The announcement that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere has passed the critical threshold of 400 ppm (parts per million) underscores the urgent need for the Obama administration to finally take meaningful action on climate change. Scientists believe that a safe level for carbon is below 350 ppm. 400 ppm is the highest levels found on earth in over 5 million years.
Members of the Green Shadow Cabinet are helping to mobilize climate change activists to protest at President Obama's fundraiser in NYC this evening (May 13). The broad coalition, Unite Against Pipelines, is demanding that the Obama administration reject the construction of various gas pipelines, including the proposed Keystone XL pipeline as well as two local pipelines, Spectra and Rockaway.
The Cabinet noted that stopping the Keystone XL pipeline will not stop the extraction, transportation, refining and ultimate burning of Albertan tar sands oil. That oil can also be carried by rail cars, as is the oil extracted from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota which is carried via rail to the Port of Albany, NY where it is loaded on barges for travel down the Hudson River for refinement at East Coast refineries
The Green Shadow Cabinet also advocates for democratic control and ownership of fossil fuels and energy infrastructure to ensure that at least 80% of the present fossil fuels are never used. The world already has five times as much oil, coal and gas available as climate scientists say the atmosphere can tolerate. Leaving 80% in the ground is thought to provide minimally acceptable odds of averting devastating climate change.
The Cabinet has called for a Green New Deal to put Americans back to work building a carbon-neutral, sustainable energy future based on clean energy such as wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, and conservation. The Cabinet supports the phase-in of a substantial progressive carbon tax to wean the economy off fossil fuels. It opposes Obama's approach of an "all of the above" promotion of domestic energy sources, which includes promoting so-called "clean" coal, off shore oil drilling, and hydrofracking of natural gas. And it supports instituting a Wall Street sales tax and downsizing the military to generate revenue needed for an urgent green economic transformation that simultaneously creates 25 million needed jobs.
Obama's visit to NYC today is his first since Hurricane Sandy. As usual, his focus is raising money for the Democratic Party.
"It is long past time for action. Climate change means more frequent severe storms that lead to massive flooding and destruction. We will see more destructive storms than Sandy in the years to come. Under Clinton, Bush and Obama, America has been both the major contributor to climate change and the major denier of the need for action," said Dr. Jill Stein. "It's up to all of us to stand up now for the future our children - and all children - deserve."
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory recently released its Renewable Electricity Futures Study (http://1.usa.gov/ZVfnaE). The key finding is this: Renewable electricity generation from technologies that are commercially available today, in combination with a more flexible electric system, is more than adequate to supply 80% of total U.S. electricity generation in 2050 while meeting electricity demand on an hourly basis in every region of the country."
"We need system change, not climate change. Rather than striving to maximize the profits of the 1%, we need to support a sustainable approach to the economy that lifts up all Americans. Rather than begging money from Wall Street banksters, the President ought to be in DC working furiously to get private money and the 1% out of American elections" said Mark Dunlea, Director of the White House Office for Climate and Agriculture for the Green Shadow Cabinet.