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 www.jointcenter.org/climate. (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 www.jointcenter.org/climate

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 PopandPolitics.com), Gina McCauley-founder-Blogging While Brown & Michelle Obama Watch, and Donna Byrd-The Root at Washingtpost.com, 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!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

EPA Region III Chesapeake Bay Program Seeking GS 11

The Chesapeake Bay Program Office (CBPO) is located in Annapolis, Maryland and it is an EPA Region 3 field office. President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order in May, 2009 ordering the federal government to improve ecosystems within the Bay watershed. The first EO reports were publically released last week. CBPO is seeking an energetic GS-11 who has congressional/public relations, regulatory or enforcement/compliance experience to help implement the EO.

Contact: Cassandra Rice, Attorney Advisor, Chesapeake Bay Program Office, 410 Severn Avenue, Suite 109, Annapolis, MD 2140, Ofc 410-267-5722 Fax 410-267-5777

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

AAEA Assists in Passage of California Climate Bill

AAEA worked with the Union of Concerned Scientists and a large coalition of other groups to get the California Legislature to pass AB 1404, Global Warming Compliance Offsets & Air Quality Act. AB 1404 ensures that policies used to reach California’s global warming pollution reduction goals maximize environmental and public health benefits for the state—particularly through limiting the use of compliance offsets and prioritizing what offsets are used to benefit California communities. The legislation was cosponsored by Assembly Members Kevin De León, left, V. Manuel Pérez, right, and Wilmer Amina Carter, below. The bill now goes to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to be signed into law.
The bill:

1. Limits the use of compliance offsets to no more than 10 percent of the emission reductions expected to be achieved through market mechanisms in each compliance period of AB 32 implementation. This limit applies regardless of whether a cap-and-trade program is implemented.
2. Establishes requirements for verifying and tracking compliance offsets to ensure that they are real, not double-counted or sold more than once, and do not cause harm to the environment or public health.
3. Requires the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to prioritize the use of offsets that provide air quality benefits to communities already suffering from disproportionate levels of air pollution, particularly focusing on the air basin in which the offset purchaser resides, and that provide environmental and public health benefits to the state of
4. Prohibits offsets from the Kyoto Protocol’s international Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to be used for compliance with California global warming regulations. A large majority of CDM projects do not actually reduce emissions. They have been proven to be “non-additional,” which means that they would have occurred under business as usual without CDM funding

Special thanks to Erin Rogers for pushing us to support this legislation and for consistently keeping us in the loop to aggressively participate in the lobbying effort. (UCS)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Sierra Club Seeks Executive Director

The Sierra Club is seeking its next Executive Director. The Sierra Club stands at a critical moment in its history. This is a unique opportunity for a passionate and savvy executive to play a pivotal role in transforming the world by leading the transition to clean, sustainable energy sources.

The Role of Executive Director

The Executive Director is the Sierra Club’s highest ranking staff member, responsible for strategic and inspirational leadership as well as overall operational management of the Sierra Club, Inc. and its 530 staff, who are organized in five primary divisions and managed through a senior staff leadership team of eight. The Executive Director reports to a 15-member Board of Directors, itself elected by the Club membership. The Executive Director serves as a key external face of the Club, responsible for nurturing relationships with the non-governmental organization community, government officials, philanthropic agencies, donors, the media, and others. The Executive Director also leads the staff in its strong partnership with the Club’s unique and invaluable volunteer cadre.



Stephanie C. Mardell, Associate
Isaacson, Miller
649 Mission Street Suite 500
San Francisco, CA 94105

P: 415.655.4911
C: 617.448.3077

F: 415.655.4905



Latest Version of Eco-Islam Available For Download

Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences

The latest IFEES Eco Islam magazine (Issue 6) is ready to download. In this edition, IFEES has a special report on the deforestation in Indonesia and the "Sumatran Declaration".

Other articles include:

- New initatives from the Mindanao region of the Philipines
- Stopping Bird Hunting in Lebanon
- Green Muslims in Washington DC
- Update on the Prince Charles' Rainforest Project
- Book review on "199 ways to please God"
- The Green Religion and much more.

You can support IFEES to continue raising the importance of these issues through the production of educational literature, training programmes and supporting such campaigns. Your support will also help us to set up a global network of Muslim environmentalists from Aceh to Zanzibar.

Friday, September 04, 2009

EPA Announces Houses of Worship Can Now Earn Energy Star Label and Reduce Their Carbon Footprint

Approximately 370,000 can track their energy use

America’s houses of worship can now earn the Energy Star label, joining the nation’s schools, hospitals, hotels, and other facilities in their efforts to fight climate change, save energy and reduce their carbon footprint. EPA’s energy tracking tool, Portfolio Manager, currently allows facilities to track energy use and the associated greenhouse gas emissions, set targets for investment priorities and verify efficiency improvements. Now the estimated 370,000 houses of worship across the United States can use Portfolio Manager to receive an energy performance rating, and the most energy efficient among them can earn the Energy Star label.

Worship facilities in the United States spend more than $3 billion annually on energy costs. Improving the energy efficiency of America’s houses of worship by just 10 percent would save nearly 2 billion kilowatt-hours each year, preventing more than 1 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions and representing a cost savings of about $315 million annually.

Through Energy Star, EPA provides a proven energy management strategy and free tools for public and private organizations to save energy and money through increased energy efficiency. EPA has also made additional enhancements to its tools including the ability to specify on-site green power generation and use. This feature provides a better assessment of a building’s actual energy efficiency and a more complete picture of associated carbon emissions.

Learn more about Portfolio Manager

Learn more about Energy Star for congregations