Rise for Climate Global Day of Action, Sept. 8, Demands Transition to 100% Renewable Energy

Interview with Lindsay Meiman, U.S. communications coordinator with the climate justice group 350.org, conducted by Scott Harris

The Trump administration put forward a proposal on Aug. 21 to replace President Obama’s Clean Power Plan initiative, designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change.  Trump’s new rules would produce a weaker plan that would allow states to write their own rules on coal-fired power plants. While the federal government will set carbon emission guidelines under the plan, states will now have the latitude to establish lower standards. The EPA’s own analysis finds that under Trump’s plan, carbon dioxide emissions would be 12 times higher than under the Obama rules and could cause up to 1,400 more premature deaths annually by 2030 – as well as trigger 48,000 new cases of asthma across the U.S.
As Trump and his administration continue their effort to dismantle or weaken environmental regulations, dozens of environmental and other activist groups are gearing up for a global day of protests called “Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice,” which will take place on Sept. 8, four days before the start of California Gov. Jerry Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit –– and two months before the important U.S. mid-term elections.
As record temperatures, drought, wildfires and extreme weather events signal the consequences of global warming, the coalition of organizations sponsoring Rise for Climate are calling for a rapid transition away from fossil fuels to a 100 percent renewable energy economy. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Lindsay Meiman, U.S. communications coordinator with the climate justice group 350.org. Here, she discusses the Rise for Climate protests that are being organized around the world on Sept. 8.

LINDSAY MEIMAN: We hear a lot of rhetoric from elected officials and ordinary people everywhere are rising up to demand that we move those words into action and into real commitment. So Thursday, Sept. 6 in New York City, on Saturday, Sept. 8 across New York state, across the United States and around the world there are hundreds of actions in nearly every community. And you can find an action near you at riseforclimate.org. If there is not an action near you, then you should definitely start one. And so there will be some major actions here in the U.S., including what is expected to be the largest climate march that the west coast has ever seen happening in San Francisco on Sept. 8 ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit. And this also comes just about six weeks before midterm elections. So a huge goal of these actions is to really model the kind of leadership that we need our elected officials to heed and stand with people that they’re meant to represent who are calling for a just transition to 100 percent renewable, no new fossil fuel projects and good fair union jobs that support this transition.

And so we’re really excited to show this mass wave of people who are rising up where elected officials are so far stalling and you know, we’re really seeing, especially in light of the Trump administration from the get-go, they made it clear that their interests stood on the side of corporations. And if nothing else, the election of Donald Trump has really shown us that we can’t wait around for someone else to take action. Elected officials, governors, mayors, city councilors, they can’t wait for the federal administration to take action. It’s really on all of us to build this world that we so desperately need.

BETWEEN THE LINES: Thanks for that, Lindsay. Tell us more about the California-based Global Climate Action Summit happening Sept. 10 through 14. What’s that all about?

LINDSAY MEIMAN: So, California Gov. Jerry Brown, who is in his final year of his office as governor, is holding a Global Climate Action Summit where he’s inviting non-state – nonfederal actors, at the state and local level from all around the world to come to California and announce the major commitments hopefully for bold climate action. We don’t know exactly just yet who will be attending or what exactly to expect. But, we are rising for climate jobs and justice just one week before to so exactly what the people expect and what the people demand come out of that summit. So we will all certainly be keeping a close eye. We will be keeping the pressure on before, during, and after that summit and hopefully get some good commitments out of that.

BETWEEN THE LINES: On Friday, Aug. 10, the Democratic National Committee overwhelmingly passed a resolution sponsored by DNC Chairman Tom Perez that reverses its recently adopted ban on accepting donations from fossil fuel companies’ political organizations. So here we have an example of a certain elements of the Democratic Party, the progressive wing of the party moving to really take seriously the fight against climate change and we have the chair of the party moving in the opposite direction, pretty much in lockstep when it comes to these kinds of issues – at least in accepting fossil fuel company money – with the Republicans. This, I think, expresses a lot of the frustration or exemplifies the frustration activists and people who are concerned about climate have with the U.S. brand of politics. When it comes to powerful companies who can contribute a lot of money to political campaigns, there’s not a hell of a lot of difference. Maybe you could talk about that for a moment.

LINDSAY MEIMAN: Some of the work that I do is with 350 Action, which is the electoral political branch of 350.org. And the DNC announcement was an absolutely frustrating one. You know, even as a young person trying to fight for what is fair and necessary and popular, it is frustrating to see people who claim to be leaders stalling and even taking regressive action. Some of the work that partner organizations have done includes a pledge that candidates across the country are taking, refusing to take fossil fuel money. So there are over 950 candidates so far, who have signed the “no fossil fuel money” pledge and through the work of 350 Action and many climate progressive organizations, folks are fighting to stand up to big polluters, stop fossil fuel projects and support big ideas like a Green New Deal that would inject the kind of energy and momentum into buildings, a just transition into a world that actually puts workers and frontline communities ahead of fossil fuel interests.

For more on the climate justice group, visit 350.org. For more information on other climate justice organizing 350.org‘s Divestment campaign at 350.org/category/topic/divestment; Rise For Climate Action Sept. 8, 2018 at riseforclimate.org; Global Climate Action Summit  at globalclimateactionsummit.org;  People’s Climate Movement at peoplesclimate.org; People’s Climate Movement on Facebook at facebook.com/peoplesclimate; Rise for Climate for a Fossil Free World at gofossilfree.org/8-september


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