Posted to Energy June 03, 2022 by Alex Cornell du Houx

After 100 days of war in Ukraine, fighting is intensifying and one major factor that gives Russian President Vladimir Putin confidence to continue the war is record-setting oil and gas revenue. As long as there is a market for Russian oil and gas, Putin will have the resources to continue fighting with little hope for meaningful peace negotiations.

The reality is that this war has been going on for the last eight years. The Barack Obama administration made the mistake of not taking the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014 seriously. And Europe made the mistake of actually increasing its dependence on Russian gas from 27 percent in 2013 to 38 percent before the current invasion.

Russian oil revenue is up 50 percent this year, according to the International Energy Agency. Gas exports have actually increased during the war. This gives Putin ammunition to fight Ukraine to the tune of more than $700 million a day with an expected $321 billion this year — an increase of more than a third from 2021.

I was on patrol with the Marine infantry in Iraq and we came across a line of cars, trucks and tractors as far as the eye could see. It was nearing dusk and through the desert dust it was hard to make out what they were waiting for. As we got closer it became apparent — oil.

The nightly curfew was approaching and our job was to disperse the crowd. However, people were steadfast and started to riot. They were willing to risk their lives because they were dependent on this single source of energy. Likewise, Putin’s war and autocratic plans are dependent on the Free World using a single source of energy. The late Sen. John McCain famously said, “Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country.”

According to the IEA, in 2021 oil and gas made up 45 percent of Russia’s federal budget, with about 60 percent of exports going to Europe and 20 percent to China. Oil and gas exports have stabilized the Russian ruble. In fact, its sharp and sustained recovery made the ruble the world’s top-performing currency in March. Europe even capitulated to Putin’s demand to pay for oil and gas in rubles to avoid an energy crisis.

Yet Putin’s dependence on a single source of energy also gives us a tremendous opportunity to curtail his power and war in Ukraine. It also means the Free World has an opportunity to increase international security.

Despite the image Putin wants to convey, even before the expanded invasion, Russia was not an economic superpower, ranking 11th in the world. Its gross domestic product ranked above Brazil and was barely comparable to the economy of Texas. Its GDP per capita is 65th in the world. Without oil and gas revenue, the Russian economy will collapse.

The easy answer would be drilling and exporting more oil and gas. It helped make the United States an energy leader. However, it won’t solve this crisis. The industry is already sitting on thousands of unused permits, and investors are unwilling to increase U.S. production due to high profits and previous boom and bust cycles. It would also take six to nine months to increase U.S. production meaningfully. The six liquefied natural gas plants in the United States are already at capacity.

International production is purposefully being held at low pandemic levels by an agreement that is set to expire in September. Additionally, there is little capacity to increase production, as Saudi Arabia is producing 10.5 million barrels per day and has rarely tested sustained production levels above 11 million barrels per day.

The United Arab Emirates is the only other OPEC state that has spare capacity. OPEC is estimated to have less than 2 million barrels per day of spare capacity. Saudi Arabia has also signaled it will stand by Russia as a member of the OPEC+.

Europe also needs 500 billion cubic meters of gas, and 40 percent of that comes from Russia. Even shifting U.S. production from Asia adds only 15 billion cubic meters above the 22 billion cubic meters the U.S. provided last year. Additionally, even with Russian production projected to decline by 17 percent this year and Europe’s reduction of Russian gas to 26 percent, revenues have been stable due to high prices.

The only sustained solution is to add clean energy production to the energy mix, urgently and rapidly. While it takes years and billions of dollars to build a liquefied natural gas plant or pipeline, clean energy can be added much more rapidly to make a meaningful difference on the battlefield. The REPowerEU plan is to invest 210 billion euros by 2027 in clean energy, and Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands agreed to a 10-fold increase of wind power in the North Sea. The goal is to reduce Russian oil imports by 90 percent by the end of the year and be free of Russian gas by 2030.

To truly address the urgency of this challenge is to mobilize a wartime effort to produce clean energy at home and export it to Europe. President Biden can invoke the Defense Production Act to lead the world in clean energy solutions. This leverages $650 billion in federal procurement and creates a demand signal for rapid production. America is excellent at manufacturing when we have a mission. We created and led the world in vaccines using the DPA. During World War II we produced 300,000 airplanes.

More than 500 lawmakers, 50 of whom are also veterans, signed the Elected Officials to Protect America letter urging Congress and the president to enact a National Climate Emergency Plan that includes invoking the DPA. Veterans understand the urgency.

Distributed electricity such as local solar is much more resilient to natural disasters, cyberattacks and war. Heat pumps reduce the need for heating with gas. Offshore wind turbines can be producing electricity in 18 months — faster with DPA invoked. Municipal hydro can be added to city water systems in one to eight days, creating baseload energy. Green hydrogen can cut waste and create power.

We can lead the world in clean vehicle production. These are all solutions that exist now. The added benefit of using the DPA to increase energy production is resilience to Chinese economic and military dangers.

The Ukrainian people have shown their strong determination to defend freedom with valor and heartwarming acts. They are on the front lines defending the democratic world. When I was working with the Ukraine special forces and leadership to evacuate Afghan allies, the Ukrainians risked their lives to help us. They believed in helping those who stood for democratic values. Now they are in the fight for their lives and freedom. We must not let them down. Let’s mobilize to defend Ukraine and our planet.

About the Author

Alex Cornell du Houx is a former Maine state lawmaker, president of Elected Officials to Protect America, and political partner at the Truman National Security Project. He wrote this for

By Josh Campbell and Meridith Edwards
– Updated 12:00 AM EDT, Mon March 28, 2022

When Russian forces first rolled across the border into Ukraine last month, Sayed and Masuma Hosseini were calm.

The former Afghan soldier and his wife, who had been living in Kyiv with two of their children since late 2021, had seen more wars than most will in a lifetime.

Forced to flee their homeland three separate times before due to conflict, they had received an unwelcome education in the complex nature of violence, and a sharpened sense of perceived versus real danger.

But the Hosseinis would soon find themselves refugees for yet a fourth time, rapidly packing only what they could carry, and setting off in what they prayed was the opposite direction of flying bombs and bullets.

‘Things will calm down’
At first, the Hosseinis expected Russia’s invasion to be brief — no more than a couple days.

“Either it will go to this side or that side,” said Masuma, describing her initial thinking. “Either Putin will take (the country) or Zelensky will take it. These two will reconcile among themselves and things will calm down.”

Rather than reconciliation, what followed was a brutal, if lumbering, advance by Vladimir Putin’s forces. In seeking to capture key Ukrainian cities, Russian troops shelled neighborhoods, killing countless innocent civilians in attacks the United States and its allies have described as war crimes.

Apart from the periodic air raid or police siren, Masuma said the city of Kyiv was relatively quiet at the start of the war.

Unable to speak Ukrainian, the family took its cues from locals living in their small apartment building. The sound of a toddler in the unit above, who would often run across the apartment, was a comforting noise. As long as the Hosseinis heard the riotous child through their ceiling, they knew their neighbors had not yet begun heading for the underground shelters.

But soon came the explosions, the fear, and a plea from their daughter in the United States to immediately leave the capital.

‘We felt like there was no hope’
This was not the first time the Hosseinis had found themselves fleeing Russian aggression.

In 1979, the Soviet military invaded Afghanistan in a war that lasted a decade. The campaign would ultimately result in nearly a million Afghan deaths and the loss of 15,000 Russian troops.

As Soviet forces besieged their country, Sayed and Musama fled to nearby Iran.

“When it became calm, we returned to Afghanistan,” said Masuma. “Then, when we were there for a few years, the Taliban (came to power) for the first time and fought, and we became refugees again and went to Iran.”

They remained in Iran until US forces launched operation Enduring Freedom after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. With the brutal Taliban regime toppled, the Hosseinis felt it was safe to return home, hoping to never again have to assume the title of refugee.

That hope was fleeting. Nearly 20 years after the start of the war, US President Joe Biden announced US forces would be pulling out of Afghanistan, indicating the prolonged and intractable conflict no longer aligned with American priorities.

By mid-August, the Taliban had seized control of every major city in the country and took over the presidential palace in Kabul.

As the US military finalized its chaotic withdrawal, the Hosseini family feared that Sayed’s role in the Afghan army and their daughter Fatema’s job as a journalist would put the family in the crosshairs of the Taliban.

Fatema made contact with US Navy Reserve Lieutenant Alex Cornell du Houx, who had been working in his personal capacity to help rescue Afghans trying to leave.

Cornell du Houx worked alongside a contact in the Ukrainian military to help secure approval for a special humanitarian flight mission that ultimately brought the Hosseinis to safety in Kyiv.

“There were times when we felt like there was no hope of getting our allies through the gate, then I would get a message from the Ukrainians saying they found a path and guided them to safety — including Fatema’s family,” said Cornell du Houx. “We were supporting thousands of Afghan Allies and by far the majority who made it to safety could breathe a sigh of relief due to the bravery and skill of our Ukraine friends.”

In less than six-month’s time, those same Ukrainian forces would be pleading with the world for help of their own.

‘You can survive this one, too’
Nearly 5,000 miles west of Kyiv in a neighborhood outside Washington, DC, Fatema Hosseini, now a college student, was into her second night of no sleep, repeatedly refilling her coffee mug to help stay awake as she tried to get her family out of war-torn Ukraine.

“I was trying to calm them down by saying: ‘You survived so many wars. You can survive this one, too,'” said Fatema. “But deep in my heart I was literally shivering.”

Communicating by text and video with her 18-year-old brother, Abdulfatl, she implored them to try to get to one of the trains that would take refugees from Kyiv to the western city of Lviv. But the family had little money to pay for tickets, and Abdulfatl said their mother, Masuma, was too sick to travel.

Through the kindness of strangers in their apartment building, the family gathered enough money to make the trip.

But, the train waiting to depart for Lviv was completely packed. “You have to get in,” Fatema told Masuma. “She cried. She said, ‘I can’t,” fearful her 2-year-old daughter, Mobina, would be crushed in the crowd of refugees jammed into the rail car.

Using social media to communicate with strangers in Ukraine, Fatema tried to find other methods of travel for her family, including by bus, but was told there was shooting taking place at the local stop.

While Fatema was busy trying to find a driver, Abdulfatl called and said he had managed to find space on another train bound for a different western Ukrainian city and they were on their way.

Elated and thoroughly exhausted, six time zones away from her family, Fatema passed out. When she awoke, she placed an emotional call to her younger brother, still on the train.

“You did a very great job,” she said, fighting back tears.

‘People there are beautiful’
Fatema’s next goal was to try to find her family a car for the four-hour drive from the train station to the Polish border.

Once again, using social media, she reached out to various strangers for help, including a retired US soldier who put Fatema in touch with an aid group. Volunteers sent a car for the Hosseinis, who were taken to a shelter and provided food.

Actually getting across the Polish border was the final hurdle for the thoroughly fatigued family.

When they first arrived in Kyiv from Afghanistan, the Ukrainian government had taken their passports and provided them with temporary refugee documents. The Hosseinis were told they could retrieve their passports if they ever decided to leave Kyiv for a third country, but this was before Ukraine found itself under attack. In their race to flee the besieged capital, the family couldn’t get their official documents from the immigration agency.

Their saving grace was a journalist Fatema met through online contacts, who drove the Hosseinis to the border and helped them pass through into Poland, far from the Russian invaders.

Reflecting on the many good Samaritans responsible for the safety of her family makes Fatema emotional. Most, if not all, are Ukrainians she will never get to meet and thank in person.

“I wish I could be from Ukraine,” says Fatema. “I wish that could be my homeland. People there are beautiful. They’re kind, and they don’t hesitate to approach you and help you.”

‘Do not get attached to one place’
Sayed, Masuma, Abdulfatl and little Mobina Hosseini are presently in Warsaw, staying at the home of yet another new friend Fatema made online. Their goal is now to get to Canada — a nation that has received personal praise from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for welcoming refugees with open arms — and to live with their eldest daughter.

There is one final challenge: the expensive price of airfare. With little money and few possessions, they do not know how they will be able to make the journey.

Much like the millions of other refugees fleeing Putin’s war, the fate of the Hosseinis is unclear. They are safe, Masuma says, and she looks forward to the day the family no longer has to flee conflict, but she remains more prayerful than hopeful.

“I pray that no one, no other country, no person on the face of the earth, becomes a refugee…that all live in peace” she says.

Asked what her message is to others who may face war, Masuma is practical rather than philosophical.

“When a person becomes a refugee, they miss everything,” she says. “Make a simple life for yourself. Do not buy too many clothes. Do not get attached to one place, because when you immigrate again, you will have to leave everything behind.”

Alex Cornell du Houx, Opinion contributor – Published 13 December 2021

“I need help.”

This was the message I received from a female journalist named Fatema Hosseini at the gate to the airport who was evading tear gas, bullets and Taliban beatings. Moments later, I received a message from an interpreter whom I had worked with in Afghanistan, with a video of the conditions at the gate. It was grim.

It made me think of my time in the Marine infantry as a 0351 infantry assault man. I had been shot at, evaded a number of explosions and practiced being tear-gassed. That was in Fallujah. She was facing similar conditions on what was supposed to be a path to safety.

The path to guiding her and Afghan allies through the Hamid Karzai International Airport gates started when I joined the Marines 17 years ago.

As Marines, we would sometimes do crazy things like run a marathon in full gear without practice. Fast-forward to 2018. I found myself in Afghanistan running around the base with fellow Navy veteran Jessica Serafin and a number of courageous Afghan women who were training for triathlons and competitive races. The sun was close to setting over the city and the air was slightly crisp, yet thick with pollution, and at times it felt like I was breathing molasses. Later that night, I was hunched over an air purifier coughing myself to sleep.

‘More stressful than being in combat’
I kept running with them because I was incredibly inspired by how, as role models for other Afghan women, they were risking their lives and health. I was now an officer in the Navy Reserve. Any hardships I felt on this deployment were unbelievably minimal compared with the dangers they faced simply for the freedom to run. Their dedication and bravery are matched by few.

With the Taliban takeover, sadly these dangers exponentially increase. Serafin told me some of the runners were beaten, their shoes taken away and graffiti sprayed on their houses. The race to get them and our Afghan allies to safety was on. Frankly, it was more stressful than being in combat. 

Serafin helped create Operation Sacred Promise, which focuses on Afghan former military allies. I helped create Evacuating Vocal Afghan Citizens (EVAC), which offers support for journalists and female activists.  

Fortunately, we also had help from the Ukraine Special Forces (SOF) and Iryna Andrukh, who led the charge to put together a number of daring rescue missions. Andrukh left the safety of Ukraine and went to Afghanistan to personally oversee the operation. The Ukrainians’ willingness to help, even with the ever-present Russian danger on their doorstep, is commendable. For this, I am eternally grateful. 

Hosseini’s words, “I need help,” echoed in my mind. Finally, I got a notification from her that “the flag has risen.” After some initial confusion, I realized she had seen a glimpse of the Ukraine flag through her tear-gassed eyes, and I was able to guide her toward the SOF and safety. 

A few days later, and after some gut-wrenching turns of events, the female athletes and journalists’ families were safely awaiting their flight to Ukraine – including Hosseini’s family. Andrukh became one of only 320 Ukrainians to receive their medal for courage during special operations – and the only woman to receive it.

‘The best of America and our allies’

It was inspiring to see so many veterans, active duty, reserve, and other government officials use their personal time to come together regardless of politics to bring our allies to safety for days on end – with almost no sleep.

I applaud President Joe Biden for having the courage to extract us from further conflict and evacuate over 120,000 people in such a short amount of time in adverse conditions. Yes, mistakes were made, and we should acknowledge what did not work. This is why after-action reports will be prepared. However, turning this crisis into a political blame game is a disservice to the tireless efforts in protecting our Afghan allies and plays into adverse narratives about our nation. The focus is best served by bringing everyone to their new homes and ensuring adequate resources once they arrive in America. 

Alex Cornell du Houx is a Marine combat veteran, a former Maine state lawmaker, president of Elected Officials to Protect America (EOPA), and political partner at the Truman National Security Project. The views presented are those of the author and do not represent the views of the Department of Defense.

Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY
– Published 5:00 AM EDT Sep. 30, 2021 Updated 3:28 PM EDT Sep. 30, 2021

Lt. Alex Cornell du Houx has dodged a sniper’s aim, rocket fire and a roadside bomb. In some ways, the former U.S. combat Marine’s latest mission, an entirely volunteer one, has been his most challenging: helping at-risk Afghans escape the Taliban.

For the past six weeks, Cornell du Houx, now a Navy public affairs officer, has been part of a definitely-not-ragtag volunteer rescue force that swiftly mobilized amid the U.S. withdrawal.

After the Taliban captured Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, on Aug. 15, U.S. and coalition aircraft combined to evacuate more than 123,000 civilians in the two weeks that followed, according to Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command.

But many more Afghans – either through a lack of a visa, insufficient contacts or bad luck – were effectively marooned in newly hostile territory.

They were, or remain, in peril from reprisals from the new Taliban government because of links to U.S. and NATO forces, foreign aid groups and overseas media. They championed democracy, civil society, education, culture.

Motivated partly by concern at the way the U.S. withdrawal left so many behind – women’s rights activists, translators, journalists, politicians, Afghan National Army pilots, judges and female athletes – a volunteer coalition formed.

“It was the least we could do. We worked and, in many cases, served alongside these people for years,” said Cornell du Houx, 38, who combines work as a U.S. Navy public affairs officer with a civilian job running a nonprofit organization called Elected Officials to Protect America to address security issues related to climate change. He conducted the rescue operations as a volunteer in his civilian capacity.

U.S. military personnel, Washington political veterans, intelligence community members, humanitarian aid workers, even an investment banker from Florida – pooled resources, contacts and knowledge to get Afghans evacuated on military and civilian flights to the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

In fact, for about a week in mid-August, Cornell du Houx’s newly founded group, EVAC (Evacuating Vocal Afghan Citizens), and other groups with names like Digital Dunkirk, Team America and Operation Eagle set up an ad hoc “command center” in the Peacock Lounge conference room of the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington.

The various units worked together, but also separately, on a dizzying array of logistical challenges ranging from chartering planes to securing landing rights in places such as Albania, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates. They vetted local bus drivers to take people to Kabul’s international airport. They collected information on how to prioritize evacuees, knowing all the while these decisions could spell life or death and that many people were equally deserving of evacuation.

They also raised money, joined calls with U.S. administration officials and dealt with the panic and fear of Afghans who were trying to escape the Taliban. In some cases, volunteers provided step-by-step instructions to evacuees, advising them on which of the airport’s gates were open, what security precautions to take. They gave guidance about visas and paperwork.

Cornell du Houx had gone through a similar process in helping Afghan journalist Fatema Hosseini, who worked for USA TODAY, to escape with the aid of Ukraine’s special forces – and, a week later, her family. In both cases, he stayed up through the night to relay intelligence, coordinate with U.S. and Ukrainian commandoes on the ground in Kabul, and provide real-time tactical and emotional support to Hosseini and others as they navigated gunfire, tear gas and dangerous overcrowding around Kabul’s airport.

“The whole thing was a rollercoaster ride, very tense,” said Cornell du Houx. “I am trained to know what to do in combat situations but this was something else.”

Iryna Andrukh, a colonel in Ukraine’s military who alongside Cornell du Houx helped orchestrate Hosseini’s rescue, then deployed to Kabul as part of a daring mission to save her family and dozens more, said of her country: “We always save those who are in trouble and ask for help.” As part of that operation, Andrukh helped clear a path for buses to enter Kabul airport. This involved venturing into Taliban-held territory.

Backstory: How a Navy officer, a Ukrainian colonel and a USA TODAY reporter helped an Afghan journalist escape the Taliban

That success inspired EVAC, which Cornell du Houx estimates has now evacuated more than 500 people. It still has a database of about 5,000 names of people seeking a way out.

Scott Mann, a retired U.S. Army Special Forces officer who led a similar volunteer group named Task Force Pineapple, described his team’s efforts to help Afghans in a video message to supporters last month as an “underground railroad.”

The command center in Washington was partly funded by Zach Van Meter, a private-equity investor from Naples, Florida. Van Meter felt compelled to get involved after a friend and business associate of his, a former U.S. Army commando whom Van Meter in an interview would identify only as “Sean,” had reached out and said he knew of about 3,500 children, many of them orphans, who were stranded in Kabul.

“He asked me if I could help save lives. In that context I don’t think anybody could really say no to that. I didn’t really know what it entailed. I don’t think anybody really did,” said Van Meter, who leveraged his business contacts in the Middle East to assist the assembled volunteers.

Van Meter said his collaboration with the volunteers has altered his worldview.

“I’ve met so many people that don’t live like I live, which was, you know, money, capitalism, sort of just push, push,” he said. “They live to save lives. They live to improve humanity. And so I now realize that part of my journey for the rest of my life is going to try to be more purposeful.”

A former U.S. Marine who had specialized in Special Forces reconnaissance was part of a 12-man American volunteer team that deployed to the Kabul airport Aug. 20. The former Marine, who declined to be publicly identified because he did not want to compromise continuing operations, said his group worked with U.S. military and high-ranking contacts in the United Arab Emirates to provide humanitarian assistance to an estimated 12,000 at-risk Afghans who eventually were evacuated to Abu Dhabi.

USA TODAY reviewed a series of communications involving the former Marine’s sources and his association with the evacuation effort, which appeared to support his account.

“We knew all too well the likelihood that America would abandon these people, and we were called into action to do the right thing … to take care of those who had helped us,” the former U.S. Marine said.

In all, about 3,000 volunteers from Alabama to Oregon helped Afghans escape in the days after Kabul’s fall to the Taliban, according to Heather Nauert, a former spokesperson for the U.S. State Department who has been working with volunteers and veterans organizations to ensure safe passage out of Afghanistan for families connected to the U.S. military.

“In many cases it was just suburban dads or moms like me making dinner in the kitchen for their kids, then jumping into action to see what we can do to help,” said Nauert, who described herself as someone who could “help shepherd cases” by filling out paperwork for people to get on flight manifests, calling senators’ offices and flagging particular cases to senior officials at the U.S. State Department and Department of Defense.

The Biden administration has come under criticism for a chaotic withdrawal that left many American allies and civilians vulnerable.

Rep. Ruben Gallego, an Arizona Democrat who chairs a congressional committee on intelligence and special operations, acknowledged that the “pullout could have been handled better.”

A former U.S. Marine who served in Iraq, Gallego spent several sleepless nights in mid-August contacting four-star generals and pressuring the State Department to get people to the airport in Kabul. He assisted volunteers with intelligence about road conditions and explored options to take evacuees to third countries, such as Qatar.

But Gallego said the evacuation represented “the best of America, whether it was the government or whether it was our our civilian side working together (with the government).”

The White House approved a plan for the Biden administration to formalize work with the network of volunteers, according to several volunteers familiar with the matter. This new public-private partnership followed a recommendation to the White House by the U.S.’s top military officer, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley.

Gallego is not directly involved with that effort. However, he said he expected it will be “a good way to get organized, help break through bureaucracy, and do a good effort to get people out of out of the country.”

Cornell du Houx is not waiting around for that to happen.

Shortly before this story published, he sent a WhatsApp message to USA TODAY:

“You can add to the count,” he wrote. “We just got 70 kids and 30 adults to safety.”

View the full story at:

Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY – Published Oct 29, 2021

As the Earth warms, strokes and heart disease increase, as does depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Crops fail due to persistent drought, causing farmers in conflict zones to turn to terrorism to make a living. The inequities in communities of color in the U.S. worsen as “bad air days” disproportionately impact Black and Latino populations.

The climate change risks we face are writ large in the form of supersized and more frequent wildfires, heat waves, floods, hurricanes, and depleted ecosystems. But as humans release large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, all this activity is also having profound yet more subtle and harder to measure impacts on public health, national security, social justice, economic growth, worker productivity and a range of other everyday concerns big and small, scientists and experts say.

“I’m in Texas where we have a lot of communities that host oil and gas facilities. These refineries and petrochemical plants are in places where people are invariably poor, where they don’t get the jobs or income, they don’t get the tax benefits. They get polluted. They get poverty. They get sick,” said Robert Bullard, a professor of environmentalism and sociology at Texas Southern University, in Houston.

“Climate change is probably the single most important environmental justice issue of our time because it will accelerate and exacerbate existing inequalities in terms of access to good housing, health care, food, water and safe environments, and the U.S. in many ways is a microcosm of what’s happening globally,” Bullard said.

Climate change:’First and foremost’ a health crisis, new report finds

COP26 goals: Are they reachable?
This global picture will be discussed in Glasgow, Scotland, Oct. 31 to Nov. 12 at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). It will be attended by world leaders, business chiefs, representatives from fossil fuel companies, climate activists and various other groups and concerned citizens.

The meeting comes six years after the Paris Climate Accords, when 196 countries pledged to start reducing their greenhouse gas emissions through a framework known as Nationally Determined Contributions. But few – including the U.S. – have done so in a way that is compatible with the Paris agreement’s goal to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels, according to Climate Action Tracker, an independent scientific analysis website that tracks government action connected to climate change.

Bullard will attend COP26 as part of the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, established by President Joe Biden to strengthen environmental justice monitoring and enforcement in low-income and communities of color.

Biden, who will be in Glasgow Nov. 1-2, is trying to push through Congress at least $500 billion in tax credits, grants and loans to fight climate change domestically as part of a roughly $2 trillion government infrastructure package. For now, Biden’s energy-transition plan is being blocked by a congressional stalemate.

Without that deal the U.S.’s ability to meet its emissions-reduction goals looks far out of reach. It remains unclear whether China’s President Xi Jinping will even attend COP26, an absence that does not bode well given that China is the largest carbon dioxide emitter, followed by the U.S., according to the International Energy Agency.

The world already has warmed by more than 1 degree Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, according to a report released in August by United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Alok Sharma, a British lawmaker and COP26’s president, said he wants the Glasgow conference to reach agreement on several key targets, including:

limiting the increase in global temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, but preferably to 1.5 degrees
phasing out the use of “unabated” coal
earmarking $100 billion annually for developing countries to reduce their fossil fuel emissions
requiring all new car sales to have zero emissions within the next two decades
reducing emissions from methane
halting all deforestation by the end of the decade

Climate change erases security, stability
“If we look at the scale of the forest fires across the Northern Hemisphere this year, or the magnitude of just how extreme the heat wave was in the Pacific Northwest, or if we look at the rainfall events in Germany over the summer – these rates of change exceeded what the climate models told us would happen with our current levels of greenhouse gases,” said Radley Horton, a climate scientist at Columbia University.

Yet not all climate impacts are immediately visible or are at least more difficult to comprehensively track. Horton said major coastal flooding events have obvious short-term impacts on displacement within one’s own country. But as climate change impacts intensify, and food and livelihood security worsen in one area, temporary displacements can lead to permanent and longer-distance ones, especially if there are other factors at play such as poor living conditions, few resources or threats from open conflict.

“Climate hazards lead to instability, which encourages people to migrate,” he said.

The impact of a changing climate on national security is not represented formally on the agenda in Glasgow but will be talked about on the sidelines of the event by participants such as Lt. Alex du Houx Cornell, a U.S. Navy reservist who in his civilian life is the president of Elected Officials to Protect America. EOPA, a non-profit group, brings veterans and lawmakers together to look for solutions to climate threats to public health, the economy and national security.

“When I was deployed to Afghanistan (in 2018) during the Battle of Farah the Taliban actually tweeted out that they were taking the city for the water,” said du Houx Cornell, who noted that since 1948 there have been 37 incidents of acute conflict over water.

“Climate change is a threat multiplier for our national security,” he said.

Ronald Keys, a retired U.S. Air Force commander who was responsible for organizing, training, equipping and maintaining combat-ready forces for rapid deployment, said that climate change is leading to less resilient American military bases, making it harder for U.S. forces to execute missions and resulting in more interrupted training days.

“If the issue is heat, which causes drought, that affects whether you can go out and do live fire drills. If we’re talking about rising sea levels, you can build a seawall but at some point you can’t build that seawall any higher,” he said.

The White House recently announced that the U.S. intelligence community has completed its first ever National Intelligence Estimate on climate change. It concluded that our warming planet “will increasingly exacerbate a number of risks to U.S. national security interests,” including increased geopolitical tensions as countries argue over who should be doing what, and how quickly, to transition to clean energy.

Climate change:The US spy community issues its first-ever National Intelligence Estimate on climate change – and it’s not pretty

Climate change damaging public health and pocketbooks
One way climate change is having a deleterious impact is on public heath. A scientific paper co-authored by Horton in 2017 found that incidences of stroke and heart disease increased in places where mean temperatures had risen over decades. There are also correlations with higher temperatures and poorer birth weights and outcomes. A recent global study led by researchers at the University of Bath, in England, found that 75% of young people surveyed suffered psychological damage because they were sad, afraid and anxious about what the future could hold for them as they and their offspring stand to bear the full burden of living on a planet with rising temperatures.

Another is on the American economy and financial landscape.

“At the institutional level, there’s massive amounts of money moving into climate solutions, things like wind farms and solar and decarbonization strategies,” said David Callaway, a former USA TODAY editor-in-chief who now runs Callaway Climate Insights, a newsletter that analyzes what corporations, investment managers and the business community are doing to mitigate climate risks. Still, Callaway said that with oil prices at record levels many clean energy stocks have actually underperformed benchmark stock indexes recently, partly because they were overvalued in the first place.

“If you’re waiting for the world to grow a collective conscience and invest in clean energy you’re going to be waiting a long time. But if you’re waiting for technology and business entrepreneurs to make clean and sustainable investments because they are more profitable than dirty ones then it’s going to come around a lot sooner,” he said.

Horton said that because climate change is happening faster than anticipated, with that comes impacts that are being felt sooner, too.

“The cliche I use is that two prize fighters are in the late rounds, they are sizing each other up, they’re exhausted, there’s going to be a knockout from an uppercut,” he said. “We just don’t know yet whether it’s going to come from climate change impact tipping points, which would be catastrophic, or a positive solutions story. But one of those things is going to happen this century.”

Today, on a daily basis, millions of people around the globe, including those right here in Maine, face the dangers of the climate crisis. From rising temperatures to extreme weather events linked to human-made climate change, this crisis imperils our security, both abroad and at home.

During my service in Iraq and Afghanistan, I came face-to-face with the climate crisis.

During a routine patrol, a roadside bomb exploded and hit my HUMVEE. As the dust cleared, we checked our limbs and, through quick action, we caught the assailant as he tried to escape. Fortunately for us, the military-age man was not well trained, and most of the blast missed our vehicle.

After securing the area, we started our investigation. We soon learned that he was a farmer with little or no explosives experience. There was a record-setting drought driven by climate change and his crops had failed. Vulnerable, he had been turned into a terrorist paid to attack Americans.

Water scarcity and crops failing are directly linked to the ever-increasing droughts across the globe, and if we fail to address the climate crisis, this will only continue to drive conflict and instability.

Today, on a daily basis, millions of people around the globe, including those right here in Maine, face the dangers of the climate crisis. From rising temperatures to extreme weather events linked to human-made climate change, this crisis imperils our security, both abroad and at home.

As president of Elected Officials to Protect America — a network of elected officials who care deeply about protecting our planet and creating solutions to the climate crisis — I firmly believe our nation needs bold solutions to address climate change and the pollution that is driving it.

The climate crisis is a national security threat, which the Department of Defense and other national security experts have also recognized. Recently, over 100 lawmakers who are veterans and frontline leaders attended a White House summit on the climate crisis, urging for a National Climate Plan and Emergency Declaration Order to address the climate emergency.

Congress, however, also has an essential role to play in delivering on climate action. The recently introduced Build Back Better Act is an important first step in delivering on President Joe Biden’s stated goal of a 50-52% reduction in carbon pollution by 2030. Scientists already tell us that this goal is necessary to address the worsening impacts of the climate crisis.

From Maine’s forests to coasts, climate change is harming our state. Northern Maine is in the middle of a drought, which this past summer was tough on industries across the state. If we fail to act on climate, our state’s iconic lobster industry will be devastated due to rapid warming in the Gulf of Maine. Meanwhile, coastal cities like Portland will only continue to experience increasingly frequent and severe flooding, harming families and businesses.

The BBBA, thankfully, includes one of the best solutions to climate change: clean energy. Maine is already committed to building out a thriving offshore wind industry, and companies are already investing in clean solar energy. Bold climate investments will only support our state’s transition to clean energy, creating the infrastructure needed to support wind and solar energy. Additionally, the BBBA would support sustainable agriculture practices like aquaponic farming, helping to preserve our state’s resources.

Passing the BBBA is not just essential, but also the popular thing to do. In fact, a poll of Maine’s 2nd congressional district found that voters supported passing bold investments to tackle climate change and create energy jobs by a whopping 60-40% margin.

It is critical that our state’s leaders, including my own Congressman Jared Golden, continue to push for solutions that will fight climate change and support Maine’s growing clean energy sector. As a fellow Marine veteran, I know Congressman Golden understands the risks to our economic and national security if we do not take urgent action.

The BBBA is critical to addressing the scale of the climate crisis, and Maine’s members of Congress must deliver on its passage.

Alex Cornell du Houx is a Marine combat veteran, a former Maine state lawmaker, and president of Elected Officials to Protect America, a network of current and former elected officials committed to climate action. He lives in Solon.

Earth Day Live 2020

Join award-winning journalist Anna Day, Afghanistan Member of Parliament Mariam Solaimankhai, and Fmr. State Representative and President of Code Blue – Water Security Conflicts and Solutions on the climate crisis and water security at 3:07 Eastern today, April 24th.

April 22
April 23
April 24

Opening Ceremony (Thomas Lopez Jr.)

Musical Performance by Jack Johnson

Yoga with Nicole Cardoza

We Are Greater Chaco (Mario Atencio, Daniel Tso, Kendra Pinto, Samuel Sage, Jonathan Nez, Julia Bernal)

Interfaith Call for Care and Resilience (Rev. Fletcher Harper, Benki Piyãko, Swami Dayananda, Imam Saffet Catovic, Rev. Leo Woodberry, Rabbi Jennie Rosen)

Musical Performance by Michael Franti

Parliament of the Worlds Religions Opening (Dianne Dillon-Ridgely, Mindahi Bastida, Hanadi Doleh, Swami Ishatmananda, Kaleb Nyquist, Rabbi Rachel Mikva)

Musical Performance by Graham Riley

Yoga with Kathryn Budig

Flint Water Crisis with Katie Fahey

Message From Chelsea Handler

Our Lady J

Dear Mother Earth. Love, Your Children (Maggie Munday Odom, Q Sharaf, Lily Hi’ilani Kim-Dela Cruz, Mounira Elsamra, Molly Francis, Joao Rodrigues Victor, Calling from Maine, Saphira Rosen, Bella Callery)

Musical Performance by Jesse Jo Stark

Imagine the Future (Xiye Bastida)

Cooking with Natalie Portman

Defending the Defenders

Message from Danni Washington

Climate Therapy: Facing the Climate Emergency (Margaret Klein Salamon, PhD, David Wallace-Wells, Mary Annaïse Heglar)

Message from Kerri Russel

Morning Flow with Gustavo Padron

Message from Norman and Lyn Lear

Stories from the Earth (Lyla June Johnston)

Chase, Climate Destruction & the Frontlines of Resistance (Bill McKibben, Tara Houska, Joye Braun)

Message from Kristen Vangsness

Stories from the Earth (Ayisha Siddiqa)

Packing a Punch: Pass Your Own Damn Bill (Anissa Pemberton, Hridesh Singh, Jade Lozada)

Message from Stella McCartney and Friends

This Land is Our Land Remix (Monica Garcia-Medina, Bien Minosa)

Musical Performance by Emily Wells

Climate Therapy: Facing the Climate Emergency (Continued)

A Closer Look at Nature with Louie Schwartzberg and Grace Yang

Mixed Media: A Panel On Just Representation by Extinction Rebellion Youth United States (Fiona Jarvis, Krissy Oliver-Mays, Cynthia Leung)

Message from Bekah Hinojosa

Musical Performance by Aloe Blacc

Thich Naht Hahn Poem (Devendra Banhart)

Tim Heidecker Performance

Meditation Moment with Elena Brower

Wall Street, Rainforest Destruction, and the Climate Crisis (Hana Heineken, Pendle Marshall-Hallmark, Helena Gualinga)

Musical Performance by Siva Kaneswaran

Leading Environmental Advocates Reflect on 50 years of Progress and the Path Forward (Gina McCarthy, Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Annie Leonard)

In Conversation: Secretary John Kerry and Youth Climate Activists (Shiv Soin, Sophie Anderson)

1 Minute Meditation (Lisa Brooks)

Musical Performance by Nahko Bear

Message from The Social Good Club – Inspiration in Isolation (Kati Morton, Mario Rigby, Haifa Beseisso, Elle Mills, Luke Korns, Matt Santoro, Roberto Blake, Borja Vázquez (Luzu), Gabbie Hanna, Amanda DuPont, Kristen Zarrabi, Justine Ezarik, Louis Cole, Raya Encheva, Peter Diamandis)

Getting to the Roots of the Green New Deal with Zero Hour and the National Children’s Campaign (Khristen Hamilton, Ethan Wright, Zeena Abdulkarim, Zanagee Artis)

Angelique Kidjo Performance

Por La Tierra – A Spoken Word Piece (Marlow Baines, Sierra Robinson, Maya Lazzaro)

Conjuring for the Climate with Cyril the Sorcerer

Our House is On Fire: Florida Youth Confront The Climate Emergency (Gabriela Rodriguez, John Paul Mejia, Mia Kim)

Importance of Green Stimulus with Mark Ruffalo (Rep. Deb Haaland, Michaela Ciovacco, Tokata Iron Eyes)

Interview with Greenfaith Executive Director at BlackRock HQ in NYC (Rev. Fletcher Harper)

Message from Rosanna Arquette

Message from Favianna Rodriguez

The Both with Aimee Mann and Ted Leo

How Mass Movements Win with Erica Chenoweth

Message from Ronen Rubinstein

Message from Patrisse Cullors

Message from Amber Tamblyn

Musical Performance by Phum Viphurit

Message from Jumaane Williams

Hit First, Hit Hardest: Why Communities of Color Are On The Frontlines of Modern Day Crises (Mustafa Santiago Ali, Rep. Lauren Underwood, Kaylah Brathwaite, Introduction by Mayor Lori Lightfoot)

Musical Performance by Tank and The Bangas

Visualizing Political Empowerment: How Artists Impact Social Justice & Civic Engagement (Luisa Martinez, Jammal Lemy, Ashley Lukashevsky, Santiago X)

Musical Performance by Griffin Oskar

There’s No Such Thing as Not Voting with Eric Liu

Musical Performance by Linda Perry

Youth Organizing in a Conservative State (Shiva Rajbhandari, Emma Palmer, Petra Hoffman)

Artists as Allies with Matt McGorry (Lily Gardner, Kevin Patel, Danni Washington)

Stories from the Earth Performance (Theresa William | Ojibwe, Oglala Lakota, Santee Dakota, and Northern Cheyenne)

Message from Rainn Wilson

Mindful Moment (Lisa Brooks)

Musical Performance by Jason Mraz

Big banks, the Gwich’in Nation, and the fight to protect the Arctic Refuge (Lena Moffitt, Bernadette Demientieff, Councillor Cheryl Charlie)

Let’s Takeover Over Chase – Online

Youth vs. Apocalypse: No One Is Disposable Music VIdeo Release

Gardening with Amber Valletta

Message from Gabriel and Ini

Being a Disabled Activist (Izzy Laderman, Alexia Leclercq, Doran Walters)

Message from Kat Taylor

Higher Education: Complicit or Leaders in Climate (Kyle Rosenthal, Ari Bortman, Marley Wiest, Abby Kleiman, Laís Santoro, Elly Ren, Sydney Barron, Calistra Triantis)

Musical Performance by Låpsley

Claim Your Power At The Ballot Box: How To Overcome Barriers To Voting (D’Aungillique Jackson, Evan Malbrough, Amaya Fox, Tamia Fowlkes)

Message From Dylan Penn, Hopper Penn, and Robin Wright

Musical Performance by Billy Bragg

Message from Troian Bellisario

Chef José Andrés – World Central Kitchen

Musical Performance by Willa Amai

Message from Aisha Tyler and Kristen Vangness

The Kids of the Broadway Green Alliance Musical Performance – Led by Sydney Lucas and over 30 of Broadway’s youngest performers

Youth Climate Strike Coalition Demands Overview (Esperanza Garcia Soledad, Kaylah Brathwaite, Naina Agrawal-Hardin)

Blackness, Feminism, and the Climate Emergency with Ilyasah Shabazz (Khristen Hamilton, Kym Allen)

Blackness, Feminism, and the Climate Emergency with Patrisse Cullors (Kym Allen, Khristen Hamilton, Patrisse Cullors)

Message and Musical Performance by Rain Phoenix

Earth Uprising Spotlight

A Pandemic Doesn’t Stop Big Oil: Pipeline Construction Across Turtle Island

Message and Musical Performance with Kelcey Ayer from the Local Natives

What Does The Coronavirus Teach us About the Climate Crisis?

Indigenous Women Divestment Delegation (Michelle Cook, Osprey Orielle Lake)

Message from Emily Robinson

Message from Marisol Rivera, 14-year-old Superstorm Sandy survivor

Poetry with Dominique Crenn

Participant presents: A message from Paul Watson, Marine wildlife conservationist on the ecology of viruses

Marina Performance

Message from the Frontlines with Tamara Toles O’Laughlin

Message from The Social Good Club – Imagining New Normals (Louis Cole, Raya Encheva, Kati Morton, Mario Rigby, Haifa Beseisso, Elle Mills, Luke Korns, Matt Santoro, Roberto Blake, Borja Vázquez (Luzu), Gabbie Hanna, Amanda DuPont, Kristen Zarrabi)

Stop The Money Pipeline Song Montage

In Conversation: Jane Fonda and Vanessa Nakate

Musical Performance and Message, Cody Simpson

Building Power By Lowering The Voting Age (Catie Macauley, Caleb DeBerry, Alik Schier, Noah Friedman-Kassis, Brandon Klugman)

Plant-based cooking segment with Alejandra Schrader

Changing the Narrative: A Conversation on Activism, Climate Change, and Frontline Communities (Reverend William J. Barber II, Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, Andrea Manning)

Message from Roger Waters

Roger Waters performs John Prine

The Link Between COVID-19 & The Climate Emergency (Moby , Joaquin Phoenix, Dr. Sweta Chakraborty, Dr. Michael Greger, Haile Thomas)

Stop The Money Pipleline Political Townhall (Jamie Henn, Moira Birss, Iris Zahn, Tara Houska, Bolaji Olagbegi, Sulakshana, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Sen. Ed Markey, Sen. Jeff Merkley)

Money Matters: Youth and Elders Unite for A Fossil-Free Future (Lolita Jackson, Hridesh Singh, Anna Seigel, Lynne Nittler, Clara Vondrich)

Water Security and the Climate Crisis (Anna Day, Alex Cornell du Houx, Mariam Solaimankhail)

Alex Cornell du Houx, Mariam Solaimankhail, Anna Day Earth Day Live 2020


Musical Performance by Other Lives

Service Workers Story Slam To Demand Action (Saru Jayaraman, Treya Lam, Heather Mankedick, Sarah May, Guadalupe A., Fred Shaw, Ali Baker)

From Standing Rock to Black Lives Matter to Climate Strikes: What It’s Like to Lead a Movement (Jamie Margolin, Nupol Kiazolu, Jasilyn Charger)

Cooking with Rachael Ray

We Rise Music Video Premiere (Ashlyn Woods, Aditi Anand, Iris Zhan, Gabrielle Zwi, Laís Santoro, Lilia Wolf, Kori Malia, Andrea Manning, Arielle Martinez Cohen, Kendall Kieras, Ishi Shah, Nick Diaz)

When Kids Fear Rain: A Conversation on Climate Disasters (Devin Guevara, Julia Lewis, Chanté Davis)

Patricia Arquette Interview with Robby Romero

BlackRock: Making the financial giant tackle the climate emergency (Luke Korns, Matt Santoro, Roberto Blake, Borja Vázquez (Luzu), Gabbie Hanna, Amanda DuPont, Kristen Zarrabi)

Virtual Choir with the Peace Poets (Lu Aya, Frank Lopez)

Message and Musical Performance by Smiles Davis

Youth Climate Activism in the Global South: Allyship, Solidarity, and Movement Building (Jessy Musaazi, Ashangwa Harrison, Winny Puteri, Adegbule Wole)

Meditation with Marti Nikko and DJ Drez

Message from Stacey Abrams

Immigration Justice is Climate Justice (Juliana Macedo do Nascimento, Josue De Luna Navarro)

One Minute Meditation (Lisa Brooks)

Endangering Generations: How Climate Change is Putting Our Kids at Risk (Jonah Gottlieb, Genna Reed, Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, Levi Draheim, Nsedu Obot Witherspoon, MPH)

Message from Al Gore

Musical Performance by Nuka

Together We Thrive: What it Means to Make Intentional Space for Young People of Color (Aissa Dearing, Abraham Gonzalez)

Women Leaders on the Climate Frontlines with Sharon Carpenter, Luke Baines, and Oxfam (Sharon Carpenter, Luke Baines, Ana Maria Mendez Libby, Ruth Santiago)

Participant Presents: A Conversation with Mark Ruffalo and Mark Favors on the Frontline of the Pandemic and Vic Barrett on Climate Justice.

Dark Waters Follow-Up with Rob Bilott (Mark Ruffalo)

Monica Dogra Spoken Word Poem

Indigenous Leaders On The Frontlines of Fossil Fuel Resistance (Samantha Arechiga, Makasa Looking Horse, Ta’kaiya Blaney, Jasilyn Charger)

A Song for the Climate from 9-year-old, Emunah

Performance by Amanda Palmer

Earth From Above — Conversation between Chille Bergstrom and Dr Shawna Pandya

No One is Disposable: Youth vs Apocalpyse Music Video Release

Musical Performance by Mumu Fresh

Restoring Indigenous Ocean Stewardship to California’s Central Coast (Katherine O’Dea, Valentin Lopez, Alexii Sigona, Steven Pratt)

Spill the Tea with AOC: A Conversation on the Green New Deal (Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Saad Amer)

Social Good Club: Activating New Normals in Our Own Lives (Louis Cole, iJustine, Peter Diamandis, Anjali Mitra)

Message from Zazie Beetz

Meditation Momement with Seane Corn

Message from Lil Dicky

United in the Fight: Making the Connections Between the Labor and Climate Justice Movements (Mary Kay Henry, Kate Walton, Renata Kamakura, Adriana Alvarez, Markita Blanchard)

Musical Performance by Ziggy Marley

Youth Pledge Video – “Divest!”

Message from Xiye Bastida from Chase’s HQ

Musical Performance by Mumu Fresh

Social Good Club: Using Storying Telling to Accelerate Change (Louis Cole, Sophia Esperanza, Kip Andersen, Nadia Nazar)

Insure Our Future, Not Fossil Fuels

Vote Party (Ethan Asher, Jennifer Carroll Foy, Jacques Colimon, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Emily DaSilva, Katie Eder, Melody Klingenfuss, Jamil Jackson, Melody Klingenfuss, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Alicia Novoa, Naomi Oliver, Thania Peck, Andi Pringle, Tony Revolori, Mario Revolori, Yara Shahidi, Vien Truong, James Wenz, Andi Pringle, Ilyasah Shabazz, Rosanna Arquette, Tom Steyer, Aimee Mann, Ted Leo, Jumaane Williams and more surprise guests!)

Musical Performance by Dave Matthews

Voting, Climate, and Guns (Tatiana Washington, Daphne Frias, Thandiwe Abdullah, Manju Bangalore)

Clapping for Frontline Workers

Honoring Healthcare Heroes: Lisa Edelstein Interview with Frontline Healthcare Workers (Carol Lightle, Pat Sheran Diaz)

Reimagining US: The Fight for a Green New Deal During COVID-19 (Varshini Prakash, Emma Lockridge, Rhiana Gunn-Wright, Lenore Friedlaender, Naomi Klein)

Artists, COVID-19, and the Climate Emergency (DJ Spooky, Shepard Fairey, Amanda Palmer, Liam Neupert)

Musical Performance by Ani DiFranco

Women on the Frontlines of the Climate and COVID-19 Crises: Struggles and Solutions (Monique Verdin, Jacqui Patterson, Rupa Marya, Casey Camp Horinek, Osprey Orielle Lake)

Staying Unified During a Crisis in Philadelphia (Lorraine Ruppert, Mitch Chanin, Dwight Dunston, Montgomery Ogden, Cameron Powell, Avery Broughton, Enya Xiang)

A message from Dallas Goldtooth

A message from Doctors Without Borders

The People’s Bailout: What a Just COVID-19 Response Should Look Like

How to Advocate to Congress for a Green Future (Charlie Jiang, Sanah Niazi)

Musical Performance & Message by Adam Gardner from Guster

Message from Angela Rye

Musical Performance by Will Anderson of Parachute

Message from Barbara Boxer

Message from The Social Good Club – Future Priorities (Louis Cole, Raya Encheva, Kati Morton, Mario Rigby, Haifa Beseisso, Elle Mills, Luke Korns, Matt Santoro, Roberto Blake, Borja Vázquez (Luzu), Gabbie Hanna, Amanda DuPont, Kristen Zarrabi)

Musical Performance by KT Tunstall

Message from Keith Mestrich

Musical Performance by Maxi Priest

Trash is for Tossers: A Conversation About Minimizing Your Environmental Footprint (Lauren Singer, Chasten Harmon)

Madame Ghandi Performance

Lissie Musical Performance

Save the Post Office! Save Our Democracy (Debby Szeredy, Cortney “CJ” Jenkins, Teresa Marie Oller, Tamara Twinn)

Evan Greer Musical Performance

Promise to Keep Striking from the Peace Poets

Message from Reverend Lennox Yearwood

The Census: The Game Behind The Game (Justin Kwasa, Rachel Spector, Nicole Morales, Sen. Brian Schatz, Mayor Michael Tubbs)

Message from Riz Ahmed

Closing Ceremony

Dance Party with Soul Clap

DJ QuestLove Performance

Dance Party with Beverley Bond

Dance Party with Talib Kweli

Dance Party with Sofi Tukker

Dance Party with Blondish

Dance Party with Flying Lotus

Joe Michaels, Iheart Radio, Feb. 14, 2020 — Hundreds of the state’s elected officials are calling on California Governor Gavin Newsom to phase out fossil fuel production. More than three hundred officials have signed a letter urging the governor to enact a comprehensive climate emergency plan.

Mayor Randell Stone of Chico: We have to start pertaining energy from sources that are renewable sources. What we’re asking that the governor to do is to take the supply-side initiatives and start to curtail by mandate our dependence on fossil fuels.

Joe Michaels: Chico mayor Randall Stone says the effort is also focusing on making incremental changes in local communities.

Mayor Randall Stone: What we did in the city of Chico was first we declared a Climate Emergency and immediately moved to found a standing committee to look at all of the city’s policies from community development, to police, to fire, to public works. What is the impact of the things that we’re doing today and how can we have a greater impact on our greenhouse gas emissions and climate change initiatives by changing this action. So it’s literally reviewing everything that the city does for municipalities standpoint and that hopefully is going to curb some of that demand that’s driving more and more fossil fuels to be produced in this area.

Joe: Davis Mayor Bret Lee says it’s well many cities have taken action. The climate crisis demands action at all levels of government, and it’s time for the state to step up.

Mayor Bret Lee of Davis: We want to make sure that across the board the state of California is moving towards greater use of sustainability, sustainable sources of energy and things like that. I think we’re making good progress but given the absence of leadership at the national level, really the weight of this falls on California.

Joe: Among m suggestions is getting PGA any officials to change their way of thinking.
Mayor Lee: PG&E right now as an investor-owned utility and their responsibility is to their investors. Given the past history of PG&E I think it’s time to think about a new model. A new model would put the customers and the state first and foremost not the distant Wall Street investors. I think it’s important because we have reliability issues we have safety issues and of California hopes to maintain its status as a technological leader we need to have a dependable electricity supply.

Joe: Alex Cornell du Houx, representing Elected Officials to Protect California, a bipartisan network calling for a fossil fuel phase-out, says the cost of not taking action is greater than that of making changes.

Alexander Cornell du Houx: The oil industry likes to put fear in people’s minds that all these catastrophic events will happen if you limit fossil fuel production. The reality is California is much more concerned about the fires, the droughts, and the health effects of having oil wells next to people’s houses, like what happened to Nielle. The way forward is preventing fossil fuels from creating these damages.

Joe: The officials say transitioning to a clean energy economy will grow jobs and stop what they call environmental health injustices that are happening disproportionately in low-income communities and communities of color. I’m Joe Michael’s.

Alex Cornell du Houx Elected Officials to Protect America – Code Blue Water Security Solutions

Published at:

Kyle Rempfer
December 26, 2019

Saber Guardian 19 is an exercise co-led by the Romanian Joint Force Command and U.S. Army Europe, was designed to improve the integration of multinational combat forces. (Lt. Alex Cornell du Houx/Navy)

Saber Guardian 19 is an exercise co-led by the Romanian Joint Force Command and U.S. Army Europe, was designed to improve the integration of multinational combat forces. (Lt. Alex Cornell du Houx/Navy)
The Army is gearing up for some new exercises.

The biggest one on the docket is Defender 2020. Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy said that it will be similar in size and scope to Exercise Reforger — a Cold War-era strategic deployment of a division or more to West Germany in annual iterations.

The new exercise, held from April to May, will move roughly 20,000 U.S. troops from the continental United States to Europe. But elsewhere in the world, Army leaders are planning other new and interesting training iterations to keep an eye on.

The Army component of U.S. Africa Command recently took the African Lion exercise from the Marine Corps and plans to make it the biggest on the African continent in spring 2020.

The Corps has owned the exercise for nearly two decades, but Army Africa is assuming responsibility for planning and execution when it takes place at the end of March and early April.

Army Africa commander Maj. Gen. Roger Cloutier plans to give the exercise more of a multi-domain focus, including strategic logistics planning, naval gunfire, special operations forces and even bombers out of Europe.

Army South is also planning to send a Stryker battalion to Chile for the first strategic deployment of that kind called Southern Vanguard in October 2020, according to Maj. Gen. Daniel Walrath, Army South’s commander.

“It will involve strategic deployment from the continental United States to Chile of a Stryker battalion out of the 81st Washington Army National Guard,” Walrath said. The battalion will conduct “combined live fire training with the Chilean Army for about a six-week period from beginning to end.”

Published at:

Nina Lakhani in New York
The Guardian
Wed 25 Dec 2019 02.20 EST Last modified on Wed 25 Dec 2019 02.22 EST —

Amid mounting frustration with political leaders, a number of community activists are running for office on climate and environmental justice platforms in local and state elections.

he climate crisis is hurting communities across the United States. Hurricanes, heatwaves and torrential downpours are on the rise, and have already exacerbated devastating floods, droughts and wildfires in communities from South Dakota to California, Florida and North Carolina in recent years.

The threat of environmental hazards is also increasing as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rolls back regulations on clean water, toxic coal ash, fossil fuels, air pollutants, pesticides, smog and vehicle emissions.

Such deregulation may benefit big business polluters, including some of Donald Trump’s biggest donors, but the public health threat disproportionately affects millions of black, poor and Native Americans and Alaskans.

But amid mounting frustration with political leaders, a growing number of community activists are running for office on climate and environmental justice platforms in local and state elections – and winning.

“This was about about my kid’s health, and my health, and I didn’t have the luxury of someone else taking care of that,” said Eric LaBrant, who was elected in 2015 as a commissioner of his local port authority in the Pacific north-west.

Such candidates “are deeply engaged because they have firsthand experience of climate and environmental issues in their communities”, said Alex Cornell du Houx, co-founder of Elected Officials to Protect America, a group working with local and state representatives on these issues

He added: “They learn quickly once elected and have the capacity to make a big difference.”

Extreme weather events and environmental injustice also exacerbate food and water insecurity, housing shortages, economic hardship and other inequalities.

We profile four first-term officials who used their experience as community organizers and alarm over inaction in combating the climate crisis to win public office.

Veronica Carter, 59, a retired military officer, was elected to Leland town council in North Carolina in November 2019.

Carter moved to Leland, a coastal town of 24,000, in 2003, where she joined a fledgling grassroots group to oppose a huge toxic landfill planned for neighbouring Navassa. This economically deprived, predominantly African American community already had a superfund site and six of the seven brownfields in the county. “This was my introduction to environmental justice violators and it was a textbook case,” said Carter.

And when Hurricane Florence churned over the Carolinas for 72 hours in 2018, causing widespread damage that left poor people stranded, Carter was on the frontline. She organised a distribution centre, and organized volunteer teams to deal with fallen trees, flood damage and urgent repairs.

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“Florence was the tipping point for me to move from activism to politics,” she told the Guardian.

“I realized that we needed to build for the next storm, and incorporate resilient methods and technology to improve our infrastructure and build affordable workforce housing … all this was swirling in my head when an opening came up on town council.”

Carter ran her campaign on safe air and water, infrastructure, climate resilience and workforce housing. She beat the incumbent by two points.

“I want to us see us build smartly, be more inclusive, and help our neighbours in Navassa get more attention in the state capital. I’m only one voice, but I will use my experience and ability to make sure every permit and ordinance the council considers is looked at through an environmental justice lens,” she said.

Eric LaBrant, 39, lives in Fruit Valley in Vancouver, Washington, a blue-collar neighbourhood with 1,200 residents and the Port of Vancouver located on the Columbia River. He was elected to the port authority and helped stop what would have been North America’s largest oil terminal.

Plans to construct the oil-by-rail terminal emerged in 2013 but the community couldn’t get straight answers from Texas oil giant Tesoro, or officials. “I had specific questions about the scope, scale, emissions and safety, but was ignored or got meaningless answers from the company and the port,” said LaBrant, who spent several years in his twenties working on offshore oil fields in Texas.

LaBrant, a member of the Fruit Valley neighbourhood association, trawled company documents and become increasingly alarmed at the risks posed by the exposure to carcinogenic contaminants, and the company’s environmental and safety track record. The project aimed to transport 360,000 barrels of crude oil by train to the port daily, ready for shipping to Asia.

But despite growing public concerns and numerous fatal derailments and accidents involving oil trains, the port signed a lease with the company. “It was discouraging to see how much money influences the political process, especially petroleum money, but this was about about my kid’s health, and my health, and I didn’t have the luxury of someone else taking care of that,” LaBrant said.

LaBrant was elected as a port authority commissioner in November 2015 after campaigning against the fossil fuel terminal, and for a sustainable green economy. Two years later, Don Orange, another anti-oil community activist turned candidate, was elected, too, giving those opposing the oil terminal the majority on the port authority. Soon after, the state recommended against the oil terminal on safety grounds, and the governor denied the necessary permits.

The port lease was cancelled, Fruit Valley had defeated big oil. Since then, the port has enacted a policy to not pursue fossil fuel terminals, and last June, set a record for the biggest shipment of wind turbine blades. “We’ve shown that ports don’t have to be polluters, they can be good neighbours, do business responsibly, and make money on green energy transition,” he said.

In Pennsylvania, Danielle Friel Otten, 42, was elected to represent the 155th district in the state house of representatives in 2018 after a race against the incumbent Republican who was largely defined by opposition to the Mariner East 2 pipeline project – a multibillion-dollar pipeline project to carry highly volatile natural gas liquids across Pennsylvania. The project is now subject to multiple criminal investigations and civil lawsuits.

“The gases are odourless, colourless and five times more combustible than traditional natural gas products, so there’s huge potential for mass casualties in undetected leaks. My property is within 50ft of the easement [pipeline] … I genuinely thought that people elected to represent us would protect our families, and not approve the project. When that didn’t happen, it blew my mind,” said Otten.

In 2017, Otten met with state representative Becky Corbin after drilling contaminated a water aquifer. “I was worried that the contamination could affect my son’s kidney condition … her reaction was cold. I started investigating publicly declared financial contributions and found companies directly involved in the project were donors to her campaign. That was my moment,” she said.

Otten helped two neighbours get elected as township supervisors before beating Corbin by 10 points. But the Republicans still control both houses, and the state governor is a “pro-fracking Democrat”. “We’ve not made much headway getting good environmental policies through the legislature this session. But for the first time in the history of the Democratic caucus, we’ve adopted the environment as a key pillar for our plan for Pennsylvania. It’s on the agenda,” he said.

“I do get down in the dumps sometimes because we are not making the big impact we so desperately need. No one person is going to be our saviour in this situation, but I bring up the pipeline and environmental justice at every opportunity, and offer tangible alternatives and solutions.”

Regina Romero, 45, was elected mayor of Tucson, Arizona, in November 2019 after campaigning on a climate crisis platform. She was elected alongside three council members who also ran on environmental and sustainability issues. In her first council meeting as mayor, the city signed up as an amicus brief in a lawsuit against Donald Trump’s promised border wall. “We took a position against militarizing our borderlands, separating our communities and environmental destruction by a border wall that will not make us more secure,” she said.

Romero is not new to local politics: she served three terms on the city council when she spearheaded an initiative by Pima county and Tucson officials to buy the 286-acre Painted Hills property on the foothills of the desert in order to curtail the urban sprawl and preserve it as green open space for the community and wildlife habitat.

“We love the desert, so taking care of our land and environment is essential for the survival of our community. I’ve seen with my own eyes the climate changing. Tucson is the third fastest warming city in the country, we have to do something,” she said.

Romero’s mayoral campaign was centred around a pledge to create a comprehensive climate action plan for the densely populated city, which is suffering its 21st year of drought.

Several decades of water conservation policies has meant the city has so far avoided rationing, but there’s more to be done amid dwindling water reserves and record high temperatures, including planting a million drought-tolerant native trees by 2030 and setting emissions reduction targets. “The first step is to create a climate action task force by January 2020 and start planting those trees,” she said.

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