Exposed: The Dirty Chamber of Commerce

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photo: flickr.com | Alfred T. Palmer

Wassup?!

The US Chamber of Commerce and big polluters like Chevron are standing in the way of curbing climate change. Watch this BEAUTIFUL video from 350.org and artist Hans Hansen to find out how.

In a nutshell.

The Chamber is controlled by Big Polluters, poisons politics with its dirty money and opposes every single effort to curb climate pollution. Some facts:

  • The U.S. Chamber spent $132,000,000 on lobbying in 2010! That’s more than the second, third and fourth largest lobbying groups combined.
  • Of the $32 million the U.S. Chamber spent on the 2010 midterm election, 94% went to candidates who are climate deniers.
  • Apple, Nike, Microsoft and others are leaving their positions within the U.S. Chamber. Local chambers of commerce in Seattle, New York and San Francisco are cutting their ties, too. You can check out the list of dissenters here.

“We strongly object to the Chamber’s recent comments in opposition the EPA’s effort to limit greenhouse gases,” wrote Catherine A. Novelli, the vice-president of worldwide government affairs at Apple. “Apple supports regulating greenhouse gas emissions, and it is frustrating to find the Chamber at odds with us in this effort.”

  • The Chamber claims it represents 3 million local businesses, but only actually represent 200,000. The Chamber gets 55% of its funding from 16 anonymous corporate donors.

Your Voice Counts!

Join 350.org in standing with small business owners, local chambers of commerce and people all over the country to declare, “The U.S. Chamber Doesn’t Speak for Me.” Sign up ten business in your community and 350.or will send you a signed copy of Bill McKibben’s latest book, “Eaarth.”

Monday, April 18th. Stand together to reclaim our democracy from big corporations and push our nation to move beyond dirty energy. Rally at 10-11:15am at Lafayette Park, outside the White House, across the street from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Then march! RSVP here.

Share this post on your facebook page!

If you’re a business, join the American Sustainable Business Council and/or the Green Chamber of Commerce.

Check out my article on elephantjournal.com for more maddening information and video about the Chamber.

About 350.org

350.org is an international campaign that’s building a movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis—the solutions that science and justice demand. Our mission is to inspire the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis—to create a new sense of urgency and of possibility for our planet.

What does the number 350 mean?

(Source 350.org) For all of human history until about 200 years ago, our atmosphere contained 275 parts per million of carbon dioxide. Parts per million is simply a way of measuring the concentration of different gases, and means the ratio of the number of carbon dioxide molecules to all of the molecules in the atmosphere. 275 ppm CO2 is a useful amount—without some CO2 and other greenhouse gases that trap heat in our atmosphere, our planet would be too cold for humans to inhabit.

So we need some carbon in the atmosphere, but the question is how much?

Beginning in the 18th century, humans began to burn coal and gas and oil to produce energy and goods. The amount of carbon in the atmosphere began to rise, at first slowly and now more quickly. Many of the activities we do every day like turning the lights on, cooking food, or heating or cooling our homes rely on energy sources like coal and oil that emit carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere. We’re taking millions of years worth of carbon, stored beneath the earth as fossil fuels, and releasing it into the atmosphere. By now—and this is the second number—the planet has about 388 parts per million CO2 – and this number is rising by about 2 parts per million every year.

Scientists are now saying that’s too much – that number is higher than any time seen in the recorded history of our planet—and we’re already beginning to see disastrous impacts on people and places all over the world. Glaciers everywhere are melting and disappearing fast—and they are a source of drinking water for hundreds of millions of people. Mosquitoes, who like a warmer world, are spreading into lots of new places, and bringing malaria and dengue fever with them. Drought is becoming much more common, making food harder to grow in many places. Sea levels have begun to rise, and scientists warn that they could go up as much as several meters this century. If that happens, many of the world’s cities, island nations, and farmland will be underwater. The oceans are growing more acidic because of the CO2 they are absorbing, which makes it harder for animals like corals and clams to build and maintain their shells and skeletons. Coral reefs could start dissolving at an atmospheric CO2 concentration of 450-500 ppm. These impacts are combining to exacerbate conflicts and security issues in already resource-strapped regions.

The Arctic is sending us perhaps the clearest message that climate change is occurring much more rapidly than scientists previously thought. In the summer of 2007, sea ice was roughly 39% below the summer average for 1979-2000, a loss of area equal to nearly five United Kingdoms.

Propelled by the news of these accelerating impacts, some of the world’s leading climate scientists have now revised the highest safe level of CO2 to 350 parts per million. That’s the last number you need to know, and the most important. It’s the safety zone for planet earth. As James Hansen of America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the first scientist to warn about global warming more than two decades ago, wrote recently:

“If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm.”

That will be a hard task, but not impossible. We need to stop taking carbon out of the ground and putting it into the air. Above all, that means we need to stop burning so much coal—and start using solar and wind energy and other such sources of renewable energy –while ensuring the Global South a fair chance to develop. If we do, then the earth’s soils and forests will slowly cycle some of that extra carbon out of the atmosphere, and eventually CO2 concentrations will return to a safe level. By decreasing use of other fossil fuels, and improving agricultural and forestry practices around the world, scientists believe we could get back below 350 by mid-century. But the longer we remain in the danger zone—above 350—the more likely that we will see disastrous and irreversible climate impacts.

With your help, we can spread this important piece of information to our fellow citizens, communities, countries, and the world.

One Response

  1. […] The US Chamber of Commerce and big polluters like Chevron are standing in the way of curbing climate change. Learn how you can take action. […]

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