We Are in a Climate Emergency

Melinda Tuhus, CT Climate Crisis Mobilization (C3M)

In light of the release of the latest – and grimmest – report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, two dozen New Haveners gathered on the Green on Friday, Aug. 13, to raise the alarm locally.

The report says humans have definitively caused the warming of the planet, that it is accelerating, but that there is still a small window of opportunity to avoid the worst impacts, like global drowning from sea level rise. One banner pointed to the rise in sea level, which could be as much as 30 feet by 2100 without drastic action, putting New Haven and the entire Connecticut shoreline underwater.

Joe Foran came with his eldest son, Joseph, who is 7. Foran said that after listening to dire climate news on the radio every morning, “My two sons were upset and asked me to not play the radio before school.” Later he added, “We are not just avoiding the news altogether. We are struggling as a family with how we tell them the truth in a way that is not overly burdensome to their young minds and young souls. I think the real thing that makes a difference for the kids are actions like today, where they gain their agency and they aren’t just passive victims of the climate madness.”

The other focus of the rally was to point out that Chase Bank is the biggest funder, by far, of the fossil fuel industry and to call on Chase to specifically stop funding Enbridge’s construction of the Line 3 tar sands pipeline across Anishinaabe treaty territory in northern Minnesota.

As an organizer with CT Climate Crisis Mobilization (C3M) I went to Minnesota and was one of 700 people – and counting – to be arrested along the pipeline route.

Eluned Li, a member of Sunrise New Haven, went to Minnesota in June, where she observed peaceful water protectors being abused by the police departments that are paid by Enbridge.

Members of ULA (Unidad Latina en Acción) came, holding a banner featuring Berta Cáceres, an indigenous land defender in Honduras who was murdered for her courageous opposition to a dam project. The climate crisis and the migration crisis are linked, with many ULA members fleeing their homes in Central America due to the ravages of stronger hurricanes and devastating drought.

After the rally, participants carried banners down the block to stand in front of Chase Bank, chanting, “Hey, JP Morgan Chase: bad investment, big disgrace!” and, “If you want it drier, hotter, fund Line 3: wipe out more water!” The company is taking five billion gallons of water for construction in the middle of a drought. Participants passed out flyers asking New Haveners to contact CEO Jamie Dimon.

To get involved, contact Melinda Tuhus at melinda.tuhus@gmail.com or go to the website www.CTClimateCrisisMobilization.org or Facebook page CTClimateCrisis Mobilization.

[A version of this article with the above (donated) photo was published in the New Haven Independent Aug. 15. https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/climate_rally]

Support a Fossil Fuel Power Plant Moratorium to Protect Our Health and Climate

by Melinda Tuhus, climate justice activist

Climate activists around the state are prioritizing a bill (SB 718) in this year’s General Assembly session that would create a moratorium on fossil fuel power plant construction, with an eye specifically to stopping a fracked gas power plant to be built in Killingly, which is nearing final approval by the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

In a conversation with climate activists on Feb. 17, the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Christine Cohen, said she was frustrated that, despite a full-court press by those advocates to get a public hearing on the bill in the Energy & Technology Committee, that didn’t happen. She said it might still happen through another bill or possibly by creating some studies to enable the state to take action to stop Killingly, for which the owners of the plant, NTE, have signed a contract with ISO-New England, the regional grid operator. Gov. Ned Lamont says he doesn’t want the plant but that he is stuck with this agreement forged by his predecessor, Dannel Malloy, who was a huge proponent of gas. ISO-NE, on the other hand, says that states always have the final say on siting energy infrastructure.

There are many reasons why the plant shouldn’t be built. Connecticut’s Global Warming Solutions Act, in line with the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change science, requires that greenhouse gas emissions in our state must be reduced below 2001 levels by 45% by 2030, and 80% by 2050. To achieve these mandated reductions, Connecticut must stop building new fossil fuel infrastructure, including power plants and pipelines.

Connecticut doesn’t need more dirty energy. Analysis from EIA (US Energy Information Agency) shows Connecticut has been a net energy exporter for a decade.1 Analysis by Synapse Energy shows that a significant surplus of electric capacity exists, and is projected to exist, in New England.2 And DEEP’s Draft Integrated Resources Plan (IRP) says that “Connecticut now hosts a disproportionate share of the region’s fossil-fueled generation”3

To meet our climate goals, including Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 3 calling for 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040, we must build clean energy capacity while retiring dirty energy, not building more dirty power. Acadia Center calculated that by 2030 Connecticut and New England would experience a net gain in employment under a No New Gas scenario.4

Finally, fossil fuel generation causes poor air quality and inequitable health outcomes, as these facilities are most often placed in low-income and/or people of color neighborhoods. Killingly ranks well below the state average in income and already has an operating fracked gas power plant.

Take action! Contact the co-chairs of the Energy & Technology Committee and urge them to incorporate the basics of SB 718 in another bill so it has a chance to be voted on. That’s Sen. Norm Needleman (norm.needleman@cga.ct.gov) and Rep. David Arconti (david.arconti@cga.ct.gov).

Footnotes
1. https://www.eia.gov/state/analysis.php?sid=CT
2. https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/CSC/1_Dockets-medialibrary/Docket_470B/Prefiled_exhibits/grouped/DO470B20190411NAPPSCTestimonyFaganGlickpdf.pdf
3. https://www.google.com/url?q=https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DEEP/energy/IRP/2020-IRP/2020-CT-DEEP-Draft-Integrated-Resources-Plan-in-Accordance-with-CGS-16a-3a.pdf&sa=D&source=editors&ust=1612307098281000&usg=AOvVaw15H4cjW5Hp_vcg_qIRhWGz
4. https://362kp444oe5xj84kkwjq322g-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Acadia_Center_Decline_of_Gas_Brief.pdf

New Haven stands with Standing Rock outside Wells Fargo Bank

Thirty-five people protested outside of Wells Fargo Bank across from the New Haven Green on Oct. 20 because of the bank’s support of the Dakota Access pipeline.

Melinda Tuhus, organizer of New Haven Stands with Standing Rock, reports: ” …we shut down the bank for the last 10 minutes of the day… We got 25 more names for future work and handed out 100 flyers. We sang and chanted for quite awhile and local activist Norman Clement (Penobscot) spoke about his visit last month to Standing Rock. Afterward some of us discussed potential future actions, most likely around Thanksgiving.”

From the flyer at the protest:

Wells Fargo is a major investor in the Dakota Access pipeline, being built by Energy Transfer Partners at the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation and on their historic territory in North Dakota. The tribe is leading a global campaign to stop the pipeline, which threatens their water source – the Missouri River – and that of millions of people downstream.

Wells Fargo is contributing $467 million to the $3.8 billion globally funded project; the bank needs to cut off its financial support for this pipeline. If you are a Wells Fargo customer, please ask the bank to pull its funding for the pipeline. You can back up your request by moving your money to a local bank or a credit union.

Thousands of indigenous “protectors” are putting their bodies on the line to stop the destructive fracked oil pipeline. Its 1,100-mile path would move 500,000 barrels a day of heavy oil across four states from North Dakota to Illinois, not only threatening the water but also – through its massive carbon emissions – contributing to the over-heating of the planet beyond its capacity to maintain life as we know it.

While the issue is tied up in court, construction continues, and the protectors are facing increasing arrests and more repressive police action in response to their militant but non-violent stance. They say this pipeline cannot and will not go forward, and we stand with them.

For more information go to http://www.nodaplsolidarity.org, or contact New Haven Stands with Standing Rock nhswsr@gmail.com.