Wednesday, September 24, 2014

WALL STREET - Climate Change Protests

"Protesters converge on Wall Street to call attention to climate change" PBS NewsHour 9/22/2014

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  More than 100 world leaders are gathering at the U.N. tomorrow to discuss the impact of climate change and to try to move toward new agreement.  But potential action from governments or even a lack of it is only part of the story.

Major voices in business, philanthropy, science and the environmental movement are announcing their own initiatives this week, hoping to mobilize public attention.  Hundreds of activists poured onto the streets of New York’s Financial District, snarling downtown traffic to protest capitalism’s role in climate change.

ANANDA LEE TAN, Spokesman, Climate Justice Alliance:  Wall Street invests in all the polluting, wasteful, toxic, destructive and extractive industries that are causing this crisis.  Wall Street itself profits from the destruction of this planet and its human and natural resources. So we have to stop them.

GWEN IFILL:  A short distance away, Secretary of State John Kerry lent his weight to the cause, opening what organizers are calling climate week.  He underlined findings that 2013 saw the largest single-year increase in carbon pollution in 20 years.

JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State:  It doesn’t cost more to deal with climate change.  It costs more to ignore it and to put our head in the sand and continue down this road of obfuscation and avoidance.  And we need to make that clear to people in this country.

GWEN IFILL:  All of this followed a much larger worldwide protests on Sunday.  Hundreds of thousands of activists took to the streets of Manhattan.  They were joined by Hollywood celebrities and by former Vice President Al Gore, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General, United Nations:  If we do not take action now, we will have to pay much more.  They have raised their voice.  They have shown their power to change the mind-set of people.

GWEN IFILL:  There were also marches in London, Paris, Berlin, Rio de Janeiro, and Melbourne, Australia.  The protests coincide with tomorrow’s U.N. climate summit.

At the same time, activists got a boost from philanthropists who vowed to stop investing in climate-warming fossil fuels like coal and oil.  The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, built on the family’s oil fortune, was the largest organization to announce it’s dropping such investments from its portfolio.

"What’s the financial case for divesting from fossil fuels?" PBS NewsHour 9/22/2014


SUMMARY:  Sixty-seven foundations with $50 billion in assets have so far pledged to divest their investments in fossil fuels over the next five years.  Gwen Ifill sits down with Jenna Nicholas of Divest-Invest Philanthropy, who advised the foundations, to discuss the financial and social ramifications of this environmental campaign.

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