Tag Archives: Renewable energy

United Church of Canada Sells Fossil Fuel Holdings, Commits $6 Million to Alternative Energy to Save Creation

Repost from The Christian Post

United Church of Canada Sells Fossil Fuel Holdings, Commits $6 Million to Alternative Energy to Save Creation

By Vincent Funaro , August 16, 2015|8:05 am
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United Church of Canada

The United Church of Canada plans to invest nearly $6 million into alternative energy sources that it acquired from selling all of its assets in fossil fuels. The denomination views the move as a bold step toward stewarding the gift of creation.

“Care for creation and concern for the way that climate is impacting the most marginalized populations made this move an act of justice, of faith, and of solidarity with First Nations and other impacted communities,” said Christine Boyle, General Council commissioner of the United Church and a veteran climate advocate, according to the National Advocate.

The church will sell off around $5.9 million in holdings from 200 of the world’s largest fossil fuel companies.

The United Church of Canada joins both Pope Francis and the Episcopal Church in their quest to help the environment.

Leaders of the Episcopal Church voted to sell off the denomination’s holdings in fossil fuel, which amount to $380 million, in a move to combat climate change last month.

“The vote says that this is a moral issue and that we really have to think about where we are putting our money,” said Betsy Blake Bennett, archdeacon in the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska.

“At a point where we are losing species and where human life itself is threatened by climate change, the Church, by acting on it, is saying that this is a moral issue and something that everyone needs to look at seriously,” added Bennett.

The Episcopal Church’s position echoes that of Francis who released an encyclical dealing with climate change back June. It dealt with how climate change is affecting God’s creation and was supported by over 300 Evangelical leaders.

The 184-page “Laudato Si,” translated in English as “Praise Be to You,” included the pope’s response to these challenges from a spiritual perspective.

“The urgent challenge to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; He never forsakes His loving plan or repents of having created us,” Francis wrote.

“Particular appreciation is owed to those who tirelessly seek to resolve the tragic effects of environmental degradation on the lives of the world’s poorest. Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better future without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded.”

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    Oil Industry Spending Millions on California Lobbying

    An email alert from California League of Conservation Voters (EcoVote.org)

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    From: Sarah Rose, Chief Executive Officer,  California League of Conservation Voters
    Sent: Saturday, August 15, 2015 8:01 AM
    Subject: BREAKING: In California, Oil Industry Spends Millions on State-Level Lobbying

    Breaking news:

    In a report just released by the California Secretary of State, we can see for the first time just how far the oil industry is willing to go to influence state lawmakers. Here what we know:

    • Oil industry lobbyists spent $6.2 million − in just the first six months of this year – to push their agenda on state-level issues in California.
    • Oil companies are spending more than $1 million per month to stop Californians like us from cleaning up the air we breathe, protecting our drinking water supplies, shifting to renewable energy, and preventing future oil spills.
    • They’re not slowing down. In fact, this week the oil industry’s main lobbying group WSPA (Western States Petroleum Association) launched an all-out attack on climate change bills in the statehouse right now. Under the mask of their front group “California Driver’s Alliance,” WSPA’s deceptive and manipulative ads are now running on television, internet, and radio in several key legislative districts throughout the state.
    • We can beat them, but we need your help. Right now, we’re fighting to pass a historic package of climate change laws that will thrust California back into the forefront of global climate leadership. Here at CLCV, we’ve faced off against WSPA in countless battles over our 40-year history. We’ve beat them enough times to know what works – and it’s you  (yes, you!) persistently contacting your lawmakers, speaking your mind, and personally insisting that your life and your family’s future are more important than the profit margins at Chevron and Shell. Take action and send your message to lawmakers right now. >>

    Last year, the oil industry spent a record $20 million in lobbying to try to stop the full implementation of California’s first landmark climate and clean energy law, AB 32 – but they failed, because we fought back. Thousands of us in the California League of Conservation Voters stood side-by-side with our allies and fought back against WSPA’s cynical propaganda. Together, we defeated their pro-pollution agenda, and now transportation fuels (which are responsible for 40% of carbon pollution and 80% of smog-causing pollution produced in CA) are included under the “cap” in cap-and-trade.

    I’m proud of our victory last year, but the real story is we won that battle by the skin of our teeth. Things very easily could have gone the other way if we didn’t have so much help from voters like you. Now, the stakes are even higher, and the oil industry is on track to break last year’s spending record to lobby against us. We need your help today: Stand with us now. >>

    Sincerely,

    Sarah Rose Chief Executive Officer California League of Conservation Voters

    P.S. As they attempt to hide from public scrutiny, oil companies funnel most of their California lobbying cash through the industry lobbying group WSPA (Western States Petroleum Association). But one oil company − Chevron – went above and beyond. In addition to their WSPA contributions, Chevron spent $1.5 million lobbying for influence over California laws. That means two spots on California’s top-five list for big-spending lobbyists belong to Big Oil. We can’t let them win. Please, speak out about climate change right now: http://ecovote.org/ActOnClimate >>

    Additional background: CLCV supports Senate Bill 32 (Pavley) and Senate Bill 350 (de León) to combat climate change, reduce pollution, create clean energy jobs, and ensure that all California communities are prepared for the future. Specifically, these important bills call for bold but achievable new climate goals:

    • Increase from one-third to 50 percent our electricity derived from renewable sources
    • Reduce today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent
    • Double the energy efficiency of existing buildings
    • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050

    With help from thousands of CLCV supporters like you, these important bills have already passed the State Senate. Now both bills are facing critical votes in the Assembly. Make sure your Assemblymember hears from you: Speak out now!

    We need to keep making progress to address the challenges presented by climate change, especially in our hardest-hit communities. Senate pro Tem Kevin de León put it best: “For too long, poor and working class families in California’s most polluted communities do not have the opportunity to invest in clean, efficient transportation … We need to move the state away from fossil fuels, away from the grip of oil … This is common sense climate policy.”

    Since 1972, the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) has protected our land, air, water, and public health as the non-partisan political arm of the environmental movement. CLCV’s mission is to protect and enhance the environment and the health of all California communities by electing environmental champions, advancing critical priorities, and holding policymakers accountable. You can unsubscribe at any time, but we hope you’ll stay. You make a big difference with CLCV, because our political strength comes from members like you. Thanks for reading, and thank you for everything you do to make California a cleaner, safer, and healthier place to call home.

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      Winners of first Benicia Eco Award announced

      Repost from the Vallejo Times Herald

      Winners of first Benicia Eco Award announced

      By Times-Herald staff report, 07/28/15, 1:09 pm PDT; UPDATED 08/05/15
      Constance Beutel and Benicia Mayor Elizabeth Patterson. COURTESY PHOTO

      Benicia >> A reception was held at the Benicia City Hall courtyard before the City Council meeting on July 21 to celebrate the accomplishments of the first Eco-Award winners. They were presented to the City Council afterward.

      A resident and a business were selected in each category: energy reduction and renewable energy, water efficiency and conservation, recycling and trash reduction. A non-profit/community-based organization was also chosen as an overall winner.

      The seven winners received a $100 gift certificate to First Street Café and a recycled glass trophy designed by Lindsay Art Glass of Benicia as well as a certificate signed by Mayor Patterson.

      The Benicia Eco Award, by Lindsay Art Glass. COURTESY PHOTO

      The winners are as follow:

      • Residents: Constance Beutel for energy reduction and renewable energy; Steve and Marty Young for water efficiency and conservation; and Mary Lou and John McVeigh for recycling and trash reduction.
      • Business: Ponder Environmental Services, Inc. for energy reduction and renewable energy; Pedrotti Ace Hardware for water efficiency and conservation; and Ruszel Woodworks for recycling and trash reduction.
      • Community-based or non-profit organization: Benicia Community Gardens.

      The event was a “Zero Waste” event, meaning there was no trash from the event. All food scraps went to John & Mary Lou’s chickens, real dishes and utensils eliminated any paper or plastic waste, and the cups were recycled. The napkins were composted. Real fruit flavored water hydration stations were provided so no water bottles or sodas were needed.

      The program is sponsored by the Green Umbrella group, a coalition of Benicia organizations and individuals dedicated to working together with a focus on environmentalism and sustainability. The group’s work is funded by a grant from the Community Sustainability Commission with support from Arts Benicia and the City of Benicia. Awards are sponsored by Marin Clean Energy, WattzOn, and Republic Services.

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        Officials hope 1st US offshore wind farm will boost industry

        Repost from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune

        Officials touring site of 1st US offshore wind farm hope milestone will boost industry

        By Jennifer McDermott, AP, July 27, 2015 — 3:00pm
        The first foundation jacket installed by Deepwater Wind in the nation’s first offshore wind farm construction project is seen Monday, July 27, 2015, on the waters of the Atlantic Ocean off Block Island, R.I. Deepwater Wind will consist of five turbines producing a total of 30 megawatts of electricity. STEPHAN SAVOIA — AP Photo

        NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — Construction has begun off Rhode Island’s coast on the nation’s first offshore wind farm, a milestone that federal and state officials say will help the fledgling U.S. industry surge ahead.

        U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said Monday that lenders, regulators and stakeholders can now see a path forward.

        “It’s great to witness a pioneering moment in U.S. history,” she said during a boat tour of the site. “We are learning from this in what we do elsewhere. I think it will help the country understand the potential that exists here.”

        Deepwater Wind is building a five-turbine wind farm off Block Island, Rhode Island, which it expects to power 17,000 homes as early as next year. It began attaching the first of the steel foundations to the ocean floor Sunday. The first one touching the seabed is known in the industry as the “first steel in the water.”

        Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski said it was a “spectacular” moment. The company took officials and project supporters to the site by boat Monday to celebrate.

        They saw the first of two steel pieces for the first foundation in the water. It has four legs and braces like a stool and rises about 30 feet above the waterline. An installation barge with a large crane was next to it, and two barges carrying additional foundation components were nearby. The foundations will be installed by mid-September, Grybowski said.

        The wind farm should be operational in the third quarter of 2016, Grybowski said. Deepwater Wind also plans to build a wind farm of at least 200 turbines between Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard.

        “We want to build more and larger offshore wind projects, up and down the East Coast,” Grybowski said.

        Gov. Gina Raimondo said Rhode Island is a leader in a fast-growing industry that is creating jobs.

        “It’s the beginning of something great in Rhode Island,” Raimondo said.

        The offshore wind industry is far more advanced in Europe. Developers and industry experts say it has been slow to start in the U.S. because of regulatory hurdles, opposition from fossil fuel interests and the trials and tribulations of doing something for the first time.

        Cape Wind received approval five years ago to build the nation’s first offshore wind farm, a 130-turbine project off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. That project stalled after opponents challenged it in court.

        While there have been setbacks, Jewell said the federal government has now sold nine leases for offshore wind projects in federal waters. The government is poised to auction a new lease off New Jersey this year and is assessing potential sites off multiple states. The Block Island wind farm is in state waters.

        “This is an important first step, important momentum. A lot is happening across the country,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, director if the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

        One hurdle, however, is that the renewable energy industry has to fight, regularly, to keep the tax credits and incentives it has, while the well-established oil and gas industry has tax credits it no longer needs, Jewell said. She said that should change.

        Several environmental leaders also made the trip. Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said it was overwhelming to see the start of construction.

        “To see it in American waters fills me with patriotic pride,” he said. “This idea that we could create a new industry and tens of thousands of jobs, spur manufacturing and protect wildlife, it’s just an incredible opportunity.”

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