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Happy Holidaze and Farewell for Now December 29, 2009

Posted by Julie in astroturf, bonner and associates, cejapa, chamber of commerce, climate bill, copenhagen, G20, obama to copenhagen, tcktcktck.
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Copenhagen has passed and the Action Factory has packed up, moved out, and dispersed. This just might be the last post on our blog for a while.

In the end, we did not get nearly what we had hoped for — neither a US Senate climate bill, nor a binding international climate treaty.


…perhaps we can claim just a little credit for helping push Obama to go to Copenhagen? After all, we did give him a plane ticket for his birthday. And we gave him some flack when he went there to try to get the Olympics.

…Or how about for influencing Arlen Specter’s far-from-certain EPW committee vote after we chased him in a SurvivaBall herd, all the way from the capitol into the Hart Office Building?

…Or for making Jack Bonner of Bonner and Ass. look like a real idiot when we shook his hand while wearing Astroturf suits at a House Commitee hearing, much to the delight of Congressman Ed Markey…

…And there was also that time we crashed a press conference being held by Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravestahl prior to the G20 summit at the National Press Club. Before the G20 summit even began, we dominated the media cycle by asserting our first amendment rights and demanding strong climate action from world leaders. Then we continued to make news once in Pittsburgh with our Global Climate Wake-Up Call (the first link is hilarious, btw)

… And finally, I suppose we can claim credit for the defection of a major paper company from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It happened just 1 day after we successfully pulled off an elaborate spoof press conference with the Yes Men in which we temporarily reversed the Chamber’s backward stance on climate policy. We may have even provoked the Chamber to dig itself into an even deeper hole and sue some of us… gee, that would make them look real bad… hmm…. oh wait, we did. The Chamber also sent a letter to Senators Boxer and Inhofe not long after our stunt, trying to play nice guy and directly assert supposed (feigned?) support for climate legislation, an act which Senator Kerry suggested would be a “Nixon to China” moment, if the Chamber really meant it.

All in all, we had a lot of fun and made a lot of friends. We generated hundreds of media hits highlighting the dire need for climate action, and these were undoubtedly seen by hundreds of thousands. We hope that through our actions, we have inspired and will continue to inspire many, many more actions.

Here are three nuggets of DC action wisdom:

1. Crash other events for media attention

2. Being ridiculous is fun and can actually put pressure on elected officials

3. The bottom of the reflecting pool is slippery – enter boldly, but carefully and everything will work out fine.

The Action Factory may be over, but our work is far from complete. In the final hours of the Copenhagen conference, a handful of countries – including Tuvalu, Bolivia, and Venezuela – made statements strongly opposing the undemocratic accord, which is essentially a death sentence for many low-lying countries. When one nation’s “unprecedented breakthrough” is another’s death sentence, something is clearly not right. That’s why in 2010 many of us will stay engaged with battles and creative actions in the Coal River Valley, within the US Senate, at the US Chamber of Commerce and elsewhere. Avaaz as an organization will take on the Chamber directly. We hope you will join us for the long haul — not just because it matters, or because the future of our planet depends on it, but because it is FUN.

Thanks to all of you who have been along for the ride – it’s been a pretty wild one. See you in the streets.


Hope from Beijing for a Climate Treaty as US Delays Progress November 18, 2009

Posted by Morgan in obama to copenhagen, tcktcktck.
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Tuesday evening, amidst a historic Beijing meeting between President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao, dozens of activists with the global campaigning network Avaaz.org released over one hundred Chinese flying lanterns and a floating balloon banner into the air just south of the White House.

Chinese flying lanterns are a symbol of hope traditionally released to celebrate the new year. The Avaaz action highlights China’s proactive domestic climate commitments as a source of inspiration for the UN climate summit in Copenhagen this December.

“China is no longer a legitimate excuse for inaction on climate,” says Ricken Patel, Executive Director of Avaaz. “In fact, it’s China that is bringing hope to a world frustrated by the failure of the US government to address this crisis. Contrary to what some Senators argue, China is doing more in many areas than the US to fight climate change.” (more…)

Fossil of the Day delivered to Canadian Embassy November 6, 2009

Posted by Morgan in tcktcktck.
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Watch the Action Factory deliver the fossil of the day award to Canada.  Read more at CAN international.

Merkel Visit Devolves into Shouting Match November 3, 2009

Posted by Morgan in copenhagen, International Adaptation, tcktcktck.
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“No, you first!”, “Nien, du zuerst!” shouted world leaders Barack Obama and Angela Merkel to each other at a meeting over climate finance.

The meeting, hoped by many to be a breakthrough in EU/US leadership on climate change finance, quickly turned sour when neither leader could make a way through the impasse.  Merkel cited excuses like being tired of leading for so long on climate, and Obama claimed that he was powerless to act without congress.

Despite the Copenhagen negotiations being less than 6 weeks away, the world will continue to hold its breath for good news from this bilateral meeting.

Merkel, Obama Stalling on Climate Finance November 2, 2009

Posted by Morgan in copenhagen, International Adaptation, tcktcktck.
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Press Release for Tuesday, Nov 3rd.

WASHINGTON DC — This morning climate activists greeted German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s motorcade at the White House as she arrived to meet with President Obama. The giant heads of each leader had a speech bubble reading “No, you go first” in both English and German in front of a banner reading “Climate Finance”.

The activists, part of the Action Factory, say President Obama and Angela Merkel are the two leaders with the most power to lead the world to a global climate treaty.  A major hurdle to a climate treaty in Copenhagen is the inability of rich nations to fund climate adaptation that would help vulnerable countries deal with increased climate threats.

“Obama and Merkel need to lead together.  They keep complaining about a lack of leadership, but when they meet face-to-face, they had better get past that and commit to business,” says Morgan Goodwin, 25, an activist with the Action Factory.

Last friday the EU stated the world needed to commit EURO 22-50 billion (US $32-$78 billion) of public money to climate finance, but refused to commit any money itself.  Not only is that amount short of what’s needed, the agreement is meaningless unless other countries put forward money for the deal. according to the New York Times.

The Obama administration says that its hands are tied until the Senate to passes a bill climate bill.  But advocates point out the actions like committing to attend the landmark Copenhagen summit that Obama can take notwithstanding legislation.

The COP 15 Copenhagen conference begins in 33 days and the final intercessional negotiation in Barcelona is currently underway.  UK PM Gordon Brown echoed calls for more significant funding from the EU, citing the need for €30 to €40 billion a year by 2020, according to the AP.  Brown remains upbeat on the prospects for successful Copenhagen negotiations, an outcome that is partially dependent upon progress at the EU/US summit this week.

The Action Factory is a group of activists working for a strong climate treaty in Copenhagen.  The group has earned earlier attention for calling for a 1.5 degree C warming target at Merkel’s visit with Obama in June.  The group presented President Obama with a plane ticket to Copenhagen on his birthday and recently staged an olympic trials event outside the White House during his trip to Copenhagen to stump for the olympics.

“We need a global climate treaty,” says Julie Erickson, spokesperson for the Action Factory.  “All the activism we do is geared towards getting the US and other major players on board.  Most of these leaders won’t be around in 2050, but our generation will, and we’re scared of what will be left without ambitious action now.”

For further information, please contact Julie Erickson, 413.687.1987, julie@actionfactories.org
Visit our website at http://dc.actionfactories.org


Action Alert: Call Senators for Climate Funding October 20, 2009

Posted by Morgan in climate bill, copenhagen, International Adaptation, tcktcktck.
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Its been a pretty busy week for us.  Running around DC to help the Yes Men with some amazing activism, and helping to get the word out about the Survivaball.  On top of that, we’re helping to run a call-in campaign to senators for stronger international provisions in the climate bill – so that SurvivaBalls aren’t necessary.  Read on and make a phone call!

Right now, US Senators are meeting behind closed doors to negotiate the contents of America’s first serious attempt to address climate change. With critical UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen mere weeks away, the fate of a fair, ambitious, and binding global climate treaty hangs in the balance.
Two key provisions of the bill would fund developing countries’ efforts to adapt to climate change and bypass a dirty-energy economy. These efforts are crucial to the global negotiations [1] — but now they’re under fire from the fossil fuel lobby as it seeks to line its pockets with taxpayer money.

{state}’s Senator {name} is on the Senate Finance committee, which could announce its climate finance proposal any day now. Let’s flood the committee’s phone lines to demand that Congress fully fund international climate adaptation and technology transfer.

Call Senator at (202) 224-3121 now to tell them:

  1. The Senate Finance Committee must allocate 5% of the revenue from carbon trading to international adaptation — to save lives by helping poor countries cope with climate change caused by countries like the US.
  2. The Committee should also allocate 5% of the bill’s revenue to international clean tech transfer, to make a global treaty possible and avoid other countries taking the same high-pollution road we’ve been on.
  3. Funding for climate adaptation and clean tech transfer must be additional to existing aid money — not taken away from urgent priorities like fighting AIDS and providing clean water.

And then report your call by clicking here:


A recent study found that 300,000 people already die every year from climate change, and the health and livelihoods of hundreds of millions more are affected [2]. Meanwhile, over the last century, the United States has emitted more carbon than all the world’s developing countries combined [3]. Developing countries need climate funding both out of simple fairness–and in order to reach the treaty we all need.

A year ago, when Bush was still in office, we could only have dreamed of being so close to a strong global climate treaty that specific provisions of a US Senate bill would be the biggest obstacle. It took millions of calls and letters, thousands of individual meetings and one of the largest days of action the world has yet seen to get us here.

We’re not done yet, but if we can keep these negotiations on track we can start to see the outlines of history — the story we can tell our grandchildren about how we fought for, and won, a planet they can still enjoy.

With hope,

Ben, Taren, Iain, Ricken, David, Morgan, and the Avaaz US Climate Action Factory team