spoof press release declaring that the consortium’s members had committed to a 90 percent reduction in their greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In addition, the spoof release called for an immediate moratorium on the construction of all new coal-fired power plants.
Oh, if the word “spoof” were not relevant. A business agreement to a 90-percent reduction and moves for an immediate moratoriaum on new coal-fired plants would be very welcome news. Alas …
The fake press release was picked up by several media outlets, including the Dallas Morning News, UK Hemscott and several blogs before journalists realized that USCAP members would never agree to such progressive reductions in carbon emissions or a moratorium on coal plants.
Right at the start of the Bali Climate Summit, this spoof called attention to the gap between what US-CAP is calling for, what might be politically possible, and what is actually sensible policy to address Global Warming challenges.
“USCAP says it is serious about stopping climate change, but these companies have not put their money where their mouth is,” said Brian Sloan of Rising Tide North America. “It’s time to base our policies on science and the safety of our communities, not on someone’s bottom-line.”
Greenwire has a long story (subscription required) about the hoax and they interviewed one of the Rising Tide organizers:
“USCAP members have a lot of PR muscle,” Leonard said. “We have to use creative tactics such as this to get our message out. We hope this will spur stronger action by them.”
He also said that they will be trying to ressurrect the site, to launch additional questioning of US-CAP.
One of the US-CAP members, Environmental Defense responded to this
Tony Kreindler, spokesman for Environmental Defense, a USCAP member, said he had never heard of Rising Tide. He added, “This shows how powerful this coalition of companies and NGOs is in influencing public debate that somebody would try and knock it down.”
Several comments to this, of course. Guess Tony is calling them meaningless nobodies to start with. So why bother responding? And, well, the question to
Kreindler rejected Rising Tide’s call for a moratorium on coal-fired power plants. “We’re not in the business of setting winners and losers,” he said. “We want a level playing field.”
What, of course, is the level playing field? Level in what way? Does Environmental Defense support building of coal-fired electricity plants that will be around, spewing Co2, for decades to come on the off chance the Powerpoint thick promises of carbon sequestration turn out to have affordable substance? This is a gamble that I, for one, do not support. But, Kreindler points out the quote was somewhat out of context, that in fact
we (EDF) want a mandatory cap that forces all power generators to internalize the cost of carbon regardless of feedstock, a level playing field in that regard.
That is a reasonable approach and definition of “level playing field”. Now, well, the question becomes what is the cost and who pays (and who benefits).
In any event, this spoof put Rising Tide on my radar scope and, well, now yours.
The spoof press release:
SPOOF PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
December 3, 2007
Information at www.climateactionpartnership.org
MAJOR US BUSINESSES ANNOUNCE COMMITMENT TO REDUCE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS BY 90%
Washington, D.C., Dec. 3, 2007 – The U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a consortium of 33 prominent businesses and organizations, announced today a commitment amongst its members to a 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The announcement was timed to coincide with the opening of a major United Nations climate summit in Bali.
“In an effort to encourage decisive action in Bali this week, USCAP’s members have committed to a 90% reduction in their greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” said Matt Leopard, a spokesperson for the consortium. “This commitment should send a strong message to the assembled countries and businesses about the type of reductions needed to stop global warming.”
USCAP’s members include many US market leaders such as Alcoa, BP, Caterpillar, ConocoPhillips, Dow, DuPont, Ford, General Electric, General Motors Corp., Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, PG&E, Shell and Xerox. USCAP’s goal is to further public policy that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the climate.
The announcement from USCAP’s members also includes a mid-term commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 45% from 1990 levels by 2020. Following the leads of NASA’s top climate scientist James Hansen, as well as bi-partisan political leaders, USCAP is also calling for an immediate moratorium on the construction of new coal-fired power plants.
Toward this end, USCAP is urging the US and other industrialized nations to enact a policy framework for mandatory reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors of the economy. USCAP has produced a comprehensive set of principles and recommendations for scientifically effective, socially responsible climate policy. This document, titled A Call to Action1, has been released by USCAP to underscore the urgent need for a comprehensive policy shift on energy and climate.
USCAP is the first consortium of major businesses to make such a commitment in hopes that it will yield to policy decisions to accelerate the deployment of zero-emission technologies and energy efficiency. In particular, USCAP is promoting landmark legislation for a government funded “Sustainable Job Corps.” This politically popular program would create 5 million jobs building a new public utility grid based on renewable technologies, with a goal of producing 50% of the US energy supply by 2020.
“USCAP has offered a plan for the US to lead by example in efforts to protect the climate,” said Matt Leopard. “The world governments assembled in Bali this week should begin a rapid transition to zero-emission energy sources and commit to a 90% reduction from 1990 levels by 2050″.2
USCAP’s website is www.climateactionpartnership.org.