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Breaking news: State Department Issues Permit for Alberta Clipper Pipeline August 20, 2009

Posted by Morgan in clinton, oilsands, state department.
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Approval means 450,000 barrels of dirty, climate destroying oil will flow into the US daily

The decision sat on Clinton’s desk for months, and with a stroke of the pen, she could have denied this expansion of dirty energy infrastructure. But today, the State Department issued the permit, committing the US to more CO2 emissions from oil, and committing Canada to more destruction of indigenous lands and Boreal forest. We brought the Tar Sands Monster to Clinton’s doorstep, generated thousands of phone calls and emails, but Clinton failed to make the right decision.

From the State Department:

After considerable review and evaluation, on August 20, 2009, the Department issued a Presidential Permit to Enbridge Energy, Limited Partnership for the Alberta Clipper pipeline.

Yet they insist that the US and Canada are committed to finding climate solutions:

The State Department will continue to work to ensure that both the United States and Canada take ambitious action to address climate change, and will cooperate with the Canadian government through the U.S.-Canada Clean Energy Dialogue, the pursuit of comprehensive climate legislation, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and other processes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Avaaz Action Factory will deliver this letter to the state department tomorrow. Please help us by sending them an email using this as a starting point. secretary@state.gov (more…)

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A Different Tone for Action Factory at Climate Refugee Camp August 18, 2009

Posted by Julie in climate refugees, clinton, copenhagen, state department, tcktcktck.
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Despite the diversity of actions we’ve carried out this summer, the Action Factory has developed a unique ‘Action Factory’ style that rings through nearly all of our actions. Our style is usually comedic and gimmicky, and our message always positive. Rather than highlighting the often dismal political and scientific realities of today’s world, our actions are instead suggestive of the change we desire and the future we envision. At their core, almost all our actions affirm the now-famous cliché, “Yes we can”:

Climate change is complex and it’s difficult to talk abut complexity in today’s news media, so we at the Action Factory have mostly stayed away from communicating much about the complexities of climate change in our actions. Instead, we’ve dumbed things way down for the sake of getting attention and keeping an up-beat ton. This has been very effective and I’m glad that through our actions we’ve gained a reputation for being optimistic and hopeful — because we are.

And yet, it is important to step back every once and a while and remember another dimension of this battle. Our tone of optimism about fighting climate change often includes a mouthful of intangible jargon while leaving out an explanation for why we need a fair, ambitious, and binding global climate treaty so urgently. Climate change is not only a great opportunity to create jobs and new prosperity. It is also an urgent crisis that is already impacting many individual human lives and perpetuating current injustices.

This week the Action Factory struck a new tone by setting up a refugee camp outside the state department. With our makeshift tents, blue tarps, and a reasonable ration of food packed in cardboard boxes, we put ourselves in the shoes of people displaced by climate change for over 24 hours.

Our action gave us a brief taste of what it must have felt like to be Katrina climate refugees forced to leave their flooded homes. It allowed us to empathize ever so slightly with Sudanese refugees who have no choice but to flee from the violent Darfur conflict, which has it’s roots in drought caused by climate change. We attempted to put ourselves in the shoes of Alaskan villagers forced to relocate as the permafrost that used to support their houses thaws, and try to understand the plight of Carteret islanders who have no choice but to leave their homes because growing crops has become nearly impossible with increased storm surges attributed to climate change.

It was hot, exhausting, and uncomfortable. I lay on my back awake on the pavement at 4:00 am and longed for my bed at home or even a light blanket to protect me from the early morning chill. And yet, of course, I had it easy, relatively speaking. I was a ‘refugee’ for a mere 24 hours, and within walking distance of air-conditioned shops where I was able to take time-outs for cold water, coffee, snacks, and other amenities.

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Todd Stern Needs High Fives July 30, 2009

Posted by Morgan in clinton, copenhagen, flash mob, tcktcktck.
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Mysterious youngsters clad with monochromatic signs asking for a “Strong Global Climate Treaty” appeared early Thursday morning in front of the State Department Building in Washington DC.

State employees as well as unaware commuters were welcomed by the unusual sight of individuals aligned down the street holding signs that read “Strong Global Climate Treaty, Needs Todd Stern, Todd Stern, Needs Hope, High Five,” where one of them masked as Todd Stern (Special Envoy on Climate Change for the United States) awaited them with a raised hand ready to receive the support that he needs in the form of high fives.


Besides providing an unusual sight and an unfamiliar welcome to State Department employees, these young people are holding Mr. Stern accountable for the responsibilities that his position entails, and asking him to step up and push congress to provide America with a stronger climate bill, which will in turn allow the United States to have a positive presence in Copenhagen this December at the International Climate Change Negotiations.


While the tactic used by the group to convey their message may be lighthearted, their ask is serious: A strong Global Climate Treaty is not only necessary, it’s urgent. The administration, including President Obama and State Secretary Hillary Clinton, along with the White House and State Department, must be held accountable for the promises they made on the campaign trail and continue to make in office. Supporting strong climate legislation is the most effective way to keep their promises and ensure that America leads the world to a clean energy future.