Monday, May 18, 2009

Fasting for our future, climate activist enter fifth week of hunger strike

A hunger strike for strong climate legislation has entered its fifth week just as a weak climate action bill begins its Congressional mark-up.

Seven people—Kathleen Breault, SKCM Curry, Ted Glick, Jere Locke, Cathy Luna-Desaulnier, Vincent Pawloski and Diane Wilson, acting as part of Fast For Our Future, today criticized the draft legislation released last Friday by Congressman Henry Waxman and scheduled for “mark up” beginning today.

“This legislation is very problematic,” said fast coordinator Ted Glick. “It’s not even close to being a solution to our urgent climate crisis. 60% or more of the potential revenues that would come from putting a cap on carbon emissions are given free to coal, natural gas, oil and energy-intensive industries. The whole idea of a cap is to increase the price of carbon-based fuels to drive the transition to clean, renewable energy, and this legislation doesn’t do that.

“Further, the requirement for utilities to get their electricity from renewable sources is so weak it might be worse than having no federal renewables requirement at all, given the number of states that have enacted stronger renewable mandates. This is in no way the kind of legislation we need.”

Jere Locke, Director of the Texas Climate Emergency Campaign, criticized the weak target for reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. "The world’s climate negotiators are calling for the world’s industrialized countries to reduce their emissions by at least 25-40% by 2020, with 1990 as the baseline year. This bill would require no more than a few percentage points. As someone with close ties to Africa and Asia and who has worked internationally for many years, I fear for those people in the countries of the Global South who have had little to do with the carbon pollution in the air who will be seriously hurt if we don’t act soon and strongly to address the climate crisis.”

Organizers of the Fast For Our Future intend to issue a call later this week for a worldwide “rolling fast” that would continue for the next seven months leading up to the United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark in mid-December.

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