“Greens: Climate march shatters record” – Politico, 21 September 2014

Recently, Leonardo DiCaprio has joined the fight against climate change to promote clean and renewable energies. Last week, he addressed the UN Climate Summit after participating in a climate march that brought almost 400,000 people to the streets of New York. Al Gore, UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon, New York Major Bill de Blasio, scientist Jane Goodall, Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and former Ohio Democratice Rep. Dennis Kucinich joined Leonardo DiCaprio at the protest.

While 350.org — the climate activist group that pounced on the Keystone XL pipeline proposal and shined a light on the repercussions the pipeline will have on the environment — launched the march, over 1,500 environmental groups coordinated the march, expecting only 100,000 protestors to be in attendance. However, the turnout exceeded their expectations four-fold, to the tune of almost 400,000 people; the march was the biggest climate-related protest to ever take place. The organizing environmental groups chartered almost 500 buses to bring people to New York. London, Berlin, Rome, Rio de Janeiro and Melbourne, Australia also staged protests that day. None were as big as New York.

Protestors marched along Central Park West from 59th Street to 86th Street, waving flags, banging on drums, and holding signs that read, “No More Climate Change” and “Climate Action Now.”

The march was intended to bring more attention to the worsening effects of climate change — protestors, activists, and environmental groups feel like the issue hasn’t been getting enough press or enough attention from the federal government.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

September 24, 2014

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“Pipeline Fight Lifts Environmental Movement” – New York Times, 24 January 2014

Since June 2011, environmentalists have been rallying together to stop the approval of the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline — XL meaning express line — which would send 800,000 barrels a day of crude oil from Canada sand formations to Texas refineries. Though it is unknown if Obama will authorize the project, environmentalists have taken their protests directly to the him.

In addition to transporting hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day, the pipeline will also involve an oil extraction process that expends more greenhouse gas emissions than any other means of production. Those in favor of the pipeline say that the oil will be transported regardless; without the pipeline, it would probably be carried by railway, which would cause more pollution.

The pipeline has been an issue that has banded all American environmentalists together, allowing climate change organizations, like 350.org, to grow to double its size in just two short years. People from all economic and financial backgrounds have donated time, energy and money to the cause, merging national and grassroots environmental groups who often argue over attention and resources.

Keystone XL would create a bypass to the Gulf of Mexico and would expand TransCanada’s current Keystone pipeline, which runs from Alberta to Nebraska, Illinois and Oklahoma; Keystone XL would be a more direct pipeline across the US, to Texas. TransCanada and ally American Petroleum Institute have taken the matter into their own hands by running TV and radio ads advocating the many jobs the pipeline will create.

Whether environmentalists’ protests are successful or not, it is easy to agree that the pipeline issue has forever changed American environmental politics, allowing various environmental groups to rally together, and forming a durable infrastructure.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

January 31, 2014

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“Obama’s Speech Softens Tone on Climate Change” – Wall Street Journal, 29 January 2014

It seems as if the President is relaxing on climate change, when, during his January 28 SOTU speech, he addressed how much natural gas has helped the environment, specifically by reducing carbon emission pollution and inciting businesses to invest $100 million. However, Obama’s statements weren’t directed to environmental groups, who have remained his most loyal allies. It seems that oil and natural gas will be crucial to America’s energy future.

Just last year, at the 2013 SOTU, Obama stated that he was willing to take climate policy into his own hands and wouldn’t support the use of fossil fuels; back then, many still believed that climate change wasn’t real. Now that that debate is over and Obama has introduced his Climate Action Plan, environmentalists aren’t so mad that he gave a nod to natural gas, as they see Obama pushing the US towards a more sustainable energy future.

Obama sees the matters of fossil fuels, oil, natural gas, coal and clean energy as inextricably linked to jobs and energy independence. Although environmentalists aren’t exactly upset with the SOTU speech, it didn’t pacify any of their concerns regarding the pending Keystone XL pipeline or proposed regulations on emissions. Obama also failed to commend the EPA by name, an agency whose role has been vital in his Climate Action Plan. What we can take away from the President’s speech is that while climate change is undeniable, so too is natural gas.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

January 29, 2014

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