03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Greenpeace Declares U.S. Chamber of Commerce HQ a "Global Warming Crime Scene"

Hours before President Obama leaves for the Copenhagen climate summit, Greenpeace activists deployed an emergency response team to declare the U.S. Chamber of Commerce headquarters a “Climate Policy Hostage Area,” and a “Global Warming Crime Scene.” 

The Chamber has spent millions of dollars on misinformation campaigns and lobbyists working to derail Congressional efforts to pass climate and energy legislation.  The lobby group’s efforts have therefore created a primary obstacle in the international negotiations, hampering the United States’ ability to commit to a science-based emissions reduction target and a fair, ambitious and binding treaty in Copenhagen.

Greenpeace activists arrived at the Chamber’s office building, which is directly across from the White House, in a fleet of climate emergency vehicles, including four squad cars from the “Climate Crime Unit” and an ambulance from the “Climate Emergency Response Unit.”  The activists climbed 25-foot ladders and crisscrossed the building with oversized crime scene tape.

A Greenpeace statement laid out the rap sheet of charges against the U.S. Chamber, indicting the lobbying group for a series of climate crimes, including misinforming the public about climate change, stalling action on climate and energy legislation, and holding the international climate talks hostage. 

Greenpeace is calling on President Obama to “show leadership and shed the influence of lobbyists” when he arrives in Copenhagen to join the COP15 climate conference tomorrow.  The groups notes that “President Obama has the legal authority to implement far more rigorous greenhouse gas regulations under the Clean Air Act and join an international agreement with or without Senate ratification."

More details from a Greenpeace press release:

Jim Riccio, chief Climate Policy Hostage Negotiator, was on the scene, working to negotiate the safe release of President Obama’s climate policy from the hands of industry lobbyists.   At the time of this release, it was unclear if the negotiations would be effective, and would lead to a strong deal at the talks in Copenhagen.  “The stakes are high,” said Riccio, “But we’re all hoping everyone comes out of this situation alive.  These climate criminals need to know: survival is not negotiable.”


“President Obama owes it to Americans and all people threatened by climate change to listen to scientists, not polluter lobbyists.  The US Chamber of Commerce has been undermining our climate policy for too long -- and they are now preventing us from getting a fair, ambitious and binding deal in Copenhagen," said Greenpeace Climate Campaigner Gabe Wisniewski.

"Corporate polluters and their hoard of lobbyists have tied America's hands, holding the world hostage and putting the global treaty in jeopardy.  Salvaging a global agreement on climate means rejecting the narrow self interest of Big Oil and Dirty Coal, as Obama promised to do when elected,” said Kert Davies, research director for Greenpeace USA.