Environmental activists, some dressed as “Trillionaires for Bad Math” today delivered a “climate bill” to Copenhagen, ahead of schedule. The mock “bill” was delivered at a 3 pm lecture at Columbia University’s School of International Public Affairs hosted by Danish Climate and Energy minister Connie Hedegaard. Hedegaard is the chairperson of the UN climate summit to be held in Copenhagen this December, where many hope that a strong global climate agreement will be signed.
Representatives of groups including Climate SOS and Rising Tide North America presented a 14-foot banner representing the climate bill currently being debated in the US Congress, which many consider essential for strong US participation in Copenhagen. The banner depicts a two trillion dollar note, representing the size of the new market in carbon dioxide emissions allowances that would be established by the Waxman-Markey climate bill that passed the House of Representatives in late June.
The centerpiece of the banner is an image of a bewildered Al Gore, who introduced the concept of tradable emissions allowances into the UN process in Kyoto in 1997. Hundreds of environmental groups are critical of the current US climate bill. Many view the bill’s cap and trade provisions as a dangerous false solution, that is inherently unstable and ultimately incapable of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
Leading Trillionaire, Cap’n Trade, dressed in pirate regalia, told the assembled crowd, “‘Tis a bloody shame for the climate that Congress has chosen me to clean up this mess for ‘em. But I don’t mind a bit,” he continued, “’cause rising seas and booty and plunder are just my thing and soon the land, air and water will be all mine.”
The “trillionaires for bad math” argue that the House bill “just doesn’t add up”, pointing out that it falls far short of scientifically valid targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions; removes the EPA’s authority to regulate emissions under the Clean Air Act; and incorporates massive corporate giveaways into its cap-and-trade program. Corporations would be able to defer needed emissions reductions for decades under the bill’s offset provisions. International groups widely condemn the lack of US leadership on climate issues and demand that wealthy countries pay their share of the accumulated “climate debt.”
“If these lily-livered politicians aren’t ready to do something about the climate, those scurvy activists on the streets of Copenhagen are going to make ‘em walk the plank,” said Cap’n Trade. “We’re all going to end up in Davy Jones’ Locker.”
As the Climate SOS crosscountry tour culminates, activists from Climate SOS, Rising Tide, and other groups of environmental activists in New York launched a series of direct action interventions to signal the widespread opposition to the Waxman-Markey climate bill and its inadequate targets and use of dubious financial mechanisms for greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
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