Posts Tagged ‘Paris Agreement’

posted by | on , , , , | No comments

By: Artisha Naidu

On November 7th, 2020, a new president was elected, and the future of the environment is looking healthier. The Biden-Harris ticket won the 2020 United States presidential election, making Joe Biden the 46th president-elect and Kamala Harris the first female and person of Asian or African decent to be elected vice president. The change in administration is not only a huge for win history, but also for the planet. While some changes, such as new leadership for the EPA and rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, are conventional, others are revolutionary. President-elect Biden’s plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice details a dramatic shift towards a clean energy revolution. The plan proposes a clean energy federal investment of $1.7 trillion and additional of at least $5 trillion over the next ten years. The key components of the plan are as follows:

  1. Ensure the U.S. achieves a 100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions by 2050;
  2. Build a stronger, more resilient nation by investing in smart infrastructure;
  3. Build and maintain global partnerships to combat climate change;
  4. Rectify harm caused by disproportionate pollution towards minority and low-income communities; and
  5. Create green union jobs for all, especially for workers and communities who powered the industrial revolution and subsequent decades of economic growth.

Read the full plan here. The following subsections detail some, but not all, key points of the above components. 

Achieve a 100% Clean Energy Economy and Reach Net-Zero Emissions by 2050

The Biden Administration’s primary goal is to achieve a 100% clean energy economy and reaches net-zero emissions by 2050. While progressive clean energy legislation is expected to pass in the House, passage through the Senate remains difficult. Therefore, Biden plans to sign a series of executive orders to push the green agenda forward while simultaneously pushing for stronger legal protections. Some of his strongest clean energy legislation includes:

  • Setting methane pollution limits for oil and gas operations; 
  • Implementing aggressive appliance- and building-efficiency standards;
  • Protecting biodiversity by conserving 30% of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030;
  • Researching nuclear energy; and
  • Empowering local communities to develop transportation solutions.

Build a Stronger, More Resilient Nation

Citing the rise in natural disasters, the Biden Administration believes stronger infrastructure is vital to mitigating climate change’s impacts. Biden proposes strengthening relationships with state and local leaders to build resilient infrastructure while creating well-paying union jobs. In addition to increasing financial investments, he will:

  • Reform common-sense zoning and building codes;
  • Ensure that the nation creates the cleanest, safest, and fastest freight and passenger rail system in the world; and
  • Lower property insurance premiums for those who invest in resilient infrastructure. 

Build and Maintain Global Partnerships to Combat Climate Change

Biden will rejoin the Paris Climate Accord on his first day in office to strengthen global partnerships. The administration emphasizes the need to collaborate globally to effectively combat climate change. He will further global partnerships by achieving the following:

Organize a climate world summit within his first 100 days in office to persuade leaders of major carbon-emitting nations to further their commitment towards combatting climate change;

  • Embrace the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol;
  • Make future bilateral U.S.-China agreements on carbon mitigation;
  • Demand a worldwide ban on fossil fuel subsidies; and 
  • Provide “green debt relief” for developing nations that commit towards combatting climate change.  

Rectify Harm Caused by Disproportionate Pollution Towards Minority and Low-Income Communities

People of color and low-income people are disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change. President-elect Biden will address the inequities headfirst. In addition to reinstating federal protections designed to protect communities, he will:

  • Direct the EPA and Justice Department to pursue criminal anti-pollution cases to the fullest extent of the law and seek additional legislation if needed;
  • Ensure safe drinking water for all, including Flint, MI; and
  • Prioritize marginalized community members for green union jobs.

Create Green Union Jobs 

Biden will launch a national effort to create the jobs while building sustainable infrastructure for an equitable clean energy future. Beyond creating union jobs already detailed in Biden’s Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice plan, the incoming administration projects to add additional union jobs in the Biden Plan To Build A Modern, Sustainable Infrastructure And An Equitable Clean Energy Future. Biden will ensure that jobs are equitably distributed across rural and urban communities for people of all backgrounds. He will also prioritize providing jobs for workers impacted by the energy transition, like coal miners and power plant workers. He details specific ways he will create well-paying green union jobs below:

  • Infrastructure- By rebuilding crumbling infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, green spaces, water systems, electricity grids and universal broadband.
  • Auto- Creating about 1 million jobs in the auto industry, domestic auto supply chains, and auto infrastructure, by advancing electric vehicle production.  
  • Transit: Providing every city with 100,000 or more residents with zero-emissions public transportation options that will lead to jobs with labor protections. 
  • Power Sector: Creating American-made electricity to achieve a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035. 
  • Buildings: Upgrade 4 million buildings and weatherize 2 million homes over 4 years, which will create at least 1 million jobs with a choice to join a union.
  • Innovation: Drive innovation and commercialization of battery storage, negative emissions technologies, the next generation of building materials, renewable hydrogen, and advanced nuclear in the United States. 
  • Agriculture and Conservation: Create jobs in climate-smart agriculture, resilience, and conservation. At least 250,000 of these jobs will be to plug abandoned oil and natural gas wells and reclaim abandoned materials.

***

Artisha Naidu is a Government and Public Sector Consultant with Deloitte LLC. She is from California and has an extensive background in energy, environmental sustainability, and urban policy. Artisha is launching the Girls’ Leadership Apprenticeship and Mentorship (GLAM) Program, which provides workforce development to high school girls in D.C. She also tutors and mentors youth from marginalized communities and is a Community Outreach Coordinator for IMPACT Now. She holds a Masters of Public Administration from the George Washington University and a Bachelor’s of Science in Community and Regional Development from UC Davis. In her spare time, Artisha loves to travel, hike, read, and laugh.

posted by | on , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on How Online Campaigns Can Spark Action on Environmental Issues

By Lauren Meling, digital strategist and DC EcoWomen member

2019: it’s the start of a new year and anything is possible! Let this fresh start motivate you to push for more climate action this year. It’s no time to give up, since your voice is needed more than ever. But where to begin?

Look no further: the device you’re using right now can be the starting point for fresh activism in the new year. Online actions can be a crucial part of sparking action on environmental issues. Sometimes they get a bad rap — hence the “clicktivism” pejorative — but the truth is, digital and social media can reach more people at a faster rate than traditional media, educating them and inspiring further action. Don’t believe me? Here are 7 ways digital campaigns helped spur on real change.

1. LEGO: Everything is NOT Awesome

Everything is awesome? Not when you’re a kids’ company partnering with Big Oil. Greenpeace’s emotional video took Lego to task for its $116 million partnership with Shell, a company drilling in the Arctic — devastating the climate for the kids who play with its toys. After just three months and a million people showing their support, Lego ended the partnership. Meanwhile, Shell has halted its Arctic drilling exploration.

2. Clean Power Plan

Did you know the EPA received 1.6 million public comments about the Clean Power Plan — a landmark regulation that placed limits on the amount of carbon pollution emitted by power plants? As part of the federal rulemaking process, the public can submit comments to communicate their support for or reasons against a proposed regulation. Democracy! And in this modern age, you can do it online through regulations.gov.

Nonprofits and organizations across the country banded together to encourage as many Americans as possible to share their support for cleaner power and reducing carbon pollution from power plants.Today, the fate of the Clean Power Plan is in limbo, and the current administration is working on new rulemaking to replace it. If and when that happens, you’ll likely have a chance to get active online and demand stronger carbon pollution regulations. Follow the experts at Union of Concerned Scientists or Environmental Defense Fund to stay updated.

3. Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement — a worldwide commitment signed by 193 countries who promised to decrease carbon emissions in order to prevent climate catastrophe — is the biggest step the world has taken to address climate change. And while the US president says he wants to exit, the fact is he can’t — at least not until November 4, 2020.

So how did this global milestone happen? In short, the pressure had been building for years, with time running short on addressing climate change to keep global temperatures under 1.5* Celcius. By 2015, even the Pope got on board with his Laudato si encyclical. Environmental organizations worldwide combined forces to campaign for a strong agreement using online and social media. Together they delivered 6.2 million petition signatures at the United Nations for the start of COP21.

4. Standing Rock

When did you first hear about Standing Rock? Chances are, you first read about it through social media. Do you remember when everyone was ‘checking in’ on Facebook at Standing Rock and changing their status to “I stand with Standing Rock”? In 2016, a million people checked in to show their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline (#NoDAPL) in response to a viral post claiming that police were using Facebook to surveill and target protesters on site. Whether that was the case or not, one thing is sure – it certainly called an exponential amount of attention and support to the issue. This battle may have been lost, but the war wages on.

5. Flint, MI

When the mainstream media outlets weren’t taking notice, social media was lighting up with posts about the #FlintWaterCrisis. The problem in Flint still isn’t solved, but thanks to the spotlight shone on the problem first in social media, more organizations, nonprofits, and even celebrities stepped up to help, mobilizing funds and providing immediate assistance for those in need, likely saving lives in the process.

6. #StopSucking

More recently, one single item has earned the ire of social media gadflies everywhere: the plastic straw, making it the ‘biggest trend of 2018.’ Today, cities, states, and corporations are enacting or considering limits to plastic straws. But where did this momentum come from? In short, it can be traced back to one unfortunate sea turtle. After the video went viral, the Surfrider picked up the #StopSucking banner this year to campaign against straws. Soon after, celebrities and influencers showed their support on social media.

Reducing the unnecessary use of plastic straws is one relatively easy step in the right direction. But it’s only a starting point. Now if only people would also curtail their use of single use plastic cups and bottles too!

What can you do?

If you’d like to join in, there are several ways for you to get involved in 2019. First of all, make sure you’re following organizations working on the issues you’re passionate about on whatever social media you use most. That way, you’ll be in the loop when they have actions for you to make a difference. For instance, you can find DC EcoWomen on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and more ways to get involved here.

Another tip: Tag a few of your friends or followers to make sure they get notified when you share an action online. You can also do the same thing by joining a Facebook group focused on your favorite topics, or starting a group chat with a few of your friends who care about the same issue – for example, water issues or reducing single-use plastic. (Just make sure you’re not sending out every message to every one of your friends — no one like a spammer!)

Lauren Meling has dedicated her career to finding what exactly it takes to make people take action online to serve a cause. She uses her digital strategy experience and skillset combining email marketing, social media, search engine marketing, website optimization, and content creation to engage online communities in meaningful action to confront some of the most challenging crises humanity faces today. She may not be a superhero, but she plays one on the internet.