To: Leslie Cagan
It's silly to write: "We're not going to take this lying
Oh yea? What are we going to do about it, chant at buildings? That'll
Monty Python's Life of Brian, anyone?
More important: What's so great about the Paris Climate Accord, anyway?
You don't say anything of substance about it in your email.
Hopefully, you could send out an email saying WHY the U.S. should not
pull out of it, and also what a REAL Climate Accord would look like.
But the Democrats are not into a real agreement, with enforcement, any
more than the Republicans. It's all a shell game, ever since Bill Clinton
dispatched Al Gore to Kyoto to SCUTTLE the mediocre treaty in the 90s and
install a market-driven (i.e. capitalist) approach to commoditizing the
And, what do you mean when you write that we will "call on Governor
Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and Comptroller Stringer to take the immediate and
bold action we need to fight the climate crisis." Such as
what immediate and bold action? Give me a break. Here are
some relevant thoughts I've written on the subject:
THE CLINTON-GORE-KYOTO CONNECTIONOnce Upon a Time, Al
Gore claimed to have invented the internet. He also laid claim, along
with the rest of the Clinton administration, to having “reinvented
government.” A few years ago he re-invented himself as a
modern-day Paul Revere galloping across the country on his white horse
crying, “To arms, to arms, the Climate is Changing.” Yet back in the
1990s while the rest of the world was negotiating a mandatory reduction
in industrial emissions that were punching holes in the Ozone layer,
it was none other than Al Gore, Vice President of the United States,
who traveled to Kyoto, Japan to take those negotiations hostage and
prevent a ban on targeted
Gore commandeered the Kyoto conference. The U.S. government,
he said, would not sign the Accord – as limited as it was – if it imposed
emissions reductions on industrial countries. Instead, he demanded
that the rest of the world adopt his proposal that would allow
industrial nations like the U.S. to continue polluting by establishing an
international trade in carbon pollution credits. Gore’s “solution”
– like Obama’s – was to turn pollution into a commodity and buy and sell
it in the form of “pollution rights”. The free market trade in “pollution
credits” would simply shift around pollution and spread it out more
evenly without reducing the total amount of ozone-depleting greenhouse
gases. It would allow the United States and other industrial countries to
continue polluting the rest of the world.
In proposing (and imposing) that mechanism, Gore and Clinton were
enacting a policy – trade in pollution credits – that had first been put
into effect in a more limited way by President George H.W. Bush under the
1990 extension to the Nixon administration’s “Clean Air
Act.”5 The mechanisms were
developed by the World Bank (under Lawrence Summers’ tutelage) and
International Monetary Fund, and this quintessential capitalist policy
was actually endorsed by several well-known environmental
The global trade in industrial waste emissions credits, as I wrote above,
were a new kind of commodity and would require new regulations and
agencies to administer their authorization and trade. Clinton and Gore
constructed an elaborate set of structures such as the World Trade
Organization, and treaties such as NAFTA, GATT, and the FTAA to do just
that. Under the new trade bureaucracy, countries would not be allowed to
exempt themselves from trade – not even from imports of toxic wastes or
trade in pollution credits – regardless of environmental or social
justice considerations. The entire edifice institutionalized the complex
mechanisms designed to save capitalism from the demands of the growing
grassroots environmental and global justice movements.
In his 1992 book, Earth in the Balance – much praised (foolishly
but to be expected, in my estimation) by the large environmental
not-for-profit corporations vested in the current economic system – Al
Gore laid out the ideological basis for his flawed pro-capitalist
solution to environmental destruction and climate change: Rely on
voluntary self-regulation by corporations and the governments they
control. Forget that industrial corporations (including enormous
slaughterhouses of factory-farmed animals) have been the primary source
of toxic pollution. To remain competitive within the existing system
and to maximize profits, corporations cannot voluntarily end pollution if
it is cheaper for them to pollute. That is a fundamental capitalist
dynamic. It propels corporations to basically use the earth as their
ashtray in reckless disregard of the consequences to human and planetary
health. Governmental action is required to regulate pollution and
even the playing field for all.
Gore ignored that reality and built the rationale for his framework upon
the fiction that corporations could and would on their own stop their
emissions of greenhouse gases and pollution, and play the necessary role
in cleaning up the environment.6
Despite the literally world-shaking consequences of global climate change
that Gore graphically documents in his film “An Inconvenient Truth,” he
refuses to challenge or even regulate the system that has driven the
planet to the brink of destruction.
A number of key environmental organizations accepted Gore’s delusion that
corporations, working with government and consumers, would or could save
the environment while maintaining the same set of economic relationships
and expansion of capitalist trade. Seven of the largest environmental
groups – National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council,
the Environmental Defense Fund, World Wildlife Fund, National Audubon
Society, Nature Conservancy, and Defenders of Wildlife – joined the
charade; they came out in support of the North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA),7 trouncing
opposition by smaller, more radical grassroots ecology groups and trade
unions. At a time when a united environmental movement could have made a
huge difference, these organizations provided Gore and Clinton with
carte blanche for pursuing neoliberal policies that have so
devastated the planet.
Gore and the pro-NAFTA environmental groups created a partnership that
established “free market” trade in pollution credits, basically asking
corporations to deliver the world from the ravages that they themselves
had created. Utter nonsense, but its ideological underpinnings were based
on an outrageous document justifying the dumping of toxic wastes in poor
countries. That document was written by an economist and policy-maker
working at the World Bank at the time: Lawrence Summers.
4 Mitchel Cohen, Listen Gore: Some Inconvenient Truths About the
Poltics of Environmental Crisis, Red Balloon pamphlets,
5 The market approach to pollution credits
was proposed by Havard Prof. Robert Stavins, who was part of George H.W.
Bush’s transition team and who collaborated in this approach with the
Environmental Defense Fund. Also, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer
was an early proponent of tradable permits as an alternative to pollution
6 Brian Tokar, Earth For Sale: Reclaiming Ecology in the Age of
Corporate Greenwash, South End Press, Boston MA: 1997. p. 66, quoting
from Gore, Earth in the Balance, p. 337, 297. For a more complete
analysis of Gore’s book, see Brian Tokar, “An Environmental Presidency,”
Z Magazine, April 1993, pp. 23-28; and “Environmental
Doublespeak,” The Ecologist, vol. 23, no. 4, July/August 1993, pp.
7 Brian Tokar, ibid.
For more on this, please click
Barack Obama, like Al Gore and other Democrats supposedly concerned with
saving the environment, propose false solutions for what they call the
“energy crisis” we’re facing. They want to:
1) Build new nuclear power plants and centralized (so that they
could meter it) “sustainable energy” projects;Together, these projects are built upon false “solutions” for
saving the environment by the same forces that are destroying it. They
have brought complex life on the planet to the point of no return. We can
and must stop them.
2) Utilize coal gassification, liquification technologies
(“clean” coal), and carbon sequestration;
3) Expand the use of agro-fuels, which in the U.S. means ethanol
from genetically engineered corn;
4) Block emission agreements unless they are based on free-market
trade in pollution credits (carbon-trading);
5) Promote “green” capitalism and consumption;
6) Extract dirty oil from tar sands and natural gas by
hydro-fracturing, at the expense of the water supply and the
likely generation of earthquakes;
7) engage in endless wars for oil and empire (using “fighting
terrorism“ as a pretext).
Al Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth,“ raises the issue of global
warming in a way that scares the bejeezus out of viewers, as it should
since the consequences of global climate change are truly earth-shaking.
The former Vice-President does a good job of presenting the graphic
evidence, along with exquisite and terrifying pictures that document the
melting of the polar ice caps and the effects on other species, new
diseases and rising ocean levels.
But, typically, the solutions Gore offers are standard Democratic Party
fare. You’d never know by watching this film that Gore and Clinton ran
this country for 8 years and that their policies – as much as those
of the Bush regime helped pave the way for the crisis we face
Gore never critiques the system causing the global ecological crisis
that may well lead to the endgame for all higher life on this planet.
At one point in the film, he even mourns the negative impact of global
warming on the U.S.’s deteriorating oil pipelines. Oh, the horror!
What is needed, says Gore and the Democrats, are technological fixes that
would enable us to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and tweak existing
Even there, Gore equivocates. He and Clinton did nothing to improve fuel
efficiency in the U.S. – a “solution” Gore proposes in the movie without
any hint that he’d once actually been in a position to do something about
it. Gore asks us who can best manage the relatively minor solutions he
recommends, the Democrats or Republicans. For Gore, it’s sort of “trust
US, not THEM, because they are liars and we’re not.“
Well, should we trust him?
Neither Al Gore – as point man for the Clinton administration on
environmental issues – nor Clinton-Gore’s Energy Secretary Bill
Richardson (with major ties to Occidental Petroleum), nor the Democratic
Party in general offered anything more than putting a tiny BandAid on the
earth’s gaping wounds, which they themselves helped to gash
Clearly, the vast destruction of the global ecology is a consequence not
just of poor governmental policies but of the capitalist system’s
fundamental drive towards Growth and what passes for Development – Grow
or Die. Environmental activists won’t find in Gore the kind of systemic
analysis that is needed to stop global warming. Instead, we need to look
elsewhere for that sort of deep systemic critique.
(for more of this essay, "Listen Gore" click
From: Leslie Cagan via
At 3 pm today Donald Trump is expected to make his
announcement about whether he will pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate
Accord. The consequences of the U.S. pulling out will be devastating and
a serious blow to any progress in the global fight to stem climate
Join us in a resounding outcry!
- NYC Stands Up Against Trump's Paris Exit
- Today - Thursday, June 1st
- 6 pm
- gather at Foley Square/Federal Plaza and then march to City
We're not going to take this lying down. As we say no Trump we call on
our City and State elected officials to step up and put into place
serious and effective policies.
People from around NYC will gather at Foley Square/Federal Plaza in lower
Manhattan and then march to City Hall. We will protest Trumpâ€™s
outrageous action and call on Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio and
Comptroller Stringer to take the immediate and bold action we need to
fight the climate crisis. This is a crisis and they should act like
Help spread the word:
like us on
Facebook page for this event
share that Facebook page
use your social media outlets to tell people about todayâ€™s
Join us at 6:00pm today, Thursday, to rally at Foley Square/Federal
Plaza and then march to City Hall.
- share this message with your email lists
Bring your signs and banners and raise your voice!
Peoples Climate Movement NY