Significant Climate Milestones in 2016…

On the Alarming Side:13164482_984218618343665_345640181498087550_n

  • In September, the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere failed to drop below 400 parts per million (ppm) at any time during the month, for the first time in human history, and only three years since the 400 ppm level was first reached.  This is troubling since 350 ppm is considered by leading scientists to be the maximum safe level of CO2 in our atmosphere (hence, our name “350 Colorado”).
  • NOAA says that 2016 is on target to be the hottest year on record, surpassing the 2015 record, which surpassed the 2014 record… These warmer global temperatures continue to increase the incidence of severe heatwaves, droughts, floods, storms and global tensions. Even as we are writing this, we are breaking heat records all over the state.
  • Despite this, our political leaders are failing to take meaningful steps to avoid climate catastrophe.

On the Brighter Side:12919870_952373058194888_8952820043695260350_n

  • The U.N. Paris Agreement on Climate Change achieved the number of committed nations needed to take effect in 2016 (representing 55% of global CO2 emissions), including the EU, US and China. This is a historic step in unity among nations to enact the world’s first comprehensive agreement on climate change, with goals for collective action to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 to 2 degrees C. Countries’ emission reduction plans are currently inadequate to keep global temperature rise below 3 degrees C, so our voices must stay loud and strong demanding that this goal is met.
  • The Standing Rock Sioux and native and non-native allies are capturing the country’s attention and focusing it on the dangers of fossil fuel transport with their fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
  • The cost of solar and wind energy are now cheaper than, or on par with, coal and gas.
  • Advances in storage technology have the potential to power an energy revolution.

350 Colorado Continues to Push the Needle Forward for Climate Action.13263731_984218851676975_7804706533680818777_n

In response to this growing climate crisis, 350 Colorado continues to organize timely campaigns and actions, recruit and empower local leaders, and amplify the voices of our partners. By connecting the dots, it’s clear that our increasingly unpredictable climate and the frequency and intensity of severe weather events, as scientists have warned, are caused by our addiction to fossil fuels. Incredibly though, fossil fuel companies currently have the rights to, and plan to burn five times the amount of fossil fuels that will lead to climate catastrophe. Nevertheless, they continue in their quest to lease more development rights.

In fact, Oil Change International released a report making it clear that in order to stay below 1.5-2 degrees C global temperature rise, no new fossil fuel production can be brought online. Using the industry’s own figures, the report shows that burning the oil, gas and coal in the fields and mines that are already either in production or being developed, is likely to take the global temperature rise beyond 2°C.  A 2°C temperature rise will occur if we use around 85% of the fossil fuel that’s currently being developed or in production, while a 1.5°C max increase target means we should not extract more than a third of that supply (these figures are explained by Bill McKibben in an article in New Republic***).

Everything else that’s still in the ground, must absolutely stay there!

350 Colorado 2016 Climate Campaigns and Actionsimgp0259

350 Colorado has three main campaigns to create pressure for real action to address climate change.

First, our Movement Building Campaign focuses on educating the public and bringing more people into the movement. History has repeatedly demonstrated that until a critical mass of our citizens demand change, our leaders will fail to act. Whether it be civil rights for African Americans and LGBTQs, women’s suffrage, or anti-war, the people have had to lead.

Second, Keeping Fossil Fuels In the Ground is a campaign where events and activities are organized to insist that no new fossil fuel exploration, development or production are approved by our local, state or federal government.

Finally, as part of our Promoting Local Solutions campaign, we find ways to empower and provide support to local governments, organizations and people to usher the transition to cleaner, healthier energy alternatives.

2016 accomplishments include:                                            26987351646_c4f42504e5_z

  • Over 1,000 people participated and over 50 risked arrest over two days in May, at Colorado’s Break Free from Fossil Fuels events, pressuring the Obama Administration to stop auctioning public lands and waters for oil and gas development and to bring awareness to the onslaught of industrial-sized fracking sites being placed near our children’s schools, our waterways and neighborhoods.
  • Over 215,000 signatures were gathered on statewide petitions in an effort to place initiatives on the 2016 ballot to protect our communities from fracking (despite the oil and gas industry spending millions on PR campaigns and harassment and intimidation of petition circulators). The stage is now set for a successful effort in 2017/18.
  • Our members have provided support to the over 300 indigenous nations and non-native allies who have joined in peaceful resistance in North Dakota against the Dakota Access Pipeline, which would transport fracked oil across the state and under the Missouri River, endangering drinking water for millions and increasing global warming gases in our atmosphere. 350 Colorado is standing in solidarity with indigenous leaders, raising thousands of dollars through events and social media, garnering supplies to support their efforts, and holding events to raise awareness in the face of a current mainstream media blackout.
  • Over 100 local events were held by 350 Colorado leaders around the state demanding action and demonstrating opportunities to transition from fossil fuels to a more sustainable future.
  • 26952561371_81e2682084_nOrganized a Go Fossil Free: Divest-Invest campaign, including a Pledge to Divest that over 150 people have already signed committing to divest from fossil fuel investments and reinvest in solutions. We assembled an Advisory Group to provide workshops, guidance and resources for investors, financial advisors, foundations and other institutions.
  • Organized several Fossil Free Your Life Community Events and monthly Eco-Challenges to help people make the transition off fossil fuels to a more sustainable, healthy lifestyle.
  • Empowered over 100 activists around the state through our Climate Leadership Direct Action Workshops.
  • Coordinated volunteers, working in conjunction with numerous other organizations from across the political spectrum and state, to defeat Amendment 71, an oil and gas funded ballot initiative that would make placing an initiative on the statewide ballot prohibitively expensive for all but the wealthiest of special interests.
  • Worked in conjunction with local and national partners until President Obama halted new coal leases on public lands while a review of the administrative rules and harmful taxpayer subsidies for fossil fuels takes place, which could lead to a reduction in extraction.


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