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Feb 242011

From Green Right Now Reports

Activists at 350.org hope to re-energize the movement for climate action with a new campaign to expose the money trail that has created a logjam on the issue in Congress.

Fed up with national lawmakers who have failed to take any significant action on climate change, or even deny the problem, 350.org is targeting one of their biggest bankrollers: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“For many years, everyone has assumed that if we simply manage to communicate the problem (of climate change), it will lead to action. It hasn’t, for one simple reason: there’s too much money in the way. A wall of money that separates politicians from the scientific truth that we’re in a desperate crisis,” said 350.org founder and noted environmentalist Bill McKibben said in a statement today.

Industry groups, McKibben explained, have been thwarting Congressional action to mitigate climate change, and now they’re also trying to stop the EPA from protecting the air, water and atmosphere from polluters.

The problem, McKibben said is that “a torrent of money” from vested interests that has been obfuscating the science of climate change, stirring up endless doubts and delays that are keeping the U.S. from developing a cleaner, more sustainable future.

“That’s why we’re going to spend much of this year taking on the single biggest source of that ‘money pollution’, the US Chamber of Commerce. They’re not like your local chamber of commerce—they’re essentially a front group for a few giant corporations.

“Last year, just 16 companies provided more than 55% of their budget. They won’t say who those companies are, but their attempts to derail the EPA and the army of lobbyists they’ve hired to kill the Clean Air Act are pretty clear indicators of where the money is coming from,” McKibben said.

350.org hopes to “turn up the heat” on Congress by connecting with business people, store owners and local Chambers of Commerce. The climate activists will try to persuade these Americans to tell the national Chamber that they do not support its efforts to kill climate action.

The campaign begins next week when 350.org members and volunteers will ask local business owners to sign an online declaration that the “US Chamber Doesn’t Speak For Me.” (Those who want to volunteer to help in this movement can visit the the website. Businesses who want to see the campaign and sign the declaration can visit the project’s website.)

The following week, 350.org and co-sponsor 1Sky will hold rallies at congressional offices around the country. These will focus on the chamber campaign as well as telling elected leaders to not roll back the Clean Air Act, as some in Congress have proposed.

McKibben’s statement to media and supporters acknowledges that it would be difficult to stop the flow of money to Congressional representatives from the U.S. Chamber. But it hopes to show that this large group doesn’t represent the voice of American businesses, so much as a handful of companies with a vested interest in holding back progress against climate change.