Home > Uncategorized > Multiple Pipeline, Rail Oil Shipments, and Off Shore LNG & Drilling Controversies Provide Huge Opportunity to Educate and Organize on Climate Change

Multiple Pipeline, Rail Oil Shipments, and Off Shore LNG & Drilling Controversies Provide Huge Opportunity to Educate and Organize on Climate Change

NJ Environmental Leaders Missing Huge Opportunities

Climate Change Must Be A Central Focus in Fossil Infrastructure Battles

Public Education & Organizing Needed On The Science of “Leave It In The Ground”

(Source: The Guardian)

(Source: The Guardian)

Right now in New Jersey, thousands of residents – many of whom were previously politically inactive or not affiliated with “environmental” groups or causes  – are turning out to public hearings and demonstrations to protest all forms of fossil infrastructure: pipelines, oil rail shipments, off shore LNG ports, electric transmission lines, and power plants.

The recent announcement by the Obama administration to open up the Atlantic coast to off shore oil and gas drilling has sparked huge public outrage, activating thousands more opponents of fossil infrastructure.

These battles provide enormous opportunities to inform, activate, and organize thousands of people to the common threads that link all these fossil infrastructure projects: climate change.

These battles provide “Occupy” like public platforms – events, protests, and formal public hearings – to gather huge groups of like minded people in a unified collective endeavor – politics and democracy in action – a means to build the climate movement.

These controversies can generate significant media coverage to shape public opinion and hold elected officials accountable.

As Bruce Dixon has written in his series: Organizing 101 in response to Ferguson and the “Black Lives Matter” movement:

It’s not a movement unless it’s organized, and it might never happen unless YOU organize it.

Unfortunately, I hope I’m wrong, but from where I sit, I don’t see this kind of advocacy and organizing happening.

I don’t see a unified climate campaign in NJ.

I don’t see dissemination of the science or policy analysis. I don’t see media message and talking points. I don’t see efforts to connect the various fossil infrastructure battles to a common set of related climate issue. And I don’t see efforts to educate and organize all the thousands of people now actively opposing these various fossil infrastructure projects.

I see little if any public eduction on the climate issue – particularly the most relevant science, which says that we must keep at least 80% of currently known fossil fuels reserves in the ground:

Leave fossil fuels buried to prevent climate change, study urges

The new analysis calls into question the gigantic sums of private and government investment being ploughed into exploration for new fossil fuel reserves, according to UCL’s Professor Paul Ekins, who conducted the research with McGlade. “In 2013, fossil fuel companies spent some $670bn (£443bn) on exploring for new oil and gas resources. One might ask why they are doing this when there is more in the ground than we can afford to burn,” he said….

“One lesson of this work is unmistakably obvious: when you’re in a hole, stop digging,” said Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org which is campaigning to get investors to dump their fossil fuel stocks. “These numbers show that unconventional and ‘extreme’ fossil fuel – Canada’s tar sands, for instance – simply have to stay in the ground.”

“Given these numbers, it makes literally no sense for the industry to go hunting for more fossil fuel,” McKibben said. “We’ve binged to the edge of our own destruction. The last thing we need now is to find a few more liquor stores to loot.”

Another strong climate related reason to oppose these fossil infrastructure projects is the impact that the massive capital investments and artificially low fossil fuel prices have on the economics and investment opportunities required for conversion to renewable zero carbon energy, see:

Climate issue are engaged in few, if any, of the arguments being advanced by opponents  of these various fossil infrastructure projects.

The climate issues are ignored in virtually all of the tons of media storied these controversies have generated.

NJ’s environmental leaders can and must do better – or new leadership and organizations must step up to fill the void.

And they will have to do it without funding from NJ’s elite foundations, who have abandoned politics and advocacy work.

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