Saturday, March 1, 2008

Principles of U.S. campus climate change movement

Great video on climate change science by American student:

Students Against Climate Change endorses the following principles from Although written by and for Americans, every princple is entirely applicable to Canada. We call on our leaders to follow these guiding principles as they make decisions that will determine our future: A just climate policy must be scientifically based – The US must enact mandatory caps on greenhouse gas pollution that ensures the peak and decline of global carbon emissions before 2015 towards a minimum of 80% emissions reductions below 1990 levels before mid-century in order to avoid a climate catastrophe. An ambitious plan to revolutionize our energy, agriculture and transportation systems with measurable targets is essential. We must immediately shift all federal funding and subsidies away from dirty energy towards research and implementation of clean technologies. A just climate and energy policy cannot rely on any forms of dirty energy such as so-called “clean coal” or nuclear power. We must recognize the disproportionate impact of global warming and dirty energy on low-income, people of color and indigenous communities and ensure a just transition that improves and supports their physical, social and economic health.

If the $46 billion that Ontario plans to spend on nuclear energy were spent on wind turbines and conservation efforts, this province could get rid of coal power, nuclear power, a lot of air pollution (and health problems and costs associated with it), as well as the damaging psychological effects caused by endless economic growth through unsustainable consumption of unecessary goods. All the solutions exist. Why are they being adopted? We clearly need more grassroots organizing, especially on campuses. We must prioritize major reductions in total energy use. Cost-effective energy conservation and efficiency measures can cut energy demand by more than half. All of our remaining energy needs, including transportation, can be met by zero-emission renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. No combination of "alternative" fuels (from corn, coal or otherwise) can replace our oil addiction. Highly efficient, zero-emission electric cars and plug-in hybrids can be fueled up with wind-powered electricity more cheaply and conveniently than we can fill up with oil, biofuels or hydrogen. The development of a just climate and energy policy must include all stakeholders, not just business, government, and large environmental groups. Because every American, no matter their age or economic status, will be affected by climate change, it is crucial that a broad and diverse group, including communities that are disproportionately impacted by the energy industry, have seats at the table as this policy is crafted. As the generation that will inherit the impact of the decisions we make today, young people must be given a particularly important seat at the table. A sustainable future must inlcude frogs and amphibians. We are morally culpable if we continue to allow them to die. Invader species and habitat loss are the leading causes.

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