News Release

The U.S. and the World * Global Warming — Blow to White House Stance * World Social Forum

The White House is on the defensive about global warming today in the wake of statements by Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, head of the official U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who said he now believes the world has “already reached the level of dangerous concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”

Pachauri’s statements — which included a call for immediate “very deep” cuts in pollution as necessary for humanity’s survival — are acutely embarrassing to the Bush administration because it strongly backed Pachauri for his current post.

The following analysts are available for interviews:

ROSS GELBSPAN
Gelbspan is author of the recent book Boiling Point, which includes a set of three policy strategies to propel a very rapid global energy transition. He said today: “Dr. Pachauri is echoing the findings of a growing number of climate scientists — many of whom say it may already be too late to avert very serious climate impacts…. At the same time, the U.S. has resisted any references to climate change at a global conference on disaster preparedness — and has cut funding for more than 100 climate research stations despite President Bush’s declaration that the issue needs more study. Given the urgent need for an immediate, worldwide transition to clean energy, the administration’s persistent denial of the climate crisis is morphing from an instance of national embarrassment into a global nightmare of indefinite duration.”
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KERT DAVIES
Davies, research director of Greenpeace U.S., said today: “The Bush administration global warming policy has smelled a lot like Exxon from the beginning. Now the United States is lagging far behind in the race to solve global warming. Worse still, the Bush administration is actively attempting to slow other nations down. Meanwhile the good news is that core senators, key states and local communities are moving ahead to fill the vacuum of federal leadership on climate solutions.”
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MARIA LUISA MENDONCA
Mendonca is the director of the Social Network for Justice and Human Rights in Brazil and is an organizer of the World Social Forum, which begins Wednesday in Porto Alegre, Brazil, concurrent with the World Economic Forum, which features business leaders in Davos, Switzerland. She said today: “The World Social Forum will help present concrete ways of building peace and justice all over the world. We expect some 150,000 people to participate including representatives of some 5,000 organizations from 120 countries. People are particularly concerned about the authoritarian and violent actions of the U.S. government…. It is amazing that so many people in the U.S. seem to accept Bush’s talk of ‘freedom and democracy.’ His administration is made up of many of the same people who supported dictatorships throughout Latin America and supported wars that killed tens of thousands in Central America in the 1980s. The Bush administration has gone against international law in Iraq, creating the conditions of chaos there; their policies have created a great deal of suffering around the world.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167