San Francisco –
Rainforest Action Network (RAN) organized protests in 15 U.S. cities
today targeting several of the world’s biggest financial institutions
for their contributions to global warming by providing financial
support to new coal development. The series of actions was part of Step
it Up 2007!, the largest national day of action to stop global warming
in U.S. history.
RAN activists engaged in a range of creative protests to raise
awareness about the financial institutions’ role in promoting and
profiting from climate-changing technologies. Actions included dressing
as “Billionaires for Coal” and delivering bags of coal to the banks;
performing “Cough-Ins;” congratulating banks for placing profits ahead
of human health and the environment; staging a “Coffin for Coal”
procession through downtown Washington, D.C.; and performing theatrical
demonstrations featuring coal miners showing the dirty consequences of
“From the shores of California to the heart of New York’s financial
district, citizens are sending the message that new, dirty coal
plants have no place in our modern economy,” said RAN’s Executive
Director Michael Brune. “We are proud to take part in this historic day
of action on climate change, which our society’s political and
corporate leaders will be hard-pressed to ignore.”
RAN’s demonstrations in New York City, Washington, D.C., Boston and
elsewhere coincided with thousands of other events planned for today
and tomorrow as part of Step It Up!. The banks targeted by RAN – which
included Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley,
JPMorgan Chase, Credit Suisse and Lehman Brothers – are among the
leading financiers of new, polluting coal-fired power plants and the
coal companies that supply them.
More than 150 new coal-fired power plants are currently being
proposed throughout the U.S. at a projected cost of $125 billion. The
antiquated technology used by the plants will emit millions of tons of
carbon dioxide – and other dangerous toxins such as mercury – into the
atmosphere annually. In addition, the coal needed to fuel them is
extracted at enormous social and environmental cost. RAN is urging
banks to follow the recommendations of NASA’s chief climate scientist,
Dr. James Hansen, who has called for a moratorium on all new coal-fired
power plants. A United Nations scientific panel that spent two years
studying the issue also recommended against further development and
construction of conventional coal-fired power plants.
Today’s protests took place in Washington, D.C.; New York, N.Y.;
Boston, Mass.; San Francisco, Calif.; Houston, Texas; Fort Worth,
Texas; Austin, Texas; Detroit, Mich.; Portland, Ore.; Providence, R.I.;
Columbus, Ohio; Athens, Ohio.; Berkeley, Calif.; Santa Cruz, Calif.;
Madison, N.J.; and Sarasota, Fla. More than 1,300 other climate-related
demonstrations will take place tomorrow throughout the nation.
For more information, visit www.RAN.org.
For more information on Step It Up’s National Day of Climate Action, visit www.stepitup2007.org.