Activists Occupy Environmental Defense Offices, Accuse Them of Protecting Corporations Over the Environment

rising tide environmental defense office occupation photo

A couple weeks back I highlighted a piece of direct action by Greenpeace activists in Indonesia which elicited comments ranging from praise to vociferous derision. Here's another one which may have some of you scratching your heads.

Activists from Rising Tide North America invaded the Washington DC offices of Environmental Defense. ED was targeted "because of the organization's key role in promoting the discredited approach of carbon trading as a solution to climate change."

Adding a further twist is that one of the leader activists was Dr Rachel Smolker, the daughter of one of Environmental Defense's founders. Dr Smolker elaborated on the motivation for the action:My Father's Rolling in His Grave

My father was one of the founders of this organization, which sadly I am now ashamed of. The Kyoto Protocol, the European Emissions Trading Scheme and virtually every other initiative for reducing emissions have adopted their market approaches. So far they have utterly failed, serving only to provide huge profits to the world's most polluting industries. Instead of protecting the environment, ED now seems primarily concerned with protecting corporate bottom lines. I can hear my father rolling over in his grave.

rachel smolker photo

Full text of Dr Smolker's statement is available at Global Justice Ecology Project.

Cap and Trade Turns Atmosphere Into Private Property
An activist with Rising Tide Ecuador expanded on why the group feels carbon trading isn't a good environmental solution,

ED wants to turn the atmosphere and forests into private property, and then give it away to the most polluting industries in the form of pollution allowances that can be bought and sold. Not only is this an ineffective way to control emissions, it is also a disaster for the poor and indigenous peoples who are not party to these markets and are most impacted by climate change.

Worthwhile or Just Infighting?
So how do TreeHugger readers feel about this? Environmental Defense certainly is a venerable organization and there are good arguments on both sides of the merits (both practical and theoretical) of the cap-and-trade issue. Were the actions of Rising Tide worthwhile in highlighting the problems with cap-and-trade or is this just an example of divisive infighting in the green movement?

More on the Environmental Defense office occupation from Rising Tide.

all photos: Rising Tide
Cap and Trade, Carbon Tax
Carbon Tax, Not More Financial Engineering, Best Way to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Jeffrey Sachs
Al Gore Says Carbon Tax Best Choice
Carbon Cap And Trade - A Looming Battle Among States

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