greenpeace takes the gloves off and goes after dingell

Greenpeace is upping the ante with Dingell. Today they turned his Dearborn office into a used car lot to illustrate what they perceive as his antiquated understanding when it comes to the issue of global warming and the technology necessary to combat it. And, I don’t know if they’ve started airing yet, but Greenpiece has also announced a new television ad campaign that draws attention to the Congressman’s reluctance to pursue higher fuel efficiency in American autos, and his fondness for liquid coal technology. And, they even go a step further and insinuate none-to-seemly ties to lobbyists. I guess you could say that the gloves are starting to come off. Here’s a clip from the Greenpeace press release:

Greenpeace today converted U.S. Rep. John Dingell’s office parking lot into a car dealership that sells the “Dingell Destroyer,” a line of cars with features the powerful Democrat supports: poor fuel efficiency, dirty fuel from liquid coal, and exemptions from EPA pollution standards. The group says the vehicles represent both Dingell’s empty rhetoric that keeps the House of Representatives from enacting global warming solutions and his misplaced loyalty to auto executives at the expense of the climate.

“Congressman Dingell needs to put the brakes on his misguided approach to global warming legislation,” said Aliya Haq, Global Warming Campaigner for Greenpeace. “As chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, he should lead the charge for real emissions reductions of global warming pollution and higher fuel efficiency standards for new vehicles. But instead Dingell is acting as the representative of auto industry executives, not the representative of the people of Michigan.”

This past summer, Dingell voted against a national renewable energy standard of 15 percent and stymied any significant increase to auto fuel efficiency standards, a concession to the auto industry from which he enjoys overwhelming support. Dingell now says he wants a carbon tax and a cap-and-trade system to reduce emissions, but his public comments suggest he may try to derail meaningful progress in Congress on global warming…

“Greenpeace wants no more rhetoric, no more stalling, and no more blind loyalty to the auto industry from Rep. Dingell,” Haq said. “Dingell is the gatekeeper in the House to comprehensive solutions to global warming. If he’s serious about action on climate change, then we’re with him. But if he’s stalling, it’s our job to tell the world”…

And this, I’m sure, is just the start. We knew when we launched our positive, local campaign to get Dingell to change his mind on fuel efficiency and renewables that this was coming. Our hope was that Dingell could avoid it by embracing some of the moderate goals put forward by the Senate, Congressman Waxman and others, but he chose instead to obfuscate the real issues at hand by floating divisive, clearly unpopular ideas, like a gas tax and the repeal of the mortgage interest deduction on homes over 3,000 square feet. (Both were, in my opinion, good ideas, but the manner in which he presented them left little doubt as to his real intent.)

I don’t know that the Greenpeace approach is the right one. Dingell is a very popular man in these parts, and with good reason. I prefer the approach we’ve taken, which is to tell him that his constituents will support him if he does what needs to be done. Maybe both approaches are necessary though. I’ve always believed that MLK was, in part, as successful as he was in bringing about change because everyone knew that Malcolm X was in the wings. In my mind, “I Have a Dream” and “By Any Means Necessary” combined to create the perfect 1-2 punch. I’m not suggesting that either our initiative or the one recently undertaken by Greenpeace is anywhere near as significant in a historical sense, but I think that maybe our two approaches represent the same carrot and stick. If Dingell wants to take the initiative and really lead on global warming, we – the ActDIngell folks – will be there to give him credit and march alongside him. If not, Greenpeace is going to be there with the stick, prodding him… At any rate, I hope that now Dingell realizes just how serious this is, and just how much it could jeopardize his legacy. It’s not going to stop this time. Americans know that there’s a short window of opportunity in which to act, and they’re not going to settle for politics as usual.

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2 Comments

  1. mark
    Posted October 10, 2007 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    Dingell, I should point out, is, however, doing incredible work in other areas. A few days ago, he announced that he would be supporting Representative David Obey (Chair of the House Appropriations Committee) in vowing not to sign off on the President’s $190 billion war supplemental request unless it contained a clear schedule for drawing down our troops in Iraq. And he’s also working his ass off trying to override Bush’s veto on the children’s healthcare bill. He could, however, do a lot more on global warming. And, as we’ve stated here before many times, it doesn’t have to cost Michigan jobs. Embracing the inevitable could be a good thing for us.

  2. Sidney
    Posted October 10, 2007 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    The local papers don’t seem to be covering the “Dingell Destroyer” story. At least I can’t find mention of it.

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