Category Archives: 2017

Leadership from Below: Climate Coalitions State Intentions in Bonn and Make Demands in Denver

Decision-making in economic and political systems tends to flow from purpose-built leadership positions. Large, unwieldy organizational systems typically endow key leaders, be they CEOs, senior appointees, or committee chairs, with the authority, the resources, and the messaging microphone required to steer the organization with relative ease. However, there are times when the entire organizational system requires an overhaul, and these times often demand that those outside of natural leadership positions take the wheel. Sometimes, when an entrenched organizational scheme requires top-to-bottom overhaul, rather than gentle guidance, those intended to lead must themselves be led. The world of energy finds itself in one such moment today, as seen at both the state and international levels.

Last week international leaders met at COP23, the second “conference of the parties” since the signing of the Paris Agreement. They were meeting to discuss what global climate policy will look like both before and after 2020, when the Agreement officially goes into effect. President Donald Trump’s announcement earlier this year that he plans to withdraw the United States from the Agreement set the tone of the discussions for the official US delegation. The message coming from the intended leaders was that the United States is drawing back from international climate obligations.

However, they were not the only Americans present in Bonn. An unofficial delegation of citizens traveled to the conference, also to represent the United States and to deliver a simple message to the rest of the world: we are still in.

Acitvists gather in Bonn ahead of COP23 summit

This second delegation delivered the America’s Pledge Phase 1 report, detailing the efforts of committed citizens to uphold the standards agreed to in Paris in 2015, in spite of the federal government’s withdrawal. This comprehensive report discusses the success of the U.S. Climate Alliance (of which Colorado is a member and CEA is a proud supporter) and other coalitions that are dedicated to picking up the banner of climate action where the Trump administration has let it fall. This We Are Still In delegation, collectively representing more than half of America’s economy, detailed the steps they have taken to begin working from the bottom up to achieve the 2025 U.S. emissions outcomes asked for by the Paris Accords, and promised additional analysis in a Phase 2 report to be published in 2018. The members of this second delegation may have represented leaders within their respective organizations (mayors, governors, CEOs, board presidents and others), but when it comes to expressing the intentions of the American people as a whole, they are now required to lead from the outside.

As US climate leaders declared their intentions in Bonn, a smaller group of local activists met in Denver to deliver a petition to Xcel Energy at their local headquarters, asking the utility to take the next step towards the post-fossil fuel world.  This group was led by 350 Colorado and the Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate, which represents Clean Energy Action and 22 community, faith, and environmental organizations from around Colorado. Our requests included

  • the closure of all Xcel coal plants by 2030
  • the closure of all fracking gas plants by 2035
  • a commitment to convert to at least 80% renewable sources of electricity by 2030
  • completion of a study by the end of 2018 that explores how to achieve 100% renewable electricity in Colorado by 2030
Micah Parkin delivers the petition to Xcel corporate HQ at 1800 Larimer Streeet

The CCLC represents more than 100,00 Coloradans, and speaks to the expressed desires of many more. This petition represents the work of climate warriors across the state who believe that now is the time for Xcel to end their lifelong reliance on coal and natural gas. “Xcel Energy has a great opportunity to move away from fossil fuels and provide customers with the affordable, clean energy they’re demanding,” said Kevin Cross, a member of the Fort Collins Sustainability Group and a leader of CCLC. As American leaders announce our renewed commitment to the Paris Agreement in Germany, there is no better time for our electric utility to step up its commitment to providing cleaner, cheaper energy for our state.

These petitioners may represent many of Xcel’s ratepayers and workers, but they do not hold the reins of Colorado’s grid infrastructure. The petitioners are not the PUC commissioners, corporate officers, or shareholder representatives; they are not the intended guardians of the state’s power grid. Nonetheless, the failure of the intended leadership to responsibly weigh the consequences of our collective decisions requires us, like the representatives of the We Are Still In delegation, to lead from without.

On the same day, separated by an ocean and thousands of miles, two coalitions delivered two statements to which Clean Energy Action was a party. We recently asked our supporters to sign a petition to Governor Hickenlooper to bring Colorado into the US Climate Alliance, and we see the effects of those signatures in Bonn where Colorado is one of nine states fully committed to the coalition. More recently we asked our supporters to affix their names to the CCLC’s petition to Xcel, and our voices were heard loud and clear in Denver last week demanding a greener, more efficient future.  Both efforts demonstrate that it is not only possible to exercise leadership from outside traditional positions of power, but sometimes it is necessary.

We thank the Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate, the We Are Still Coalition, and the US Climate Alliance, but most of all we thank all of you who provide the citizen power that carries us forward.

For further reading, check out the articles by Climate Action and the Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate.

In Xcel’s Hometown, Energy Independence Expert John Farrell says VOTE YES on 2L

Boulder, we have a friend in Xcel’s hometown of Minneapolis, MN.
John Farrell of the Institute of Local Self Reliance has been educating communities for years on the economic benefits of self governance for essentials like energy, banking and waste management.   Needless to say he took careful note when Minneapolis looked into municipalization, which did not pass just a few years ago.  Today he says:  “If I had the chance to go to the polls tomorrow and give Minneapolis the opportunity to take over, I would do it.”  See his whole message for Boulder at the link below.

John Farrell has been teaching that “communities have to take control of their energy future, regardless of whether the federal government is a clean energy friend or foe.”

https://drive.google.com/file/d/10NpEIHtHhWrkZ3S5JU4rI3B_LM4P6VO0/view

 

OCTOBER 23: UTILITIES KNEW ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE

Clean Energy Action invites you to join us for a talk by

DAVID POMERANTZ

Executive Director of the Energy & Policy Institute and co-author of Utilities Knew: Documenting Electric Utilities’ Early Knowledge and Ongoing Deception on Climate Change from 1968-2017

MONDAY 10⋅23⋅17

6:30 pm: Light Refreshments

7:00 pm: Presentation

BUTCHER AUDITORIUM

SE Corner of JSCBB Biotech, 3415 Colorado Avenue, Boulder CO 80303

David Pomerantz will be speaking about the shocking story of electric utilities’ knowledge and cover-up of climate change beginning half a century ago.  Clean Energy Action believes that it is critical that the public hear what Mr. Pomerantz has to say, so this event is free and open to the public. Please join us and invite others!

CEA and CCLC Weigh In: The U.S. Climate Alliance & New Executive Order

Morrison, CO – Last week, Governor Hickenlooper announced that Colorado will join the U.S. Climate Alliance.  He also released an Executive Order titled “Supporting Colorado’s Clean Energy Transition,” in which he set forth new climate goals for our State.

The Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate (CCLC), of which Clean Energy Action is a participating member, is pleased that Colorado will join the U.S. Climate Alliance.  We partnered with over 40 other Colorado organizations in June to call on Governor Hickenlooper to sign Colorado on as a member of that group.  The U.S. Climate Alliance is committed to upholding the goal set forth by the United States Government when it signed the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement of reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 26% – 28% compared to 2005 levels by 2025.

U.S Climate Alliance members in blue, states whose governing officials have expressed support for the Paris Climate Agreement in turquoise

In the Executive Order released yesterday, Governor Hickenlooper set a goal of reducing Colorado’s overall GHG emissions by at least 26% by 2025 compared to 2005 levels.  Although this goal is consistent with the United States’ Paris Agreement goal, it is not consistent with the best available science.  To limit the global average temperature rise to 1.5° C (2.7° F), the entire world would need to reduce its GHG emissions to zero by 2050.  Reducing Colorado’s emissions by 26% compared to 2005 levels does not put us anywhere close to that path.  In fact, the goal established yesterday by Governor Hickenlooper would put us on a path toward catastrophic global climate change that is only slightly less steep than the “business as usual” path.

Since 2015, the CCLC and CEA have called for Colorado to reduce its statewide GHG emissions to zero by 2030.  We repeat that call today, and demand that Governor Hickenlooper establish new interim goals that will contribute to preserving a livable climate for future generations.

For further information, visit CCLC’s website at https://colivableclimate.org.

Get Tickets: Tony Seba at CU!

Get Tickets Now! Thursday June 8th:
Please join Clean Energy Action and the CU Environmental Center in welcoming 

Author, entrepreneur, Stanford educator,  international thought leader on disruptive change in energy systems, and recipient of the Clean Energy Action 2017 Sunshine Award:

“The clean disruption will flip the architecture of energy and bring abundant, cheap and participatory energy. Just like those previous technology disruptions, the clean disruption is inevitable and it will be swift.”
The evening will be in two parts, with Mr. Seba’s presentation preceded by a soiree.
6/8/17 5:30-7:30:   Soiree at the CU Natural History Museum,
                                            located in the Henderson Building
6/8/17 8:00-9:30:   Keynote Address by Mr. Seba  in the Glenn
                                            Miller Ballroom, located in the UMC
Eventbrite - Clean Energy Action 10th Anniversary Celebration and Award Ceremony
Please email us with any questions or to obtain more information  For location specifics, see the University of Colorado Campus Map
We look for to seeing you then!