Published on January 19th, 2017 | by Carolyn Fortuna
Top 10 List of Best Nonprofits Fighting for Climate Change Fixes
Climate change is a fact of contemporary life due to greenhouse gasses (GHG) that are emitted from diverse sources across the economy. According to the International Monetary Fund, $5.5 trillion is being paid by governments globally in order to “fully reflect the environmental damage associated with energy consumption.” Due to the magnitude of emissions and range of their sources, multiple technologies, policies, and behavioral changes are need to mitigate anthropogenic climate change. And you can help.
Worldwide, based on figures from the International Energy Agency, the fossil fuel industry – specifically coal, oil, and gas industries – have been subsidized at about $550 billion annually. This is four times what the renewable energy industry received. In the United States, the government is subsidizing coal, oil, and gas industries at $20 billion a year, with a 35% increase in subsidies just since 2009. (Source: Fortune)
Myron Ebell is likely to be the next head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Ebell is currently the director of the Center for Energy and Environment, which is a libertarian organization that questions climate change. As a nation and a global community, we need to address government expenditures that increase anthropogenic climate change. With Ebell in charge of environmental issues, our personal responsibility as citizens to rise up against climate deniers and to fight for substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions has never been stronger.
Many of us are aware of our national carbon footprint and are doing lots to reduce our personal impacts on the environment. But, because the issue of climate change is both local and global, we need to support climate change nonprofit organizations that are working as intermediaries among the scientific community, governance, and local citizens. These nonprofits have specialized knowledge about how climate activism works, how it can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and what policy options exist to help promote it.
Top 10 List of Best Nonprofits that Fight Climate Change
NRDC is tackling the climate crisis at its source: pollution from fossil fuels. They work to reduce our dependence on these dirty sources by expanding clean energy across cities, states, and nations. Fighting in court cases to limit carbon pollution from cars and power plants, they believe the world’s children should inherit a planet that will sustain them as it has sustained us. NRDC works to ensure the rights of all people to the air, the water, and the wild and to prevent special interests from undermining public interests. They also help implement practical clean energy solutions.
President Obama has made an additional contribution of $500 million to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), bringing the total U.S. contribution to $1 billion towards a $3 billion pledge. This investment protects Americans from the damages of climate change, creates opportunities for U.S. companies and workers to tap into the growing global clean energy market, and reduces the global instability caused by climate change. (Source: NRDC)
The number 350 means climate safety: we must reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere from >400 parts per million to below 350. 350org is building a global grassroots climate movement that can hold our leaders accountable to the realities of science and the principles of justice. With three primary goals — to keep carbon in the ground, help build a new, more equitable low-carbon economy, and to pressure governments into limiting emissions — 350 believes in climate justice. They try to listen to the communities who are getting hit the hardest., and follow the leadership of those who are on the frontlines of the crisis.
By creating solutions that also carry economic benefits and the biggest impacts, such as removing obsolete rules that hamper the clean energy market in the U.S., EDF rewards people for protecting the environment, not exploiting it. Rooted in strong science and economics, they work with allies across the political spectrum and partnering with business, turning ideas into lasting change. In California, for example, they helped policymakers create legislation that set an economy-wide cap on greenhouse gases, sparking a clean energy economic boom.
An example of their work is to limit fertilizer pollution. Fertilizer helps crops grow. But if farmers use too much, the runoff pollutes water and air. In EDF’s Sustainable Sourcing Initiative, farmers learn science-driven methods to reduce pollution, such as optimizing fertilizer use, planting cover crops, and using no-till methods. EDF uses the supply chain to drive more farmers to reduce pollution, working with leading companies to increase demand for sustainable grains. (Source: Environmental Defense Fund)
Finding climate solutions, continuing a legacy of conservation, and building a stronger movement are intertwined, and they are all critical to achieving SCF’s mission. This holistic approach is required as threats to planetary and human health become more acute. Achieving ambitious goals requires mobilizing unprecedented people power. Investments in the Sierra Club’s community-based and online organizing work, national media, and policy advocacy support many of the clean energy successes being seen in conservation: habitat, water, air quality, ecosystems – viewed through the lens of climate solutions with an eye toward justice for all.
After more than a decade of legal battles and community organizing, Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign passed the milestone of 200 coal plants announced to retire, creating marketspace for the biggest-ever investment in solar and wind technology. The retirement of 200 coal plants nationwide represents the phase out of nearly 40 percent of the 523 U.S. coal plants that were in operation just five years ago. The work of Sierra Club and more than 100 allied organizations to retire these plants and replace them with clean energy has enabled the United States to lead the industrialized world in cutting global warming pollution and successfully put the White House on firm footing to push for a strong international climate accord in Paris. (Source: Sierra Club Foundation)
When industry-funded trade groups, corporations, and climate deniers use money and connections to undermine science, UCS pushes entire industries to shift towards more sustainable approaches to energy and food production. They hold lawmakers accountable to the facts on climate change and expose deceptive funding of anti-science smear campaigns that have stalled progress on global warming and other life-threatening challenges we face. UCS does not accept funding from government or corporations, is independent, and relies on individual member support.
UCS’s report, Ripe for Retirement, the first study of its kind, identifies 353 coal-fired power plants across the country as prime candidates for closure due to their inability to compete with modern, cleaner alternatives. Within a year of the report’s release in 2012, 20 percent of the coal generators named announce plans to close or convert to natural gas, an outcome that will reduce U.S. annual carbon emissions by more than 100 million tons. (Source: UCS)
Greenpeace is the leading independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and to promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future. Greenpeace challenges the systems of power and privilege that destroy the environment and place disproportionate burdens on vulnerable communities.
Greenpeace seeks to protect, among others, threats to the Arctic’s 4 million people, particularly indigenous groups. These communities depend on this environment for food and resources and have stewarded it for centuries. The Arctic is the battleground for one of the most important fights in environmental history. While the people-powered movement to save the Arctic won a major victory when Royal Dutch Shell halted its drilling plans—leading the United States to take the Arctic Ocean off the table for oil drilling for the next two years—the fight isn’t near over. The Arctic Ocean is not safe from the dangers of oil drilling or climate change until we have long-term policies in place to keep all fossil fuels in the ground not just for two years, but forever. (Source: Greenpeace)
WHOI scientists and engineers travel the globe from land and the coasts to the deepest depths to tackle questions ranging from climate change to oil spills to ocean acidification. If there is no tool to do what needs to be done, they invent one; if there is no experimental method, they devise it. They recognize that the ocean is a defining feature of our planet and crucial to life on Earth, yet it remains one of the planet’s last unexplored frontiers. For this reason, WHOI scientists and engineers are committed to understanding all facets of the ocean as well as its complex connections with Earth’s atmosphere, land, ice, seafloor, and life—including humanity. This is essential not only to advance knowledge about our planet, but also to ensure society’s long-term welfare and to help guide human stewardship of the environment.
The sliver of ocean less than 200 meters (650 feet) deep near land accounts for just 7 percent of the sea surface, but is among the most productive parts of the ocean. Human activity in coastal regions on land and in the ocean accounts for nearly two-thirds of global GDP, but runoff, pollution, and overfishing put many of these resources at risk, while sea level rise and storm surges threaten cities and other infrastructure near the ocean. (Source: Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institute)
As the nation’s original and largest nonprofit environmental law organization, Earthjustice leverages their expertise and commitment to fight for justice and advance the promise of a healthy world for all. They represent every one of their clients free of charge. With more than a hundred attorneys in offices across the U.S., Earthjustice pursues three key goals to secure a just, flourishing world. 1) Our nation’s laws protect the magnificent natural spaces and wildlife we have inherited from previous generations. Earthjustice enforces those laws to protect what we know to be irreplaceable wildlife and wild places, for this and future generations. 2) They fight for a future where children can breathe clean air, no matter where they live; where products in our homes are free of toxic chemicals; and where all communities are safer, healthier places to live and work. 3) Earthjustice’s legal victories strengthen the rise of clean energy, laying the groundwork for the systemic change we must see.
Earthjustice fights for a vibrant, livable future by securing national and global rules to cut carbon through work in the courts, Congress and via international negotiations to secure real, enforceable cuts in climate pollution. They are creating pathways for clean power through litigation that challenges reliance on fossil fuels, which imperil our climate and pollute our air and water, and opens the door to clean, renewable sources of power. They are helping to reduce black carbon, which is one of the best things we can do right now to slow warming and protect ecosystems. And they are building resilience to climate change by taking a proactive approach to promote ecologically rich, resilient refuges that can sustain healthy fish and wildlife populations on land and at sea. (Source: Earthjustice)
C2ES is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to forge practical solutions to climate change. Their mission is to advance strong policy and action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote clean energy, and strengthen resilience to climate impacts. A key objective is a national market-based program to reduce emissions cost-effectively. They believe a sound climate strategy is essential to ensure a strong, sustainable economy.
Extreme weather and other climate-related impacts are becoming more frequent and are imposing real costs on communities and companies. Companies have always navigated a changing business environment. But now they face a changing physical environment, as climate change affects their facilities and operations, supply and distribution chains, electricity and water, and employees and customers. The C2ES Report, Weathering the Next Storm: A Closer Look at Business Resilience, examines how companies are preparing for climate risks and what is keeping them from doing more. It also suggests strategies for companies and cities to collaborate to strengthen climate resilience.
The Solutions Project accelerates the transition to 100% clean, renewable energy for all people and purposes. To achieve this mission, they engage the public, celebrate and convene leaders, and advance partnerships and policies that make strides on the road to 100%. They implement this integrated model at the state level.
Stanford Professor and Solutions Project co-founder Mark Jacobson’s team created 100% clean, renewable energy all-sector energy plans for all 50 United States. Based on Professor Mark Jacobson’s team’s research, these simple graphs show the potential shift in resources to reach 100% clean, renewable energy by 2050. These infographics detail a pathway for each of the G7 countries to a 100% wind, water and solar all-sector energy mix by 2050, as well at the number of 35-year jobs created by the transition in this scenario, in all of the G7 languages.
The Nature Conservancy addresses the most pressing conservation threats at the largest scale. It is the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. We’ve protected more than 119 million acres of land and thousands of miles of rivers worldwide — and we operate more than 100 marine conservation projects globally. They are impacting conservation in 69 countries — protecting habitats from grasslands to coral reefs, from Australia to Alaska to Zambia. They address threats to conservation involving climate change, fresh water, oceans, and conservation lands.
U.S. leadership is crucial, and TNC has been working in all 50 states to come up with practical solutions for a prosperous and cleaner future. They work to make energy policy less divisive and on coalescing broad bipartisan policy leadership behind the climate solutions we know work.
Join in and help TNC and other climate change activist nonprofits to fight for a greener planet and a healthier future for us all.