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Scientists, Activists Protest Corporate Control Over Climate Policy

September 23, 2009

From the Mobilization for Climate Justice:

Bryant Park – Climate SOS, New York Climate Action Group, and members of Rising Tide North America protested what they called “a greenwashed U.S. climate agenda” at the opening of NYC Climate Week. Activists distributed their version of the ACESA (American Clean Energy and Security Act) bill to event attendees and media in the form of fake $2 trillion bills which subtly depict a collusion of prominent Green NGOs (NRDC, the Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense Fund among others) with corporate backers of the bill (BP, Shell, Dow, and others). Climate SOS organizers Dr. Rachel Smolker and Dr. Maggie Zhou engaged ceremony patrons with a pointed critique of the bill’s corporate-friendly implications.
Citing the overwhelming embrace of business CEOs at the upcoming climate summit, largely closed to the public, Smolker states:
“At the national and international level, special interest corporate lobbyists have held a stranglehold on climate policymaking. “Solutions” being offered are those most profitable and convenient to corporate polluters and their acquiescent faux ‘Green’ NGO allies. The panoply of cap-and-trade, emissions offsets, genetically engineered organisms, and carbon capture and sequestration technology (CCS) form a pipe-dream constellation of false solutions. That these proposals are not met with the critique or rejection offered by scientists and grassroots movements illustrates the privileged access of corporations to the halls of the US Congress and the UN.”


This focus on corporate-friendly solutions is leading us to certain annihilation,” states Dr. Maggie Zhou of the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities. The recently passed House climate bill HR 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACESA), has been described by eminent world climatologist James Hansen “worse for the environment than doing nothing.” So many concessions were offered as it went through the House of Representatives that the bill was rendered entirely inadequate, setting weak targets that rely on risky market based cap-and-trade which has already proven itself failed in Europe. So many offsets are proposed that no real reductions would occur for nearly 25 years. Meanwhile, the US claims to be providing international leadership! We are in a crisis that threatens all of life on this planet, and yet the priority seems to be supporting corporate welfare and creating new markets rather than saving ourselves.”
Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, activists make a similar statement on the occasion of the international coal conference and the G20. Three rivers climate convergence organizer Kim Teplitzky stated “The Coal Conference and the G-20 are a series of closed door meetings designed to further the same destructive systems that caused our current economic and climate crises, we want an end to these failed polices and institutions and instead solutions that value the health and safety of the 6 billion people of the world, not just the wallets of the few profiting from polluting our land, air and water.”
The same sentiment was echoed at a climate camp in Richmond, California organized by the Mobilization for Climate Justice west, which is planning an action at the Chevron refinery there today. The statement from the MCJ west stated, “OUR CLIMATE IS NOT THEIR BUSINESS! Corporations have no place in domestic or international climate policy development. We need just and science-based climate policy, not the bill currently in Congress.”
“Yes”, adds Dr. Smolker, “it is time that the interests of indigenous peoples, the poor, those living on melting ice and sinking islands, people coping with imminent hunger, and the public at large be granted full participation in policy decisions, while corporate CEO’s protest outside these events.”
Organizational Links & Info:
Climate SOS.org – http://www.climatesos.org
Mass. Coalition for Healthy Communities http://www.securegreenfuture.org
Rising Tide North America.org – http://www.risingtidenorthamerica.org
For information on activist responses to International Coal Conference
and G20 upcoming in Pittsburgh:
http://3riversconvergence.org/press
For a sense of the corporate lobbying on climate policy:
http://www.publicintegrity.org/articles/entry/1609/

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