Just "Do the Math!" Go Fossil FreePublished on December, 15 2012
by the Earth Democracy Issue Committee
Bill McKibben and 350.org have launched the Go Fossil Free—Divest From Fossil Fuels Campaign. After a summer of unforgiving drought, unprecedented Arctic melt, and Hurricane Sandy, McKibben is responding to the public’s pent-up desire to challenge the fossil fuel industry’s long-term grip on energy policy. By joining this campaign, WILPF members and friends may realize our present-day responsibilities as Guardians of the Rights Held by Future Generations—a foundational principle of our Earth Democracy work and, in particular, of our Global Warming/Renewable Energy subcommittee.
Now, post-election, McKibben is building a multi-pronged campaign, modeled on the 1980s anti-Apartheid movement, to inspire us, our communities, and all types of large and small institutions to divest fossil fuel companies from stock portfolios, pension funds, and other holdings to influence the industry to keep 80% of their current carbon-based fuels in the ground and influence the industry to invest in socially responsible renewable energy sources and technology. He seeks to inspire citizen-led boycotts, blockades, marches on shareholder meetings and more.
Do The Math. We must burn less than 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide and stay below 2-degrees C (=3.6-degrees F) of warming, but above that risks catastrophe for all life on earth. The problem is that fossil fuel corporations have 2,795 gigatons in their reserves, five times the safe amount at the current use of about 31 gigatons of carbon a year, and this amount is increasing. At this rate, McKibben emphasizes, we’ll blow through our 565 gigaton allowance in 16 years.
The fossil fuel industry in planning to burn it all, unless we rise up to stop them.
This multipronged ampaign has these components:
First, a strong Fossil Free Campus divestment action. On Nov. 5, Unity College, Maine was the first school to announce that their Board of Trustees unanimously voted to divest the College endowment fund from fossil fuels, emphasizing the College’s commitment to sustainability. At Harvard, the Undergraduate Council voted 72% in favor of the University divesting its $30.7 billion endowment from fossil fuels. Already more than 47 campuses are engaged in divestment campaigns and the list grows daily.
Now during the holidays talk with your children and grandchildren who are on school vacation about this campaign. Great resources are here, including “A Campus Guide to Divestment,” “The Plan,” and FAQ.
Second, an Off-Campus Divestment Campaign for your community or state, at your church, union, or work place that may have endowments or pension funds that are invested in fossil fuels. We can push our local and state officials and money managers at these institutions to move toward divestment. We’ll create a “WILPF Go Fossil Free” Fact Sheet” and post soon to the website.
And, third, on-going citizen-led boycotts, blockades, marches on shareholder meetings and more—whatever people create to bring the message home and increase awareness of the need for divestment.
Do the Math. There are three simple numbers that add up to “Global Warming's Terrifying New Math." We must burn less than 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide to stay below a 2-degrees C (=3.6-degree F) increase in warming, anything above that risks catastrophe to all life on earth. We have already raised the temperature .8-degrees C. Right now we are at 392 ppm (parts-per-million) and scientists say that 350 ppm is the safe limit. But fossil fuel corporations have 2,795 gigatons in their reserves, five times the safe amount at the current rate of use of about 31 gigatons of carbon a year, and this amount is increasing. At this rate, McKibben emphasizes, we’ll blow through our 565 gigaton allowance in 16 years. The fossil fuel industry in planning to burn it all for profit unless we rise up to stop them.
California Earth Democracy Tour:
By artist Ann Altman from Silverton, Oregon,
Because in California oil and gas companies anticipate accelerating fracking in 2013, Earth Democracy plans a statewide tour between March 22, World Water Day and April 22, Earth Day to branches and other groups of members. We envision a program to expose the harms of fracking, facilitate discussion of the Draft Declaration of the Rights Held by Future Generations and Bill of Responsibilities for Present Generations, and how to develop a local divestment. Very soon we’ll announce this tour to CA Branches, members and friends and invite them to collaborate with us to plan the tour and local events. The CA Team includes: Mathilde Rand and Randa Solick from Santa Cruz, Jean Hays from Fresno, and Nancy Price from Davis.
Please join the Earth Democracy mailing list by contacting Nancy Price: Nancytprice39@gmail.com or Linda Park: firstname.lastname@example.org and if you wish to join the work of one of the subcommittees: Rights of Nature/Guardianship of the Commons; Food Democracy/Local Economy; Global Warming/Renewable Energy; and Human Right to Water and Health, please email Leadership Team members at email@example.com and please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org questions and to begin planning together.