Amusing Sierra Club Press Release Highlights Conflicting Pursuits

Everyone loves irony, right?
The Sierra Club issued a press release which celebrates the United States' reduction in CO2 emissions.  In the release, their executive director Michael Brune says "it’s clear that the work of the Sierra Club and other grassroots organizations is helping our nation make real progress in reducing dangerous pollution and mitigating the climate crisis."

The irony, which apparently is lost on the Sierra Club, is that this successful campaign can be credited largely to the shift towards use of natural gas and the shale boom which has helped to make that shift possible...that's right, the shift to using that same natural gas which the Sierra Club is now trying to demonize in their new Beyond Gas campaign.  So on one hand they are lauding the benefits of gas while on the other hand trying to make it out as a major threat.

These sorts of things are to be expected, though, when an organization needs a cause to justify its existence.  When one environmental foe is vanquished, there needs to be another one already waiting in the wings, or who would give money to the Sierra Club?

This is much like the many individuals who devote their lives to one cause after another, needing something to protest in order to have something to do with their time.  Fracking is the cause of the moment, and while there may very well be environmental impacts associated with it which actual science just have yet to document, the reality is that the facts as revealed don't support the fervor with which many are opposing gas development - especially when weighed against the enormous negative economic impact that stopping fracking would have on residents who are finding work and receiving bonuses and royalty payments that have helped them out of serious financial difficulties.  If they weren't fighting fracking, many of these people would just find something else to complain about.

View the press release after the jump.

Sierra Club Press Release

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June 18, 2012

Contact: Eitan Bencuya, 202-495-3047, 

America Leading the World in CO2 Emission Decrease Thanks to Reductions in Coal Use
Grassroots Fight to Move “Beyond Coal” Having Clear Effect

WASHINGTON DC -- Since 2006, the U.S. has seen the largest reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of any country or region, according to a recent report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The report states that, during this time, U.S. CO2 emissions have fallen by 7.7 percent or 430 million metric tons, primarily due to a decrease in coal use. This decrease in carbon emissions is equal to eliminating the annual greenhouse gas emissions from more than 84 million passenger vehicles or more than 53 million homes.
While America has long been criticized by the international community for not taking a leadership role in reducing carbon emissions, it’s clear now that the work being done to move the country beyond coal is having a significant effect. Coal was responsible for 33 percent of U.S. electricity last month, down from 50 percent just 10 years ago. According to analysis by the Vancouver Observer, CO2 emissions from the average American are now at the same levels that they were in 1964. What’s more, these reductions put America on track to meet and even exceed the goal President Obama set in the Copenhagen Accord of decreasing U.S. CO2 emissions by 17 percent by 2020.
“This report shows that we are finally getting serious about our footprint in the U.S. because we are getting serious about coal,” said Michael Bloomberg, philanthropist and Mayor of New York City. “Ending coal power production is the right thing to do, because it is a self-inflicted public health risk that pollutes the air we breathe and adds mercury to our water. And I’m pleased our efforts through Beyond Coal are contributing to this growing success.”
“Americans should be heartened by the report that U.S. carbon emissions have dropped by nearly eight percent over the past six years,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “This significant milestone is a testament to the hard work of thousands of volunteers around the country, who are working city by city to retire dirty, outdated coal-burning power plants. While we still have a lot more work to do, it’s clear that the work of the Sierra Club and other grassroots organizations is helping our nation make real progress in reducing dangerous pollution and mitigating the climate crisis.”

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