Friday, December 11, 2009

Final Instructions: TOMORROW'S SLO-MO Flash Mob

Dearest VT Oxfam Action Corps members and fellow flash-mob participants!

Since we will NOT be gathering ahead of time to deliver specific instructions to flash mob participants, we are counting on you to PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING & SHARE OUT THE INFORMATION (especially to those not RSVP through facebook or evite -- our central communication mechanisms).

We've got over 100 people RSVP'ed!! All of these folks will gather to demand that world leaders SEAL A REAL DEAL: one that is FAIR, AMBITIOUS & BINDING (F.A.B.). We will be moving in SLOW MOTION throughout the Burlington Town Center Mall to draw attention to the molasses-like speed of the international climate negotiations. Please join us!


  • If you feel so moved, prepare signs sharing your take on what is needed for a real deal (find ready-made "Real Deal" & F.A.B. posters here)

  • Start making your way from wherever you happen to be in the downtown mall to Church Street -- the gathering of zombie-like people all walking in the same direction, will surely draw a crowd.
AT 12:15PM
  • GATHER FOR A PHOTO ON CHURCH STREET (OUTSIDE the mall, between Starbucks & Old Navy)
  • Expect media coverage and bring a camera!
  • A small group of event organizers and volunteers will be wearing t-shirts that spell out our "ask" and gathering signatures from supporters in the crowd to be delivered to the Senators Leahy & Sanders. If you would like to help, please approach someone with a t-shirt and introduce yourself! :)
  • SEND YOUR PHOTOS TO directly to (and copy, please!) -- these photos will be displayed immediately to world leaders at Copenhagen!
  • Give yourselves a pat on the back for pulling off a powerful, fun & peaceful (read: LEGAL & NON-VIOLENT) direct action in the struggle for climate justice!
  • Consider participating in one of the Climate Justice Vigils being organized throughout Vermont --

Many thanks to all for your time and support!

Happy Holidays,

the VT Oxfam Action Corps

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


On the weekend of December 12th, 2009, climate activists all over the world will be gathering to demand a REAL climate DEAL from their world leaders -- one that is simultaneously FAIR, AMBITIOUS & BINDING (FAB!).

In Burlington VT, at noon on the 12th (12/12 @ 12pm), join the VT Oxfam Action Corps in delivering our message by continuing your holiday shopping IN SLOW MOTION to call attention to the molasses-like speed of climate action.

WORLD LEADERS: The world wants a fair, ambitious and binding international treaty -- SEAL A REAL DEAL!

To RSVP, please visit our event links on Facebook and/or Evite. We hope to see you there! (in slow-mo!)

A few instructions:

1) set your cell phone alarm for 12pm so that we all start at the same time, regardless of where we are inside the mall
2) shop in slow-motion for 5 minutes!
3) make your way towards the Church St entrance to the mall (near Old Navy and Starbucks) to take a photo which will be displayed to world leaders at Copenhagen!

Monday, October 26, 2009

International Day of Climate Action

Written by Andy Burkhardt.

Last Saturday, October 24th I took part in the International Day of Climate Action. It was organized to send a message to world leaders that we need a strong, binding, international agreement to combat climate change.

The first activity I took part in was being a part of an aerial photo of humans spelling out "350 Vermont." It was pouring rain on us, but it didn't dampen our spirits. In fact it was pretty fun even though we got soaked. I even got interviewed by the Burlington Free Press (on page 2) when I was there.

From there we slowly ambled down along a winding route towards City Hall Park while church bells were ringing 350 times. It was pretty moving and probably got a number of people wondering what was going on. There were a lot of people marching which made it even more powerful.

Nearing the end of the night I attended a dance party at Slade Hall where the band Dubnotix performed in support of climate action. It was a great day, and even better because similar things were happening all over the world. It was nice being able to participate in something much larger than myself, and to see people all over the world organizing for a single important cause.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Burlington, VT Major action!

Fossil Fuel Free Adventures with the Outdoor Gear Exchange

Saturday October 24th is the International Day of Climate Action organized through is a climate change campaign organization bringing together community voices in over 150 countries worldwide for a one day event.
The Outdoor Gear Exchange is hosting Fossil Fuel Free Adventures, on October 24th, to help create national and international pressure on climate change legislation. We are organizing community biking and hiking adventures, with a variety of difficulty levels. In an effort to encourage participation in these trips, the Outdoor Gear Exchange will be donating money to for every fossil fuel free adventurer. In addition we will be rewarding every participant with a free pair of Teko Eco-Merino wool socks! Please come prepared to take care of yourself and the group. The sign up for trips is in the entryway of the OGE, or email for RSVPs. Our trips all start at the OGE, 152 Cherry Street, Burlington and details are as follows:
Organized Group Trips:
Mount Mansfield Epic:
Meet at the Outdoor Gear Exchange at 7:30 AM ready to ride, leaving by 8AM, bring everything needed for a full day (food, water, tubes, lights, etc.). Bike out Rt 15to Smugglers Notch hike up to the top of Vermont, take a group picture with a banner and then ride the loop back to Burlington via Waterbury and Rt 2. OGE donation: $20 to for each participant and a free pair of socks for each participant!
Mount Philo Adventure:
Meet at the Outdoor Gear Exchange at 10AM ready to ride, bring everything needed for a biking adventure (food, water, tubes, etc.). Bike out to Mount Philo on Spear Street, bike up to the top, take a group picture with a banner and then bike back to Burlington. OGE Donation: $10 to for each participant and a free pair of socks for each participant!
Do It Yourself Fossil Fuel Free Adventures:
We have created a selection of group and family local fossil fuel free adventures. All do it yourself adventures will start at the OGE to pick up suggested route maps and banners to take group pictures with. Do it yourself adventure groups are required to provide their own camera, so we can submit pictures to Each participant will receive a free pair of socks and the OGE will make donations to in amounts determined by difficulty of the adventure.


-North on the bike path to the water gap on the causeway. OGE donation: $20 to per group and a pair of socks for each participant!

-To the Ethan Allen tower in Ethan Allen Park. OGE donation: $15 to per group and a pair of socks for each participant!

-Down the paths through the Intervale Community Farms. OGE donation: $10 to per group and a pair of socks for each participant!

-North on the bike path to Bayside Park in Colchester. OGE donation: $15 to per group and a pair of socks for each participant!

-Out to Shelburne Pond. OGE donation: $20 to per group and a pair of socks for each participant!

-To Dorset Nature Park in South Burlington. OGE donation: $15 to per group and a pair of socks for each participant!

-To East Woods in South Burlington. OGE donation: $20 to per group and a pair of socks for each participant!

Hiking / Walking:

-Centennial Woods trails. OGE donation: $10 to per group and a pair of socks for each participant!

-Up the bike path to North Beach. OGE donation: $15 to per group and a pair of socks for each participant!

-Down the bike path to Oakledge Park. OGE donation: $15 to per group and a pair of socks for each participant!

-In the Intervale Community Farms. OGE donation: $15 to per group and a pair of socks for each participant!

-Out to the fishing pier by the Coast Guard station. OGE donation: $5 to per group and a pair of socks for each participant!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Joining Forces with State Radio

On Friday, October 30th (from 1-3pm at the Great Room of the Main Street Landing), the Vermont Oxfam Action Corps will be joining forces with the non-profit branch of the bands State Radio and Dispatch, to draw attention to the ways in which climate change exacerbates gender inequalities in vulnerable communities throughout the world.

After a screening of the short film, Sisters on the Planet, we will hear from Arshinder Kaur, a consultant with the Women's Earth Alliance and recipient of the Environmental Leadership Fulbright who will share some of her experiences as an environmental organizer in India.

Join us at 1pm for lunch (catered by Sugar Snap), followed by the film and discussion. State Radio will also be doing an acoustic set to round it all out!

We hope to see you there. Please spread and word and bring friends!

To RSVP and for more information, please visit or email

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Two very timely articles on International Adaptation

The International Institute for Environment and Development does a fantastic job of highlighting the need to address adaptation as part of the international climate change negotiations. Please see below for two very relevant and timely articles showcasing recent research:

Cost of Adapting to Climate Change significantly Underestimated

Tazania has just 20 years to adapt agriculture to climate change, economists warn

We have the power to influence the outcomes of the international negotiations in favor of the world's poor. Let's use our power for good!

Blog Action Day!

Happy Blog Action Day! Bloggers around the world are all posting about climate change today to raise awareness and take action on this great threat that is facing us.

We need to act now to make sure irreparable harm is not done to our world. Because of this is hosting events around the globe on October 24th to send a message to wolrd leaders that we need decisive action on climate change.

There's even events going on here in Vermont. So get involved and take action on climate change today!

Friday, October 2, 2009

World Bank Estimate cost of adaptation: $75-100 billion/year!

World Bank Estimates Costs of Adaptation

© The World Bank30 September 2009: The World Bank has presented the results of an Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change (EACC) study, which estimates costs of adaptation to climate change in developing countries will be in the order of US$75-100 billion per year for the period 2010-2050, considering a 2°C warmer world.

The EACC study, funded by the Governments of the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, has two broad objectives. The first is to develop an estimate of the global costs of adaptation in developing countries. The second is to help decision makers in developing countries to better understand and assess the risks posed by climate change and to better design strategies to adapt to climate change, particularly keeping the most vulnerable communities in focus. A second report, based on seven country case studies, will be produced by the first half of 2010, focusing on the second objective. [The study website] [World Bank press release]

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act


September 30, 2009

Oxfam welcomes climate bill as a step toward addressing needs of the hardest hit Robust resources needed for global deal

Washington, DC – International development organization Oxfam America today made the following statement on the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act introduced by Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA). Raymond C. Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America, made the following statement:

"Oxfam America welcomes today's introduction of the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act by Senators Kerry and Boxer. It marks a critical step forward in addressing the climate crisis facing the most vulnerable communities around the world.

“The bill does not yet address the allocation of emission allowances. We look forward to working with Senators Kerry and Boxer to ensure that this bill devotes the substantial resources needed to help hard-hit communities adapt to the serious consequences of climate change already underway. Doing so is essential to protecting security and achieving a global solution to climate change.

“As we head toward the international negotiations in Copenhagen where world leaders will hammer out a global agreement this December, the U.S. Senate must demonstrate global leadership by acting to pass a strong climate bill."


New Science Report Underlines Urgency for Governments to Seal the Deal in Copenhagen

Impacts of Climate Change Coming Faster and Sooner: New Science Report Underlines Urgency for Governments to Seal the Deal in Copenhagen

Washington/Nairobi, 24 September 2009 -The pace and scale of climate change may now be outstripping even the most sobering predictions of the last report of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC).

An analysis of the very latest, peer-reviewed science indicates that many predictions at the upper end of the IPCC's forecasts are becoming ever more likely.

Meanwhile, the newly emerging science points to some events thought likely to occur in longer-term time horizons, as already happening or set to happen far sooner than had previously been thought.

Researchers have become increasingly concerned about ocean acidification linked with the absorption of carbon dioxide in seawater and the impact on shellfish and coral reefs.

? Water that can corrode a shell-making substance called aragonite is already welling up along the California coast?decades earlier than existing models predict.

Losses from glaciers, ice-sheets and the Polar Regions appear to be happening faster than anticipated, with the Greenland ice sheet, for example, recently seeing melting some 60 percent higher than the previous record of 1998.

? Some scientists are now warning that sea levels could rise by up to two metres by 2100 and five to ten times that over following centuries.

There is also growing concern among some scientists that thresholds or tipping points may now be reached in a matter of years or a few decades including dramatic changes to the Indian sub-continent's monsoon, the Sahara and West Africa monsoons, and climate systems affecting a critical ecosystem like the Amazon rainforest.

The report also underlines concern by scientists that the planet is now committed to some damaging and irreversible impacts as a result of the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere.

? Losses of tropical and temperate mountain glaciers affecting perhaps 20 percent to 25 percent of the human population in terms of drinking water, irrigation and hydro-power.

? Shifts in the hydrological cycle resulting in the disappearance of regional climates with related losses of ecosystems, species and the spread of drylands northwards and southwards away from the equator.

Recent science suggests that it may still be possible to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. However, this will only happen if there is immediate, cohesive and decisive action to both cut emissions and assist vulnerable countries adapt.

These are among the findings of a report released today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) entitled Climate Change Science Compendium 2009.

The report, compiled in association with scientists around the world, comes with less than 80 days to go to the crucial UN climate convention meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark.

In a foreword to the document, the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, who this week hosted heads of state in New York, writes, "This Climate Change Science Compendium is a wake-up call. The time for hesitation is over".

"We need the world to realize, once and for all, that the time to act is now and we must work together to address this monumental challenge. This is the moral challenge of our generation."

The Compendium reviews some 400 major scientific contributions to our understanding of Earth Systems and climate change that have been released through peer-reviewed literature, or from research institutions, over the last three years.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said, "The Compendium can never replace the painstaking rigour of an IPCC process?a shining example of how the United Nations can provide a path to consensus among the sometimes differing views of more than 190 nations".

"However, scientific knowledge on climate change and forecasting of the likely impacts has been advancing rapidly since the landmark 2007 IPCC report," he added.

"Many governments have asked to be kept abreast of the latest findings. I am sure that this report fulfils that request and will inform ministers' decisions when they meet in the Danish capital in only a few weeks time," said Mr. Steiner.

The research findings and observations in the Compendium are divided into five categories: Earth Systems, Ice, Oceans, Ecosystems and Management. Key developments documented since the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report include:

Earth Systems

? A new climate modeling system, forecasting average temperatures over a decade by combining natural variation with the impacts of human-induced climate change, projects that at least half of the 10 years following 2009 will exceed the warmest year currently on record. This is despite the fact that natural variation will partially offset the warming "signal" from greenhouse gas emissions.

? The growth in carbon dioxide emissions from energy and industry has exceeded even the most fossil-fuel intensive scenario developed by the IPCC at the end of the 1990s. Global emissions were growing by 1.1 percent each year from 1990-1999 and this accelerated to 3.5 percent per year from 2000-2007.

? The developing and least-developed economies, 80 percent of the world's population, accounted for 73 percent of the global growth of emissions in 2004. However, they contributed only 41 percent of total emissions, and just 23 percent of cumulative emissions since 1750.

? Growth of the global economy in the early 2000s and an increase in its carbon intensity (emissions per unit of growth), combined with a decrease in the capacity of ecosystems on land and the oceans to act as carbon "sinks", have led to a rapid increase in the concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This has contributed to sooner-than-expected impacts including faster sea-level rise, ocean acidification, melting Arctic sea ice, warming of polar land masses, freshening of ocean currents and shifts in the circulation patterns of the oceans and atmosphere.

? The observed increase in greenhouse gas concentrations are raising concern among some scientists that warming of between 1.4 and 4.3 degrees Centigrade above pre-industrial surface temperatures could occur. This exceeds the range of between 1 and 3 degrees perceived as the threshold for many "tipping points", including the end of summer Arctic sea ice, and the eventual melting of Himalayan glaciers and the Greenland ice sheet.


? The melting of mountain glaciers appears to be accelerating, threatening the livelihoods of one fifth or more of the population who depend on glacier ice and seasonal snow for their water supply. For 30 reference glaciers in nine mountain ranges tracked by the World Glacier Monitoring Service, the mean rate of loss since 2000 has roughly doubled since the rate during the previous two decades. Current trends suggest that most glaciers will disappear from the Pyrenees by 2050 and from the mountains of tropical Africa by 2030.

? In 2007, summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean shrank to its smallest extent ever, 24 percent less than the previous record in 2005, and 34 percent less than the average minimum extent in the period 1970-2000. In 2008, the minimum ice extent was 9 percent greater than in 2007, but still the second lowest on record.

? Until the summer of 2007, most models projected an ice-free September for the Arctic Ocean towards the end of the current century. Reconsideration based on current trends has led to speculation that this could occur as soon as 2030.

? Melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet surface also seems to be accelerating. In the summer of 2007, the rate of melting was some 60 percent higher than the previous record in 1998.

? The loss of ice from West Antarctica is estimated to have increased by 60 per cent in the decade to 2006, and by 140 percent from the Antarctic Peninsula in the same period.

? Recent findings show that warming extends well to the south of the Antarctic Peninsula, to cover most of West Antarctica, an area of warming much larger than previously reported.

? The hole in the ozone layer has had a cooling effect on Antarctica, and is partly responsible for masking expected warming on the continent. Recovery of stratospheric ozone, thanks to the phasing out of ozone-depleting substances, is projected to increase Antarctic temperatures in coming decades.


? Recent estimates of the combined impact of melting land-ice and thermal expansion of the oceans suggest a plausible average sea level rise of between 0.8 and 2.0 metres above the 1990 level by 2100. This compares with a projected rise of between 18 and 59 centimetres in the last IPCC report, which did not include an estimate of large-scale changes in ice-melt rates, due to lack of consensus.

? Oceans are becoming more acidic more quickly than expected, jeopardizing the ability of shellfish and corals to form their external skeletons. Water that can corrode a shell-making carbonate substance called aragonite is already welling up during the summer along the California coast, decades earlier than models predict.


? Since the 2007 IPCC report, wide-ranging surveys have shown changes to the seasonal behaviour and distribution of all well-studied marine, freshwater and terrestrial groups of plants and animals. Polar and mountaintop species have seen severe contractions of their ranges.

? A recent study projecting the impacts of climate change on the pattern of marine biodiversity suggests dramatic changes to come. Ecosystems in sub-polar waters, the tropics and semi-enclosed seas are predicted to suffer numerous extinctions by 2050, while the Arctic and Southern Oceans will experience severe species invasions. Marine ecosystems as a whole may see a species turnover of up to 60 percent.

? Under the IPCC scenario that most closely matches current trends ? i.e. with the highest projected emissions ? between 12 and 39 percent of the Earth's land surface could experience previously unknown climate conditions by 2100. A similar proportion, between 10 and 48 percent, will see existing climates disappear. Many of these "disappearing climates" coincide with biodiversity hotspots, and with the added problem of fragmented habitats and physical obstructions to migration, it is feared many species will struggle to adapt to the new conditions.

? Perennial drought conditions have already been observed in South-eastern Australia and South-western North America. Projections suggest that persistent water scarcity will increase in a number of regions in coming years, including southern and northern Africa, the Mediterranean, much of the Middle East, a broad band in Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent.


? The reality of a rapidly-changing climate may make conventional approaches to conservation and restoration of habitats ineffective. Drastic measures such as large-scale translocation or assisted colonization of species may need to be considered.

? Eco-agriculture, in which landscapes are managed to sustain a range of ecosystem services, including food production, may need to replace the current segregation of land use between conservation and production. This could help create resilient agricultural ecosystems better able to adapt to the changing climate conditions.

? Experts increasingly agree that active protection of tropical forests is a cost-effective means of cutting global emissions. An international mechanism of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) is likely to emerge as a central component of a new agreement in Copenhagen. However, many issues need to be resolved, such as how to verify the reductions and ensuring fair treatment of local and indigenous forest communities.

? A number of innovative approaches are emerging to keep carbon out of the atmosphere, including the use of "biochar", biologically-derived charcoal. It is mixed in soils, increasing fertility and potentially locking up carbon for centuries. This is a 21st century application of a technology known as Terra Preta, or Black Earth, used by Amazon peoples before the arrival of Europeans in South America.

To download the full report, visit

For more information please contact:

Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson and Head of Media, on Tel: +254 20 7623084, Mobile: +254 733 632755, or when travelling: +41 795965737, or e-mail:;

Elisabeth Guilbaud-Cox, Senior Communications Officer, UNEP Regional Office for North America, Tel: 1 (202) 974-1307, Mobile: 1 (202) 812-2100, Email:

What's the G20 doing about Climate Change?

Leaders of countries representing 85 percent of the world’s economy agreed on commitments on climate change and energy, among others, during the G-20 Summit held on 24-25 September 2009, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the G-20 leaders on 25 September 2009, stressing that “recovery and sustainable development are, and will continue to be, undermined by accelerating climate change.” He called on leaders to support and go beyond the proposal for a climate finance package of US$100 billion per year during the next decade, from a combination of public and private sources. Secretary-General Ban further urged G-20 leaders to agree on principles and options for managing and delivering these funds “well before Copenhagen.”

The Summit outcome document – the G-20 Leaders’ Statement – contains a section on energy and climate. On energy, leaders committed to: increase energy market transparency and market stability; improve regulatory oversight of energy markets; rationalize and phase out over the medium term inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption; stimulate investment in clean energy, renewables and energy efficiency; and provide financial and technical support for such projects in developing countries. They also agreed to take steps to facilitate the diffusion or transfer of clean energy technology, noting that the reduction or elimination of barriers to trade and investment should be pursued on a voluntary basis. On climate change, leaders committed to take “strong action to address the threat of dangerous climate change” and to intensify efforts, in cooperation with other parties, to reach agreement on mitigation, adaptation, technology and financing in Copenhagen.

In the concluding section of the Statement (“The Path from Pittsburgh”), leaders “designated the G-20 as the premier forum for international economic cooperation” and agreed to future meetings in June 2010 (Canada), November 2010 (Korea) and 2011 (France).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"I Believe"

Hi all!

I was a featured essayist in this weekend's Burlington Free Press Green Mountain Section! Read the article here.

The article is about my environmental philosophy and reason for organizing. I hope you like it.



Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Planning Meeting Thursday September 3rd!

Join local CLIMATE JUSTICE activists to discuss how to strengthen current climate legislation.

We'll be planning and brainstorming different ways that we can make a real difference in the upcoming climate bill.

We'll be meeting upstairs at City Market in Burlington, VT.

Join us at 7pm on September 3rd by the Member Services desk.

And as if you didn't already have enough reason to come, there will also be refreshments.

Can't wait to see you there!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sweet Roll Call graphic

Shows voting record in visual form for the latest climate bill that just barely passed in the House. Many thanks for Peter Welch for his yay vote!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

In need of climate change cash:

By: Lisa Lerer
May 13, 2009 04:36 AM EST

A loose coalition of international aid organizations, religious groups,
environmental advocates and some businesses are lobbying Congress to
include billions for international aid in the forthcoming climate change

The groups argue that helping developing countries cut greenhouse gases
and protect against the effects of global warming is a key to success at
the international climate talks scheduled for December in Copenhagen.

"The U.S. can't go completely empty-handed to Copenhagen," said Oxfam
America President Raymond Offenheiser.

Existing problems of poverty and malnutrition in poorer countries have
been exacerbated by climate change, experts say, as changing weather
patterns and intensified storms hurt agricultural yields and

Roughly 262 million people were affected by climate disasters annually
from 2000 to 2004, with over 98 percent of them in the developing world,
according to the Human Development Report issued last year by the United
Nations Development Program.

Developing nations argue that richer countries should help them offset
these effects, given that they produce significantly more of the other
greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. Rich
countries "containing just 15 percent of the world's population" account
for almost half of carbon dioxide emissions, according to UNDP.

Connie Hedegaard, Denmark's minister for climate and energy, told
reporters that a deal at Copenhagen would be impossible unless richer
nations bridge the divide between developed and developing countries
with additional funds.

"Politically, it must be additional, and that could be a game changer,"
she told reporters last week.

The UNDP estimated that by 2015, developing countries would require $86
billion a year for climate adaptation, which includes measures such as
reinforcing infrastructure, making sure water supplies are potable and
helping poor countries adapt to changing agricultural conditions.

Last month, 23 Democrats sent a letter to Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.),
pushing the Energy and Commerce Committee chairman to include "robust"
international financing in his energy and climate bill. The committee is
expected to vote on the bill before the Memorial Day recess.

"Comprehensive climate change legislation should devote a significant
portion of generated revenues to investments in international
adaptation, clean technology cooperation and forest protecting
activities in the developing world," the Democrats wrote. "It is an
opportunity for leadership, innovation, economic growth at home and
abroad, and trust building with developing countries."

Waxman's draft bill proposes the creation of a specialized international
climate change program at USAID to provide assistance to the "most
vulnerable developing countries."

Some aid organizations, religious and environmental groups would like 7
percent, or $7 billion, of any revenues generated by Waxman's
legislation devoted to international adaptation efforts. The funding
would have to be flexible enough to help communities deal with different
needs, such as reinforcing buildings to deal with flooding from melting
glaciers, reducing soil erosion with reforestation programs and
diversifying agriculture practices to cope with changing environmental

Religious groups cite funding for international adaptation as their No.
1 priority for the bill.

"The moral measure of climate change legislation is how it treats the
poor and vulnerable in our own country and around the world," John Carr,
director of justice, peace and human development for the U.S. Conference
of Catholic Bishops, said in a statement.

Religious groups, sponsored by the faith-based, nonprofit American
Values Network, are running ads on Christian radio in key districts in
seven states and e-mailing more than 5.3 million evangelicals and
Catholics, urging them to support climate change legislation that pays
special attention to the needs of vulnerable communities at home and

The prospective funding could also help mitigate the new national
security risks created by changing weather conditions, the groups argue.
Droughts, famines and floods caused by global warming could destabilize
regions around the world as competition increases for food and water.

"Supporting climate readiness now can help avert global instability and
will save billions of dollars down the road in emergency relief and
military engagement by reducing the worst effects of climate-related
disasters," a group of 24 international aid and environmental groups
wrote in a March letter to the heads of the House Energy and Commerce
Committee and its Energy and Environment Subcommittee.

Cap and Trade: Swallow That Term

Democrats are getting their talking points in order as the climate
change debate heats up this week.

On Monday, pollster Mark Mellman briefed Democratic press aides in the
House on the most politically savvy ways to talk about climate change.
The briefing aimed to prepare the press secretaries for the crush of
coverage expected this week, after Energy and Commerce Committee
Chairman Henry Waxman unveils his complex climate and energy bill.

The meeting, a weekly confab for House press secretaries, was one of the
most well-attended since January, according to one participant.

The phrase "clean energy jobs" is the best way to explain the benefits
of climate change legislation, according to polling presented in
PowerPoint by Mellman.

Using "cap and trade" to describe the legislation - which creates an
auction market for carbon emissions - is a mistake, because voters find
the term confusing. Also to be avoided is "green jobs," a phrase popular
with environmentalists to describe careers in renewable energy, energy
efficiency and other types of sustainable technologies. Voters think the
term describes white-collar jobs for highly educated professors,
according to Democratic aides at the meeting.

A Rasmussen poll released on Monday found that just 24 percent of voters
correctly identified the cap-and-trade proposal as dealing with
environmental issues. Slightly more - 29 percent - thought the term was
about regulating Wall Street, and 17 percent thought it had to do with
health care reform. Thirty percent had no idea.

(c) 2009 Capitol News Company, LLC

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Oxfam America Reaction to Climate Bill



Washington, DC – International development organization Oxfam America praised members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee for passing the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454), but urged for the international provisions of the bill to be strengthened in order to enable President Obama to lead negotiations for a global climate deal in Copenhagen this December.

The bill is historic as it commits to curbing global warming pollution, puts our nation and others on a clean energy development pathway, and addresses and finances the needs of vulnerable communities both at home and abroad who are on the front lines of climate change.

“Getting the Waxman-Markey bill out of the Energy and Commerce Committee is a history-making effort in enacting US climate and clean energy legislation,” said Jim Lyons, vice-president of Oxfam America. “But while this bill is a giant leap in US climate change legislation, it is too small of a step towards what’s needed for a global climate deal in Copenhagen this December.”

Last minute attempts to eliminate important international provisions in the bill were rejected. If passed, these amendments would have seriously undermined the United States’ leadership role in the international climate negotiations and would have shortchanged significant business opportunities abroad for America companies.

“Poor countries didn’t create the problem, but they have to deal with the consequences. It’s in America’s best interest to help the most vulnerable adapt to global warming’s consequences and cooperate with them to pursue clean energy pathways,” said Lyons.

“Developing countries have made it crystal clear that without real cooperation and resources, there won’t be a global climate deal,” said Lyons. “A substantial increase in resources for the most vulnerable countries will be essential for the President to strike a global climate deal.”

It PASSED!! 2 articles on the American Clean Energy and Security Act

CongressDaily AM for Friday, May 22, 2009


On a near party-line vote, the House Energy and Commerce Committee Thursday approved a climate and energy strategy after four days of public debate, offering a taste perhaps of the tough talks ahead that the panel's leaders will have with other Democratic committee chairs.

After roughly 37 hours and 94 amendments, the panel approved the bill, 33-25.

Four in the Blue Dog Coalition -- Reps. Charlie Melancon of Louisiana, Mike Ross of Arkansas, Jim Matheson of Utah and John Barrow of Georgia -- voted "no." California Rep. Mary Bono Mack was the only Republican to support it.

Bono Mack afterward said she voted yes despite one last pitch from Energy and Commerce ranking member Joe Barton during the final round of votes on the House floor before the committee's final roll call vote. "Still a long way to go, but I think it's important to move the process forward, and I do believe that the full House of Representatives deserves a debate," she said.

Among other things, she wants the bill to better address nuclear energy.

She was a rare Republican on the panel not to cite fundamental opposition to a cap-and-trade program. "Being from California changes things significantly, the fact that we are already doing this," she said.

While Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman and Energy and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Edward Markey, D-Mass., have gotten enough backing for their plan so far, some Democrats on their committee are seeking changes, including scaling back the bill's 2020 emission reduction goal. "I think a lot of us are interested to see what this looks like once it's gotten past the other committees," Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., added.

There are clearly differences to hash out with Democratic leaders on a couple of those other panels.

Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson said Thursday that while he is waiting to see the final version, the Energy and Commerce Committee has "an urban-dominated bill" that "is going no place in the Senate."

Such sentiment compounds his concern about EPA proposing to count international land-use toward calculating the climate-impact of using corn-based ethanol.

Waxman's committee Wednesday defeated an amendment from Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., that would have done away with the bill's requirement that an EPA lifecycle greenhouse gas analysis for ethanol had to take into account possible international deforestation. Peterson said that language and other concerns he has would each on their own keep him from supporting the bill. "In my district, no vote would be a good vote," Peterson said.

He is concerned about allowing international activities such as agriculture and forestry to be used to offset emission reduction targets. Peterson wants all of the offsets to be domestic.

He says rural electricity cooperatives -- as well as municipal plants -- receive three-quarters of the free emission credits that larger utilities receive. He also echoes some Ways and Means Democrats who fear a carbon market would lead to widespread speculation and manipulation that will adversely affect commodity and financial markets. "I'm not for Wall Street having anything to do with carbon ... because you can't trust them,"

Peterson said

He promised that 45 or so other House Democrats share at least some of these concerns, particularly regarding ethanol. Four Democrats -- Reps. Zack Space of Ohio, Baron Hill of Indiana and Ross and Barrow -- voted for Terry's amendment.

Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., a member of the Agriculture and Ways and Means panels and a Blue Dog alongside Peterson, said no Agriculture Democrats spoke up when Peterson voiced his reservations at a recent meeting. "So I don't think he's bluffing," Pomeroy said. "I think he's got the support he's saying he does."

While Pomeroy is not as worried about setting up a carbon market, he says the bill's 17 percent by 2020 cap-and-trade emission reduction target is "steeper than can be reasonably reached."

Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., has said he wants to scale that back to 14 percent, which President Obama has recommended.

Peterson said he has not yet set up a meeting with Waxman for after the recess. "Henry has got enough problems dealing with his committee members," said Peterson, comparing it to farm bill negotiations he helped lead.

He met with House Speaker Pelosi Wednesday and "she understands my concern [and] wants to pass a bill." Peterson also lunched with Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Wednesday and spoke previously to EPA Administrator Jackson and said the administration "is hanging their hat" on a peer review of EPA's plan to take international land use changes into account when determining the climate impact of ethanol.

Peterson said the peer review is just a formality. "We don't need to peer-review anything to know what the outcome is going to be," he said.

Waxman said he will draw up language on the dicey issue of siting a renewable energy electricity transmission network after Markey holds a hearing and by the time the bill reaches the House floor.

Matheson wants to add free credits for small business refiners. The bill currently gives credits to refiners generally. Waxman said he would work with him on a possible floor amendment.

Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel has indicated that healthcare reform is a bigger priority for him than finishing a climate bill, though Pelosi will obviously dictate the floor schedule. House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson of Connecticut, also a Ways and Means member, said both climate and healthcare legislation are important and will get done in the full House before August. "It's just that when you go home, you run into people who are losing their job and losing their health care," he said.

Energy and Commerce panel passes cap-and-trade bill, 33-25 (05/21/2009 at 08:34 PM)

Darren Samuelsohn, E&E senior reporter

The House Energy Commerce Committee voted 33-25 tonight to pass sweeping legislation that would overhaul U.S. energy and global warming policy.

Democrats largely held together in support of the 946-page bill shaped over several months of closed-door negotiations and nearly 40 hours of debate this week. Only one Republican supported the bill, as GOP opponents unified against the measure, insisting it was a costly and unattainable measure to be pushing in a tight economy.

While Democrats have long been promising success in committee, several Democratic swing votes remained at the center of attention. Reps. John Barrow of Georgia, Jim Matheson of Utah, Mike Ross of Arkansas and Charles Melancon of Louisiana voted with the Republicans against the bill.

On the GOP side, Rep. Mary Bono Mack of California bucked her party leadership and supported the legislation. Mack was the only committee Republican to publicly remain neutral on the climate bill.

"While I still have significant concerns about this bill, particularly with regard to its cost and its failure to recognize innovative technologies like advanced nuclear energy, I believe this is the right direction for our district, for our nation and for our future," Bono Mack said in a statement.

During the weeklong markup, Democrats defeated a suite of GOP amendments that would have scuttled the cap-and-trade program if it prompted job losses or energy price increases. But lawmakers made several other changes, adding amendments to create a federal "clean energy" bank and a "cash for clunkers" plan that gives consumers $3,500 to $4,500 vouchers toward replacing gas-guzzling cars with efficient models.

Democratic sponsors hailed the bill's historic passage through the powerful panel, the first time a House committee has ever endorsed a mandatory cap on the industrial pollutants that scientists have linked to global warming.

But now comes the hard part. Several committees will have a chance to assert their jurisdiction over the legislation, with the Democratic leaders of the Agriculture and Ways and Means committees threatening to hold up the bill for their own reasons.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is expected to play a key role in shepherding the legislation onto the floor, perhaps before the August recess. Senate action remains a work in progress, particularly on the cap-and-trade provisions that remain well short of the 60 votes needed to defeat a filibuster.

President Obama backs the climate and energy bill but has largely stayed away from the details of the legislation.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Will our mail to the Congress work?

It's different for some states as opposed to others, but here in Vermont where our representatives are taking a stand for energy efficiency and clean technology programs, the matter is more about speaking up for a part of the bill that can easily be overlooked -- climate adaptation.

To read a bit about how other states may or may not be responding to constituent appeals, check out this NYT article:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Follow the Action on the House's Climate Bill

Congressional markup is underway in the Energy and Commerce Committee. You can watch the action online! It's a great civics lesson, and quite a change of pace from typical prime time entertainment. :-D

If you hear anybody making statements in support of adaptation and helping reduce impacts on low-income people, please let us know who said what by emailing Here are links to use:

Energy and Commerce video live:

C-SPAN3 has been carrying it today on and off:

For video of the opening session Monday (5/18), including opening
statements, go to:

URGENT ACTION NEEDED: Help VT Oxfam Action Corps pass a strong bill on climate change and impact on the poor

Dear VT Oxfam Action Corps Members,

Thank you for your interest in the Oxfam Action Corps and dedication to Oxfam’s work to end poverty, hunger, and injustice. I'm writing to present an important action for you to take right now.

At this moment we urgently need support for a climate bill being debated right now in an influential committee of the US House of Representatives, the Energy and Commerce Committee, of which Congressman Peter Welch is a member. We are asking for your specific help to call upon Representative Welch in the House to not only support this climate change bill, but also to be a champion of international adaptation funding.

Currently, the Energy and Commerce Committee is drafting the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. This bill has the ability to transition our nation to clean and affordable energy, create quality jobs, and could generate crucial international financing to help vulnerable communities cope with the devastating impacts of increased floods, droughts, famine, water scarcity, disease, environmental migration, and armed conflict over resources.

It is essential that we get Congress to support a fair and safe bill by taking these two simple actions.

First, click this link and send this e-action. It only takes a moment.

Secondly, please call Peter Welch's office at:
DC office: 202-225-4115. *If possible, ask to speak with Andrew Savage (Deputy Chief of Staff/Legislative Director). Tuipate and I met with him in April regarding this legislation.

VT office: 802-652-2450. * If possible, speak with Patricia Coates (State Director). Tuipate and I stopped by yesterday morning to drop off handwritten letters from the Sisters on the Planet screening on Saturday. She is highly supportive of our work for climate justice and needs the constituent backing to show the Congressman that Vermonters want him to stand up for international adaptation funding.

Simply call his office and ask him to support international adaptation on the Clean Energy and Security Act. We have provided you with sample text below that you can use as a guide. Call during business hours. If you can’t, then call anytime and leave a message.

If you don't live in VT, or have roots in another home state, other important committee members to reach out to are: Bobby Rush (IL), Jan Schakowsky (IL), Elliot Engel (NY), Charles Gonzalez (TX), Anna Eshoo, (No. CA), Doris Matsui (No.CA), Jane Harman (So.CA), and Henry Waxman (Chair of Committee, So. CA). If you have family or friends in any of these states, please forward this action alert to them.

The full list of members can be found at

Lastly, please write us back!!

Once you call, email us back at and let us know
how it went.

WHAT TO SAY: Draft phone text:

Hello, my name is [fill-in] and I am a resident calling to voice some comments
on the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 that Representative
[fill-in name] and other members of the Energy and Commerce Committee are
currently working on.

First, it is very important that the bill allows for substantial funding for
international and domestic adaptation by auctioning carbon permits. Adaptation
funds will help poor and vulnerable communities around the world cope with more
erratic weather and increased floods and droughts. Climate change is a global
problem and it will require global solutions. Investing in international
adaptation helps our world become less prone to conflict and migration. It is
the right thing to do especially since the U.S. emits over 25% of the world's
greenhouse gases.

Adaptation funding also gives low-income consumers in the U.S. access to
affordable clean energy, and will allow our state and the larger U.S. to invest
in green-collar jobs, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.

Finally, I want to voice my support for maintaining the emission reductions
proposed in the original draft of the bill. In order to avoid future disasters
we need an 80% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2050.

I want to thank Rep. Welch for his active leadership as a member of the Energy
and Commerce Committee. His guidance can help pass strong and effective climate


Thank you for all your hard work in helping us create solutions to poverty and


Nathaly Agosto Filion, Co-Organizer
Tuipate F. Mubiay, Co-Organizer

Vermont Oxfam Action Corps

Oxfam Action Corps, VT
Working together to end poverty and injustice.

UVM Carbonators: The Movie!

This is really hilarious! Talk about fighting climate change!

Check it out:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

End-of-Year Evaluation

Hello friends!

thanks so much to the many supporters from throughout VT for helping to launch the Oxfam Action Corps in Vermont! As this was our first year working on the ground (starting with the April 2008 Earth Day action pictured in the header of this blog), we have learned much and have many ideas for how to make the coming year even better than the last! Please take a few minutes to share your ideas for how to improve our actions for the coming year:

End-of-Year VT Oxfam Action Corps Survey link.

It's only 10 questions long (that's the limit to the free survey website! hah) and your responses will really help us focus our efforts!

Many thanks for your participation!

Friday, February 27, 2009

The following are two local events taking place in Burlington which embody Oxfam America's goals of "working together to fight hunger, poverty, and injustice". Please show your support by coming out to participate!

1. International Women's Day at UVM
Sunday, March 1st at 5PM Davis Center, Grand Maple Ballroom
Vermont Oxfam Action Corps volunteers will be screening Oxfam America's short film, Sisters on the Planet, and collecting petition signatures, urging our elected officials to take action for climate justice.

2. Freedom in Creation
Presenting an exhibition of drawings & paintings by northern Uganda’s children. Opening reception and film preview on
Friday eve, March 6th, 2009 6 to 9pm@ FLYNNDOG Gallery,
exhibit thru March

Thursday, January 8, 2009

January Monthly Meeting

Happy New Year Oxfam Action Corps!

I look forward to seeing you at our first Monthly Meeting for 2009 on:

Monday, January 12th
from 6 p.m. - 7:30p.m.
3rd floor of the UVM Davis Center (we'll meet in lobby area)

In the January Monthly Meeting, we will be discussing strategy for engaging our
elected officials on climate equity and begin to plan out our participation in
the following events/actions:

- Sisters on the Planet Screening on International Women's Day
- Focus The Nation session at UVM and other college campuses
- Participation in DC Power Shift action with Wendell Berry and Bill McKibben
- Oxfam America DC Lobby Day
- Lobby Visit to Montpelier
- Concert Tabling at Higher Ground

I hope to see new faces at the upcoming meeting so please invite your friends!