1810 16th St. NW
Phone :202.609.9846 Fax :202.536.5503 Email : email@example.com URL: Website
Largest environmental network focused on climate change in America
Affiliated with a global network of more than 450 NGOs
Founded in 1989, the U.S. Climate Action Network (USCAN) is a coalition of prominent non-profit green groups whose principal mission is to stop global warming. The coalition attempts to affect change at the state and local levels, and also to influence decision-makers at the United Nations and in Washington, DC.
"For the past 150 years, humans have been using fossil fuels -- coal, oil and natural gas -- at rates that have increased exponentially. The burning of fossil fuels, combined with cutting down forests, has increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by more than 30%. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases act like a heat-trapping blanket, causing climate change. The more carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere, the more significant the effects of climate change become."
"The impacts of climate change are evident everywhere on the world," says USCAN. "Ocean acidification is bleaching coral reefs and harming shellfish. Bird migration patterns have shifted. Arctic glaciers are shrinking at alarming rates. Increased flooding and droughts have put agricultural crops at risk. The examples are endless."
In 1997, USCAN provided ideas and policy expertise to support the development of the Kyoto Protocol, which called for industrialized countries to dramatically reduce their collective greenhouse gas emissions. The organization continues to push for government regulations and international agreements aimed at minimizing such emissions.
USCAN’s board of directors is largely composed of representatives of these groups. Dave Hamilton of the Sierra Club (SC), America’s oldest and largest environmental organization, chairs the USCAN board. As the Director of SC’s Global Warming and Energy Programs, Hamilton exerts influence throughout the green movement and at the highest levels of the federal government. Testifying in 2009 before the House Ways and Means Committee's Subcommittee on Trade, he argued
that “we are at a race against time.” "if we lose this race to bring carbon-based warming under control," he added, "its effects will be out of our hands and all life on Earth will be faced with a severely altered home that will challenge nearly every aspect of society."
Hamilton maintained, moreover, that any domestic Cap-and-Trade legislation must be made in relation to a “larger global deal […] negotiated through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,” which USCAN helped to develop at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. In addition, Hamilton urged, the United States must also be responsible for a number of other provisions, both national and international, including “financing for clean energy technology deployment, protections for forests in developing countries, and adaptation to unavoidable climate impacts, including a robust U.S. program of international global warming assistance for developing nations.” This would constitute a massive transfer of wealth from the United States to other nations.
Peter Bahouth serves as USCAN’s Executive Director. Before joining USCAN, Bahouth headed the Turner Foundation for nine years. Prior to that, he served as Executive Director and Chairman of Greenpeace USA. Like many of USCAN’s members, Bahouth has given voice to a virulent anti-business ideology in his activism. As head of Greenpeace in 1990, for example, he declared:
“I don’t believe in the market approach.... It results in treating toxics or pollution as a commodity.... When companies have a bottom line of profit, you won’t have them thinking about the environment.”
Another prominent environmentalist with USCAN is David Turnbull, who worked as the group's Communications Director until 2008 when he became Director of USCAN’s global affiliate, the Climate Action Network, or CAN. (USCAN itself is an affiliate CAN, which consists of more than 450 Non-Governmental Organizations operating in 85 countries.) Turnbull views President Obama’s 2009 green stimulus plan as a model for the global community. At the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference, Turnbull argued that individual pledges from industrialized nations were “insufficient.” Instead, he explained, developed countries needed to take the initiative and use stimulus funding to create a path to “a new energy economy.” "We’ve seen study after study talking about how climate change can be a driver for innovation, a driver for economies, and countries are just refusing to believe it," said Turnbull.
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