Bill Mckibben

22 Jul 19
Russia News Now

— from People’s Action Blog I listen to a lot of very heavy Doom Metal music, and let me tell you – it feels a lot more hopeful than what our most insightful climate writers have to say right now. Their mood is grim, folks. They fear the game of life is up. But there […]

21 Jul 19
Goodman Speaks on Climate

Amitav Ghosh, The Great Derangement Bill McKibben, Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? For many of us, climate change is simply beyond imagining. These two excellent books offer quite different ways of understanding what it is, how the threat grew, and what if anything we can do about it. Ghosh is […]

19 Jul 19
Mother Jones
Tom Steyer—hedge fund billionaire, Democratic megadonor, and newly self-proclaimed presidential candidate—is prepared for the question. He’s only 10 days into his campaign, but he knows to expect it. Often, it’s the first question; sometimes it’s a single word. Why? In January, Steyer said he wasn’t running, but now he is, and so are 20-plus other Democrats. There’s the one focused on climate change, which has been Steyer’s key issue for years; there are a few populists; there are plenty of older white men like Steyer. He could spend the $100 million he has banked for his presidential run on or US Senate races or efforts to prevent President Donald Trump’s reelection in 2020, but, instead, he is using his money for this. On Wednesday night in San Francisco’s Mission District, he made his hometown debut. “Well, the reason that I’m running is because we have a broken government,” Steyer said to reporters gathered for his event at Manny’s, a restaurant-meets-political-bookstore-meets-civic-space in the Mission District. “Corporate money has bought the democracy. The only solution to that is going to be pushing power back to the people.” He answered a few questions from the attending press, and made his way to a small stage and settling into a chair. When he was pressed once more about the reason for his candidacy by the moderator, Steyer swiveled in his chair, and he repeated his talking points on the growing threat of climate change, a need to push corporations out of politics, and a lack of willingness among current Democratic candidates to take on Trump directly. “I don’t see anyone else who sees that it’s a very simple fight,” he says of the other candidates. Well, there is Gov. Jay Inslee, the “climate candidate” who is polling at about 1 percent. When rumors of Steyer’s intention to run began circulating it was connected to unhappiness with those numbers. Steyer presents himself as a pragmatic fighter—an Inslee who can win. Which still leaves the issue at hand. “Why am I doing it? Because we have got to take these people on directly,” he continued. “And I believe it’s going to take somebody from the outside who’s been doing it, who’s willing to take them on and can succeed in doing it. And that’s the question—not, ‘what do we want to do?’ but, ‘how are we going to get anything done?'” But “how?” was not the question that kept rising to the surface in the cafe. It remained, throughout the night, in different forms and in subtle ways, the same: Why is Steyer thrusting himself into the spotlight, rather than simply continuing on as a prominent philanthropist? Steyer’s biography makes him a bit of a hard sell. He lives in San Francisco’s Sea Cliff neighborhood, where houses are valued at more than $10 million for their views of the Golden Gate Bridge and proximity to China Beach. He studied at Exeter, then Yale, then Stanford, which propelled him to Morgan Stanley, then Goldman Sachs and, finally, a hedge fund of his very own, named Farallon Capital in homage to the islands near the San Francisco coastline that are famous for the sharks that surround them. In 2012, he sold his stake, convinced to put his money toward environmental causes after a hike with writer Bill McKibben. Forbes currently values Steyer at a net worth of $1.6 billion. Steyer has tried to use his wealth as a talking point. “Everybody always describes me as being rich,” he said wryly. “That isn’t how I see myself. But I can tell you this—the one thing it does give me is the right to say that nobody owns me.” A voiceover in his introductory ad notes his worth in dollars, but only to point out that he’s giving half of the wealth away to “good causes.” The other half, it seems, is going to politics—causes that happen to bear his name: He’s already reportedly spent $50 million on Need to Impeach, a group he founded that aims to pressure Congressional Democrats to mount a serious impeachment effort. In 2018, NextGen, his cluster of groups trumpeting (mainly) environmental action, received more than $57 million of Steyer’s fortune; and he plans to allocate $100 million to his 2020 campaign bid. (On day one, he dropped a little over a million for an ad.) That investment may pay off. He has a trove of emails he can put to use because his two groups have vacuumed up information from potential voters, volunteers, and funders. Need to Impeach, as we’ve reported, said it has contact information for 8.2 million people. He calls this a “grassroots movement.” In the New York Times, Jamelle Bouie saw it differently: “Steyer has no constituency other than himself. He just has money.” As such, it was hard to find an out-and-out Steyer voter at the event. A few were campaign staffers and couldn’t talk. One woman told me she was more of a family friend. There were several undecided voters who were curious about his message, but they admitted to being drawn more to candidates like Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg. Both were worried about the run complicating his contributions to other Democratic causes. (In 2016, Steyer donated about $100 million in total to candidates, according to Vox.) “He needs to keep that up,” said Jack Haas, 77. “I just wonder does he have the energy and the resources to run for president and do all these other things that are essential?” Tricia Carlin asked. A man next to me, who cheered loudly throughout, I assumed to be an ardent fan, but he just wanted Steyer’s financial support for an app about climate change he was working on. One can imagine a certain strain when others constantly want your resources but not you. Steyer has spent years giving. Even before philanthropy, as a hedge-fund manager, that was the job. Steyer’s made a career of seeing worth in others: in their campaigns, in their ideas, in their businesses. As an organizer with more than 10 years of experience, he says, he’s even seen the worth in just people. Now, he wants you to see worth in him. Steyer knows value; he sees it in himself. Don’t you? For more than an hour, he tried to convince those gathered in the increasingly stuffy coffeehouse. The tables were turned; he was selling, not buying. And yet, in the end, there was the question again. One woman said she appreciated Steyer’s work as a philanthropist for Democratic causes and advocating on climate change. But, still, “why do you think being the President itself would be something that you would be better at?” “Look,” Steyer began—again. “The reason that I couldn’t stay out of this, [was] because I felt like we really are at a turning point, and this actually is the time for us to change the narrative. “What we need now is a different narrative about who we are, and what we’re trying to create, and how we’re going to do it. And that is actually the point here. It’s not about this policy nuance or that policy nuance,” he said. “If you look at this society there’s a lot of talk about policy, and there’s a lot of talk about money. You’d think that everything in this society was about money and services. But, really, people have to have a reason to get up in the morning. And an understanding of why their lives make sense. … So when I’m asked about what I’m doing—that’s the point. How are we going to recreate the idea that we have meaning in our lives?” Steyer wants to run and find meaning again—it’s not about the policy, it’s not about the nuance, it’s not about the money—it is, for him, quite possibly about creating a new reason to get out of bed in the morning.
19 Jul 19

(SA) – Europe’s record-breaking heatwave last week, it turns out, was the emphatic conclusion to the hottest June ever recorded. The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), a satellite agency that keeps tabs on Europe’s weather for the European Union, reported that the global average temperature for June was the highest on record for that month. […]

19 Jul 19
Coburg Review of Books

Falter: Has the human game begun to play out? Bill McKibben, Black Inc. Clear, Bright Future: A radical defence of the human being, Paul Mason, Allen Lane. Losing Earth: The decade we could have stopped climate change, Nathaniel Rich, Picador. We shouldn’t need reminding that politically and ecologically things are rather grim globally, but there […]

18 Jul 19
American Intelligence Media

Salem’s bankers, underwriters, accountants and Google technologists appear to be steering their hosts away from topics that threaten the NWO agenda. Shocking news about Google, the CIA, and an Salem Media director – Ron Venverloh

18 Jul 19
Daily Republic

Jul. 18–Faculty at the University of California called on the Board of Regents at a public meeting Wednesday to embrace fossil fuel divestment — submitting a formal recommendation endorsed by a vote of the full Academic Senate. It’s still unclear whether the university system’s governing body will take up the call to sell off millions […]

17 Jul 19
Inside track

“We are facing an unprecedented global emergency… we are in the midst of a mass extinction of our own making.” “Our house is on fire…. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.” “Winning slowly is the […]

17 Jul 19
ASP Mass Media

Emma Richards, Evmorfia Alton, Mya Trujillo, Sarah Waite | ASP Mass Media Student Writers Works Cited: “Border Crisis.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service,   Cheney, Kyle. “Schiff: Gates, Flynn Negotiating with Committee about Testifying, Won’t Meet Subpoena Deadline.” POLITICO, 10 July 2019, Jerry Bembry. “Athletes Passing on Visiting the White House Is Nothing New.” The […]

16 Jul 19
The North Sister

Last fall my academic, left-brained understanding that climate change was a real thing turned into a right-brained, slow rolling and visceral horror. It was kicked off by Jem Bendell’s Deep Adaptation paper and fed by the dark, woeful months of winter. It took me about six weeks to get through the crushing misery of it—the […]

16 Jul 19
The Earthbound Report

As I write this, I can hear an Easyjet plane taking off outside. I’m working in my makeshift office in the loft, and I can see it out the window. Luton Airport is about a mile away from where we live, a constant background presence to life in the town. There are issues around air […]

16 Jul 19
Archy news nety

Parliamentarians from the EU's power blocs, but do not engage with the most influential social media accounts, analysis shows 627 out of 751 MEPs may have Twitter accounts, but the vast majority are yet to join the conversation of the century. Using a tool developed by Politician Europe to track which Twitter accounts MEPs followed, […]

15 Jul 19
Mother Jones
This story was originally published by HuffPost and appears here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Billionaire activist Tom Steyer announced his candidacy for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday, promising a populist campaign that harnesses his years of work fighting the fossil fuel industry and advocating for climate action. Yet his decision to enter the race—after first announcing he wouldn’t—has garnered more skepticism than excitement. Even as the climate crisis is expected to play a major role in the presidential contest for arguably the first time, climate activists questioned the theory of his candidacy.  There’s already a pair of top-tier populists in Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). There’s already Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), an experienced politician running on the most comprehensive climate policy platform ever put forward. Venture capitalist Andrew Yang already plays the part of the wealthy businessman with provocative ideas. Older, straight, white men make up 13 of the 24 candidates.  “I really don’t get it, man,” said a top climate policy researcher in California who requested anonymity because Steyer “has a lot of money” that is used to support climate work around the country. In 2013, Steyer founded NextGen America as an environmental advocacy group and political action committee, though the organization broadened its scope in recent years to focus on turning out young voters for progressive causes. The 62-year-old donates generously to Democratic candidates. He poured millions into a high-profile campaign to impeach President Donald Trump.  The Steyer campaign did not respond to an interview request Thursday.  “I wish he weren’t doing it,” said a prominent activist, who also asked for anonymity for fear of souring a relationship with one of the movement’s top funders. “There was always that question in the back of everybody’s minds of whether he’s driven by ego and whether he’s all out for him, or whether he’s trying to build a movement. This answers the question clearly.”  Bill McKibben, the writer and founder who wooed Steyer to the climate movement nearly a decade ago, didn’t respond to emails and Twitter messages requesting comment. Other officials declined to comment on Steyer’s candidacy. So did Democratic strategist Henry Waxman, the former California congressman who led the charge on the last major climate bill.  “It’s hard to make the case for a billionaire running for president in this day and age,” said Julian Brave NoiseCat, the Green New Deal strategist at the left-leaning think tank Data for Progress (and a past HuffPost contributor). “Especially this late in the game, and especially when we were all under the impression he was not running.”  Steyer said during a January trip to Iowa that he wouldn’t run for president, instead maintaining his focus on his impeachment effort. In private, he feted Warren’s rhetoric on economic inequality and was excited about Inslee’s climate-centered campaign. But, according to The Atlantic, Steyer grew frustrated with Inslee’s failure to take off as the governor’s polling stayed stuck at 1 percent.  It’s a sentiment activists echoed, with some expressing disappointment that Inslee didn’t seize the first round of televised primary debates with the sort of righteous clarion call on climate that Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) issued on race during her star appearance the second night.  “Steyer has a better chance at becoming president than Inslee,” said Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, founder of the climate advocacy group SumOfUs.  “I love Warren,” she added. “Her heart and head are in the right place on climate policy. But I fear that she won’t prioritize it in her first term, and that is a disaster for the country and the world.”  At a moment when carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is at levels unseen in 800,000 years, metropolises of 8 million people are running out of water and flooding is set to break new records in the United States, it’s impossible to have too many climate candidates, activists said.  “Steyer’s entry into the presidential race is likely to lead to more discussion of climate change in the presidential election,” said Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University. “That can’t be a bad thing.” “The more attention put on this the better,” said Stephen O’Hanlon, spokesman for Sunrise Movement, the youth-led group that propelled the Green New Deal into mainstream politics with its protests last year.  Greenpeace USA offered a similar take. “We welcome more discussion about climate change as part of the presidential race,” said senior climate campaigner Jack Shapiro. Still, some wondered whether the money would be better spent on other races. R.L. Miller, president of the political action committee Climate Hawks Vote, said the “single best thing” Steyer could do is devote himself to working to flip the Senate, which she called a “steeper and narrower” path for Democrats than retaking the White House.  “He’s trying to set himself up as an outsider, which is true in that he’s never held elected office, but he’s been very much in the center of Democratic Party politics for a long time,” Miller said. That, she said, is a space he could own by trying to replace climate-denying senators with Democrats who will vote for Green New Deal-style policies. “I’d call him an unelected insider.”