The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Orin Langelle, Global Justice Ecology Project +1.802.578.6980
Ananda Lee  Tan, Mobilization for Climate Justice West Coast +1.415.374.0615/+
Hallie Boas, New Voices on Climate Change Coordinator +1.415.336.6590
Rachel Smolker, Climate SOS +1.802.735.7794
Abigail Singer, Mobilization for Climate Justice Co-Coordinator +1.828.280.3462

Actions Spreading Across the U.S. Against Corporate-Driven Climate Policy


groups protest the Pittsburgh International Coal Conference days before
the G-20 arrives in the city, additional actions against U.S. climate
policy and the fossil fuels industry took place on both the east and
west coasts.

In New York City, Climate SOS, New York Climate Action Group and 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 [1] 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

Meanwhile on the west coast, the Mobilization for Climate Justice also
took action in San Francisco against the corporate-driven U.S. climate
bill. Activists blocked four lanes of traffic with a parachute-shaped
banner which read "Climate Justice or Climate Chaos." "If Congress
wants to protect the public interest, they would never consider
adopting the current climate bill (ACESA) that was written by big oil
and energy corporations in the first place," said Carla Perez of the Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project.
"Cap and Trade legislation coupled with direct subsidies to oil, coal,
nuclear, bio-fuels and incinerator industries will only serve to add
hundreds of toxic smokestacks in our backyards, she added."

Back in Pittsburgh, climate activists met in Schenley Park to set up
the climate convergence--a space to talk about issues related to
climate change and climate justice. Part of this effort includes the New Voices on Climate Change program of Global Justice Ecology Project. Anna Pinto, from CORE
in India, who came to the U.S. for a speaking tour as part of the New
Voices on Climate Change program [2] , explained why opening space to
discuss climate justice is so important. "Climate justice is not
abstract. It's practical, it's about survival. It's about need against
greed," Ms. Pinto explained. "Is it worth it to have three cars today
to have your children die of horrible diseases tomorrow? Both the
United States and Indian governments are pandering to the greed of
industrialists and financiers rather than enabling ordinary people to
provide for their needs," she concluded.

Indigenous Environmental Network's
Jihan Gearon, another New Voices on Climate Change participant, added
her view on the centrality of climate justice within the discussion of
climate change in the U.S. "From extraction to transportation to
refinement to distribution to consumption to storage, Indigenous
Peoples are disproportionately impacted all along this road of
destruction. The end result is contaminated and diminished food and
water resources, forced removals, increased rates of illness and
gridlocked economies," she explained.

"Global warming and climate change pose yet another serious threat. The
land of the Indigenous people in the arctic is literally melting under
their feet, disrupting the lifecycles of the plants and animals they
depend on, and forcing coastal and island communities to abandon their
homes and traditional lands. What happens to a culture when the land
and environment it stems from no longer exists? Even more frightening
is that the proposed solutions to climate change, such as carbon
trading, nuclear power, and 'clean' coal technologies, will only
exacerbate the problems we face," she added.

The repression experienced by indigenous and marginalized communities
around the world due to climate change and the fossil fuel economy is
today being echoed in Pittsburgh as a result of the same G-20 countries
that are the main drivers of climate change. Activists with the Three Rivers Climate Convergence and Seeds of Peace have been harassed and arrested numerous times over the past few weeks in the build up to the G-20 meetings later this week.

Protests across the U.S. demanding real, effective and just action on
climate are expected to continue throughout the fall, to culminate on
November 30th with massive non-violent civil disobedience actions
nationally and internationally.

November 30th is significant as it is both the tenth anniversary of the
historic shutdown of the WTO (World Trade Organization) meetings in
Seattle and exactly one week before the UN Climate Conference in
Copenhagen, where world leaders will meet to hammer out a new global
agreement on climate.

Activists are joining together around the world to ensure that any new
agreement on climate is devoted to real and just action to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions, and not focused on corporate-controlled,
profit-oriented false solutions to climate change. Massive protests
are being organized by the international network Climate Justice Action
to occur during the UN meeting in Copenhagen, which some activists have
begun to call "CorporateHaven" due to the overwhelming influence of
industry in the climate debate.

What differentiates Global Justice Ecology Project from most groups is our holistic approach to organizing. We believe that the compartmentalization of issues is enabling corporations and conservative forces to keep movements for change divided and powerless. We strive to identify and address the common roots to the issues of social injustice, ecological destruction and economic domination as a means to achieve a fundamental transformation toward a society based on egalitarian ideals and grounded in ecology.