FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Sierra Club members call for Leadership

Sierra Club members call for Leadership:

Do not put special financial interests above

the sustainability of nature’s planetary life-support systems.

June 24, 2010


We are alarmed by the current Sierra Club stance on the Kerry-Lieberman Federal energy-climate bill. Although a Clubhouse web site has been accepting comment about the topic, there has been no organized “pro and con” debate within the Club and it has seemed at least to many members within the Club that the Club’s leadership has been discounting or ignoring grassroots views and proposals. The proposed Resolution, if passed, seeks to place a moratorium on the Sierra Club’s stance until there is a full and democratic opportunity for robust discussion and debate at the grassroots level. The Resolution has been independently circulated to some Club members and chapters by Sierrans Gary Houser (Ohio Chapter) and Robert Jereski (New York Chapter).


1. The issue of climate disruption from carbon emissions is of such transcendent importance and irreversible tipping points are so close that the Sierra Club’s stance on Federal energy legislation deserves full and democratic discussion and debate within the Club involving grassroots Sierrans;

2. This Resolution is meant to express concern that tipping point dangers will not accommodate political deal-making and governments should not put special financial interests above young people and the sustainability of nature’s planetary life-support systems on which we all depend. It aims at persuading the Club’s leadership not to compromise Club principles to gain a piece of legislation so flawed that it may worsen, not lessen, carbon emissions – and create future barriers to real reductions;

3. The Resolution’s thrust is consistent with the views of NASA’s Dr. James Hansen, renowned climate scientist and the honored recipient of Sierra Club’s John Muir Award in 2008, that the climate situation is far more serious than most of the public understands and that half-measures won’t suffice;

4. The Resolution will help stop problematic statements by some Club officers that the proposed Kerry-Lieberman climate bill is a “strong foundation” and simply needs to be “finished”. Many within the grassroots disagree, and see it as dangerously riddled with emission reduction delays and giveaways to industry requiring serious amendments;

5. The Resolution supplements earlier, unsuccessful attempts to present these concerns to the Club’s leadership.


We call upon the members of the national Board of Directors, the members of the Federal and International Climate Committee (FICC), the Executive Director Michael Brune and the national staff to affirm and implement a policy that the Sierra Club will only support climate legislation which conforms to Club principles and policies. We also call upon the national leadership of Sierra Club to institute an immediate moratorium on official statements to the media in regard to the Kerry-Lieberman bill until such time that the full membership has been allowed an opportunity to have a democratic discussion and debate.

This moratorium should be followed by these pro-active steps to facilitate an opportunity for full discussion and debate:

1) A one hour national Sierra conference call or webcast be organized for the purpose of facilitating a pro and con debate on the following questions as they relate to the Kerry-Lieberman bill:

A) Do the emission reduction targets adequately comply with the IPCC’s stated reductions of 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020 to prevent irreversible climate change and added reductions required based on review of new empirical evidence and the inadequacy of the models used in the 2007 IPCC report which were based on 2005 science?

B) Can the structures employed by this legislation – including carbon trading and offsets – be depended upon to bring about the required deep cuts in emission levels?

C) Should the Sierra Club support legislation with serious deficiencies, such as corporate give-aways, gutting of EPA authority, subsidies to nuclear power, limits on state programs, and so forth, under the argument that a faulty bill is better than nothing?

2) An email be sent to the full national membership of the Sierra Club offering the opportunity for pro and con arguments on these same questions;

3) The pro and con arguments submitted be made public to members and analyzed by the FICC and Board of Directors, which report on how the input will be integrated into the official stance of the Sierra Club on the Kerry-Lieberman bill.


* Edward A. Mainland, Co-Chair, Energy-Climate Committee, CNRCC Sierra Club California; SF Bay Chapter member;

Senior Conservation Fellow, Sierra Club.

* Ken Smokoska, member & past chair (2003-2008)

Energy/Climate Change Committee of CNRCC, Sierra Club of California

* Al Weinrub, Energy activist member, San Francisco Bay Chapter, Sierra Club of California

* Moisha K. Blechman, member, ExCom, Atlantic Chapter, Global Warming Chair, Communications Chair

*Jessica Helm, Conservation Chair for the Atlantic Chapter

* Anne Marie Garti, member, SC Atlantic Chapter (NYS)

* Joan Taylor, Chair of the California/Nevada Desert Energy Committee, Sierra Club of California

among other titles and member and Club activist for many decades

* Frank Morris, Executive Committee, Atlantic Chapter Sierra Club

Executive Committee, Long Island Sierra Club

* Mickey Moritz, Climate Change Activist for Tahquitz Group, San Gorgonio chapter (California)

* Linda A. DeStefano, active on the local and state level with the Atlantic Chapter (NYS)

* Terry Frewin, Los Padres Chapter, Sierra Club member

* Arthur R. Boone, Member, Northern Alameda Group

Member and Secretary, Zero Waste Committee, SF Bay Chapter

Chair, Conservation Committee, SF Bay Chapter

Co-Chair, Zero Waste Committee, California/Nevada Regional Conservation Committee

* Donna Tisdale, San Diego Chapter, California Sierra Club

* David G. Gray, Jr, San Francisco Bay Chapter, California Sierra Club

* Samuel Golding – Sierra Club California Energy-Climate Committee, Bay Area Chapter member, California Sierra Club

* Larry Martin, Washington DC Chapter Energy Committee Chair

* Rachel Treichler, Atlantic Chapter Gas Drilling Task Force (New York State)

To add your name and affiliation please contact us

Comments are closed.