Viridian Note 00256: Political Developments

Bruce Sterling []

Key concepts: politics, Kyoto, Bush administration, International Day of Action Against ExxonMobil, July 11, 02001, Jeffords, US Senate, Zac Goldsmith, Chris Doran, Carwil James, Ross Gelbspan, Steve Kretzmann, Alex Tapia

Attention Conservation Notice: Long update about climate politics with nothing about green postindustrial design. Normally we Viridians don't cover political news, especially Yankee domestic politics (ick!), but there's a whole lot going on today, and none of it looks good for the forces of evil. Over 3,000 words.

(((In Viridian Note 00255: ExxonMobil Global Day of Rage, we asked:)))

"I would wager that July 11, 02001 will pass without the world's largest corporate multinational crumbling, or even much noticing. But that's not the interesting part. What gets me is that some little NGO infowar guy is sitting there picking out dates like 'July 11.' And then the word more or less actually gets out. What on earth is that about? Who is this guy? Where does he get that authority?"

(((That was no idle question, and swift as email lightning, lo the answer came.)))

(Patrick Mazza):

Subject: Re: Viridian Note 00255: ExxonMobil Global Day of

"I can tell you a little more about the guy who picked July 11. His name is Chris Doran. Like myself, Chris is a Green Party activist here in Seattle.

    "A few months ago, he came to me and said he was starting a new direct action group aimed at calling out corporate power and wanted to first target the fossil fuel business. That was to become PressurePoint. I became a member of the Advisory Board. Chris' discussions with me and others led to the ExxonMobil boycott.

    "I want to underscore that Green Parties around the world are playing a core role in this. Alex de Roo, a Green MP in the EuroParliament, was already calling for a global boycott of U.S. oil companies. Chris went to the Global Greens Gathering in Canberra in April (the first of its kind) and helped push through approval of the Euro call, with a direct action focus on ExxonMobil. More than 100 events are planned worldwide for tomorrow, and Greens will be involved in many of these.

    "E-organizing, as you allude to in your message, allows a small group such as PressurePoint to put out the word and make things happen. It also has allowed the organization of the Global Greens, which had its inspiration in the first Global Greens statements on any issue == the climate statements to the Kyoto and Buenos Aires summits (of which I along with de Roo was lead author). Those statements were only possible because of e-mail connections among Greens on six continents. Electronic communication is driving and empowering grassroots politics."

(((Great stuff, huh? And all I have to do is re-format it and hit the RETURN key!)))

    "Of course, in all of this we were much helped by Bush, whose blatant cancellation of Kyoto stirred things up in a way a Gore administration would not have. There we would have seen continued insider baseball between environmental activists and the administration over arcana like carbon sequestration and emissions trading. Through these Clinton was duplicitously gutting the treaty, and I expect Gore would have continued. Bush made the issue, I think. So does Zac Goldsmith of The Ecologist, as reported below."

Source: Sunday Telegraph, London, July 08, 02001

HEADLINE: Dubya, my Green hero

"Zac Goldsmith, editor of 'The Ecologist' explains why he is presenting an award to George W. Bush"

BYLINE: By Zac Goldsmith

    "Later this year I will present the first of The Ecologist magazine's 'Environmental Steward of the Year' awards. And it is President George Bush that we must salute as our unlikely hero.

    "Bush is to the environmental movement what petrol is to the car. He is the catalyst people like me have been waiting for.

    "Look at the facts. American environmental groups report a large increase in donations since his inauguration; the global environmental crisis is making headlines like never before; and politicians of every hue are clamouring, albeit unconvincingly, to present their Green credentials. (((The idea that green donations can outspend Exxon-Mobil seems a tad far-fetched; "credentials" or no, in an open political market, the fossil fuel industry can buy all the politicians it wants.)))

    "Even more significantly, there is a growing acceptance that the protesters who routinely take to the streets wherever Bush appears, and wherever world leaders gather to discuss the global economy, may actually have a point." (((Though every guy in that crowd of summit- hoppers has got his own point; and some of 'em have ten or twelve!)))

    "Two weeks ago I appeared as a guest on BBC's Question Time. Before the cameras rolled there was a warm-up debate about Gothenburg. (There, if you remember, some 25,000 people took to the streets to protest against lack of action on climate change in the US.) What astonished me in the following debate was that nearly everyone == both in the audience and on the panel == viewed the protest as healthy and necessary." (((Oh come on == it's dead easy to complain about the USA in Gothenburg. That's a lead-pipe cinch, like buying a Love Parade CD in Freiberg, "Solar Capital of Germany."))) Link:,1294,45056,00.html

    "This would not have been the case even two years ago. All this is down to Bush. While he is hated by many in the environmental movement, he is in fact our saviour. He has put lead in the Green pencil." (((Hey man, I thought lead was bad for kids.)))

(George Mokray):

(((George Mokray remarks: "Here are some of the usual subjects on the Exxon July 11th thing.")))

ExxonMobil: Under Fire

Institute for Public Accuracy <>
Tue, 10 Jul 2001

Institute for Public Accuracy 915 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045 (202) 347-0020

    "Tuesday, July 10, 2001

    "ExxonMobil: Under Fire

"On Wednesday (July 11), an array of groups will be protesting the policies of ExxonMobil. Many are calling for a boycott of the oil giant. The following activists and policy analysts are available for interviews:

"CHRIS DORAN,, Doran is campaigns director for PressurePoint, an organization launching its first major campaign directed at ExxonMobil on Wednesday. Doran said today:

"'ExxonMobil might be the richest corporation in the world, but morally it is bankrupt. The U.S. government's climate change policy is the ExxonMobil policy. What sort of democracy do we have when one company can buy off our political process for its own gains? We're turning up the heat on ExxonMobil and George W. Bush to take real action on climate change and corporate influence." (((Nice pullquote, Chris! Way to sling those soundbites! He's a rookie, but he's got a golden future....)))

"CARWIL JAMES,, Oil Campaign coordinator for Project Underground, James said today:

"'ExxonMobil often leads the charge in the oil industry's effort to lower environmental protections and to open new ecosystems and homelands to oil drilling, and leads in breaking even those lowered environmental standards. In 1997, CEO Lee Raymond blatantly warned developing countries to lower environmental standards or risk losing foreign investment. From the half-million people affected by a 1998 Mobil oil spill in Nigeria to the billion dollars Mobil gave Russian and Kazakh partners for transactions with no apparent business purpose in 1999, the company consistently fails to be accountable to the communities its destructive operations affect." (((Drop by for tacos if you moles ever come up for sunlight in Austin, Carwil. We're buyin'.)))

"ROSS GELBSPAN,, "Author of 'The Heat Is On: The Climate Crisis, The Cover- Up, The Prescription,' Gelbspan said today: 'ExxonMobil's funding of the most vocal 'greenhouse skeptics' goes far beyond normal public relations spin, given the robust nature of the science and the unavoidable evidence of what is happening to the climate." (((How far beyond is probably what a court in The Hague will be figuring out some day.)))


"Policy analyst with the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network, Kretzmann said today:

"'Whether you're talking about global warming or human rights violations, ExxonMobil is at the top of the list of offenders. There has just been a suit filed against it for collaboration in ongoing human rights violations, including murders, in Indonesia. It is cooperating with the repressive regime in Chad. ExxonMobil should suspend operations in these areas immediately." (((And while you're at it, get out of Europe.)))

"ALEX TAPIA,, "Tapia is climate coordinator for Campaign ExxonMobil, a coalition of environmental and religious shareholders in ExxonMobil. He said today:

"'There will be over 100 protest actions tomorrow. The company should take responsibility for its role in global warming and invest in renewable energy.'

"For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167"

(((But so what, right? Some little green cabal of "activists" and "policy analysts"! As Stalin used to say, "How many divisions does the Pope have?" However, meanwhile, inside the Washington Beltway....)))

Source: Reuters

"Jeffords named Senate environment panel chairman

USA: July 11, 2001

"WASHINGTON == Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont, who gave Democrats control of the Senate last month when he defected from the Republicans, became chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee yesterday, vowing to challenge President George W. Bush's record on environmental protection.

    "Jeffords, now an independent, was unanimously approved by Democrats as the first head of a standing Senate committee in 68 years who is not a member of a major political party. (((He may not get a lot done in that post, but boy oh boy, what a plum role from which to torment the Administration.)))

    "Jeffords promised to challenge Bush on a number of recent environmental rollbacks, ranging from rejecting a proposed treaty to combat global warming (((ooh la la))) to breaking a campaign vow to try to impose mandatory emissions reductions for carbon dioxide at electrical power plants. ((("Read My Lips 2.0")))

    "Jeffords, a longtime advocate for tougher clean-air standards, (((oh my oh my))) has also opposed a key component of Bush's energy plan == drilling for oil and natural gas in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (((It's deader than Minitel!)))

    "'I've been disappointed by his environmental record,' Jeffords told reporters. 'I hope he will begin to see things differently.' ((("Wrote me off, did you Mr President? Dissed me to my face! Well, we'll see about that.")))

    "The senator arranged to meet yesterday with Christine Todd Whitman, head of the Environmental Protection Agency. (((Life must be rich and full for Christie these days.)))

    "Jeffords, who has often been at odds with Bush, had been widely expected to get the chairmanship of the environment panel since he left the Republican Party on June 5, handing Democrats a one-seat margin in the chamber. (...)

    "Senate Majority Whip Harry Reid of Nevada, as the environment committee's ranking Democrat, had been in line to get the chairmanship.

    "Democratic aides said Reid told Jeffords during private talks that helped lead to the Vermont lawmaker's decision to leave the Republicans that he would step aside and allow Jeffords to become chair as an independent." ((("Here is your chair, sir, and here is your whip and your pistol.")))

(((Killing Kyoto was one of the first things the Bush Administration did. This was supposed to be a decisive, take-charge, businesslike thing to do. After all, Kyoto had been hanging on like a zombie in the US Senate for years, unvoted-on, and even the treaty's best friends didn't like it. But, like a lot of left-wing intellectuals, Kyoto is much more effective as a martyr than it ever was as an administrator.)))

Source: REUTERS NEWS SERVICE July 11, 2001

"Jeffords to Tackle Global Warming


Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON (AP) via NewsEdge Corporation

    "Vermont Sen. James Jeffords named global warming as his first priority when he formally became chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Tuesday. ((("First priority" implies that Jeffords will get around to a second priority, but no; this is going to go on for four years.)))

    "The newly independent lawmaker whose defection from the Republican Party tipped the Senate to Democratic control last month promised hearings by early August on his proposed Clean Energy Act.

    "'Being a rock star isn't easy,' he joked of all the attention he's been receiving. 'It won't last long.' (((Because revenge is a dish best eaten cold.)))

    "Jeffords' bill is an effort to force coal-fired electrical power plants to clean up or shut down by mandating strict carbon dioxide emission standards and creating incentives for the use of clean, alternative power. (((Couldn't ask for better. Not that we'll get it, but....)))

    "'There's a real perception among all the people of this world that we need to do something about the pollution or else this world is going to change rapidly,' he said. 'The urgency is pretty evident now.' (((You gotta be a genuine heretic to utter the truth in Yankee politics these days.)))

    "Jeffords said he also hopes to nudge the Bush administration back toward the negotiating table on a 1997 climate treaty negotiated in Kyoto, Japan == something British Ambassador Christopher Meyer also urged the senator to do at a meeting Tuesday. (((Why, the turncoat even dares to meet with Europeans!)))

    "'I assured him I was going to do my best to make sure we were able to work with the European Community in handling these problems,' said Jeffords. (...) (((Brussels, you've got a friend in Vermont!)))

Links: Senate Environment and Public Works Committee:

Sen. Jeffords' site:

(((Two other Senators, one Democratic and one Republican, both hanker to be US President. In an impressive bipartisan display, they've publicly united to torture Bush on global warming.)))

Source: Reuters July 11, 02001

"Senator McCain urges Bush to act now on climate change

    "WASHINGTON == Saying delay is unacceptable, two leading U.S. senators yesterday called for the Bush administration to help Congress write legislation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions blamed by most scientists for speeding global warming.

    "Republican John McCain of Arizona and Massachusetts Democrat John Kerry said at a Senate Commerce panel hearing they would introduce a bill within the next few days to speed technology investments for cutting greenhouse gases. (((Whoopee! Great news for the piezoelectric-eel contingent.)))

    "The new political pressure on the Bush administration came one week before international negotiators gather in Bonn for a major climate change conference. (...) McCain made an unsuccessful bid for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination, while Kerry has been mentioned as a potential Democratic presidential candidate in 2004. (((Uh, yeah. Exactly. Plenty of time to go for each other's throats in 2004; the game now is to make Bush look awful.)))


    "Kerry blasted President George W. Bush's stance on global warming. He mocked the administration for saying it was still studying the issue at the same time Bush has already blocked international and domestic initiatives aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions. (((True enough. They're not merely dismissing Kyoto, they're busily running around hitting conservation, research, foreign aid and green-power initiatives. This makes it clear that the Bush Administration's climate policy is not merely ideological or regionalist objections to Kyoto. The Bush Administration is the political wing of Exxon- Mobil's competitive strategy.)))

    "'We're in fact being misled. The president is not just studying the issue,' Kerry said.

    "The Democratic senator criticized Bush's track record on the climate change question, including his declaration that Kyoto was dead and for releasing a national energy plan which would increase emissions by 35 percent in the coming years. (((This "35 percent" thing probably has a loose attachment to fact, but it will be the new soundbite henceforth.)))


"McCain said even though skeptics can be found within the scientific community on what causes global warming == be it man-made causes or natural warming == the fact is the globe is warming, thereby providing an opportunity to use alternative fuel sources and methods.

    "'I guess the question is, how long do you wait for this body of science to become unanimous,' McCain said. (((Oh, it's already unanimous; the only "scientists" objecting are underwritten by the GCC, which is ExxonMobil's pseudoscience wing.)))

    "He said even 'modest action' needs to be explored, even as broader steps are pondered by Bush and the Congress.

    "'I feel it is important we fully explore all policy options, including mandatory emission reductions, before proceeding with any final and definitive position,' McCain said. ((("I plan to run every smidgen of this issue through the wringer as long as Bush suffers political damage from it.")))

    "Kerry said the technology exists now to begin shifting American transportation and industry away from dirtier-burning fuels, giving Congress the opening to approve measures to fund more research into zero emission fuel cells, as an example. (((Atari Democrat 1980s redux.)))

    "'I believe that the burden is on us to create the push and pull of incentives and mandates that will move these technologies into the marketplace for the benefit of our economy and our environment,' Kerry said. (((Golden words for

    "The Massachusetts Democrat also blasted the administration for refusing to send anyone to the hearing." ((("We're Senators. We'll sit here for years on end. The barbs are sinking in and you're starting to bleed, pal. Next time, send some flak-catchers who look good on TV. Christie will do.")))

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