SF Bay PSR is working closely with the PSR National office on efforts in three main areas related to nuclear weapons abolition goals envisioned in our Back from the Brink (BftB) campaign. First, we are supporting legislation that would divert wasteful military spending, particularly on nuclear modernization efforts, to address graver threats to our country illustrated by our COVID pandemic. We are supporting national legislation advocating for limits on sole Presidential authority to launch a nuclear attack, and for our government to declare a policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons. Finally, we are encouraging the Biden Administration’s return to diplomacy after the destructive “America First” policies of the Trump Administration.
In California, we are working with cities and the State of California to adopt resolutions supporting nuclear weapons abolition and a fundamental change in U.S. nuclear weapons policy. To date 50 municipalities and 6 state legislative bodies have adopted similar resolutions.
Thank you to SF Bay PSR Intern Jasmine Campos for her assistance with this section.
No Nuclear War over Ukraine
Supported by International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, SF Bay PSR, PSR National, and others.
As healthcare professionals, we call for NATO and the Russian Federation to renounce the use of nuclear weapons in this conflict and for an immediate cease fire and the withdrawal of all Russian military forces. We are extremely concerned about the heightened risks of nuclear harms, including from the use of nuclear weapons and from potential damage to the 15 nuclear power plants in the region. We must protect Ukraine’s people and sovereignty. Our own government must work for immediate and long-term diplomatic solutions that will provide for true security, both at home and abroad. And we must follow Ukraine’s lead in their negotiations for peace.
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Medical Appeal: No war in Europe
As of the morning of February 14, 316 health professionals from Europe and elsewhere in the world have published an appeal today, initiated by the Nobel Peace Prize laureate the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), calling for war in Europe to be averted. Warning that a war would be a humanitarian disaster, they call on all conflict parties to choose diplomacy over escalation.
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Letter to Biden re: Responsible Statecraft
PSR was among 15 NGOs that signed onto a joint letter to Biden organized by the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, delivered to the White House on January 8, with specific diplomatic recommendations, e.g. “we must engage in a serious and sustained strategic dialogue with Russia that addresses the deeper sources of mistrust and hostility”
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Foreign Policy for the 21st Century Resolution (H.Res. 877)
United States Representatives Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Barbara Lee (CA-13) led lawmakers in introducing a resolution that calls for United States foreign policy to focus on diplomacy, conflict resolution, global cooperation, accountability, and non-military tools of statecraft. The Foreign Policy for the 21st Century Resolution moves to cut defense spending and reduce militarism while addressing a set of emerging and developing national security challenges — from a pandemic and the climate crisis to threats to democracy and the proliferation of nuclear weapons — by centering impacted people and outlining steps to realign foreign policy with human rights and the values of justice, equality, and security for all. Some of the calls to action include investing in diplomacy, international justice and cooperation, peacebuilding, and green development while cutting security assistance and weapons sales to human rights abusers and urgency of transforming the United States and global economies away from fossil fuels to mitigate climate change while building a more equitable economy, advancing global reproductive and gender justice, and better-promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the national security workforce. H. Res. 877 has 19 cosponsors, not counting Jayapal herself.
READ MORE: Press Release
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The 2015 Paris Agreement left cutting military greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the discretion of individual nations. Militaries are major emitters and should not be excluded from GHG reduction targets. Governments must demonstrate their commitment to the Paris targets by setting military GHG reduction targets at COP26. Militaries and the industries that support them can no longer be viewed as exceptional and must take urgent and significant action to reduce their GHG emissions and environmental bootprint.
In order for governments commitments to reducing military GHG emission to be credible and meaningful, they must:
- Set clear GHG emission reduction targets for the military that are consistent with the 1.5ºC target specified by the 2015 Paris Agreement;
- Commit to GHG emission reporting mechanisms that are robust, comparable and transparent, are based on the GHG protocol, and which are independently verified;
- Set clear targets for the military to conserve energy, reduce reliance on fossil fuels and switch to environmentally responsible renewable energy;
- Publish GHG reduction policies, strategies and action plans, with annual follow-up reporting on performance;
- Commit to incorporating climate and environmental assessments in decision-making for all procurement, activities and missions;
- Highlight the relationship between climate change and environmental degradation, and demonstrate a commitment to reducing the overall environmental impact of all military activities and missions.
READ MORE: COP 26 Call for Action
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COVID Defense Act (H.R. 5461)
Congressman Mark Pocan (WI)introduced this act to rescind 1.3 percent of total defense spending and authorize the same amount for international COVID vaccine production and distribution. The bill currently has 25 cosponsors.
READ MORE: Press Release
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Reducing the Military Carbon Footprint (H.R. 767)
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) calls for a Congressional resolution aimed at monitoring and reducing the military carbon footprint, which is the single largest institution emitting greenhouse gases in the world. It also calls for the military to set reduction targets in line with the goals under the 2015 Paris Agreement and the National Defense Authorization Act of 2022.
UPDATE: As of October 20th, 2021, the bill has passed the house and has been placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders.
READ MORE: Resolution Text
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Back from the Brink Initiative
With the real and growing threat of nuclear war, Back from the Brink is a national grassroots campaign seeking the abolition of nuclear weapons and fundamental change in U.S. nuclear weapons policy, such as negotiations to eliminate weapons and adopting key policies to reduce the danger of nuclear ware while these negotiations proceed.
UPDATE: As of September 30, 2021, the initiative was submitted to the President and Congress with over 300 signatures of local elected leaders from 41 states.
READ MORE: Back from the Brink Website
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PSR Signed Letter to House of Representative and Senate Regarding Opposition of National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (H.R. 4350)
Amendment 1, led by Representative Barbara Lee, would overturn the nearly $25 billion increase that the House Armed Services Committee added to the Pentagon topline during markup of the NDAA. Amendment 2, led by Representative Mark Pocan, would go further by reducing the topline by 10 percent from the authorized level, exempting military personnel and the Defense Health Program. The amendments unfortunately all failed. The Barbara Lee Amendment to cut money to the Pentagon request by Congress got the most votes.
UPDATE: As of September 23, 2021, the act has passed the House and is currently being considered by the Senate.
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PSR Signed Letter to House of Representative and Senate Regarding Opposition of Nuclear Power Subsides
Legislation for the reconciliation package (S.2291/H.R.4024) and the bipartisan infrastructure bill would grant up to $50 billion to prop up old, uneconomical nuclear reactors for the next decade. Electricity generated by these reactors will need to be replaced by renewable energy in the coming years so spending money to prolong their operation has an opportunity cost of dollars, jobs, and environmental pollution. Bailing out nuclear power plants misdirects resources while perpetuating climate injustice.
Nuclear Information and Resource Service: Crunching the Numbers: How Much Would a National Nuclear Bailout Cost?
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PSR Signs Endorsement for Jayapal Nuclear Letter
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) wrote a letter to President Biden urging him to use the forthcoming Nuclear Posture Review to set a nuclear strategy that aims to limit the role of nuclear weapons in our national security, reduce unnecessary spending, and set the stage for progress toward a recent agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin to pursue additional arms control and risk reduction measures.
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Investing in Cures Before Missiles Act (ICBM) (Senate: S.982. House: H.R.2227)
Representative Ro Khanna and Senator Ed Markey are working together to introduce this new ICBM Act, which aligns with our Back from the Brink campaign’s call to “cancel enhanced nuclear weapons.” The legislation would essentially redirect funds from destabilizing new weapons systems (such as the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent [GBSD] replacement for aging Minuteman III ICBMs and new W87-1 warhead) toward conducting research for the development of a universal coronavirus vaccine, and methods to combat emerging and zoonotic infectious diseases that pose the potential for future pandemics.
UPDATE: As of 3/25/2021 the ICBM Act has been read twice and referred to the Committee on Armed Services.
One-page ICBM Act factsheet from Representative Ro Khanna and Senator Ed Markey. Thank you Tri-Valley Cares!
Text of the ICBM Act. The text is the same for S.982 and H.R.2227.
Airforce Magazine, May 17, 2021: Garamendi: Pause GBSD As Other Nuclear Modernization Efforts Proceed