The Skywriter

The inside scoop on the America Power Act (AUDIO)


The inside scoop on the America Power Act (AUDIO)


The climate movement is facing a challenging moment. From the appalling Gulf Oil Catastrophe to the West Virginia coal mining disaster to yesterday’s American Power Act bill draft, the movement has a lot on its plate right now. Today, 1Sky and experts from our allies Green For All, the Sierra Club, and Oxfam America put these issues up for discussion in an hour-long national call-in on climate, energy, green jobs, and international adaptation.

The mood among our experts was a bit somber, but they were resolved in their agreement that we must unite to address climate, clean energy, and green jobs right now! Listen to audio from the call below or visit us on Twitter to scroll through our live tweets posted during the call.

Play the conference call

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Some highlights from our panelists about the bill:

Dave Hamilton: Director of Global Warming and Energy for the Sierra Club: “We’re not happy with the contents of this bill. The recent disasters and events have put in stark relief the lack of ambition, the lack of political commitment (about the bill), and the stranglehold energy industries have over the Senate. You have a tough political climate out there and other bills out there. The decline in the carbon cap – 17% by 2020 and 83% by 2050 is not the kind of thing we want to see in place. We have to judge how the negatives stack up against the benefits.”

Jessy Tolkan, Political Director for Green for All: “One thing we were excited to see was the Clean Energy Construction Jobs Creation project. However, the Green Jobs Act in ACES is not currently in the new bill. We’ll be fighting to make sure there’s funding for the Green Jobs Act. Our role is how can we guarantee the jobs are going to the communities that need them most, the low-income communities and communities of color.

Vicky Rateau, Climate Change Campaign Manager, Oxfam America: "We’re looking at the bill from a humanitarian lens. One of those programs is called Adaptation – funding to adapt for communities hardest hit by climate change. While least responsible for the problems, they’re also the hardest hit (increased flooding, droughts, unpredictable erratic and extreme weather). The good news that we’ve got is that adaptation is in the bill. The bad news is the funding is a dollar short and a day late. And, it doesn’t kick in until 2019; the short-term financing we need is needed now.”

Jason Kowalski, 1Sky Policy Coordinator: “1Sky thinks it’s worth it to look at the bill as a wake-up call. We have leaders that aren’t leading and a problem that isn’t going away. Our leaders still can’t break themselves on a reliance of buying off incumbent industries to get a bill passed. For the last over a year, there’s also been a lot of grassroots pressure about the Clean Air Act. We’ve been really loud on this with other groups. Yesterday, John Kerry said in his blog that he’ll protect the EPA’s authority to crack down on the worst dirtiest coal plants. The grassroots groups really need to be the ones leading on that to get where we need.”

And about our next strategies and actions from the grassroots level:

Vicky: “It’s been faith and business voices that have been very effective, mixed with grassroots voices, to show concern about communities and climate change. We have to keep it up to improve the (adaption) provisions.”

Jessy: “We need to try to stay quite united as a progressive front in our framework as we move forward. We are trying to make short-term improvements on this bill, as we remain focused long-term on the bill. We need to fight to create this the best, most equitable green jobs bill possible, but as we’re advocating for those pieces, we need to make sure we’re in alliance with the calls that Oxfam, Sierra Club, and others are bringing to the table. It’s important to look at other issue fights out there.”

Dave: “The Obama administration hasn’t really gotten involved in the way we hoped they would. We’re trying to motivate the administration and local leaders to weigh in. The fact that we can point to the Gulf and the mining disaster and ask why is this focused on nuclear when we have real goals to meet and things that need to get us to the clean energy economy most Americans clearly want? Making that voice loud and as singular as possible is the best way to get something.

Jason: “How can we keep building power? We need more than calls and email at the time of the bill. We need people who are consistently organizing around climate change, who are in it for the long haul, who embrace diversity among the movement, and who will keep organizing at the local levels for years to come.”

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