue to tax payers. But this legislation will go nowhere unless enough people engage the media and their members of Congress to support it. Citizens Climate Lobby is training and supporting activists to do just that. The next introductory calls for CCL are next week. All are welcome to join:

  17. Pythagoras says:

    It is not a foregone conclusion that tar sands will be exported through British Columbia. Remember that BC is one province that has a carbon-tax…

    “Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our generation. From devastating storms and warmer winters to longer summer droughts and forest fires, the impacts are being felt right here in British Columbia. The consequences of climate change such as the mountain pine beetle epidemic are changing our environment, our economy and our communities.”

    I have confidence that the opposition in BC will prove just as effective as the opposition in Washington DC.

  18. Brooks Bridges says:

    It’s energizing to go to a protest but consider sending the plane ticket money to groups organizing future protests. You can join or organize a local protest synched with the big one in DC. and others are always looking for money for buses, signs, housing, etc., for the DC protests.

    I do agree it’s critical to get large numbers in DC. I think Bill M. now agrees. Previous protests were scattered and just didn’t have the impact one big one has.

  19. Mike Roddy says:

    Good idea, Pythagoras. Especially to Grandpa.

  20. fj says:

    Hardcore social change, advocacy, & action on climate change mitigation at wartime speed.

    Reinventing Fire & Factor10X Engineering March on Washington

  21. Nancy says:

    You should figure out which Public Utilities’ Commissions to work in and organize in those states. Decisions made at the state PUCs are critical for coal plants, and right now there’s a huge debate on the east coast re: having ratepayers pay for coal retrofits (baghouses and filters etc) OR do we put the money into CLEAN energy and energy efficiency?

  22. Cindy Franklin says:

    Debunk the myth that environmental/climate protection and investment in a clean evergy economy is bad for jobs and the economy. This will require a massive public education program – very different from the current “preaching to the choir” strategy.

    Also, expose the names of specific Big Oil/Coal executives who are making decisions that will destroy the atmosphere or do whatever it takes to profit from the Earth’s remaining fossil fuel reserves.

  23. Mike Roddy says:

    British Columbia activists are fiercer and better organized than elsewhere in Canada. It’s really a California (BC) vs Texas (Alberta) battle up there. About a dozen years ago, coastal tribes and Vancouver activists fought relentlessy to protect the Great Bear Rainforest. Protestors were beat up by logger thugs, and First Nation leaders endured long prison terms. The outcome was mixed, as logging still continues there, but the passion and commitment was inspiring to watch. Pootlass and Qatsinas of the Nuxalks are still my heroes.

    A pipeline through all kinds of fragile habitat is even worse, and will galvanize British Columbians. They won’t benefit from Alberta tar, and dislike the bullying and ignorance from their eastern neighbor.

    Transcanada will encounter resistance, fueled by rage. That’s why they tried going south to Texas in the first place, since in both cases global markets are being served. They consider the US more corrupt than BC, and thought their buddies from Shell and Exxon would handle all the politicians.

    Thanks to Bill, Joe, and everyone else, it wasn’t enough. Thanks again.

  24. Mike Roddy says:

    Bill, my advice is to relentlessly pressure the media. Your WH protest was only cursorily covered. MSM’s recent acceptance of warming temperatures (duh!) is a start, but they still suck, and are the main reason Americans have little idea about the dangers we face.

    Letters to editorial boards won’t cut it. We need pickets, advertiser boycotts, and detailed fact sheets that our media must print and broadcast. Broadsheets atop USA Today and NYT newsstands would help, too.

    Airhead anchors like Bob Schieffer need to be called out. CBS ran a story on retreating ice sheets in Greenland, and Bob’s spin was that Greenlanders would benefit because they could now take tourists farther inland!

    The other overgrown frat boys posing as reporters are no better. It’s a disgrace if the media’s mission is to inform the public- a duty that Thomas Jefferson called essential to democracy.

    All of this will require a carefully thought out strategy. Let me know if I can help.

  25. Leif says:

    Occupy the Churches!

    One facet of the equation that is seldom addressed is the pressure that we must put upon the Church elders to become educated on this issue. As the self appointed “Ethical Leaders,” and often scholarly educated, they must take a much more active roll in this area. After all, in their eyes God gave man free will, but it is Gods “Creation,” and clearly man is a destructive influence, even without accepting the science of AGW. “We the People” must present these issues to our local Clergy and demand that they become informed. Unlike the Galileo debacle, humanity cannot afford 300+ years for the Church awareness to seep in. Occupy your Church! They do not receive a “get out of jail free card” here.

    To be fair here, many within the church are becoming more vocal on this issue but way too many are not. All should be in my view. After all, to be good stewards of “Creation Care” should be goal one of any and all “ethical” folks. Of course not shielding pedophile Priests should be as well but that is another story for another blog.

  26. Mike M says:

    While corporate personhood and the illusion of the concept of the benefit of contined expansion of GDP and economic growth, there are very fine groups already trying to raise awareness of these. I think that continued emphasis placed on the end to subsidies to nuclear and oil industries and the redirecting of these funds to solar/ wind industries may be worthwhile for orgs. like

  27. Malcreado says:

    Dirty coal power generation. Support the EPA in implemention new emissions regulations. Dont let Obama backtrack on that like the smog regs.

  28. Jameson Quinn says:

    It was great to start with a national fight to raise the profile. I think that McKibben now has the national status he needs to shine the spotlight on important state-by-state battles. Because I think that national gridlock means that state battles are the most important right now.

    So: pick an issue with a local hook – fracking, mountaintop removal, or air quality. Pick a state where that battle is important. And then build a movement which, like #OWS, is morally independent from electoral politics, but which has an impact on taking over the statehouse (executive and legislative). Build energy in-state and leverage it with support from out-of-state.

  29. Chris Lock says:

    I’m not so confident that opposition in British Columbia will be effective. Our BC Premier is right now in China and India trying to increase trade, trying to sell our resources. We do indeed have a carbon tax here in BC, but we also allow fracking of national gas, which then goes to Alberta to extract tar sands.

    BC is certainly a “greener” province than Alberta. But governments north of 49 are so addicted to the money generated by resource exports.

  30. caerbannog says:

    Just kicking around an “off the cuff” idea here…

    The 12000+ turnout surrounding the White House in protest of Keystone XL obviously had an impact. It was big enough to attract some real media attention.

    Could the same be done in terms of mass protests/rallies outside of denier congresscritter home offices? Perhaps led by science PhD’s?

    Would it be feasible use the social media (and other means) to organize masses of people who would show up and back well-credentialed scientists who would then (hopefully with the media cameras rolling) go into the denier congresscritters’ offices and ask said congresscritters to justify their refusal to listen to the professional scientific community?

    Could something like this be organized repeatedly to target (in sequence) multiple denier congresscritter offices?

    A handful of scientists alone wouldn’t draw any media interest — but the same handful of scientists, with thousands of people rallying behind them, would have a better chance at getting media coverage.

    (And leave the bongo drums at home — deniers just love to use bongo drum imagery to perpetuate unfortunate stereotypes.)

  31. Kevin O'Rourke says:

    Don’t back off the Keystone pressure!

    Despite the delay, this issue is far from dead – regardless of who our next President is.

    Approving the pipeline before the 2012 election would have been an obvious political mistake. However, there is still a strong possibility that it will be too economically (short-term) and geopolitically appealing for the next President to pass on.

  32. Kathy W says:

    I’ve heard directly from Admin/EPA officials that next up is the greenhouse gas ruling — and that they really need our help in demonstrating to the American public what’s at stake there. That’s been mentioned more than once.

    I think we both need the White House to start leading publicly on climate (actually talking about it like candidate Obama did) — AND we in the environmental community need to be loud and public in helping make the case for a strong ghg ruling; make sure we have the Admin’s back. Would be ideal if there were a coordinated strategy to do so.

  33. ZS says:

    “IF Obama is reelected — which is no more than about 50-50 at this point — then I agree with McKibben that the Keystone pipeline is probably dead.”

    I want to hear more on this point. Bill’s message that he sent out after the news came out made a similar argument. He stated:

    “But a few minutes ago the President sent the pipeline back to the State Department for a thorough re-review, which most analysts are saying will effectively kill the project. The president explicitly noted climate change, along with the pipeline route, as one of the factors that a new review would need to assess. There’s no way, with an honest review, that a pipeline that helps speed the tapping of the world’s second-largest pool of carbon can pass environmental muster.”

    Which analysts are saying this will effectively kill the project? In an ideal world, yes, the re-review would reject the permit based on the climate impact alone. But if that’s true, then where was the climate change factor when the Obama administration open up more than 7000 acres of federal land in Wyoming to new coal mining, among other gifts to the fossil fuel industry?

    I hate to be too cynical, especially after what the tar sands movement just accomplished (and don’t get me wrong, I was one of the arrestees, slept over at the State Dept. a few weeks ago, helped to carry the giant fake pipeline all over downtown DC last Saturday, etc). But I’m wary of falling back into the kind of thinking that plagued environmentalists during the two years after Obama’s election – “he gets it, he’s got our back”. Regardless of whether or not he actually cares about the environment or the future wellbeing of 7+billion people (and counting), he has repeatedly shown that he puts the political calculation first. Even after the 2012 election, the political calculations will never stop. There’s always the midterm, there’s always the calculus involved to help the Democratic candidate in 2016. Trusting him to do the right thing in the face of Big Oil is akin to Charlie Brown trusting Lucy as she holds the football for the millionth time. We need to maintain the pressure on Obama on this issue – a delay isn’t good enough. He has enough information right now to reject the permit outright, and nothing less than that should be good enough for environmentalists.

  34. with the doves says:

    That’s a good idea.

    I don’t mind the drums, though.

  35. Morris Meyer says:

    1. Reach out to every Occupy supporter and teach them to register voters. Occupy the 50% who aren’t registered

    2. Re-elect Obama, and a House and Senate that will put a price on carbon. Stark’s cap-and-cash act will show us how far we have to go. Make sure that it is very clear that a price on carbon is *the* heavy lift for the second term.

    3. Stop Keystone XL and push the Trans West Express as the alternative

    4. Put a Price on Carbon.

  36. Tim Laporte says:

    We must now fight to build broad based support in favor of placing a clear, increasing price signal on carbon dioxide and other GHG emissions (i.e. a carbon tax). It seems to me that current budget negotiations in the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction might be one of our best chances for succeeding in getting a carbon tax. Congress is looking for $1.2 Trillion over ten years at a minimum in deficit reduction, and a carbon tax could cover most, or even all of that, depending on the rate and especially when paired with ending tax cuts for Big Oil. Besides, people are losing patience with subsidies (see today’s NYT article on clean energy subsidies) and government is going broke. Instead of taxing something good (income) to pay for government subsidized energy, we should leave income taxes low and tax something bad (carbon pollution) instead. Once the negative externality of climate destruction is even partially figured into the the price for fossil fuels, renewables will be cost competitive on their own and will no longer need government subsidies.

    It is encouraging John Kerry is on the Super Committee since he has been an outspoken proponent of pricing carbon pollution. More Greens need to wake up and realize that the backdoor negotiations going on right now may be our best bet for getting a real carbon tax passed. It is only when everything is on the table and free from the filibuster, as it is now, that a carbon tax has any realistic chance of passing.

    See Adele Morris at Brookings on the prospects of carbon tax in the current Super Committee:

    Also, see the following article for rough estimates of the revenue gained by implementation of carbon tax (as compared with other options):

  37. Ernest says:

    I’m contemplating why Bill has been so effective. For starters, he is great spokesman. A very effective messenger on behalf of climate.

    Second, the tip of the spear was focused on a very specific issue, with a very specific actionable demand, stopping Keystone XL.

    Third, there were natural allies, though not necessarily climate activists. These are the locals concerned about their aquifers. I heard that also some “Tea Partiers” were also against the pipeline. (Besides environment, the imposition of the federal government over local rights?) In other words, the issue was “movable”.

    So probably the analogous situations may be coal plants, and demanding transparency of shale gas drilling. I’m not asking for a ban on natural gas. Not even Amory Lovins asks for this. But transparency, best practices, dropping the exemptions from EPA oversight is something the general public can support and gives some leverage for “winning” on this issue.

  38. Peacefuljeff says:

    Demand that the $409 billion in global subsidies given to fossil fuels be removed and given as subsidies to renewables instead. See slide 13 here: This same report says that we have five years before the window closes to prevent runaway climate change (2 degrees C). All actions must mention that time frame. Target the companies who received the subsidies with the help of the Occupy movement, who already have public anger focused on corporations receiving special treatment because they have corrupted governments, with no concern for the people.

  39. with the doves says:

    Good question!

    Tar Sands was a unique issue in that the focus was squarely on Obama.

    The most important thing Bill McKibben and all accomplished was getting media attention to a climate/energy issue. This has to keep happening in whatever comes next. Public opinion is key to seriously addressing climate change.

    Fracking is good, linking with OWS is good, anything is good, really, if it draws public attention and makes the case.

    The idea above of demonstrations vs denier Congresspeople is good too.

  40. Ted Ko says:

    Adding to the thought from caerbannog and others: People have argued that the Keystone protest only succeeded because Obama didn’t want to risk those votes in the 2012.
    So, it feels like 2012 is our opportunity to send the message to elected officials that the Climate Movement has real power and teeth.’s big strength has been its ability to mobilize people in to action on specific dates. So, designate a series of dates that are relevant to the 2012 elections and mobilize local action for 2 things:

    1) Protest/call out/vilify the local candidate who is the worst denier and/or most blatantly in the pocket of polluters

    2) Fundraise for the candidate who has the courage to publicly prioritize climate change action.

    The objective is to have each local paper/tv station do an article/report that Candidate X was sent a message that his/her stance on climate change is specifically why he/she won’t get votes, and Candidate Y got a boost to his/her campaign specifically for his/her support for aggressive approach to addressing climate change

  41. Owen Gaffney says:

    Make global politics more accountable by reforming the democratic process at the international level. Even WTO leader Pascal Lamy is arguing for more accountability at the international level ( He is asking for direct participation by citizens in international governance. This will help leaders show more leadership. Leadership is probably the single biggest catalyst for rapid action, in particular top down leadership driven by bottom up support. We have the means to do it too. Lobby the cell phone networks, Google and Facebook to organise a global vote on sustainability in advance of the Rio+20 Earth Summit. Encourage 6 billion plus to vote (by offering 10 free txt messages to each voter) and provide a mandate for leaders to lead.

  42. The key issue is that we’ll need to scrap some high carbon infrastructure if we’re to stay under 2 degrees C warming compared to preindustrial times, and the more we build now, the more we’ll have to scrap later. It’s also much easier to stop projects that aren’t built than to close them down after they are operating and generating revenue. So that means really focusing on STOPPING the construction of new high carbon infrastructure. For example, we need to prevent new coal plants from being built anywhere (delaying XL was a good start related to tar sands). One way to gain leverage is to get the World bank to refuse to finance any more coal plants in developing countries, but for the US, I recommend identifying new coal plants that are on the drawing board and targeting them with direct action as well as analysis to show how they can be replaced by low carbon alternatives.

    We also need to support the EPA rulemakings that will internalize the huge social cost of existing coal plants, thus making it clear that they are uneconomic and obsolete from society’s perspective, thus hastening their retirement.

  43. Steve says:

    This is a great website; Joe Romm and Bill McKibben are great thinkers, tireless advocates, genuine activists. And one can feel the passion, intelligence, and commitment — as well as the disdain and frustration with the business-as-usual crowd — on this website and in the movement.

    Here’s a thought which might provoke skepticism, perhaps even ridicule, but it really does deserve some consideration. In the end, it is not good enough to be right, or self-sacrificing, or morally superior about this issue. It is essential to be effective. The physics and biology of climate change do not treat caring people more kindly than the morons who don’t get it or the lazy and indifferent ones who do not act.

    I think, generally speaking and especially on this issue, progressive movements need to find big-thinking and big-spending progressive corporations with which to partner. All of these movements (climate action, OWS,, etc.) are slowly accumulating curious, motivated, frustrated, and increasingly fed-up followers. These are people unable or reluctant to physically assemble and protest, or even to join organizations, but they are tuned in, looking for subtle ways to make a difference, perhaps in simple day-to-day consumer decisions and the like. To the corporate world, these people are (advertising) viewers and ultimately customers.

    Although it need not be a primary agenda, and it needs to be flexibly structured so the activist organizations can freely walk away at any moment, it might be wise to consider identifying the most SINCERELY progressive corporations and give them favorable endorsement in exchange for their help — real dollars to fund operations, real sustainable products, worthwhile candidate support, real action. (Conversely, it never hurts to repeatedly advise this silent but motivated audience the corporations they should boycott. I would love to know specifically which Koch Bros. products never to buy. After Valero supported Prop. 23 in California, I resolved NEVER to patronize their service stations and convenience stores ever again. When you think how hard a company will work to please a single unhappy customer who actually complains about anything… this consumer discretion power needs to be harnessed and competently directed. People like McKibben have the credibility to engage in these endorsements and boycotts. If conditions change or they make a mistaken, correct the record. Some boycotts CAN and SHOULD be for life. Let management think about that fact.)

    Corporations, by law almost, need to advance the bottom line. So, make their bottom lines equivalent to your objectives in whichever way possible.

    As an aside because I’ve had this discussion elsewhere, people understandably criticize the Citizens United decision, but the underlying rationale in that case is that government cannot restrict political speech regardless of source, and corporations are viewed as assemblies of individuals with economic interests articulating their interests and concerns, albeit principally economic ones. It would have been a difficult decision to write if the holding had been to immunize mass media corporations (viz. free press), but not other corporations, from government limitations on third-party expenditures for political speech. By the way, Citizens United did not strike down limitations on direct contributions to candidates and office-holders; it deals only with limitations on political speech funding.

    Ironically perhaps, the majority opinion was able to cite leading First Amendment purists such as Justices Black and Douglas for its position. I realize there are some logical, and perhaps historical flaws, in the majority opinion, but the take-away is that our system of government protects the free expression of ideas, the competition in the marketplace of ideas. Progressive thought (especially climate change activism) can and should engage in that battlefield of ideas, both directly and by enlisting powerful organizations as allies, yes, some of whom may be corporations. A corporation, per se, is not necessarily an evil thing… it’s a creature with one objective. Exploit that reality (which is virtually impossible to change without radical change of our society) to your advantage. (The same goes for enlisting unions, celebrities, film-makers, etc.)

    Best of luck to all…

  44. Anne Butterfield says:

    First — a shout out for comments by Joy Hughes and Nancy, comments # 9 and 17 respectively.

    Second — put massive support behind the passage of the PACE protection act so bring jobs AND energy savings nation wide. Energy Efficiency continues to be overlooked and the on-shore jobs to come from this policy are a serious opportunity for the greens to prevail as leaders and bread winner for the nation. See link below.

    Third — publicize the contact information of a wide slew of media people and contacts for 350 followers to use to petition them to MAKE SURE that climate science gets its due in PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES and interviews.

  45. Polymerase says:

    Like Keystone, the next objective needs to be immediate and uncomplicated for climate hawks, and to create at least one major wedge issue that splits climate deniers/pollutocrats from rural Americans and tea party conservatives.

    In the case of Keystone, we had the the incredible luck of a local rebellion of conservative Nebraskans against the likely contamination of their Ogalalla aquifer. Although the intense pressure placed on Obama by the protests undoubtably provided the necessary force for stopping the State Department’s fast-tracked, Clinton-crony-compromised pipeline approval plan, the opposition of Republican governor Dave Heineman on environmental grounds removed a “keystone” in the edifice of the artifice that the pipeline was a benign, unalloyed benefit for all of the people of the USA, and the whole thing came tumbling down in a few short months.

    It is worth taking the time to parse Gov. Heineman’s statements on the Keystone decision delay to learn all we can about why and how the opposition to the pipeline flourished in Nebraska.

    Environmental leaders need to act quickly and
    decisively to ensure that we maintain our momentum going into the 2012 elections.

  46. Joe Romm says:

    Precisely. This is a point I’ll make it a forthcoming post. I will be quoting this!

  47. Daniel Coffey says:

    Mr. McKibben needs to stop pandering to, rewarding or ignoring environmentalists and other stopoholics who are blocking deployment of large-scale wind, solar and transmission projects. Without these efforts, no amount of blocking projects is going to work.

    We face two very large challenges: electrification of transportation (nearly 100%) and producing electricity from non-carbon sources (nearly 100%). This effort must take place at blinding speed – in only a few years – and there is no longer any time to debate the fine points of when and where. It is literally now or never.

    Environmentalists need to get out of the way and let things get done – FAST, as the status quo is assuredly deadly. We have past the point of reflection and debate, and we are now into the nether region where the question is whether species and civilization will survive.

    We are now inextricably embarked upon an unstoppable traverse to a world which will not sustain us collectively or possibly any of us. That reality, like a house afire, is what must be squarely dealt with, and any distractions are embraced at our utter peril.

  48. hey folks, enormously useful to read all these and many thanks for them. we’ll keep passing them around.

    and many thanks to joe–but please note the ‘many others’ besides me that he references as key to this fight. i was a pretty small part of a pretty big thing

    and here’s why that’s particularly important. no one really needs to wait for me or anyone else to get going on these things. when i started trying to be an activist four years ago or so, i was a writer with 7 college seniors as my colleagues and no money at all–that’s where came from. so: if someone as clueless as i was/am can do this stuff, so can all of you.

    and one thing to note: don’t be discouraged if big media doesn’t jump all over it. the keystone campaign went essentially uncovered on tv, and it took a good long while even to get newspapers going. we have–thanks to folks like joe–our own media now that can get us partway where we need to go in spreading the word.

    so, on we go. thanks for the suggestions. and notice that you’re needed to help fight fracking on nov. 21 at the delaware river basin commission. details at i think josh fox et al are going to be making the vice president a focus of their efforts which should be kind of fun.

  49. Alan Gregory says:

    Strive hard for campaign finance reform legislation. Make Big Oil and Big Coal have as much – n more! – influence than Joe and Jane Doe.

  50. Jim Powell says:

    Strike for Science. In the fall of 2012, call a nationwide walkout of all scientists and science supporters. In every city, town, and campus, scientists and those who support science would walk out of their offices, classrooms, and laboratories and assemble to protest the lack of government action on climate change. A delegation would march on the Capitol and ask each Senator and Representative to sign the following pledge: “I agree to accept the findings of science, as endorsed by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.” Strikers would pledge to work to defeat every politician who refused to sign.

    This germ of an idea would take a monumental effort: but we know from history, even recent history, that governments can be forced to change. I say, let us begin. 

  51. FRACKED says:

    Save the Delaware River Basin from Fracking.
    November 21
    Trenton War Memorial
    Trenton, NJ
    Join Us Please

  52. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Long term: learn about the organizational design principles so that the movement can be more effective and leave a legacy of sustainable organizational infrastructure for survivors, if any. []

    Short term: lots of good ideas here but perhaps you could also have a chat with whatever rain gods you have up there. Get them to target every coal and tar sand mine for serious and repeated flooding. As we saw in Queensland, it takes them a long time to recover to full operation, ME

  53. Jeff Huggins says:

    What to do now?

    I agree that this is a useful and essential question.

    I’ll respond in this comment and then a few following comments, now and later.

    The first thing I’d say is this: One thing NOT to do is to rely on thinking or assessments like the following, at least not to the degree that such thinking would cause us to avoid actions that should be taken, and would make sense to take, BEFORE the election and indeed before deciding whether or not to actually vote for candidate Obama:

    A quote from the post is this:

    “IF Obama is reelected — which is no more than about 50-50 at this point — then I agree with McKibben that the Keystone pipeline is probably dead.”

    My point is this: We shouldn’t rely on such assessments to determine what to do, or not do, BEFORE the election. Such assessments — unless they are based on rock-solid inside information and promises from Obama himself, and written binding promises at that — are nothing more than speculations and risks, and they can undermine our thinking about what should be done and could be done.

    I do enjoy the “optimism” as long as it doesn’t get in the way of good thinking, considering all options, and hard-charging tactics.

    With that said, I’ll follow with some other thoughts about concrete actions.

    Be Well,


  54. Jeff Huggins says:

    Next Steps (see below, from a comment on an earlier thread)

    May We Be Clear On One Thing, Please? (another inconvenient truth)

    There has been much hoopla about the Obama Administration’s recent decision to postpone its decision regarding Keystone XL until after the election.

    As I’ve suggested elsewhere, this is no real ‘win’ against the pipeline itself. After all, a real move against the pipeline, on Obama’s part, would involve, quite simply, a decision to not approve it – which is a choice that’s the President’s to make. But instead of saying ‘NO’ to Keystone XL, President Obama has simply made a political move, and kicked the can down the road.

    Be that as it may (and for present purposes, it’s not necessary that you agree with that assessment), for practical purposes it should be sufficient to realize this:

    It is standard practice, and justified, and understandable, that voters want to know what candidates will do on the full range of important issues, if elected. Consider:

    Voters want to know what candidates will do regarding wars: “Will you, if elected, pull us out of the war in (name the place)? If so, by when? If not, why not?”

    Voters want to know what candidates will do regarding the deficit and taxes: “Will you, if elected, raise taxes on the rich? If not, why not? If so, how much? Overall, what is the tax plan you’ll propose, if elected? Be specific.”

    Voters want to know where candidates stand on such things as whether “corporations are people”, a constitutional amendment to limit the rights of corporations, campaign finance reform, and related matters. Voters are right to want to understand the candidates’ positions on such issues.

    I could go on, of course, to list virtually every single important issue under the stars. Voters are right to want to understand each candidate’s specific position on such issues – to want to know what each candidate would do, regarding these issues, if elected. Specifics, please! Not interested in vagueness and ill-defined platitudes! Don’t bait me with a promise of “hope”, please: instead, tell me specifically what you will do, if elected. Don’t treat me like an idiot, please: instead, just tell me what you’ll do, on these vital issues, so I can be an informed voter and make an informed choice.

    The point is especially valid in the case of a President running for re-election. After all, President Obama has had three years to understand climate change, our energy issues, and also, specifically, the Keystone XL matter.

    My point? What’s my point? It’s this: We should ask about, and demand to know, what President Obama WILL DO, if re-elected, in the case of Keystone XL:

    “Candidate Obama: Will you approve Keystone XL, or not approve it, if reelected? It’s a simple question. Be crystal clear in your answer. You understand what ‘crystal clear’ means, don’t you, Mr, President? Well then, be crystal clear. You’ve had three years to understand climate change. Indeed, you made promises to us four years ago having to do with climate change and putting the U.S. on the right path, moving to end our addiction to fossil fuels. You participated in Copenhagen. You have a Nobel Prize-winner as your Secretary of Energy. You know what the scientists have said about climate change, and about the tar sands, and about Keystone XL. You’ve had three years. You aren’t running for a first election. You’re running for reelection. And you have campaigned on the bases of honesty, of change, and of transparency. So, Mr. President, voters who are considering whether to vote for you again, or for the first time, are right in wanting to understand precisely what you will do, regarding Keystone XL, if they vote for you and you’re reelected. So again, Mr. President, and candidate Obama, will you approve Keystone XL, or not approve it, if reelected?”

    This is a fair, warranted, reasonable, and necessary question. A fair, warranted, reasonable, and necessary request. A fair, warranted, reasonable, and necessary demand. Voters naturally, necessarily, and understandably, want to know what candidates will do, if elected, on the full variety of issues. The matter of Keystone XL is no different. There is no justifiable need, or reason, to be secretive or vague. The Keystone XL matter is not one of national defense, in which case (although rarely) there might be a justifiable reason to not announce “plans” fully in advance.

    The reality of this point places the ball back in OUR COURT, that is, in the court of people concerned about climate change, in the court of environmentalists, in the court of so-called ‘Climate Hawks’, in the court of the think-tanks and blogs. The Obama Administration’s recent MOVE – delaying the decision until after the election – does not change or undermine, even one iota, the rightful, understandable, responsible, and necessary need of voters to understand what candidate Obama will do, if reelected, regarding Keystone XL. Period. Let’s face it. Will we please?

    So the question remains: Will we put the question to him? Will we expect an answer? Will we demand an answer? Will we explain why our demand for an answer is warranted, understandable, responsible, democratic, justified, and necessary under the circumstances?

    Or instead, will we punt, just like he has done? Will we knowingly allow ourselves to be fooled or to be highly subject to being fooled? Will we avoid what may seem, to some of us, an inconvenient question? Will we try to avoid an inconvenient truth, which is this: Obama’s recent move didn’t address the problem, and now the ball is back in our court to consider what to do.

    Consider, also, this: The argument to NOT pose these questions to candidate Obama, and to not demand and expect a clear answer, cannot be supported except by taking a dramatically condescending attitude toward democracy and toward “the people”, and by rejecting the very values and ideals we say we have. In other words, someone might say this: “Jeff, posing the clear question to Obama, and demanding a clear answer, may be understandable and warranted, but it may also place his reelection at risk. After all, if he gives a clear answer, it will either upset environmentalists and citizens concerned about climate change, or it will upset some folks in the labor movement, and it will also allow Republicans to criticize the President, as they always do no matter what he does. So best not to ask Obama to be clear. Best to let him get away with vagueness, a vagueness that allows us to believe what we’d like to believe, and punts the ball down the road.”

    Well – and I hope people can see this – such a stance is deeply problematic and odd. It demeans democracy. It avoids questions and issues. It falls short of transparency. It plays games. It avoids “inconvenience” only to place us in a position in which we’re likely to be fooled again. Indeed, it involves us in our own foolishness.

    Thus there is no need to quibble about whether the delay represents a win or not. There is no need to speculate. The movement deserves a one-night party, a celebration, NOT because of the Administration’s delay, but instead because the movement is trying, and has been active, and deserves to congratulate itself on being active and doing something. On the other hand, we will fall flat going forward, and NOT deserve to congratulate ourselves, if we fail to see that posing the questions I’ve raised above to President Obama is a warranted, vital, reasonable, and necessary next step, and an urgent one.

    The President’s recent decision to postpone the decision was a MOVE, as in a chess game, and was nowhere near a win against the pipeline. The ball is back in our court. Will we ask the necessary questions? What will CP do? What will do? What will the environmental organizations do?

    And, can you imagine this: Can you imagine posing questions such as “What would you do, if elected, regarding Keystone XL?” to the Republican candidates, as we should, and to the third-party candidates, as we should, but NOT to candidate Obama? Wouldn’t that be nonsensical! Or, should we not pose the question to any candidates because we don’t want to pose it to Obama? Wow! So much for any belief in democracy! So much for any respect for the American people! So much for genuine “progress” – or is “progress” achieved by avoiding tough questions and by enabling foolishness, including our own?

    Enough said. Joe? Bill?

    Be Well,


  55. climatehawk1 says:

    And I agree also. The lesson of the civil rights and Vietnam antiwar movements is pretty clear: repeated demonstrations that grow in size are the way to go. The more attention they get, the more people become motivated to join, and a virtuous circle develops. I didn’t join the White House demos up to now, but I will be at the next one.

  56. Joe Romm says:

    The delay is a HUGE win, since absent the movement, this was going to be a definite “yes” for the WH. Asserting otherwise just makes it tough to accept the rest of your analysis

  57. Jeff Huggins says:

    Next Step Regarding Romney

    As a quick reminder, I’ve made earlier comments suggesting a very specific “next step” on CP’s part — and it could also be on Bill’s part — having to do with Romney.

    I’m in a bit of a rush now, but I’ll try to find it again, and point it out, in a comment later this weekend. In a nutshell (although I don’t have the names of the specific individuals in front of me), Romney’s principal backgrounds, as we know, involve Harvard, Bain, and the Olympics — these all prior to his Massachusetts governorship. So my comment involves the present President of Harvard, the two senior-most leaders at Bain, and the present head of the IOC. In any case, I’ll try to relocate my earlier comment, with the specific names. It all amounts to an idea that would be very easy to do and that easily could, and should, have an immense ultimate influence. Something that would be relatively easy for Joe and/or Bill to implement — and would be remarkably easy and effective for you to implement together — and that could have very big dividends, so to speak.

    More to come.

    Be Well,


  58. Jeff Huggins says:

    Joe, if my stance on the assessment somehow makes it hard for you to consider my suggestions and associated logic regarding the next step suggested above, that’s fine: I’ll gladly withdraw my assessment and change it. The past is the past. What matters now — and all that matters now — is the present situation and what to do next. (The same thing goes for the laws of physics pretty much, yes?) So, forget about my assessment, which is speculative anyhow, just as your assessment is. Instead, consider the next step raised here, the matter of posing the clear question and expecting a clear answer from Obama. Consider that. If you’ll agree that that is a sensible, justified, honest, responsible, warranted, democratic, transparent, and understandable next step — a step that should be taken — then I’ll gladly agree that the delay on the President’s part was a smashing breakthrough, and I’ll triple my applause. Deal?

    Be Well,


  59. Bob LaVelle says:

    I’m with Peter, Steve and others. I say next up is active support for Rep. Pete Stark’s Save Our Climate Act.

  60. Jeff Huggins says:

    Next Step Regarding the Republican Debates

    This is also a quick comment (I’m running late for something at this point) to remind folks of an idea I suggested in some comments on earlier threads. Hopefully Joe and/or Stephen will have seen them. I’ll try to relocate them later this weekend. In any case, they are roughly along these lines:

    There are many Republican debates yet to come — between now and February or perhaps March. Many of them are on PBS, NBC, CBS, and ABC — members of the media who at least have some credibility left and who, presumably, have an understanding of the depth and gravity of the climate change problem. (For example, NBC ran that very good segment, recently, on climate change.)

    There are relatively easy and highly concrete things that Joe and Bill McKibben could do — working their networks, running a public post or two here on CP, and so forth — to encourage and prompt those media outlets, and the specific hosts of the debates, to include the pivotal questions about the candidate’s stances on climate change in at least several of the relevant Republican debates. The debate schedule is on the web. It’s an effort that could be started by means of a clear and well-worded post in CP, directed to the media outlets themselves. Hopefully someone like Curtis Brainard should also be willing to help on this. In any case, the goal is to make sure that clear and responsible questions are posed to the Repub candidates.

    Gotta go. Be Well,


  61. Paul Magnus says:

    >. We should focus on why the nabraskans rejected the pipe line and then focus or message to the GOPs and avoiders in those terms. When people see how they are directly impacted by changes then they react and take action. How do we realize the dange of the changing climate to this audience.

    >.whats certain is we need vigorous campaigns to project the message to the people and our leaders. So I think a focused targeting at institutions and individuals who can afford to fund this and get or are starting to get the consequences of GW and in action. Bill Gate’s charitable millions would probably now be more effective if it were spent on getting the US to address GW than spent on virus programs….

     They are many out there, the funding has to be channeled in the most effective way. I think that would be to motivate the masses in supporting our leaders. Let our them realize that following  the direction of the  1%  is ruinous!

    >. Do not forget the  focus on schools, education and the young.

  62. Daniel J. Andrews says:

    The pipeline is almost certainly not dead. They’re just looking at another northern route and suggesting they start building the southern route while waiting for the new northern route to be given the green light.

    The only way the pipeline will be dead is if there is an alternative energy source instead of oil. As long as we’re still hooked on oil, then that pipeline will happen…it is just a matter of time. The only way to really stop it is having another fuel-type readily available. Perhaps if the pipeline is delayed long enough, that alternative energy source will become available.

  63. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    Rick, these are my thoughts as well. I would only add that we must force Obama into action. As I posted under another thread, I am convinced that Obama’s reelection is a lock. There is some possibility of a Dem. landslide victory in 2012, due almost exclusively to the possibility of the Rethugs not nominating the only candidate who might possibly make it close. They just don’t like Romney for many reasons: Romneycare, Pro choice, AGW believer (before beating a hasty retraction), and the perception that he’s a member of a religious cult. That last part bears repeating… a large group of born-again Christians think Romney is a member of a religious cult. So, assuming it’s Obama for four more years, how do we move him to act – to advocate – to push others to action?

  64. Mike Roddy says:

    It’s no accident that Obama never mentions climate change anymore, and continues to open up more land for drilling through Salazar, his Cheneyesque henchman.

    I’d be shocked if the President reversed course and stood up to the fossil fuel industry. He is obviously scared of them, and couched the pipeline delay as “time to look for a different route”.

    We’ll just have to muddle through, like he is.

  65. AZ climate hawk says:

    The next campaign should be an effort to shed light on the externalities (hidden costs) of fossil fuels. If the external costs of fossil fuels (health, environment, economic) are taken into account, renewables make economic sense right now. I think it would be powerful to use a well-accepted economic concept against the fossil fuel industrial-political complex. Use Paul Epstein’s study showing $500 billion/year of external costs from coal. Bill, you made parts per million of CO2 a well known concept, we can do the same with externalities! (Epstein’s study:

  66. Don Sanderson says:

    Wait, this civilization, all our food organic or not, our clothing, our buildings, our businesses, our transportation public or not, our electronic toys including the internet, and on and on are based on cheap fossil fuels and hence on vast economies of scale that can only exist thanks to Wall Street. Green energy won’t save us because we’re running out of many other natural resources such as arable soil, fresh unpolluted water, and metals and other mineral resources such a plant fertilizers. We are environmental hogs, even the best of us to an extent. Government is so corrupt that there is no help to be expected there. We must drastically simplify our lives, turn to local self-reliance and -sufficiency now. If we do so, Wall Street and the fossil fuel culture will wither and die, as it must if we are to have a future.

  67. Tim Kelly says:

    When I was in DC last week, I met a woman that had attended the Heartland Institute’s conference last this summer. She informed me that ocean acidification scares the hard-core right to death. It’s are easier for folks to grasp than climate change and can’t be easily undermined. But in virtually every environmental discussion I hear, it continues to be ignored. It’s significant that, two days after the KXL protest, Dr. Richard Felly, of NOAA’s Pacific Marine environmental Lab and former Congressman Dr. Brian Baird did an interview on ocean acidification on KUOW radio. The shellfish industry is already having to deal with this and their production is down 20%.

    I feel strongly that we, as a community, need to drag this out into the light and get them before the population. It could be key to turning the situation around.

    Thanks to Bill and his team for the opportunity to help make a difference.

  68. Mike Roddy says:

    You’re right that we’ve got our own media, Bill, but we need to make a leap here. As much as I love this blog, few people between the coasts know much about global warming except for phrases like “Climategate”. MSM is avoiding or watering down the most important message of our time, and we can’t blame people from the South and Midwest for being in the dark.

    We need a new media company with financial strength, with enough quality programming to attract advertisers. You and Joe would be regular guests. Right now Maher and Current TV dabble in it, but we have a long way to go.

    I of course don’t have any money either, but there must be a Climate Progress reader who could make this happen. Viacom’s Sumner Redstone is 87. Maybe he has an enlightened heir, or there is a capable buyer.

    The other big media companies- Time Warner, Disney, Fox, CBS, etc- are just too rotten from within. Actual reporters got weeded out a long time ago. Imagine the talent that would flow to a courageous and enlightened media company. We will need this to awaken the American people, or we will continue to be blocked and marginalized.

  69. Lollipop says:

    And we have winner.

  70. todd tanner says:

    Forgive me if I’m echoing earlier comments. I’m late to the thread and haven’t read anyone else’s thoughts yet. That said:

    1) Keep the pressure on Obama. Demand that he start following up on his promises from the ’08 campaign. Make it clear that we’re forming an entire block of single issue voters – and that our single issue is a livable future.

    2) Focus on the renewable energy race with countries like China and Germany. Give America something the entire country can get behind – a clean energy race with jobs and our national prosperity at stake.

    3) Reach out to new groups. If we can’t bring sportsmen, evangelicals, the military, etc. into the climate reality camp, we won’t be able to protect the things we care about and pass them on to our kids & grandkids.

  71. Jon says:

    Carbon Tax! James Hansen has been promoting Citizens Climate Lobby who have been advocating for “fee and dividend” legislation. Pete Starks (D-CA) has introduced the “Save Our Climate Act” HR 3242:

    Getting a price on carbon will address fracking, MTR mining, deep sea drilling, tar sands, etc. all at once and we can get off of fossil fuels. Thanks for your hard work Bill!

  72. Jan says:

    No socalled “delay” of the Keystone XL is going to stop the big oil companies from now pushing more bitumen through the operating pipelines that already exist in the U.S. Phase 1 & 2 of this pipeline is already up and running and pushing bitumen tarsands from Canada into the U.S in two separate locations already. Where were the protests at the White House about that? The Alberta Clipper which also runs into Wisconsin and is dangerously close to the Great Lakes is being seen as a possible choice to add pumping stations and increase capacity. If they get away with that which this article claims would then equal half of what XL would have piped through, then I don’t see what anyone is talking about regarding a victory. The only way to say there is any victory in this is to stop the tarsands in the first place.

    Delaying XL does virtually nothing then in the end from stopping catastrophic climate change as the oil will only be pumped somewhere else and I can bet the Obama administration was aware of that possibility before they “delayed” this clearly for political purposes. They gave the approval for the Alberta Clipper pipeline and claimed the EIS was sound. So what are the chances that even should Obama win next year that he won’t approve this? He won’t have to worry about running for president again.

    So if you want to know what we need to do next, we need to STOP THE TARSANDS from entering ANY pipelines, period. We also need to stop any attempt to add new pumping stations to these existing pipelines to increase tarsands capacity and we need to cripple the investors and large banks underwriting the companies buying stakes in this. We need to call on the people of Canada and other countries where these banks are located to do the same. This is not a victory as long as the tarsands continue to flow and destroy our environment! And if we can’t stop it, then I think that is a true confession that the addiction has gone way too far, and feel good campaigns aren’t going to be enough at this point.

  73. Jan says:

    And as an addendum to this, we also need a financial transactions tax that will go a long way in pushing investors to think more sustainably with their investments and in working to look more at longterm growth rather than short term profit at the expense of our environment which affects every aspect of our lives from health to food and water/climate policy. Also, a price on carbon (revenue neutral) must be levied by the U.S Congress withn the next two years and any monies collected either from that and or a financial transcation tax should be used to speed up the transition away from fossil fuels and to also instill more sustainable agricultural policies in our country. Also, we need to change the market mechanism that prices fossil fuels without an emphasis on indirect costs. Those who pollute our planet must start to feel the pinch financially. They have gotten away with their crimes against this planet and future generations long enough.

  74. Frank Zaski says:

    Form a strong NATIONAL COALITION OF ENVIROMENTAL GROUPS to provide more consistent messaging, efforts and better results. Our organizations and their efforts are too splintered. The Tea Party has national coordination, shouldn’t we?

    BROADEN OUR EFFORTS and TARGETS: We need to concentrate more on state and local government, businesses, industry, religious, social, educational, women, minorities, etc. These groups can be better informed and motivated to work to reduce CO2 and other pollution. WOMEN AND MINORITIES are more likely than CWM to understand global warming and support environmental issues and candidates.

    We should GO DIRECT TO BUSINESS ourselves to ask for change. 488 of the S&P 500 companies have published some sort of sustainability policy. We could work to strengthen them. Wal-Mart started this way and has gotten sustainability religion over time.

    ENCOURAGE MORE RECOGNITION, ratings and appreciation to influence more EE, RE and other global warming solutions among business, institutions, etc. Businessmen have told me they would love to be recognized by the environmental community for their environmental progress. What J. D. Power and Consumer’s Report has done for auto industry quality can be done for sustainability – better disclosure, ratings and recognition can help businesses improve. Customers need to know of more sustainable products, made by sustainable companies and sold at sustainable stores. A good site:
    Do our best to SALVAGE OBAMA for the next 5 years. We need to find ways to improve his environmental knowledge, attitude and backbone especially among his speech writers and strategists. In spite of our anger and disappointment, “President Romney and Vice President Bachmann” would be a far worse alternative.

    Encourage more ENERGY EFFICIENCY. Like Cinderella, it is the most worthy solution in the room. It just needs to be recognized, and get THOUGHTFUL promotion, framing and support.

    Do more research on PEAK COAL, not just the top down, statistical approach like Heinberg and Rutledge, but more bottom up approach. For example, the thickness of PRB overburden, now about 200’ will double to 400’ in 7+ years. What does this mean? (Price double of triple?) Does anyone know it?

    SHOW THE RELATIONASHIP OF OIL AND COAL as an economic and security threat to the US. It takes $20 of diesel and lubricants to mine and ship $10 worth of PRB coal from Wyoming to Eastern states. Half of this oil is imported. Knowing that oil and overburden could double the price of coal delivered to utilities should help focus our attention on the better alternatives of EE, RE and CONSERVATION.

  75. dick smith says:

    Stark’s fee-and-dividend bill is the best hope get anything meaningful done before 2017.

  76. dick smith says:

    Bill McKibben deserves credit for putting Keystone together. But, NASA’s James Hansen gave him the ammunition. Hansen’s “game over” comment moved a lot of people to act on Keystone who would not have otherwise done so.

    Question: why not do the other thing Hansen has been pushing? Get behind a fee-and-dividend bill. Paul Stark D-Cal introduced one in October. The real debate will happen next session.

  77. Jan says:

    And as an addendum to my comment above, we also need a financial transactions tax that will go a long way in pushing investors to think more sustainably with their investments and in working to look more at longterm growth rather than short term profit at the expense of our environment which affects every aspect of our lives from health to food and water/climate policy. Also, a price on carbon (revenue neutral) must be levied by the U.S Congress withn the next two years and any monies collected either from that and or a financial transcation tax should be used to speed up the transition away from fossil fuels and to also instill more sustainable agricultural policies in our country. Also, we need to change the market mechanism that prices fossil fuels without an emphasis on indirect costs. Those who pollute our planet must start to feel the pinch financially. They have gotten away with their crimes against this planet and future generations long enough.

  78. Noah says:

    I agree – we need to put our weight behind efforts – like those being led by Public Citizen – to reform the electoral process. The influence of money is too great for an effective democracy, and we’ve seen how it has created a governance that does not govern for the good of the public anymore.

  79. Joe Romm says:

    Actually, that isn’t true.

  80. Fred Kraybill says:

    I think the next most obvious step for the climate movement is the get behind the effort in Congress to extend the Production Tax Credit for wind energy and renewables by 4 years. We fought to stop dirty energy and we need to fight for clean energy. Please go to for more information.

  81. Martin Palmer says:

    Go after the oil subsidy issue in the Senate, IMO.

    The twenty or more billion we spend per year on oil subsidies could leverage about 200 billion in loan guarantees for alternative energy development.

    Go after individual senators who voted against the ending of the fossil fuel subsidies, and surround their offices with screaming protesters, until they change their votes.

    The vote to end oil subsidies in the Senate was blocked by 52-48, I think, so we need 8 senators to change their votes. Directly transferring that money into loan guarantees for alternative energy, and huge public pressure to do this revenue neutral transfer, might persuade them to vote for such a bill.

    Get one of the Senators who voted in favor of ending the subsidies to propose a new bill to directly transfer this subsidy money into alternative energy loan guarantees.

    This would publicize the oil subsidies, highlight the connection between oil money and Senate corruption, and publicize the difference between direct subsidies to oil corporations and the much more effective loan guarantee program for alternative energy.

  82. prokaryotes says:

    Also start to build teh climate arc!

    In example

  83. Roger Shamel says:

    What should Bill, and all of us in the climate movement, do next? This is a fabulous question, Joe.

    It’s a question I’ve been thinking about for several years–ever since walking in Bill’s first climate march, into Burlington, VT. Since then, I’ve organized numerous climate actions, gotten arrested, helped surround the White House, and started preparing my family for the “interesting times” that lie ahead.

    With all due respect, many of the above ideas have been tried, and shown to be impossible to advance rapidly enough, in the face of widespread American climate denial, as fueled by the fossil fuel industry.

    Keeping the focus of the movement on Obama is crucial. Focus gives the movement power. Obama has the power speech. Obama is our elected leader. His near-silence on climate is taken as a clear sign, by millions of Americans, that climate change is not important, a popular view that they happily maintain.

    Asking for a climate speech by Obama could change everything overnight. Obama could speak about the huge job-creating opportunity that climate change represents. Obama could explain our need to restructure the American and global economies around renewable energy, permanently killing the KXL pipeline. Done right, on the basis of invigorating our economy, creating jobs, protecting our children, and maybe even respecting science, a climate speech could be used to assure Obama a second term.

    Just think: convincing ONE man to do ONE thing that could transform climate change from a nightmare to a dream is a goal we can achieve within ONE year. And 120,000 souls at the White House could do it.

    What’s not to like? CP readers and friends can “like” this idea at

  84. I totally agree that just delaying Keystone XL was a game changer.

    To start with biz analysts say TransCanada has already stranded $2billion in capital into the project. The estimated cost of just a delay to TransCanada is set at over a billion dollars. That is a huge carbon tax. It doesn’t even count the soon to be stranded capital in the oilsands production that was counting on the outlet pipe. Just huge.

    Second even the biz press is saying it only has a 50/50 chance of survival because refineries are going to need to sign contracts with other sources soon.

    Third it is just sending the pro-carbon folks into hyper-tizzy up in Canada. You can tell how much this hurt Big Tar by reading the National Post and Globe and Mail articles and opinions. Wow. They literally can’t believe it. It is spittle and lash-out up here.

    Lastly and most importantly it changed the most powerful force Big Carbon has — the narrative that they are inevitable and unstoppable.

    People saying that the tar sands oil will get to markets without Keystone XL just do not understand the basic threat of the tar sands. It is a carbon bomb because of the rate of growth and the size of the carbon deposit. Keystone XL was never the end or only pipeline. It is one pipeline of many. Big Tar has been counting on all of them to go through to explode their profit/carbon bomb. The biz press says oilsands will be lacking pipelines in 5 years if both Keystone XL and Northern Gateway aren’t built. The tar sands are a cancerous growth that requires a new pipeline ever couple years. Gateway isn’t an alternative to Keystone XL in Big Tar plans…it is in addition to it.

    Keystone XL protest was pure brilliance.

  85. I disagree. Keystone XL was never about USA getting more tar sands oil. The USA already has all the tar sands oil it needs. Keystone XL was about getting Canadian oil to saltwater for export. Because it isn’t needed to supply USA with oil it has a much smaller national security profile for Americans. Maybe our nation wants to suffer the pipeline problems to support Canada exports…but it certainly isn’t a given.

    The reason USA doesn’t need more tar sands oil?

    First Canada is already 25% of our imports, which is more than Saudi’s and Venezuela combined. It isn’t in USA national interest to be overly dependent on any single supplier of such a critical resource. No way the USA is going to get more than 50% from any nation.

    Second USA oil imports have dropped 25% in six years. That is 3.2 million fewer barrels each day that USA imports. Keystone XL was 0.8 million.

    The import decline is probably structural at this point because USA is using a lot less oil and the fuel efficiency rules Obama passed means even less oil use longer term. Also USA has been cranking up oil production and will soon be the world’s largest oil producer. Add Arctic, offshore and Baaken tight oil and you get falling oil imports for decades.

    Finally the existing pipes like Clipper and Keystone I are half empty. Plenty more oilsands crude can come our way.

    The combo means that even without any more pipelines USA probably has all the Canada pipe they need. Period. More pipe is export pipe. No way that happens if citizens create a big fuss about it in tactical way like McKibben folks did.

    Big Tar knows all this and have for years. They know USA is full of tar oil and have been saying this. They need global export pipes to explode their carbon bomb. Lots of them. Keystone XL is not a slam dunk. I don’t even think it is likely at this point.

  86. Let’s do the Impossible …Together Again & Again & Again!

  87. Bugs says:

    Put aside the whining, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and work like hell to re-elect Obama. An anti-science Republican would be far worse for the climate, pipeline or no pipeline.

  88. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    Liked! Thanks Roger. Your comment was spot on, and exactly what I was looking for. Indeed, if Obama is truly interested in his legacy, then this is his #1 issue.

  89. anders strandberg says:

    Start a political environment party!

    Elect people to every level that it is possible so that an environmental political oppsition is created

  90. FRACKED says:

    Victories require fights. The ongoing fight to stop fracking faces a crucial test on November 21 in Trenton, NJ. The Delaware River Basin Commission will vote on whether to adopt regulations which would allow fracking in the Delaware River Basin. Obama has a representative on the 5 member commission and it is likely that his vote will be the decisive one.
    There will be an organized protest on that date and, as with the Keysone XL protest, a large turnout is essential. Bill McKibben supports this protest as he mentions in his comment (#39 above).
    Josh Fox (Gasland) has created a website which provides all the details on the issue and the protest:
    I urge anyone concerned with “what’s next” to come to Trenton on November 21 and join us in this fight.
    Joe Romm says, “The key point is it absolutely would not have happened without the emergence of an organized protest movement.” Well, the organized movement to protest fracking faces it’s greatest challenge to date on November 21.
    That is What’s Next.
    Please Be There.

  91. dick smith says:

    Persuade Obama to pardon Tim DeChristopher.

  92. Mike Roddy says:

    Very good points, ZS. I hope Bill and Joe address them here.

  93. Mike Roddy says:

    Maybe because it’s born dead in today’s Congress. He can expect maybe 130 votes.

    We have to play to win. This blog is full of good ideas on this subject, especially today.

  94. Mike Roddy says:

    Ain’t happening with local papers. We know NYT is bad, but ever read one between the coasts?

  95. Mike Roddy says:

    Don’t forget gas. Exxon and the other fossil fuel companies are counting on fracking gas for power plants in the next few decades, which would be ruinous on every level.

  96. with the doves says:

    Yeah, that is an excellent article.

    Per Naomi Klein, seriously addressing climate change means ending free-market capitalism. There is a lot of truth to that. But that is a really tall order.

  97. Mike Roddy says:

    The oil companies have recently developed a cadre of acidification deniers. I read one in the Dot Earth comments section the other day: “mussels love acid”,”the ocean will still be alkaline”, etc. Unbelievable- but the suckers will go for it, and the Congressmen will use it to cover their asses.

  98. Mike Roddy says:

    Good idea!

  99. Morris Meyer says:

    I can’t tell you how many times I saw middle-aged environmentalists looking around and pinching themselves that we put something like this together. Marching in the streets to fight climate change and circling the American Petroleum Institute building was a great time.

  100. Morris Meyer says:

    I already asked my friend who is one of the movers and shakers with the 2012 campaign about this. We’re putting a moon shot sized effort into clean energy without talking about the vision of a moon shot.

  101. Jeff Huggins says:

    Allow Me To Clarify

    Allow me to clarify something about my assessment, because it seems to have been misunderstood. Witness Joe’s comment, in which he responds to mine by saying: “The delay is a HUGE win, since absent the movement, this was going to be a definite ‘yes’ for the WH.”

    To be clear, I applaud the great efforts of all those who have been involved. I applaud the energy of the movement (although even more is needed), and I’m impressed with, and applaud, the fact that the movement has attracted Obama’s attention. He can’t simply ignore it. I’ve been very involved myself: I demonstrated at the White House well over a year ago, on Earth Day in 2010, and I demonstrated while Obama was in San Francisco recently, and I’ve been to all the annual events, and so forth. My criticism is not aimed at the intentions and growing energy of the movement, nor do I ignore the impressive fact that the movement has apparently caught Obama’s attention.

    Instead, my point is this: The decision to delay the KXL decision, on Obama’s part, didn’t (and doesn’t) resolve the problem of Keystone XL. I’m sorry if that FACTUAL point seems to rain on the parade. Without even having to speculate about Obama’s motives or where he currently stands, the facts alone tell us that the decision to delay amounts to a “move”, much like a move in a chess game. Thus, it does not signify the winning of the war against Keystone XL. It doesn’t even signify the winning of a battle against Keystone XL. Well, let me modify that, only slightly: If it’s true that without the movement, Obama would already have approved Keystone XL, or would automatically approve it in the next couple months, then (certainly) by managing to delay a decision on Obama’s part, the movement has done just that: managed to raise enough attention and concern to cause Obama to delay the decision. But unless someone can tell me what Obama’s decision WILL be, we can’t credibly consider the delay to be anything more than a delay.

    The reason that it’s important to acknowledge Obama’s decision as a “move”, like in a chess game, is that this allows us to keep in mind (and not ignore) the truth of the matter, which is that the game is far from over, that the final outcome is still an open matter, that the final outcome may very well still depend on what WE do next, and that the next move is ours. THAT is the point of the suggestions I’ve listed above. If we don’t see this as a “move” on Obama’s part, and if we think (erroneously) that we’ve won the chess game, or if we think we can play softly now, let down our guard, and fall into any trap (whether intentional or not) that his move sets us up for, then (as in a chess game) we’ll put ourselves on the road to defeat, with respect to Keystone XL.

    In sum, then, I applaud the movement for attracting Obama’s attention and causing him to have to make this move. But the movement will miss the point entirely — and stop deserving much applause — if it thinks that it has won the chess game or that it can play softly at this point. The movement will miss the point entirely if it thinks that it can get up from the chess table and not think very carefully about its next move. And I’m not talking about a “next move” that falls after the election, or a “next move” that doesn’t have to do with Keystone XL. Instead, I’m talking about “next moves” focused on Keystone XL, to take place BEFORE the election, in order to put Obama in a position where he really does have to ultimately say ‘NO’ to Keystone XL (that is, promise to do so in order to allow us to choose how to vote on an informed basis).

    In any case, the “next steps” are important, and my comment, above, suggests some important ones.

    Be Well,


  102. Jeff Huggins says:

    Roger, as always, I agree with your idea that Obama should use the bully pulpit and give a clear, credible, and courageous talk about climate change (and related matters) to the American people.

    Yet I’d be interested in your thoughts on this: For the very same reasons that Obama chose to “duck and delay” the KXL decision until after the election, it seems that he would choose to “duck and delay” any clear coming-out “State of the Climate Address” regarding climate change.

    What I anticipate is this: He’ll probably avoid the issue of KXL and avoid/minimize the issue of climate change EXCEPT to this degree: he’ll use the vague hope-type talk and vague promises to take these matters seriously, during the election process. In other words, he’ll say what he thinks he needs to say in order to retain the (increasingly hesitant and gullible) support of his base, without alienating so-called independents or turning off his fund-providers. In other words, he’ll try to turn these issues into marketing aids to get re-elected rather than actually DOING anything about them. In essence, he’ll set the stage where we’ll think that we have to vote for him even to get the privilege of actually seeing what he’ll really do, once elected.

    Will he make the KXL decision before the election? No, we now know.

    Will he make a clear speech about climate change, stating a strong stance on the matter, laying out the sorts of things that he WILL do, if elected? No, not of the sort that you and I would like; not of the sort that is clear enough that we can count on it. He WILL LIKELY, on the other hand, make the same sorts of vague and hopeful speeches that he made last time around, and (like last time) those may very well include what seem like promises that are later broken. What’s new?

    All of which is why I think (as I suggest in earlier comments) we have to put clear questions to him, expect answers, and demand clear answers:

    “President (and candidate) Obama: If reelected, will you approve Keystone XL, or will you not approve it? We want to know, we need to know, and we demand to know. Tell us clearly, if you want our votes.”

    That is one KEY example of a question we should put to him, and a demand we should make of him. Keystone XL is NO DIFFERENT from any other issue regarding which voters understandably and rightfully want answers from candidates: “What will you do, specifically, regarding issue X if elected?”

    I am very curious, at this point, whether Joe/CP will even acknowledge that such a question makes complete sense and should be posed (until it’s answered) to all candidates, Obama included.

    This thread seeks suggestions regarding “next steps”. One is to pose this question to Obama and all other candidates: “If elected or reelected, will you approve, or not approve, Keystone XL? Answer clearly and specifically, please.”

    So it’ll be interesting, and revealing, whether CP,, and the other climate and environmental organizations adopt that as a key “next step”. Indeed, it will be interesting to see if it is even acknowledged, discussed, and entertained as an idea explicitly here. I’m starting to get the impression that people might view it as too-inconvenient of a question to be raised? We’ll see — and I will be impressed, and applaud loudly, if the movement does raise that question to Obama, expect an answer, and demand an answer.

    I’ve gotten a bit off the subject of a climate speech on Obama’s part, but the same issue applies. Will we put up with vague hopeful promises, or will we demand to see actions on Obama’s part, or at least CLEAR and SPECIFIC and CREDIBLE promises, before the election? So that we can decide WHETHER to vote again for Obama as genuinely informed voters rather than fooled voters.

    Cheers for now,


  103. Jeff Huggins says:

    As Mentioned Before — and a Farewell

    As I’ve mentioned above, I’ve posted some concrete ideas — some focused next steps — in earlier comments under other posts recently. So I’ll refer to them here, as follows (rather than trying to rewrite them all over again):

    Under Joe’s post titled ‘Mitt Romney IS a Member of a Cult…’ (Oct. 28), my Comment 5, titled ‘Four Specific Names and Some ACTION (please!)’ (Oct. 28) contains a very concrete idea that would involve Dr. Drew Gilpin Faust (Harvard), Steve Ellis (Bain), Orit Gadiesh (Bain), and Count Jacques Rogge (the IOC), and hopefully Joe and/or Bill McKibben to get it started. It’s an easy, concrete idea with a potential for huge influence.

    Under the post titled ‘Open Thread Plus Solar Cartoon(s) of the Day’ (Oct. 29), my Comment 15, titled ‘Step One of Another Idea’ (Oct. 29) includes another idea worth noting.

    Under the post titled ‘NBC’s Must-See TV…’ (Nov. 2), my Comment 8, titled ‘NBC, the Republican Debates, Climate Change, and ClimateProgress’ (Nov. 2), contains another concrete idea that, I think, would be most helpful.

    Two other previous comments, hopefully worth noting:

    Under the post titled ‘Open Thread Plus Population Cartoon of the Week’ (Nov. 5), my Comment 6, titled ‘Lawrence O’Donnell, Rachel Maddow, ClimateProgress and Joe, and etc.’ (Nov. 5).

    Under the post titled ‘Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal Downplays Study Confirming Global Warming’ (Nov. 9), my Comment 3, titled ‘Time for Action’ (Nov. 9).

    The ideas in the above-mentioned comments are all concrete, easily started, and would hopefully involve Joe/CP in getting them started (which could be done very concretely by means of simple posts on Joe’s part). They are also, potentially, very-high-impact ideas: a great deal of “bang”, for limited effort.

    A Farewell

    With this said, I’ve now suggested a wealth of concrete and do-able ideas, that could (hopefully) be helpful, and will be turning my attention for a time to the Occupy movement. I’ve done “all I can do”, presently at least, regarding climate change and commenting here. So I will, for now, say farewell. I’d be happy to meet with folks in person in the San Francisco Bay Area, if any of the leaders of the climate movement happen to find themselves in the area and would enjoy meeting.

    Be Well, and I hope some of this was helpful.


  104. Peter Mizla says:

    It may seem like a tall order, as you say- but in the end the huge ‘climate problem’ will have to be solved- if not capitalism in itself will not survive.

  105. mulp says:

    536 Republicans are running for office to set Federal energy policy – is it realistic to defeat every single one of those 536 Republicans?

    Is it necessary?

    And is it a win to stop the XL Pipeline while systematically continuing to turn the Appalachian mountain range in to something resembling Marscape – flatten mountains, filled valleys, and barren plains? Or to increase the pillage and plunder of Africa to supply the ever increasing demand for fossil fuels?

    The first Earth Day was followed by targeting the Dirty Dozen in Congress for defeat. The original “Dirty Dozen” list was developed by Environmental Action and the League of Conservation Voters in 1970 environmental movement, shortly after Earth Day. [3]
    Rep. George Hyde Fallon D-MD, defeated in primary election
    Rep. Byron Rogers D-CO, defeated in primary election
    Rep. Ross Adair, R-IN defeated by J. Edward Roush
    Rep. William Hanes Ayres, R-OH, defeated by John F. Seiberling[4]
    Rep. William Cowger R-KY defeated by Romano Mazzoli[5]
    Rep. David W. Dennis D-IN, Re-elected
    Rep. John Henry Kyl R-IA, Re-elected, defeated 1972.
    Rep. Odin Langen R-MN, defeated by Robert Bergland
    Rep. Earl Landgrebe, R-IN, Re-elected
    Rep. Henry C. Schadeberg R-WI, defeated by Les Aspin
    Rep. Larry Winn R-KS, Re-elected
    Rep. Roger Zion R-IN, Re-elected

    It took a quarter century before another dirty dozen list was made, perhaps in the belief that Nixon creating the EPA had protected the environment and environmentalists had won.

  106. Joan Savage says:


    Many of us went by charter motor coach, by far a lower carbon footprint than by plane.

    2007 comparison

  107. Joan Savage says:

    My daughter suggested the next step should be a boycott.

    I told her about the earlier boycott conversation on CP among Mike Roddy, Lou Grinzo and myself, with a note of encouragement from Bill McKibben. I asked my daughter what would an appropriate product, and I look forward to her reply.

  108. Joan Savage says:

    A word of wisdom from an anonymous former White House staffer who was part of the crowd encircling the White House:

    No matter which decision the President makes on Keystone XL, it will go to court. And, do we want to leave this up to a judge?

    To which I add, the postponement for a revised EIS gives precious time to gain traction in Congress, reach a legislative solution with reach in international diplomacy, and stay out of court.

  109. Celia Schorr says:

    I agree that election reform/money in politics is high priority – – relates directly to our inability to put a price on carbon. Climate Hawks should be supporting efforts to pass a 28th amendment to the constitution to effectively overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizen’s United case and the doctrine of corporate personhood.

  110. Joan Savage says:

    The conversation has to include a NIMBY-Watch or more appropriately, a Nimble-Company-Watch. Example:
    A coal-gasification plant proposed for Jamesville, New York, was firmly opposed by local people (2007); the investors moved the proposed site to Scriba NY, near three aging nuclear power plants, and it was again successfully opposed (2010). The investors are said to be looking at a site in West Virginia. has a list of proposed coal power plants in the US.

  111. spiritkas says:

    I loved the other comments I’ve read, but sadly don’t have time to read them all so I apologize for the repeat if someone already said this, but…

    I suggest an energy company be started and use those 1850’s era pricing laws in West Virginia to ‘Develop Energy Resources’ and gain the rights to the mountaintops that would otherwise be removed. Write it up plain-jane style and make no mention of how the energy will be extracted from the Mountains. Then build wind-mills

    I think the best thing to do with fundraising and money collection would be to establish a wind-farm and training center for up and coming leaders in the green movement. Set up on a mountain, run the place off wind power energy and money, and also make money by running training seminars on green leadership.

    Now that’s a lofty long-term goal for or whomever wants to organize it. Buy the permit, save a mountain, and put 1 wind turbine at at time on it, I know they’re profitable. Use money to make money :) while making green energy and blocking some mountaintop removal ‘mining’.

    If nothing else raising the money to buy development rights to the land shouldn’t be too huge. Then sub-lease the land or sub-contract to a wind energy company!

    We can’t rely on the practice being banned, because they’d just go back to mining the coal. We could do better to just buy up the access rights to that public land with coal in it that Massey energy et. al. are stealing erhm, being massively and mostly invisibly subsidized to ‘develop’.


  112. Steve Strong says:

    As an aging baby boomer who well remembers the Peace Protests of that era I have to say the Occupy movement is where McKibben and other climate change believers will get the biggest bang for the buck. OWS feels real to me. And, with the crackdowns from mayors, it’s only going to grow.

    Please read the piece in the Nov. 28 issue of THE NATION by Naomi Price: Capitalism Vs. Climate. Her argument for a strategy is sound. As I see it, she is saying climate Change the catalyst argument underlying much of the social and cultural changes the OWS movement seeks.

    OWS is going to grow and get much bigger. I don’t think it can be denied. Hells Bells! I live in Tulsa, OK – reddest of red states and home of Jim Inhofe – and OWS is alive and well here!

  113. Post warnings on all fossil fuel advertisements and on all gas pumps. e.g.:
    “WARNING: Burning Gasoline Increases The Threat Of Serious Climate Change. The City Of _______ Urges You To Economize On The Use Of Gas And Seek Alternatives Such As Public Transit, Bicycles, And Electric Cars.”

  114. Scott Brophy says:

    I have been thinking about this question since it was posed here last week, and have posted an answer at “Say What?” I would welcome feedback there from Joe, Bill, or anyone who stumbles across this.