Tagged ‘ / 1Sky‘

Letter to Bill McKibben | | Communication & Discussion on Orion

From: Lorna Salzman <lsalzman1>

Date: July 30, 2010 1:43:59 PM EDT

To: wmckibbe

Subject: Green Council Eco-PAC petition sent to you in Dec. 2008

Dear Bill:

Thanks for your response on the Orion site. See my response to it.

Meanwhile, here is what I sent you on Dec. 16, 2008. You might consider making this the main activity of, since it is the US congress that will be deciding the fate of the earth. Or do you disagree?

Feel free to adopt it for your campaign.

The printed version, for activists’ use on the ground, was intended to be prefaced by a statement that those signing the petition vowed to support any candidate for congress that supports these positions, and to oppose (or run against) anyone NOT supporting them. This is the ultimatum we need to give to congress.

In addition, those signing would be asked to write to their representatives informing them that they will vote for them or against them depending on whether they support these positions.

It probably needs tweaking now: to specify cap-and-dividend, and to reduce CO2 down to 300 ppm. While it does not include a ban on nuclear power loan guarantees or tax breaks, this can be added. Scientist George Hendrey of Queens College endorsed it, but it has not been circulated widely yet. Perhaps can do that, after it changes its name to

Best regards

(distributed by Green Council, December 2008. The web site was never completed).

This is our short petition/purpose, which will be the central part of our Eco-PAC that we will be initiating shortly on our web site. Note that in addition to stressing renewable energy, it addresses the things that need to be done to reduce energy consumption and provide incentives for renewables –  mandatory efficiency standards, end of fossil subsidies, carbon taxes, stopping carbon trading, etc. Unless we do these things we will never be able to bring renewables on line fast enough. We urge all groups to adopt these positions in their own work……LS (for Green Council)


Credible scientists and climate studies are urging a reduction in CO2 emissions by 80% over the coming decade in order to prevent the “tipping point” – a 2 degree Celsius increase in average global temperature which could throw the planet into a new climate regime, with catastrophic consequences for humans and global ecosystems. Unless we stabilize energy use immediately and cut it sufficiently to reduce the average global CO2 concentration to 350 ppm as urged by the science community, we face dire social and economic chaos.

Therefore, we undersigned citizens urge our government to embark on a massive “Manhattan Project” to curb energy use rapidly and substantially through various means:

ending tax breaks and subsidies to fossil fuels, including corn-based ethanol; taxing all fossil fuels and rebating revenues to citizens; accelerating renewable energy technologies and incentives; rejecting cap and trade; imposing a national gasoline tax so price equals that of western Europe; mandatory energy efficiency standards for vehicles, buildings, appliances, and industry; ban construction of new fossil fuel plants unless 100% carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is achieved; phase out existing coal plants within ten years; prohibit direct and indirect support for fossil fuel plants abroad; fund and expand public transportation (Amtrak, regional and local light rail)international sanctions and wood tariffs to prevent deforestation; impose Border Tax Adjustment (BTA) to place tariffs on high carbon-footprint imports;

COMMENTS: (to read all comments visit:

21 linda on Aug 01, 2010

Thanks, Ms. Salsman, for raising this critical and constructive criticism of the 350 brand. For years, I’ve been a member of 350 and have urged the ‘leadership’ to add substance to our feel-good efforts. McKibben has been taking the high-profile easy way out of challenging inadequate climate policy coming out of the US Congress. While rallying people and speaking on CNN, he has refused to name a single sponsor of legislation which clearly aimed for stabilization targets much much greater than 350 parts per million. Why? Is he a weakling? Are his Rockerfeller Brothers sponsors telling him not to make too much (effective) noise but to spin wheels as much as he wants? Is he too chicken to unmask the grossly deficient pork barrel climate bills known as Waxman-Markey, Kerry-Boxer, Kerry-Lieberman-Graham, and Cantwell’s CLEAR by naming those legislators and thereby having an effect on them? Why is he willing to ignore the many members of who give such recommendations and who come away from a march with unfocused demands for ‘fair, ambitious, and binding’climate action feeling unsatisfied,  frightened, and a bit silly with the way that such calls are immediately coopted by Senators pushing nukes, clean coal, more offshore drilling more hydrocarbon extraction and carbon markets?

22 Lorna Salzman on Aug 01, 2010

It is dismaying to discover Rockefeller Brothers Fund money supporting but not surprising.  The history of American grant making is a sordid one that has studiously avoided funding any group that might contradict the purpose of these foundations: to fend off serious challenges to the status quo or serious critiques of crucial societal issues like global warming. Small wonder that they would open their purses to which has yet to address thedominant paradigm of endless, mindless economic growth and consumption. It is discouraging to see nonprofit groups taking money from those whose interests lie in perpetuating the precise problems they are supposed to be addressing and solving. This is not the first time nor, tragically, the last that leadership in the environmental community has been prevented from initiating any meaningful action.  It is time for the rest of us to look elsewhere for the principled independent leadership we deserve. We can’t find it in congress and we can’t even find it among our ranks. Isn’t it time to get mad and not take it any more?

25 mike k on Aug 02, 2010

Lorna Salzman is right on target.  Throwing pebbles at tanks is great heart-warming theater, but it is totally inadequate to stop a powerful force like the corporate/military industrial/energy monopoly/ fascist government complex that rules the United States.  If you are still dreaming that your colorful kumbaya demonstrations are more than futile exercises waisting what could be energies mobilized to stop the Goliath that bestrides our world, then your first task should be to wake up and get real about what it will take to change our world from its current death march to extinction.

It is hard to criticize a love-able, sincere man like Bill McKibben, but this kind of clear opposition needs to be brought to bear on such a waste of precious possibilities.  “Solutions” that are nothing more than a toothless charade should be abandoned in favor of a movement that speaks and acts the only language our enemies understand: power.  Thank you Lorna Salzman for speaking truth to power, and pointing out a more realistic direction for our efforts.

EnviroActivists Continue to Push for Meaningful Campaigns

From: Lorna Salzman <>

Date: July 17, 2010 5:35:52 PM EDT


Subject: we don’t know where stands on energy

Dear Phil at

If you look at my Open Letter to Bill McKibben in the May 3rd issue of The Nation, you will see my concerns about and its leadership.

How can you or Bill purport to build a citizen’s grassroots movement of any kind unless you actually TAKE POSITIONS ON PROPOSED LEGISLATION? Or unless you come up with alternatives? Or unless you tell citizens what you want them to do?

You haven’t done any of this. You just repeat over and over the need for tough serious legislation to get us back down to 350 ppm. But you don’t tell congress what you want them to do to accomplish this. You don’t tell citizens what needs to be done, or NOT done.’s intentions aren’t clear at all. You lead the horse to water and then there isn’t any water there.

I don’t understand where McKibben is coming from or what he expects to accomplish. All his statements are vague, unfocused, general, at a time when we need a strong clear statement. It isn’t clear whether you actually support the legislation in congress, oppose it, or have an alternative.

Why haven’t you prepared your own energy legislation? If you had done this a couple of years ago, you would have had plenty of time to rally the public around it, to tell them to what to do, to provide an alternative voice and platform for the public and the media.

Today it is too late to do this. If you want to regain any credibility, the best thing you could do would be to support Rising Tide and ClimateSOS and come out fighting in opposition to this phony legislation that will actually make it HARDER to get anywhere near But you probably know this already, or should know it.

So why don’t you get off the dime and slug it out with the phonies in Congress? Show some muscle? Show some principle? Show that you know what is going on in DC and that it won’t work? How can you NOT come out and oppose ANY legislation that does not contain specific policies and actions that you know will make a difference?

A carbon tax? Shutting down coal plants…which Jim Hansen says must be our first order of business? Ending all fossil fuel subsidies and tax breaks? A bill with mandatory energy efficiency standards and measures? Surely you know these must be done.

Yet Bill just mumbles that old cliche about “putting a price on carbon”. Is that all he can say? Hey, there IS a price on carbon already. It’s about $3 a ton….and we need a price of $100 a ton or more. Even the existing proposal for cap and trade puts a top limit on the price of carbon.And you have nothing to say about this? WHY?

I dont’ get it. What do you have to lose? Your job? No. Your reputation? That can only improve. What is the paralysis that has gripped McKibben and You tell us there is a crisis but your response is commensurate with a cup of spilled milk. Flab and gab.

I don’t agree with Romm on cap and trade but he will wipe the floor with McKibben in the debate. And rightly so. We have all been conned. is nothing more than a virtual blog. A failure.

Lorna Salzman

Letter to Bill McKibben | | Hey, have you noticed the climate is changing?

From: Lorna Salzman <lsalzman1>

Date: July 9, 2010 9:57:02 AM EDT

To: organizers

Subject: Hey, have you noticed the climate is changing?


I know it’s a hot summer and you need to stay cool near your A/C, but this is ridiculous. As the oil companies continue to reap in tens of billions of dollars in tax breaks, congress wimps out on a carbon tax, gasoline is one=third what it costs in Europe, and we face a 4 degree celsius increase in average global temperature, you guys are busy wanking about solar collectors on the White House.

You probably saw my Open Letter to Bill McKibben in the May 3rd issue of The Nation. If not, let me reiterate my main points: that considering the anxious tone of McKibben’s books and articles, he still doesn’t think it is important to actually TAKE POSITIONS ON ENERGY POLICY, much less tell his followers what they should do.

McKibben has gotten lots of awards but the one he really deserves is the one for Wussmanship. Here is someone who pretends to be a leader but flops around and wimps out. He hasn’t had one significant thing to say about the scam that passes for energy legislation. He doesn’t say he supports it nor will he say what is wrong with it. All he does is send out emails to justify the grants that dumb donors and funders send him, grateful that he isn’t telling everyone the ugly truth about Obama and the Democrats.

And we all know what’s wrong with this legislation. We’ve known for three years that the Democrats were fussing over where to move the armchair and whether to put the sofa against that other wall, moving the deck chairs around on the Titanic as they say. So let me ask you what I, in my former civility didn’t ask: have the Democrats gotten to McKibben? Has he gotten friendly phone calls from Joe Romm or Rahm Emmanuel or Steve Chu, telling him how great he is, inviting him for a drink at a yuppie wine bar in Georgetown, and buttering him up so he won’t blast their crappy energy bill? Is he in the pay, literally or figuratively, of the Democrats?

If not, then the conclusion is even worse: that McKibben is a 90 pound weakling who is letting the Democrats kick sand in his face on the beach, as they walk away to the bank with hush money from the energy industry. Or maybe he really just doesn’t give a weasel’s butt what happens as long as he can occupy his rarified, remote and ineffective spot as the purported leader of the environmental community.

Which is it,Bill? Will the real Bill stand up? You aren’t a leader. You are an obstacle. Time to retire and tend your garden and stop promoting yourself and as anything but a feel-good virtual campaign that lets you sleep at night instead of worrying how the administration will deal with you should you dare to open your mouth and tell the truth. isn’t “people powered”. It is powered by the methane from Vermonters…and I don’t mean cows.

Lorna Salzman

Dear Friends,

Washington DC is in the grip of an epic heat wave as I write these words. It hasn’t been enough to get our Senators and Congressmen to do anything about the climate crisis, but it is a constant reminder of the sun’s power, going to waste.

We thought we all could do something about that this summer, so today we’re launching a little campaign asking President Obama to put solar panels on the roof of the White House. It’s easy to sign on–just click the following link to add your name.

This new campaign is part of our huge push towards the 10/10/10 Global Work Party, where millions of people in 114 countries (and counting!) have already signed up to do something sustainable in their communities on that October day. We hope the president will join in both the work and the party, and help install those panels–if you agree, we’ve made it incredibly simple for you to send along your invitation. Just click here. And just so you don’t think we’re singling out the president, we’re launching this same campaign today in every other country in the world.

President Obama won’t, of course, be doing much to solve climate change with just that one act alone. We really need him to push for comprehensive laws that put a price on carbon and wean us off coal and oil–push much harder than he has so far. We’re a little worried that the Obama administration will use their new solar panels to claim that they’re sincere about climate change without working to pass the legislation and enact the regulations that really matter–none of us wants to be used for a photo opportunity. That’s why the message we’ll all be sending is: you’ve taken symbolic action, so now get to work on the real thing.

And the symbolic action is important. Solar panels sat on the roof of the White House during the Carter administration, but were pulled down by the next occupant of the building, and never replaced. That sent a simple message: renewable energy didn’t really matter. (Not surprisingly, when the panels came down the subsidies for solar energy also disappeared, and now other nations are leading the way on clean energy).

We need the opposite message: every roof in the country should have solar panels–for hot water and for electricity. Panels on the White House will remind every visitor to Washington of that simple fact–it will do as much good as the wonderful organic garden that the First Lady planted on the South Lawn. (In the year since, the number of Americans with vegetable gardens grew 19%; Burpee Seeds reported sales up by a third!).

Nothing replaces legislation that really cuts carbon.

But one way to build support for those changes is to show how easy it is to start to work. So tell President Obama-it’s time to roll up those sleeves, put solar on the White House and join the Global Work Party!


Bill McKibben for

P.S. Good news arrived just as we were getting ready to launch this global campaign. President Mohammed Nasheed of the Maldives confirmed he’d be up on the roof of his official residence on 10/10/10 putting up a solar array. It’s fifteen degrees cooler today in his capital city than it is in Washington, so there’s every reason to hope President Obama will match his gesture!

Let’s Not Manifest(o) the Wrong Thing!

Let’s Not Manifest(o) the Wrong Thing!

I honestly don’t know what to do when the people who are supposed to be on “our side” (those who care about the planet and the children) don’t keep up with the science and the people’s movement — or perhaps don’t want to go out on a limb, even if it’s a limb that could safeguard the future.


A manifesto is “a public declaration of principles and intentions, often political in nature.” Just as we must be careful what we wish for, for we might get it, so we must be careful what we put into a manifesto. What if it manifests?

Someone over at has written “Manifesto: The Case for 1.5º Celsius,” in response to the developed nations “targeting” a global average temperature increase of 2.0ºC.

But 1.5ºC is simply too high! We must call for an absolute limit of 1.0ºC and no higher.

This manifesto says in part: “Acts of inhumanity come about as a result of bad decisions made by a small number of political leaders, carried out by their employees and followers, and accepted without challenge by millions of people at large….”

With all due respect to the writer, how can political leaders be blamed for today’s climate change acts of inhumanity when so many environmental NGOs insist on insisting on a limit (target???) of 1.5 degrees C, instead of the potentially lifesaving 1.0 degrees agreed to at the World People’s Conference in Cochabamba? If “the people” refuse to back “the people’s call” for a limit of 1.0 degrees, then why would governments back it? I’ll say it again: 1.5 is too high. Look at the carbon feedbacks already kicking in at 0.7!

To quote from the piece above: “I would prefer to say, ‘Let’s stop the rise at no more than 1°C.’ But I fear that it may be too late to aim for 1° now.”

NO, NO, NO. First, we must NOT “aim” for *any more* global heating. We cannot use that word! What we want is to go back down to where we started, not accept a warmed world (where carbon feedbacks are already starting). We must use the word “limit.”

Second, morally and ethically, and on behalf of all the children of all species, we must NEVER use “it may be too late” as an excuse to not demand the right thing.

And if it’s all about strategy, well then, let’s remember that “the people” have no voice in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations. Only governments have a voice and a seat at the table — and if we can get the G-77 (actually about 130 countries now) to see that a 1.0 degree limit could save those who are the most climate change vulnerable (Bangladesh and other coastal nations, small island states, glacier-dependent countries, drought- and flood-prone regions, especially in Africa), then they will want to back Bolivia’s position (1 degree limit, 300 ppm limit (no, NOT 350), zero carbon emissions, etc.), which supports the People’s Agreement, which speaks for all the people, including future generations.

The only thing that will frighten developed nations into doing the right thing (heading toward zero-carbon energy technology at war-time speed, investing in non-commercially viable technology that sucks CO2 out of the atmosphere, and sharing those technologies with developing nations) is NUMBERS (as in, millions if not billions of people turning on them). And that means that “all the people” have to get together and ask, not for what we think we can get, but for what we need to get in order to safeguard our children’s future.

An Open Letter to Bill McKibben: in The Nation May 3rd

An Open Letter and Appeal to Bill McKibben and

Dear Bill:

Many environmental activists, including myself, have applauded your work and your writings for years and we know they have had a positive impact on many members of the general public. Most recently, your organization has helped publicize the climate change issue and thus has led the mass media to an acknowledgement of the impeccable scientific argument justifying this 350 figure: a rapid reduction in atmospheric CO2 from the present 389 parts per million (ppm) back down to 350, the single most effective way available at present to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

But I am troubled by the inexplicable fact that neither you nor has proposed specific actions, policies or legislation to actually reach that goal. The need for articulating these details is especially urgent, as the U. S. congress continues to not only debate over the goal itself but has, at the urging of special interests such as the coal, nuclear and oil industries and major corporations involved in biofuels and agribusiness, de-fanged the Waxman/Markey energy bill in congress so as to minimize their own responsibilities and maximize their profits. This bill comes uncomfortably close to being a denial of the facts about global warming.

Even some of the major national environmental groups like Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Defense Fund have aligned themselves not with the best science or the public interest but with corporations in the coalition called US Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), seeking modern “indulgences”, namely carbon permit trading, called cap-and-trade, which will allow the indefinite operation of coal-fueled power plants, the major source of CO2, whose rapid shut-down should be the centerpiece of any sane energy policy. Despite such a carbon market in Europe, energy consumption there continues to rise each year.

In addition to this scheme, which will create yet another market in derivatives like the one that has shredded our economy and enriched brokers and traders, (including Al Gore, founder of a carbon trading firm), new coal-fired plants are on the drawing board, with their owners passing on the costs to the government (i.e.public) of pie-in-the-sky speculative schemes for carbon capture and storage (CCS), yet another of the ill-advised subsidies to the energy sector that keep energy too cheap to spur serious energy conservation or alternatives. All this is in addition to the tens of billions of dollars in loan guarantees that Pres. Obama is urging for nuclear reactors that the private sector, quite rationally, refuses to invest in and which are neither safe nor cheap and which will deprive renewable energy technologies of the necessary capital and public support.

The central problem, as you well know, is that none of these schemes has any chance of making a dent in the climate problem in the time frame remaining to us. Expert scientists and scientific bodies now unanimously agree that we have less than ten years to reduce the CO2 concentration to 350 ppm to avoid increasing the global temperature more than 2 degrees Centigrade above pre-industrial times.

Beyond this period, irreversible and uncontrollable feedback will occur from disappearing ice sheets, melting permafrost and ocean warming, reducing biodiversity, destroying coral reefs, acidifying the oceans, raising sea level, and leading inevitably to crises in drinking water, food production, land use and public health that will cost societies far more than it will cost to mitigate or avoid these impacts. Recent scientific conferences addressed the strong possibility that the earth’s temperature will increase within this century or soon after by up to six degrees Centigrade, a level not experienced on earth in tens of millions of years.

In this period, absent a plan to phase out existing coal plants and mandate serious cuts in energy use, fossil fuel consumption will continue to rise as it has since 1990, by 2% each year. Regrettably, renewable energy technologies, however well funded, will not become sufficiently operative in time to head off a climate emergency since it takes 50 years to completely replace an energy system and economy.

The obvious solution, urgent if only partial, is to cut energy consumption quickly and drastically in all sectors and on on all fronts, using whatever strategies are needed: a transparent carbon tax on fossil fuels at their point of extraction, production or import; an end to all fossil fuel subsidies and tax breaks; stringent mandatory energy efficiency standards and measures for all sectors, especially new construction; and gasoline rationing, among other things.

It is imperative that energy prices increase to reflect the full costs of production and their impact on the atmosphere and climate change. Cheap energy created the problem; that era must end as soon as possible.

Yet your group, 350. org, and you personally, have chosen NOT to propose any specific strategy or route to achieve that reduction down to 350 ppm. Many of us are truly puzzled, even aghast, at your reluctance to follow through in an effective and honest way.

We know that you are well informed on the issue and we see proof of your concern and dedication. You are looked to as a leader and spokesman. You influence public discourse. But all your work will come to naught if the energy legislation now in congress moves forward in its present form and your organization does not step up to the bat and help shape a serious, science-based national energy policy in Washington.

All of us need to pull together with a unified, honest and scientifically credible legislative agenda. I therefore make this personal plea to you to put your own reputation and that of on the line, and join groups like ClimateSOS and Rising Tide in opposing any legislation that includes carbon trading and fossil/nuclear energy subsidies, and which does not propose massive immediate cuts in energy consumption across the board.

Anything less than this would be intellectually dishonest on all our parts. If we truly believe that we must cut back to 350 ppm within five years, there is no alternative to shunting the existing energy legislation (ACESA) aside and replacing it with an uncompromising muscular piece of legislation. Anything else would literally doom our civilization.

Lorna Salzman

(Salzman is an environmental writer, lecturer and activist who, starting in the early 1970s worked for major national environmental organizations as well as the NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection. She was the Suffolk County Green Party candidate for congress in 2002, and in 2004 she sought the presidential nomination of the U.S. Green Party. Contributions to defray the cost of this ad are welcome; please contact the author at: lsalzman1. Her web site is:

A Cautionary Tale – Debriefing the Bolivia Climate Conference

25 April 2010

A Cautionary Tale — Debriefing the Bolivia Climate Conference

Well, the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth is now over and its success being dissected by participants from all corners of the globe. I’ve been talking with fellow participants from North America, and have learned something important.

There is a climate change campaign that (to not name names) is named after a number between 349 and 351. If I understand correctly, this number was chosen because a climate scientist was asked how many parts per million of carbon dioxide could ensure our survival, and off the cuff he mentioned that number between 349 and 351.

Now, you remember that Upton Sinclair quote from An Inconvenient Truth? “It’s difficult to get a man to understand something if his salary depends upon his not understanding it”? Well, there are lots of people now so tied into this campaign that promotes getting down to between 349 and 351 ppm that they cannot conceive of — and refused here at this conference to support — setting an even lower target of 300 ppm, which is part of the official position of Bolivia.

Imagine coming all the way to Bolivia and not supporting Bolivia’s position, which is the only one backed by the science and the only one presented to date that has any hope of safeguarding our future — and refusing to back it simply because your campaign is already in place. What a betrayal! What a lack of compassion for those who are going to be devastated first by climate catastrophe!

This admittedly highly successful social media campaign has become such a brand that its proponents are not willing to let it go. They are willing to sell out future generations so that they don’t have to use their imaginations and creativity to “rebrand” their brand and start calling for 300 ppm (or even pre-industrial levels of carbon dioxide: 278 ppm).

It was a lesson for me in the importance of being open to what’s right, instead of what’s easy. Which I suppose is what our whole climate change fight is all about!

Posted by GREENHEARTED 0 comments

21 April 2010

Why the Bolivian 1ºC climate change position is the only one for the survival of the Global South and for the food security of the entire world

We are here in Bolivia at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. There are several of us from Canada representing Canadians for Action on Climate Change. Here is the English version of Dr. Peter Carter’s paper on the importance of the Bolivian climate change position, the only position — put forward by any country — that has scientific and ethical integrity.

Why the Bolivian government 1ºC climate change position is the only position for the survival of the Global South and for the food security of the entire world

In 2007 the largest global environmental assessment by hundreds of scientists called the Fourth Global Environmental Assessment of the United Nations Environment Program was published. It stated that now global climate change threatens the “very survival of humanity.” Only one national leader has said the same thing and that is Bolivia’s Evo Morales last December at the Copenhagen UN Climate Conference.

The Bolivian climate change position:

  • The global average temperature increase of the surface of planet Earth must be limited to 1°C.
  • Therefore, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration must be limited (which means reduced) to 300 parts per million (ppm).
  • Industrialized nations must stop emitting carbon. This means a total redevelopment to convert to clean, perpetual and zero carbon energy for all people. What a wonderful idea!
  • The industrialized nations must extract “billions of tons” of carbon dioxide directly from the air. The fact is that climate change science has totally established that only zero carbon emissions, supplemented by the extraction of carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere, can lead to the reduction of today’s catastrophically high level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (390 ppm) and stop it from increasing further. This is the best kept secret of the industrialized nations, because it is a scientific fact that has been known for many years yet ignored.

The most important numbers in the world are 1°C and 0 carbon emissions. Without zero carbon emissions, no other numbers can happen, except higher and higher numbers, leading inevitably to climate catastrophe. (See

Why is the 1°C limit, which has been proposed only by the government of Bolivia, the only way the Global South can survive global climate change and essential for world food security? Isn’t northern hemisphere agriculture going to be fine?

Global warming and the disruption of the climate caused by greenhouse gas emissions will lead to declining production of the world’s grains. The powerful nations have given little attention to the effects of global climate change policy for agriculture and food security, on the absurd basis that their farmers will have to adapt to the changing climate. As any rural farmer knows, agricultural success depends on a stable climate, predictable seasons, and the absence of droughts, severe storms, floods, and plagues of weeds and insect pests. These and more are all changes that will predictably and increasingly happen under any continuing global warming and climate change, firstly in the most vulnerable Global South.

What do the agricultural / climate change computer model numbers say? This data is found in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment (2007). For the Global South, the production of their main grains would decline starting at a 1°C increase of our planet’s surface temperature. Developing nations must have a 1°C global temperature limit for their survival. At a 2ºC global average temperature increase from 1900, the models project a 25% to 30% yield reduction for countries in the Global South!

Also at +1°C, world food production is “threatened” with decline (IPCC WG2 Technical Report) and so the entire world must have the 1°C temperature limit for climate safety and food security.

With a 2ºC increase, food production will decline in the northern hemisphere. In fact, the 2007 IPCC assessment noted that food decline in the northern hemisphere at 2ºC was stated in the 2001 IPCC assessment! (IPCC WG2 Technical Report)

It is therefore proven that all the people of the world must fight to reject the +2°C policy target and fight for the Bolivian +1ºC global temperature limit for food security. The people will be told by their governments (with the sole exception of the Bolivian government) and by many international organizations (who support the +2ºC limit) that +1ºC is impossible and not economically feasible. The people must respond that this is not true (the economics is fatally flawed), and even if it were true, it is no reason to still “aim” for +2ºC increase and to not even try for a limit of 1°C — and our survival.

(Dr. Peter Carter is a retired physician and environmental health research analyst from Canada.)

Posted by GREENHEARTED 0 comments

Climate Change: A Global Imperative to Return to 300 ppm

Climate Change: A Global Imperative to Return to 300 ppm

Before COP15, during COP15 and POST COP15, there has been a global campaign. At COP15, states such as Bolivia, and the ALBA group, and some scientists and activists were calling for parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide to return to 300 ppm. When people from the campaign were asked why they did not respond to the lower demands, their response was ‘ is our campaign’.

However, more and more, leading climate activists and leading world scientists are advocating the necessity of returning to 300 ppm.


Given that there were already serious consequences related to climate change in 1992, when at 350 ppm, humanity must aim for 300 ppm as the uppermost limit. Even in 1988, the global community recognized the seriousness of climate change. At the ‘Changing Atmosphere’ conference in 1988, in Toronto, scientists, politicians and non-government organizations (NGOs) acknowledged the following:

“The stabilizing of the atmospheric concentrations of CO2 is an imperative goal. It is currently estimated to require reductions of more than 50 per cent from present [1988] emission levels. Energy research and development budgets must be massively directed to energy options which would eliminate or greatly reduce CO2 emissions and to studies undertaken to further refine the target reductions.”

They warned that:

“Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive experiment whose ultimate consequence could be second only to a global nuclear war and that it is imperative to act now.”

Governments, coerced into inaction by industry, industry-front groups, industry-funded academics and industry-controlled states, have failed to address the urgency of the crisis through their reluctance to enact effective legislation. Before this, the unheeded warnings of scientists go back to at least 1956.

Climate activists say the safe atmospheric CO2 concentration target is 300 ppm (see: was formed to educate the public about the urgent need to reduce atmospheric CO2 from the present damaging level of approx. 390 ppm to a stable level of 300 ppm. From the site: “ exists to inform people about the Climate Emergency and the need to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2 ) concentration to a safe and sustainable level of about 300 ppm. is informed by the advice of top world climate scientists as set out below.”

Below statement from leading world scientists, leading climate activists and respected climate action organizations. The scientific evidence at this time concludes that there is an urgent need to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentration to 300 ppm for a safe and sustainable existence for all peoples and all species.

1. David Spratt (co-author with Phillip Sutton of “Climate Code Red. The case for emergency action” (see:, 2009)

“In short, if you don’t have a target that aims to cool the planet sufficiently to get the sea-ice back, the climate system may spiral out of control, past many “tipping points” to the final “point of no return Š And that target is not 350ppm, it’s around 300 ppm. [NASA’s] Hansen says Arctic sea-ice passed its tipping point decades ago, and in his presentations has also specifically identified 300-325ppm as the target range for sea-ice restoration Š Target 300 puts the science first. Interestingly in Australia, where I am based, 350 has not gained wide appeal, with most of the grass-roots climate action groups adopting a 300 ppm target, consistent with the propositions elaborated in “Climate Code Red”” (see “350 is the wrong target. Put the science first”:

2. Professor Barry Brook (Sir Hubert Wilkins chair of climate change and director of climate science at the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute ):

“If the planet is like an oven, it’s still possible to turn down the temperature. The number is 300 and the methods will be extraordinary. In 2007, a climate awareness campaign was launched by well-known environmental author Bill McKibben. It was coined, with the slogan “350 is the most important number on the planet”. The figure refers to a target concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth’s atmosphere, in parts per million (ppm). This number was drawn from a recent study by a team of climate scientists, led by NASA’s Dr James Hansen … But there is another, more surprising, problem with 350. It’s the wrong number. While 350 ppm should give us a reasonable shot at avoiding more than two degrees of warming, that’s hardly a safe future to be aiming for. We need only to look at the impacts at less than one degree to know we’re already committed to some tough adaptation problems Š A target of 300 to 325 ppm CO2 – the levels of the 1950s – is necessary if we wish to cut additional warming and start to roll back the already damaging impacts. As such, 350 is not a target, it’s a signpost to a goal. So we’re aiming at 350 but the real goal is 300 and we’re already at 385″. [24, 25]

3. Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research., Germany (2008):

“It is a compromise between ambition and feasibility. A rise of 2oC could avoid some of the big environmental disasters, but it is still only a compromiseŠIt is a very sweeping argument, but nobody can say for sure that 330ppm is safe. Perhaps it will not matter whether we have 270ppm or 320ppm, but operating well outside the [historic] realm of carbon dioxide concentrations is risky as long as we have not fully understood the relevant feedback mechanisms” [280 ppm is the pre-industrial atmospheric CO2
concentration]. [22]

4. Dr Andrew Glikson (an Earth and paleo-climate research scientist at Australian National University, Canberra, Australia) (2009):

“For some time now, climate scientists warned that melting of subpolar permafrost and warming of the Arctic Sea (up to 4 degrees C during 2005-2008 relative to the 1951-1980) are likely to result in the dissociation of methane hydrates and the release of this powerful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere (methane: 62 times the infrared warming effect of CO2 over 20 years and 21 times over 100 years) Š The amount of carbon stored in Arctic sediments and permafrost is estimated as 500-2500 Gigaton Carbon (GtC), as compared with the world’s total fossil fuel reserves estimated as 5000 GtC. Compare with the 700 GtC of the atmosphere, which regulate CO2 levels in the range of 180-300 parts per million and land temperatures in a range of about – 50 to + 50 degrees C, which allowed the evolution of warm blooded mammals. The continuing use of the atmosphere as an open sewer for industrial pollution has already added some 305 GtC to the atmosphere together with land clearing and animal-emitted methane. This raised CO2 levels to 387 ppm CO2 to date, leading toward conditions which existed on Earth about 3 million years (Ma) ago (mid-Pliocene), when CO2 levels rose to about 400 ppm, temperatures to about 2-3 degrees C and sea levels by about 25 +/- 12 metres. There is little evidence for an extinction at 3 Ma. However, by crossing above a CO2 level of 400 ppm the atmosphere is moving into uncharted territory. At this stage, enhanced methane leaks threaten climate events, such as the massive methane release and fauna extinction of 55 million years ago, which was marked by rise of CO2 to near-1000 ppm.” [20]

5. Dr James Hansen et al. (2008):

“Stabilization of Arctic sea ice cover requires, to first approximation, restoration of planetary energy balance. Climate models driven by known forcings yield a present planetary energy imbalance of +0.5-1 W/m2. Observed heat increase in the upper 700 m of the ocean confirms the planetary energy imbalance, but observations of the entire ocean are needed for quantification. CO2 amount must be reduced to 325-355 ppm to increase outgoing flux 0.5-1 W/m2, if other forcings are unchanged. A further imbalance reduction, and thus CO2 ~300-325 ppm, may be needed to restore sea ice to its area of 25 years ago.” [19].

6. Australia’s premier research organization, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), “The Science of Climate Change” (see: ), 2008:

“Since the Industrial Revolution, the CO2 concentrations have risen 37%, methane 150% and nitrous oxide 18%. The global increases in CO2 concentration are due primarily to fossil fuel use and land-use change, while the increases in methane and nitrous oxide are primarily due to agriculture. The CO2 concentration in 2008 of 383 parts per million (ppm) is much higher than the natural range of 172 to 300 ppm that existed over the last 800,000 years.” [26]

7. Dr Gideon Polya (Convenor,, that argues for a return to ~300 ppm CO2), 24 October 2009:

“Dear Sir/Madam,

24 October UN Day & 350 Day – Science says reduce CO2 to ~ 300 ppm.

Top climate scientists and the prestigious UK Royal Society say we must DECREASE atmospheric CO2 concentration from the present 390 ppm to 300-350 ppm ASAP for a safe planet for all peoples and all species. [1a, 2a].

Unfortunately, world governments and the pro-coal Australian Liberal-National Party Coalition Opposition and the pro-coal Australian Labor Federal Government (aka the Lib-Labs) want to INCREASE CO2 and other greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution. [3a].

Australia is a world leader in per capita GHG pollution – having 0.3% of world population, its domestic and exported GHG pollution is 3% of world total. Yet optimistic interpretation of official Labor policy indicates that Australia’s domestic and exported GHG pollution will be 119% of the 2000 value by 2020 and 173% by 2050. [4a].

The science-ignoring Australian Lib-Labs (US Rep-Dems) are betraying our children, the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, Humanity and the Biosphere of the Planet. Children should demand that their elders behave responsibly before it is too late and First World-imposed climate genocide destroys 10 billion non-Europeans this century, mostly children.”[5a]

8. Dr Graeme Pearman (former CSIRO Climate director; GP Consulting; interim director, MSI; Monash University Sustainaibility Group, Melbourne):

“The Earth is deglaciating. Since 1979, more than 20% of the Polar Ice Cap has melted away Š Over the last century: global temperatures risen by 0.74 +/- 0.18oC; 11 of last 12 years rank as amongst the 12 warmest years; snow cover decreased in most regions, especially in spring and summer; summer period extended 12.3 days Š Arctic sea-ice decline of 2.7 +/- 0.6 per cent per decade; sea ;levels have risen at a rate of: 1961-2003 1.9 +/- 0.5 mm yr-1, 1900-2000 1.7 +/- 0.5 mm yr-1; ocean acidification 0.1 pH unit so far Š Gases: current carbon dioxide and methane concentrations far exceed those of the last 600,000 years; increases primarily die to fossil fuel use, agriculture and land-use changes; Warming: unequivocal, evident in air and ocean temperatures, melting of snow and ice and rising sea levels; warming an effect of human activities – at least 5 times greater than that due to solar output change Š extreme temperatures – more frequent, intense, longer-lived heat waves Š Recent science strongly reinforces the views that: global warming is occurring; it is primarily a result of human activities.” [27]

9. Jenny Curtis, mother and member of Climate Change Balmain Rozelle (Sydney, Australia):

“Australia must be part of a global climate change action plan that will reduce carbon concentration in the atmosphere to 300 parts per million (ppm) and keep it there” (see Greenlivingpedia, “Australian climate Action Summit 2009”:

10. Westernport Green Alliance (Victoria, Australia, 2009):

“In short, if you don’t have a target that aims to cool the planet sufficiently to get the sea-ice back, the climate system may spiral out of control, past many “tipping points” to the final “point of no return”. And that target is not 350ppm, it’s around 300 ppm. Hansen says Arctic sea-ice passed its tipping point decades ago” (see: “350 is the wrong target: put the science first”: )

11. Climate Positive (2009):

“Why humanity must aim for 300 ppm to restore a safe climate – this report is a summary of the latest climate science and solutions and argues convincingly that humanity must reduce atmospheric carbon [CO2] levels to 300 ppm or below to restore a safe climate … As a society we are preparing for a medium-sized climate problem, despite evidence that points to the problem being greater than we had anticipated. Instead of relying of an illusion of certainty, we need to manage the risks of climate change responsibly. This means reducing atmospheric concentrations to within the range that we know the climate will maintain stability – 300 ppmv CO2 equivalent. This would rule out a domino effect of sea-ice loss, albedo flip, a warmer Arctic, a disintegrating Greenland ice sheet, more melting permafrost, and knock-on effects of massively increased greenhouse gas emissions, rising atmospheric concentrations and accelerated global warming. Any proposal for a target higher than 300ppmv would imply confidence that it is safe to leave the Arctic sea ice melted. If we currently have such confidence, it is misplaced. 300ppmv is below current atmospheric concentrations, but we can achieve it if we act now, because of the delay in how the climate system responds – if we can lower the atmospheric concentrations this century the system may never reach the full level of warming we are due to receive” (see: “Climate Safety report – 300 ppm”:

12. The initially Victoria-based Australian Climate Emergency Network CEN) endorses the position of the 2009 Australia’s 2009 Climate Action Summit (a meeting of over 140 Australian Climate Action Groups, Canberra, January 2009):

“To build community support for a goal of stabilisation at 300ppm CO2 and strong international agreement in line with what science and global justice demands. To communicate this position to Copenhagen Conference of Parties, and advocate for the Australian government to adopt that position” (see Climate Emergency Network, 2009:

13. Target 300 (Australia):

“300 ppm CO2 adopted by Victorian and then National grass roots groups Š why Hansen’s recent work shows our climate target must be 300 ppm CO2 or below Š 300 ppm CO2 or below. A goal to reestablish a stable climate” (see: Target 300, 2009:

Reference: Climate activists say the safe atmospheric CO2 concentration target is 300 ppm—return-atmosphere-co2-to-300-ppm | Dr Gideon Polya

14. The Melbourne-based Yarra Valley Climate Action Group (YVCAG; one of the larger climate action groups in Australia, stretching from Taggerty in the northern mountains to the suburban heartland of Melbourne) (2009):

“Climate Emergency Actions URGENTLY Required. 1. Change of societal philosophy to one of scientific risk management and biological sustainability with complete cessation of species extinctions and zero tolerance for lying. 2. Urgent reduction of atmospheric CO2 to a safe level of about 300 ppm as recommended by leading climate and biological scientists. 3. Rapid switch to the best non-carbon and renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, wave, tide and hydro options that are currently roughly the same market price as coal burning-based power) and to energy efficiency, public transport, needs-based production, re-afforestation and return of carbon as biochar to soils coupled with correspondingly rapid cessation of fossil fuel burning, deforestation, methanogenic livestock production and population growth” (see “Climate emergency facts and required action”, 2009:

15. Australia’s 2009 Climate Action Summit (a meeting of over 140 Australian Climate Action Groups, Canberra, January 2009) concluded:

” The united Community Climate Action Groups will campaign for outcomes on these objectives: (1) Prevent the CPRS [the highly flawed Rudd
Labor Government Emissions Trading Scheme or ETS] from becoming law as it will fail to make emission cuts necessary to stop the climate emergency; (2) Build community-wide action to demand green jobs, a just transition for industry workers and 100% renewable energy by 2020; (3) Aim for stabilisation at 300ppm CO2 in the atmosphere and strong international agreement in line with what science and global justice demands” (see Greenlivingpedia, “Australian climate Action Summit 2009”:

Joan Russow PhD Global Compliance Research Project | Cory Morningstar Canadians for Action on Climate Change

Content written by Cory Morningstar | Canadians for Action on Climate Change and Joan Russow | Global Compliance Research Project is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

Conservation Groups & Corporate Cash: An Exchange

Johann Hari’s piece “The Wrong Kind of Green” takes mainstream environmental groups to task for selling out their principles, often in exchange for money from the worst polluters. Posing the question, “How do we retrieve a real environmental movement, in the very short time we have left?” Hari argues that we have no choice but to confront the movement’s addiction to corporate cash and its penchant for environmentally destructive political deal-making–even if doing so requires having a “difficult and ugly fight.” We invited a range of green groups mentioned in the article to respond to Hari’s arguments in this special online forum, which concludes with Hari’s reply. Readers may also be interested in the web letters written about the piece.   –The Editors

Christine Dorsey, National Wildlife Federation
Leah Hair, National Wildlife Federation
Phil Radford, Greenpeace
John Adams, Natural Resources Defense Council
Kieran Suckling, Center for Biological Diversity
Carl Pope, Sierra Club
Bill McKibben,
Karen Foerstel, The Nature Conservancy
Johann Hari, The Nation

National Wildlife Federation

Christine Dorsey

The Nation‘s cover story “The Wrong Kind of Green” is an irresponsible and toxic mixture of inaccurate information and uninformed analysis. The author, who did not contact the National Wildlife Federation for this story, has written a work of fiction that hardly merits a response, except that it stoops to a new low by attacking the reputation of the late Jay Hair, a former CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, whose powerful legacy of conservation achievement speaks for itself.

In case The Nation is interested in publishing facts, the National Wildlife Federation is funded primarily by the generous donations of 4 million members and supporters. Corporate partnerships for our educational work account for less than 1/2 of 1 percent of our funding. Our dedicated staff, volunteers and state affiliates fight tirelessly to take on polluters, protect wildlife habitat, promote clean energy and educate families about wildlife and the importance of spending time outdoors in nature.

What will The Nation do next, blame polar bears for global warming?

National Wildlife Federation

Leah Hair

In “The Wrong Kind of Green” Johann Hari made outrageous and entirely false statements about my late husband, Dr. Jay Hair.

Jay died in 2002 after a five-year battle with an incurable bone marrow cancer. He devoted his life, with all his considerable passion, courage and intelligence, to protecting this planet. Jay never betrayed that mission in order to “suck millions,” as the article claimed, from oil and gas companies. During Jay’s tenure as president of the National Wildlife Federation, corporate contributions never exceeded 1 percent of NWF’s budget.

In 1982 Jay established NWF’s Corporate Conservation Council to create a forum for dialogue with Fortune 500 leaders. Prior to this controversial initiative, almost the only place business and environmental leaders met was in court. Jay took considerable heat, but he understood that the enormity of our environmental challenges required that all sectors–private, governmental, NGO, religious–be involved and talking to one another.

The Council was funded solely by its members; NWF’s budget was not drawn upon to create the Council, nor did corporate money from the Council seep into NWF’s regular budget.

In 1989 the Exxon Valdez spilled 10 million gallons of Prudhoe crude. Jay was the first national environmental leader to go to Prince William Sound to draw attention to the social and environmental devastation. Under Jay’s leadership, NWF initiated the class action lawsuit against Exxon for punitive damages. He protested on the floor of the Exxon stockholders meeting. If Exxon or anyone else thought that Corporate Conservation Council membership bought them “reputation insurance,” per Mr. Hari, for “an oil spill that had caused irreparable damage,” they clearly were mistaken.

Jay was only 56 when he died. Had he lived, he would have continued to be a passionate and courageous voice on behalf of our imperiled planet.

Your sloppy reporting smeared the reputation of a fine man. You owe an apology.


Phil Radford, Executive Director

“The Wrong Kind of Green” points to three principles that could make environmental advocacy groups stronger and the world a safer place for our children. First, avoid the perceived or real conflicts of interest created by taking corporate money. Second, start with what must be done to save the environment, not with what we think we can eke out of an unfriendly Congress. Third, the way forward will be bottom-up, shutting and stopping coal plants. I couldn’t agree more.

For forty years, Greenpeace has maintained our financial independence, refusing money from corporations.

A few years ago, Greenpeace and our allies decided to stop deforestation in the Amazon by “convincing” the major industries driving the problem to cease and desist. We would then permanently lock up the forests by securing financing from rich countries. When we discovered that cattle ranching was one of the primary drivers of deforestation, Greenpeace activists throughout the United States and Europe nudged Nike and Timberland to cancel their contracts with leather company causing deforestation. A few cancelled contracts later; the major ranching companies agreed with Greenpeace Brazil to a moratorium on any ranching that causes deforestation.

It doesn’t matter if you work with companies or governments, as long as you are independent, start with the ecological goal, work globally with governments or companies to change the game, and ultimately bring your opponents to a place where they’ll lobby for your law or can’t withstand it.

It is difficult to imagine a way forward on global warming that gets at the root of the problem–coal, the number one cause of global warming pollution–without a plant-by-plant fight to shut down coal. Some have approached coal with an attitude of “if you cant beat them, join them.” The Sierra Club and Greenpeace have a different approach: “beat coal until they join us.”

Natural Resources Defense Council

John Adams, professor of political science, University of Pennsylvania

I read your article “The Wrong Kind of Green” and was disappointed with your comments about Jay Hair, now dead eight years. I have no knowledge of any contributions made from oil and gas to NWF, but what I do know is, Jay was a dedicated environmentalist, and to the best of my knowledge, he did not sell out on any issues. I find it very troubling that someone who cannot defend himself is made the center of this article without many facts backing up the charges.

Center for Biological Diversity

Kieran Suckling, Executive Director

Johann Hari’s article follows upon stories in the Washington Post and E&E which ask similar questions: Why do so many of the large U.S. environmental groups appear to take their lead on climate policy from Congress and the White House? Why do they appear to lack a bottom line on climate policy? He is puzzled by the quick endorsement of weak climate bills, lauding of the Obama administration’s regressive position at Copenhagen, and claims that Copenhagen was a success.

What motivates such positions is unclear. But this much is very clear: as a political strategy, such positioning has been a failure. Congress and the White House have taken progressively weaker positions since early drafts of Markey-Waxman. They are giving ground in the face of corporate opposition and see little reason to move towards environmental groups who have already endorsed weak positions and signaled that they will endorse even weaker positions.

Similarly, it was a strategic mistake to press Congress to pass comprehensive climate legislation by pitting it as the alternative to Clean Air Act regulation. The result of that strategy could be (and was) predicted from the outset: climate deniers would latch onto the sense that Clean Air Act regulation is a bad idea and climate supporters (such as Kerry) would feel they have cover to use the Clean Air Act as a bargaining chip to win conservative votes. We would not be looking at such vehement opposition to Clean Air Act and such confusion about its working in the media, had the larger environmental groups been clear from that the outset that the Clean Air Act is effective, should be used to its fullest to combat global warming, and that any new legislation must be additive to the Clean Air Act, not in opposition to it.

Climate and wildlife scientists have convincingly shown that we must reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions to 350 parts per million from our current level of 387 ppm if we are to avoid runaway global warming and the extinction of polar bears, corals and thousand of other species. The Center for Biological Diversity has joined with groups such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and to establish this as a bright line criteria for endorsement of any climate legislation, policy, or international agreement. It is not a negotiable position because the conditions which support life on Earth are not negotiable.

While pushing for new, comprehensive legislation, the Center believes it is imperative that we simultaneously use existing environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act to begin reducing greenhouse gas emissions now and updating land and wildlife management plans to ensure imperiled species are able to survive the level of global warming that is already locked in. We’ve had many successes in this arena and, as Hari describes, recently petitioned the EPA to scientifically determine the safe level of atmospheric carbon dioxide (and other greenhouse gases), just as it does for other criteria air pollutants. We believe that level is 350 parts per million or less.

Hari correctly describes the aggressive, public opposition to having EPA determine this safe level by a faction within the Sierra Club. Even worse, this faction tried to convince other environmental groups to support a congressional vote to prevent the EPA from determining the safe level of greenhouse gas pollution. The scientific determination of a clear greenhouse gas emission target is not in the interest of those who have endorsed vastly weaker targets.

The good news, however, is that the Sierra Club is a diverse and dynamic organization. Many of its leaders (including board members and chapters) are strongly in favor the Center and the’s petition to cap greenhouse gas emissions. I agree with Hari that recent changes in Sierra Club management are promising and look forward to working with the organization to fully use the power of science, the Clean Air Act, and new legislation to reduce carbon dioxide to 350 part per million. That is unquestionably the task of our generation.

The questions asked by Hari will continue to be posed by astute reporters, and will be asked with increasing urgency as endorsement are lined up for a very weak Kerry-Graham-Lieberman bill which will seek to increase oil drilling, continue coal burning and allow greenhouse gas emissions to increase past irrevocable tipping points. Whether one agrees with Hari’s answers or not, his questions are critical for our time. As environmental leaders, we would do well to take them as opportunities for self-reflection rather than defensive dismissal.

You can find more information on the Center for Biological Diversity’s efforts to combat global warming here.

Sierra Club

Carl Pope, executive director

While thin on solutions Hari’s story was so plump with distortions of reality that it might have been written by Lewis Carroll.

Hari’s silliest innuendo is that the Sierra Club is somehow less than aggressive in the fight against coal power. Sierra Club members have blocked no less than 119 coal-fired power plants in recent years and the organization is regarded by friend and foe as the most successful force in the critical effort to scrap coal power. On February 10, even climate scientist James Hansen pulled on a Sierra Club T-shirt and participated in Sierra Student Coalition anticoal rally at the University of North Carolina–one of dozens of such rallies our young activists have held in support of Hansen’s number one anti-climate disruption goal–to move America beyond coal.

The author also offered the false and offensive analogy that Sierra Club’s cause-related marketing partnership with Clorox’s environmentally friendly cleaning products was like Amnesty International being funded by genocidal war criminals. The Sierra Club had ensured that these products met the Environmental Protection Agency’s most stringent standard, “Design for the Environment,” spending four months reviewing Green Works to ensure that it deserved this designation. In the two years since the partnership began, no one has cited any evidence that Green Works products do not meet the environmental claims made for them. They are, rather, helping to increase demand for green products in the marketplace.

Finally, while there are legitimate disagreements between lawyers about the best legal strategies for cutting carbon emissions, we have always supported the deepest emissions cuts in line with the science and need to convert to a new clean energy economy. This includes cuts endorsed by the Center for Biological Diversity, with whom we often join in litigation. Indeed, it was the Sierra Club that helped bring the original suit which led to the Supreme Court Decision that spurred EPA to begin regulating global warming pollution.

Bill McKibben, founder

Many thanks to Johann Hari for an interesting piece, and for the very kind words about our work. Those of us at aren’t so much an organization as a campaign, and as such we’ve always looked for allies everywhere. And we’ve managed to find them not only across the environmental spectrum but, just as importantly, from less likely places–churches and synagogues and mosques and temples, sports teams and theater troupes. When we organized our global day of action last October–which CNN called “the most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history”–it involved 5,200 demonstrations in 181 countries. Around the world we worked easily and cooperatively with lots of big green groups as well as thousands of organizers from tiny local campaigns, and people who’d never done anything at all.

We were, sometimes, a little surprised at how hard it was to get buy-in to our campaign from some of the big American environmental groups. This piece might explain some of the reasons, but we’re not privy to their councils in those ways. Our guess is that history had something to do with it too–it’s worth remembering, as Hari points out, that these groups were set up and scaled to fight much smaller battles, doing the noble work of saving particular canyons or passing remediating laws. It’s a whole ‘nother level to try and take on fossil fuel, the center of the economy. Using the Sierra Club as an example, it should be noted that even if the front office didn’t like what we were doing, chapters all across America and around the world engaged with the 350 campaign in really great ways, helping pull off rallies and demonstrations. The same was true of many other groups. Which is good, because we’re a tiny outfit–a couple of dozen young people and one rapidly aging writer, spread out across a big planet. Immodestly speaking, we’re good at what we do, but not good enough to replace other organizations. Our real strength, of course, is the amazing volunteers who make the work happen everywhere–including places you’re not supposed to be able to do this work. If you check out the pictures at, one of the things you’ll be struck by is the fact that environmentalism is no longer something for rich white people. Most of our colleagues are black, brown, Asian, poor, young–because that’s who most of the world is.

One key battle that lies ahead for American groups is passing legislation to finally do something about our enormous contribution to the planet’s rapid warming: when we talk to our organizers in Addis Ababa or Beijing or Quito or pretty much everywhere in between, they say that American legislation is vital before anyone else will take real steps. Our movement-building history–beginning with the StepItUp campaign in 2007, which organized 1400 rallies in all fifty states–would indicate that it’s easier to try to rally people around bold and ambitious goals that would really safeguard our future. The lobbying in DC will go more easily if there’s a real movement around the country making senators feel at least a little inclined towards action, and that movement can only be built behind legislation that would truly change the system.

Copenhagen was a very serious drag–still, it was wonderful to see 117 nations endorsing the 350 target. True, they were the poorer and more vulnerable nations; we’ve still got persuade the real fossil fuel addicts. But the good news is everyone gets another chance to help out, all over the world. Working in collaboration with our UK friends at the 10:10 movement, we’ve set October 10 as the date for a global-scale Work Party, with people across the planet putting up solar panels and insulating houses, all with a 350 theme. The point is not that we’re going to solve climate change one house or solar panel at a time–unfortunately, that’s not mathematically possible. But we can use the occasion to send a distinctly political message to our leaders: we’re doing our work, why aren’t you? If we can get up on the roof of the school with hammers, surely you can find the strength to do your work in the Senate, or the General Assembly. If leaders simply won’t lead, then we’ll have to lead for them. We hope everyone will join in, from big groups and small. Working together is fun and empowering, or so we’ve found.

The Nature Conservancy

Karen Foerstel, director, climate media relations

The article “The Wrong Kind of Green” offers readers in inaccurate and incomplete picture of the role deforestation plays in climate change and the way in which environmental and conservation organizations are fighting for policies to address global warming. For the full story, visit

The Nation

Johann Hari, reporter

It is simply a fact that Jay Hair kick-started the process of environmental groups partnering with and taking money from the world’s worst polluters. It is also a fact that this process has been taken much further by other groups like Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy, and has ended with their missions becoming deeply corrupted, in ways I described in great detail in my article. This account of what has happened is not just my view–it’s the view of America’s most distinguished climate scientist, Professor James Hansen, the whistler-blower Christine MacDonald, and of virtually all the environmental groups that don’t take money from polluters.

I am perfectly prepared to accept that Hair was a fine person in his personal life and had some positive motives. Of course his early death is tragic. But many people who have made harmful misjudgments have also had some some admirable achievements in their lives. In public debate, we have to be able to expose the harm they did and show how it continues, or we cannot make sense of the world and prevent even more harm. Is John Adams seriously suggesting that since the dead cannot answer us, we should hold back in our criticism of their actions? How could any serious discussion of how the world came to be as it is take place under such an omertà?

The apology Leah Hair demands is in fact due from the “green” groups who have chosen to take polluter cash and have betrayed their own mission. If she wishes to preserve the best of her husband’s legacy rather than the worst, she should direct her anger at them–rather than at journalists honestly describing how this corruption began.

Rather than engage with the serious issues I raised, Carl Pope sadly plays the old politician’s trick of denying charges I did not make. Where did I say the Sierra Club doesn’t oppose coal? Nowhere. In fact, I did the opposite, writing that “there is an inspiring grassroots movement against coal power plants in the United States, supported by the Sierra Club.”

I went on to describe some plain facts–that under his leadership, the Sierra Club vehemently opposed a lawsuit to force the US government’s policies into line with climate science by returning us to 350ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Pope doesn’t even try to justify this in his response, even though it was the most serious criticism of the club in my article.

The Center for Biological Diversity describes this behavior accurately as throwing “climate science out the window,” and Jim Hansen–the very man Pope waves as a papal authority–describes it as “shocking” and “abominable.” So, yes, the Sierra Club opposes coal in many places and at many times–but it is a matter of record that when there was a lawsuit to ensure the dramatic scale- back we need to preserve a safe climate, they lined up with former Bush administration members to mock and condemn it. I would like to hear Pope offer a serious explanation, rather than name-calling about Lewis Carroll.

Pope also gives an account of the Clorox scandal that is contradicted by his own staff. As Christine MacDonald exposes in her book Green, Inc., the company approached Pope and said they would give the Sierra Club a cut of their profits if they could use the club’s logo and brand on their new range of cleaning products. MacDonald reports that Pope gave the go-ahead without making a rigorous effort to check they were genuinely more green than their competitors. The club’s own toxics committee co-chair, Jessica Frohman, was very clear about this, saying: “We never approved the product line.”

It is a disturbing example of how corporate cash has perverted the behavior of even as admirable a green group as the Sierra Club–and may be the reason why Pope is being replaced with a leader from the more serious and science-based wing of the environmental movement. Its members certainly deserve better than this.

If there are so many “inaccuracies” in my description of TNC, why can’t they name a single one? Do they think the banal propaganda they link to is an answer?

Yet this is not the only glaring hole in these responses (apart, of course, from the arguments of Greenpeace, who refuses polluter cash). Do none of these people feel any concern that the leading environmental groups in America are hoovering up cash from the worst polluters and advocating policies that fall far short of what scientists say we need to safely survive the climate crisis? Do they really think there is nothing to discuss here?

· Slide Show: The Wrong Kind of Green

“Our objective is to save humanity and not just half of humanity. We are here to save mother earth. Our objective is to reduce climate change to [under] 1°C. [above this] many islands will disappear and Africa will suffer a holocaust. The real cause of climate change is the capitalist system. If we want to save the earth then we must end that economic model. Capitalism wants to address climate change with carbon markets. We denounce those markets and the countries which [promote them]. It’s time to stop making money from the disgrace that they have perpetrated.”

Evo Morales, December 16th, 2010, Copenhagen Climate Summit


Communication & Response from TckTckTck Partner & Founder – Bill McKibben- February 25th, 2010


From: Canadians for Action on Climate Change []
Sent: March-02-10 3:04 PM
To: ‘’
Cc: ‘Global Compliance’
Subject: [gccaall] RE: Response; relevant information for partners of tcktcktck

Dear May,

Below is our response to tcktcktck which was sent to the GCCA-tcktcktck partner list yesterday.

We hope to hear from you soon as we very much appreciated your reply to our survey.

It looks as though the campaign is set to expand and we are interested to know if will remain a partner.


Cory Morningstar

Joan Russow

From: [] On Behalf Of May Boeve
Sent: February-25-10 6:54 PM
To: Canadians for Action on Climate Change
Subject: Re: TckTckTck Concerns | Time Sensitive – Your Response is Requested

Dear Cory, Sandy, and Joan,

May Boeve here, Partnerships Director (and, incidentally, US/Canada coordinator) here at We appreciate your note and your extensive research into all this. Sorry it’s taken me a few days to get back to you.

As you know, the tck campaign has drawn to a close now that Cop15 has. Its parent coalition, the GCCA, and the Global Humanitarian Forum, will continue on, focused on building a bigger base within the climate movement.  Thanks in part to what you’ve all brought to light, I don’t imaging that a campaign like tcktcktck will be pursued in the same way this year.

Are you all engaged in campaigning around the G20 in Canada?

best wishes,


From: Canadians for Action on Climate Change []
Sent: February-21-10 10:52 AM
To: Bill McKibben (
Cc: ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’; ‘’
Subject: TckTckTck Concerns | Time Sensitive – Your Response is Requested

Dear Bill (,

We are writing to you because we are concerned about the corporate connections, and about the weak demands in the TckTckTck campaign. We are conducting a survey related to these aspects of the campaign. We will be posting the results of our survey to the web, as well as issuing a media release. We will be issuing the press release on March 15th, 2010. For this reason could your organization please respond no later than February 28th, 2010?  If we do not receive a response by this time we will state that your organization did not comment.

Corporate connections of TckTckTck

We note your organization is listed in as a partner or ally of the TckTckTck campaign initiative. We are very alarmed to learn various details about the campaign. The trademark TckTckTck was registered, on November 30, 2009, by the EURO RSCG firm, a subsidiary of Havas Worldwide, a public relations firm. Partners of this campaign include multinational corporations. Two of these are Electricity of France (EDF)  which now uses the TckTckTck logo, in TV commercials. EDF, the world’s leading nuclear power utility, operates a French nuclear fleet consisting of 58 reactors spread over 19 different sites. Havas also lists GDF Suez which affirms that there is a nuclear revival. With 45 years of involvement in the nuclear industry, GDF SUEZ confirms its intention to take an active part in developing a new generation of nuclear power worldwide.

In the Havas press release (attached) it also states “Havas Worldwide incorporates the EURO RSCG” whose clients include Novartis and Adventis – both biotech industries in genetic engineering and biofuel.  Both Nuclear and Biofuel are deemed to be ‘solutions’ that are equally bad, if not worse than the problem they are intended to solve.  Through your association with the TckTckTck campaign, your organization has created intentionally or unintentionally the perception that your organization is supportive of false solutions such as nuclear and biofuel.

When challenged over the inappropriateness of associating NGO partners with the corporate sector, (see EYES WIDE SHUT | TckTckTck exposé) the campaign organizer Jason Mogus claimed the two campaigns are different.  His argument is not convincing when one sees the press release issued in September of 2009 (screenshot attached). It clearly states that the North American is Havas Worldwide.  In the September 2009 press release the last paragraph states: “Havas Worldwide Web Site:”.  There is further information about this in an article by ‘Peace, Earth & Justice News’. See the news article here.

One of your partners listed is at is the ‘Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change’.  Signatories: can be found here. Of interest is the fact that on this page the multinational corporations ‘business verdict’ share your tcktcktck postCOP15 catch phrase ‘not done yet’.  This is perhaps one of the most truthful statements coming out of the entire tcktcktck campaign.  Partners in this group include Shell, Coca-Cola and RBC.  RBC is the number one financier of the most destructive project on the planet – the tar sands.  Over 1,000 corporate entities make up this TckTckTck partner group.

Furthermore, two of the same creators & partners (Havas & Euro RSCG) of TckTckTck were also initial partners of the infamous Hopenhagen campaign which was labeled a massive greenwash by the likes of Naomi Klein and others during COP15. (Farbman is reluctant to discuss what led to Ogilvy’s predicament or why previously enthusiastic partners were no longer involved.  See article here)

Many of us oppose, at least in principle if not vocally, the consumption of small community business into behemoth sized mega-corps.  We fear this is a growing trend with our NGOs.  We feel that we must work together to demand an end to this new strain of globalization which undermines and threatens our entire movement.

The entire TckTckTck campaign has been created in partnership with major multinational corporations.  These are the same multinational corporations that activists and legitimate grassroots organizations all over the world challenge on a daily basis.  People are devoting and risking their very lives defending themselves, their children and their environment from exploitation by these corporations in the name of corporate profit.  To have the largest climate change campaign on the planet formed, funded and shaped by the same corporate interests destroying our planet is a grave injustice to those already suffering.  It destroys all of our credibility, undermines true climate justice and erodes public trust.

Weak Targets advanced by TckTckTck


In the TckTckTck ( campaign for COP15, the organizers, allies and partners were calling for developed states to reduce developed country emissions by at least 40% by 2020. While most developed and developing states were calling for developed states to use 1990 as a baseline, the TckTckTck campaign did not have a baseline. Consequently what they were calling for was way below what developing states were demanding. How could an NGO campaign have a percentage reduction without a base-line date? In the TckTckTck campaign demands it was stated: “Reduce developed country emissions by at least 40% by 2020”. Is that from 2009 levels? or Canadian 2006 levels, or US 2005 levels?  It is far from what most of the developing states wanted, at least 45% from 1990 levels. Apart for calling for stabilization by 2015, the tcktcktck campaign had no commitment for subsequent years, such as calling the reduction of global emissions by at least 95% from 1990 levels by 2050. The TckTckTck campaign was silent on a 2050 commitment. The Key issues at COP15 were i) the need for a common baseline such as 1990, and the need for developed states to commit to high percentage reduction of greenhouse gases from the 1990 baseline, and ii) the urgent demand to not have the temperature rise exceed 1degree above preindustrialized levels and to return to no more than 300ppm. The tcktcktck campaign seriously undermined the necessary, bold targets as advanced by many of the developing states.   The TckTckTck ( list over 220 NGOs. We ask for your response on the following questions:

1)     Was your NGO aware that the brand “TckTckTck” has deep corporate ties?

2)     If so, how do you understand this relationship?

3)     Do you see yourselves as part of a campaign alongside “corporate partners” such as nuclear energy, genetic engineering, biofuels, aviation, automotive and other problematic sectors?

4)     If so, do you see how this creates confusion?

5)     In a release from Havas Worldwide it states “the idea behind TckTckTck was to create a movement…rather than a campaign, but a movement with a deadline. …the objective of the campaign was to make it become a movement that consumers, advertisers and the media would use and exploit.”

Were you aware that your NGO’s name and credibility would be used as a commodity in this way? (and continues to be used)

6) Do you intend to remain a partner of TckTckTck even though there are corporate ties?

7) Would you like to be removed from the list of partners of TckTckTck?

If yes to number 7;

To be removed from the list, contact

8) Would your organization endorse the proposed ‘Post Cop15 Declaration’ that unequivocally supports the needs of the developing states.  It can be read here.

There are further questions related to privacy of the fifteen million people who signed on to it. There is an absolute breach of trust.  Who has collected such vital information on citizens with concern for environmental issues is anyone’s guess.  Trusting individuals disclosed personal information with no idea the campaign was aligned with corporate interests.  This is a separate and distinct issue altogether.  It is most likely that of privacy violations which warrant further investigation.

We wish that it be clear that we send this message in solidarity – that we have grave concerns with this “coalition”.  We do not wish to be patronizing but only elaborate on the concerns we share in the hope that you will share our concerns and come to the conclusion others have reached – that such a campaign is no longer the right place for any organization who believes in real climate justice to invest energies. If we say nothing – then our silence lends us as being complicit.  Therefore, we feel that must ask of all our allies to be accountable for their actions.  If we remain silent – we effectively breach the trust of those we claim to represent – the billions suffering at the hands of exploitation in the name of profits.  Let us be clear – we do not condone such a campaign and will speak out against it.

We hope that this communiqué will bring about debate that can strengthen our common understanding of the threats and opportunities for true climate justice. Our first priority is the planet, and this can only be worthwhile if it is another strand in unmasking the lies surrounding “climate politics” that threaten us with climate injustice.


Canadians for Action on Climate Change | Cory Morningstar

Joan Russow | Global Compliance Research Project | | For further information:  see Joan Russow , TckTckTck Hoodwinked NGOs,

Pacific Indigenous Peoples Environment Coalition | Aotearoa [New Zealand] | Sandy Gauntlett

Please send response to

The responses will be posted on the websites.

%d bloggers like this: