Tweed Airport and Climate Change: The Environment Is Both Local and Global

by Jeffry Larson, PAR Subscriber, CT Green Party member

Tweed Airport astride the New Haven-East Haven city line has long been an environmental concern to its neighbors because of the noise and pollution it creates. So they have organized a group, stoptweed.org, to limit the airport’s adverse impact. Unfortunately, they have been dismissed as NIMBYs by the corporate and academic jet-setters who find Tweed a convenient amenity.

The City of New Haven has recently abrogated its agreement to limit the length of the runways at Tweed Airport, and, with the state’s permission, plans to increase air traffic there. So, in addition to more local noise and pollution, there will be an increase in the amount of jet fuel emissions–one of the worst greenhouse gases–being poured into the atmosphere.

Tweed is a low-lying shoreline facility, vulnerable to rising sea levels: this would be one of the risks of a proposal hastening catastrophic climate.

Last fall the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued another report on the state of climate change. Denialists predictably dismissed it as “alarmist.” Even climate change activists take its conclusions as somehow assuring us that we have 12 more years to mend our fossil-fuel ways. But the IPCC has been severely criticized by actual researchers for being consistently overly cautious and loath to emphasize the real urgency of our plight. We do not have a guaranteed 12 years to forestall or mitigate climate change. Some leading scientists even believe we’ve already passed the carbon budget turning point.

Apparently, no environmental group or politician or journalist has expressed concern about this. They need to join with local grassroots groups. It is the jet-setters who are the NIMBYs here. As the director of Transport & Environment, one of the mainstream anti-aviation groups in Europe, says, “Air travel is the fastest and cheapest way to fry the planet.”

Ask your local elected officials, environmental groups or reporters why they are not raising questions about this proposed increase in our carbon footprint.

jeffrylarson73@yahoo.com

What You Can Do About Climate Issues I

by Chris Schweitzer, New Haven León Sister City Project

Sign the New Haven Resolution Endorsing the Declaration of a Climate Emergency to Restore a Safe Climate: “I am very concerned that global warming has already set in motion disastrous changes to the Earth system, including accelerating ice mass loss from the Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets, melting of the Arctic and thawing of the permafrost, ocean acidification, accelerating species extinction, and year-round forest fires. Also, 19,000 scientists in the 2nd Warning to Humanity (2017) agree that the only way to avoid “vast human misery” is to greatly change our quality of stewardship to the earth. As a result, I am asking New Haven to join with other cities across the country and declare a climate emergency–entailing the mobilization of programs to offer mitigation, resilience, and education on global warming.” Full resolution and petition at: newhavenclimatemovement.org/emergency-resolution.

Moving Towards a Healthier Future: Cut Your Transportation Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 20%

Chris Schweitzer, goNewHavengo

While the climate action movement is gaining momentum, carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. still rose a startling 3.4 percent in 2018. This increase exemplifies the need for immediate mitigation of climate change. As part of our mission to create a healthier future via sustainable transportation, goNewHavengo is starting off 2019 with the launch of our 2020 Campaign.

2020 is a two-year effort to reduce transportation green-house gas emissions in the New Haven area 20 percent by the end of 2020. The campaign emphasizes the use of alternative transportation, such as walking, biking, public transit, and carpooling. The benefits of these options are numerous; more exercise, cleaner air, and saving money are just a few. Participants can even earn rewards by tracking their greener trips in the NuRide app. Join goNewHavengo in our 2020 Campaign as we move towards a healthier future for ourselves and our planet; for more information, see www.gonhgo.org/2020.

Yale Arrests 48 Students Demanding Climate Justice for Puerto Rico

by Nora Heaphy, Fossil Free Yale

On the last day of Yale’s 2018 Fall semester [Dec. 7], 48 students, professors, and New Haven community members were arrested after a 5-hour occupation of the Yale Investments Office.

We were sitting in to demand that Yale direct its fund managers to cancel their holdings in Puerto Rico’s debt and divest from the fossil fuel industry. After 6 years of trying to engage with the Yale administration, the few channels available had failed us, and our only alternative was direct action.

As Puerto Rico struggles to recover from a climate change-fueled hurricane and a massive debt crisis, Yale’s fifth largest fund manager Baupost is suing to have its debt repaid before the island can rebuild, and renowned Yale Chief Investment Officer David Swensen sits on the board of Baupost. Our university’s investments in injustice don’t surprise us. We also know that Yale invests at least $678 million in fossil fuel companies, including ExxonMobil and Antero. These corporations intend to extract and burn as much coal, oil, and natural gas as possible, regardless of the consequences to islands like Puerto Rico. And they’ve spent billions funding climate denial and paying off politicians to lobby against climate policies like a Green New Deal.

In the Investments Office lobby, members of our coalition presented on Puerto Rico’s debt and the roots of Yale’s endowment in slavery, held trainings, sang songs, and read statements of support from around the world. Meanwhile, 450 students marched to the Investments Office and rallied in support, as those inside were arrested. The Yale administration—who had recently published a statement blaming climate change on everyday consumers rather than fossil fuel corporations—chose to arrest its students rather than have a conversation with us. A few days later, at the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility’s public meeting, we again confronted the administration’s failure to act in the face of climate injustice. Our calls for moral leadership from Yale have been met with stalling, inaction, and a willful naiveté that amounts to gross negligence. But students, New Haven, and Puerto Rico are powerful, and we will hold this university accountable.

Email fossilfreeyale@gmail.com to get involved.

Bridgeport Power Plants Are an International Problem

by Stanley Heller, Promoting Enduring Peace

People are not getting the message. The U.N. climate scientists say we must cut carbon emissions in half within a dozen years or we’re going to really screw up the climate. People read the words and go off to something else. The authorities will take care of it. But they’re not.

In Bridgeport, we have the Bridgeport Harbor Station — the last coal-burning plant in New England. It gives out all kinds of dangerous chemicals. After years of protest, it is slated to be replaced. That’s good news, BUT it will be replaced by a methane-burning power plant. The methane burning plant will actually throw off 6 times the carbon dioxide as does the current coal plant!

It will spew an estimated 1.6 million tons a year compared to a quarter of a million the coal plant emitted in 2017. It also will have to be fed with methane which currently comes from a U.S. production and piping system that leaks methane like crazy. And methane in the short run (and all we have is the short run) is 100 times worse as a global warming gas than carbon dioxide.

The coal-burning plant should be shut down immediately. The building of the methane plant should be stopped. Yes, yes, think of the expense. But think of the climate hell we’re creating. The U.S. has mothballed nuclear power plants at even more expense. It’s an emergency. Treat it like that and come up with a solution.

Help Bring Solar Power to Columbus House

by Matthew Moroney, New Haven Community Solar

New Haven Community Solar is a new kind of company. Our mission is to give community members an opportunity to invest directly in locally created environmental and social works projects. We present an alternative economic model using crowdfunding to form energy cooperatives that benefit nonprofits and build wealth in communities. Lack of corporate and political accountability led us to create a new form of active corporate ownership from the community. This empowers local leaders with alternative pathways to reduce inequality. We expand economic opportunities for vulnerable groups and accelerate a just clean energy transition by not waiting for corporations to act.

Our first project supplies clean, affordable energy to the formerly homeless with our community non-profit partner, Columbus House. Connecticut has the third-highest energy costs in the country (average of 17.3 cents per kilowatt hour). Installing solar panels for Columbus House steadies their electricity costs and frees up money to support their mission of providing services for homeless and at-risk individuals and families.

(The average residential electricity rate of 17.34¢/kWh in CT is 45.96% greater than the national average residential rate of 11.88¢/kWh. The approximate range of residential electricity rates in the U.S. is 8.37¢/kWh to 37.34¢/kWh. https://www.electricitylocal.com/states/connecticut.)

By investing instead of donating to renewable energy projects, funders have the potential to make a return from the sale of energy back to the grid. This return can be kept, donated to Columbus House, or invested back into building more community solar in New Haven. The investment period is almost over, so we invite the greater New Haven community to review our investment materials today to consider supporting the project at www.startengine.com/new-haven-community-solar.

Our initiative is ultimately a test to determine if crowd-sourced cooperatives can thrive as an alternative to current systems. We envision a future where community finance enables us to own our own futures. If the project succeeds, we will also be providing copies of our project and program documents to help guide other local leaders in creating their own crowdfunded community-owned projects.

For questions, contact Matthew Moroney at greenisagoodcolor@gmail.com.

Climate Change and the Urgency to Act

by Chris Schweitzer, New Haven Climate Movement

New Haven Climate Movement has launched a campaign to have the City of New Haven pass The Emergency Resolution to Restore a Safe Climate. The Resolution states, “New Haven declares that we face an existential climate emergency that threatens our city, region, state, nation, civilization, the natural world, and humanity.” The Resolution also states that: “New Haven officially commits to leading an emergency mobilization effort that, with appropriate financial and regulatory assistance from state and federal authorities, ends community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by or before Dec. 31, 2030, and immediately initiates an effort to safely draw down carbon from the atmosphere.” Please sign the petition at newhavenclimatemovement.org.

This Resolution is part of a growing national movement declaring that we are in a climate emergency and commit-ting cities to addressing it in time to avoid the worst outcomes. Local governments have become leaders of the climate emergency movement and are inspiring others to do the same. Los Angeles, Berkeley, Richmond, CA, and Hoboken, NJ, have passed emergency resolutions organized by the national organization The Climate Mobilization.  New Haven passed a Climate Framework in 2018 so it has a guide to follow. Beyond this, there are significant jobs and public health benefits of taking action now.

From The Climate Mobilization A Call for Safe Climate: To protect humanity, we need a massive transformation of our economy and society in a matter of years, not decades. We must rapidly direct our resources toward a singular national purpose: restoring a safe climate for our world.

From the Connecticut Governor’s Council on Climate Change: “With over 600 miles of coastline and 2.2 million people living in shoreline communities in Connecticut, the state’s residents and communities are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of weather and climate events. Connecticut residents are already beginning to experience such effects as climate change ramps up. For instance, in Connecticut alone, Hurricane Irene (2011) caused power outages affecting 754,000 customers and over $1 billion in damage, and Hurricane Sandy (2012) caused power outages affecting more than 600,000 customers and inflicted almost $2 billion in statewide damages. The latter forced thousands of Connecticut residents to evacuate, saw thousands apply for FEMA assistance, damaged roads and infrastructure, and took nine days for utilities to restore power. Many of Connecticut’s coastal communities and assets face an escalating risk of storm events exacerbated by climate change.”

For more information on the Resolution, or to get involved, contact Chris at nh@newhavenleon.org or call (203) 562-1607.

Plowshare Activist, Amistad Catholic Worker, Mark Colville Returns to Jail

On the night of April 4, 2018, New Haven resident and Amistad Catholic Worker, Mark Colville was arrested with 6 others at a non-violent Plowshares action at Kings Bay Naval Base, the largest nuclear submarine base in the world. The naval base has six ballistic missile submarines and two guided missile submarines.

“Nuclear weapons kill every day through our mining, production, testing, storage and dumping, primarily on Indigenous Native land. This weapons system is a cocked gun being held to the head of the planet” (from the statement of the seven arrested Plowshares activists).

Mark Colville was granted bail for skin cancer treatment that was successfully treated.

The following excerpts are from Mark before he and his wife Luz returned to Georgia, where, on Dec. 11, he self-surrendered to Georgia authorities.

Greetings in the peace that the world cannot give…

 

From the beginning, my participation in the Kings Bay Plowshares action was first of all an act of contrition for complicity in the sins of nuclearism and empire, and I’ve regarded any incarceration as penance for those sins.  But the jail has also been for me a place of ministry, personal faith-development and formation of conscience. …

With this in mind, there are no misgivings or mixed feelings about going back to Glynn County Detention Center, but rather a sense of rejoicing that, as Dan Berrigan liked to say, one has the freedom to go to jail.

A week ago, judge Cheesbro accepted a motion to return the bail money that was posted on my behalf and put me back in the jail on December 11.

This Tuesday, Luz and I will show up at the Glynn County Detention Center and part ways again, for another undetermined length of time. We will do this mindfully, reaching hands of solidarity toward our extended global family members who are now at this country’s border facing atrocities and uncertainties far beyond whatever hardships we might be obliged to bear.

…I’ll look forward to your postcards, and delight in all news of your ongoing efforts to bring about the nonviolent collapse of the U.S. empire, in defense of all creation…

Love and Prayers, Mark

[For the regulations on how to send letters to Mark, please see www.kingsbayplowshares7.org/jail-addresses]

Latest Articles from CT Green Energy News

News and events for advocates of clean energy, energy efficiency, and climate action at the state and local levels, focusing on Connecticut. Brought to you by People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) and Eastern CT Green Action.

  1. New gas pipelines: An expensive risk our ratepayers and environment can’t afford CT Mirror/Viewpoints: “We…need to ask ourselves if we need more gas pipelines at all, and if so, who should pay for them?”
  2. CT wind, fuel cell projects win long-term contracts Hartford Business Journal: “In all, the five projects total 252 megawatts of generating capacity, and are expected to produce 4.6 percent of the state’s annual energy consumption.”
  3. New England Talks Solar, Storage and Public Policy RTO Insider. “The grid modernization proceeding [Case 17-2-03] in Connecticut is a really promising opportunity.”
  4. New London port faces dynamic decade. The Day: “The city’s underutilized port should become a bustling industrial area servicing the explosive growth of green energy technology, a staging area for large wind farms developed offshore and feeding a hungry northeastern grid.”
    5. Regulator trims Eversource gas-rate request Hartford Business Journal: “It also allows for the replacement of leak-prone gas mains and credits customers with 100 percent of the tax savings the company received under the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, PURA said.”

Is the Green Fund the right fit to fund your project?

Need Funding for Your Environmental Project? The Greater New Haven Green Fund May Be Able to Help!

Request for applications (RFA) is now open for the Greater New Haven Green Fund’s 2019 grants cycle. Funding up to $10,000 is available. Visit the website and download the application.
Deadline for submitting your application is Jan. 11, 2019, 5 p.m. Contact us with questions at info@gnhgreenfund.org. http://www.gnhgreenfund.org.

Two Ballot Initiatives for the Nov. 6 Election

When you go to the voting polls on Tuesday, Nov. 6, there will be two ballot initiatives that you can vote on.

  1. Connecticut “Transportation Revenue Lockbox” Constitutional Amendment

    Overview: The measure would require that all revenue placed in the state’s Special Transportation Fund (STF) be used for transportation purposes, including the payment of transportation-related debts. The state legislature would be prohibited from spending the fund on non-transportation purposes. The STF is funded by the motor fuels tax, motor carrier road tax, petroleum products gross earnings tax, certain motor vehicle receipts and fees, motor vehicle-related fines, and a portion of state sales tax.

    A “yes” vote supports this amendment to prohibit lawmakers from using the state transportation fund for anything other than transportation purposes.

    A “no” vote opposes this amendment to prohibit lawmakers from using the state transportation fund for anything other than transportation purposes.

  2. Connecticut Legislative Requirements to Transfer State Properties Constitutional Amendment

    Overview: The Connecticut General Assembly has the power to pass land conveyance legislation, which allows the state to transfer or sell specified parcels of public land to other entities, such as local governments for projects or private developers. The ballot measure would require a public hearing on conveyance bills, no matter which state department would make the land transfer. The measure would require a two-thirds vote of each chamber of the state legislature to authorize the transfer, sale, or disposal of land under the control of the state agriculture or environmental protection departments.

    A “yes” vote supports this amendment to (1) require a public hearing on bills to authorize the transfer, sale or disposal of state-owned properties, such as state parks, forests, and con-served lands, to non-state entities and (2) require a two-thirds vote of the Connecticut General Assembly to author-ize the transfer, sale, or disposal of land under the control of the state agriculture or environmental protection departments.

    A “no” vote opposes this amendment to (1) require a public hearing on bills to authorize the transfer, sale, or disposal of state-owned properties and (2) a two-thirds vote of the Connecticut General Assembly to authorize the transfer, sale, or disposal of land under the control of the state agriculture or environmental protection departments.

Rally for Climate Change, Jobs Draws Crowd

by Melinda Tuhus, New Haven Stands with Standing Rock

This article was sent to PAR from the author Melinda Tuhus. It was originally published in the New Haven Independent on Sept. 10, 2018. The full article can be read at www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/climate_change_jobs_rally_draws_crowd.

A diverse crowd gathered on the (New Haven) Green Sunday afternoon, Sept. 9, for Connecticut’s own version of Rise Up for Climate, Jobs, and Justice.

It was one of 800 similar actions held around the world over the weekend ahead of a critical conference of provincial, state, municipal government and business leaders from around the globe convened this week by California Gov. Jerry Brown to push forward solutions to the climate crisis.

Traditional folk singers alternated with young rappers, Wes and Q, from Hartford in revving up the crowd, which also witnessed a “battle” between a 60-foot-long “fossil fuel dragon” and an “earth hero” armed with a sun shield and wind turbine sword, played to the hilt by young climate fighter Sam Rosenberg.

City Engineer Giovanni Zinn welcomed people to New Haven on behalf of Mayor Harp and urged everyone to check out the 97 elements of the City’s Sustainability Framework and sign up to help usher them into reality.

Jen Siskind with Food & Water Watch urged everyone to call their member of Congress to support the OFF Act (Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act, H.R. 3671). Of Connecticut’s five reps, only Rosa DeLauro has signed on so far.

“Climate change is the most crucial issue facing all of us for the rest of our lives,” John Harrity, retired president of the State Council of Machinists and chair of the CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs, said. And it’s happening now. “We all know that the fossil fuel economy can’t be sustained, but fossil fuel workers need a just transition to green jobs and new employment.”

The inclusion of “justice” in the day figured into several short speeches. Connecticut Puerto Rican Agenda member Alex Rodriguez related two recent disasters that befell the island.

“My mom and grandmother were caught in the storm,” Rodriguez told the crowd. “For two weeks, my family was immensely frightened by the possibility that they may be dead. When we made contact, we had to pool all of our resources together to bring them home a month after the destruction took place. The CT Puerto Rican Agenda calls on the federal government to provide more housing vouchers to the many families barely surviving without a roof over their head. We also call for our debt to be eliminated, because the PROMESA bill signed into law in recent years makes it impossible to pay back debt owed to the United States and give government services such as healthcare and education back to our people.”

“We know that the struggle against climate change is ultimately a struggle against injustice, and we definitely have to stand together,” the Rev. Scott Marks of New Haven Rising said. “The people that experience the cost of climate change are poor people and people of color. If that is the case then poor people and people of color must take the front and help to lead this movement. So many things are coming together to have us be divided, but I’m telling you, the environment is a great thing to bring us all together.”

PACE to Host Forum on 100% Renewable Energy Nov. 8

by Mark Scully, President, PACE

On Nov. 8, People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) will host a forum on transitioning to 100% renewable energy with the foremost scientific expert in the country on the topic as well as a panel of local experts. Stanford University professor Mark Z. Jacobson has written extensively about transitioning society to 100% renewable energy from wind, water and solar. PACE will honor Prof. Jacobson with the Judi Friedman Lifetime Achievement Award for his ground-breaking research that shows the way to a clean energy future.

Following Mark Jacobson’s keynote address, the focus will turn to Connecticut with a panel of local experts including:

  • Claire Coleman of CT Fund for the Environment;
  • Katie Dykes, Chair of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA);
  • John Humphries, Founder of CT Roundtable for Climate and Jobs; and
  • Mary Sotos, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP)

The meeting will take place on Thursday, Nov. 8 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 224 EcoSpace, 224 Farmington Ave. in Hartford. Reserve your ticket today online at www.pace-cleanenergy.org. Tickets: $25, students $10. Each ticket incudes a catered lunch and parking.

PACE is a public health and environmental organization formed in 1973 by a group of concerned Connecticut citizens to promote the development of alternative, renewable sources of energy, encourage the efficient use of energy, develop a spirit of conservation among Connecticut residents and challenge Connecticut’s commitment to nuclear power and nuclear weapons. Through its 100PercentCT project, PACE works with towns across the state to develop plans to transition to 100% renewable energy. For further information on PACE, go to www.pace-cleanenergy.org.

Judi Friedman led PACE for forty-three years and was a passionate and tireless advocate for clean energy. This award is given in her memory.

Download the event flyer here.

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