David Koch’s denial of climate change
The retirement of industrialist David Koch from his family’s business and political activities leaves a lasting legacy of good and evil [“David Koch retiring due to poor health,” News, June 6]. His hypocrisy is staggering. He and his brother have spent millions of dollars supporting hospitals, education and cultural institutions, while also contributing more than $100 million to groups that oppose the science of climate change, according to tax research by Greenpeace.
Ninety-seven percent of the world’s climate scientists agree that climate change is caused by human activity, according to NASA, and we need to act urgently to keep the Earth’s temperature from rising. Sixteen of 17 warmest years on record have occurred since 2001. Carbon dioxide levels have risen from 320 parts per million to more than 400 parts per million since the 1950s, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
I’m certain that Koch will rely on good science and medical research for treatment of his declining health. The laws of physics, chemistry and nature are not subjective.
His Koch Industries conglomerate is the second-largest privately held company in America, worth billions.
His use of his fortune to compromise elections and responsible climate policies will be his legacy. Climate-change denial is a crime against humanity of planetary proportions.
Kew Garden Hills
Editor’s note: The writer is a member of the advocacy groups 350NYC and the Climate Reality Project.
Summary of COP23, Bonn, November 6-23.
by Margaret Perkins
The Conference of Parties, COP23, the annual meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC, held in Bonn last month, was opened by the Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama of Fiji, the host nation. He invoked the “talanoa spirit” – a term used in his country to describe inclusive and transparent dialogue and this platform was adopted formally by member states for future negotiations. The Talanoa spirit was in pointed contrast to the actions and arrogance of the US which has set in motion steps to withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate agreement and whose official presence at COP23 was a dismal embarrassment.
The agenda for COP23 was to strengthen the fine points of the Paris agreement in several areas including the monitoring of each country’s pledges to reduce GHG emissions, referred to as nationally determined contributions, NDC. It was agreed that additional assessments on progress to reach emission pledges from developed countries will be reported on in 2018 and 2019, prior to the Agreement coming into effect in 2020. It was noted that some developed countries are not keeping pace with their pledges; 2017 will see the first increase in global emissions in 4 years after 3 years of no increase (Global Carbon Project). Additional areas that are still under debate are the financing mechanisms for vulnerable and developing countries and further policies on management of agriculture and oceans. President Obama in one of his final acts as President pledged $500 million to the Green Climate Fund. So far this appears to have withstood the destructive climate reversals of the new administration.
Several new and high profile climate campaigns received a lot of attention at COP23, most prominently the well funded mobilization to phase out coal in high use countries, including Germany, Poland, Japan and Australia. The ‘phase out’ campaign in the US and internationally (Beyond Coal) was given a huge boost by the Bloomberg Foundation, which pledged $60 million to that end in the US, and a further $50million for other coal intense countries. In support of the coal phase out movement, Canada joined with the U.K. to announce a coalition of six countries, and 20 sub-national entities, which will press for countries to achieve this through diplomacy.
Despite the miserable official participation by the US, a large contingent of American non-profit organizations, large businesses and local and state government officials participated in many of COP23 meetings under the banner “We Are Still In”. The coalition represents almost 50% of the US population and GDP. They had their own pavilion and their sessions were some of the most popular. There are negotiations in effect that this well organized coalition will be given a seat at the table in future climate negotiations as they apply to the states and cities they represent and until the US rejoins the Paris agreement.
Margaret Perkins is a 350NYC Steering Committee Member.
by Katherine Peinhardt
New York City’s streets are on the cusp of a great change. With traffic clogging city streets and public transit suffering from continued disinvestment, a natural solution is to put a price on driving into the busiest parts of the city with a robust congestion pricing plan. Congestion pricing is not only an issue of traffic; it presents a huge opportunity for the city to move forward on its ambitious climate goals, as the transportation sector accounts for 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in New York City. For this reason, 350NYC stands in support of a comprehensive congestion pricing plan for New York City.
Congestion pricing is not a new idea: Cities like Stockholm have implemented these types of plans, to great success. Now, Governor Cuomo’s FixNYC plan
has proposed a surcharge on for-hire vehicles, and would set a price on vehicles driving in a congestion zone in Manhattan that spans from 60th Street southward. It is projected to raise more than $1 billion dollars, to be re-invested in our city’s ailing mass transit systems.
As in the past, this initiative to begin the fair tolling of the cars, trucks, cabs, and other for-hire vehicles still faces political obstacles. But its time has come. If congestion pricing is to become a reality, now is the time for action by the governor and NY state legislature — the budget to be passed on March 31 must include provisions for congestion pricing. If New York City is to remain a climate leader, it is time for it to start thinking from the streets up.
Katherine Peinhardt is a 350NYC Steering Committee Member
Waste and Sustainability
One of the critical Roadmaps to reducing carbon emissions in NYC is the goal of getting to zero waste. Why is that so important?
” In a 2011 report, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimated that, in 2007, about 1.6 billion tons of food were wasted. For comparison, about 6 billion tons of food were produced globally that year.
But an aspect of the food-waste issue that has perhaps received less attention is its contribution to global greenhouse-gas emissions. In the same report, the FAO estimated that in 2007, the global carbon footprint of all of this wasted food was about 3.3 billion tons of carbon-dioxide equivalents — that’s 7 percent of all global emissions. To put that into perspective, this is more carbon than most countries emit in a year. In fact, only China and the United States exceeded this amount in nationwide carbon emissions that year.” (source: Washington Post)
LEARN MORE ABOUT NYC’S ZERO WASTE INITIATIVE
60 Tips to Getting to Zero Waste in NYC
Thank you to We Hate to Waste for an incredibly useful daily reminder of what it takes.
Full post & credit: http://www.wehatetowaste.com/nyc-zero-waste-resources/
1. Learn about how NYC plans to send Zero Waste to Landfill by 2030. This will help us live healthier, save money, lighten our carbon load, and lead us to a new consumption culture.
2. Take the NYC Zero Waste Pledge and get a free cutting board or reusable bag while supplies last.
3. Buy differently. Don’t buy what you don’t need, especially food. Buy quality. Consider how long your purchases will last.
4. #ThinkTwice before you buy single use disposables or other items destined for a quick trip to the landfill.
5. Get off junk mail lists.
6. Carry reusables like coffee mugs, water bottles, lunch bags, utensils, and shopping bags. Get a free 0 x 30 Shopping bag for free at a DSNY bag giveaway.
7. Order coffee ‘to stay’. Patronize take-out restaurants that offer reusables.
8. Take a second look at secondhand — oftentimes it’s better than new! Local thrift and vintage shops near you at DonateNYC. Buy refurbished electronics at the Lower East Side Ecology Center’s E-waste Warehouse in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Find treasures at flea markets located all over NYC.
9. Sort your recyclable materials properly in your home / apartment building, at public events, and at work.
10. Find out if your building is eligible for special NYC Zero Waste programs enabling in-building collection of clothing and textiles, electronics and organics (food scraps, yard waste, food-soiled paper). If not, drop off clothing and organics at local greenmarkets. Drop off electronics at various collection sites around NYC or return them to manufacturers.
11. Recycle on the go. Sort recyclables by ‘blue’ (mixed recyclables) and ‘green’ (paper), ‘brown’ (organics) and ‘black’ (trash) in public spaces. No receptacles? Take recyclables with you.
12. Learn how to recycle cell phones, home improvement waste, appliances, and ink and toner cartridges. Learn which plastics CAN’T go into the recycle bin. Bring plastic bags and other film waste back to retailers.
13. Buy products that are repairable, backed up by a warranty, and /or come with spare parts.
14. Get broken lamps, electronics, furniture, bikes and more fixed at PopUp Repair and Fixers Collective events in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
15. Handy? Fix items yourself with resources from ifixit.com
16. Host your own repair cafe in your school, senior center, temple or church.
Eat It All
17. Use the ‘sniff test‘ to determine whether food is fit to eat — not ‘sell by’, ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ labels (#Confusing). Store food properly. Download these A – Z Food Storage Tips Get More Inspo at We Hate To Waste.
18. Eat everything — including broccoli spears and carrot tops. Inspo from We Hate to Waste
19. Makeover the leftovers into new tasty meals with some of our favorite recipes.
20. Heading out of town? Clean out the fridge. Moving? Let Move for Hunger donate your non-perishables to the needy.
21. Ordered too much at dinner? Ask for a doggie bag — and don’t forget the bread! Better yet, bring your own zipper bag or collapsible. At events, enable guests to bring home leftovers, or donate them to City Harvest and other food rescue groups.
22. Arrange for collection of organics (food scraps, yard waste and soiled paper) in your building. Or drop off organics at GrowNYC greenmarkets, community gardens or other sites.
23. Get a grant from the Manhattan SWAB, advocates for NYC Zero Waste, to start a composting center in your own community garden.
24. Learn to compost via the NYC Compost Project. It’s hosted by seven nonprofit botanical gardens and ecology centers that run small scale compost sites that process organics, and hold workshops and certification programs.
25. Create a little free library in your building or workplace. Start a Sharing Closet to let neighbors borrow vacuum cleaners, ironing boards and more.
26. Share still edible food via a little free pantry, sharing shelf or community fridge. Pool leftovers with neighbors and friends — and create a new social occasion.
27. Swap clothing, housewares, toys, even canned goods, with friends and neighbors. One Upper West Side NYC building we know of hosts a swap event every spring in their lobby. Grab tips here.
28. Bring — and take — gently used goods to Stop ‘N’ Swap, the free NYC Zero Waste community reuse events run in all five boroughs by GrowNYC.
29. Swap online. Check out Brooklyn Swap Meet and NYC Baby Stuff Swap or start your own.
Borrow / Lend
30. Encourage your local library to lend ‘things’ in addition to books. Get inspired by Sacramento’s Library of Things and Toronto’s Sharing Depot.
31. Handy? Borrow tools from the South Street Seaport tool lending library. Looking for a job? Check out neckties from the Queens Public Library.
32. Join Nextdoor.com and start to borrow and lend with others in your zip code, block or building.
34. Host a clothing or sneaker drive with Wearable Collections, a for-profit textile recycler. Founder Adam Baruchowitz shares his story.
35. Donate art supplies to Materials for the Arts, building supplies to Big Reuse, and electronics to the Prop Library at Lower East Side Ecology Center’s E-waste Warehouse in Gowanus, Brooklyn.
36. Download the DonateNYC app to locate more local thrift shops and other reuse organizations where you can donate and find used goods.
Give / Give it Away
37. Start a ‘Free Stuff’ box in your building or other community space — let neighbors ‘take’ and ‘leave’.
38. Throw a re-gift party after the holidays. Celebrate National Re-gifting Day with office-mates.
39. Start a gift exchange among friends and family like Free Your Stuff NYC: Queens & Brooklyn Facebook groups. Give away items online using sites like FreeCycle.org.
40. Rent your stuff out using websites like Zilok.com. Or just post the question on Yelp!
41. Rent a bike, baby stuff, formal wear, cameras, even graduation gowns.
Buy/ Sell Used
42. Sell, buy, or exchange with others on Craigslist, eBay Letgo.com. 5Miles, OfferUp, AptDeco, Poshmark, KRRB, ThredUp, Chairish Create a Facebook ‘For Sale or Trade’ page. Check out yard and stoop sales.
43. Drop off items with mercury, medical waste, motor oil, CFLs, gas
tanks, cosmetics, batteries, and some art supplies such as paints and glues and all other solvents, automotive, flammables, and electronics at a DSNY’s Safe Disposal Event or drop-off site in each borough.
44. Consult DSNY’s NYC Zero Waste “How to Get Rid of” page for how and if you can recycle or otherwise safely dispose of specific items including light bulbs, mirrors, Christmas tree lights, diapers, disposable coffee pods, luggage, bowling balls and more.
45. Consult Electronics Recycling Locations to learn where you can recycle electronic waste that cannot be disposed of or recycled via e-cycle.
Get the Low Down on Trash
46. Find out where the NYC’ Zero Waste ‘blue‘ and ‘green‘ bin recyclables go.
Learn how Pratt Industries recycles paper right here in NYC.
Watch this video to learn about Sims Municipal Recycling Facility who sorts all mixed recyclables for processing into new products by various manufacturers. Schedule a tour.
47. Learn how to compost. Visit a compost site, urban farm or community compost garden.
48. Sign up for the GrowNYC Newsletter to learn more about NYC Zero Waste efforts and Upper West Side Recycling Newsletter.
49. Check out DSNY’s NYC Zero Waste informational videos.
50. Visit the unofficial ‘Trash Museum’ in East Harlem.
Engage Your Networks
51. Teach kids how to grow food and compost.
52. Educate colleagues about NYC Zero Waste efforts, esp. how to prevent waste and sort properly.
53. Engage with your superintendent, landlord, coop board members. Order DSNY’S Recycling Decals and other educational materials.
54. Gently nudge others to align with NYC Zero Wastse efforts by encouraging them to reduce and recycle.
55. Share your sewing, repairing and repurposing skills at Coursehorse and Brooklyn Brainery classes. Teach friends and family.
56. Encourage manufacturers to design products and packaging with more recycled and recyclable components and use less material. Inspo at WeHateToWaste.
57. Petition for less harmful chemicals and more transparency in product ingredients.
58. Press for more NYC Zero Waste drop-off collection sites for organics, support for thrift shops and Stop ‘N’ Swap, and expansion of Materials for the Arts and other reuse efforts for all NYC citizens. Support Right to Repair legislation in New York State.
59. Urge elected officials to invest in public education efforts like GreeNYC, and other NYC Zero Waste recycling, reuse, and waste reduction campaigns. Lobby for an high impact marketing campaign to inspire New Yorkers to change their consumption habits.
60. Lobby NY State elected officials to support a 5 cent fee on shopping bags in supermarkets.
We at J. Ottman Consulting, founders of WeHateToWaste.com are on a mission: change consumption culture through the prism of Zero Waste.
Jacquie Ottman poses with GreeNYC’s Birdie advocate for NYC Zero Waste
Spreading the word about how consumers can help their cities achieve zero waste is how we fulfill that mission. This guide focuses on our hometown of New York City and our own NYC Zero Waste efforts— but everyone, everywhere can get inspired by these ideas and initiatives. Please share with us what you’re doing in your own city.
Subscribe to Our Free Newsletter
Read Inspiring Stories about Reducing Waste in NYC
Learn about The 7 Facets of Our No-Waste Mindset
Invite Jacquie to Inspire Your Colleague
OTHER RESOURCES THAT WILL INSPIRE YOU
DSNY Zero Waste Resources for Residents – NYC
RethinkWasteProject – Deschutes County, Oregon
Resourceful PDX – Portland, Oregon
EcoCycle – Boulder, Colorado
Check Authorize Comment List
350NYC and DC 37 Climate Justice Committee Present: Climate Justice & Pension Fund Investments – Divesting Public Pension Funds from Fossil Fuels
Opening Remarks – The Case for Fossil Fuel Divestment – Henry Garrido, Executive Director, District Council 37 https://youtu.be/UqaFXZYTUW0
The Climate Emergency: Impacts on NYC – Judy Sheridan Gonzalez, RN, President of New York State Nurses Union https://youtu.be/AwFNOXSrmeY
Climate Jobs and Environmental Justice, NYC Environmental Initiatives and Legislation – Jon Forster, DC37 Climate Justice Committee and Ana Orozco, UPROSE, Climate Justice Policy and Programs Coordinator Samara Swanston, Legislative Council, Environmental Committee, City Council of NYC https://youtu.be/pMeBC0c7TdY
(Stand alone segment from previous) Climate Jobs and Environmental Justice – Ana Orozco, UPROSE, Climate Justice Policy and Programs Coordinator https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnJBhKgpcpg
Divestment Successes and Local Leadership – Bob Muehlenkamp, Labor Network for Sustainability https://youtu.be/RnpVRD2OpU4
NYC Pension Funds Update – John Adler, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Pensions & Investments and Chief Pension Investment Advisor https://youtu.be/Nsvq4WU1l00
Fiduciary Responsibility, Risk Assessments and Climate Change – Tom Sanzillo, Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis, Director of Finance, https://youtu.be/If7DDf1Pj8Y
Investment Alternatives – Ray Santander, District Council 37, Assistant Director of Research and Negotiations https://youtu.be/XLEqiU8RoFM
Closing Remarks: Mark Dunlea, 350NYC https://youtu.be/yoWpMaWAScc and Judy Sheridan Gonzalez, RN, President of New York State Nurses Union
Studies, Reports, Guides –
All links below open .pdf documents.
350NYC: An Introduction to Fossil Free NYC, a 350NYC Divestment Campaign
A Brief Divestment Fact Sheet
A Brief Fossil Fuel Divestment Factsheet
The Aperio Group: Building a Carbon Free Portfolio
building_a_carbon_free_portfolio – The Aperio Group
Impax Asset Management: Beyond Fossil Fuels: The Investment Case for Fossil Fuel Divestment
Impax Investment Case for Fossil Fuel Divestment US Final-1
Ceres: Investor Concerns About Fossil Fuels Are Growing
Investor Concerns About Fossil Fuels Are Growing — Ceres
Boston Common Asset Management, LLC: Boston Common’s Approach to the Energy Sector
HIP Investor: Resilient Portfolios and Fossil Free Pensions
More divestment resources are available on GoFossilFree.org (updated by 350.org).
Press Release: December 4. 2015 – Climate activists call on State to Fully Divest Pension Fund From Fossil Fuels
Fossil Free New York State
For Immediate Release: December 4, 2015
For More Info: Mark Dunlea, 518 860-3725/Nathan Schumer, 253-350-5200
Climate activists call on State to Fully Divest Pension Fund From Fossil Fuels
Groups say that Comptroller DiNapoli’s commitment to increase sustainable investment is a good first step, but the state needs to divest its pension funds from fossil fuels.
Today in Paris, during the United Nations Climate Change Conference, New York State Comptroller DiNapoli announced a new sustainable investment strategy for the New York Common Investment Retirement Fund. The central piece of DiNapoli’s strategy is the creation of a $2 billion low carbon index fund. DiNapoli projects that this index will reduce the emissions profile of this sum by up to 70 percent. Much of the reduction is expected to come from ending investments in coal. This $2 billion index will join an existing program to invest in various green initiatives, which has $3 billion in total, bringing New York State’s sustainable investment profile to $5 billion.
Climate change activists around the state point out that this largely maintains the state’s present investment in fossil fuel companies. They say the state needs to go much further in divesting its pension funds from fossil fuels.
“Shifting some funds to low-carbon investments is not enough. With the world watching COP21 to see if we will change course of history, there will be no true solutions to climate change while world governments and institutions continue to invest in the fossil fuel industry. It is time for the State of New York to join the global divestment movement and commit to removing all investments in the top 200 fossil fuel companies. Investors representing $3.4 trillion in funds have already made this commitment and New York State is lagging behind responsible investors around the world,” said Amy Miller, a member of 350 Brooklyn who is in now in Paris for the climate talks.
Steve Knight, a fellow at Greenfaith and a leader of Fossil Free New York said, “This action only accounts for approximately 2.8 percent of the state’s investment portfolio. Even low carbon funds continue to retain some exposure to fossil fuel companies, so it’s difficult to see how this constitutes a long term solution to the financial risks associated with climate change.”
Activists argue that exposure to the fossil fuel sector constitutes a systemic risk for the New York Common Investment Retirement Fund. “Fossil fuel investments are already too risky – California pension funds lost some $5 Billion on fossil investments according to recent reports. As a recent NY State retiree, I consider it the Comptroller’s fiduciary duty to divest from all fossil fuel stocks in an orderly way, and shift the investments to the clean energy growth industries: solar, wind, energy efficiency and storage,” said Mark Schaeffer of Capital Region 350 Climate Action
A CAMPAIGN TO STOP FRACKING AND GAS INFRASTRUCTURE IN NEW YORK
Hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, is a process used to get methane gas out of the ground. Fracking threatens our groundwater, the health of our communities, and the global climate.
Thanks to grassroots activism by people like you, Governor Andrew Cuomo banned fracking in New York State in 2015. However, the gas industry continues to build new high pressure gas infrastructure all over New York so that they can pump tremendous amounts of gas through New York City to other parts of the country and for export.
350NYC is an active member in the network of groups that continues to put pressure on the Governor and regulatory agencies that are responsible. We will mobilize for this upcoming Food & Water Watch rally and encourage everyone who can be available on a weekday morning to come out and join us!
Stop All Fracking Infrastructure! Rally Outside Cuomo Fundraiser
Thursday, April 13th 2017 @ 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
583 Park Avenue, Manhattan
On April 13, Governor Cuomo is holding a fundraiser in Manhattan — and we’ll be rallying outside calling on him to reject all fracking infrastructure!
Together, we’ll send a message to Cuomo and his donors that New Yorkers oppose fracking pipelines, compressor stations, storage facilities, and power plants.
We’ll be urging Cuomo to stop the Pilgrim pipelines, CPV power plant, Spectra pipeline, Seneca Lake storage facility, and other fossil fuel infrastructure. With Donald Trump intent on granting every wish of the fossil fuel industry, it’s more important than ever for Governor Cuomo to be a true leader on climate!