Thousands of groups and individuals from throughout North Carolina are expected to be converging on Raleigh the weekend of April 20-21 to raise awareness about climate change and to demand the state government take strong action to address its man-made causes in our state. Dozens of local rallies and events will precede the Climate Convergence on Raleigh to help energize and recruit more participants, and to inform local government officials, the press and the public about the urgency of climate change. The first local event will take place in the far western part of the state, in Sylva, the county seat of Jackson County, On Monday, April 15, 11 AM, at the Old Courthouse Fountain, on Main Street. This kick-off event is being coordinated jointly by The Canary Coalition, The Wilderness Society, Jackson-Macon Conservation Alliance and Western North Carolina Alliance. A permit for the event has been issued by the Town of Sylva.
Almost all environmental organizations who are active in North Carolina are partners in developing the statewide action including 350.org, NCWARN, The Canary Coalition, Western North Carolina Alliance, NC Interfaith Power and Light, Appalachian Voices, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, Clean Water for NC, Greenpeace, Haw River Assembly, Human-Earth Restoration, NC Coastal Federation, NC Conservation Network, Southern Energy Management, The Wilderness Society, Jackson-Macon Conservation Alliance and Spirit in Action.
One of the principal demands of the statewide action is that the NC General Assembly pass House Bill 401/S362, the Efficient and Affordable Energy Rates Bill recently re-introduced by Representative Susan Fisher in the House and Senator Ellie Kinnaird in the Senate, with 15 legislative sponsors and co-sponsors. This bill, developed by the Canary Coalition and its allies, mandates the NC Utilities Commission implement an inverted, tiered block utility rate structure that promotes energy conservation and investment in energy efficiency by residential, commercial and industrial electric utility customers.
"This approach will replace the need for across-the-board annual utility rate increases to finance the construction of new coal, natural gas and nuclear power plants," explains Avram Friedman, the Executive Director of the Canary Coalition. "It will dramatically reduce energy consumption in North Carolina, while it helps residents, businesses and industries and creates thousands of new jobs. It will also substantially address and reduce the impacts of climate change, fresh water diminishment, air pollution, coal ash contamination, hydraulic fracturing, off-shore oil drilling, nuclear waste and proliferation, mountaintop removal coal mining and our dependence on fossil fuels."
A list of other demands and the schedule of events during the statewide Climate Convergence on Raleigh can be viewed at http://www.climateconvergencenc.org