SAN FRANCISCO -- Today leaders of more than a dozen environmental justice organizations from the United States and around the world delivered an Earth Day letter to President George W. Bush offering a scathing response to the U.S. abandonment of the Kyoto Protocol.
The letter calls on Bush to "reconsider your position on climate change before the United States becomes universally known as an environmental rogue state, and you go down in history as G.W. Bush, the Global Warming President."
The letter, which is signed by organizations such as the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice (USA), the Indigenous Environmental Network (USA) and Oilwatch Africa marks a significant broadening of the constituency involved in the climate change issue.
"Until now the climate change discussion has primarily been limited to elite policy wonk debates," said Amit Srivastava, Climate Justice Coordinator for CorpWatch, the US organization which coordinated the letter to Bush. "But we're here to say that climate change is larger than that. It is a moral issue, a human rights issue and perhaps the biggest environmental justice issue ever. And we are building a global grassroots response."
The groups argue that the Bush administration's climate policy will have profound ramifications on poor people and people of color in the United States and around the world. Particularly hard hit will be groups already affected by the oil industry -- among them; the Artic Village in Alaska, Louisiana's "cancer alley", and Nigeria's Niger Delta.
They further argue that those who depend on farming, fishing or forestry are most likely to bear the bunt of climate change. "It is no longer a question of whether sea levels will rise, but rather of how many coastlines, people, communities, and entire island nations will be submerged" they write.
The groups write the President that his turning his back on the Kyoto Protocol "borders on nothing short of gross global negligence."
The letter calls on the United States government, whose population makes up four percent of the world's population and generates one-quarter of all man made carbon dioxide-the leading global warming gas-to take a lead in reversing its role as the main contributor to this looming global crisis.
The groups tell the President that he should to support the Kyoto Protocol internationally, while fostering a just transition for fossil fuel industry workers and fenceline communities at home, and investing the United States' resources in energy efficiency and renewable energy resources, such as solar, wind and biomass.
The letter can be on the CorpWatch website: http://www.corpwatch.org/climate/
- 100 Climate Justice Initiative