Greenpeace Emergency Response Unit Declares the US Chamber of Commerce a Climate Crime Scene: Industry Lobbyists Hold Obama's Climate Policy Hostage in Copenhagen

Media release - December 17, 2009
As Obama prepares to leave for the Copenhagen climate talks this afternoon, Greenpeace activists staged an emergency response at the US Chamber of Commerce today, directly across from the White House. Activists ascended 25-foot ladders and crisscrossed the building with oversized crime scene tape reading: “Climate Policy Hostage Area// Global Warming Crime Scene.” The US Chamber of Commerce has committed a series of climate crimes including: misinformation of the public on the issue of climate change, stalling action on global warming legislation, and holding the international climate talks hostage. Activists are calling on President Obama to show leadership and shed the influence of lobbyists.The fleet of climate emergency vehicles: four squad cars from the Climate Crime Unit and an ambulance from the “Climate Emergency Response Unit” reacted rapidly to the situation. Greenpeace activists marked off the area immediately in front of the Chamber, along H Street, with “Global Warming Crime Scene” tape.

Jim Riccio, chief Climate Policy Hostage Negotiator, was on the scene, working to negotiate the safe release of President Obama's climate policy from the hands of industry lobbyists.   At the time of this release, it was unclear if the negotiations would be effective, and would lead to a strong deal at the talks in Copenhagen.  "The stakes are high," said Riccio, "But we're all hoping everyone comes out of this situation alive.  These climate criminals need to know: survival is not negotiable."

"President Obama owes it to Americans and all people threatened by climate change to listen to scientists, not polluter lobbyists.  The US Chamber of Commerce has been undermining our climate policy for too long -- and they are now preventing us from getting a fair, ambitious and binding deal in Copenhagen," said Greenpeace Climate Campaigner Gabe Wisniewski.

To date, the US has only agreed to a provisional goal of cutting greenhouse pollution by 4 percent below 1990 levels. This offer falls dangerously short of the necessary 25-40 percent cut identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to have the best chance of avoiding the worst impacts of global warming.  These weak commitments from the US are part of the reason the Copenhagen talks are reaching such a tepid result.  The Chamber spent millions lobbying to weaken the House-passed legislation earlier this year.

While the proposed U.S. climate legislation remains weak, President Obama has the legal authority to implement far more rigorous greenhouse gas regulations under the Clean Air Act and join an international agreement with or without Senate ratification.

Photos and video are available at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/greenpeaceusa09

Follow the action on Twitter at http://twitter.com/greenpeaceusa

UPDATE: Four Greenpeace activists have descended ladders at the climate crime scene at the US Chamber of Commerce and have been arrested. The activists are: Jarred Cobb, Larry Liebler, Kate Lauer and Lisa Ramden.

Other contacts: on site: Molly Dorozenski, media officer: 917-864-3724 Gabe Wisniewski, climate campaigner: 414-350-4704 DC office: Jane Kochersperger, media officer: 202-680-3798