PDA Stop Global Warming/Environmental Issues Team
Minutes - Conference Call July 15, 2009, 9:00pm EST
Dave Massen - CA
Shelly Thomas - MN
Dick Brown - MI
Richard Kerver - MA
Dave Sonneborn - CA
Martha Freedman - MA
James Handley - DC
Tim Mullins - VA
Laura Bonham - UT
1. Greetings and call to order. Dave Massen
2. Announcements and next meeting date.
Next meeting date is Wednesday, August 19, 2009, @ 9:00PM EST
Announcement: Happy Birthday PDA on its fifth anniversary.
3. Review and adopt minutes from the June 17, 2009 call. The minutes were
adopted. The minutes are now appearing on the PDA Global Warming web
page after approval.
4. Review and adopt agenda; review how we recognize speakers. The
agenda was adopted.
5. Update – Energy + climate legislation in Congress; possible action by
PDA. Most of the call was taken up by this topic. Reviewed actions PDA
Action Alert: Alert went out on Ellison-Pingree letter, which was a request
to strengthen the Waxman-Markey bill.
Action Alert: Some members worked on a letter sent to the Congressional
Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus. Letter asked for
rethinking and strengthening the Waxman-Markey bill and pointing out five
of its major problems.
Action: Publicized the Institute for Policy Studies sponsored briefing for
the House on June 19th a week before the vote.
Action: PDA was a co-sponsoring group for the Monday July 13th briefing
on alternatives to cap and trade for the Senate. The Carbon Tax Center and
FOE and many others were co-sponsoring groups. James Handley
summarized what happened. (See under "Update" on page 2)
Laura provided figures on how many people took action on the following:
Climate Principles Letter (2008) -- 102
Overhaul or Scrap ACESA -- 3179
Sign the Ellison-Pingree letter -- 3099
The Waxman-Markey bill was discussed briefly as “the Climate Principles
Letter meets reality.”
Dave. M. discussed recent group emails and brought up several points about
them. First a summary of where the Waxman-Markey bill now is and other
1) There is a delay in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
set a Sept. 18th deadline for all six committees to finish work on it.
Then there will be floor action in October reconciling the six versions.
2) Obama's leadership on global warming has been a concern.
3) How should we be talking about this? Global warming, jobs,
Update: The Carbon Tax Center was one sponsor of the briefing for
Congress on July 13th, and James Handley gave us details on what took
place. 20 members of Congress were represented at the briefing. One
senator actually attended in person (Mark Udall) and the rest sent staff.
There were about 20 people from the Senate and House staff, about 8 media
outlets covered it and the room was packed.
James Hansen gave a presentation on global warming, science and energy.
Second, Robert Shapiro talked about economic issues. He concluded by
recommending a defeat of the Waxman-Markey bill, which was surprising to
many. The last speaker was Prof. Janet Milne who talked about carbon taxes
and the British Columbia experience. The fourth speaker was Cecil Corbin-
Mark of We Act and he talked about the offsets, which he described as
"exploitative", and he supports a revenue-neutral carbon tax. The Q&A was
good. Discussed the SO2 program and how climate change is a very
The video was posted at http://pricecarbon.org/
James has the list of who attended this briefing.
The Carbon Tax Center will do follow-up calls and visits.
Dave M. discussed timing of what we can do in the Senate. James H. said
they had a post-briefing and summarized that there is a concern that there
won't be many senators who vote against Waxman-Markey. There are
environmental objections to it as being too weak. Many senators are
concerned about the cost and protecting coal. It will be more watered-
down. Some people in the coalition opposed the bill, but the coalition of
support may dissolve anyway. There is a strategy meeting on the 27th about
Groups involved in the briefing: The Climate Crisis Coalition, the Citizens
Climate Lobby, We Act, Friends of the Earth, Carbon Tax Center, and other
Dave S. brought up that there has been little success with getting to Pres.
Obama on this. Strategy could be a message that has traction and PDA
should sign on to something. The importance of carbon pricing should be
incorporated. Emissions reductions goals need to be gotten to much sooner
than 2050, etc. Developing nations are saying we need to take the lead. This
may have some resonance with Pres. Obama. There was a discussion of
this. This would be a good time to do something.
Richard Kerver discussed meeting with his Congressman McGovern in MA
about the current bill and approaching Sen. Kerry, chairman of the Foreign
Relations committee. McGovern said he got what he wanted from the bill,
stopping deforestation. Understanding offsets and international trade is
Discussion: Offsets. JH discussed forestry offsets; only 3 of the CDM
approved offsets involve forestry. Other things are capturing methane, etc.
There is a website for all the CDM approved projects.
Discussion: Any firm decisions about what we support? Laura brought up
we need to make a determination. She brought up 2 problems with Wax-
Markey: coal being codified in the bill and a new trading market for carbon.
Discussion: Laura suggested PDA endorsing a revenue-neutral carbon tax,
could use as a tool to encourage strengthening the ACESA bill. It would be
easier to work internationally with a carbon tax. Pricing, China, G8, Obama,
timing and delay were discussed. There is no way people will take
emissions reductions seriously without price going up.
Do we need a bill going into Copenhagen in December?
Strategy discussed: 1) Determine the six Senate committees involved,
determine which Senate offices to get alerts out to people to contact certain
senators, come up with talking points for senators to consider other options.
Start feeding them information, which options to consider. 2) Find out the
principal analysts or correct staffers. 3) Put together information sheet to
communicate with them.
Dave will get list of six committees and senator names, Shelly will get staff
names, Laura will write the document and points, James H. will help where
Discussion: What the public reacts to - clean energy, green jobs, energy
independence. These all resonate better with the public than global warming
6. Update – Mountaintop removal coal mining.
We had a very short period of time for this as the call went over. Dave
mostly summarized what we will need to talk about in the future. The film
"Coal Country" has premiered. DVDs are available for house parties.
Great opportunity to teach people about this issue.
Dave S. mentioned additional actions on coal: there was a Sierra Club
action that he will send to us, news from the EPA that they turned down
building plans of 140+ new coal plants. Still have existing coal plants.
Dave has a chart showing how we can't replace oil with the renewable
sources combined, so we have to encourage people to conserve and cut
down on use of energy. Dave said he would scan the chart and get it online
7. Update – Using our new PDA Stop Global Warming web page.
Didn't have time to discuss, will talk about this next time. Roberta is
updating news on the GW web page by transferring relevant articles from
PDA’s home page. Members should send news articles to the Google group
and they can be moved there.
8. Update – PDA campaign combining our global warming work with
The Economic Justice Team might be integrated with the global warming
group, discussion by Laura. Dave S. added: They had a conference call July
14 and discussed green jobs. There is a bill Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has
introduced called "Impact" related to the trade act that was incorporated into
the climate bill. It's about funding to keep manufacturers aware of
environmental concerns. More info: http://tinyurl.com/nyp2e4
Dave S. said he has more issues to go over and will send out an email.
9. Other? There were no other issues.
Shelly Thomas, Secretary