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The Yes Men Strike Again: Best Guerrilla Theatre Action of the Week

  • The Yes Men Pull Off Prank Claiming US Chamber of Commerce Had Changed Its Stance on Climate Change
    By Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Amy Goodman
    Democracy Now, October 20, 2009
    Straight to the Source

The Yes Men, the anti-corporate pranksters that have previously impersonated officials from Dow Chemical, Halliburton, and the US government, put out a fake press release in the Chamber of Commerce’s name. They rented a room at the National Press Club in Washington, DC to hold a fake news conference for unsuspecting journalists. Posing as a Chamber of Commerce spokesperson named Hingo Sembra, the Yes Men member known as Andy Bichlbaum read from a prepared statement:

    HINGO SEMBRA: Ecologists tell us that if we don’t enact dramatic reductions in carbon emissions today, within five years we could begin facing the propagating feedback loops of runaway climate change, which would mean a destruction of food and water supplies worldwide, with the result of mass migrations, famine and death on a scale never before imagined.

    Needless to say, that would be bad for business. We at the Chamber have until now tried to keep climate science from interfering with business. But without a stable climate, there will be no business. We need business more than we need relentlessly higher returns.

    A number of prominent and longstanding members have recently left the Chamber over our opposition to climate legislation. Numerous others have expressed their dissension, and a number of local chambers have done so, as well. Today, we’re taking their cue.

    There is only one sound way to do business, and that’s to pass a strong climate bill quickly so that this December in Copenhagen President Obama can lead the entire business world in ensuring our long-term prosperity. The Kerry-Boxer bill is a good start to a strong climate bill, and the Chamber will work with Senators Kerry and Boxer to strengthen it. It does need strengthening.

    Cap and trade depends on complex market mechanisms and big government oversight, and where it’s been implemented, it’s had very mixed results, at best. The Chamber seeks a solid business solution, one that requires much less intervention and has a proven track record.

    What we need is simply a carbon tax. Only thus will we be able to compete against physics and create an environment where the best company wins and the best solution dominates. A carbon tax will mean new blood for free enterprise and a fertile new foundation for long-term business prosperity.

    The Chamber also calls on President Obama and the US Congress to cease subsidizing old and failed technologies like the so-called clean coal hoax and to incentivize tried and true clean technologies in their stead.

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