Justice Appeal to President Bush on Climate Change
letter, signed by leaders of the environmental justice movement in the U.S. and
around the world, marks a significant broadening of the constituency involved in
the climate change issue. It is being circulated by the organization CorpWatch
as part of the CorpWatch Climate Justice Initiative.
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500 U.S.A.
Dear Mr. President
are writing you today to express our profound concern with your new climate
change policies with respect to their impacts on poor people and people of color
in the United States and around the world.
is our firmly held belief that climate change is not only an ecological,
economic, or political question, but it is a moral issue with profound
ramifications for all of the inhabitants of this planet Earth. It is a question
of environmental justice and human rights. It is also an issue of equity between
hard hit will be low-lying countries like Bangladesh and small island states
whose very existence is threatened. The poor here in the United States — especially poor people of color
— will also bear the brunt of climate change.
Your policies will only intensify those impacts.
its potentially profound ramifications, climate change must be tackled with
serious and vigorous leadership and international cooperation rather than a
misguided isolationist approach that protects a handful of powerful fossil fuel
United States, whose four percent of the world’s population generates
one-quarter of all man-made carbon dioxide — the leading global warming gas —
must take the lead in reversing its role as the main contributor to this looming
your predecessor’s climate change policies came up well short of the measures we
believe are necessary to address the problem. But your administration’s response
so far-your failure to follow through on campaign promises to reduce carbon
dioxide emissions and your abandonment of the Kyoto Protocol — borders on nothing
short of gross global negligence.
negation of the increasingly irrefutable scientific evidence on climate change
is distressing. It is no longer a question of whether climate change will occur,
but rather of how bad it will be. It is no longer a question of whether sea
levels will rise, but rather of how many coastlines, people, communities, and
entire island nations will be submerged.
warming is starting to make itself felt. The 1990s was the warmest decade and
1998 was the warmest year on record. The icecap atop Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa
is melting away and will completely disappear in less than 15 years. It is an
abuse of power to turn your back on this, the most serious environmental issue
ever to confront humanity.
it is not halted, climate change will probably result in increased frequency and
severity of storms, floods, and drought. And it will cause the spread of
diseases, such as malaria. It will increase hunger and bring about displacement
and mass migrations of people with ensuing social conflict.
President, you claim that you don’t want to harm the American consumer, yet
you’re setting us all up to pay a huge price in the future. This is especially
true for the poor. Earlier this year, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that the impacts of global warming “are
expected to fall disproportionately on the poor.”
who are highly dependent on farming, fishing, or forestry, especially indigenous
people, are most likely to see their livelihoods destroyed by climate change.
Meanwhile, the urban poor — mostly people of color in the U.S. — will be most
vulnerable to climate-change related heat waves, diseases, and respiratory
of us come from or work with communities that are already directly affected by
the oil industry. These are communities and workers that are suffering the
social and environmental effects of oil exploration, production, transportation,
refining, distribution, and combustion. These communities are also some of those
who will be hardest hit by climate change — whether they are in Nigeria’s Niger
Delta, in Arctic Village Alaska, or in Louisiana’s “cancer alley.”
These communities face a “double whammy” — suffering oil’s acute
toxic impacts first and then its long-term effects in the form of the harsh hand
of global warming.
than cater to the socially and ecologically destructive oil industry, Mr.
President, you should severely curb U.S. carbon emissions and support the Kyoto
Protocol. At home you should also support a just transition for fossil fuel
industry workers and fenceline communities while investing U.S. resources in
energy efficiency and renewable energy resources, such as solar, wind, and
President, we urge you to reconsider your position on climate change before the
United States becomes universally known as an environmental rogue state, and you
go down in history as G.W. Bush, the Global Warming President.
Bassey, Oilwatch Africa
Chee Yoke Ling, Third World Network, Malaysia
Oronto Douglas, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria
Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network, U.S.
Sarah James, Gwich’in Steering Committee, U.S.
Esperanza Martinez, Oilwatch International, Ecuador
Richard Moore, Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice, U.S.
Ricardo Navarro, CESTA/Friends of the Earth, El Salvador
S. Bobby Peek, groundWork, South Africa
Amit Srivastava/Joshua Karliner, CorpWatch, U.S.
Connie Tucker, Southern Organizing Committee for Economic & Social Justice, U.S.
Dr. Owens Wiwa, African Environmental and Human Development Agency, Nigeria
Ricardo Carrere, World Rainforest Movement, Uruguay
Christie Todd Whitman, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
you would like to add your organization to the list of endorsers, please send
the name of your group, contact person, city, and country where the organization
is located to firstname.lastname@example.org. At this time we are asking, organizations
only, not individuals, to sign on. Thank you for your support.