Saturday December 14, 2019

US to ‘Amplify’ Green New Deal Movement ahead of US Election

The WGF said it is one of the few funders to publicly back groups advocating for the Green New Deal and is working to rally others to support the youth-led activism that is putting lawmakers on notice globally

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green new deal
FILE - U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) hold a news conference for their proposed Green New Deal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 10 years, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Feb. 7, 2019. VOA

Young activists pressuring U.S. lawmakers to aggressively tackle climate change and reject fossil fuel company donations got their first major financial boost Monday from a foundation that wants to “amplify” the Green New Deal movement ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

The Wallace Global Fund, a nonprofit that supports social movements, has given the Sunrise Movement $250,000 and committed $750,000 in grants in 2019 to Sunrise partner groups to advance the goals of the Green New Deal, a congressional resolution introduced this year by progressive Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey that has reignited the U.S. debate around climate change.

The Sunrise Movement, formed in 2017, has been at the forefront of the Green New Deal movement, which calls for a 10-year, government-driven mobilization to decarbonize the economy through investments in clean energy, buildings and transportation, as well as job-retraining and social and economic justice programs.

green new deal
FILE – Demonstrators with the group Sunrise Movement gather after interrupting a resolutions meeting at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Summer Meeting in Chicago, Illinois, Aug. 23, 2018. VOA

It has become a political target of President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress who call the plan socialist and radical. “They have a smart strategy around building power with the audacity of their vision,” said Ellen Dorsey, executive director of the fund. “Critics belittle them and question their authenticity but they are brave and are doubling down.”

The WGF said it is one of the few funders to publicly back groups advocating for the Green New Deal and is working to rally others to support the youth-led activism that is putting lawmakers on notice globally.

While the Sunrise Movement has been central in putting the Green New Deal in the national spotlight, young people in Europe have staged school strikes and launched civil disobedience campaigns to demand action on climate change.

green new deal
Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., hold a news conference for their proposed “Green New Deal” at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Feb. 7, 2019. The Republican-led Senate rejected the plan March 26, 2019.
VOA

Dorsey said the Green New Deal follows in the footsteps of the New Deal, a sweeping public works and financial reform program created by President Franklin Roosevelt to lift the United States out of the Great Depression in the 1930s. Wallace Global Fund namesake Henry Wallace was Roosevelt’s vice president.

Growing the Sunrise Movement

The Sunrise Movement first made waves after the 2018 midterm elections by holding a sit-in with Ocasio-Cortez outside the office of incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, demanding that Congress adopt a Green New Deal. Since then its activists have been a presence on the presidential campaign trail. “A large part of our strategy is to make sure that every candidate hears us wherever they go,” said Varshini Prakash, president of the Sunrise Movement.

More than half of the crowded field of Democratic contenders, including Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker, Jay Inslee and Pete Buttigieg said they back the resolution.

green new deal
While the Sunrise Movement has been central in putting the Green New Deal in the national spotlight, young people in Europe have staged school strikes and launched civil disobedience campaigns to demand action on climate change. Wikimedia

Prakash said the group will use the funds to train activists around the country and partner with environmental justice, Native American and other groups.

ALSO READ: Giving Local Communities Responsibility to Manage Forests Could Help Ease Poverty, Deforestation

She said the group has already been effective in pressuring candidates to change their positions. Last week former Texas congressman O’Rourke announced he will no longer accept donations from fossil fuel companies or executives after months of pressure from Sunrise activists.

The group’s next target is likely to be former Vice President Joe Biden, who entered the presidential race in late April. Prakash said Biden has only mentioned Obama-era measures like entering the Paris Climate Agreement as climate change solutions. “We are ready and willing to call out the insufficiency of policies like that,” she said. “We deserve a leader who understands the urgency of climate change.” (VOA)

Next Story

Here’s how Carbon Footprint Can be Reduced in India

Carbon footprint in India can be reduced by 20%

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Carbon global warming

BY VISHAL GULATI

The report focuses on the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the two most carbon-intensive products — passenger cars and residential buildings.

Producing and using materials more efficiently to build passenger cars and residential homes could cut carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions between 2016 and 2060 by up to 25 gigaton across the Group of Seven (G7) member states, the International Resource Panel (IRP) finds in a summary for policymakers released here on Wednesday.

This is more than double the annual emissions from all the world’s coal-fuelled power plants.

The IRP finds that emissions from the production of materials like metals, wood, minerals and plastics more than doubled over the 20-year period to 2015, accounting for almost one-quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions.

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Majority of carbon-intensive products are used in manufacturing cars. Pixabay

It warns that without boosting material efficiency, it will be almost impossible and substantially more expensive to keep global heating below 1.5 degrees Celsius — the more ambitious of the two Paris climate targets.

The IRP Summary for Policymakers, Resource Efficiency and Climate Change: Material Efficiency Strategies for a Low-Carbon Future, prepared at the request of the G7, is the first comprehensive scientific analysis estimating total cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in homes and cars that can be achieved through material efficiency.

Together, the construction and manufacturing sectors are responsible for an estimated 80 per cent of emissions generated by the first use of materials.

Using strategies and technologies that already exist, G7 countries could save up to 170 million tons of carbon emissions from residential homes in 2050.

India could save 270 million tons, and China could save 350 million tons in 2050 in this same sector.

If we look at the full lifecycle of cars, material efficiency strategies could help G7 countries, China and India reduce GHG emissions by up to 450 million tons each in 2050. These reductions can help countries stay within their carbon budget.

Extending the lifetime of products, reusing components, substituting or using less material, and making more intensive use of materials by, for example, ride-sharing, are all strategies that G7 countries could implement today to tackle global warming.

“Climate mitigation efforts have traditionally focused on enhancing energy efficiency and accelerating the transition to renewables. While this is still key, this report shows that material efficiency can also deliver big gains,” UN Environment Executive Director Inger Andersen said.

The IRP finds that the carbon footprint of the production of materials for cars could be cut by up to 70 per cent in G7 countries, and 60 per cent in China and 50 per cent in India in 2050.

The largest emission savings from passenger vehicles come from a change in how people use cars, like car-pooling and car-sharing, and a move away from large SUVs.

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The construction and manufacturing sectors are responsible for an estimated 80 per cent of emissions generated by the first use of materials. Pixabay

The report also shows that greenhouse gas emissions from the production of materials for residential buildings in the G7, China and India could be reduced between 50 and 80 per cent in 2050 with greater material efficiency.

The most promising strategies include more intensive use of space e.g. reducing demand for floor space, switching out concrete and masonry for sustainably produced wood, improving recycling, and building lighter homes using less carbon-intensive steel, cement and glass.

Reducing demand for floor space in the G7 by up to 20 per cent could lower greenhouse gas emissions from the production of materials by up to 73 per cent in 2050.

Shared homes, smaller units, and downsizing when children move out lead to these big reductions.

The cuts revealed by the report are on top of emission savings generated by the decarbonisation of electricity supply, the electrification of home energy use, and the shift towards electric and hybrid vehicles.

Many of these emission reductions will only be possible if countries create enabling policy environments and incentives, the report says.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres wants countries to increase the ambition of their climate targets at the ongoing UN climate change negotiations (COP25) that entered its final stage in this Spanish capital.

Also Read- 86 Fashion Companies Partner with Political Leaders to Deliver Climate Action

The IRP report urges policymakers to integrate material efficiency into their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to set higher emission reduction targets that will limit the damage from global warming.

Currently, only Japan, India, China, and Turkey mention resource efficiency, resources management, material efficiency, circular economy or consumption side instruments as explicit mitigation measures in their NDCs. (IANS)