• How does Community Energy Aggregation fit into the solution

    Hi John, I’m working with some cities in eastern Massachusetts, and converting cities to community aggregation is all the rage here. I was curious how this fit into your mobilization plan.

    At the moment the best cities are coming up with here is a default renewable percentage that is 5% over what is mandated by the state (which increases each year modestly). The energy aggregation programs sometimes support an “opt-up” to a higher percentage for a bit more money.

    EDIT: Here is a link to the aggregation program in Massachusetts.

    posted in Mobilization Plans
  • TCM Reading List "The Deep Dive"

    Allies! I have recently updated our list of suggested books and films that have been very helpful to me and to the TCM team in developing our perspective and strategies.

    Topics range from organizing to social movements to the collapse of civilization to rapid transition plans to climate psychology!

    I hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think of the material, and let me know if you think there are other resources that should be on here!


    posted in General Discussion
  • Brookings Institute Insane Study

    Brad Johnson of Climate Hawks Vote drew my attention to what “Democratic leaning” think tanks like Brookings are saying about the climate crisis. His point, "It is hard to get Congress to push past these ‘experts’"
    Here is a 2015 study that claims:

    "Unmitigated, climate change could reduce global GDP by over 20 percent by 2100 – a number roughly 5-10 times larger than current estimates."

    What a joke. A 20% reduction in GDP… which is itself an order of magnitude larger than other estimates. Its clear that these assessments are made with just horrible assumptions. It appears from this article that the author examined the impact of temperature on GDP, and assumed that the only economic impacts that a country would have would be about its increased temperature. Thus leaving out the impact of: drought, crop failure, superstorms, vector borne disease, or climate refugees.

    This academic denial, particularly from economists and policy experts in think tanks, is a major problem that we should take seriously.

    posted in General Discussion
  • RE: Welcome to the City by City Forum

    @mbarrie , yes you are! Thanks for posting.

    posted in City by City
  • Establishing a Climate Emergency Department

    Today at 9:30 AM PT, LA City Councilmembers Koretz and Blumenthal are hosting a press conference to announce motions that will create a new Climate Emergency Department within LA City Government.

    This department would have the responsibility of coordinating LA’s urgent response to the climate crisis. This is an exciting step for LA, and for TCM who contributed much to this strategy.

    Chapter members can see some details on the CED in the Local Organizer Handbook. Please consider if and how this might apply to your city. Share your thoughts through comments to this forum post.

    Here is Councilmember Koretz’s Facebook Page of the event.

    posted in City by City
  • Mobilizing School Districts

    I got this email today that is in line with building community awareness and support for taking action. There is a webinar on Thursday that may interest some folks.

    ---------------- EMAIL BELOW --------------------

    I’m writing in hopes that you would consider sharing information about the Schools for Climate Action campaign among your friends/networks especially among educators, students, and other school stakeholders. This is a grassroots, non-partisan campaign started by a team of students, educators, and parents in western Sonoma. Our mission is to empower school boards to speak up for climate action in order to protect current and future students.

    Sebastopol Union School District Climate Change Resolution
    In December, thanks to advocacy from our youth-adult team, Sebastopol Union School District passed this climate change resolution. This is likely the strongest and clearest call for climate action by any school board in the nation.

    We’re now hoping to support youth-adult teams in other districts to empower their own school boards to speak up for climate action. I’ll be doing a webinar this Thursday, January 11th from 5:30 to 6:30 to share our insights. Campaigning for local school board climate justice resolutions can be a great way for young people to develop advocacy and lobbying skills and experience. It’s also a great antidote to climate change despair!

    With Sebastopol Union’s precedent, it should be easier for subsequent school boards to pass resolutions declaring climate change a children’s issue and calling on all elected leaders to take climate action.

    We are doing all we can to help this snowball. There are 14,000 school boards and 90,000 school board members in the country. School board members are the only elected leaders with a singular focus on the well-being and future success of young people. We believe that even if only a fraction school board members speak up, they could become a powerful grasstops group to build public will for science-based climate policies. Likely there are already thousands or tens of thousands of school board members who are ready to speak up for climate action, but they simply have not yet been asked to do so.

    Please consider spreading the word, posting on Facebook (here is a link to the SCA Facebook page), and participating in the webinar. The more places school board members see this idea, the more comfortable they will be speaking up strongly for climate action.

    posted in City by City
  • Thoughts about the City-by-City Draft Mobilization Plan


    My name is John Mitchell and I authored the draft implementation plan for cities and counties used in our city-by-city campaign. I am a resident of Northern California and a program specialist for the energy sector, mostly focusing in electricity and water conservation.

    I have been working on getting to a model of how we can get from point “A” to point “B” as rapidly as possible and this process started around 2011 when I became aware that the climate emergency that we face is going to look like near-term (10 years or less) massive global impacts to food, water, health and safety all over our planet. Previously, I had thought that we had “70-years until sea level rise would be a problem and we would be able to solve it by then.”

    Beginning in 2011 I started researching what policies and technologies would be available to be implemented on a national scale under a World War II U.S. mobilization model. I recognized that this was the best analogy to the scale and necessary response to the national security threat that we face.

    We here at the Climate Mobilization love your ideas and want to make the process of forming a strong chapter, local coalition and using these forces to influence your local elected leaders to lead the climate mobilization in your area. To this end, we hope that you will read through an example plan, (or if you have one already for your chapter - read that one!) Our city by city plans page can be found here: https://www.theclimatemobilization.org/implementation-plans

    Let’s work together to transform our local economies away from the destructive forces of fossil fuels that extract wealth from our households, pollute our air and now threatens the very lives of our own children! Let’s move rapidly to a system where we rely on clean, locally generated energy, food and water, with all of the health, community and economic benefits that this shift will bring!


    posted in Mobilization Plans
  • MoCo inspired Washington STATE!

    In December, the Montgomery County TCM Chapter got the county council to unanimously approve a resolution to mobilize! This was ground breaking event was covered by the Washington Post.

    Just yesterday, a large group of 350 activists in Washington state to launch a “Climate Countdown” campaign aimed at getting the 49-48 Washington State Senate democrats to take action to (among other things) switch the state to 100% renewable energy by 2028.

    The link between these 2 events?

    Connon used Montgomery County, the largest county in Maryland, as an example of what Washington state could do. Last month, officials there passed a resolution declaring a “climate emergency” and aimed to reduce the county’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2027, and ultimately 100 percent eight years after that.

    “The example set by Montgomery County is a commendable example and one we hope Washington state will follow,” Connon said.

    A large part of City by City’s theory of change is that by showing that progress is possible, progress will happen. I’d say this is a solid piece of evidence that we are onto something.

    posted in City by City
  • Why Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories lead to gradualism and are not valuable to mobilization.

    These two memo’s outline the pitfalls of greenhouse gas emissions inventories and their usefulness toward (or rather their detraction away from) climate mobilization.

    1/6/2018 – Memo on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventories – John Mitchell

    This memo follows the argument against bottom-up vs. top-down estimates of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) provided in the associated memo written on 10/18/2017.

    The development of a city or county GHG inventory as a first step is unnecessary and antithetical to the concept of a WWII scale (decadal) transition to zero emissions.

    The process of developing a GHG inventory takes a significant amount of effort and time, and if done correctly, is very expensive. The utilization of this inventory, once completed, is unclear but it is assumed that it will assist in the process of prioritizing and implementing emissions reduction policies.

    Once the GHG inventory is completed and identified as a guiding document to the targeting of policies, the methodology of the inventory study is then opened up to challenge, in some cases a legal one. This is discussed more fully in the memo mentioned above. It is possible that successful legal challenge to the emissions inventory would invalidate it and lead to further work to develop one that is more acceptable. This would have the effect of stalling the actual implementation of emissions reductions policies by several years, at the least.

    There are also issues that result from the use of the GHG emissions inventory as a guiding document. The use of an inventory in this way naturally lends itself toward a targeted emissions framework that is currently being promoted by the COP-21 “Paris Climate Accords”. This is already being observed in cities, counties and states today.

    Through this process of identification of policies, developing acceptable targets and the projections of how to achieve these targets, there is also significant pitfalls that could ultimately invalidate the mitigation program. They are a result of basing the measured value of the policies on the projected impacts on the inventory and the pairing of least-cost efforts to those impacts. This process will inherently lead to bargaining which will reduce the incremental targeted goals, make the actual identification and adoption of policies much more time consuming and eventually result in a process of gradualism.

    This incrementalism and gradualism must be avoided at all costs. It is already far too late to protract the aggressive emissions reductions that are already technically feasible and will necessarily result in massive local economic gains once implemented.

    Instead of using a GHG inventory to guide policy, community and civic leaders should instead focus on the ‘big picture’ of fossil fuel use in their area. These fuels are so prevalent in their use that their identification is undeniable and the policies that can be used to offset them much easier to define. These cohesive policies work together across multiple sectors and with each other to immediately begin the shift away from fossil fuel consumption. For example, the implementation of city/green bank financing for rooftop solar buildouts paired with the implementation of a feed-in tariff for the energy generated from this system and subsidies for the purchase of electric vehicles for these homes.

    Therefore any interim targets should be based only on the hard measurements of gasoline and diesel fuel consumption, with targeted reductions over the mobilization period, and new renewable energy generation as a percentage of total city or county electricity consumption from fossil fuel electricity generation sources.

    10/18/2017 – Top Down VS Bottom Up Methodologies of GHG Inventories

    Top down vs. bottom up refers to a measurement protocol of complex systems. A bottom-up methodology finds typical emitters and measures emissions from each one. These average emissions are then applied to the total population of emitters to receive a value of emissions. The more complex the system (say 200 different kinds of emitters) the more detailed the study must be to get an accurate assessment. However, when a very small percentage of the emitters may have a much higher amount of emissions, it is certain that this type of measurement will underestimate the total emissions since it is unlikely that they will be captured in the sample of measured sites.
    For example, to perform a measurement of GHG emissions from all restaurants in Los Angeles, one could measure the emissions from 20 different restaurants of varying sizes and come up with an average value that could then be applied.

    Of course, to get a city-wide emissions profile, one would have to look at every business and personal activity to get a profile of the total system. This is when the inclusion of activities like tourism or imported goods (or even meat consumption) could be very problematic, complex and expensive to measure. Consider that every different type of imported good has a different emissions profile and must be measured individually. However, this process is being performed on key imports like units of steel from China and Solar Panels. These kinds of studies of individual materials are called Life-Cycle Analyses (LCA).

    A top-down estimate draws a boundary around the area that you want to study and finds out how much total fossil fuel is imported and burned. This process provides a reasonably accurate assessment with given assumptions (i.e. how much is not burned but spilled or leaked) and this is the process used by every major country and city to perform their GHG emissions profiles. However, key activities like the emissions associated with the production of goods and emissions due to transportation of goods are not included. Similarly, the emissions associated with the travel of visitors participating in the tourist economy are also not included, as well as many other examples of emissions that could reasonably be assigned to a city. There have been successful challenges to city emissions profiles based on these shortcomings and the solution to capturing these emissions produces a heavy burden on cities to quantify these emissions which is unfortunate since these additional emissions may be quite small compared to the total profile. For example, the City of Santa Rosa is considering how to quantify the emissions associated with their tourism industry. To do this successfully, they would have to require every visitor to fill out a survey to capture their travel-related emissions. (using a bottom-up methodology)

    The problem with the incorporation of bottom-up methodologies from a city perspective is that they are time-consuming, subject to large uncertainties – and therefore have results that are less robust and easily challenged – and could lead to successful stalling of any actual efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    Therefore, at this stage of the mobilization, emissions profiles should be based on fossil fuel consumption and emissions associated with its production, transport and use. Later stages of mobilization will allow for more granular analysis as whole society engages in a national strategy.

    posted in City by City

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