Action

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Getting technical and social measures deployed to mitigate and adapt to climate change requires personal, political, economic and/or legal actions.

Mental Health, Self-care and burnout

Why we all need to stop worrying about climate change (and what to do instead) Max St John; Medium; 25 Apr 2019

What I want to tell you is that the anxiety we’re producing for ourselves — while it feels very much justified — could be a symptom of everything we’ve been doing ‘wrong’ and is making things worse.
And the alternative isn’t inaction but instead wiser action.

Personal Action

For some millennials, climate change clock ticks louder than biological one James Rainey; NBC News; 21 April 2019

SEATTLE — Erika Lundahl writes and performs her own songs. She works in Seattle for a company that publishes books on the environment. She thinks a lot about how best to occupy her place in the world. Yet, despite this full life, Lundahl, at 27, feels a clock ticking.
Her biological clock, yes, but also the one to fix global warming, or face the likelihood that she and her potential children will have to live in a seriously marginalized world.
“There is this sense that if you don’t have kids soon, you could be putting them in a harder position,” Lundahl said. “But if you do have them, that will not be easy either, with the storms, the intense droughts, the precariousness of the times. It’s like you are playing with two ticking time bombs — yours and the planet’s.”

Economic action

Leading insurers tell G20 to stop funding fossil fuels by 2020 Karl Mathiesen; The Guardian; 30 Aug 2016

Three of the world’s biggest insurers have called on G20 leaders to implement a timeframe for ending fossil fuel subsidies when they meet in China this week.
G20 members contribute $160-$200bn each year to the production of coal, oil and gas, according to the OECD.

Carbon Pricing *

Legal action

Climate Liability News

Website reporting legal actions on Climate Change

Australia

Landmark Australian ruling rejects coal mine over global warming Bianca Nogrady; Nature; 11 Feb 2019

An Australian court has rejected an application for an open-cut coal mine because of its potential contribution to greenhouse-gas emissions and global warming.
The New South Wales Land and Environment Court turned down an appeal by mining company Gloucester Resources, which had sought to overturn a previous government decision against establishing a coal mine near the town of Gloucester in the Hunter Valley.
It is the first time a new coal mine has been rejected in Australia, the world’s leading coal exporter, because of the potential contribution to global warming.

Netherlands

Netherlands loses landmark global warming case, ordered to cut emissions Sebastian Anthony; ars technica; 24 Jun 2015

In a landmark case that may set a very important precedent for other countries around the world, especially within Europe, the Dutch government has been ordered by the courts to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent.

Phillipines

World's largest carbon producers face landmark human rights case John Vidal; Guardian; 27 Jul 2016

The world’s largest oil, coal, cement and mining companies have been given 45 days to respond to a complaint that their greenhouse gas emissions have violated the human rights of millions of people living in the Phillippines. In a potential landmark legal case, the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHR), a constitutional body with the power to investigate human rights violations, has sent 47 “carbon majors” including Shell, BP, Chevron, BHP Billiton and Anglo American, a 60-page document accusing them of breaching people’s fundamental rights to “life, food, water, sanitation, adequate housing, and to self determination”.

Peru v. Germany

Peruvian farmer squares up to German power giant in climate lawsuit Sophie Hares; Reuters; 10 Nov 2017

TEPIC, Mexico (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - In Peru’s snow-capped Cordillera Blanca mountains, fast-melting glaciers are pushing the cobalt waters of Lake Palcacocha dangerously high, raising fears it could overflow and send a huge wave of water and mud crashing to the town of Huaraz below.
Huaraz farmer and mountain guide Saúl Luciano Lliuya, who blames the world’s biggest emitters for the warmer temperatures shrinking the glaciers, will appeal his civil case on Monday against German utility RWE, which he thinks should contribute to reinforcing the lake – even though it has no operations in Peru.

USA

New York v fossil fuel companies

New York City sues ‘polluting’ Shell, BP and others Jonny Bairstow; Energy Live News; 11 Jan 2018

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city’s pension funds will withdraw around $5 billion (£3.7bn) of investments from fossil fuel companies.
It has also launched a lawsuit against the businesses it says have contributed most to the climate crisis – ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Shell and ConocoPhillips.
The city seeks damages for the impacts of climate change on the city. It says this has already amounted to billions of dollars, with billions more needed to prepare for rising sea levels, more powerful storms and hotter temperatures.

New York and Massachusetts

U.S. judge dismisses Exxon lawsuit to stop climate change probes Reuters; 29 Mar 2018

A federal judge on Thursday dismissed Exxon Mobil Corp’s lawsuit seeking to stop New York and Massachusetts from probing whether the company misled investors and the public about climate change and the potential effects on its business.

California

A California Court Might Have Just Opened The Floodgates For Climate Litigation Brian H. Potts; Forbes; 1 Mar 2018

On Tuesday, a federal district court in California issued a decision that could open the floodgates for climate-change litigation in federal courts around the country.
The United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued a procedural decision in California v. BP, LLC, a lawsuit brought by Oakland, San Francisco and various others against BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon and Royal Dutch Shell for selling fossil-fuel products that they allege cause global warming. The plaintiffs’ complaint asserts nuisance claims against the defendants under common law, seeking an abatement fund to help pay for sea walls and other climate-related defense infrastructure.
Back in 2011, however, the U.S. Supreme Court in its landmark American Electric Power v. Connecticut decision rejected similar nuisance claims brought against companies for burning fossil fuels. The high court found that these lawsuits based on federal common law were improperly in federal court because greenhouse gas emissions were already regulated by an existing federal law: the Clean Air Act.
But now, the California federal district court has said that the Supreme Court’s decision may not apply to all federal climate nuisance cases, and that some of them are still properly in federal court. In an about-face, the California court’s decision on Tuesday argues that the U.S. Supreme Court’s AEP ruling does not apply to all federal climate-change nuisance cases. The pending cases against these oil companies are still properly in federal court, according to U.S. District Judge William Alsup, because the Clean Air Act only regulates the companies that burn fossil-fuels, not the companies that sell them (like the defendants).

Children's case - Juliana v. United States

Judge Denies Motions by Fossil Fuel Industry and Federal Government in Landmark Climate Change Case EcoWatch; 9 Apr 2016

U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin of the Federal District Court in Eugene, Oregon, decided in favor of 21 young plaintiffs in their landmark constitutional climate change case against the federal government. Judge Coffin ruled Friday against the motion to dismiss brought by the fossil fuel industry and federal government.

Climate Change Litigation - The Children Win In Court James Conca; Forbes; 1 Mar 2016

Against all odds, the 21 children, ages 8 to 19, who are suing the government to protect the environment against the harm of global warming in their future, have won in court. Again. In a surprise ruling on Friday from the bench in the ongoing climate case brought by these youths against the State of Washington’s Department of Ecology, King County Superior Court Judge Hollis Hill ordered the Department of Ecology to promulgate a carbon emissions reduction rule by the end of 2016 and make recommendations to the state legislature on science-based greenhouse gas reductions in the 2017 legislative session. Judge Hill also ordered the Department of Ecology to consult with the young plaintiffs in advance of that recommendation.

Children Win Another Climate Change Legal Case In Mass Supreme Court James Conca; Forbes; 19 May 2016

In another surprising victory for children suing the government over climate change, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court last Friday found in favor of four youth plaintiffs against the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. The Court found that the DEP was not complying with its legal obligation to reduce the State’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and ordered the agency to “promulgate regulations that address…greenhouse gas emissions, impose a limit on emissions that may be released…and set limits that decline on an annual basis.” This case is one of several similar cases in federal district courts in Oregon and Washington, and in the state courts of North Carolina, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Colorado. All of these legal cases are supported by Our Children’s Trust, that seeks the legal right of our youth to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate in the future.

Trump could face the ‘biggest trial of the century’ — over climate change Chelsea Harvey; Washington Post; 1 Dec 2016

A few weeks ago, a federal judge in Oregon made headlines when she ruled that a groundbreaking climate lawsuit will proceed to trial. And some experts say its outcome could rewrite the future of climate policy in the United States.
The case, brought by 21 youths aged 9 to 20, claims that the federal government isn’t doing enough to address the problem of climate change to protect their planet’s future — and that, they charge, is a violation of their constitutional rights on the most basic level. The case has already received widespread attention, even garnering the support of well-known climate scientist James Hansen, who has also joined as a plaintiff on behalf of his granddaughter and as a guardian for “future generations.”
The U.S. government under President Obama, along with several others representing members of the fossil fuel industry, filed to have the lawsuit dismissed. But on Nov. 10, federal judge Ann Aiken denied the motion, clearing the case to proceed to trial. According to Our Children’s Trust, the nonprofit representing the youth plaintiffs, a recent case management conference indicated that the case would likely go to trial by summer or early fall of 2017.

US Supreme Court allows historic kids’ climate lawsuit to go forward Emma Marris; Nature news; 3 Nov 2018

A landmark climate-change lawsuit brought by young people against the US government can proceed, the Supreme Court said on 2 November. The case, Juliana v. United States, had been scheduled to begin trial on 29 October in Eugene, Oregon, in a federal district court. But those plans were scrapped last month after President Donald Trump's administration asked the Supreme Court to intervene and dismiss the case.
The plaintiffs, who include 21 people ranging in age from 11 to 22, allege that the government has violated their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property by failing to prevent dangerous climate change. They are asking the district court to order the federal government to prepare a plan that will ensure the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere falls below 350 parts per million by 2100, down from an average of 405 parts per million in 2017.
By contrast, the US Department of Justice argues that “there is no right to ‘a climate system capable of sustaining human life’” — as the Juliana plaintiffs assert.
Although the Supreme Court has now denied the Trump administration's request to the dismiss the case, the path ahead is unclear. In its 2 November order, the Supreme Court suggested that a federal appeals court should consider the administration's arguments before any trial starts in the Oregon district court.
Lawyers for the young people said they would push the district court to reschedule the trial next week.

Canada

New Canadian Bill Would Help Cities Sue Oil Industry for Climate Damages Karen Savage; Climate Liability News; 26 Mar 2018

A Canadian legislator introduced a bill on Monday to protect Ontario residents from the costs of climate change-related damages and to make it easier to force fossil fuel companies to pay for infrastructure improvements needed to protect communities from climate impacts.
“This act will give Ontarians the legal means to seek compensation from the world’s major polluters for their fair share of those costs,” said Peter Tabuns, a Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) representing Toronto-Danforth, who introduced the bill.
Known as the Liability for Climate-Related Harms Act of 2018, Tabuns said the bill is similar to tobacco liability legislation used to hold tobacco companies liable for the health costs of tobacco use.
“This bill defines the nature of evidence to be produced and it simplifies this whole action,” said Tabuns, who said the bill is structured to assume strict liability on the part of producers.
“There is an assumption in this bill that climate change is caused by man-made action—the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere—and it sets a threshold for determining whether a particular event has caused damage,” said Tabuns, adding that the threshold would be consistent with the one established internationally.
“This Bill appears to be the first in the world to directly impose strict liability—liability without proof of fault—on fossil fuel companies for climate impacts,” said Andrew Gage, staff lawyer for the West Coast Environmental Law Association (WCEL), which endorsed the bill.

Political action

China’s climate actions turn the tables on American deniers Reuters; 26 Sep 2015

How a selfish world can still avoid catastrophic climate change New Scientist; 26 Oct 2015

Each country generally defines “fair” according to what will mean the least effort for them, says Malte Meinshausen at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. Getting them all to agree on that point seems utopian, he says. “Every country agreed to a 2°C or lower climate target, and they all make up their own story about why their own target is fair,” says Meinshausen. But the voluntary pledges to cut national greenhouse gas emissions made ahead of December’s climate summit in Paris aren’t enough to keep warming below 2°C. So Meinshausen and colleagues looked at what is needed to reach the target and how to get nations to agree to them, allowing for every country to define “fair” the way that burdens them the least. The team’s imagined scenario involves one country or group of countries leading with ambitious emissions cuts, and every other country following. But each follower country interprets its fair contribution according to what costs it the least. “If any country wants to claim to be a leader – and they all say that they’re a leader – this is now the first litmus test,” says Meinshausen.

National post-2020 greenhouse gas targets and diversity-aware leadership Malte Meinshausen, Louise Jeffery, Johannes Guetschow, Yann Robiou du Pont, Joeri Rogelj, Michiel Schaeffer, Niklas Höhne, Michel den Elzen, Sebastian Oberthür & Nicolai Meinshausen; Nature Climate Change; 26 Oct 2015

Earth Hour: Turning out the lights plays into the hands of our critics George Marshall; The Guardian; 27 Mar 2009

In my 25 years of environmental campaigning I have seen lots of inspired protests and lots of daft or pointless ones. But the WWF Earth Hour campaign has to be one of the most misguided and counterproductive actions I have ever seen.

What Do the Presidential Candidates Know about Science? Christine Gorman; Scientific American; 13 Sep 2016

Clinton, Trump and Stein answer 20 top questions about science, engineering, technology, health and environmental issues

Military Leaders Urge Trump to See Climate as a Security Threat Erika Bolstad, Climate Wire; Scientific American; 15 Nov 2016

a bipartisan group of defense experts and former military leaders sent Donald Trump’s transition team a briefing book urging the president-elect to consider climate change as a grave threat to national security.
The Center for Climate & Security in its briefing book argues that climate change presents a risk to U.S. national security and international security, and that the United States should advance a comprehensive policy for addressing the risk. The recommendations, released earlier this year, were developed by the Climate and Security Advisory Group, a voluntary, nonpartisan group of 43 U.S.-based senior military, national security, homeland security and intelligence experts, including the former commanders of the U.S. Pacific and Central commands.
The briefing book argues that climate change presents a significant and direct risk to U.S. military readiness, operations and strategy, and military leaders say it should transcend politics. It goes beyond protecting military bases from sea-level rise, the military advisers say. They urge Trump to order the Pentagon to game out catastrophic climate scenarios, track trends in climate impacts and collaborate with civilian communities. Stresses from climate change can increase the likelihood of international or civil conflict, state failure, mass migration and instability in strategically significant areas around the world, the defense experts argue.

Rex Tillerson Suggests The U.S. Should Stay In Paris Climate Agreement Alexander C. Kaufman; Huffinton Post; 11 Jan 2017

Rex Tillerson, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of state, hinted on Wednesday that he would support keeping the United States in the historic Paris climate agreement. Asked during his Senate confirmation hearing whether the U.S. should maintain its commitments in the accord, the former Exxon Mobil Corp. chief executive said the 180-country deal allows the country to influence the necessary “global response” to climate change. “It’s important that the United States maintain its seat at the table with the conversations around how to deal with the threats of climate change,” he said.

How to Resist an Unjust Regime Nonviolently John Horgan; Scientific American blogs; 18 Nov 2016

Gene Sharp advocates nonviolent activism for practical rather than moral or spiritual reasons. He rejects religious exhortations that we should turn the other cheek and love our enemies. People in power often deserve to be despised and fought, he contends, but violence, even in the service of a just cause, often causes more problems than it solves, leading to greater injustice and suffering. Hence the best way to oppose an unjust regime is through nonviolent action.

What does climate change look like through the eyes of a politician? Rebecca Willis; Inside Track - Green Alliance blog; 18 Sep 2017

I’m in a café in the House of Commons, talking to a newly-elected MP about climate change. He’s under no illusions about likely impacts. He points out that where we’re sitting, beside the River Thames, could be under water in decades to come. He calls climate change ‘catastrophic’, and looks for every opportunity he can to raise the issue. But his commitment has come at a price: speaking out on climate is, he tells me, a ‘career-limiting move’.

Major coal company committed to climate change breaks ties with industry groups Climate Action; 21 Dec 2017

BHP Billiton, a British-Australian mining company has announced it will withdraw its membership from energy associations which don’t hold an active position on climate and energy policy, emphasising its commitment to take responsible action against global warming.
The mining company released a report where it reviewed the stance of all the industry associations where it currently is a member of, to check if the company’s values on the fight against climate change are reflected on the associations’ core strategy.
“As a major producer and consumer of fossil fuels, we recognise our responsibility to take action by focusing on reducing our greenhouse gas emissions; adapting to the physical impacts of climate change; accelerating the development and deployment of low emissions technology; testing and building the resilience of our portfolio; and working with others, including academia, industry and governments, to enhance the global response to climate change”, reads the report.
It revealed that 21 of them hold an active position in the issue, but it raised concerns over three associations: the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), the US Chamber of Commerce and the World Coal Association.
Therefore, BHP Billiton announced its plans to exit the World Coal Association over the next year and warned the other two.

Conservatives

Time for Conservatives to Break the Anti-Environmentalist Mold HENRY CHAPPELL; The American Conservative; 18 Jan 2018

Do conservatives have a predisposed hostility towards environmental concerns?
With their preference for order, regard for their ancestors’ accomplishments, and instinctive revulsion towards Rousseauian notions of natural perfection, traditionalists recoil against what Pascal Bruckner called the environmentalist left’s “numberless Cassandras…[who] do not intend to warn so much as to condemn us,” while anointing the planet as the “new proletariat” that must be saved.
Yet when considered rationally, environmental issues actually call upon core conservative principles.
In How to Think Seriously About the Planet, philosopher Roger Scruton asserts that pollution and habitat destruction engage “a fundamental moral idea to which conservatives attach great importance: the idea that those responsible for damage should also repair it.” Conservatives oppose externalization of the costs of poor sexual and financial decisions, and likewise should resent their descendants being burdened with someone else’s environmental mess.
Nevertheless there has been a great effort to politicize the environmental issue and convince conservatives there is no real “mess” in the first place. Potential environmental problems raised by scientists are nearly always presented to the public by environmentalist organizations. The right, led by business interests, reacts. Industry-funded experts focus on refuting or blunting the environmentalist message. The same commentators who accuse scientists of exaggerating the dangers of climate change in order to keep research money flowing ostensibly place more confidence in the positions of industry-backed messengers who make arguments that keep their own own money flowing. Whether the accusation of exaggeration reflects partisanship, cynicism, or projection, it’s been very effective at thwarting responsible debate on the right and hardening the liberal conviction that conservatives are anti-science philistines.
This hasn’t always been the case. As historian Patrick Allitt points out in A Climate of Crisis: America in the Age of Environmentalism, Republicans and Democrats worked together in the 1960s and 1970s to pass sweeping environmental legislation. Allitt writes: “Between 1969 and 1973, in a sustained burst of bipartisan cooperation, they transformed the politics of the environment more drastically than at any time before or since.”
Although President Richard Nixon had shown no interest in environmental issues prior to taking office, political realities forced him to support the National Environmental Policy Act and create a presidential Council on Environmental Quality. Voters needed no scientific explanation of what they’d seen and smelled for decades. Smog killed some 300 people in New York City in 1963. Angelenos lost their beloved mountain views to sickening yellow clouds, while the U.S. Public Health Service classified the hundred-mile stretch of the Trinity River below Dallas as “septic.” Lake Erie, long defiled by raw sewage and agricultural runoff, suffered huge fish kills. In 1969, the Cuyahoga River became an apocalyptic symbol of the times when it caught fire for the ninth time in recent decades.

The Daily 202: How a conservative think tank is trying to tackle climate change James Hohmann; Power Post; 27 Mar 2018

While President Trump is systematically rolling back his predecessor’s efforts to combat climate change, the conservative Hoover Institution is trying to address the reality of rising temperatures, higher sea levels and more extreme weather.
The center-right think tank, which is affiliated with Stanford University and home to GOP grandees like Condoleezza Rice, is pursuing a host of initiatives that treat climate change as a pressing national security challenge and a market failure that requires government intervention.
It’s a striking contrast to Washington, where the Paris accord has been abandoned, skeptics of established science hold some of the most important jobs in government and congressional Republicans long ago eschewed promises to seriously confront environmental disruption.
But here, the spirit of innovation that defines Silicon Valley trumps the ideological rigidity that reigns in the capital.
George Shultz, who served as Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state, embraces the idea of a carbon tax. He says this would free up private firms to find the most efficient ways to cut emissions. The 97-year-old chairs an energy policy task force at Hoover that, among other solutions, advocates for expanding nuclear power. “Let’s take out an insurance policy to protect against the risk of climate change,” Shultz said.
Gary Roughead, the former chief of naval operations, studies the consequences of global warming in the Arctic. This is causing polar ice caps to melt and, for all intents and purposes, opening a new ocean. That means trade routes will soon exist that are now blocked by ice. The retired admiral, one of only two people to ever command both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets, believes the U.S. must prepare for and capitalize on this. That will require checking Russia’s expansionary push in the northern sea lanes.
James Mattis, who spent almost four years at Hoover between retiring from the Marines and leaving to becoming secretary of defense, has also described climate change as a national security threat, citing the rising sea levels and desertification. Lake Chad, for example, has shrunk by about 90 percent since 1990, causing the instability that fueled the rise of the Boko Haram terrorist group.
Hoover has even hired an alumna of Barack Obama’s White House to focus on climate change. Alice Hill was a special assistant to the president and the senior director for resilience policy on the National Security Council. Before that, she served as a judge and led a climate change task force at the Department of Homeland Security.
“This is a global problem, and it’s really a problem that needs attention from the highest levels of government,” Hill said during a day-long Hoover media roundtable on Monday. “It’s difficult to solve it with 50 states and all the municipalities trying to pull and row in one direction without somebody as a captain of the ship. … It’s here, and we need to address it.”

HFCs - Montreal Protocol*

Non-Violent Direct Action

The 3.5% rule: How a small minority can change the world David Robson; BBC; 14 May 2019

But compelling research by Erica Chenoweth, a political scientist at Harvard University, confirms that civil disobedience is not only the moral choice; it is also the most powerful way of shaping world politics – by a long way. Looking at hundreds of campaigns over the last century, Chenoweth found that nonviolent campaigns are twice as likely to achieve their goals as violent campaigns. And although the exact dynamics will depend on many factors, she has shown it takes around 3.5% of the population actively participating in the protests to ensure serious political change.