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.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mobilization For Environmental Justice Protests Copenhagen

Note: AAEA is not a member of MCJ and AAEA supports cap and trade proposals.

The Mobilization for Climate Justice (MCJ) is an alliance of environmental justice, social justice, indigenous rights, forest protection and other groups that have united to address climate-change. MCJ is planning to confront what they consider to be false solutions at the December U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen. MCJ is advancing alternatives that they believe will provide real and just solutions to the climate crisis: leaving fossil fuels in the ground; reasserting peoples’ and community control over resources; relocalising food production; reducing over-consumption, particularly in the North; recognizing ecological and climate debt owed to the peoples of the South and making reparations; and respecting Indigenous and forest peoples’ rights,” the call to action states.

Member Organization in MCJ

Based in the United States, the movement is organizing opposition to false solutions to climate change that impede our ability to find the real solutions, including:

False solutions are those primarily directed at maintaining business as usual and increasing corporate profit, while doing little or nothing to truly address climate change.

False solutions include carbon offset projects, such as industrial timber plantations grown in developing countries, explicitly designed to allow industries in the North to continue polluting. This solution is false because there is no evidence these carbon offsets actually offset the emissions in question.

False so-called “clean” coal. The technology at the heart of “clean” coal is completely unproven and riddled with problems such as contamination of ground water. “Clean” coal is merely a PR scheme designed to allow coal companies to continue blowing up mountaintops, expanding strip mines onto indigenous peoples’ lands and pumping massive amounts of pollution into the air.
In Copenhagen, MCJ will come together from many different associates from many different nations, backgrounds and movements, experiences and struggles: indigenous peoples and farmers, workers and environmentalists, feminists and anti-capitalists. (, 11/29/09)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Black Enterprise Energy Forum: January 12, 2010

Update: AAEA Review of Forum

January 12th Black Enterprise gathers some of the most progressive minds on energy to discuss policy, employment and business opportunities.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has committed more than $80 billion in clean energy investments, one signal that President Barack Obama has placed a high priority on the importance of creating a new economic model around energy. The government hopes to invest $150 billion over the next ten years in new technologies and the Green Economy is now touted as one the strongest areas for expected job growth. What will these initiatives mean for African American professionals and business owners?

hosted by Shell
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
The Liaison Capitol Hill
415 New Jersey Avenue, NW,
Washington, DC 20001

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

African American Unemployment Rate

October 2009

Unemployment rate............. 15.7%

Men, 20 years and over........ 17.1%

Women, 20 years and over....12.4%

Both sexes, 16 to 19 years.....41.3%

Bureau of Labor Statistics

The New York Times Jobless Rate Chart

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Book on Environmental Justice By Dorceta Taylor

A new book from a University of Michigan professor explores how the centuries-old connections between racism and the environment in American cities.

"The Environment and the People in American Cities, 1600s-1900s: Disorder, Inequality, and Social Change" was written by Dorceta Taylor, left, a professor at the School of Natural Resources and Environment and director of an institute studying the issue of environmental justice its modern context. Duke University Press plans to release the book this month.

"The Environment and the People in American Cities" provides a sweeping and detailed examination of the evolution of American cities from Colonial New York and Boston to recent urban planning and labor reform efforts, outlining the rise of problems like overcrowding, pollution, poverty and epidemics and connecting them to systemic environmental racism and other forms of environmental inequities.

In its coverage of race, class and gender inequalities, the book includes a dimension missing from other academic books on environmental history. Professor Taylor adds to current research on the subject by exploring the emergence of elite reformers, the framing of environmental problems and the responses to perceived breakdowns in social order. By focusing specifically on cities, she offers important clues to understanding the evolution of American environmental activism.

Beyond the contribution to historical literature on the subject, Professor Taylor connects her findings to current issues in environmental policy. The book grew out of an undergraduate class on environmental politics Professor Taylor taught more than a decade ago. After finding no books or articles examining race, class or gender and the environment in a historical context, she decided to write her own. The project eventually grew into two books.

While all-male expeditions and solitary males who retreat to the woods for months or years at a time are idealized in many environmental history accounts, the urban activists receive no such acclaim or glory," she said, noting that female, working class and ethnic minorities were active in environmental activism and affairs. "In the city, the classes, races and genders interacted with each other to create a kind of environmentalism that was very fluid and dynamic.

Throughout her analysis, she connects social and environmental conflicts of the past to those of the present. She describes the displacement of people of color for the production of natural open space for the white and wealthy; the close proximity between garbage and communities of color in early America; the "cozy" relationship between middle-class environmentalists and the business community; and resistance to environmental inequalities from residents of marginal communities.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Congressional Black Caucus Exerting Its Authority

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is using its power to force the House Financial Services Committee to consider including more African American participation in Treasury and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation programs, such as the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Now if only the CBC would exert this same authority on the pending climate/energy bill, Blacks might actually gain access to energy infrastructure, products and services (besides caulking guns).

The CBC complained to commitee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass) that not only were their constituencies not getting sufficient participation in bailout programs, but that the administration was not doing enough to create jobs for low-income people or preserve minority-owned institutions such as radio stations, lending companies and jobs programs. There are 10 members of the Congressional Black Caucus on Chairman Frank's committee and they have the votes to hold up any legisation under its jurisdiction. They are using that power now to hold up revamping new rules for financial markets until their demands are met.

So far, CBC and Frank meetings with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel have been unsuccessful. The CBC appears to be committed to getting concessions or is ready to kill the administration's initiative to overhaul financial-market rules. Now if the CBC would dig in on energy and climate legislation, African Americans might get a foothold into the energy markets (oil, gas, coal, nuclear, wind, solar, efficiency and conservation). (WSJ, 11/20/09)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Majority Black Uniontown Gets Tennessee Toxic Fly Ash

Ruby Hollmes, left, lives across the street from the 1,000-acre Arrowhead Landfill near Uniontown in southern Perry County. The landfill is just off U.S. Highway 80 in Alabama and on many days, 85 to 110 rail cars bring in coal ash from Kingston, Tennessee each carrying 105 tons of moist ash sealed in thick plastic material that Tennessee Valley Authority officials call "burrito wraps." The ash is from the huge spill in Kingston, Tennessee in December 2008.

Uniontown, with fewer than 2,000 residents, is a majority-black town in a majority-black county that is one of Alabama's poorest with nearly half of Uniontown's families listed as living below the federal poverty level. In Perry County as a whole, 2008 census figures show a population of fewer than 11,000, with 33 percent below the poverty level. Ninety-five percent of the county's nearly 1,900 public-school students receive free lunches. The September unemployment rate, nearly 20 percent, was among the state's highest.

So far, based on a $1.05-a-ton fee on material shipped into the landfill, the Perry County Commission has received more than $500,000. Most of the money comes from shipments of the coal ash spilled when an earthen dam collapsed last December at the TVA's Kingston Fossil Fuel Plant in Roane County, Tennessee. Based on what it anticipates receiving during the current fiscal year, the commission has pledged $400,000 each to its two municipalities, Marion and Uniontown, and $550,000 to the county school board. This fiscal year alone, the county should take in $3.5 million from the landfill, mostly because of the ash shipments. That sum nearly equals the county's budget, minus what it gets from the ash fees.

Phill-Con Services, a Knoxville civil construction and operation services company, runs Arrowhead for a group of Atlanta-area investors. Under its permit from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, the landfill operates as a solid-waste disposal facility.

Before the first coal ash shipment arrived July 3, Arrowhead was taking in between 100 and 1,500 tons of municipal, commercial and other nonhazardous waste a day. Since the coal ash began coming in, the daily dump ranges from 8,000 to 11,000 tons. Depending on the volume shipped, the landfill should be receiving coal ash from TVA for the next 12 to 18 months. According to an EPA fact sheet, the facility is taking about 3 million of the 5.4 million cubic yards of ash spilled at the Kingston site.

Some landfill proponents want to get the rest of the spilled ash, for which officials are trying to work out a disposal plan. They would like to get what the Kingston plant is producing now until the landfill runs out of space, as well as coal ash produced elsewhere in the state because no disposal site has the environmental safeguards that Arrowhead does.

Coal ash is a byproduct of burning coal to produce energy. The gray, powdery substance contains such materials as silica, unburned carbon and metals such as arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel and zinc. Coal ash also contains radium, a radioactive substance that occurs naturally in coal. (The Birmingham News, 11/15/09, Ruby Holmes photo courtesy Tom Gordon)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

American Media Wants Enmity Between Blacks & Chinese

The Chinese people love Black people from America. We base this assessment on the experience of our parent group [Center for Environment, Commerce & Energy] staff while traveling thoughout China in 2007.

The Washington Post published an article today, "China Confronts Issues Of Race And Long-Held Prejudice," that was so biased against good Chinese/African American relations that we have to respond. The article takes some small negative experiences of one person and exaggerates them into a conclusion that Chinese are racist agasint Blacks. Nothing could be further from the truth in our experiences. Again, Center staff found nothing but love from agricultural areas to urban areas from Chinese people.

Trying to paint President Obama's trip to China with a racist brush is just beyond the pale. One has to bend over backwards to come to such a conclusion. Fortunately, the love that will be displayed from the Chinese people to President Obama will dispel any notions that Chinese people are prejudiced against Black Americans.

What is the motive for such media coverage? Our experiences in China made us wonder why the American media does not cover the love Chinese people have for Black Americans. Is this some sort of perverse move to create enmity between Chinese people and African Americans? If it is, the American media should be ashamed. Regardless, try as you might, the Chinese people and African Americans are not going for any efforts to spread America's unique brand of racism. Chinese people and African Americans are going to bond and will aggressively address the world's problems.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dick Gregory: Godfather of the Environmental Movement


By Norris McDonald

Dick Gregory was working to mitigate environmental challenges before the environmental movement even formed. Dick Gregory was PRE ORIGINAL EARTH DAY. Dick Gregory was telling folk how to eat way before it was cool. Remember "Cooking With Mother Nature?"And Dick Gregory is an unsung hero in the history of the environmental movement. Dick was a founding board member of AAEA. We know who you are Dick and we celebrate you.

Dick Gregory saved my life in 1991. When asthma was trying to kill me, Dick arranged for me to get credit at a health food store and would even give me rides home when I did not have a car. Dick would put his wife Lil on the phone with me to assure me sometimes when I had doubts about the things he was recommending. Of course, Dick was always right. I consider Dick to be my mentor.

Norris McDonald, former Greenpeace
President Peter Bahouth & Dick Gregory

One night Dick had me across the street from the Howard University Hotel in the parking lot with one of his scientists using my car to demonstrate a synthetic fuel. He had his astrologer with him reading the stars and Dick just always 'tripped me out.' Clearly he was Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars way before David Bowie had a clue. Dick was right there helping to get the NO FEAR ACT passed--the first civil rights law of the 21st Century.

Dick could have gained megastardom if he so desired. But Dick chose activism and the human touch. I would walk the street with Dick and he would always put a few dollars in a street person's cup. Dick related to the average guy on the street. We were once in a Rolls Royce when he was driving me home and somebody pulled up to us at a stop light. The guy said, "You look like Dick Gregory." Dick said, "I am Dick Gregory." And everybody laughed. Dick is supercool and never has any bodyguards or entourage with him. Although I know I can never match Dick's performance, it sure does give me something to shoot for.

Norris McDonald with Dick Gregory at Malcolm X Day, Washington, DC 1992

Dick there are many that follow you. But you were the first. The first environmentalist. The Godfather of Environmental Justice. Pre Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" and I bet you even influenced Marvin. Thank you Dick Gregory for your guidance. May I achieve even a fraction of what you did in your incredible life.

Monday, November 09, 2009

African Nations Threatening Developed Nations On Climate

Delegates of 50 African countries to the Barcelona, Spain climate talks staged a 24-hour boycott of the meeting and demanded that the developed countries should cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2020. The Barcelona meeting preceeds the climate change meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark in December to craft a follow-up to the Kyoto Protocol. The Copenhagen deal would succeed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which called on 37 industrial countries to reduce heat-raising gas emissions by an average 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. It made no demands on developing countries like India and China.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is deeply frustrated by these developments to crafting a Kyoto II. Scientists say industrial countries should reduce emissions by 25 to 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.

African countries, China and India are right to hold our feet to the fire. If any country is culpable in causing global warming, it is the USA. So we need to show leadership in addressing climate change mitigation. We believe a global climate change treaty could be a multi-trillion dollar market stimulator that could revolutionize how energy is produced and used. Yet the U.S. reluctance to pass climate change legislation is getting in the way of this global market renaissance. America must pass cap and trade climate change legislation and must help in constructing an international treaty that will lead to global warming mitigation. (Economic Times, 11/5/09, Yahoo News, 11/3/09)

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Why Is The House Environment Hostile To The CBC?

One would think that the U.S. House of Representatives would be more hospitable to its African American members since it is now controlled by Democrats. Not even when the Republican Party was in the majority has the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) been under such assault as it is now. The CBC should be outraged. Is this some bizarre attempt to control them because of their power? Doesn't the Ethics Committee know what they are doing? Don't they notice that all of their inquiries are directed at the black members of Congress?

Representative G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), the only African-American lawmaker among the Ethics Commitees 10 members and Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), must get to the bottom of this. While a substantial number of white lawmakers have been referred for violation, the ethics committee has not yet launched formal investigative subcommittees with respect to any of them — as it has with the seven African-American members.

No wonder there is not black ownership of energy insfrastructure, properties or products in America. The Congress has the CBC intimidated and 'under control.' Heaven forbid the CBC tries to get even some of the trillions of dollars being thrown at Wall Street to create some black energy company owners. So the environmental movement isn't the only sector that ignores blacks and expects them to go along with whatever they say.

Black lawmakers are “easy targets” for ethics watchdog groups because they have less money — both personally and in their campaign accounts — to defend themselves than do their white colleagues. Campaign funds can be used to pay members’ legal bills. Yet two-hundred-and-thirty-seven members of Congress are millionaires. That’s 44 percent of the body – compared to about 1 percent of Americans overall.

The nation’s only black senator, Roland Burris of Illinois, is currently under investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee. (Politico, 11/4/09, Politico, 11/6/09)

Friday, November 06, 2009

EPA Administrator Jackson's 1st Official Visit to New Orleans

Administrator Lisa Perez Jackson, left, a New Orleans native, is scheduled to make her first visit to the city as EPA Administrator on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 17 and 18.

On Tuesday, November 17, Administrator Jackson will speak at the EPA’s National Brownfields Conference at the Morial Convention Center. Her remarks will be open press.

On Wednesday, November 18, Administrator Jackson will join representatives from local non-profits to tour sustainable development projects in the Lower Ninth Ward. From there, the administrator will travel to Southern University for a roundtable with students and professors. Following that Administrator Jackson will tour a site where green homes will be constructed in Ponchartrain Park. Finally, Administrator Jackson will speak at a Dean’s Colloquium at Tulane University, her alma mater. All of these events are open press.

Tuesday, November 17

9:30 a.m. CST Administrator Jackson delivers remarks at EPA’s National Brownfields Conference
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
900 Convention Center Blvd
New Orleans, La.

Wednesday, November 18

9:30 a.m. CST Administrator Jackson tours Lower Ninth Ward sustainable development projects

12:30 p.m. CST Administrator Jackson participates in roundtable with Southern University students and professors
Southern University

1:15 p.m. CST Administrator Jackson tours site of future green homes in Ponchartrain Park
Tour will start at 5562 Park Drive
New Orleans, La.

2:30 p.m. CST Administrator Jackson Speaks at Tulane Dean’s Colloquium

Tulane University
Freeman Auditorium, Woldenberg Art Center
1229 Broadway Street
New Orleans, La.

Administrator Lisa Perez Jackson grew up in Ponchartrain Park in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward. The Administrator went to St. Gabriel the Archangel grammar school and St. Mary’s Dominican High School, where she was valedictorian of the class of ‘79. She also graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from Tulane University. Her mother and several members of her family were displaced from the city when their house was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina.

Monday, November 02, 2009

AAEA-NY Climate/Energy/Air Forum A Big Success

Frank Stewart, Amber Sisson Norris McDonald, Samara Swanston, Craig Wilson

The African American Environmentalist Association New York Office hosted a forum on "Air Quality and Electricity: Why It Matters To You," on Friday, October 30, 2009 at the City University of New York Graduate Center Segal Theatre. The theater was filled with students from the New York High School for Environmental Studies, members of the American Association of Blacks in Energy New York Chapter, representatives from the New York City Council and others.

Panelists included Amber Sisson-New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance (NYAREA), Samara Swanston-environmentalist, Frank Stewart-President, American Association of Blacks in Energy and Craig Wilson-Safe Healthy Affordable Reliable Energy (SHARE). The forum was moderated by AAEA President Norris McDonald.

The forum covered numerous topics that were discussed by panelists and audience members. The issues included energy and air pollution in New York, green jobs, the Waxman/Markey and Boxer/Kerry climate change bills, New York Governor David A. Paterson's New Preliminary State Energy Plan, technical aspects of energy production and more. An issues brief produced by AAEA and NYAREA, "New York State and the Waxman-Markey Bill," was distributed at the forum.

Excellent box lunches were also provided to the participants.

The forum was coordinated by Urbanomics Consulting Group (UCG).

Monday, October 26, 2009

Senate Environment & Public Works Climate Hearings

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, chaired by California Congresswoman Barbara Boxer, left, starts the debate over climate legislation this week with three hearings on legislation that would curb U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions:

10/27/09 Full Committee hearing entitled, “Legislative Hearing on S. 1733, Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act


10/28/09 Full Committee hearing entitled, “Legislative Hearing on S. 1733, Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act


10/29/09 Full Committee hearing entitled, “Legislative Hearing on S. 1733, Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Official First Family Photograph

The Obamas in the Green Room, Sept. 1, 2009, with Sasha, second from left, and Malia, right. (Annie Leibovitz for the White House)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Obama Nominates Magwood and Apostolakis To NRC

President Obama, on October 9, nominated two new members to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to fill vacancies on the five-member panel. AAEA supports both nominations. They join Chairman Gregory Jaczko -- a former aide to Nevada Senator Harry Reid -- and Commissioners Dale Klein and Kristine Svinicki, all appointed in the Bush administration.

William (Bill) Magwood, left, was director of the Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Energy under former presidents Clinton and Bush from 1998 to 2005. He led the creation of the "Nuclear Power 2010" initiative. Since his retirement from government service in 2005, Mr. Magwood has been actively involved in efforts to advance nuclear industry business opportunities domestically and abroad. For the past four years Magwood has headed Advanced Energy Strategies and Secure Energy North America Corporation, which provide "strategic advice to domestic and international clients" on energy projects, including nuclear investments novel approaches to financing new nuclear power stations.

From 1984-1994, he managed electric utility research and nuclear policy programs at the Edison Electric Institute in Washington, DC; and he was a scientist at Westinghouse Electric Corporation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he analyzed radiological and hazardous waste disposal, treatment, and handling systems. Mr. Magwood holds a B.S. degree in Physics and a B.A. degree in English from Carnegie-Mellon University. He also holds an M.F.A. degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

George Apostolakis, right, is a nuclear science professor at MIT and a member of NRC's scientific advisory committee. Dr. George Apostolakis (right) is the Korea Electric Power Company professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering and a professor of Engineering Systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT photo-right]. He received his Ph.D. in engineering science and applied mathematics from the California Institute of Technology in 1973. He is a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society and of the Society for Risk Analysis.

He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2007. Dr. Apostolakis is a member and former chairman of the statutory Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. (The Energy Collective, 10/10/09)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

AAEA-NY To Host Energy Forum at CUNY's Segal Theatre

The African American Environmentalist Association (AAEA) will host Air Quality and Electricity: Why it Matters to You on Friday, October 30th from 10:00am-12:00pm at City University of New York’s Segal Theatre, located at 265 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

The event will include discussions on Energy in New York, air pollution, green jobs, the Waxman-Markey Climate Change Bill and the New York State Energy Plan.

To attend please RSVP by calling Lesley Cothran at(202) 944-3840 or via email at

Monday, October 12, 2009

Chinese & American Oil Firms Compete For Ghana Oil

China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) and the Ghana National Petroleum Corp. (GNPC)are competing with Exxon Mobil Corp in bids for a stake in a very large offshore oil discovery off the Ghana coast, which is in West Africa. Exxon Mobil made a $4 billion offer and CNOOC is challenging with a rival bid. CNOOC is backed by the Chinese government and its chances of winning the bid are increased by partnering with the domestic oil company.

The Ghanaian government seems to be a referee in this bidding war with Kosmos insisting that, the Ghanaian government "can't be unreasonable in their refusal" regarding the bid. The Ghanaian government must ultimately sign off on any deal. The Ghanaian government did not know that Kosmos had already made a deal with Exxon.

Exxon and CNOOC are vying for Kosmos Energy's stake in Jubilee, an offshore oil discovery that is estimated to hold 1.8 billion barrels of oil. Jubilee is one of the largest oil discoveries in recent years and holds the type of light, sweet crude oil that is most sought after by global markets. Dallas-based Kosmos told bidders by letter it had "entered into an exclusive binding agreement" with Exxon to sell its 23.5% stake in Jubilee. Kosmos is partly owned by private-equity firms Blackstone Group LP and Warburg Pincus. In addition to Kosmos and GNPC, Tullow Oil PLC and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. own sizable stakes in the field, making it unclear what company would become operator of the field. (WSJ, 10/12/09)

Gov. Schwarzenegger Vetoes AB 1404 (Renewable Energy)

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, left, vetoed two renewable energy bills that were passed in September that would require the state's utilities to use renewable energy, like solar and wind power, for a third of the power they sell by 2020. Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed the bills because he believes his alternative plan is better and because he objected to provisions of one of the bills (AB 1404) that would limit the amount of renewable power utilities could buy from other states, saying they were "protectionist" and would be costly. AAEA supported AB 1404 and worked with other groups in California for its passage. Several renewable energy developers and utilities supported the bills, as did consumer, environmental and union groups.

Governor Schwarzenegger appears to be taking the same route as the Obama administration, which is drafting climate change regulation at EPA because it appears that Congress will not be passing such legislation. The California Republican governor has ordered the state's Air Resources Board to draft regulations requiring the state's utilities to use renewables for a third of their retail power by 2020.

Unlike the vetoed legislation, the new rules won't limit the amount of renewable power California utilities can buy from out-of-state facilities that are too far away to deliver the electricity in real time. Mr. Schwarzenegger agreed with some industry groups, utility regulators and the state's grid operator that restricting out-of-state renewable energy purchases would make it nearly impossible for utilities to meet the 2020 deadline. AAEA disagrees with this assessment because it can and probaby will lead to purchasing CO2 offsets from out of state instead of making the requirement retrofits and development project in-state to meet the required reductions. Methodologies, environmental friendly construction and retrofits reduce smog-forming gases in addition to CO2, which would be particularly beneficial to minority communities suffering from disproportionately higher levels of pollution.

Despite California's aggressive goals, in-state development of new renewable-energy generation and transmission facilities has been slow, primarily due to approval delays at state and federal agencies. (WSJ, 10/12/09)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Harmonizing Environmental Justice With Cap & Trade


By Norris McDonald

Environmental justice groups normally oppose cap and trade in climate change mitigation legislation and regulations becuase they believe it leads to disproportionate impacts - - that is, older, dirtier plants will remain open in minority communities while credits are amassed via newer facilities outside of these areas. They believe that so called 'Hot Spots' will continue to expose minority communities to disproportionate levels of air pollution.

AAEA has shared its solution to this problem to members of Congress and at EPA. Our solution is inclusion of an Environmental Justice Allowance Reserve (EJAR) in any cap and trade program.

AAEA believes climate change legislation and regulation will need to address environmental justice concerns related to the perception that emission trading programs cause disproportionate pollution from older, dirtier plants to negatively impact low-income and minority communities. There is also widespread belief that global warming and climate change will disproportionately affect low-income and minority communities. Some environmental justice groups oppose cap-and-trade programs.

AAEA is recommending an Environmental Justice Allowance Reserve (EJAR) to address the racial 'Hot Spots' issue. 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 utilities, automakers and others that undertake environmental justice practices and programs designed to mitigate or prevent price shocks, increase the installation of pollution control equipment, promote community education and enhance health-related activities. Utilities and automakers could choose to work with organizations and businesses that conduct environmental justice activities related to climate change mitigation and reductions in emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury.

As an alternative to legislation and as an insurance policy in case climate change legislation does not pass, AAEA has developed a voluntary EJAR program that provides a platform for utilities, automakers and communities to address and influence the Hot Spots issue. Any utility, automaker or citizen can: sell to, donate or purchase compliance allowances from, the voluntary AAEA-EJAR or otherwise support the EJAR program. AAEA is currently meeting with interested stakeholders to develop EJAR projects.

AAEA has also developed emissions trading platforms to directly facilitate exchanges. The Green Carbon Bank (GCB), Carbon Mercantile Exchange (CMX) and Carbon Dioxide Reduction Program (CDR) are available to facilitate emission free projects. AAEA has been registered in the EPA Acid Rain Program for years.

The AAEA EJAR program will leverage allowances and resources to promote environmental justice practices and projects designed to:

Increase the installation of pollution control equipment,
Promote community education and
Enhance health-related activities.

Allowances are fully marketable commodities. Once allocated, allowances may be bought, sold, traded, or banked for use in future years. Allowances may not be used for compliance prior to the calendar year for which they are allocated.

Participation in the EJAR will clearly show that a utility or automaker is exceeding emission compliance and is willing to include AAEA in the emission trading market. Significant participation in the EJAR will indicate that a utility's or automaker's units are not Hot Spot plants or emissions contributors. AAEA will publicize the EJAR participant list and projects.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

National Survey Shows Majority of African Americans Want Action to Minimize the Impacts of Climate Change

A majority of African Americans believe climate change is a growing problem that both government and individuals should take action now to mitigate the potential impacts, according to the results of a national poll conducted by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a research and policy institution in Washington, DC.

The survey of 750 African American adults found that more than half of respondents identified the issue as a “major problem,” with 58 percent giving that response when it was described as “global warming” and 52 percent reacting that way when the term “climate change” was used. Only about ten percent in each group said global warming or climate change is not a problem.

A large majority of respondents said that government and individuals can do things to reduce global warming. About a third believe federal and state government can do a lot to mitigate the problem, while some three-quarters believe government can at least do something. A majority of African Americans express support for the cap-and-trade legislation passed earlier this year by the U.S. House of Representatives, and a large majority said they would be even more supportive with strong provisions for green jobs and incentives to buy more energy efficient cars and improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

The poll was the second that the Joint Center has conducted to determine African American views on climate change. The previous survey, released in July 2008, also found a majority of African Americans defining climate change as a problem that government must address.

A key finding in this year’s survey is that 26 percent of African Americans think they – and others like them – can do a lot to reduce global warming, and an additional 44 percent believe they can take at least some measures to combat the problem. The survey results indicate that a majority of them recycle and purchase energy saving appliances and light bulbs, while nearly half of them purchased products in the last year that were better for the environment even though the products were more costly than similar non-environmentally friendly items.

Like all Americans, there are limits to what African Americans will buy into on public policy choices for the environment. The survey found that about half of black households having two or more cars, and while they are willing to pay more for energy in some circumstances, they oppose higher gasoline taxes. Similarly, while about two in five African Americans support building more nuclear power plants, fewer than one in four would support building a nuclear power plant in their own community.

Other key findings in the survey include:

Majorities of respondents thought climate change is already causing – or will soon cause – worsening public health (59 percent), economic instability (61 percent), increasing flooding, fires, and droughts (60 percent), and energy dependence (64 percent). Even larger majorities thought these would be problems for future generations if climate change is not stopped.
A majority of African Americans (59 percent) believe environmental conditions will be worse for future generations, while only one-in-six believe environmental conditions will be better.
With regard to their electric bills, a solid majority of African Americans (61 percent) are willing to pay an additional $10 per month to fight global warming, while 30 percent were willing to pay an additional $25 per month and 16 percent were willing to pay an additional $50 per month.
While opposition to gas tax increases is strong, a solid majority of African Americans (63 percent) believe that people they know would be willing to change their driving habits or drive less to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Findings from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies' National Survey Results, African Americans on Climate Change and Conservation are from a random digit dialing telephone survey of 750 African American adults conducted between July 20, 2009 and July 30, 2008. The survey has a margin of error of + or - 3.6 percentage points. The full survey can be downloaded at (Sourece: Joint Center Press Release)

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.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

CBC Chairwoman Barbara Lee's Green Energy Forum

Washington, DC Convention Center, Saturday, September 26, 2009 11am – 1pm: AAEA President Norris McDonald spoke at The 2009 Congresional Black Caucus (CBC) Annual Legislative Conference's Green Entrepreneurship Forum. The forum addressed putting the Eco in Economy: Green Entrepreneurship and Business Opportunities Environmental protection and the need for proactive approaches to address climate change have become a leading priority of the Obama Administration.

McDonald presented a carbon dioxide offset certificate so that the session would be carbon neutral. The certificate was for one ton of carbon dioxide. AAEA operates the Carbon Mercantile Exchange (CMX) to generate carbon dioxide offsets.

The process of “going green” is revolutionizing the way we do businesses and has created opportunities for entrepreneurship and business expansion. This forum represent Part Three of the CBCF Entrepreneurship Series and covered the expanding green economy, how and where the stimulus funds will be allocated and provided insight from businesses that are revolutionizing their operations by greening their business products and services. Speakers and organizations:

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Chair, Congressional Black Caucus

Moderator: Van Ton-Quinlivan, Pacific Gas & Electric

Norris McDonald, President, African American Environmentalist Association
Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Green For All
Jerome Ringo, President, Apollo Alliance
Keni Washington, Managing Director, Earth-SOLAR

AAEA Powerpoint Presentation

Friday, September 25, 2009

Joint Center to Release National Poll of African American Views on Global Climate Change and What to do About It

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and its Commission to Engage African Americans on Climate Change has released its second national poll of African Americans regarding their views on climate change, and particularly whether they think it poses a significant economic and public health problem, whether government should take action to mitigate it, and what kinds of solutions they would be willing to support.

The survey, for the first time, reveals African American attitudes on energy conservation, recycling, transportation options, and the level of air pollution in their own communities. Survey respondents were also asked their views on the cap-and-trade legislation passed earlier this year by the U.S. House of Representatives. Dr. David Bositis, Senior Research Associate at the Joint Center is the author of the survey report.

The results are being released via press conference conducted via telephone conference call and will be convened by the Co-Chairs of the Commission to Engage African Americans on Climate Change, Ralph B. Everett, Esq., President and CEO of the Joint Center, and The Honorable Rodney Ellis, Texas State Senator, District 13.

The full report is available September 30, 2009, at

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. It will mark its 40th Anniversary of service in 2010.

Congressional Black Caucus 2009 Legislative Conference


By Norris McDonald

The theme of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) 39th Annual Legislative Conference is "Reinvest...Rebuild...Renew," and is being held at the Washington Convention Center from September 23-26. Having organized the very first energy braintrust for the CBC on behalf of the late Congressman Mickey Leland, I was amazed at the growth of energy panels. There are now seven energy (green) panels among the many other forums being conducted throughout the cavernous convention center. CBC Chairwoman Barbara Lee, right, invited me to speak at her Green Entrepreneurship Series, which is being sponsored by Mastercard, Community Loans of America, and Bank of America.

CBC Chairwoman Lee also sponsored a Green Roundtable that included EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu. Of course, I got off the first question about how the administration and the CBC can facilitate African American ownership of energy infrastructure, properties and products. The CBC Energy & Environment Taskforce hosted an inaugural meeting of the Green Roundtable in July to begin a discussion on building a "Green Agenda" for Black communities. This meeting served as part two of this important discussion.

Donna Brazile invited me to the forum she organized, "Social Media & Digital Content: Organizing the Masses," which featured Robert Townsend's latest film project, "Diary of a Single Mom." In addition to Townsend making a presentation, the full cast was there, including Richard Roundtree, Billy Dee Williams, Leon, Valerie Ortiz and Monica Calhoun.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn gave an empassioned plea for support of broadband in rural areas. Other panelists included Farai Chideya, formerly of NPR (now, Gina McCauley-founder-Blogging While Brown & Michelle Obama Watch, and Donna Byrd-The Root at, among others.

CBCF YouTube Videos of Sessions

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Islamic Foundation For Ecology Director Speaks at U.N.

Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences (IFEES) Founder and Director, Fazlun Khalid, right, was invited by the Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki Moon, to participate in a round table discussion on Climate Change with world leaders on September 22nd in New York. This is the statement he made on the same day:
"It hasn’t quite entered the human consciousness, that if planet earth suffers we suffer and that we have nowhere else to go. We are part of an integrated earth and when we reduce the natural world to an exploitable resource this turns inwards on us. How else does one explain the consequences of climate change? Yes, the human species is unique. We have the capacity to observe the world around us, describe what we see, quantify it and then take advantage of it. However, the most extreme and all pervasive form of this is our collective, unfettered defilement of nature. For example we have managed to consume in a space of two hundred and fifty years or so, fossil fuel resources that have taken 250,000,000 years to lay down. That is, averaging consumption in one year, of what has taken nature a million years to produce. This is set to continue unabated until these resources run dry even as the chickens come home to roost. Prosperity it seems is based on creating discontent as consumers are seduced to vie with each other in pursuit of technopia. We have political, financial and industrial systems, in place that will ensure that this continues without interruption. If there is a lesson we can learn from the financial crisis it is that market forces are a fiction because money itself is a fiction. It can be created by the stroke of a pen or push of a button by those privileged to be bankers. The rest of us work for a living.

Individual nation states have their own priorities and agendas. But, the common denominator however is growth based on fictitious money. While those ahead in the race are able to create more money to stay ahead, those behind engage in an almost impossible game of catch up. The victim of this game is planet earth and climate change is the result. Moderating this appears to be what Copenhagen is about and this requires, the rich nations particularly, to tighten their belts severely, whilst those behind loosen theirs’ ever so gently. There is no gain without pain. Current growth rates steal from the legacy that by right belong to future generations. It would seem that in allowing to be swept away by forces intent on destroying the natural world in the name of economic growth faith communities have surrendered their responsibilities, Muslims, not least amongst them. Our job is to prod this group, which constitutes twenty percent of the world’s population, to wake up to their teachings and join forces with other like-minded people to leave a liveable planet for our children. It is now or never - well almost."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

African Nations Threatening To Walk Out of Climate Talks

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, right, was elected by the Africa Union to head the continent's delegation for international climate change talks. The delegation includes Algeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda and South Africa. African Union chief Jean Ping and AU current chairman Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi will also accompany the delegation to Copenhagen. Africa's climate change negotiators have threatened to withdraw from the December global climate change talks in Copenhagen, Denmark if developed nations failed to agree with Africa’s minimum position.

African nations common want huge financial support (estimated at US$300 billion) and technology transfer from the West for mitigation and adaptation activities to curb the impact of climate crisis on the continent. According to the Common Position document, Africa is demanding measurable, reportable and verifiable emission reduction by developed nations.

Key Positions

Africa demands that developed countries should commit 0.5 per cent of their GDP for climate action in developing countries and commit to new and innovative sources of public and private sector finance, with the major source of funding coming from the public sector.

Africa needs to create an African climate change fund through collaboration amongst African institutions such as the African Union Commission, the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank.

Mitigation & Adaptation

To support climate change mitigation activities in developing nations Western nations were asked to set at least US$200 billion (0.5 per cent from their GDP) by 2020.

Rich nations need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 and at least 80 to 95 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.

Africa also demanded from the West better climate change adaptation fund worth US$67 billion per year by 2020.

Developed countries should commit to the deployment, diffusion and transfer of technology to developing countries, based on principles of accessibility, affordability, appropriateness and adaptability. (NYT, 9/20/09)

AAEA To Participate in CBC Legislative Conference

Center President Norris McDonald is speaking at The 2009 Congresional Black Caucus (CBC) Annual Legislative Conference's Entrepreneurship Series. The Entrepreneurship Series is sponsored by Mastercard, Community Loans of America, and Bank of America.

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) produces the Annual Legislative Conference, a four-day event held in September at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Thousands of elected officials, business and industry leaders, celebrities, media, emerging leaders and everyday Americans attend the Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) and its dozens of policy forums, general sessions, massive exhibit showcase, job fair, book signings and vast networking opportunities. The Congressional Black Caucus – comprised of the African-American members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate – headline ALC every year.

The series will include the following workshops with remarks provided by distinguished and nationally recognized panelists before an expected audience of 250 – 300 per session:

Thursday, September 24, 2009 2pm-4pm

Initial Start-Up Considerations: Strategies for Establishing & Running A Successful Business Venture. Establishing and running a lucrative business venture can be a daunting task for even the most experienced entrepreneur. This workshop, part one of a three part CBCF Entrepreneurship Series, helps to demystify the process of starting a business for potential entrepreneurs and enhances the business know-how of existing small business owners. Highlights of the program include keynote remarks and strategies for success from celebrity entrepreneurs who have turned their ambition into multi-million dollar enterprises. Additional panelists will discuss, topics including developing a sound business plan, business taxes and corporate entities, and resources to assist aspiring entrepreneurs.

Friday, September 25, 2009 10am-12pm

Financing Forum: Preparing for and Obtaining Business Financing The current economic climate has significantly impacted the global credit market making access to capital more difficult for entrepreneurs and small business owners. In these times, understanding your personal finances and the loan product that is best for your business is critical. Part two of the three part CBCF Entrepreneurship Series, will include strategies from financial planners and bank executives that will address, the 5 C’s of credit and will provide insight on what they look for in potential loan applicants or investment opportunities. The workshop will provide information on various financing options including microloans, small business loan products, and venture capital products for the budding, established and mature business enterprise.

Saturday, September 26, 2009 11am – 1pm

Putting the Eco in Economy: Green Entrepreneurship and Business Opportunities Environmental protection and the need for proactive approaches to address climate change have become a leading priority of the Obama Administration. The process of “going green” is revolutionizing the way we do businesses and has created opportunities for entrepreneurship and business expansion. Part three (3) of the CBCF Entrepreneurship Series will define the expanding green economy, discuss how and where the stimulus funds will be allocated and provide insight from businesses that are revolutionizing their operations by greening their business products and services. Confirmed Speakers/Organizations:

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Chair, Congressional Black Caucus
Norris McDonald, President, Center for Environment, Commerce, Energy
Julie Cunningham, CEO, Conference of Minority Transportation Officials
Dr. Farrah Gray, Entrepreneur, Author “Reallionaire”
Aaron W. Smith, Author “In the Black: Live Faithfully, Prosper Financially”
Harry Alford, CEO, National Black Chamber of Commerce
Connie Evans, CEO, Association for Enterprise Opportunity
Kim Ellis Hunter, Partner, Deloitte & Touche
Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Green For All
Jerome Ringo, President, Apollo Alliance
Van Ton-Quinlivan, Pacific Gas & Electric
Keni Washington, Managing Director, Earth-SOLAR
David Hinson, Director, Minority Business Development Agency
Kenneth Yancey, CEO, SCORE
Diane Farrell, Board of Directors, Export-Import Bank of the US
Karen Mills, Administrator, US Small Business Administration


CBCF YouTube Videos of All Sessions

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Racial Environment In America With A Black President

Sophia Nelson of the Root provides an interesting perspective in her article, "The Uppity Negro Syndrome," where she writes:

The furor over former U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s remarks that “an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man" reminds me of a scene from John Singleton’s 1997 film, Rosewood, which dramatized the real-life lynching and burning of a rural, predominantly black Florida town in January 1923.

In the scene, the two men talk about the alleged rape of a white woman and the false rumor that a black man named Jesse Hunter had raped her. (It was alleged that a local Rosewood resident named Sylvester Carrier, a private music instructor who played the piano, was harboring Hunter.) This, of course, was false, but it was used as an excuse to inflame tensions and anger.

Then came the line that’s still etched in my mind: “Oh, that's them uppity folks that own a piano,” one of the white men says. “I don't even own one.”

This bit of dialogue sparks what culminates in a 200-person, white lynch mob that burns Rosewood down, killing dozens of black women, children and men. Black people died because of a classic case of “uppity Negroes” not “knowing” their place.

My point is this: President Carter is speaking a truth that few Americans are willing to hear. He grew up at the height of Jim Crow in the Deep South—the man knows racism when he sees it. Most white Americans simply cannot face the ugly past of “race in America” and how much it is still with us today.

In my opinion, folks, it’s the piano, stupid!