Kate Mackenzie Climate culture wars

With the global economic crisis pushing unemployment higher and an international climate change deadline looming, the old jobs-versus-the-environment dichotomy was bound to get a bit of a workout.

Despite the best efforts of many governments to link together economic stimuli, environmental measures and ‘green jobs’, those tensions are still welling up.

Yesterday we linked to a story on the WSJ’s Washington Wire about the US oil, manufacturing and farming industries taking note of the Town Hall protests at a new healthcare system:

The American Petroleum Institute, along with other organizations such as the National Association of Manufacturers opposed to the climate legislation Congress will consider again in the fall, is funding rallies across 20 states over the August recess.

In template fliers for rallies produced by the API-founded alliance, EnergyCitizens, the public is warned that “Climate change legislation being considered in Washington will cause huge economic pain and produce little environmental gain.”

The API is joined by the National Association of Manufacturers and the America Farm Bureau, the story said.

It’s not just the energy and resources industries revving up for action. Mark Engler chronicles recent climate change protests, such as the direct action taken by protestors at the coal-fired power plant in the UK’s Kingsnorth, where they cut off the plant’s electricity supply and managed to climb to the top of the tower before being arrested.US climate scientist James Hansen famously travelled to England to testify in defence of the protestors.

Looking ahead, Engler notes there is a “buzz of expectation and organizing” around the December’s UN climate change meeting in Copenhagen, and that it takes place almost exactly 10 years after the huge protests at the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle:

Organizers have suggested that as many as 100,000 people might take to the streets in Copenhagen. Among those planning around the Denmark conference, there is currently a debate about whether to converge on the conference itself or to target a heavily polluting company somewhere nearby as an example of bad climate-change behavior.

Who said the age of protests was over?