Monday, September 30, 2013

Training - Proforest Annual Programme 2013 in Ghana

The 12th edition of the Proforest Annual Training Programme will take place in Ghana the week of the 25th of November. As with all previous editions, the programme will provide comprehensive training on the latest sustainability issues in natural resource management and on tools to promote responsible production and purchasing in forestry and agricultural supply chains.

Training - CSE Accredited Certified Sustainability (CSR) Practitioner

CSE hosts unique accredited trainings throughout North America being a leading education provider for more than 800 Sustainability professionals. Certified Sustainability (CSR) Practitioner Training: Beyond Energy Efficiency and Reporting. This IEMA Approved challenging 2-day course enables participants to acquire the skills and competencies required to become qualified CSR practitioners. See the two forthcoming training workshop schedules below:

UN and US Political Reactions to the 2013 IPCC Report

There has been a great deal of reaction to the fifth IPCC Report from the leadership at the United Nations (UN) and from within the United States (US) government both in Congress and in the Obama administration.

Predictably, Ban Ki-Moon, Connie Hedgaard, John Kerry and Barbara Boxer have all endorsed the findings of the IPCC AR5 summary and strongly encourage action.

Here is a brief summary of their responses:

CDP Global 500 Climate Performance Leadership Index 2013

Sector Company Performance Disclosure
years in the
Consumer Discretionary BMW A 100 4

Daimler A 100 1

Royal Philips A 100 1

Honda Motor A 99 1

Nissan Motor A 99 1

Volkswagen A 99 1

British Sky Broadcasting A 95 1

H&M Hennes & Mauritz A 83 1
Consumer Staples Nestlé A 100 2
  Diageo A 98 2
  L'Oreal A 93 1
  Anheuser Busch InBev A 85 1
  Unilever A 82 2
Energy Spectra Energy A 98 1

BG Group A 89 1
Financials BNY Mellon A 100 1
  Bank of America A 98 4
  Goldman Sachs A 98 1
  HSBC A 97 1
  Firstrand Limited A 96 1
  Morgan Stanley A 96 1
  Wells Fargo A 96 2
AXA Group A 94 3
  TD Bank A 94 1
  Ace A 93 2
  BNP Paribas A 93 1
  Barclays A 92 1
  Swiss Re A 92 1
  Deutsche Bank A 91 2
  Munich Re A 91 1
  National Australia Bank A 91 4
  Westpac Banking A 91 4
  Assicurazioni Generali A 87 1
Healthcare GlaxoSmithKline A 98 1
Industrials Raytheon A 98 1
  Schneider Electric A 97 3
  CSX A 95 1
  Komatsu A 95 1
  Lockheed Martin A 91 3
Information Technology Cisco Systems A 100 1

Hewlett-Packard A 99 1

Samsung A 99 1

SAP A 98 1

Adobe Systems A 97 1

EMC A 97 1

Microsoft A 96 1

Infosys A 92 1

Tata Consultancy Services A 89 1
Materials Ecolab A 98 1
  Anglo American A 96 2
  E.I. du Pont de Nemours A 96 1
Telecommunication Services Swisscom A 97 1

Telenor Group A 95 1

BT Group A 93 1
Utilities Gas Natural SDG A 100 2
  Exelon A 98 2
Source: CDP

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The Business Community Responds to the 2013 IPCC Report

The business community must acknowledge the material threat posed by climate change. Now that the IPCC has released its fifth assessment offering the most unequivocal support for anthropogenic climate change to date, business leaders worth their salt will be forced to take notice or suffer the consequences. Here are four reactions from responsible corporations (Ceres, HSBC, VF Corporation, and Swiss Re):

Ceres says the IPCC report confirms climate change is affecting businesses’ bottom lines and their strategies.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Event - Inspiration 2013

Inspiration 2013 will take place on the 31st of October at the Royal Geographic Society, London, UK. Inspiration is about what we've deemed the life cycle of ideas, from having an idea, testing it, shaping it and delivering it as a successful commercial venture. The event is premised on the notion that ideas and innovation can make the difference between success and failure in uncertain times.

Event - Standards Benefiting Indian Businesses

Standards Benefiting Indian Businesses is an event by the International Standards Certifications (ISC). This event will take place on Thursday, 24 October 2013 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM (IST) in New Delhi, India.

With the rapid expansion of India’s SME sector, an expansion of India’s certification programs (including all structural changes across ISO 2700, ISO 27001, ISO 14001 and ISO 9001) will present enormous challenges and opportunities for both the Indian Government and Indian businesses alike.

Event - FSC Design & Build Awards

The 9th annual FSC Design & Build Awards will take place on November 20, 2013, 7pm - 9pm. This event will take place in conjunction with Greenbuild 2013 in Philadelphia. The event will be held at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (118 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19102), which is directly across the street from the Convention Center, where Greenbuild 2013 is being held. The museum is itself a celebrated building, known for its collections of 19th- and 20th-century American paintings, sculptures, and works on paper. The Forest Stewardship Council will present awards to the best residential and commercial projects at the 9th Annual Design & Build with FSC Awards Reception. Everyone is invited to attend this celebration of commitment to responsible forest management and design excellence.

Event - Australian Sustainability Conference and Exhibition

The Australian Sustainability Conference and Exhibition 2013 will be held in Melbourne, alongside Australia’s premier clean energy event, All-Energy Australia, on 9 - 10 October at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre. The Conference is a multi-streamed program of highly engaging content, rich in high-value information, emerging trends and progressive thought leadership. Australian Sustainability brings together suppliers and solution providers in an exhibition that will be a magnet for companies looking for commercial solutions to environmental challenges.

Event - Sustainable Hotel & Resort 2013 Conference

Sustainable Hotel & Resort 2013 conference will take place on October 15-16, 2013 in Orlando, Florida. This conference will feature leaders in resort management, sustainability, best practices, and green marketing.

This event will bring together hotel/resort operators, energy and water management consultants, sustainable solution providers, and certifying organizations to discuss trends, products, and solutions to help hotels and resorts recognize that implementing sustainable solutions is good: good for the environment and good for business.

Event - NAAEE Conference 2013

The NAAEE Conference 2013 will take place on October 9 - 12, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Since 1972, the NAAEE conference has convened top educators, government officials, researchers, nonprofit and community groups, environmental experts, corporations, and others.

With the shared mission of advancing environmental education throughout society—from schoolrooms to board rooms and community centers to zoos and museums—attendees discuss how environmental education can achieve environmental goals, as well as be a conduit to STEM education, a springboard for civic engagement, and a tool for current and future generations to make sense of the world around them.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Video - Keep Climate Denial Out of Our Schools

The Heartland Institute is an organization that is trying to downplay the science on climate change arguing the science is not settled. With the new IPCC AR5 report reiterated with even more certain the scientific veracity of anthropogenic climate change. Heartland would like to create the appearance of a scientific debate where there is none by having our teachers claim we just don't know if humans are changing our climate.

Video - Climate Refugee Campaign

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What is Environmental Migration and Who are Climate Refugees
Video - Beyond Environmental Refuge
Video - Climate Refugees the Documentary

Video - Sea Level Rise: A Slow-Motion Disaster

Sea-level rise is a slow-moving threat that presents a tremendous risk to some of America's most populous cities. As climate change drives sea levels higher, and more Americans than ever are calling the coastal U.S. home, cities like Miami, New York and New Orleans will likely face billions of dollars in flood-related damages per year if nothing is done to address climate change. The Center for American Progress visited Norfolk, Virginia, a city on the front-lines of the fight against rising seas, to talk to residents and community leaders about their efforts to save the city and learn to live with the water. One thing is clear: doing nothing is not an option.

Video - Sustainable Development: CSD Replaced by HLPF

To ensure that sustainable development tops the agenda of the highest levels of government, members at Rio+20 agreed to change from the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), which was formed after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, to the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on sustainable development. The inaugural meeting of the HLPF took place on September 24, 2013.

Video - New UN Forum to Advance Sustainable Development

The High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development had it's inaugural meeting on 24 September 2013. Watch our video to find out why this matters.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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Sustainable Development Goals to Follow Millennium Development Goals
Debunking Efforts to Undermine the Latest IPCC Report
IPCC AR5 WGl Summary: Headline Statements from the Summary for Policymakers
Background of the IPCC's Latest Climate Report
The Science in the 2013 IPCC Report: Unequivocal Evidence of Anthropogenic Climate Change
Non-Profit Groups and Scientists React to the Fifth IPCC Report
The Business Community Responds to the 2013 IPCC Report
UN and US Political Reactions to the 2013 IPCC Report
IPCC Charts: Surface Temperatures, Sea Levels and CO2
Greenpeace Report - Dealing in Doubt: A Chronicle of Climate Denial
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Video - NASA uses IPCC Data to Project Temperature and Precipitation Increases

New data visualizations from the NASA Center for Climate Simulation and NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio show how climate models -- those used in the new report from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) -- estimate how temperature and precipitation patterns could change throughout the 21st century. The Summary for Policymakers, the first official piece of the group's Fifth Assessment Report, was released Fri., Sept. 27.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Green Consumer Day 2013

Green Consumer Day is an annual event that encourages more responsible purchasing, it is also a day that highlights the problem of consumerism. In 2013 this day is being celebrated on Saturday, the 28th of September.

A green consumer is someone who is concerned about the environment. They seek to purchase products with minimal environmental impacts. In the most general terms, Green Consumer Day asks people to assess the items they purchase in light of the energy used to create it and the waste it generates, both during and after manufacturing. Green Consumer Day not only asks people to consider how a product is made, other variables are also important like the materials used, how it is packaged and whether it is recyclable.

IPCC AR5 WGl Summary: Headline Statements from the Summary for Policymakers

Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased.

Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850. In the Northern Hemisphere, 1983–2012 was likely the warmest 30-year period of the last 1400 years.

Ocean warming dominates the increase in energy stored in the climate system, accounting for more than 90% of the energy accumulated between 1971 and 2010. It is virtually certain that the upper ocean (0−700 m) warmed from 1971 to 2010, and it likely likely warmed between the 1870s and 1971.

Background of the IPCC's Latest Climate Report

On Friday, September 27, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s foremost authority on climate change released the first part of AR5, its first big report in six years. The AR5 is a scientific inventory of the state of our knowledge on climate science.

AR5 will take more than a year to be fully released. It will be unveiled in four different parts. The first part is being released represents a summary of the work done by what is known as Working Group I, which is why it is called WGl AR5. It covers the physical science of climate change and gives the big picture including things like temperature changes, sea-level rise and ocean acidification. The full WG1 AR5 report will be released on Friday October 4, 2013.

CDP Global Climate Change Leaders 2013: Top 12 Companies According to Both CPLI and CDLI

Top 12 companies according to both CPLI and CDLI
Sector Company Performance Disclosure
years in the
Consumer Discretionary BMW A 100 4
Consumer Discretionary Daimler A 100 1
Consumer Discretionary Philips Electronics A 100 1
Consumer Utilities Nestlé A 100 2
Financials BNY Mellon A 100 1
Information Technology Cisco Systems A 100 1
Utilities Gas Natural SDG A 100 2
Consumer Discretionary Honda Motor A 99 1
Consumer Discretionary Nissan Motor A 99 1
Consumer Discretionary Volkswagen A 99 1
Information Technology Hewlett-Packard A 99 1
Information Technology Samsung A 99 1

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

WorldWatch Institute: Refocusing Environmental Education

A recent press release from the Worldwatch Institute examines the need to improve environmental education so that students are better prepared for the turbulent times ahead.

Over the past decade, more college students than ever have completed environmentally oriented courses or graduated with degrees in environmental studies and science (ESS). While many hail this environmental renaissance in U.S. higher education as an important step toward sustainability, others see it as a missed opportunity.

Silencing Scientists (NY Times Editorial)

This is a New York Times, Sunday Review, Opinion Pages, Editorial/Notebook piece by Verlyn Klinkenborg. It was published on September 21, 2013. 

Over the last few years, the government of Canada — led by Stephen Harper — has made it harder and harder for publicly financed scientists to communicate with the public and with other scientists.

It began badly enough in 2008 when scientists working for Environment Canada, the federal agency, were told to refer all queries to departmental communications officers. Now the government is doing all it can to monitor and restrict the flow of scientific information, especially concerning research into climate change, fisheries and anything to do with the Alberta tar sands — source of the diluted bitumen that would flow through the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Journalists find themselves unable to reach government scientists; the scientists themselves have organized public protests.

Merkel's Reelection and German Green Energy Issues

On Sunday September 21, ruling German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a champion of renewable energy, won a historic third term in office with an overwhelming victory for her ruling conservative Christian Democrats. Merkel is now set to eclipse Margaret Thatcher as Europe’s longest serving head of government.

Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) won over 41 per cent of the vote, representing an increase of 8 per cent over Germany’s last general election in 2009. The election results give the party 311 seats in the Bundestag which is just five short of an absolute majority.

Ms Merkel will have to address some difficult issues on the environmental front. Her government's extensive reliance green sources of energy leave some expressing concerns about the eventual cost consumers. Along with her party, she will also have to deal with the very expensive decision abandon Germany’s dependence on nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.

SNAP: An Important New Conservation and Human Development Collaboration

At the Clinton Global Initiative on Wednesday, September 25, 2013, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) announced the launch of Science for Nature and People (SNAP). This important collaboration seeks to address conservation and human development issues in the context of increasing global populations and growing resource scarcity. SNAP aims to achieve this lofty goal by exploring knowledge based approaches to managing things like food, water, and energy.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Vital Role of Forests: Carbon, Rain and Food

We are coming to a better understanding of the vital role that forests play in the general health of planetary ecosystems.  However, alongside our burgeoning awareness, we are also destroying forests in our quest for more land and lumber.

Deforestation is eliminating the Earth’s forests on a massive scale. Each day at least 80,000 acres (32,300 ha) of forest disappear and another 80,000 acres (32,300 ha) of forest are degraded. Overall, FAO estimates that 10.4 million hectares of tropical forest were permanently destroyed each year in the period from 2000 to 2005. About an acre of tropical rainforests are lost every second. If the current trend continues, the world’s rainforests could completely vanish in a hundred years.

Breaking News: Train Derails Spilling Oil in Saskatchewan

On September 25, 2013, a Canadian National (CN) train derailed just east of the small town of Landis, Saskatchewan and at least one car is reportedly spilling its load of crude oil. Each tank car holds some 30,000 gallons (113,600 liters) of oil. The school in Landis has been closed for the day as a precaution. A grass fire caused by the wreck has been extinguished and there are no reports of injuries.

Climate Refugee Campaign: Postcards from the Frontlines

On September 25, 2013, the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), in collaboration with ByPost and with the support of Dame Vivienne Westwood and Gillian Anderson, launched a campaign to recognize and protect climate change refugees worldwide. EJF has been working to secure recognition and protection for climate refugees since 2009. Despite their efforts there is presently no recognition of climate refugees by any international law.

2014 Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN)

Now in its fourth year, Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN) is the largest electricity and water reduction competition program for colleges and universities in the world. CCN is a partnership of Lucid Design Group, U.S. Green Building Council’s Center for Green Schools, National Wildlife Federation and the Alliance to Save Energy.

CCN gives a common voice and motivation to hundreds of thousands of students across North America, all working together to reduce consumption and mitigate the impacts of climate change. CCN encourages students to involve their peers and staff in educational events that can have an immediate and lasting impact on their school’s carbon emissions and campus culture.

The CDP's 2013 Top Fourteen US Companies (Disclosure and Performance)

Company Name
Disclosure Score
Performance Band
BNY Mellon
Financial Services
Cisco Systems, Inc.
Information Technology
Entergy Corporation
Autodesk, Inc.
Information Technology
Northrop Grumman Corp
NYSE Euronext
Financial Services
Information Technology
Bank of America
Financial Services
Best Buy Co., Inc.
Consumer Discretionary
Ecolab Inc.
Exelon Corporation
Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Financial Services
Raytheon Company
Spectra Energy Corp

Source: CDP 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Nature Generation's Green Education Programs

The Nature Generation (Nat Gen) is an environmental nonprofit that is inspiring the next generation to become responsible stewards of the earth. This K-12 environmental organization helps to prepare children for the important environmental challenges they will face in the future, by connecting them with nature today. 

Nat Gen runs successful K-12 school programs in Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. Their national programs include "Read Green", which promotes books for children and young adults on environmental stewardship. Its signature "Green Book Awards" program is the nation's first environmental stewardship book award for children and young adult books. Since 2005 over 80 authors have been honored in this prestigious program.

CDP Studies: Growth of Sustainability and Profitability

The findings of two reports released on September 23rd, demonstrates more convincingly than ever before the increase in corporate environmental action and the bottom line benefits of such action. These reports were released by CDP, PwC and Sustainable Insight Capital Management, Inc. (SICM) in the wake of the CDP's annual analysis of S&P 500 companies’ efforts to reduce and respond to climate change. The two new studies demonstrate that CDP leaders who incorporate environmental factors into their business strategies are mitigating climate related risks, finding opportunities to strengthen their businesses and delivering higher profitability than their industry peers.

EPA's New Carbon Limits for Power Plants

Carbon limits are being proposed on power plants On September 20th, 2013, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Gina McCarthy announced that the EPA has put forth a new proposal that will curtail climate change causing emissions from power plants. Future coal and gas power plants will each have their own standards for natural.

Despite the intransigence of Republicans in Congress, President Obama is using his executive powers to combat the climate crisis. This proposal comes in response to the President’s June 25, 2013 Memorandum to EPA on “Power Sector Carbon Pollution Standards,” which is a major part of the President’s Climate Action Plan.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Event - US Green Building Council: NJ Chapter's 11th Annual Gala & Awards Dinner

US Green Building Council – NJ Chapter's 11th Annual Gala & Awards Dinner will take place on October 9, 2013 (5 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.) at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark, NJ.

Event - The 24th annual National Bioneers Conference

The 24th annual National Bioneers Conference, is an annual three-day event that will take place on October 18-20, 2013 at the Marin Center in San Rafael. Established in 1990, this event is the original whole-systems forum of innovation and collaboration for social, cultural and environmental resilience. Serving the sustainability, environmentalism and social justice communities, BioCon speakers and presenters have included Bill McKibben, Jane Goodall, Gloria Steinem, Philippe Cousteau, Michael Pollan, Vandana Shiva and Paul Hawken, among many other luminaries. The conference also prides itself on introducing audiences to some of the most innovative voices yet to be discovered.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Event - 2013 AASHE Conference & Expo: Resiliency and Adaptation

2013 AASHE Conference & Expo: Resiliency and Adaptation will take place on October 6 - 9, 2013 in Nashville, TN. AASHE conferences are the largest stage in North America for higher education sustainability thought leadership.

Event - SMi Energy from Waste Conference

The 6th annual SMi Energy from Waste Conference will take place on September 25 - 26, 2013. This event provides attendees with a complete view of the field! It will focus on policy and market updates, project deliverability, finance and investment, technological developments and the renewable heat incentive this informative event will bring together key leaders in the field to provide attendees with an in-depth look into current status of Energy from Waste.

Event - SolarTech Expo Argentina 2013

SolarTech Expo Argentina 2013, is a strictly B2B conference and exhibition, it will be held in Buenos Aires on 23-24 September 2013. The event will focus on recent technology and commercial market developments within PV, CSP, CPV, OPVC, BIPV, Thin Film and solar thermal.

Located in the networking area exhibition will hold exhibition where leading solar energy technology companies will showcase their technologies and solutions for the industry.

Event - Low Wind Forum

Low Wind Forum will take place on October, 30-31, 2013 in Hamburg, Germany. Maximizing energy yield and return on investment on low and medium wind sites How commercially viable are low wind sites? As the availability of onshore high-wind sites decreases, low to medium wind sites (IEC II/III) are becoming feasible alternatives. Yet concerns over energy yield, as well as O&M and set-up costs, need to be addressed.

Use this forum to assess the feasibility of a low-wind project or learn how to maximise an existing project. In particular you will find out about:

Event - Wind Farm Data Management & Analysis 2013

This event will take place on September 23-25, 2013, at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Hamburg, Germany. Wind Farm Data Management and Analysis 2013 will focus on implementing an effective data management strategy to reduce O&M costs.

Windpower Monthly’s Wind Farm Data Management and Analysis Forum is the ONLY event focused on understanding how to optimise wind data to reduce O&M costs and improve turbine performance.

Topics covered include R&D from leading industry heavyweights including: OWI-Lab, ECN, RWTH Aachen, DTU Wind Energy, Fraunhofer Institut (IWES) & Durham University.

Event - 2nd Conference on Low Energy Wastewater Treatment Systems

This event will take place on September 24, 2013 at 15 John Street, London, UK. With the ever increasing need for robust, sustainable and low cost treatment technologies, innovation in low energy options is key in helping the Water Industry meet its performance targets. The 2nd Low Energy Wastewater Treatment Systems Conference will focus on nutrient removal in small and medium works.

The programme consists of invited presentations from innovators from the water industry and academics conducting leading edge research on the topic, covering state-of-the-art technologies and results from specific case studies.

Event - GPCA Sustainability Conference

The GPCA Sustainability Conference will take place on December 17 - 19, 2013,  in Dubai, UAE, at the Ritz Carlton. It will focus on planning a long-term future of responsible growth. The chemical industry and chemical companies have started heavily investing in sustainable solutions in the last few years, as the industry is continuously aiming to become more sustainable. The challenge is to make sustainability part of the business planning process of a company. Sustainability is not only a series of actions, but a fundamental plank of planning the business for the long term future. The GPCA Sustainability Conference will be your insight on how to become steadily more profitable while minimizing the environmental impact.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Video - Energy Efficiency Win-Win in the Shaheen Portman Bill

Senator Shaheen teams up with Senator Rob Portman to re-introduce their bipartisan energy efficiency legislation. The bill is a win-win-win, Shaheen said, as it strengthens the economy, reduces our energy use and protects the environment.

Video - Campus Sustainability at Western State Colorado University

Students are at the future leaders, and Western State Colorado University (WSCU) understands that it is critical to help students to inculcate sustainability. WSCU understands that students are at the heart of the sustainability movement. Getting students involved make sustainability sustainable. At WSCU students are passionate about sustainability that makes a difference in their community.

Video - Interview with Bill McKibben: Obama Can Salvage His Climate Legacy by Rejecting Keystone XL Oil Pipeline

Bill McKibben, co-founder and director of, joins Democracy Now to discuss "Draw the Line," a national day of action this Saturday to protest the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Already this week on Monday, 13 people were arrested during a protest in Houston in front of the offices of TransCanada, the company behind the controversial project. McKibben has just come out with the new book, "Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist." McKibben argues that Obama's pending decision on whether to approve or reject the Keystone XL's construction is a historic opportunity. "If [Obama] says no to the Keystone pipeline, he will be the first world leader ever to say, 'Here is something we are not going to build because of its effect on the climate,'" McKibben says. "It might have the effect of unfreezing the climate negotiations that have been wrecked ever since Copenhagen ... Sometimes Obama, correctly, can blame his absurd Congress. But in the case of the Keystone pipeline, he gets to make the call himself. So he darn well better make that call."