Friday, July 31, 2009

Action Factory DC - Towards a Strong Global Climate Treaty

Photos and Video: No more Naked Fraud!

Action Factory DC - Towards a Strong Global Climate Treaty

Action Alert: Protest in front of Bonner and Associates for naked fraud!


A DC Lobbying firm stole the trademarked logo and organizational name of the NAACP and a community group in Charlottesville, VA and wrote a letter purporting to oppose the ACES bill in the house.

This is a prime example of dirty money fueling lies in DC. It is an affront to Democracy and a hindrance to passing the climate legislation our country desperately needs. We need to call them out and make this a national story.


What: Picket / Rally outside of the perpetrators' offices. Visuals will include "naked" lobbyists holding signs admitting to "naked fraud" and climate destruction.

Where: 1101 17th St NW (Near Farragut Square Metro stops)

When: 2:30 PM, Friday July 31.

Who: Avaaz Climate Action Factory and YOU!


from the Charlottesville Daily Progress.

Forged letters to congressman anger local groups

By Brian McNeill

Published: July 31, 2009

As U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello was considering how to vote on an important
piece of climate change legislation in June, the freshman
congressman’s office received at least six letters from two
Charlottesville-based minority organizations voicing opposition to the

The letters, as it turns out, were forgeries.

“They stole our name. They stole our logo. They created a position
title and made up the name of someone to fill it. They forged a letter
and sent it to our congressman without our authorization,” said Tim
Freilich, who sits on the executive committee of Creciendo Juntos, a
nonprofit network that tackles issues related to Charlottesville’s
Hispanic community. “It’s this type of activity that undermines
Americans’ faith in democracy.”

The faked letter from Creciendo Juntos was signed by “Marisse K.
Acevado, Asst Member Coordinator,” an identity and position at
Creciendo Juntos that do not exist.

The person who sent the letter has not been identified, but he or she
was employed by a Washington lobbying firm called Bonner & Associates.

Gwynn Geiger Hegyi, a partner with the company, traveled to
Charlottesville to apologize to Creciendo Juntos’ chairwoman Dilcia
Colindres and sent a letter to Freilich.

“As I shared with Dilcia when I travelled to Charlottesville last
month to personally apologize for the mistake which we discovered and
contacted you about, we immediately fired the person on our staff
responsible for the error,” Hegyi wrote in the July 22 letter to

Hegyi and others at Bonner & Associates did not return two phone calls
Thursday seeking comment for this story.

More than a ‘mistake’

In a letter notifying Perriello’s office about the matter, Freilich
said he was “offended” by Hegyi’s characterization of the forged
letter as a “mistake.”

“This was not a ‘mistake,’” wrote Freilich, who is also legal director
of the Immigrant Advocacy Program of the Legal Aid Justice Center.
“This was a deliberately and carefully forged letter that used the
logo, address and name of Creciendo Juntos without authorization.
Additionally, I understand from Ms. Hegyi that our organization was
not the only Charlottesville-area organization whose reputations were
used in an unauthorized manner to try to influence Congressman
Perriello on this particular vote.”

After being notified of the bogus Creciendo Juntos letter, staffers in
Perriello’s office realized that the wording of the letter sounded

The staffers dug through the stacks of thousands of letters, e-mails
and faxes Perriello received about the bill — the American Clean
Energy and Security Act of 2009 — and found five more forged letters,
these purportedly from the Albemarle-Charlottesville branch of the

M. Rick Turner, president of the local NAACP branch, said he checked
his organization’s roster and found none of the five people who signed
their name to the five faked letters.

NAACP ‘very appalled’

“I am very appalled as the president that our organization has been
misrepresented in this way by this bogus … letter,” Turner said. “I
hope that whoever’s behind this will be brought to justice.”

In fact, Turner said, the NAACP supports the American Clean Energy and
Security Act, as he said it would create good-paying jobs for blacks
and reduce harmful emissions, particularly in urban areas.

“Clean energy creates jobs in the urban setting,” he said.

The fake NAACP letters were faxed to Perriello’s office from the
Arlington headquarters of a company called Professional Risk
Management Services Inc. A representative of the company said she had
no knowledge of why the fax would have been sent from her office,
adding that at least 60 employees have access to the fax machine.

Perriello’s press secretary, Jessica Barba, said the congressman’s
office knows of only the five forged letters, but there may be others
they have not yet discovered.

“There could be more, but these are the only ones that we’re aware of
right now,” she said.

With regards to the Creciendo Juntos letter, it is not known who — if
anyone — hired Bonner & Associates to lobby against the bill, which
also is known as cap-and-trade legislation. The staffer who the
company said was fired may not have been working in any official
capacity when he or she created and mailed the forgery.

Bonner & Associates was founded in 1984 by Jack Bonner and is
considered a pioneer in the field of “strategic grassroots,” in which
the firm manages grassroots campaigns on behalf of its clients, which
have included Fortune 500 companies and national associations in all
50 states.

Artificial campaign

The AARP Bulletin reported in 2006 that the “60 Plus Association”
hired Bonner & Associates in 2003 to manage what it called an
“Astroturf” campaign against prescription drug legislation in
Minnesota and New Mexico, meaning that it was an artificial version of
a grassroots campaign.

Bonner & Associates hired callers to identify themselves as members of
the 60 Plus Association and urge residents to ask their governors to
veto the legislation. Pharmaceutical company Pfizer later admitted
that it had paid Bonner & Associates to undertake the campaign, AARP

An examination of lobbyist disclosure forms filed with the Office of
the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives shows that Bonner &
Associates did not register to lobby on behalf of any company or
organization against the cap-and-trade bill.

However, a lobbying firm only needs to disclose their clients if the
client pays them more than $3,000 in a filing period, at least one
employee spends 20 percent of their time lobbying, and that employee
made at least two lobbying contacts within the filing period. Managing
a grassroots campaign might not require public disclosure of lobbying
activities or clients.

Bonner & Associates has disclosed a few clients in recent years. For
example, the company took in $150,000 to lobby on behalf of the
Electric Utility Shareholders Alliance between 1998 and 2000,
according to the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics.

In a report Wednesday, the Center for Responsive Politics revealed
that oil and gas companies greatly increased their spending on
lobbying between April and June, primarily because of the
cap-and-trade energy bill. During the second quarter of 2009, these
companies spent $37.7 million on lobbying congress, representing a 30
percent increase over 2008.

Perriello ultimately voted in favor of the bill, which narrowly passed
the House on June 26 in a 219 to 212 vote. The bill is now before the
U.S. Senate.

Perriello’s vote has drawn the ire of some critics who say the measure
will increase electricity bill costs and eliminate jobs.

Barba, however, criticized the bill’s opponents for the forged letters.

“It’s very unfortunate that opponents of this bill would resort to
deception and made-up letters,” she said. “Spreading false information
is not healthy for real debate in our democracy. Congressman Perriello
voted in favor of the bill because of its potential to create clean
energy jobs, which is why the NAACP and many other groups supported
the legislation in the first place.”

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Action Factory DC - Towards a Strong Global Climate Treaty

Todd Stern Needs High Fives

Mysterious youngsters clad with monochromatic signs asking for a “Strong Global Climate Treaty” appeared early Thursday morning in front of the State Department Building in Washington DC.

State employees as well as unaware commuters were welcomed by the unusual sight of individuals aligned down the street holding signs that read “Strong Global Climate Treaty, Needs Todd Stern, Todd Stern, Needs Hope, High Five,” where one of them masked as Todd Stern (Special Envoy on Climate Change for the United States) awaited them with a raised hand ready to receive the support that he needs in the form of high fives.

Besides providing an unusual sight and an unfamiliar welcome to State Department employees, these young people are holding Mr. Stern accountable for the responsibilities that his position entails, and asking him to step up and push congress to provide America with a stronger climate bill, which will in turn allow the United States to have a positive presence in Copenhagen this December at the International Climate Change Negotiations.

While the tactic used by the group to convey their message may be lighthearted, their ask is serious: A strong Global Climate Treaty is not only necessary, it's urgent. The administration, including President Obama and State Secretary Hillary Clinton, along with the White House and State Department, must be held accountable for the promises they made on the campaign trail and continue to make in office. Supporting strong climate legislation is the most effective way to keep their promises and ensure that America leads the world to a clean energy future.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Action Factory DC - Towards a Strong Global Climate Treaty

The Fatal Flaw in Climate Messaging

After attending half a dozen hearings on the various climate change bills that have been going through the House and now the Senate, I have noticed a trend in framing that makes me incredibly angry.

There is constant talk about the “clean energy future” and all of our “green jobs” but in all the talking and debating there is no mention of why we are fighting to make these changes. There is hardly ever a mention of the 300,000 people who are dying, the endless amounts of agriculture that are going to be lost, or that entire countries are going to be under water in less than 20 years. They never talk about the fact that global warming could lead to the end of human existence. That is why we have to change our behavior now.

To be completely honest, I don’t think this lack of connections between policy and global warming is purely the fault of the elected officials. I have often caught myself forgetting why I am an activist and why I work on solving global warming. And if I’m forgetting that I am in the movement then what can we expect to see from the general public and our elected officials. The general public doesn’t make the connection between catastrophes such as hurricane Katrina and a dramatic increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. They just don’t understand what global warming is and what it means for people right now.

This is a fatal flaw for the climate movement. The issue is complex and the framing is lost. The connections are there but they have to be illustrated. As an active force in the climate movement we, as young people, cannot forget to keep making the connections. When we talk about our energy future, we have to say we need it to prevent additional carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere. When we tell people to paint their roofs white or change their light bulbs, we need to say that these small steps should be paired with larger steps by Congress to pass aggressive legislation.

Overall, we need to reconnect to the heart of global warming and remember why we need to innovate. We cannot forget the risk that is in place if we don’t do these things and we have to tell that story to the public. We have to make the connection that to us is so intuitive. It needs to be spelled out. If not, we won’t get everyone on board and without everyone, we are doomed.

For more specific information

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Action Factory DC - Towards a Strong Global Climate Treaty

More Info on Clinton and Oil Sands

Watch this video from the Action Factory in front of the State Department.

Also, you can find our press release and flyer.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Action Factory DC - Towards a Strong Global Climate Treaty

Clinton's Big Decision on Tar Sands

Secretary Clinton’s pen could prevent a new pipeline that would suck filthy tar-sands into the US. This morning, the Avaaz Action Factory in DC showed the State Department just how terrible the oil sands are, and how much of a climate hero Clinton can be.

During the DC morning rush hour activists with the Avaaz Action Factory headed to the State Department equipped with a kiddie pool of tar sands mixture, and a big banner stating: “Clinton be a Leader. Say No to Tar Sands, Stop Global Warming.” About 1000 State Department employees walked by a battle between Super Climate Clinton and the Tar Sands Monster on their way to work.
Action Factory members constructed a Boreal forest on the sidewalk in front of the State Department. There, the heartless corporate executives plotted to exploit US and Canadian dependence on oil by promoting tar sands extraction. The Tar Sands Monster, encouraged by the executives, awoke and dragged the oil-addicted US and Canada down into the dirty tar sand pit, pulling the rest of the world with them!

The world's only hope was Super Climate Clinton who faced a big decision: Should she rescue the countries trapped by the Tar Sands Monster? Or should she give in to the sleazy oil executives and approve an oil pipeline that would extend the U.S.’s dependence on dirty fossil fuels for decades to come?

Executives from Shell Oil and the Royal Bank of Canada, the largest financier of oil sands extraction, distracted and mislead Super Climate Clinton, knowing that if she examined the situation she wouldn't approve. But Clinton heard the loud calls for help from the United States, Canada, and Mother Earth. Once Clinton actually looked and saw the filthy destruction in the Boreal forests, she rescued the trapped countries, beat the dirty Tar Sands monster back and chased away the corporate executives.

Secretary Clinton has the power to stop a major expansion of dirty oil production, but she needs to act quickly. The Obama campaign has promised a transformative switch to a clean energy economy, but his administration's actions on mountain top removal coal mining and oil sands expansion have yet to live up to his word.

Furthermore, Secretary Clinton just returned from a highly publicized trip to India where the media reported that she ‘clashed’ with the developing nation over an agreement on reducing emissions. Denying this pipeline is a big opportunity for Clinton to come back from this blow and make crucial call to prevent expansion of oil sands extraction.

Clinton hopefully got our message, but she'll definitely get it if you join us in taking action:

What you can do:
Call the US State Department at (202) 647-4000 and ask for Secretary Clinton’s representative and ask her to turn down the Clipper Pipeline and say no to dirty energy expansion.

Then post to your facebook wall or tweet: I just called Clinton asking her to stop prevent a dirty #oilsands pipeline into the US. (link)

Today's action is part of a much larger effort involving the Rainforest Action Network, the Sierra Club and many more groups fighting to stop tar sands extraction.

  • Oil Sands projects are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas pollution in Canada.
  • Production of oil from tar sands bitumen produces between 3 and 5 times the greenhouse gas pollution of conventional oil production.

There has been a push to get off ‘foreign oil’ and stop sending money to the middle east. Whether you consider Canadian oil to be foreign or not (obviously it is), these discussions miss the point: Oil causes climate change, and we need to stop developing new sources of oil, new infrastructure for oil and instead focus on climate change solutions.

That’s why this pipeline is critical. A major piece of infrastructure will make it that much harder to phase out the use of dirty fossil fuels, which is one of the reasons the backers of this project are pushing so hard to get this through without even a public debate.

Clipper Pipeline

Enbridge wants to build a 1,000-mile pipeline to transport crude oil from the Alberta Oil Sands to Superior, Wisconsin. The 36-inch Alberta Clipper Pipeline would carry up to 450,000 barrels of crude oil a day from Hardisty, Alberta (Canada) to refineries in the United States — primarily in the Midwest.

Graphic: Minnesota Public Radio/Enbridge.

In the United States, the Alberta Clipper Pipeline would extend 326 miles from the U.S.-Canadian border near Neche, North Dakota across northern Minnesota to an Enbridge terminal in Superior, Wisconsin.
For more information on action to stop oil sands, check out and the Indigenous Environmental Network
For more information about the Avaaz Action Factory, check out

By Morgan Goodwin and Heather Kangas, Action Factory DC. Photos by Christine Irvine

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Action Factory DC - Towards a Strong Global Climate Treaty

Climate Astronauts Boogie Down for Carbon Cuts

After a busy day in the Senate buildings, the Avaaz Action Factory Climate Astronauts made a special appearance outside of Union Station yesterday afternoon to boogie down for carbon emissions reductions. Their message was simple: when the U.S. decided to put man on the moon, we succeeded within a decade; let's make the same commitment to cutting carbon by 40% in the next ten years! I'll moonwalk for that.

Passers-by with peaked interest received flyers explaining the necessity of passing a strong Senate climate bill which includes aggressive carbon emissions reduction targets. Some folks even stopped to join the festivities, declaring their dedication to solving global warming through dance.

But wait! The climate astronauts are not yet through - they will not rest until their disco demands are met. Keep your eyes peeled next week, same climate astronaut time, same climate astronaut channel, in case they strike with their stellar strut once again...

Action Factory DC - Towards a Strong Global Climate Treaty

Want to help with a Tar Sands Action Tomorrow?

Tomorrow morning (Friday morning) the Action Factory will doing street theater in front of the State Department to protest the Canadian tar sands that the United States is accepting.

"In the Canadian Boreal forest just downstream of the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains are the Canadian tar sands. The region contains some 2 trillion barrels of oil, but getting to it will mean destroying an area larger than the state of Florida.

Tar sands consist of heavy crude oil mixed with sand, clay and bitumen. Extraction entails burning natural gas to generate enough heat and steam to melt the oil out of the sand. As many as five barrels of water are needed to produce a single barrel of oil"

Hillary Clinton must sign off on a cross-boarder pipeline VERY soon. This cross-boarder pipeline will go between Alberta and Minnesota and allow tar sands to be passed to refineries in the United States. We believe the United States must say NO to fossil fuels and instead start investing in renewable energy. If the United States continues to accept dirty energy it will make it near-impossible for them to be the real climate leaders they must be at the U.N. negotiations.

Meet - 7:40 at the Park on the corner of E and 23rd st. NW(close to the Foggy Bottom metro stop)

Details - You'll either be holding a banner or flyering near the skit. (BASIC SKIT: Tar sands monster, US, Canada, Earth are in the kiddy pool. Tar sands monster is attacking and harassing the US, Canada, and Earth. Hillary clinton is standing on the side debating what she should do about the situation. The oil execs start pushing clinton away from the situation but she continues to look around at what's happening. After some moral decision making she decides to save america, canada, and earth from the tar sands. The crowd is nearby cheering and booing at various times throughout the day.)

Length - The action will last till around 8:30

Please email Morgan if you are able to make it!

Thanks so much! Hope you can make it!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Action Factory DC - Towards a Strong Global Climate Treaty

What Can the US Do in 10 Years?

I was one of 7 Astronauts who stood up in today's EPW senate hearing to deliver an unmistakable message to our senators, both allies and obstructionists: be as bold as the Apollo mission. Fully clad in space suits complete with the NASA logo, the Avaaz Action Factory stood up in the middle of the hearing and unfurled our banners.

"What can the US do in 10 years?" The first banner asked. "Put a man on the moon (check); cut co2 40% (dotted-line-check)." said the 2nd.

Responses in the room ranged from excited smiles and laughs to uncomfortable grimaces. Senators Boxer and Sanders didn't reach for the gavel to call for order. A confused capitol police officer kindly asked us to sit, but didn't kick us out. After 15 minutes, another officer asked us into the hallway but let us back in after a warning. Walking in and out of the hearing twice only added to our visibility because of the bright and shiny NASA suits we all had on.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Action Factory DC - Towards a Strong Global Climate Treaty

Will Gillibrand Score a Home Run for Climate?

In their second public appearance on Tuesday, the Strongmen and women showed up in full force this evening at Guy Mason Field for the first ever Congressional Women’s Softball match. Why? To cheer on Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) of course!

With climate-themed ball game cheers, the Strongpeople attracted much attention and joined Gillibrand’s staff in pumping her up throughout the game. She seemed to recognize the Strongpeople, having seen them in the morning at an Environment and Public Works hearing. After the game, Gillibrand was excited to shake all of the Strongpeoples’ strong, muscular hands as they congratulated her on her excellent pitching and batting skills. The Strongpeople told her how much they are counting on her to “hit the climate bill out of the park too” and be a climate champion. They gave her a commemorative bat with information about ways to strengthen climate legislation and lead the US toward a global treaty in Copenhagen. The Senator thanked the Strongpeople for their advocacy and accepted the gifts graciously.
Senator Gillibrand is in a unique position to be a climate champion in the senate. She sits on the three committees that will probably play the largest role in piecing together a bill: Environment and Public Works, Agriculture, and Foreign Relations. To date, her statements on climate change are encouraging, including a recent indication that she “will use every bit of persuasive power” to restore the EPA’s authority to regulate pollution from old coal-fired power plants in the Senate version of the bill. This important EPA oversight is not included in the House-passed Waxman-Markey bill. Given that she sits on Foreign Relations as well as EPW, Gillibrand is also poised to help strengthen international finance provisions for adaptation and clean tech transfer. These oft-forgotten components of a US climate bill will mean a lot at international negotiations, and whether or not Gillibrand will lead in these areas as well remains to be seen.

Tonight, Senator Gillibrand played hard and even scored a run. The Strongpeople hope to see her do the same if not better in the Senate as the climate bill moves forward.

Action Factory DC - Towards a Strong Global Climate Treaty

Strongmen/women want Strong Climate Bill

In this morning’s Environment and Public Works Senate committee hearing, youth once again pushed for HARDER oversight of dirty coal plants, BETTER funding for international adaptation and clean tech measures, FASTER 2020 emissions reduction targets, and overall STRONGER domestic climate legislation leading up to Copenhagen. Six youth dressed in muscle suits and “HARDER, BETTER, FASTER, STRONGER” work-out tees filled a full row in the hearing room, and came face to face with Senator Boxer and other committee members.

The “strong” visual brought whispers of interest and cell-phone photos from hearing attendees and press. The strongmen/women also let out a burst of clapping after one witness's testimony about the need to put a cap on carbon emissions. In response, Senator Boxer thanked demonstrators for their presence despite calling for order in the room. After a drawn-out debate over nuclear plants between the Chairwoman and Senator Alexander, the Avaaz strongmen/women stood in unison and slowly filed out of the room, creating a human wall of the STRONGER message.

The presence at today’s hearing follows Avaaz’s current theme: over the past week, the strongmen have visited another EPW hearing, delivered 5-pound barbells to committee member offices, created a “STRONG” aerial photo, and performed a core strengthening workout routine in the offices of primary targets. With their continued coaching, hopefully the senators will beef up and flex their legislative muscles to pass a strong climate bill. Stay tuned for another appearance of Avaaz's strongmen and women.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Action Factory DC - Towards a Strong Global Climate Treaty

Avaaz Action Factory helps Senators pump it up and make a STRONG climate bill.

With youth leading the workout routine, and the EPA spotting them with good oversight, the Senate can qualify for the Climate Olympics in Copenhagen.
Photo credit: Christine Irvine
This week the bell sounded for round 2 of the US climate change legislative hurdling event with the opening hearing of Sen Boxer’s Environment and Public Works Committee. Over 100 youth organized by the Avaaz Climate Action Factory DC were there, in senators faces, showing them how to get a strong climate bill. Kanye West and Daft Punk provided the inspiration for the week with the theme: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.

Harder - oversight on coal plants.
Better - Renewable Portfolio Standard and investments in international adaptation.
Faster - emissions reductions targets.
STRONGER - leadership in the Senate and a stronger bill!

Tuesday, July 7th: first EPW hearing on Climate Bill
The Strongmen stormed the capitol! 6 activists in muscle costumes greeted senators going into the hearing, to flex their legislative muscles and strengthen the bill. Despite getting there at 7am for a 10am hearing, too many paid line-sitters were saving seats for lobbyists, preventing the Strongmen from entering. Their presence in the hallway was still impressive because it afforded the opportunity to talk to the press and flex for all the staff. The Strongmen also greeted energy secretary Steven Chu and Senators Kerry and Lugar walking in and out of the Foreign Relations Committee meeting room across the hall. Quote from Senator Kerry: "Stronger Climate Bill? Lets make it happen!"

Tuesday Afternoon: EPW Follow up
The Action Factory Strongmen visited 18 of the 19 senators offices on the EPW committee that afternoon to do personal workout routines. (Senator Inhoffe was skipped as he is too woefully out of shape to participate.) Workout routines consisted of three easy steps: 4 reps reaching high into the air to hit 40% reductions by 2020, three reps of five for 5% of allocations for international adaptation, 5% for REDD and 5% for clean tech transfer. And finally, since congress needs someone to spot them on the big lifts, we asked the EPA to provide oversight. Strongmen left bar-bells as presents in the offices, as well as teaching the receptionists how to do the workout for their bosses.

Thursday, July 9th: Aerial photo and more office visits:
As part of the Campus Progress lobby day, the Action Factory stepped up to organize a mass-action involving over 60 people in a guerilla aerial photo. Co-organizing with Energy Action Coalition and Chesapeake Climate Action Network, a team of letter captains, 50 volunteers walked into the Senate Hart office building and formed a ‘flash-mob’ spelling out STRONG in front of the baffled police. (See above photo)

This rapid-response call for a STRONG bill was followed by a group of 30 in strongmen outfits, Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger shirts and Powershift09 shirts to visit the offices of primary targets in the fight for a strong climate bill: Senators Levin (D-MI), Snow (R-ME) and McCaskill (D-MO).

The visit to McCaskil’s office was particularly relevant because she has repeatedly expressed concern that the climate bill is ‘too strong’ (to paraphrase). With the Strongmen’s help, Claire can beef up her stance on climate, provide the green jobs Missourians want and the international leadership the world needs.

Avaaz Action Factories:
Avaaz has formed action factories at two strategic locations in Europe and in Washington DC to gather and deploy youth climate activists. Each location houses 15+ 'Youth Climate Fellows' working as a team, and supported by These fellows are devoting their summer months to mobilizing stunts, lobbying campaigns, and other actions. The work of these activists will maximize the possibility of achieving a strong binding global climate treaty at Copenhagen, and will raise the expectations and demands of the global public that governments must achieve such a treaty.

Photos Here:

Media Coverage:

Roll Call - Covers news and gossip on Capitol Hill - Online news magazine with broad national reach and diverse readership

Free Speech Radio News - national blog on green politics, lifestyle, products and issues

Wonkroom - Center for American Progress blog

CNN - Lou Dobbs - Brief appearance on environmental groups not having a fair fight against big-money lobbyists.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Action Factory DC - Towards a Strong Global Climate Treaty


Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger – Yes, the title of a Daft Punk song, but also these four words represent what we, young people fighting to stop global warming, are calling for in the Senate climate bill.

This afternoon the Avaaz DC Action Factory, along with Campus Progress and EAC, made another large push for the senate to create a stronger climate bill by physically spelling out the word “STRONG” inside of the Hart Senate Office Building. We took advantage of the eight-story atrium to creatively pose for an “aerial” photo that literally embodies our message. We saw staffers and interns stop copying papers and answering phones to decipher the word from balconies and windows on the floors above. The photograph will soon be delivered to these staffers to remind them that the global youth are actively participating in the climate debate.

The “STONG” message is essential because the House American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) passed on Friday June 26th is not aggressive enough. Congress is currently debating the Senate bill in committee and we are hoping to see a vote on it before the December UNFCCC negotiations this December in Copenhagen. It is critical that we demand more from the senate bill than we saw in the ACES bill. We need harder oversight on coal plants, better renewable portfolio standard and investments in international adaptation, faster emissions reduction targets and, more generally, stronger leadership and a stronger bill.

The action also brought back the strongmen that we used on Tuesday of this week during the first Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on climate legislation. The positive response that we received on Tusesday led us to continue the “stronger” message and utilize the strongman gimmick as we flooded the offices of senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Carl Levin (D-MI), Olympia Snowe (R-ME). We presented these swing-vote Senators with a Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger t-shirt and performed the exercise routine to better illustrate what we need in a strong climate bill. The image of 30 young people flexing and stretching in Senate offices is a sight these staffers are unlikely to forget as they mark-up the bill in the coming weeks!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Action Factory DC - Towards a Strong Global Climate Treaty

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Photo courtesy of Roll Call:

Yesterday we flexed our muscles in the senate, teaching senators on the Environment and Public Works committee about how they can bulk up to make the climate bill Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.

Tomorrow, we need your help to send an even bigger message to the senate. We're calling for:

Harder - oversight on coal plants.

Better - Renewable Portfolio Standard and investments in international adaptation.

Faster - emissions reductions targets.

STRONGER - leadership in the Senate and a stronger bill!

How are we doing to do that? By posing for a huge aerial photo spelling out the word STRONGER for the senate. But we need 80 people to make this happen. Can you be at the upper senate park at 12:30 pm tomorrow? Sign up on Facebook here.

Organized by Avaaz Action Factory DC, the Energy Action Coalition and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Action Factory DC - Towards a Strong Global Climate Treaty


This morning, half a dozen youth in strongmen costumes showed up to pump iron and flex their climate bill “muscles” in Dirksen 406. Why? Because the first post-ACES Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on climate legislation took place there at 10 am today.
I was surprised to see such a clever ploy espousing that Congress must pass a stronger climate bill than the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last Friday, June 26th.

During the hearing the strongmen proceeded with their “climate bill workout” to illustrate the metaphor of strengthening the bill and encouraging Senators to “flex their own legislative muscles.” These antics were not only amusing and set a very friendly and light-hearted tone to the hearing, it clearly pushed the issue of creating a “strong” bill. They are pushing to buff up the climate bill which will prove to the world that the U.S. is serious about stopping global warming--and persuade our country and others to agree to an effective and equitable global climate treaty in Copenhagen this December. As articulated by the trainer to his brawny trainees, “Now, let’s build up the muscles for our strong, global climate treaty!”

And, if the muscle suits didn’t allude to the issue enough, each muscleman wore a t-shirt with “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” on them. The popular song by Daft Punk, later remade by Kanye West, correlated with the more specific asks of harder oversight on coal plants, better renewable portfolio standard and investments in international adaptation, faster emissions reduction targets and, more generally, stronger leadership and a stronger bill.

This action was also paired up with a series of deliveries to the offices of the Environment and Public Works Committee members. Later in the afternoon, the same strongmen traveled from office to office, delivering custom designed 5lb weights all encouraging the Senators to bulk up the meat of the climate bill and “lose 40% of carbon emission fat.” The 5lb dumbbells themselves represented the 5-5-5% targets for the international provisions in the bill. The dumbbells also had best exercising practices and even recommended that Congress “consult its personal trainer, the EPA, periodically to keep on track with the science.”
The connections between a total body workout and creating a binding treaty were both humorous and clever and I personally thought it was amusing to have a play off of the American culture of desiring a fit body by eating hamburgers and drinking diet soda. This, much like our current climate bill and Congressional process, is not a way to achieve our “target weight.” It is wonderful to see the youth climate movement pushing our senators to be more aggressive right off the bat with the first hearing in a fun and witty way that turns heads and demands the real targets our national and international communities need.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Action Factory DC - Towards a Strong Global Climate Treaty

Rapid Response: Tell the G8 to Keep it Under 2 Degrees C

This is the latest action alert from button_transparent

Join the call for a strong climate treaty!
There are only months left to build a strong global climate treaty -- but some G8 countries are putting its future in doubt.

The G8, meeting in Rome this week, is weighing a pledge to limit global warming below 2 degrees centigrade, the level at which scientists say a deadly climate chain reaction becomes dangerously likely. Canada, Japan, and Russia are trying to veto the 2-degree limit -- and an immediate global outcry is needed to rescue it. Add your name to the petition, and Avaaz will deliver it with stunts and meetings in Rome this Wednesday and Thursday!

We call on our leaders to go to Copenhagen and sign a global climate deal that is:

AMBITIOUS: enough to leave a planet safe for us all.
FAIR: for the poorest countries that did not cause climate change but are suffering most from it.
BINDING: with real targets that can be legally monitored and enforced.
Start now. Harper, Medvedev, Aso, and other leaders gathered in Italy--agree a 2-degree target!
Sign the petition here, and stay tuned for updates of youth climate action throughout the week.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Action Factory DC - Towards a Strong Global Climate Treaty

International Youth Push Sweden to "Clean up the EU's Act" on Climate Leadership

A group of young people dressed in white HAZMAT suits and green hard hats arrived at the Swedish Embassy this morning to encourage bold climate change leadership as a cornerstone of Sweden’s EU presidency. The climate advocates urged Sweden to “Clean up the EU’s Act” before the crucial international climate negotiations that will take place in Copenhagen this December.

Concerned that the EU has fallen behind as a climate champion in recent years, the group delivered a petition along with a variety of fictitious cleaning products to Lars Roth, Second Secretary for Trade and Economic Affairs at the Embassy, in order to help Sweden “clean up the EU’s Act”. These included the “Green Clean Economy Scrubber,” described as being “tough on climate change, soft on economies,” the “Bail-out Mop Bucket” for “bailing out small island nations as they go under water due to rising sea levels” and the “2020 Target Stain Remover,” a stain remover that that young advocates claimed “reduces 45% of CO2 stains by 2020,” – a reference to the CO2 reduction target that the group is urging all industrialized countries to commit to in Copenhagen. They also delivered "Copenhagen Clorox" and "Forest Sponges" to help soak up CO2.

A similar group in Berlin, Germany gained attention at the Swedish Embassy there on Wednesday. They also called for Sweden to “Clean up the EU’s Act” and got their message across by using a pressure washer to create “reverse graffiti” on the streets outside the Swedish Embassy in Berlin.

Sweden has already identified climate policy as a top EU priority in the coming months and the group encouraged Sweden’s leadership while highlighting specific aspects of climate policy that are crucial for a strong international treaty. Specifically, the group hopes to see the EU commit to providing substantial ‘adaptation funds’ to developing countries most affected by climate change, and ‘tech transfer’ to help developing countries get onto low-carbon development paths. Examples include providing agricultural assistance to countries experiencing extreme drought due to climate change and helping small island states build levies or relocate climate refugees.

The group also called for Sweden to lead the EU to commit to the short term reduction target of 40% reductions below 1990 levels by 2020 and to temperature stabilization at 1.5°C of warming above pre-industrial levels. Few industrialized countries have committed to these goals, which are necessary for avoiding catastrophic warming.

The climate advocates work with the international advocacy organization, which has 3.5 million members worldwide, including 34,000 in Sweden and over 1.5 million throughout Europe.

Watch the video on YouTube!