Saturday, December 26, 2009

African American Environmental Justice at COP15

The Copenhagen climate change conference sought to draft a binding follow-up treaty to the Kyoto Protocol. It is generally accepted that such a treaty would be based on cap-and-trade. Although AAEA supports cap-and-trade, virtually all other environmental justice groups oppose cap and trade. Moreover, environmental justice NGO representatives from developing nations believe the industrialized world created the climate crisis and is not doing enough to reduce pollution. They want developed nations to commit to significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions along with the allocation of billions of dollars to poor countries. AAEA agrees with these positions.

During a press conference at COP15, the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, a coalition of organizations in 43 African countries, presented a letter for delivery to the Obama administration. The letter implored President Obama to consider the impacts of a 2 degree temperature rise on Africa, describing this target as a death sentence for millions of Africans.

American groups, such as the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative (EJCC), which is hosted by Redefining Progress, joined with African countries in an appeal for a fair, ambitious, and binding agreement. We wonder how they reconcile opposition to cap-and-trade with their support of the industrialized nation emission cuts and the financial support. African nations accused rich countries of reneging on promises to cut greenhouse gas emissions and walked out of the negotiations at one point in the conference.

EJCC worked to include the Principles of Environmental Justice in a final document. EJCC joined over 100,000 people from around the world in a rally and march in support of a legally binding global agreement on emissions cuts. EJCC is a national coalition of over thirty environmental and climate justice, advocacy, faith-based and other social justice organizations. The nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots organization is also committed to informing youth of color about the issue of global warming and climate justice. AAEA is not a member of the EJCC Initiative. (California Newswire, 12/15/09)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Violence in Copenhagen: Chicago 1968 All Over Again?


By Norris McDonald

The images of rioting young people and police bashing heads outside the Bella Center in Copenhagen reminded me of the rioting outside the International Amphitheatre at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Tear gas and the stench of burning cars wafted out of the environment around the climate change summit just as in Chicago. Rioters threatened to storm the summit just as in Chicago. The results were about the same too. Both went down in crushing defeats. The Democratic National Convention debacle was 42 years ago. President Obama was in the second grade in 1968. It's a little ironic that he is from Chicago (later in life) and Copenhagen mirrored the DNC event.

Some 3,000 people demonstrated and more than 500 people were arrested at the first Saturday of the conference. Police said the street violence was the worst in a decade. Hundreds of police officers in riot gear used tear gas to disperse the crowd. I didn't particularly like the images I saw. I thought the rioting in Copenhagen was counterproductive, just as it was in Chicago. One gave us President Richard Nixon and the Copenhagen climate summit failed to adequately address the most important environmental issue facing our planet today.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Apply For The White House Fellowship Program Today

White House Fellowship Program: The President and Mrs. Obama would like your help to encourage talented leaders to apply to the White House Fellows program. Fellows are generally high achieving, mid-career professionals. There is no age limit, but the average Fellow is in his or her early 30’s. The program is strictly non-partisan. More information or contact Gabe Cohen 202-395-7475. [hat tip: NBCC]

Monday, December 14, 2009

Climate Justice Is The New Environmental Justice

Environmental justice is the fair treatment of all people regardless of race or income with respect to environmental issues. Climate justice is the demand by developing nations to be fairly compensated by developed nations with respect to global warming mitigation.

This past weekend, 60,000 to 100,000 protesters demonstrated at the Bella Center in Copenhagen, Denmark, site of the United Nations climate change conference to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol before it expires in 2012. Protest participants outside the Bella Center, the convention center where delegates and observers from nearly 200 nations are gathered to seek a consensus, included a broad coalition of hundreds of environmental groups, human rights campaigners, climate activists, anticapitalists and freelance protesters from dozens of countries. Anticapitalists? AAEA supports capitalism. We also support cap and trade.

There were minor incidences of violence at the mostly peaceful march. We are a bit confused though. Most American environmental justice groups oppose cap and trade. Yet it appears that the international environmental movement is using the slogan 'climate justice' to support passage of a climate treaty based on cap and trade.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

AAEA Disagrees With Naomi Klein & Nnimmo Bassey on President Obama's Climate Change Mitigation Approach

In an article by Naomi Klein, right, in Grist magazine entitled, "Naomi Klein Says Obama’s Stiffing Africa On Climate," she cites Nigerian poet and activist Nnimmo Bassey, left, Chair of Friends of the Earth International, in criticizing President Obama's approach to climate change mitigation. She states that President Obama's climate team is, "working tirelessly to do away with the Kyoto Protocol, replacing it with much weaker piecemeal targets." That sounds a bit harsh considering the Copenhagen conference is intended to produce a follow-up to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. Plus, President Obama cannot offer targets more stringent than those being proposed by the U.S. Congress (17%-20% reduction by 2020). We do understand complaints by African nations about not enough money being committed to them for climate change mitigation ($10 billion). China has the same complaint.

But we really disagree with Mr. Bassey's recommendations. Klein's quotes by him:

The solution for Bassey is not carbon trading or sinks but “serious emissions cuts at the source. Leave the oil in the ground, leave the coal in the hole, leave the tar sands in the land.” In Nigeria, where Bassey lives, Friends of the Earth is calling for no new oil development whatsoever, though it does accept more efficient use of existing fields. If Obama isn’t willing to consider those types of solutions, Bassey says, “he may as well be coming [to Copenhagen] for vacation.”
Leaving resources in the ground is not an option for us. Using those resources as efficiently as possible is a more realistic expectation. Moreover, Nigeria should totally control its resources and work with African Americans to create more ownership of its oil resources by black-owned companies. AAEA also supports carbon trading. (photo courtesy FOEI via Flickr via Grist)

Monday, December 07, 2009

President Obama & EPA Administrator In Copenhagen

President Barack Obama will attend the end of the U.N. climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark on Friday, December 18.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Perez Jackson will speak at the U.N.-sponsored climate conference on Wednesday, December 9. The them of Administrator Jackson's address is titled "Taking Action at Home."

AABE Energy and Climate Change Summit

American Association Of Blacks In Energy (AABE)and its partners are holding a landmark "Energy And Climate Change Summit" on Thursday, January 28, 2010, at the Heritage Center of the United States Navy Memorial, 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. The theme of the summit is, "Implications & Economic Opportunities."

To provide a credible voice for people of color on the issues of energy and climate change policy. This educational Summit will focus on economic opportunities and impacts to vulnerable populations, providing a valuable dialogue leading to a set of principles to be presented to key policy officials in Congress & pertinent Government Agencies including the Administration.

Invited Stakeholders

§ African American Environmentalist Association
§ African Union Mission
§ Ambassador of Kenya
§ American Association of Blacks in Energy
§ American Association of Retired Persons
§ Black Leadership Forum
§ Congressional Black Caucus Institute
§ Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute
§ Congress of Racial Equity
§ Executive Leadership Council
§ Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
§ Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
§ National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education
§ National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
§ National Association of Black Journalists
§ National Association of Realtor Estate Brokers
§ National Black Bar Association
§ National Black Caucus of State Legislators
§ National Black Chamber of Commerce
§ National Black Farmers Association
§ National Black Journalists
§ National Council of Negro Women
§ New Coalition for Economic & Social Change

For more information, please contact: Walter McLeod, Summit Secretariat, EcoCapital LLC,

Frank Stewart, President and COO, AABE,

David Owens, Executive Vice President, Edison Electric Institute,

Friday, December 04, 2009

AAEA Somehow Overlooked in New EJ Climate Report

The Environmental Support Center has published a new report on environmental justice and climate change that did not include our views on these two vitally important issues. The report, "Everybody's Movement: Environmental Justice and Climate Change," appears to be skewed towards the general environmental justice movement position of opposing cap and trade. AAEA supports cap and trade as a legitimate solution to effectively addressing climate change and environmental justice. Maybe the report did not want to include this viewpoint. We believe that environmental justice is everybody's movement and all viable perspectives should be shared with the public.

Most participants in the environmental justice movement oppose cap and trade because they believe it will lead to 'Hot Spots' that will add to already disproportionate levels of pollution in minority communities. EJ opponents of cap and trade believe the large emitters will leave old dirty plants open in minority communities and put new and retrofitted facilities outside of these communities, thus producing the 'Hot Spots.'

AAEA addressses the 'Hot Spots' issue by promoting an Environmental Justice Allowance Reserve (EJAR) that will leverage allowances and resources to promote environmental justice practices. These allowances would come from a special reserve, similar to the current Acid Rain Program Renewable Energy and Conservation Reserve, when the initial allowance allocation is made. They would be awarded to large emitters and others that undertake environmental justice practices and programs designed to mitigate or prevent price shocks, increase the installation of pollution control equipment, increase the implementation of energy efficiency programs, promote community education and enhance health-related activities.

AAEA has been registered in the EPA Acid Rain Program for years. It is universally acknowledged that the Acid Rain Program, which is based on cap and trade, has been very successful as a mitigation tool. AAEA is registered in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) cap and trade program. We have established a carbon dioxide (CO2) clearinghouse and trading platform, the Carbon Mercantile Exchange (CMX) in order to fully participate in mandatory or voluntary allowance trading and offset programs. We were one of the first environmental groups to incorporate environmental justice in addressing climate change from a viable mitigation perspective: Global Climate Change and the African American Community (Part 1) & Global Warming and the African American Community (Part 2).

Again, all perspectives should be shared in disseminating information about environmental justice and climate change to the public. Global warming is the most important environmental issue facing humanity today. Minority communities that are already disproportionately impacted by all types of pollution are also most at risk to the consequences of climate change. We cannot afford to marginalize any viewpoint or work that serves to mitigate global warming.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

National Black Caucus of State Legislators Annual Conference

The National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) will convene its 33rd Annual Legislative Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, December 2-6, 2009 at the Marriott Harbor Hotel. The conference theme, "Seeing Beyond: Sustainable Progress in the Economic Recovery," expresses a commitment as legislators to provide the leadership needed to assist President Barack Obama and his administration in moving the country forward by navigating the country and states out of today’s recession.

The 2009 confirmed conference keynote speakers include: • Representative Calvin Smyre – President, National Black Caucus of State Legislators • Representative Joseph Miro – President, National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators • Representative John McCoy – President, National Caucus of Native American State Legislators • Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos – President, National Asian Pacific American Caucus of State Legislators • Actress/TV-One Personality, Tatyana Ali • Comedian/Actor/Motivator, Jonathan Slocumbs• American Fitness Instructor, Donna Richardson Joyner• Pastor/Author/Teacher, Dr. Mack King Carter

Each year, NBCSL honors individuals who have distinguished themselves through lifelong service and dedication to the enfranchisement and inclusion of Americans of African decent into the national body of politics. The 2009 David P. Richardson Jr. National Nation Builder Award Recipients are: Acclaimed Actor, Author, Political Activist Hill Harper and Congressman Kendrick B. Meek (D-FL), Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. NBCSL State Award Recipients are: Alethea Wright, Pennsylvania State Recipient; Bennie Newroth, Georgia State Recipient; and Mignon Clyburn, FCC Commissioner, South Carolina State Recipient.

2009 NBCSL POLITICAL FORUM The National Black Caucus of State Legislators will host a Political Forum on Friday, December 4, 2009. Discussion: 2010 Census and Redistricting Confirmed panelists include:• Kansas State Representative, Barbara Ballard, Vice-President of NBCSL• Congressman William Clay, Jr. (D-MO)• Associate Director for Decennial Census, Arnold Jackson, US Census Bureau• Deputy Secretary, Dr. John Flateau, New York State Senate• Mayor of Carmel, Indiana, James Brainard 2009

CLOSING PLENARY SESSION Four groups of minority state legislators have joined forces to form a Super Minority Caucus in order to improve their effectiveness on issues of concern that they share. The groups include: the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL), the National Caucus of Native American State Legislators (NCNSL), the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) and the National Asian Pacific American Caucus of State Legislators. Other confirmed panelists include: • President/CEO of Knight Foundation, Alberto Ibarguen • Minority Media and Telecommunications Council Board of Directors, Julia Johnson • Director of Politics and Human Rights, CWA, Alfonso Pollard • Filmmaker, Actor, Comedian, CEO of The V-Studio, Robert Townsend• VP and Director of Media & Technology Institute, Joint Center, Dr. Nichol Turner Lee

The NBCSL is a membership association representing more than 600 African American state legislators hailing from 42 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands. NBCSL members represent more than 50 million Americans of various racial backgrounds. NBCSL monitors federal and state activity and provides this information to its members through policy symposiums and conferences.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Joint Center Delegation to UN Climate Change Conference

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies has been granted Civil Society Observer Status for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP15) that will convene next week in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Joint Center delegation to the conference will include six members of its Commission to Engage African Americans on Climate Change and three staff members, and will be led by Carolyn L. Green, Managing Partner, EnerGreen Capital Management, LLC based in Philadelphia. Other Commission members on the delegation are Dr. Robert D. Bullard, Clark Atlanta University; Leslie G. Fields, Esq., Sierra Club; Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Bennett College for Women; Frank M. Stewart, American Association of Blacks in Energy; and Dr. Beverly Wright, Dillard University.

Through its Commission, the Joint Center seeks to ensure that the concerns of minority communities are represented in the debate over climate change mitigation initiatives. The Commission’s goals are centered on reducing fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions and shifting toward a clean energy economy, while minimizing adverse economic impacts of new regulations on vulnerable communities.

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is one of the nation's leading research and public policy institutions and the only one whose work focuses primarily on issues of particular concern to African Americans and other people of color. The Joint Center will mark its 40th Anniversary of service in 2010.