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Will the Real Chamber of Commerce Please Stand Up? October 20, 2009

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Monday, October 19, 2009, 4 PM

Business as usual; Chamber is its own parody

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a dramatic announcement at the National Press Club today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reversed its position on climate change policy, and promised to immediately cease lobbying against the Kerry-Boxer bill.


Within minutes of the Chamber’s dramatic announcement, it was revealed that the “Chamber spokesperson” was an impostor, and the press conference an elaborate hoax designed by activists to draw attention to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “troglodytic” fight against climate change legislation. At the close of the news conference, a visibly rattled Chamber of Commerce spokesperson (Eric Wohlschlegel) barged into the room and declared the event a fraud.

The stunt was pulled off by the Yes Men, the activists best known for posing as corporate executives in order to reveal how corporate greed negatively influences public policy. Recently, the Yes Men have focused their attention on the urgent need for action on climate change. Today they sought to highlight relentless corporate lobbying of elected officials aimed at derailing domestic climate legislation and a much-needed global climate accord.

The group of reporters at the Press Club listened closely as U.S. Chamber “representative” “Hingo Sembra” (Andy Bichlbaum of The Yes Men) asserted that the Chamber would put its full weight behind supporting the Kerry-Boxer bill, while working with Senators Kerry and Boxer to strengthen the bill.

“We believe that climate legislation currently being considered by the U.S. Senate is a great start towards a bill that will spur American innovation, create jobs, and give us all a good chance of survival,” he said. To the visible delight of reporters in the audience, he added, “We at the Chamber have tried to keep climate science from interfering with business. But without a stable climate, there will be no business.”

The Chamber has recently come under fire for launching multi-million dollar advertising campaigns designed to derail climate negotiations. Their position has been so controversial that Apple, Exelon, PNM Resources, PG&E, PSEG, Levi Strauss & Co, and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce have all left the U.S. Chamber, and Nike very publicly stepped down from the board.

“The Chamber’s position against climate legislation is completely troglodytic,” said Bichlbaum. “The rest of the world sees the need for urgent action on the climate. The rest of the world’s rich countries have pledged large emissions reductions. With scientists saying if we don’t reduce carbon emissions, then sooner or later we’re doomed, the Chamber represents corporate America at its most backwards.”

“An entity claiming to represent the public good, but that opposes action on the climate, is obviously illegitimate,” Bichlbaum added.

News outlets were quick to jump on the story, including a Reuters story which was reprinted in the New York Times and elsewhere. The Chamber’s “about-face” was also reported on Fox Business Network and CNBC before the anchors were forced to retract in mid-sentence.

At the end of Sembra’s remarks, Eric Wohlschlegel confronted Bichlbaum. In the stand-off, both accused the other of being a fraud. The standoff ended with Wohlschlegel dispensing his business card to reporters in the room, and attempting to field a number of pointed questions about the Chamber’s real stance on climate legislation currently in Congress, which the real Chamber opposes. (Video here.)

“Mr. Wohlschlegel was feeling defensive,” added Bichlbaum. “He should, what with the Chamber’s ridiculous stance in the face of all science.”

International climate talks are currently stalled, largely because the U.S. negotiators won’t make any promises that Congress can’t keep. Breaking the gridlock in negotiations will require the passage of ambitious U.S. legislation within the next 2 months.

An official response from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce read: “These irresponsible tactics are a foolish distraction from the serious effort by our nation to reduce greenhouse gases.”

“The only irresponsibility and distraction here is the Chamber’s doublespeak,” said Bichlbaum. “They’re pretending to support the idea of legislation while opposing actual proposed legislation.”

The Yes Men collaborated on this action with activists from BeyondTalk.net, the “Climate Pledge of Resistance,” which calls on citizens to risk arrest in the interest of creating pressure for sane climate legislation, and received tactical support from the DC Climate Action Factory, a semi-autonomous group of climate activists sponsored by Avaaz.org.

The Yes Men will be holding a rally tomorrow at 10:30am on the Capitol lawn, northeast corner (across from the Dirksen Senate Office Building), to kick off the 350.org Day of Climate Action by showcasing a fleet of SurvivaBalls, an alternate solution to climate change that protects America’s most valuable citizens from the ravages of climate change.

The Yes Men’s award-winning new documentary film, The Yes Men Fix the World, opens at the Avalon Theater in NW Washington this Friday, Oct. 23.

Watch the raw footage used on Rachel Maddow and CNBC interrupt their programming to discuss our breaking news.

Fox Business:


Worth the wait! G20: Quit Coal $$$ Fund Climate Recovery September 30, 2009

Posted by skolmk in copenhagen, G20, tcktcktck.
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G20: Quit Coal $$$ Fund Climate RecoveryPITTSBURGH, PA 9/22/09– Activists unfurled a 30′ banner as international coal conference attendees departed for a tour of a carbon capture and sequestration test facility. The large banner read “G20: Quit Coal $$$/Fund Climate Recovery”.

The banner unfurled at 9 AM on as 20 coal conference attendees boarded the bus. A spokesperson for the coal industry tried to defend industry practices as activists held a ceremony on the sidewalk to apologize to the coal for extracting it and promise to keep it in the ground.

The activists are connecting the dots between dirty energy companies and the obstruction of the global climate and energy treaty process.

Organizers of today’s action oppose false solutions to climate change such as clean coal, industrial bio-fuels and nuclear power. Instead the group promotes truly renewable energy technologies and local solutions as part of a fair, ambitious and binding global climate treaty.

“Real solutions to climate change will support healthy communities with global agreements to reduce CO2 levels to 350 parts per million,” says Sue Massey, an activist visiting Pittsburgh to demonstrate. “Coal has absolutely no part in that process, from the destructive mining to dirty burning to the huge problems with pollution in land, air and water ways. If G20 leaders grew up with coal plants in their backyards, coal wouldn’t get any money in a global climate treaty.”

On the G20 negotiating table this week are hundreds of billions of dollars for economic recovery and climate solutions, which world leaders will bargain and haggle over. Activists fear some of that money will pad the coffers of the coal industry. The presence of the coal conference in the same city, earning the attention of government officials and policy makers is a vulgar affront to genuine progress on climate change.

The coal process has major impacts at extraction, processing, burning and waste disposal, according to the Sierra Club, the nation’s largest and oldest environmental advocacy organization. The group sites clear cutting, erosion and subsistence leading to property damage as side effects of mining, and respiratory diseases from air pollution. It cites mercury levels in breastmilk, destruction of whole ecosystems when miles of streams are covered with mine waste as water issues.

According to the Club, coal is also not the source of employment it usually claims to be. “Estimates of mining production and working coal miners show that between 1985 and 2005 mining production in the US increased 22%, while the number of coal miners decreased by about 55%.” The average income of coal miners has also declined over that period.

Today’s activists sent a bold message to the G20: it is past time to quit their addiction to coal and other destructive energy.

Check out footage of the banner drop and the press conference intervention here.

Our Calls for Climate Action Answered September 21, 2009

Posted by skolmk in copenhagen, flash mob, G20, tcktcktck.
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This morning brought big news that shook the tone and message of today’s wake-up call: Gordon Brown upped the ante by committing his attendance to the UN climate change talks in Copenhagen, being the first major head of state to do so. Luckily the Action Factory was awake early, diligently preparing ourselves for the days’ event. Our original action was planned to feature four world leaders, none of which included Prime Minister Brown, until the news broke. We excitedly shared the news amongst ourselves, and amended our action to feature just President Obama, Chancellor Merkel, and Prime Minister Brown as the world leader’s asleep on the job- but now with an added twist.

Arriving to the location of our event, I grew excited seeing three different TV stations already set up and speaking with our media. The event grew larger as time passed, with more and more reporters looking to find out what had brought so many dedicated citizens to this park corner on a Monday afternoon.At 12:10 I put on my robe and crossed the street with our version of Gordon  Brown (I wore the Merkel mask), and we met up with our President Obama and laid down in the middle of the park, snoring loudly while the world waits for international climate action. The photographers and cameras gathered around, clicking away so loudly that I wouldn’t have been able to sleep on the job even if I wanted. At 12:18 exactly the alarms sounded, and we were quickly surrounded by masses yelling “wake-up! climate action now!” Myself and the other two leaders rose to our feet, and instructed the crowd to call our Senators and our President, carrying out a literal call for strong climate action this December. We further thanked Gordon Brown for rising to this unmet challenge.

The media was as abundant as the participants, and we ended by walking to one of Pittsburgh’s historic and iconic bridges to take one last group photo. This event was covered by many media outlets including live TV broadcast which you can see here!

Our own footage of the event will be streamed in the global premier of The Age of Stupid tonight, another massive wake-up call event.

So much excitement, and to think- it’s only the beginning of the G20 week. Stay tuned and stay safe.

From the Front Lines of the G20: A Global Climate Wake-Up Call September 20, 2009

Posted by skolmk in copenhagen, flash mob, G20, obama to copenhagen, tcktcktck, Uncategorized.
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The DC Action Factory has hit the ground running in Pittsburgh, with our time drawing near to the first mass action of the G20 week: a global wake up call for climate action.

At noon tomorrow, scores will gather on the corner of 7th and Penn in downtown Pittsburgh, all with their alarm clocks set to 12:18. At that time, a cacophony of noise will sound, and the crowd will rush forward to the sleeping leaders–President Obama, Chancellor Merkel, President Medvedev, and Prime Minister Harper–who will be located in the middle of the brick square, sleeping on the job with their country’s

President Obama and Prime Minister Harper are going to be two of the four featured G20 leaders in tomorrow's action, sleeping on the job as the world demands stronger international climate policy this December.

President Obama and Prime Minister Harper are going to be two of the four featured G20 leaders in tomorrow's action, sleeping on the job as the world demands stronger international climate policy this December.

flags as blankets. The crowd will literally wake-up the G20 members and demand that they take bold action this week on climate policy that will lead us into a promising and productive Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this December [the last day of this being 12/18].

Immediately following the flash mob wake up, everyone gathered will place calls to our Senators in Washington, demanding that they gear up to work diligently on climate and energy policy this fall, thus making a loud and strong flash mob on Monday (along with  the 2,000+ other wake up calls worldwide) more important than ever.

The action is promised to be a fun, exciting, and easy way to plug into the many events going on in Pittsburgh this week, and will last approximately 30 minutes.

Tomorrow’s going to be huge, all over the world.  Our wake up call is one of over 2,000 events around the world.  This amazing coordination happens through the Tck Tck Tck campaign, which you should read about here if you haven’t heard of it yet.  Also check out Kevin Grandia of Desmogblog writing about just how big and lout this is going to be.

Part of the reason this even is so huge is that its paired with a global movie release.  The scary view from 2050 about just how stupid we are acting right now as a the hilarious and chilling independent movie, the Age of Stupid.

As of Today, there are 77 days until Copenhagen, and the action is only going to keep on increasing.

Keep your eyes and twitter feeds on the lookout for the Senior Citizens March to end MTR and 350.org day of action.

Hurricane Katrina: Pushing us to act faster on Climate Change August 26, 2009

Posted by Morgan in Katrina, tcktcktck.
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mississippi coast
Four years ago this Saturday, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the United States, killing at least 1836 people and shaking the foundations of our country. Dr. Kerry Emanuel reports that if Katrina had occurred in 1980, the levees would have held. But global warming increases ocean temperature, increases storm intensity, and threatens America with more super-storms.

There’s a lot of talk in the news this week about national security and the risks posed by global warming, both domestically and abroad. In light of a recent typhoon, Taiwan’s military has ranked climate change as its biggest national threat and is re-organizing some military operations accordingly.

Pacific island states have upped their call for industrialized nations to act on cutting carbon emissions, saying that the nations least responsible for causing climate change shouldn’t be the first to pay the price.

And right here at home, a new study finds that big storms this decade in the Atlantic hit a 1000 year high. None of these things make me feel good, but for people who live in coastal areas, these developments must be downright scary.

Security in one’s home is a fundamental human need, one that we’ll fight for and one that we expect our leaders to look out for. President Obama, and congress, do you have our backs on this one? Even if its difficult, can you mobilize the resources available and put us on track to get to 350 parts per million of co2?

1sky.org is calling for climate action in the name of Hurricane Katrina. The Alliance for Affordable Energy in Louisiana is doing phenomenal work on climate and energy issues, inspired in part by Katrina.

Take a moment this week to think about what’s really at stake when we talk about stopping global warming. We’re trying to reduce the risk of extreme storms that kill people and destroy homes. There are 104 days until Copenhagen. Lets accelerate the progress and show up at the negotiations ready to fight for our people, for all people.