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Greenpeace, 350.Org Endanger Climate Bill

Today 31 environmental groups including the Sierra Club, the NRDC and the League of Conservation Voters sent a strongly worded letter to the Senate to get the Kerry/Graham/Lieberman climate bill moving again.


The only holdout organizations were Greenpeace and Bill McKibben’s, not because they don’t want climate legislation. On the contrary. They want perfect policy and this bill is not a perfect bill. Both are holding out for something that will never happen.

Ponies will not descend from the heavens magically bearing Republican Senators who don’t filibuster every bill. The most powerful industry on the planet will not be magically robbed of its power to prevent policy enactment.

Although they don’t mean to, their intransigence only helps the opposition.

That’s because naive new environmentalists, unfamiliar with our political process are led astray by what they think is the tough courageous opposition of Greenpeace and Bill McKibben. They are encouraged into a false belief that tantrums over “polluter giveaways” lead to tougher policy. They think they are helping by holding their breath for a perfect bill. But it has the opposite effect.

An example of the effects of their opposition is what happened to cap and trade. Environmental criticism of the strongest cap and trade bill (the House’s Waxman-Markey; the Senate’s CEJAPA) helped kill it. The fossil industry itself capably managed the rest of that job.

The result is now we have a weaker cap and trade component in the current climate bill (cap and dividend) that covers fewer emitters, and starts slower for others, and costs the fossil energy industry less – so funding renewables will cost the taxpayer more.

If environmentalists join the opposition in opposing this one; then next time, we’ll get a still weaker one, or none at all. The fossil industry wants none: the pressure is on congress members to do none. So if environmentalists also turn up their noses at it, there’s no constituency for it. It gets discarded.

Contrary to what they believe, weak environmental legislation won’t be replaced with something that is stronger.

Bill Mckibben is clearly fondly remembering the ’70s when kids actually were able to turn the environmental movement into a powerful force that made The Clean Air Act happen by ousting the Dirty Dozen.

But all that was before the corporate takeover of our media, even Public Broadcasting. The movement that led to The Clean Air Act was only possible back then, when the the media was allowed to cover protests by people. Now only the astroturf groups funded by the corporate interests are permitted to get media coverage. So 150 Tea Partiers to kill the regulation of corporations will always get more coverage than 150 thousand people who want to increase regulation against corporate pollution.

And those pampered kids in the 70’s were unencumbered by six figure debts just to get through college. They could afford to have more courage. And it was before anything smacking of terrorism terrorized the electorate. Any kid fool enough to burn a car today could be in prison for years.

Times have changed. We are now one nation under a bribe-ocracy. That won’t change before the climate does. We have no time left to wait and start over and do another decade’s work over again.

Image: Il Grande Bluff

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