Pages tagged "climate"


Southern Forests Aren't Fuel

Big energy corporations are clearcutting forests throughout the Southeast United States, chopping the trees into pellets and shipping them to Europe to be burned for fuel.

Tell E.U. policymakers to Save Our Southern forests! 

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Forests aren’t fuel. But biomass companies are cutting down whole trees to burn in European power plants. This scourge is huge, and it’s growing. From Louisiana to Virginia, there are 20 wood pellet facilities up and running, and 33 more being proposed.1 Wood pellet exports from the U.S. doubled last year, from 1.6 million tons in 2012 to 3.2 million tons in 2013 -- and they’ve been projected to nearly double again by next year, to 5.7 million tons in 2015. 99% of U.S. exports came from the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, and 98% went to Europe.2

This is all a terrible unintended consequence of a well-intentioned policy. A few years ago, European policymakers mandated that 20% of power come from renewable sources, and set up significant subsidies to help countries meet that target. The problem is, under this policy, wood counts as a renewable fuel source. The result? Insatiable European demand for wood pellets, and widespread destruction of Southern U.S. forests.

Time for E.U. policymakers to fix the mess they’ve made. 

In fact, a recent study by the U.K. Department for Energy and Climate Change confirmed what a number of studies have shown: that burning whole trees for fuel is worse for the climate than burning coal.3 The Southern forests that are suffering from E.U. policy have more diverse tree species than anywhere in North America, and the world’s most biodiverse freshwater ecosystem. And, like forests everywhere, they serve as invaluable protection for drinking water for local communities.

Bad for the climate, bad for biodiversity, bad for communities: it’s past time to address this growing crisis. So today, as the wood products industry meets in Chesapeake, Virginia, the Dogwood Alliance and its allies across the country are holding a National Day of Action to pressure European policymakers to stop incentivizing burning forests for fuel.

Add your voice today.


SOURCES:

1. “Forests for Fuel”, Dogwood Alliance
http://www.dogwoodalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Dogwood-Alliance-FNF-Infographic.jpg

2. “The Truth About the Biomass Industry: How Wood Pellet Exports Pollute Our Climate and Damage Our Forests”, Natural Resources Defense Council
http://www.nrdc.org/energy/wood-pellet-biomass-pollution.asp

3. “New Study Confirms That Some Biomass is Dirtier Than Coal”, Natural Resources Defense Council
http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/syassa/new_study_confirms_that_some_b.html


Protect the Great Barrier Reef!

Please make a donation today to support all of RAN's work!

Stand with RAN as we demand Wall Street not to destroy the birthplace of the humpback whales and the home to the endangered green sea turtle, by financing one of the world’s biggest coal ports to be further expanded.  

Please support our efforts to protect the Great Barrier Reef from the coal industry’s dirty practices.

Your gift is fully tax-deductible. 


You can also donate via PayPal here:

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Asheville Climate Visioning Session, December 13th

Transition Asheville will host this event and assist in coordinating activities for the Day of Action and further local actions.

At this Change the Course Climate Visioning Session, we will crowd-source a detailed vision of what a sustainable and just future would look like — and develop the strategies and tactics that will get us there.

 

WHEN
December 13, 2014 at 1pm
WHERE
Lenoir-Rhyne Asheville Campus Board Room
36 Montford Ave
Asheville, NC 28801
United States
Google map and directions

World’s Top Coal-Financing Banks Still Won’t Touch Abbot Point

 

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This week, BankTrack launched their latest report on the top coal-financing banks in the world. The ranking, topped by JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup, includes several other U.S. banks in the top 20 based on their total financing for coal mining and coal-fired power since 2005.  

As the piece we’ve cross-posted below notes, it’s telling that even the top financiers of coal in the world have decided to stay away the proposed coal terminal expansion at Abbot Point on the Great Barrier Reef. But unfortunately, even though most of their competitors have concluded that expanding Abbot Point would be a disaster for the climate and the reef, Bank of America still hasn’t gotten the message.

By Ben Collins (RAN), Yann Louvel (BankTrack) and Julien Vincent (Market Forces), cross-posted from RenewEconomy:

The proposed expansion of the Abbot Point coal export terminal is running out of friends in the banking world. This week’s news that U.S. giants Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase will not finance the proposed coal export terminals at Abbot Point bring the total number of banks to have made this commitment to nine. Even Morgan Stanley, currently in business with Adani over the partial sale of the existing coal export terminal at Abbot Point, acknowledge the environmental risks associated with the proposed new terminals and won’t provide funding to expand the coal port.

And a new report from global banking watchdog BankTrack underlines the significance of these commitments.

The report lists the top twenty global banks in terms of their investments in the coal industry over the past decade. Leading the list are JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays, having financed the global coal industry to the tune of US$105 billion since 2005.

However, these major coal-funding banks are also doing something good.

They have all signalled that they are not going to fund the proposed expansion of the Abbot Point coal port, the focal point for exports out of what would be a series of new mega coal mines proposed in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

It says a lot about the unacceptability of the proposals to build two massive new coal export terminals in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area that banks with the strongest record of financing the sector have all opted out. In fact, six of the top ten and nine of the top twenty coal funding banks have now stated that they don’t plan to fund the expansion of Abbot Point, although holdouts such as U.S.-based Bank of America have so far refused to state their position on financing Abbot Point.

Despite poor market conditions, high costs and the massive outpouring of concern over the environmental impacts of their projects, Indian companies GVK and Adani remain hell-bent on opening up the Galilee Basin in Queensland. When we say “mega” coal mines, we really mean it. The smallest is as large as Australia’s biggest operating coal mine and the largest, twice the size. All of the proposals in the Galilee Basin would produce enough coal to chew up 7% of the world’s remaining carbon budget, drastically reducing our chances of keeping a lid on global warming.

Adding insult to environmental injury, the coal would be shipped out through new coal export terminals to be built in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, turning the region into a coal shipping superhighway. All for the sake of feeding the world dirty and expensive fuel when renewable energy options are already more economically viable.

The more international banks acknowledge that building coal ports in the Great Barrier Reef to massive expand exports is a bridge too far, the sharper it brings Australia’s “big four” banks into focus.

report last week from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis confirmed that if the Galilee Basin mega mines are going to go ahead, they would need the support of the likes of ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac. Historically, these banks have loaned the most money and taken part in far more fossil fuel deals than any other bank, so their importance to financing the new mega mines and coal export terminals in the Reef is obvious.

So far, the banks have been coy about saying anything about the proposals to expand coal exports through the Great Barrier Reef, falling back on sustainability policies that have, in recent years, seen them lend nearly $20 billion to fossil fuels. It has created an absurd situation where banks headquartered in Paris, London, and New York are doing more to stand up and defend the Reef than Australian banks.

It is already costing the banks. Several thousand customers have so far joined the rapidly growing divestment movement, moving to other banks in protest of the big four’s massive lending to the fossil fuel industry. And thousands more, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, sit in waiting, ready to shift their business based on whether the Australian banks will stand up and defend the Reef or fund its demise.


Groups to Bank of America: Don't Finance Great Barrier Reef Destruction

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 30, 2014

 

contact:

Claire Sandberg, Rainforest Action Network, claire@ran.org, 646-641-6431

Joe Smyth, Greenpeace, 831-566-5647, joe.smyth@greenpeace.org

Groups to Bank of America: Don’t Bankroll Reef Destruction

Australian coal port threatens global climate, Great Barrier Reef

San Francisco—An international coalition of groups called on Bank of America to rule out financing the controversial Abbot Point coal port in Queensland, Australia, days after three major U.S. investment banks pledged to steer clear of the project. Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs all issued public-facing statements vowing not to finance the expansion of Abbot Point, but Bank of America has so far refused to take a position. The project would significantly harm the Great Barrier Reef--construction of the new port would require dredging part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area--and would drive global climate change by drastically increasing carbon emissions.

"Not only do numerous reports show that the Galilee Basin projects are poor investments, but groups in India, such as Conservation Action Trust, have stated that exporting Australian coal to be burnt in India will threaten the health and livelihoods of people in India. These projects are not just bad for people, they are bad business.,” said Sierra Club International Campaign Representative Nicole Ghio.

"Smart investors understand that dumping money into speculative coal mining and export projects makes no sense, especially as the largest coal consuming countries begin to move away from coal to reduce air pollution and carbon emissions," said Kelly Mitchell, Greenpeace USA energy campaign director, "The Abbot Point expansion would serve the interests of a shrinking and desperate coal industry, at the expense of one of the great natural treasures of the world. Bank of America should promise not to finance it, and avoid this risky and extremely controversial coal export proposal."

“We've seen the world's biggest banks in the U.S. and Europe abandon the Abbot Point Coal Port project one by one. These banks understand that financing the project would devastate the Great Barrier Reef and unleash one of the world's largest stores of carbon. Bank of America needs to act responsibly, and commit to not financing the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef as well,” said Paul Ferris, SumOfUs Campaigns Director.

“Bank of America has publicly stated its commitment to accelerate the transition from high-carbon to low-carbon energy societies,” said Alex Levinson, executive director of Pacific Environment. “But if it bankrolls the destructive Abbot Point coal port expansion, the only thing it will accelerate is global climate change.”

“It’s unbelievable that in the midst of a climate emergency, Bank of America would even consider bankrolling a carbon bomb on the scale of the Alberta tar sands. On top of it, Abbot Point poses an immediate threat to one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems, the Great Barrier Reef. Bank of America needs to join the rest of its peers by rejecting this terrible project immediately,” said RAN Climate and Energy Program Director Amanda Starbuck.

Earlier this year, Bank of America proclaimed that “society needs to transition from high-carbon to low-carbon energy, and the bank has a responsibility to accelerate this transition.” Last month, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan reiterated the bank’s commitment to climate action when he spoke at the U.N. climate summit in New York. But Bank of America’s stated environmental position clashes starkly with the bank’s refusal to rule out bankrolling the expansion of Abbot Point.

Building a new, larger export facility at Abbot Point is a key component of the plan to dramatically increase coal production in Australia’s Galilee Basin, one of the largest stores of carbon in the world. If the plan goes forward, Australia’s coal exports would likely double, and make the the country the number one coal exporter in the world. The proposed expansion has strong backing from the Australian government, but will require financial support from global investment banks to move ahead. Five major European banks (Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Barclays, and Credit Agricole) publicly ruled out investment in Abbot Point earlier this year after months of campaigning from an international coalition. That group was joined yesterday by U.S. banks Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs, which issued public-facing statements as evidence of their commitments.


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Tell Bank of America: Don't Finance the Destruction of the Great Barrier Reef

The coal industry is trying to move forward with a deal that would threaten Australia’s treasured Great Barrier Reef and turbocharge climate change—but they can’t do it without major financial backing. Three of the biggest Wall Street investment banks have said they won’t fund the deal.1 But Bank of America won’t commit to staying away.

Tell Bank of America—don’t finance the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef!

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Right now, the coal industry is pushing an incredibly destructive plan: to build out one of the biggest coal ports in the world right in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef. A huge corporation called Adani is attempting to dredge 3 million cubic meters of seabed, wrecking part of the biggest stretch of coral reef in the world and one of the planet’s most biodiverse ecosystems. 

The Great Barrier Reef is home to thousands of species, including the endangered Green Sea Turtle, and it’s a crucial area for humpback whales giving birth and raising their young. Expanding Abbot Point coal terminal and massively increasing dangerous coal ship traffic would put a global treasure—in fact, a protected World Heritage Site—at grave risk.

It would also cook the climate. The coal industry wants to build out Abbot Point so it can dig new mega-mines in a vast reserve called the Galilee Basin. That would double coal production in Australia, already the world’s second-biggest coal exporter. Unbelievably, in the midst of a climate emergency, Bank of America is considering bankrolling a carbon time-bomb on the scale of the Alberta tar sands. 

Without the backing of major financial institutions, this deal cannot go ahead. Tell Bank of America to stay away from the Abbot Point coal port expansion.

For the last two months, RAN has been working behind the scenes, asking the biggest Wall Street investment banks to commit to not finance reef and climate destruction. An international coalition of environmental groups has joined the fight, and tens of thousands of you added your voices to a petition calling on Wall Street to stay away from this reckless deal. 

Your pressure is working! In the last three weeks, we’ve won public commitments from three of the biggest Wall Street banks—Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Citigroup—to not finance the Abbot Point terminal expansion.

But Bank of America is still holding out. Tell them to commit: don’t fund a deal that would wreck the Great Barrier Reef and cook the climate!


RAN to Bank of America: Don’t Bankroll Reef Destruction

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 28, 2014

 

contact:

Claire Sandberg, claire@ran.org, 646-641-6431

 

RAN to Bank of America: Don’t Bankroll Reef Destruction

Australian coal port threatens global climate, Great Barrier Reef

 

San Francisco—Rainforest Action Network (RAN) called on Bank of America to rule out financing the controversial Abbot Point coal port in Queensland, Australia, a day after three major U.S. investment banks pledged to steer clear of the project. Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs all assured RAN in writing that they would not finance the expansion of Abbot Point, but Bank of America has so far refused to take a position. The project would significantly harm the Great Barrier Reef--construction of the new port would require dredging part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area--and would drive global climate change by drastically increasing carbon emissions.

Earlier this year, Bank of America proclaimed that “society needs to transition from high-carbon to low-carbon energy, and the bank has a responsibility to accelerate this transition.” Last month, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan reiterated the bank’s commitment to climate action when he spoke at the U.N. climate summit in New York. But Bank of America’s stated environmental position clashes starkly with the bank’s refusal to rule out bankrolling the expansion of Abbot Point.

“If Brian Moynihan’s public remarks on climate mean anything, then Bank of America needs to reject Abbot Point,” said RAN Climate and Energy Program Director Amanda Starbuck. “It’s unbelievable that in the midst of a climate emergency, Bank of America would even consider bankrolling a carbon bomb on the scale of the Alberta tar sands. On top of it, Abbot Point poses an immediate threat to one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems, the Great Barrier Reef. Bank of America needs to join the rest of its peers by rejecting this terrible project immediately.”

Building a new, larger export facility at Abbot Point is a key component of the plan to dramatically increase coal production in Australia’s Galilee Basin, one of the largest stores of carbon in the world. If the plan goes forward, Australia’s coal exports would likely double, and make the the country the number one coal exporter in the world. The proposed expansion has strong backing from the Australian government, but will require financial support from global investment banks to move ahead. Five major European banks (Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Barclays, and Credit Agricole) publicly ruled out investment in Abbot Point earlier this year after months of campaigning from an international coalition. That group was joined yesterday by U.S. banks Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs, which all made public commitments under pressure from RAN.


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RAN Applauds Move by U.S. Banks to Reject Australian Coal Port

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 27, 2014

contact:
Claire Sandberg, claire@ran.org646-641-6431


Rainforest Action Network Applauds Move by U.S. Banks to Reject Australian Coal Port

Abbot Point coal export project presents dire threat to climate and to the Great Barrier Reef

San Francisco—Rainforest Action Network commended the move by leading U.S. investment banks to rule out financing the Abbot Point coal export project in Queensland, Australia. Under pressure from RAN, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase all issued written commitments—released publicly for the first time today—to not bankroll the controversial project, which would involve dredging part of the Great Barrier Reef.

“We’re pleased to see some of the biggest banks on Wall Street reject this destructive project that presents a grave threat to the Great Barrier Reef and to the global climate,” said RAN Climate and Energy Program Director Amanda Starbuck. “These banks have clearly taken a good look at the Abbot Point plan and decided that dredging a World Heritage Site to make way for coal ships is obviously a terrible idea.”

The chilly reception to Abbot Point from U.S. banks follows five major European banks (Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Barclays, and Credit Agricole) publicly ruling out investment in Abbot Point earlier this year after months of campaigning from an international coalition. BlackRock has also warned investors to steer clear of the project. This new move by major U.S. banks signals that the Adani Group and GVK may be unsuccessful in their bid to secure an estimated $26.5 billion in external financing necessary for the planned expansion of coal export facilities and associated mine and rail infrastructure.

Rainforest Action Network is campaigning to stop Abbot Point due to concerns over how terminal construction and operation would impact the Great Barrier Reef; building the terminal would require dredging an ecologically sensitive area of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Additionally, if Abbot Point moves forward it could unlock one of the world’s largest untapped stores of carbon, the Galilee Basin, by providing critical export infrastructure. Nine new mega coal mines are currently planned for the Galilee Basin, five of which would be bigger than any coal mine currently operating in Australia. Galilee basin mines, if fully developed, would produce up to 330 million metric tons of coal per year for export, more than doubling Australia's exports. Australia is already the number two exporter of coal in the world.

“Stopping Abbot Point is a top priority for us, because this single project is the key to whether one of the largest stores of carbon on the planet, the Galilee Basin, stays in the ground where it belongs, or is sold on the global market and released into our atmosphere,” said Starbuck.

 

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Wall Street: Don't Destroy the Great Barrier Reef!

In the coming months, big Wall Street banks could finance the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef.

Raise your voice to stop them! 

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Photo: Shutterstock

The Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Australia, is the world's biggest stretch of coral reef and is probably the planet’s richest area in terms of animal diversity. It’s home to 1,500 species of fish, 400 kinds of coral, and at least 30 types of whales and dolphins—it’s an important area for humpback whales giving birth and raising their young. The reef is also a key habitat for two endangered—and beautiful—species: the green sea turtle and the dugong, or “sea cow.” And it’s a global treasure, a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site.1

Now the Great Barrier Reef is facing a massive threat. A huge corporation, Adani, wants to expand the Abbot Point coal terminal into the one of the world’s biggest coal ports, right in the middle of the reef World Heritage Area. To do that, they’re planning to dig up 3 million cubic meters of seabed, wrecking the habitat of thousands of species. Analysts project that, if the port is expanded, thousands more coal ships would pass through the reef each year, polluting the ocean as they go and posing a constant threat of catastrophic spills.

But the port can’t go forward unless Adani finds several big banks to fund their astonishingly reckless plan. Thanks to the efforts of a worldwide coalition of environmentalists, a number of European banks have pledged not to underwrite the project. So now the company is looking to Wall Street—and so far, the big U.S. banks haven’t yet committed to not financing the project.

Tell Wall Street not to bankroll the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef!

There’s another reason we need to stop this plan, besides the acute threat to the reef: the Abbot Point port expansion would light the fuse on a carbon bomb on the scale of the Alberta tar sands. The port is a key piece of infrastructure in a coal industry plan to build a cluster of new mega-mines in a vast coalfield called the Galilee basin. Australia is already the world’s second-biggest coal exporter, and these new mines would double the country’s output. With the world hurtling toward devastating levels of global warming, the next few years are crucial for us to change the course of climate history, and the fight over Abbot Point is one that we have to win. We have the technology to meet our energy demand from clean, renewable sources—there’s no need to unlock these vast reserves of dirty coal for the sake of corporate profits.

Rainforest Action Network has a long track record of pressuring banks to quash dirty energy deals, and we’re already talking to the biggest players on Wall Street to push them not to bankroll the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef. We’re telling bank executives: destroying a World Heritage Site and cooking the climate for the sake of as little as a few million dollars in fees is not a good deal. But we can’t win in the boardroom unless Wall Street knows that this is one deal the public won’t let them get away with. In the coming months, Adani will be reaching out to the big banks to secure financing, so we need to raise our voices now.

Add your name to our petition today.


Climate Leadership Summit, Houston TX December 13-14

Today, there is unprecedented momentum in the effort to stop fossil fuels and win climate justice.

However, with most of our attention focused on fighting short-term battles, we often forget to ask the question: What would the world look like if we won?

Change the Course, a new program from Rainforest Action Network, is an invitation to dig deep and think hard about what it would actually take to stabilize the climate and create a just transition to a post-carbon future.

We are launching a series of climate-focused workshops and visioning sessions — in cities across the country as well as through a new online platform. Through this program, we will crowd-source a detailed vision of what a sustainable and just future would look like — and develop the strategies and tactics that will get us there.

Our opponents in the fossil fuel industry have their own vision for the future, one defined by rising oceans and ever-increasing carbon emissions — a future where extreme energy practices fly in the face of science and common-sense, and where the worst impacts of climate change are shouldered by the communities least able to bear them.

It’s not too late to define the future we want to live in.

Together, let’s change the course.

Please join us at the upcoming Climate Leadership Summit to kick this project off. This 2 day event will bring communities together from across the region for an innovative visioning, strategic development and skills summit. We will strengthen and grow local groups and prepare our movement to take action together, with our end goals in mind.

This summit will take place on Saturday & Sunday from 12-5pm. RSVP now! 

WHEN
December 13, 2014 at 1pm - December 14, 2014 at 6pm
WHERE
Sharespace
2201 Preston St
Houston, TX 77003
United States
Google map and directions
· 56 rsvps

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