Issue # 6 of 350 Pittsburgh's biweekly digest
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In this issue of Climate Action News ...
  • March for a Clean Energy Revolution
  • Federal Coal Leasing Program
  • Paul Hawken and Project Drawdown
  • American Wind Power Conference
  • 350 Pittsburgh Ventures Outdoors!
  • New Items on our web site
Now is the time to stand up and act for our future and future generations. Join 350 Pittsburgh, and thousands of others across the country, on Sunday, July 24th in Philadelphia to bring a clear message to the Democratic National Convention: we must act on climate change and we must do it now. On the eve of the Democratic National Convention the March for a Clean Energy Revolution will demand a ban on fracking and all extreme energy extraction on fossil fuel infrastructure, investment in solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources, and a just transition to a renewable energy economy. 

Join 350 Pittsburgh in the streets of Philly for a Clean Energy Revolution!  THERE ARE BUSSES FROM PITTSBURGH.   Please reserve your seat today: cleanenergymarch.org/transportation
 
Volunteers are needed to phone bank for the March: Tuesday, June 21st, 6 to 8:30 pm, at the Thomas Merton Center.  Call Eva at 513-600-0580 or email  ewestheimer@fwwatch.org  if interested. Pizza will be provided.
Bureau of Land Management Hearing on Federal Coal Leasing Program 
Tuesday, June 28th, 11AM-7PM
Pittsburgh Convention Center, 1000 Fort Duquesne Blvd.


For decades, the federal government has been leasing taxpayer-owned public lands to fossil fuel companies. Now, nearly 40% of all coal produced in the US comes from public land. The government recently halted new federal coal leasing to study the impact of federal coal leasing on the climate. This is your chance to tell the federal government to Keep Dirty Fuels in the Ground on public land!  Get more information from the Sierra Club.
Dr. Aurora Sharrard (Green Building Alliance), Paul Hawken, Dr. Joylette Portlock
Project Drawdown ... What Each of Us Can Do
 
Paul Hawken
, environmentalist, entrepreneur and author (Blessed Unrest), came to Pittsburgh last month for the final event in this year’s Inspire Speakers Series, presented by the Green Building Alliance. He and fellow researchers at Project Drawdown have created a Solutions List of one hundred actions to reach the point of drawdown: where we’re removing more carbon from the atmosphere than we’re pumping into it.  Each of these actions can be taken at the individual and community levels. They don’t require government or big business to lead the way. And they don’t require inventing new technologies; these are all things we already know how to do.

“The list is comprised of ‘no regrets’ solutions – actions that make sense to take regardless of their climate value since they have intrinsic benefits to communities and economies. These solutions improve lives, create jobs, restore the environment, enhance security, generate resilience, and advance human health.”

The Project Drawdown team will provide interactive modeling on their web site to show how much impact these solutions can have on restoring our climate. Here are just a few actions from the Solutions List, along with links to local examples and further reading: Local environmental activist Dr. Joylette Portlock (communitopia.org), spoke at the same Inspire event, and reported that 65% of us don’t talk with family and friends about global warming. What if, instead of focusing on the gloom and doom of impending catastrophe, we begin talking about the many things we CAN do to make a difference, and how to scale those actions to be significant for the quality of all life on earth? As Dr. Portlock says: “Don’t just sit there - Do Something!”  – Pat Buddemeyer
The Winds of Change: Report from the American Wind Power Conference

By Fred Kraybill (aka "Climate Hawk" on our web site)

On May 23-26 I attended the American Wind Power Conference in New Orleans, with my friend Ron Collins.  I have been attending the wind power conference every year for the last 7 years and the future of American wind power has never looked this bright.  The US now has 75,000 megawatts of wind power installed across about 40 states, which represents about 5% of our electricity generation. The price of wind power keeps coming down and is now competitive with fossil fuels in many areas of the country.  Furthermore, we know that a price on carbon pollution will happen someday and that will only strengthen wind power.

But today there is a lot happening at the federal level to strengthen wind power.  In December of 2015 Congress passed a 5-year extension of the wind energy tax credits that reduces the credit 20% per year until it expires. This gives the industry more certainty than they have had in years. At least three times in the past Congress has allowed the wind tax credits to expire.This causes wind farm developers to rush to complete construction before the tax credit expires, only to see a harmful drop in business after the expiration.  In recent years, these rules have improved so that the wind farm developers only need to start construction before the tax credit expires or reduces.  They then have a generous 4 years to complete construction.

At the state level we are seeing some very aggressive increases in renewable portfolio standards (RPS): Hawaii 100% renewable by 2045; California 50% renewable by 2030; New York 50% renewable by 2030.  We are also seeing states in the windy midwest install wind power rapidly without an RPS because wind farms produce so well there.  With the advent of the Clean Power Plan, more states will be choosing wind to meet their clean energy targets. 

Cities are also pursuing clean energy targets. Twelve U.S. cities, including San Diego and San Francisco, have enacted 100% Clean Energy Goals and dozens more are working on their own clean energy goals. 

So wind energy is getting help at the federal, state, and city level.  Another surprising driver of wind power is the fact that many large corporations are buying wind power directly.  These purchases of wind energy provide the company with a long term fixed price for electricity which is a great hedge against inflation.  A recent example is a power purchase agreement between Amazon and Iberdrola, a developer that will build the first utility scale wind farm in North Carolina.

There is also innovation on the horizon for wind power.  For example, taller wind turbine towers are being built using concrete which reduces cost and helps to catch more reliable wind energy at greater heights.

Finally, one of the biggest steps for 100% clean energy is the development of offshore wind power.  Europe has been building offshore wind farms for years.  Offshore wind is still pricey but as economies of scale help reduce the price, the US will certainly be one of the best markets for offshore wind.  The whole eastern seaboard of the US has shallow waters ideal for wind power and this vast resource can easily power the whole east coast of the US. 

So most importantly I want you to know that the US is taking bold action to cut carbon pollution.  The solution to pollution is renewable, it's doable!
350 Pittsburgh Ventures Outdoors!
Dorcas Evans-Miller, Warwick Powell, and Fred Kraybill staffed a booth for 350 Pittsburgh at the Venture Outdoors Festival on May 21.  They promoted the June 14 Clean Energy Lobby Day in Harrisburg with the Sierra Club, Penn Environment and several other clean energy groups.  They also promoted the March for a Clean Energy Revolution on Sunday July 24 in Philadelphia.  One of our biggest challenges as climate hawks is to talk to the public about the need to get serious about climate change and to support clean energy initiatives.
New items on the 350 Pittsburgh web site:
 
ACTION: Public Support Needed for Changes in Rules Governing Oil and Gas Drilling. Public action is needed to counter attacks on legislation intended to protect citizens’ health from the most harmful effects of oil and gas drilling.
 
Pittsburgh's New, Wild, and Largest City Park. Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto deserves our thanks for negotiating the gift of Hays land for a new city park that could be the envy of other cities.
 
House Republicans Reject the Carbon Tax Idea. Strong measures to curtail climate change have been rejected by House Republicans, including all those from western Pennsylvania.
 
2016 Guide to Farmers’ Markets. Use an interactive map to find the farmers’ market closest to you.
 
Trump on Climate Change: A Hoax in the U.S. but Real in Ireland. Impact of climate change justifies building another wall, but this one is a seawall in Ireland.
June 15, 2016
Copyright © 2016 Pittsburgh 350, All rights reserved.


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