GREENPEACE BRINGS STUDENTS FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO WESTERN WASHINGTON TO TELL REP. REICHERT TO GO ALL THE WAY ON GLOBAL WARMING

Mercer Island - Greenpeace is holding its annual student conference in Rep. Dave Reichert's backyard to call attention to global warming and Reichert's inaction on the critical issue.  Student leaders from 34 states and Canada told Reichert's staff today at his area office that he must do more on global warming than President Bush as they lined up and delivered, one after another, stacks of petitions to Reichert's office. King County residents joined with the students earlier in the day as they spread throughout Mercer Island to talk with thousands of voters about Reichert's mixed record on global warming. The day began with four teams of activists deploying banners along freeways in downtown Mercer Island and around Reichert's office.  The banners read: "Rep. Reichert: Don't Be Like Bush, Go All the Way, Stop Global Warming." 
Like Bush, Reichert has gone from a global warming denier to a politician who regularly talks about the issue. And like Bush, his actions have been limited.  As Election Day approaches, Reichert has been "greenwashing" himself -- meaning that he pays lip service to an environmental issue but does not do anything substantial to fix it. Reichert says he wants to be a leader for the Republican party on global warming, but he has not yet supported the measures that science says are required to address the problem. 
"These students came from many miles away to join with community members to tell Reichert there is a different path for himself and his party," said Ben Smith, Greenpeace national field organizer. "Reichert can be content with labels like 'Greenest Republican' or he can go a step further and help lead Congress toward the real solutions to global warming."   
Since Reichert took office, thousands of voters have repeatedly asked him to co-sponsor the strongest global warming bill in the House of Representatives, the Safe Climate Act. Reichert has refused, instead choosing to support a much weaker bill, one that may not protect Washington from the worst impacts of global warming.  On her website, Darcy Burner, the Democratic challenger for Reichert's seat, lists global warming as a primary issue but she does not offer any specific plan for solutions.  
The visually-compelling events are the culmination of a five-day grassroots activist training program, called Change It, designed to empower students to become the next generation of leaders for change in the environmental and social justice movement.
Now in its third year, Change It is led by Greenpeace and sponsored by Seventh Generation, best known for its leading brand of environmentally-friendly household products. Participants will work one-on-one with Greenpeace leaders who provided personalized training sessions focused on campaign strategy, lobbying, media relations and peaceful demonstrations.
"From the beginning, when we partnered with Greenpeace for the first Change It in 2006, we have been proud to be a part of training the future leaders of the environmental movement," said Jeffrey Hollender, President and CIP (Chief Inspired Protagonist) of Seventh Generation. 
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VVPR info: Contact: Daniel Kessler, Greenpeace, 970.690.2728; Ben Smith, Greenpeace, 213.841.6802

Notes: Event photos available at: usaphoto.greenpeace.org/changeit_seattle0708 To watch videos of the program, visit http://www.youtube.com/ChangeItVideos. For more information, visit www.changeit08.org. About Seventh Generation For 18 years, the closely held Burlington, Vermont company has been at the forefront of a cultural change in consumer behavior and business ethics. One of the country’s first self-declared “socially responsible” companies, Seventh Generation is committed to becoming the world’s most trusted brand of authentic, safe, and environmentally responsible products for a healthy home. Seventh Generation markets and distributes through natural food stores, supermarkets, on-line stores like Amazon.com and mail-order catalogs in the United States and Canada. For more information, visit www.seventhgeneration.com. About Greenpeace Greenpeace is the leading independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful direct action and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and to promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future. For more information, visit www.greenpeace.org. Background: At the G8 meeting last week in Japan, President Bush committed the U.S. to reducing global warming emissions by half by 2050, but he did not offer any specifics on how the country would achieve this. He has repeatedly shunned opportunities to enter the U.S. into binding international agreements on global warming, instead choosing to greenwash. Similarly, Rep. Dave Reichert has co-sponsored a weak global warming bill, the Climate Stewardship Act, which does not set the country on the right path to solving the climate crisis. To avoid the worst impacts, Congress must act immediately to pass comprehensive, science-based legislation that will curb our global warming pollution. As such, Greenpeace opposes the Climate Stewardship Act (HR 620) as currently drafted. The scientific community has repeatedly warned that, to avoid the catastrophic effects of global warming, we must prevent global average temperatures from rising by approximately 2° C. The world’s leading climate scientists, working together within the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has adamantly reinforced the importance of this goal. The IPCC has appealed to the international community to act decisively to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is from this overwhelming scientific evidence that the call comes for legislation with strict targets and timetables, strong scientific review, and a fair allocation system, as well as policies that will create incentives for a clean energy revolution focused on energy efficiency and renewable energy. Given the threat that global warming poses to our children and future generations, Congress must take more aggressive action than what is currently contained in the Climate Stewardship Act of 2007. Greenpeace urges members to cosponsor the Safe Climate Act (House) and the Global Warming Reduction Act (Senate). The Climate Stewardship Act (HR 620) would create a cap and trade system for greenhouse gases, but is lacking in these key areas: Reduction Targets: According to the IPCC, developed countries need to reduce global warming emissions by at least 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 to avert the most serious consequences of global warming. This bill reduces emissions by less than 60 percent. Pollution Credits: Auctioning of all pollution allowances under an economy-wide cap and trade system is critical to prevent polluters from gaining windfall profits, and is consistent with the principle of “polluter pays.” Additionally the auction revenue must be spent for the public good and not used to promote nuclear power, carbon capture and sequestration or other energy technologies that are not sustainable. HR 620 does not prohibit windfall profits, and do allow the free allocation of allowances to polluters. Requirements for Renewables and Efficiency: Comprehensive global warming legislation should focus on increasing America’s energy efficiency and increasing our use of renewable energy. Investments in this new green economy will produce millions of new jobs and vastly increase our energy security. Scientific Review: Global warming legislation must have a strong scientific review process that gives the EPA the authority to pass regulations in accordance with the recommendations of the National Academy of Science. These regulations should be subject to public comment and must be enacted in a timely matter. Offsets: Offsets allow a company to purchase pollution allowances from activities not covered by the cap on emissions. Offsets have a great potential to ‘bust the cap’ and allow for additional global warming pollution to be released into the atmosphere if they are not limited with real environmental integrity and strict requirements to ensure that the permits are for projects that would not have otherwise been undertaken. HR 620 allows companies to meet up to 15 percent of their total requirement in a given year by purchasing offsets. For example,a company could comply with the 2020 emissions-reduction requirement entirely with offsets. The bills also provide only limited safeguards to ensure the integrity of the offsets. The Climate Stewardship Act of 2007 makes some changes to the original Climate Stewardship Act but these changes do not address the concerns listed above. Currently, the only bill in the House of Representatives that could achieve the goal of keeping global temperatures below an additional 2° C is The Safe Climate Act (HR 1590). The bill reduces total U.S. global warming emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The bill achieves these pollution-reduction goals through a cap-and-trade program that calls for auctioned pollution credits, prohibits windfall profits, does not allow offsets and includes policies to increase efficiency and renewable energy.

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