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Big Green Groups sell out the climate with industry alliance!?!

What do some of the worst polluters and human rights abusing companies in the world (General Electric, DuPont, Alcoa, Caterpillar, Duke Energy, PG&E, FPL Group,PNM Resources, BP, and Lehman Brothers) have to do with some big green groups like Environmental Defense, Natural Resources Defense Council, Pew Center on Global Climate Change, and World ResourcesInstitute? Does a high profile alliance between the biggest, most toxic companies in the world with the most sellout of the US "enviros", announced days before Bush's state of the union address and days after a dozen odd energy and climate bills were proposed in congress scare the crap outta anyone besides me? Also, if you haven't been following it, things are moving very, very quickly on the legislative front: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/18/washington/18climate.html Beware the fine print......
They have just formed the "United States Climate Action Partnership" with the goal of presenting a "unified front" on climate change issues.... Not much about this outside the corporate media coverage thus far....which I'd trust (especially in this case!) not much at all -- please post something if you can find it!

homepage: homepage: http://www.risingtidenorthamerica.org

(Political) Reality Check 19.Jan.2007 17:25

radical and real

duh

With Democrats taking Congress, threatening to take the White House and climate the biggest new issue (to mainstream America) this year, did you think industry was going to sit the next two years out? The IPCC will put out the most important climate report ever on Feb 2. The science will just get worse every month. It is obviously time for a deal. Big biz would rather cut back a little now than wait for the (political) dam to break two to three years down the road.

But of course radicals would never sully their pure hands by involving themselves in that very compromising activity known as legislation. We'll just sit back, call people names, put on roadshows for ourselves and act horrified while the situation moves forward without us making a dent. We will have no meaningful analysis of cap and trade. We will decry any measure that doesn't shut down the entire global economy overnight. We will badmouth biofuels, nuclear, and probably even wind and solar without any hard look at actual effects.

Here's my advice instead: realize that Congress actually matters. Look at the bills that are out there and decide for yourself if one is better than another. Figure out how it can be better still and start being a citizen as defined in that imperfect Constiitution.

I figure the Boxer-Sanders bill is a dream compared to what we are likely to get. Let's support that legislation by citing specific science (Hansen is a great start) about why the other bills are inadequate. It should be easy to take out Bingaman, but McCain is going get a hearing. Dare to call Members of Congress and be polite and informed. Actually study the facts and write a letter. That's what corporations do and that is why they can get their way even when their way is patently not in the best interest of the people.

Yes, they have more money. Our only hope is to be better organized. Not more alarmed.

welll 20.Jan.2007 00:09

A Rising Tider contact ---at--- risingtidenorthamerica.org

Sure it's no surprise, but the "we will decry any measure that doesn't shut down the entire global economy overnight" is a straw man, and you are seriously kidding yourself if you think having biofuels, nuclear, and the status quo cap and trade programs on the table are workable options.

There's good reasons to be extremely cautious about these bills -- without exception.

1st and foremost we need (through legislation, social momentum, direct action, whatever) to reduce consumption.
2nd we need to focus on efficiency.

Then, only after giving those 1st two notions highest priority in all efforts, lets talk about alternative fuels. These first two steps are so often forgotten because they can't make money like nuclear and biofuels can. When we talk about being against corporate driven solutions to climate change there's a reason above and beyond ideology alone.

If that's radical fine, but really it seems to me it's just hard science and common sense.

NUCLEAR:
I'm tempted to not even going to respond to the idea that we should expand nuclear. For starters, just on the practicality side, there isn't even close to enough nuclear fuel to make a dent in our energy usage and it takes 10 years to bring a plant on line. Not to mention radioactive accidents and nuclear waste disposal - or are we just going to keep dumping it on the poor people of the world?

BIOFUELS:
The mass production of biofuels currently proposed (e.g., biodiesel and ethanol) will INCREASE not decrease global warming. There's really no serious debate about even on the purely practical level. Biofuels = more agriculture = more deforestation = less carbon sequestration = more global warming.

There's a great intro to the issue here:  link to climatechangeaction.blogspot.com has lots more.

Not to mention the impacts on biodiversity and people's livelihoods that would be caused by the conversion of a huge chunk of the planet to biofuels production (which would be needed to make a big dent in oil consumption. Not to mention it takes a ton of energy to grow biofuels.

CARBON TRADING:
This is a much more complex issue than I can summarize right now, but I'd like everyone who thinks it's great idea to spend some time here:  http://www.carbontradewatch.org/ and then get back in touch....


Thanks for the conversation 20.Jan.2007 10:09

r&r

I'm all for a reduction in consumption and efficiency. That is how I and most people who read this site live our lives. But it doesn't mean a thing in the globabl climate arena if the other 99% continue with the status quo. I can see employing regulation to create` efficiency. Seriously raising CAFE standards is a no-brainer as just one example. But are the libertarian and anarchists among us now advocating for Federal regulation of consumption? Gas ration cards? Big brother telling us what we can and can't manufacture and purchase? Voluntary consumption reductions are not what this country or western civilization are about.

The only way consumption will come down is when it becomes more expensive. A far better way to express this is to say, goods and services need to reflect their true externalities. In other words, we have to stop subsidizing fossil fuel and start having the cost of fossil fuel use reflected in the price of products. That can happen with a real cap and trade program. I believe that the consensus is that it has worked fairly well for sulphur dioxide.

I don't like it from a philosophical position but I think it will beat the hell of 550 ppm of atmospheric CO2. I think the Boxer-Sanders bill seeks to pull the cap down to cut 80% of emissions. That strikes me as serious and any scheme that can pull that off in the USA without fascism deserves a serious look. It is so much more likely than your suggestion for legislation to reduce consumption.

The comment about global capitalism is not a straw man. That is the continual suggestion from the far left and radicals. We constantly say that the only way to address climate is to chuck capitalism. That might be true but if we wait till that happens there might not be much left to save. The capitalists have most of the guns and are winning the brainwashing game.

Your comment about dumping nuclear waste on the poor is just not true. Not in this country. The vast majority of nuclear waste continues to be managed on site where it was created. Not in ghettos or on reservations. I hate the idea of nuclear power and have true admiration for the generation of activists that successfully fought it. Nonetheless, I'm not sure that the species of the world, not to mention humans wouldn't have been far better off if most of today's coal-fired plants had never been built and nuclear reactors had. As for fuel, I think a few of the newer pebble-bed breeder reactors sprinkled into the mix can produce enough fuel (and yes, far more dangerous waste) to meet even our stupid American "needs."

On biofuels, even if we used every bit of our corn crop to make ethanol we could only satisfy 16% of current petroleum demand. Ah, but if we cut demand by 80% under cap and trade or by some other regulation, biofuels could be important. There are serious issues around the cost of food, no doubt, but that will especially effect the costs of meat, dairy and processed (think corn syrup) foods. Anyway, that is already happening whether you like it or not. As to the energy efficiency issues, I've seen the studies from Cornell. They stand alone in saying that biofuels are a net climate loser. Most other studies disagree and noone have yet looked at biofuel from organic ag.

I appreciate your lead on the carbontradewatch link but frankly, it was more rhetoric than facts and it doesn't seem like more of our typical rhetoric is making much of a difference.

Join Us in Exposing their Agenda. 21.Jan.2007 18:37

Cascadia's Ecosystem Advocates tsuga@efn.org

Here in Oregon we are the only group with the Native Forest Council that seems to be addressing forest biomass extraction on public lands, fire fuels logging of every stick of understory vegetation in native forests, and native forest protection equals real carbon sequestering not new tree farms.

We need your help if you are here in the west and want to join us in becoming a united voice to oppose the big green sellouts by playing hard ball with the politicians and the the big (add the the Nature Conservancy) and littler green sellouts.

Contact us and really get involved.