CORPORATE CRIME REPORTER
By Russell Mokhiber
Monday July 5, 1999; p. 3
WHERE DOES THE ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND STAND ON GLOBAL WARMING? WITH
CORPORATE LOBBYIST C. BOYDEN GRAY
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)
would have you believe that it is in the forefront in the fight against
Last week, for example, EDF put out
a report that details the potential impacts of uncontrolled global warming
on the New York metropolitan region.
The report projects a major increase in 90
degree-plus days in the summer that can lead to an increase in heat-related
mortalities among the region's most vulnerable populations. In addition
the report warns that uncontrolled warming can result in significant sea-level
rise, which can cause repeated flooding of New York's roads, subways and
EDF chief scientist, Michael Oppenheimer,
warned last week that "the New York region of the future could be flooded
with problems if the US doesn't take action to cut greenhouse gas emissions
But while EDF released heated rhetoric in
New York, in Washington D.C. last week, the NonProfit Accountability Project
(NPAP) was releasing internal EDF documents showing how EDF is siding
with corporate polluters against citizen activists in the fight of global
The documents reveal that in 1997, EDF created something
called the Environmental Resources Trust (ERT) to serve as an accrediting
agency for greenhouse emissions credits given to corporations that reduce
Three of ERT's board members are top level
EDF staffers. And the person named to chair ERT? C. Boyden
Gray, a corporate lobbyist and a leading opponent of global warming treaties.
Among his other duties, Gray is chairman of Citizens
for a Sound Economy, a corporate front group that has pressured Congress
not to support the Kyoto Treaty, which mandates a 10 percent reduction
in global warming gases by industrialized nations.
Instead ERT would benefit form an alternative
approach created by polluting corporations and embodied in legislation
introduced by Senator John Chafee (R-Rhode Island).
The legislation, S. 547, (Credit for Voluntary
Early Action), would provide lucrative credits for activities alleged to
mitigate global warming. EDF is one of the few "environmental" groups
to support the emissions trading scheme embodied in the Chafee bill.
Others, including Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council,
oppose the bill.
Why would EDF, a purported environmental group,
align itself with Gray, who played a critical role during the Reagan and
Bush administration's in defeating environmental regulations, including
automobile fuel efficiency standards, and who in recent years was the industry's
point person in defeating clean air standards?
EDF's Lisa Swann refused answer that or other
questions. She did promise that she would provide someone within EDF to
address these questions, but never did. Gray did not return calls
"Gray's record and his close ties to the corporate
sector raise questions about ERT's credibility as an independent accrediting
agency for greenhouse credits created by the Chafee bill," said NPAP's