Radical Green Groups Attack Al Gore and the Climate Bill


Image via Grist

Al Gore's harshest critics call him a leftist, tree-hugging propagandist for his efforts to bring about large scale climate action. I wonder, then, what those critics would call the green groups attacking Al Gore for not doing enough. I guess their heads would just explode. The groups in question are charging that Al Gore and the new Senate climate bill aren't tough enough on polluters, and they're doing so by dressing up like pirates, passing out fake Gore money, and hurling pies.The groups include Climate SOS, Rising Tide North America, and the Greenwash Guerrillas (they're the ones who threw pies at Thomas Friedman--everyone knows real change starts with custard). They oppose cap and trade altogether, claiming it's a corporate payoff that would reward polluters. Recently, they've launched a spate of stunts to call attention to this.

These have included the following (via Grist):

  • Activists handed out fake $2 trillion bills at a rally for climate legislation in New York last week, criticizing the size of the global-warming emissions market they oppose. ($2 trillion is their estimate for the size of the emissions market they oppose. The bills depict Al Gore holding a wrench and a compact-fluorescent light bulb and the words "Corporate Giveaways! Carbon Ponzi Schemes! FALSE SOLUTIONS!"

  • Others hung a 14-foot banner of the same bill from the Manhattan headquarters of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

  • "Cap'n Trade," an actor in a pirate costume, unfurled a similar banner at a presentation by Connie Hedegaard, chairperson of the Dec. 2009 UN Climate Summit and Denmark's minister for climate and energy.

  • Still others blocked a motorcade of UN delegates to drop a banner with the message "Cap + Trade is a Dead End."
Now, I see: Al Gore is failing the nation by appealing to the government of the largest economy in the world to create laws that would cut emissions. All this time, he should have been dressing up like a pirate at UN summits and throwing pies at people--that's how you change the world. Boy, he was way off.

Here's Cap'n Trade interrupting a panel with Danish climate and energy minister Connie Hedegaard:

I do agree with these groups in that I wish the bills embraced tougher pollution reduction targets--I bet there's not a single environmentalist out there who'd say the bill was perfect--and a straight up carbon tax (which these groups presumably prefer) does have advantages over cap and trade.

But why are they wasting time attacking Gore, who has never pretended to be a radical, and is using his beltway influence and public stature to be perhaps the most powerful voice for environmental action there is? Aren't coal company CEOs, public climate change deniers, oil lobbyists, James Inhofe, and George Will still out there? And seriously? A pirate costume?

I'm all for more radical voices calling for stronger action in the green movement. But let's remember who our enemies are.

More on Green Groups and Climate Action
A Guide to Climate Change Groups Protesting at the G-20 Summit
300 Organizations Unite to Push for Stronger Climate Bill
On the Climate Bill Green Groups Mustn't Surrender When the Battle is Just Starting

Tags: Al Gore | Congress | Global Climate Change

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