350 CHICAGO Newsletter

Your bi-weekly newsletter for all things climate-related

August 4, 2020

Good morning friends and climate advocates,

New developments within the climate science field have a major impact on what climate models tell us about future global warming, plus more discussion of the Biden climate plan.

- The 350 Chicago Team

350 Chicago has a New Blog Post on "Big Oil"

Here is a link to a new blog post written by 350 Chicago members Rowland Davis and James Buchen, where they kick off the first in a series on the oil business. In this post, they provide important background information on the players in the business, and on supply, demand, and pricing issues.

Support the Illinois CEJA (Clean Energy Jobs Act)

Help pass the Clean Energy Jobs Act and spark our clean energy recovery by contacting your lawmakers. Simply enter your information into this form, and your message will automatically be sent to your state legislators and Governor Pritzker.

350 Chicago along with coalition partners at the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition are working to get all 177 legislators in the Illinois General Assembly to support this important bill.

Thank you for pitching in!

Joe Biden visits a metal fabricating facility in Dunmore, Pennsylvania. The presumptive Democratic nominee believes that building infrastructure for renewable energy will bring jobs.
Photograph: Matt Slocum/AP

Elections Matter: More on the Biden Plan

In the last newsletter, we highlighted the Biden campaign’s aggressive and well-received plan to confront the climate crisis. The plan is primarily being pitched on the strength of creating green jobs (and union jobs) and ensuring equity across communities. We'll continue to explore the details of this plan, as well as the more detailed House Democratic plan, in future newsletters. In this segment, we're focused on the specific treatment of the fossil fuel industry, where the plan has three main points:

  1. End federal subsidies for fossil fuel companies (estimated value = $20 billion per year).

  2. Ban new fossil fuel leases on public lands, which industry experts at consultancy Wood Mackenzie say could cost oil and gas companies tens of billions of existing capital expenditure, depending on the stringency of final rules.

  3. Pledge to support plaintiff-driven climate litigation against polluters, which would include more than a dozen current lawsuits against fossil fuel companies for damages from global warming.

However, some activists would like even more to be done, especially on fracking. As always, the art of politics is to do and say what will win elections, and once in power to accomplish as much of your agenda as possible. And as Bill McKibben says: “The crucial job of activists, then, is to always be demanding that we move faster.” If you want to push for more, here is a national 350.org link to a petition. And here is a link to a free virtual event this Thursday evening discussing how the Biden-Sanders unity task force worked to shape the plan.

Meanwhile, Trump took a day trip to the Texas oil patch to collect campaign funds and speak from an oil-rig owned by two big campaign contributors, where he touted his “energy dominance” (i.e. fossil fuel dominance) strategy and said that Biden intends to “end oil and gas.”

Finally, an opinion piece in The Guardian says that a Trump re-election could mean the global climate fight will be lost.

What Climate Science Is Telling Us

An important new study provides a better understanding for the likely range of the critical Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS) factor (i.e. how much warming would result from a doubling of atmospheric CO2). In any given climate model, this factor determines how projections of future carbon emissions would impact atmospheric warming. A guest post in the CarbonBrief explains how this study narrows the range for the ECS factor from the 1.5⁰C to 4.5⁰C range used previously to a new range of 2.6⁰C to 4.1⁰C, essentially eliminating the best case scenarios of climate warming for the planet and also tightening the worst case scenarios. This article in The Guardian sums up the consequences with this quote:

“The main message is that unfortunately we can’t expect that luck will save us from climate change,” Reto Knutti, professor of climate physics at ETH Zurich’s Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science. “The good thing is that we’ve somewhat narrowed the range of future long-term warming, the bad thing is that we can no longer hope or claim that the problem will just magically go away.”

Our resilience to the climate crisis and the survival of the 21st century depends on two variables, writes the New Yorker: How much damage will this heat wreak? And how capable are governments of handling chaos?

However, one thing is certain: we can still influence the future by urgently and significantly reducing carbon emissions levels now. And the first step is taking civic action to vote in the right leaders and pushing them to adopt the right policies.

Upcoming 350 Chicago Meetings & Events

***Important: Please note that all meetings will be held virtually for the foreseeable future due to the situation around COVID-19. Please contact committee leads for information regarding remote meeting arrangements.***

8/11 Tuesday - 6.00 - 7.30pm CST
350 Chicago Research Committee Monthly Meeting
Interested in getting involved in the Research committee? Contact committee lead Alex McLeese for digital meeting details.

9/5 Saturday - 10.00 - 11.30am CST
350 Chicago General Monthly Meeting
Please join us for our virtual monthly meeting. Topic and guest speaker TBA.

350 Chicago Education Committee Meeting

Interested in getting involved in the Education committee? Contact committee lead Melissa Brice for more details!

Additional Reads

  1. Green stimulus for oil and gas workers (Resources for the Future)

  2. Fact-check of viral climate misinformation quietly removed from Facebook (Heated)

  3. Morgan Stanley is starting to come clean about climate change (Grist)

  4. ComEd admits to bribery charge in Illinois, agrees to pay $200M fine (UtilityDive)

  5. IEEFA U.S.: Follow the money, and repeal FirstEnergy’s Ohio bailout (IEEFA)

  6. Extinction Rebellion, Greenpeace campaign for a breakup between big tech and big oil (Inside Climate News)

  7. Air conditioning curbs could save year’ worth of emissions – study (Guardian)

  8. First active leak of sea-bed methane discovered in Antarctica (Guardian)


Interested in sustainable investing? Look into this course by the US SIF.


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