This Presidents' Day Weekend, on Sunday, February 17, 2013, 350.org, the Sierra Club, and the Hip-Hop Caucus will stage a massive rally in Washington DC to call on President Obama to deny approval for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and to demand the US move with all possible speed toward a clean energy future. This rally follows on the heels of 350.org's 20-city "Do The Math" Tour, which was organized to kick off their Fossil Free campaign calling on colleges, universities, churches, pension funds, and other institutions to divest from fossil fuel companies, hitting those companies where it hurts them the most. Several local climate activists attended the tour's stop in Omaha and were moved by a speech given by Bill McKibben, the leader of 350.org, who called on everyone to stand up and take action now, and we are planning to charter a bus to transport area activists to take part in the rally. Now is the time for all citizens to stand up for their families, for current and future generations, and for the wonderful living Earth of which we are an integral part. We must break the hold that fossil fuel corporations have on the US Congress and move this country forward to a clean energy future.
The chartered bus trip will begin early in the morning of Saturday February 16th and end sometime in the evening of Monday February 18th. We will need at least 50 people to commit to the trip by January 15. We currently estimate the cost will be in the range of $150 - $200 per person to ride the bus, not including food or any other expenses. We encourage you to make your own travel arrangements if you feel moved to attend this historic event but are unable to travel with us. Please contact Claus Wawrzinek at 816-517-5244 for any questions.
To be able to reserve a bus from Kansas City to Washington, DC, we need to get your commitment by January 18 and you should be prepared to pay for the bus by February 1. Early commitment (by January 15) will ensure optimal charter bus rates. We will contact you if we get enough people to reserve a bus. Don't send any money yet.
Please tell us on the form below if you are able to commit taking the bus with us to Washington, DC:
FORM LINK: http://goo.gl/hwvPt
Why is this rally so urgent?
The audience in Omaha was very moved by McKibben in his self-described role as "professional bummer-outer." His talk was based on his Rolling Stone article titled "Global Warming's Terrifying New Math" (July 19, 2012 http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719 ) in which he explained the grave reality of the climate crisis: The great majority of climate scientists and the world's governments agree we must limit the increase in the global average temperature to no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) to have any hope of avoiding dangerous climate disruption, which McKibben called "the bottomest of bottom lines." The latest science indicates we can emit no more than 565 gigatons of carbon by the middle of this century if we are to stay under that threshold - that's our remaining carbon budget - but, at the current rate of emissions growth, we will emit that much over just the next 16 years. Worse, the world's fossil fuel companies have an estimated 2795 gigatons of carbon reserves booked - more than 5 times our carbon budget - and it's those reserves which give their companies market value. McKibben argues they must be persuaded to leave 80% of those reserves in the ground in order to have any chance of preventing a climate catastrophe. That's a tall order, indeed, and he admits "we may not win this fight."
McKibben also spent some time describing the damage to the planet that the 0.8 degrees Celsius of warming that's already occurred globally has caused, including the ongoing severe drought in the US, this Summer's unprecedented decline in the polar ice cap, Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Bopha, and the overall pattern of increasingly extreme weather events worldwide.
The rally has three goals:
• To put pressure on President Obama to deny permission for the TransCanada corporation to build the Keystone XL pipeline to carry diluted bitumen from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast, where it would be refined into synthetic crude oil. If we're to stay within our carbon budget, we must not greatly increase our production of tar sands oil, which is more energy-intensive and, consequently, emits more carbon than conventional oil production.
• To bolster the Fossil Free divestment campaign.