Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Sunday, June 28, 2009

CLIMATE CHANGE BILL PROVES TO BE AN ILLUSION

The House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act the other day by a slim 219-212 majority.

Was it a win or a loss for the Climate Change movement? Depends on who you listen to.

Almost immediately after the vote I got an email from the environmental coalition called 1Sky which said, "Thousands of activists across the country made a difference improving the bill and in securing this vote... We fought hard for and were pleased by the strengthening amendments that Chairman Waxman secured, which authorizes but does not confirm, more than $30 billion in additional funds and loans to ensure increased efficiency, investments in renewable energy, and research and development in regions with undiscovered renewable energy potential."

One of the few Democrats to vote against the bill was Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) who said about the bill, "It won’t address the problem. In fact, it might make the problem worse."

Kucinich maintained, "“It sets targets that are too weak, especially in the short term, and sets about meeting those targets through Enron-style accounting methods. It gives new life to one of the primary sources of the problem that should be on its way out– coal – by giving it record subsidies. And it is rounded out with massive corporate giveaways at taxpayer expense...Nuclear power is given a lifeline instead of phasing it out...The bill allows polluting industries to qualify as 'renewable energy'... I offered eight amendments and cosponsored two more that collectively would have turned the bill into an acceptable starting point. All amendments were not allowed to be offered to the full House [by the Democratic Party leadership]."

“Passing a weak bill today gives us weak environmental policy tomorrow,” said Kucinich.

Another source I respect is Ted Glick, the Policy Director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, who has been a key player in the last couple of years in the effort to get the environmental movement out on the streets for protests and civil disobedience against the coal industry power in Congress.

Ted is not happy with the bill and suggested that, "many groups have to be less willing to align so closely with the desires of the Democratic Party leadership, more willing to say 'no' when asked to support a really bad political compromise."

It is obvious that many environmental groups caved under pressure to support the corporate-dominated bill out of fear that their funders, tied to the Democrats, would punish them for going against the party. Many of these same organizations claim, mistakenly, that they have "access" to the Democrats, they will be listened to, and they can shape policy. It's obvious that their cozy-up-to-the-Democrats strategy does not work.

1Sky says they stood up to the "Big Oil and Coal" lobbies. It looks to me like they got bulldozed by them. As long as they hang onto the coattails of the Democratic Party nothing will change.

Dennis Kucinich says the bill "kicks the can down the road." Those who understand the reality of climate change know we don't have time to play kick the can.

Those organizations that support this kind of corporate dominated policy making don't deserve our support or our donations.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, this bill is so weak and full of loopholes that I'll bet it causes a net increase in Carbon emissions. I'm so upset by this disaster that I will remember this when it comes time to vote for my Democratic rep.

6/28/09, 7:09 PM  
Anonymous Elli Davis said...

Hi Bruce,

I recently read that the Greenpeace said they'd rather no bill than the bill that passed a few days ago. So who is this bill actually good for it organization as such refuses to support this legislative?

Canada passed the bill in April, but our bill is much more strict in the terms of cutting the production of CO2. The US bill just doesn't seem right no matter from what side you're looking at it.

Elli

6/29/09, 4:00 AM  

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