[act-ma] Fri July 24, 7pm, Climate Change Panel
amyh at texnology.com
Mon Jul 20 19:48:50 PDT 2009
"If we burn even half of Earth's remaining fossil fuels we will destroy the planet as humanity knows it. The added emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide will set our Earth irreversibly onto a course toward an ice-free state, a course that will initiate a chain reaction of irreversible and catastrophic climate changes.
The concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere now stands at 387 parts per million, the highest level in 600,000 years and more than 100 ppm higher than the amount at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Burning just the oil and gas sitting in known fields will drive atmospheric CO2 well over 400 ppm and ignite a devil's cauldron of melted icecaps, bubbling permafrost, and combustible forests from which there will be no turning back. But if we cut off the largest source of carbon dioxide, coal, we have a chance to bring CO2 back to 350 ppm and still lower through agricultural and forestry practices that increase carbon storage in trees and soil. "
-- Dr. James Hansen, Senior Climate Expert at NASA
Argueably the most critical issue of our time!
followed by discussion of climate activism
--John W. Andrews, Maggie Zhou, with comments by Victor Wallis
Moderator: Thomas Ponniah
Friday July 24, 7pm
E5 in Chinatown
(fifth floor of 33 Harrison Ave -
near the Downtown Crossing subway)
E5 Forum is generally a monthly event, going on for the last two
years, that aims to build
relationships among different activists. In order to do this we
encourage people to bring snack or drink to share with others. Also,
E5 Forum is very comfortable with having as few as five and as many as
fifty people at an event. The point of the event is not the numbers
but, in the spirit of the Social Forum process, building productive
social relationships across political and thematic differences - hence
the comfort with a small audience. After the event - at around 9pm -
we usually all go out for dinner at a nearby restaurant.
John W. Andrews,
John Andrews is the President of the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities, as well as the new Communications Director for the Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts. He has been active for many years in support of environmental and pro-democracy initiatives. He has served as president of Citizens for Lexington Conservation, chair of Sierra Club's Thoreau Group, and state political chair for the Massachusetts Sierra Club. He founded the Lexington Stewardship Committee and co-founded the Beaver Brook Watershed Coalition. He has served as chair of the Lexington Pest Control Advisory Committee and the Solid Waste Action Team. He was one of 250 environmental leaders invited to the White House by President Clinton in 1996 to participate in White House Environment Day. He has served as a member of the state steering committee for Mass Voters for Clean Elections.
Maggie Zhou is a biologist by training, and a climate scientist by inclination, coordinating the Secure Green Future climate project of the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities. She has immersed herself in the scientific literature on climate change and has taken up advocacy for urgent action to get atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations to a safe level. Maggie helped to get the Secure Green Future ballot question (calling for 80% greenhouse gas cuts by 2020) on all three State Rep. district ballots in Arlington, where it received landslide support of 85% YES votes. Maggie continues to up the ante for the social, economic, and political change needed to prevent climate chaos.
Victor Wallis, editor of the journal Socialism and Democracy,
Capitalist and socialist responses to the ecological crisis:
What do capitalist and socialist systems offer in response to the ecological crisis? Can a model of unending growth in production and consumption ever really address the crisis?
"Wake up, freak out, then get a grip"
11 minute animation-- discusses feedback loops and the
weirdness of the unique responsibility we who are alive now have
to save our planet-- Check it out, share with everyone you
know! (more interesting info on their site)
Ross Gelbspan, understood early on the dangers of climate change and
did his best to warn us through his books "The Heat is On" and
"Boiling Point: How Politicians, Big Oil and Coal, Journalists, and Activists Have
Fueled a Climate Crisis--And What We Can Do to Avert Disaster"
He has an excellent climate news website.
A recent article by Ross on his website:
Moral Leadership in the Greenhouse A plan to jumpstart the global economy, defuse terrorism,
and restore America's world standing
Secure Green Future
Article by Maggie Zhou and Jill Stein, "Markey-Waxman climate bill fatally flawed"
Mrs. Zhou Goes To Washington: Scientist, mother seeks real climate protection for her 5-year-old
Environment - Energy 2009-07-13 15:36:35
Arlington, MA - Last night Maggie Zhou, an Arlington mother with a 5 year-old daughter, boarded an all-night
bus to Washington, DC to attend Monday's U.S. Senate hearing on climate change policy. Zhou is paying for
the trip with her own money because "I felt I had to be in the same room with the people who are going to
make a decision that will determine the kind of world my daughter will live in."
Two years ago Zhou, who is a geneticist by training began to get concerned about what she was hearing
about global warming. Soon she found herself digging into scientific papers and questioning climate
scientists. The more she learned, the more she became convinced that much more had to be done to protect
the Earth's climate. She used the scientific understanding she acquired to open a dialogue with national
environmental groups and some of the leaders of the climate protection movement.
Zhou's research led her to believe that public policy is lagging far behind the scientific evidence. Before
boarding the overnight bus to Washington, she commented that "The science shows that we may have a
critical window of only a few years to take action before planetary processes take the matter out of humanity's
control and bring on catastrophic warming. Congress needs to get this right now if children like my own are to
have a future."
Zhou has been volunteering for a Secure Green Future project which put public policy questions on the ballot
in 11 Massachusetts House districts in 2008. The questions called for more urgent action to address climate
change with green jobs programs. When they passed with an 81% yes vote, it convinced Zhou that the
people were far out ahead of the politicians when it came to the need to green the economy.
Zhou feels that the recently passed energy bill (know as the American Clean Energy and Security Act -
ACES) is far from a serious answer to the threat of climate catastrophe. "This bill does as much harm as
good, and in many ways it ties our hands by doing so many favors for the fossil fuel lobby," Zhou observed.
According to Zhou, "Political feasibility is clashing with scientific reality. I want to ask Congress to sponsor a
nationally televised, thorough debate on climate policy by the most respected scientific and policy analysts,
so everyone can understand what science tells us and what politics must deliver. This is important because
the lives of our children are at stake. We can't let this critical legislation be shaped by behind-the-scenes
lobbying. The debate needs to be widely viewed and heard, accessible online and on cable, and leave
viewers with a clear understanding of the pros and cons of different approaches to climate protection. Once
we get past the false claims and misunderstandings, the political reality will change."
Zhou notes that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office agrees with most economists and prominent
scientists including NASA climatologist James Hansen, that revenue neutral carbon tax - coupled with equal
dividends for all, or income/payroll bonuses - is far superior to the complicated and fraud-prone
cap-and-trade scheme which Congress is pursuing. "But the fairest and most effective solutions are not even
on the table" lamented Zhou.
According to Jill Stein, another SGF volunteer who is a physician and a mother of two, "Maggie is amazing in
her ability to absorb the scientific complexities and find the right questions to ask. If we only had a hundred
mothers like her joining the debate, Congress would move in a different direction."
Added Zhou, "In going to Washington I hope to meet some of the people with whom I've only talked to by
email up to now. I want to tell them that Congress can't treat this as just another piece of legislation to be
shaped by the usual lobbying. Putting a price on carbon seems like an abstract policy issue. But I think it
may be the best hope for our children's future. In a town where money talks, I can only hope that someone in
Congress will listen to what I'm trying to say."
Secure Green Future is a project of the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities.
Further information on ACES and on climate science can be found at http://www.securegreenfuture.org
If people have questions about E5 Forum in general they can email Thomas:
Thomas.Ponniah at gmail.com.
If people have questions about this event,
they should email Eli Beckerman elibeck at gmail.com or
Amy Hendrickson amyh at texnology.com
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