Climate activists with the international Rising Tide network embarrassed the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a lobby group composed of 33 prominent businesses and organizations, by distributing a spoof press release declaring that the consortiumâ€™s members had committed to a 90 percent reduction in their greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In addition, the spoof release called for an immediate moratorium on the construction of all new coal-fired power plants.
“To stabilize our climate, reductions need to be based on science, not on creating windfall profits for the worldâ€™s largest polluters,” said Matt Leonard. “Leading scientists say decisive action must happen now to reduce our emissions. However, corporate interests have stymied substantive action and are derailing genuine efforts of civil society to adequately address climate change.”
The fake press release was picked up by several media outlets, including the Dallas Morning News, UK Hemscott and several blogs before journalists realized that USCAP members would never agree to such progressive reductions in carbon emissions or a moratorium on coal plants. Furthermore, Rising Tide activists have done dozens of interviews with media and even received calls from real USCAP member companies about the website and press release.
Rising Tide used the phony website www.climateactionpartnership.org to distribute the release, which mimicked USCAP’s site, www.us-cap.org. USCAP’s members include many of the largest US corporations, including Alcoa, BP, Caterpillar, ConocoPhillips, Dow, DuPont, Ford, General Electric, General Motors Corp., Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, PG&E, Shell and Xerox.
The hoax was timed to coincide with the opening of a major United Nations climate summit in Bali in an effort to expose the disproportionate influence of large corporations on the climate negotiations and the lack of initiative from corporations on reducing fossil fuel use. Rising Tide said that they will now transition the site into an archive of environmental misdeeds and human rights abuses of USCAPâ€™s members.
“USCAP says it is serious about stopping climate change, but these companies have not put their money where their mouth is,” said Brian Sloan of Rising Tide North America. “Itâ€™s time to base our policies on science and the safety of our communities, not on someoneâ€™s bottom-line.”
Rising Tide is an international network of all volunteer grassroots activists who target corporations responsible both for climate change and for blocking efforts to find solutions to it. Activists in Australia, the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and Indonesia participated in the hoax.
SPOOF PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
December 3, 2007
Information at www.climateactionpartnership.org
MAJOR US BUSINESSES ANNOUNCE COMMITMENT TO REDUCE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS BY 90%
Washington, D.C., Dec. 3, 2007 – The U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a consortium of 33 prominent businesses and organizations, announced today a commitment amongst its members to a 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The announcement was timed to coincide with the opening of a major United Nations climate summit in Bali.
“In an effort to encourage decisive action in Bali this week, USCAP’s members have committed to a 90% reduction in their greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” said Matt Leopard, a spokesperson for the consortium. “This commitment should send a strong message to the assembled countries and businesses about the type of reductions needed to stop global warming.”
USCAP’s members include many US market leaders such as Alcoa, BP, Caterpillar, ConocoPhillips, Dow, DuPont, Ford, General Electric, General Motors Corp., Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, PG&E, Shell and Xerox. USCAP’s goal is to further public policy that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the climate.
The announcement from USCAP’s members also includes a mid-term commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 45% from 1990 levels by 2020. Following the leads of NASA’s top climate scientist James Hansen, as well as bi-partisan political leaders, USCAP is also calling for an immediate moratorium on the construction of new coal-fired power plants.
Toward this end, USCAP is urging the US and other industrialized nations to enact a policy framework for mandatory reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors of the economy. USCAP has produced a comprehensive set of principles and recommendations for scientifically effective, socially responsible climate policy. This document, titled A Call to Action1, has been released by USCAP to underscore the urgent need for a comprehensive policy shift on energy and climate.
USCAP is the first consortium of major businesses to make such a commitment in hopes that it will yield to policy decisions to accelerate the deployment of zero-emission technologies and energy efficiency. In particular, USCAP is promoting landmark legislation for a government funded “Sustainable Job Corps.” This politically popular program would create 5 million jobs building a new public utility grid based on renewable technologies, with a goal of producing 50% of the US energy supply by 2020.
“USCAP has offered a plan for the US to lead by example in efforts to protect the climate,” said Matt Leopard. “The world governments assembled in Bali this week should begin a rapid transition to zero-emission energy sources and commit to a 90% reduction from 1990 levels by 2050”.2
USCAPâ€™s website is www.climateactionpartnership.org.