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Climate Justice Activists Protest at Natural Resources Defense Council’s office ahead of Copenhagen meeting

James Crugnale Dec 1, 2009

Dozens of New York City climate justice activists, including NASA’s climate scientist Dr. James Hansen, gathered Monday, Nov. 30, outside the offices of  the Natural Resources Defense Council to protest its support of the climate bills in Congress.“We are part of a nationwide network of organizations opposed to the climate profiteering behind the Waxman-Markey and Kerry-Boxer climate bills,” said Monica Hunken, of the Safe Water Movement (SwiM) in a written statement. “Proposed U.S. climate policy is a betrayal of the environment and of future generations.”

“The fraudulence of the Copenhagen approach — “goals” for emission reductions, “offsets” that render even iron-clad goals almost meaningless, an ineffectual “cap-and-trade” mechanism — must be exposed,” said Hansen in an op-ed  in The Guardian Nov. 29. “We must rebel against such politics-as-usual.”

While most of the protesters advocated a “no-compromises” position, some in the group wondered whether the mobilization’s efforts were too idealistic.

“I don’t know if it makes a lot of sense to decry cap-and-trade as its merits are feasible within a short time frame,” said Justin Haaheim from Act New Haven, an environmental action group based in New Haven, Conn. “It’s better to do small steps than accepting no compromises.”

Reporter Joseph Huff-Hannon wrote on Huffington Post Nov. 30 that the Natural Resources Defense Council staff were receptive to the demonstrators. “We appreciate the work that the protesters are doing,” said Jenny Powers, national media director for Natural Resources Defense Council. “Overall I think we’re very supportive of any opportunity to bring more attention to this issue. We definitely view it as all of us as being united in the same goal. We’re on the same track, we just deploy different strategies.”

A cadre of seven police officers prevented the activists’ entry into the Natural Resources Defense Council offices. Organizers said that local environmental activist Robert Jereski was arrested.

A NYPD Public Information officer declined to comment on the arrest.

The demonstration was part of the Mobilization for Climate Justice and organized by BeyondTalk.net, with more than 10 actions that took place around the country. Nov. 30 marks the 10th anniversary of the protests against the World Trade Organization conference in Seattle, Wa., when thousands of global justice activists, environmentalists, union advocates, anti-capitalists and Seattle residents took to the streets to prevent the meetings from taking place. It was the height of the global justice movement and also a scene of extreme police brutality.

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