Typhoon Haima killed at least 12 people and flooded rice and corn fields in the Philippines, Reuters reports. The major storm then slammed into Hong Kong with strong winds and heavy rains.Read original story
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday finalized new nonbinding guidelines to reduce emissions of ozone-forming pollutants for oil and gas drilling sites, The Hill reports.Read original story
Brazil's senate on Wednesday approved a package of new coal subsidies, Climate Home reports. This move comes a month after the country ratified the Paris climate agreement.Read original story
U.S. and British science agencies recently announced a new research mission to study a massive Antarctic glacier that could hold the potential for major sea level rise, the Washington Post reports.Read original story
Some of the hacked person emails from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta that were recently released by WikiLeaks offer new insight into why the Democratic presidential nominee has avoided supporting a carbon tax, Vox reports.Read original story
In the three U.S. presidential debates, only five minutes and twenty-seven seconds were spent on climate change and other environmental issues, Grist reports.Read original story
Haima is the second typhoon to slam into the Philippines in less than a week, CNN reports. The most recent storm is expected to cause significant damage to infrastructure and agriculture in northeast Philippines.Read original story
What are the best cities in North America to live in if you are concerned about the impacts climate change? The New York Times provides nine suggestions, ranging from Portland, Maine to Boise, Idaho to San Francisco, California.Read original story
Judging has begun on the nonprofit group XPRIZE's $20-million challenge to research teams to find the most profitable way to capture and repurpose carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, Christian Science Monitor reports.Read original story
This post was written by Beta Coronel, 350.org US Reinvestment Coordinator.
Today we’re launching an exciting new divestment push: together, a broad coalition of faith, health, business, and climate justice organizations are calling on New York’s comptrollers to divest the city and state’s massive pension funds from fossil fuels, and reinvest in just solutions to the climate crisis.
There’s never been a better moment for New York to divest. We’re approaching the 4-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, and the Paris agreement will officially take effect in just a few weeks. Right now our comptrollers are falling short in addressing climate change — an existential threat to New Yorkers — and we need way more ambition.
New York boasts among the largest pension funds in the nation, one of the most iconic cities, and the financial capital of the world. If New York were to divest, it would send a powerful message that the age of fossil fuels is over.
Oil giant Exxon is among the funds’ largest investments, and we know its executives lied about climate change since the 1970’s — our own NY attorney general is investigating them. New York’s comptrollers must choose a side: fossil fuel companies still recklessly and knowingly perpetrating the climate crisis, or the people.
More than 600 universities, faith groups, pension funds, and other institutions have already divested from fossil fuels. Here in New York, local activists have made headway pushing Comptroller Stringer on coal divestment, but it’s time to take the next step.
Tell New York’s comptrollers to divest the city and state’s $350 billion pension funds from all fossil fuels. In a few days, State Senator Liz Krueger will meet with representatives from Comptroller DiNapoli’s office to discuss divestment, and we’ll make sure they get your message.
We’ll be ramping up this push after the election, but as a divestment supporter, we wanted to give you the chance to join in early. There will be lots of ways to help on the road ahead, and we’ll keep you updated with how best to plug in. We know it’ll take a lot more than one petition or one meeting to win — it’ll take a movement.
Let’s do this,
- Press release: New Yorkers issue new challenge to divest City & State pensions from fossil fuels (October 17, 2016)
- Full text of the sign-on letter to Comptroller DiNapoli and Comptroller Stringer
A new report by the Obama administration offers dozens of recommendations relating to the integrity of gas storage wells, preparation for possible natural gas leaks and better coordination between the gas and electric industries, according to NPR. The report comes a year after the massive Aliso Canyon gas leak was first detected.Read original story
After three years of divestment campaigning in Germany we’ve seen remarkable growth of the movement and some strong wins. The cities Münster and Stuttgart have been the first cities to divest and ditch fossil fuels from their pension funds. The Protestant Church Hessen-Nassau was the first religious institution to follow our call for divestment. The pension fund for the press decided to divest from coal. We have over 24 local Fossil Free campaigns who keep bringing climate change and the need to keep coal, oil and gas in the ground on the political agenda. The German fossil fuel divestment movement has been pushing the public debate and built powerful partnerships. And this is why divestment has reached entire federal states – one of them being Berlin. This is a huge success. The following blog shows which states plan to divest and what their approach to divestment looks like. It also shows were the gaps are and what still needs to be done to achieve success.
Words on paper must now become decisive action.
First to act was North Rhine Westphalia with a ruling in the state parliament in January 2016. Baden Württemberg followed in May (governing coalition contract), Berlin in July (city parliament ruling) and lastly Rheinland-Pfalz in September (state parliament ruling). The divestment movement can celebrate these successes due to an ever-increasing public pressure fired by creative and courageous fossil free groups, as well as the strategic and forward-looking actions of some state politicians.
The exact wording of the parliamentary rulings, however, is extremely variable. How rigorously the new investment guidelines are applied will only become apparent in the next months. Will all five states actually end all investment in coal, oil and gas? Or will there still be loopholes left for investment in fossil fuels? Will only the pension funds become climate-friendly or will the decisions also affect business holdings and loans? The following text will give you more information about the divestment policies of both the individual states and of the central German government.
North Rhine-Westphalia: According to an investigation by correctiv.org, NRW has 81 million euros in climate-damaging investments, putting it in second place under the states. Following the ruling in the state parliament in January 2016, the next step is the exact formulation of new “sustainable, climate-friendly and socially responsible” investment criteria for the pension funds of its public servants and judges. This should come into effect by 2018. The pension schemes will be unified into a new pension fund worth 10.3 billion euros.
Baden-Württemberg is (still) the state in first place for its climate-killing investments. The two pension funds, covering the pensions of its public servants, invest at least 190 million euros in businesses earning their money with coal, oil and gas. In August 2016, however, the state ministry of finance announced that both funds, together totalling 5.3 billion euros, would withdraw their investments from fossil fuel. Baden-Württemberg also stressed in their coalition contract from May of 2016 both their wish for a “divestment-strategy” for the state bank of Baden-Württemberg as well as a “Corporate Government Codex” for state investment.
Berlin: Fossil Free Berlin fought hard for the divestment ruling adopted in July 2016. This success shows the group’s staying power. All five parties in the city parliament voted to withdraw public monies from organisations “whose business model contradicts the aim of climate neutrality”. In Berlin the decision affects the state pension funds valued at around 750 million euros. According to the Berlin senate, 78 million euros of these funds are invested in stocks and include, among others, shares in RWE, E.ON and Total. A financial consultant should develop and implement the new investment guidelines by 1/1/2017.
Rheinland-Pfalz: At the beginning of September 2016 a motion put forward by the Green Party set the divestment ball rolling. According to the Allgemeinen newspaper, the 5.29 billion euros in the state pension funds consist primarily of debts plus a small amount of cash. A divestment ruling would then in this case only become relevant in the future, preventing any new investment in coal, oil or gas and ensuring an ethical and ecological investment policy. But also here, the new investment criteria must first be formulated. It remains to be seen how stringent or lax they become and whether climate-killing investments will be consistently excluded.For these states, divestment is still in the future
Saxony-Anhalt: according to the Correctiv investigation, the state invests about 16 million euros in climate-damaging firms like Total and BP or the Australian mining giant Rio Tinto. An inquiry by the Left party on the 15th of August 2016 shed more light on the confused investment politics. A debate on the theme of divestment was initiated but, up to now, profit has proved far more important for the state than any ethical or ecological considerations.
Even following the widely circulated Correctiv investigation the state parliament responded to the Left’s inquiry with a refusal to consider stronger divestment criteria. The state president Reiner Haseloff from the Christian Democrats apparently wants to reconsider the state’s investments, but before it could even come to a binding divestment ruling, several hurdles and opposition within the party would have to be overcome. In the democratic process the next steps would need to be: an examination by the ministry of finance of the current investment strategy, followed by a discussion of the topic in the state parliament’s capital market committee. It won’t be until the spring of 2017 that the financial market committee will be able to start thinking about divestment.
Bremen: the Fossil Free Bremen group is doing everything in its power to enable divestment in their state. They want climate-damaging investments to become a thing of the past as soon as possible. They have now achieved a remarkable partial success: just a few days ago (on the 24th of September 2016), the Green party adopted a divestment policy at their state conference. Fossil Free Bremen has now found an ally for its demands. A divestment motion could possibly even be put forward this year in the state parliament.And what is happening on the federal level?
Not a lot. Since 2007, 10 percent of the federal pension funds have been invested in Eurostoxx 50, and in 2008 the funds of the Employment Ministry were added. Eurostoxx 50 includes, with Total, Repsol and ENI, three corporations whose profits primarily come from fossil fuels. According to a inquiry by the Green party and analysts from the Carbon Disclosure Project, this means that national government invests around 112 million euros in fossil fuel. That is absolutely incompatible with the aims of the Paris climate agreement. For this reason we demand further divestment and the fastest possible adoption of rigorous climate-friendly investment criteria.
Louisiana's master plan for coastal restoration and hurricane protection is getting a rewrite, The Times-Picayune reports.Read original story
A group of Democratic senators including Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) recently asked President Barack Obama to do a comprehensive cultural and environmental review of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, The Hill reports.Read original story
Some of North Carolina's poorest areas were among the hardest hit by flooding from Hurricane Matthew, the New York Times reports.Read original story