What an incredible few weeks it’s been in Virginia’s General Assembly! I’m pleased to report we’ve been successful on many of our priority bills this session. Wednesday is officially “crossover” which means that each chamber can only hear bills that survived in the other chamber. Think of it as the political equivalent of “halftime”. So with that, let’s recap the first half of session to date.
This week’s climate insider will give you the scoop on CCAN’s 2014 legislative priorities in Maryland and Virginia. Both states’ legislative sessions kicked off on Wednesday, January 8th, and CCAN will be busy pushing climate solutions to the forefront of our legislators’ agendas.
On Saturday, November 16th, more than 120 Virginians came together in Norfolk to launch the next phase of grassroots action to protect Virginia’s coastal communities from climate change. The science is clear: rising sea levels and more powerful storms – driven by our burning of fossil fuels – are already causing frequent flooding and disrupting lives, business and critical civilian and naval infrastructure up and down the coast.
As DeLevay Miner, a local resident featured in the documentary premiered at the conference, Sea of Change, said, “You cannot depend on the history before because everything is changing.”
If this urgent reality was what motivated so many to spend their Saturday at the “Safe Coast Virginia” conference (see pictures here), the question of what we can and must DO about it was the theme that charged the day.
Here are three big takeaways from the conference that will galvanize our action moving forward:
Coastal Virginia is at the center of the fight against climate change. That’s why, this Saturday from 9:30-4:30pm Hampton Roads residents and Virginians from across the commonwealth are coming together in Norfolk for the Safe Coast Virginia Conference. Community and clean energy leaders, scientific experts and climate champions from Virginia and beyond will deliver keynotes and lead discussions about the threat of rising seas and bigger storms and how we can move towards a clean energy future that keeps us safe.
To join us, you can pre-register for the Safe Coast Virginia Conference online until midnight November 14th, or register at the door.
Bad news from Huffington Post: The Canadian Arctic has reached the highest temperatures in at least 44,000 years. Gifford Miller, a researcher at the University of Colorado, Boulder, says, "This study really says the warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere." This study reaffirms that global temperatures are rising at an unprecedented rate: we’ve seen a warming trend for the past century, but the process has been accelerating significantly since the 1970s and has skyrocketed in the last twenty years. Miller didn’t end on a happy note. “We expect all of the ice caps to eventually disappear, even if there is no additional warming.
Welcome back to the Weekly Climate Insider!
In Maryland, fracking and the results of the Environment America study posted in last week’s Climate Insider are still making headlines. As a recap, the report found that our water supply is put at risk by the billions of gallons of dirty wastewater produced by fracking. See the coverage from Capital News Service.
This week, we’re profiling two Maryland businesses that are environmentally newsworthy.
A Maryland construction company called Hobbitat builds small houses made out of reclaimed materials. The 250 square foot houses, called “hobs,” are made almost exclusively from from salvaged or repurposed materials, nearly eliminating the adverse effects of new construction. In energy terms, “The hobs' square footage is about 11 percent of the median U.S. house size, so much less energy is required to heat and cool them.” Check out some photos of these gorgeous little hobs!
If congressional action is the proposed method to solve policy issues on climate and taxes, my usual advice is to draft a Plan B. In this realm, Congress is like that annoying friend who’s always a day late and a dollar short – reliably unreliable. Unfortunately, when it comes to the future of offshore wind in America there is no Plan B. Congress holds the cards.
In the fight against climate change and dirty energy polluters, there’s a lot going on. Some of it is good -- take the global boom in solar power and its increasing affordability. Some of it just encourages us to push harder and faster. But whether the news is encouraging or frustrating, local or global, knowledge is power. That’s why we’re bringing you a new recurring blog post from CCAN: The Weekly Climate Insider.
Every week, we’ll keep you in the loop with important climate stories impacting Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C. and beyond. We’ll touch on big issues in our campaigns, like the threat of fracking and sea level rise, and we’ll also bring you broader climate news.
Let’s get started.
When it comes to fighting climate change, people power is our greatest weapon. This is the message I took with me from CCAN’s screening of the documentary Chasing Ice in Richmond. Last Thursday night at the Camel, I was able to see what comes of weeks of planning, stress, and seemingly endless phone calls and emails. The result was a room full of people who were motivated and ready to take action against climate change.
The following is a Day 3 update by Greg Yost, who's on the trail of the Walk for Our Grandchildren, July 19th-July 27th.
After spending the last two days walking down roads and through valleys where Confederate and Union troops maneuvered 150 years ago, it feels only natural to think of the huge influx of new walkers this evening as fresh troops arriving just in time for our offensive to recapture the future from fossil fuels. Our forces have more than tripled since Friday at Camp David.
We're in Harpers Ferry, WV, itself a place pregnant with Civil War history and meaning. Steve Norris, one the Walk's originators, made those connections for us as we gathered for orientation in a beautiful field now dotted with our tents on a bluff overlooking the Potomac River.