Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Apollo Summit and Blue-Green Alliance as Hope for the Future

by Captain Future Sat Mar 3rd, 2007 at 03:54:46 AM EST

There isn't much good news these days.  But when there is, it's important to highlight it.

 There was some very good news in Washington last week at the Apollo Summit for Clean Energy and Good Jobs, a meeting of the Apollo Alliance.  A billion people saw Al Gore and others at the Oscars call for leadership to confront the Climate Crisis, and the Republican/Dirty Energy noise machine has been in high gear ever since, demonizing them and engaging in even more ferocious Climate Crisis denying.  But if there is any hope in America for the global Climate Crisis future, it will depend on what Apollo and that summit represents: the blue-green alliance of blue collar and environmentalists, and the mayors and governors who make things happen as well as national legislators who keep at it regardless of where the headlines are.

Follow after the fold for some highlights and why they are important to any hope we might have for the future.

From the diaries. Here's the link to the Conference Programme, which was sent to me by a kossack who was speaking in one of the panels. In other somewhat hopeful notes, see the two most recent Energize America diaries over at Dailykos: First Energize America draft Act brought to Congress and ENERGIZE AMERICA: Neighborhood Power Act -- Draft Questions and Answers -- plus a request for help by A Siegel. "Hopeful" because Energize America is getting the attention of Congress; "somewhat" because these diaries went nowhere on DailyKos. -- Jérôme

I'm disappointed about the apparent silence in the blogosphere on this Summit. U.S. blogs are  thoroughly covering the convention of conservative Republicans while ignoring a meeting that may  represent the future of the Democratic party as well as some tangible progress in confronting the Climate Crisis.

I read about it on the Huffington Post, in a post by Bill Scher of the Campaign for America's Future, a partner in the Apollo Alliance. But apparently he felt constrained to bring attention to it by emphasizing competition between governors, using "battle royale" in his headline.  While competition (as referred to below) will undoubtedly be a factor, the importance is cooperation: partnerships among groups formerly indifferent or even hostile to each other.

In these regards, here it some of what the Summit revealed and accomplished.  

Doing It

While others argue, governors are acting.  They know that most of the world is aware of the Climate Crisis, and that there is a growing need for clean energy technology.  Not only because of the Climate Crisis, but the many other environmental and health disasters caused by or exacerbated by dirty energy and its byproducts.  

They see also the economic consequences of dependence on foreign oil and the loss of good jobs, and they foresee the future that Peak Oil will soon bring.  So they are acting.

At the Summit, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick proclaimed his clean energy priority as a total package:

I don't just want the wind farms. I want the companies that build the turbines. I want the ones that assemble the hybrid vehicles and consult on the conservation strategies. I want the companies that design and manufacture the solar panels. The whole integrated industry ought to and can have a place in Massachusetts ... I really believe that if we get this right, the whole world will be our customer.

Then Colorado Governor Bill Ritter said he had the same goals for his state. These governors have seen what Governor Ed Rendell did in Pennsylvania: his administration brought a company(Gamesa)into the state to build wind farms and manufacture turbines.  An early member of the Apollo Alliance, Rendell worked with the Democrats' traditional ally in Pennsylvania, the United Steelworkers union, and he got legislation passed that guaranteed the Commonwealth would buy enough renewable energy to give Gamesa a minimum market base.  The result will be 1,000 union jobs, many in manufacturing, and the beginning of a new industry with global implications.

As Rendell told the Summit:    

"What else can clean the environment, boost the economy, free us up politically in world affairs, make us better able to withstand a terrorist attack or natural disaster, and help us with our trade imbalance? There's nothing else, this ought to be our number one priority."

The Blue-Green (and other colors) Alliance

While these governors talked about jobs and economic opportunities, the important thing in hoping that this alliance can be sustained is that there is a strong committment to the environment as well: it appears to be a true alliance between blue collar and green.  Carl Pope, the head of the Sierra Club, spoke at the Summit, along with Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka, who said: "it's time for an environmental intervention."

This is crucial because environmentalists and those in the forefront of warning about the Climate Crisis have long been marginalized as a wealthy overeducated elite out of touch with the American public (an image that the Fox Noise Machine is currently promoting in attacking Al Gore and his "Hollywood" supporters.)  

On the ground, many conflicts have arisen when big companies successfully pitted workers against environmentalists (as in the Timber Wars here in California and the Pacific northwest.)

But the blue-green Apollo Alliance shatters those images and those cynically-created conflicts.  The blue-green alliance is politically potent, as it could well be the basis for reinstituting and reenergizing the traditional Democratic party blue collar base.  But even more importantly, it could be the basis for economic progress as well as giving us a fighting chance for the future threatened by the Climate Crisis.

There's another important part of this alliance that must be noted.  Part of the elitist image of the environmental movement has been that it is lilly white.  But Jerome Ringo, the inspirational President of the Apollo Alliance, is black.  So is Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts.

Alliance at All Levels

We are absorbed by conflict, and such headlines as there were from the summit emphasized the competition for clean energy jobs expressed by the governors.  But it's more important to emphasize the strength in partnerships, and the breadth of this alliance and its potential power to transform the country and maybe even the world.

The above named are not the only governors committed to clean energy and battling the Climate Crisis.  Nor were those named the only union, environmental organization and government officials present at the Summit.  

Trenton, N.J. Mayor Douglas Palmer spoke, (note: that's Trenton, not Beverly Hills),representing more than 372 mayors from all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, who have signed onto the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. Among them are mayors who are instituting clean energy programs and efforts to confront the Climate Crisis in their cities. They called for federal block grants to help them in their efforts. "we can no longer behave as if there aren't any consequences from inaction."

U.S. Representative Jay Inslee (WA) called the Apollo Alliance the "most important coalition" in America today, because "this is a matter of our American destiny ... to lead the world in solving this global warming crisis."

Senator Hillary Clinton spoke, as did Senator Bernie Sanders, who has introduced the most aggressive bill against global heating now in Congress. I'd like to end with his words on the blue-green alliance itself. "This is a marriage made in heaven. This is a marriage that will move heaven and earth."        

It is interesting how this summit has gotten no coverage at all. hmm...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat Mar 3rd, 2007 at 02:32:08 AM EST
And also almost no comments to both Siegels and Jérômes diaries on dKos.
by Fran on Sat Mar 3rd, 2007 at 03:55:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe so, but I think it is only a matter of a short time. I think back over 10 years of conversations with friends, colleagues and acquaintances and see that the subject of sustainability comes up with ever more frequency - whether the MSM want to cover it or not.

The MSM use a very simple equation: give readers/viewers what they want, and then sell their attention to advertisers. It hasn't always been so, but it is now. In the recent past it has been self-fulfilling: as opinion leaders, the MSM have also manipulated the 'what they want' part.

Right now - and into the foreseeable future - the MSM are bleeding. Newspaper circulations are falling, general broadcast TV channel ratings are dropping. And advertisers are not only shifting their ad budgets into specialist focused media channels (including websites), but they are competing in a saturated market, where it is much much harder to get the attention that they need because they are trying to get the attention of people drowning in a sea of mental polllution.

What I am saying is: when the issues change, when sustainability is an interesting subject, when people realise that they've been fooled for so long by so few, the MSM will turn on a Euro and go green almost overnight. They don't really have anything to say, they just want to be what we want them to be.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Mar 3rd, 2007 at 04:46:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
now that Barroso and Blair are "saving Europe" by focusing on greenery.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2007 at 04:48:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Right - and more to come, very soon.

 Jérôme - you are going to be very busy over the next few years ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Mar 3rd, 2007 at 05:02:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
don't tell me. That thought depresses me to no end.

We live to serve, heh?!

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Mar 3rd, 2007 at 05:14:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Meetings, calculations, presentations, contracts - what's to be depressed about? ;-)

Seriously - the older you get, the more you trust your nose and the more you delegate. There are always younger people coming up - if you let them. And the one thing that cannot be acquired by them is your experience. So they are rarely a threat.

The only real problem we face is keeping up with the technology. Assume that everything is possible, but is unlikely to be implemented yet.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Mar 3rd, 2007 at 05:49:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The New York Times has just published an article on the "United States Climate Action Report" prepared by the United Nations and which was supposed to be released back in the "summer of 2005." The report was "provided to The New York Times by a government employee at the request of a reporter".

The employee did not say why this was done, but other officials involved with producing it said they have been frustrated with the slow pace of its preparation. It was due more than one year ago.

The article makes it clear why the administration has been sitting on this for so long:

  • According to the new report, the administration's climate policy will result in emissions growing 11 percent in 2012 from 2002. In the previous decade, emissions grew at a rate of 11.6 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • "Warmer temperatures expected with increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases are expected to exacerbate present drought risks in the United States by increasing the rate of evaporation."
  • "Much of the water used by people in the western United States comes from snow melt. And a large fraction of the traditionally snow-covered areas of this region has experienced a decline in spring snow pack, especially since mid-century, despite increases in winter precipitation in many places."
  • Animal and plant species face risks as climate zones shift but urbanized regions prevent ecosystems from shifting as well, according to the draft report.
  • "Because changes in the climate system are likely to persist into the future regardless of emissions mitigation, adaptation is an essential response for future protection of climate-sensitive ecosystems."

Unfortunately, no mention of the Apollo Summit in this article either, although it does describe strong criticism of the administration by "environmental groups", "environmental campaigners ", the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Natural Resources Defense Council, quoting its director of climate policy, David D. Doniger:

"If you set the hurdle one inch above the ground you can't fail to clear it."

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Sat Mar 3rd, 2007 at 03:41:08 PM EST

Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]