Publications

Publications

Fish Eggs Versus Asthmatic Children In Harlem

This report was submitted as part of the Indian Point Water Quality Certification and SPDES Permit Adjudication.  The adjudication was conducted for about 13 years and the water permits and other issues were resolved in an agreement among New York state agencies and Entergy.

The agreement renders the issues in the adjudication moot.

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Our Unfair Share - Race & Pollution in Washington, DC

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African American Environmentalist Association 2000

Our Unfair Share 3: Race & Pollution in Washington, D.C. is the third report in the series.

Our Unfair Share 2: Types & Amounts of Pollution in Washington, D.C. was conducted in partnership with Friends of the Earth.

Our Unfair Share: A Survey of Pollution Sites in Washington, D.C. was conducted in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation.

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Global Climate Change and the African American Community (Part 1)

By Norris McDonald 

Global warming is a very complex scientific issue.  We use global warming and global climate change interchangeably because the basic issue is whether human activity has negatively influenced our atmosphere and climate.  U.S. economic health currently outweighs climate concerns attributable to emissions from human activities.  Yet, human, animal and plant health are essential to a vibrant economy.   As such, an approach to addressing global climate management that will not damage our economy or health is best for the United States and the African American community.  We believe that humans cannot continually emit unlimited quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere without consequence.   

There is disagreement among scientists about whether there has been a permanent increase in temperature over the past few decades and whether contributions of so called greenhouse gases (GHGs) from human activities are causing changes in our climate.  The basic global warming issue revolves around the effects of less than 1% of all atmospheric gases, mostly carbon dioxide and methane.  Nitrogen and oxygen comprise 99% the earth’s atmosphere (Nitrogen--78.1%, Oxygen--20.9%), Argon--0.9%, Neon--0.002%, Helium--0.0005%, Krypton--0.0001%, Hydrogen--0.00005%, Water vapor--0 to 4%, Carbon Dioxide--0.035%, Methane--0.0002%, and Ozone--0.000004%.  Are the emissions from human activities significantly changing our atmosphere and climate?  If they are increasing the atmospheric temperature, what effects will this have on the African American community?  If temperatures are not increasing, what position should the African American community take on climate management policies? 

Common sense would seem to conclude that effects from 1% of our atmosphere would not significantly affect the other 99%.  Critics of human-induced global warming theory believe that the reason environmentalists, Democratics, liberals and pro-global warming scientists single out carbon dioxide (CO2) is so that they can blame it on mankind and force mandatory regulations on society.  Global warming critics and scientists believe that the majority of the small percentage of CO2 and methane in the atmosphere is predominately from insects, animals, volcanoes and decaying plants and not from power plants, factories, vehicles, homes and appliances.  Other critics bristle at the notion of carbon dioxide being described as a pollutant.  We have carbon dioxide in our bloodstream and exhale it in the breathing process.  The trace amounts in the air we breathe do not harm us.  However, too much carbon dioxide, like too much oxygen or anything else, can be toxic. 

The global climate change issue seems to break down along political lines.  Republican, conservative, industrialist, and free marketeers tend to dismiss global warming.  They support the views of scientists and scientific data that show human activity has not supplied enough emissions to affect the climate.  Liberal, Democrat, the regulation-oriented, and environmentalists tend to embrace global warming and support scientists and scientific data that show human activity negatively affecting the creator’s (or evolution’s) delicate balance of gases in the atmosphere.  Of course, these stereotypes are not absolute, but are useful in placing the science of global warming theory in a political context and the politics in a scientific context.  Many people believe that science and politics do not mix very well.  In fact, even though many internationally prominent scientists support global warming theory, the Senate was almost unanimous in rejecting an international global warming agreement in 1991. And the Clinton/Gore administration did not fight for passage of the agreement.  In politics, sometimes the science is not the primary consideration.  Regardless, what does this mean to the African American community?  

Higher prices for measures to address global warming, such as universal scrubber requirements, high priced gasoline to promote conservation, higher priced vehicles, and higher taxes to fund federal mandates, could negatively affect the American economy.  African Americans are just beginning to freely participate in U.S. capitalism.  Although many of the old constraints of racism still plague African American participation in the economy, enterprising individuals and groups are creating dynamic business opportunities.  Unfortunately, at a time when African Americans are free to pursue pure capitalism, environmental regulations can serve as contemporary barriers to our participation.  When we can afford beachfront property and have the wherewithal to overcome red lining, environmental regulations can still prevent us from owning our dream homes in our dream locations.  When we can afford to move to green spaces in suburban and rural areas, smart growth regulations and laws can stop us.  When we are in a position to redevelop formerly polluted industrial sites, pollution liability laws can scare off investors.  When we are prepared to industrialize, caviar climate change requirements could restrict us. 

Current restrictions on African American pursuit of life, liberty and happiness can be contrasted with the fact that others already benefited economically for hundreds of years from an absence of regulations.  Majority populations occupy every square foot of some waterfront, beachfront and green areas.  Moreover, majority populations have freely industrialized and attained massive tracts of property over many years.  Still, many African Americans are environmentally conscientious (though not purely in the traditional definition).  African Americans are capitalists too.  We need a combination of economic opportunities and environmental protections to enhance our lives, liberties and pursuit of happiness.   Unfortunately, traditional environmentalists, on the one hand and conservative Republicans on the other hand, rarely take us into consideration when formulating societal policies.  Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) is a refreshing exception to this reality.  Thus, we must conduct our own science, come to our own conclusions and work for the adoption of policies that maximize the protection of our health and competitive position. 

As mentioned earlier, the U.S. Senate rejected the Kyoto Protocol, which specified commitments by individual countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, during the Clinton administration.  At the same time 160 other nations have agreed to the Kyoto Protocol.  President Bush rejected the Kyoto global warming treaty in 2001, saying it would harm the U.S. economy while exempting developing countries, including India and China, from mandatory emissions targets.   President Bush’s alternative Clear Skies Initiative provides a voluntary trading program that would allow big polluters exceeding emission targets to buy credits from cleaner companies whose emissions come in lower than the targets.  The Bush proposal also includes reductions based on the level of economic activity.   Policies addressing climate change are not allowed to constrain economic activity.  President Bush abandoned a campaign pledge in March of 2001 to place mandatory controls on carbon dioxide emissions. 

Again, critics believe that it is impossible to single out CO2 from all the other gases that make up the greenhouse mixture in the atmosphere.  Critics reject the postulated negative effects of the greenhouse gases based on their small percentage of atmospheric composition.  Man and womankind, as global managers, must predict the influence that human activities and the resultant emissions, have on our atmosphere well before there is an actual effect.  In the case of climate and the air we breathe, we should be extremely vigilant.  The scientific argument regarding the low percentage of greenhouse gases must be put into context.  Nitrogen makes up 78.1% of the atmosphere but our lungs absorb oxygen in our bloodstream, which is 20.9%, and not nitrogen.  In fact, nitrogen is toxic in the human system.  If it is squeezed into the bloodstream, as happens when divers surface too quickly, humans get the ‘bends’ and can die.  Higher oxygen percentages would also adversely affect humans and the functions of the earth.  Too high a percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere would lead to spontaneous fires.  Too much oxygen in the human bloodstream is also fatal.  The creator or evolution precisely calibrated the balance of gases needed for earthly existence.  We must be respectful of the fact that even small changes in the trace gases could catastrophically alter our atmosphere. 

Two things are certain: African American advancement and health are inextricably tied to economic development and a clean environment.  We have been banned, excluded, avoided, sabotaged, and self-restricted in participating in the American marketplace.  African Americans should not support any policy that will hurt the U.S. economy.  African Americans should not support any policy that will hurt the African American economy.  African American should not support any policy that will sacrifice our environment.  All policies that increase costs for production and distribution of goods and services are passed on to consumers.  A private sector based, profit-oriented emissions trading system that aggressively reduces greenhouse gases would appeal to marketeers, liberal regulators, the general public and African Americans. 

America has a history of accepting a certain level of pollution in exchange for a high standard of living.  Americans want clean air but also want large SUVs, multiple cars, televisions, stores stocked with an almost limitless variety of products and numerous mechanized yard tools.  Citizens of the U.S. want to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and we want low prices, but we are unwilling to stop living in suburbs and driving to work alone every day.  We use 17 million barrels of oil every single day.  America wants clean rivers, but is not willing to pay the cost of replacing and separating our sewer lines.  Americans want clean drinking water, but are unwilling to pay the price to replace our old, urban drinking water lines and improving our treatment facilities.  Unfortunately, some environmentalists expect African Americans to unquestioningly accept their entire purist, anti pollution agenda without any regard to economics.  This, while current majority recipients of ancestral advantage enjoys the maximum benefits of material comfort.  Should the African American community agree to climate change restrictions that could be harmful to our economic development?  Should the African American community ignore climate change proposals that could protect our health? 

The traditional environmental community does not consider our perspective if our views are in disagreement with their dogma.  African Americans also have significant differences with conservative, right wing Republicans.  So African Americans are not obligated to embrace recommendations that are contrary to our interests. We can identify, formulate, develop and inculcate a healthy environment in our own communities. Of course, the global climate affects all of us. 

Maybe people have to start dropping dead in the street before policy makers decide that global warming is unhealthy.  Although we can clearly see pollutants in our air during summer months, Americans appear to accept a certain level of respiratory distress and deaths. Many Americans already die from smog-induce asthma and heart attacks, but air pollution is still allowed to exist in our metropolitan areas.  Society has accepted these fatalities as the price of doing business.  Americans are allowed to die from air pollution even though the Clean Air Act has been on the books for 32 years.  Environmental problems aren’t necessarily solved even when we enact laws and regulations to address them.  Thus, we are probably some years away from serious consideration or regulation of a global warming problem.

If we are to believe the scientific evidence that the planet is perfectly capable of self-managing man’s development emissions, then the United States can continue its unfettered growth as the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, accounting for roughly 25 percent of global emissions, yet representing 5% of the earth’s population. Moreover, if global warming does not exist and is not a problem in the foreseeable future, then we can ignore the fact that greenhouse gas emissions from developing countries will soon overtake those from developed countries.  If the planet is capable of absorbing unlimited amounts of human activity-generated emissions, then unfettered growth by China, India, Southeast Asia and the rest of the developing world can continue to emit unlimited greenhouse gases in attaining developed nation status.   The Kyoto Protocol even exempts developing countries, including India and China, from mandatory emissions targets.  Should the African American community unite with environmentalists while everyone else rushes towards economic prosperity?  

Proponents and opponents of global climate change theory use each other’s data to advance their own arguments.  Duke University ecologist Robert B. Jackson recently released analyses that heralded “the end of the 'free ride' on ecosystem CO2 absorption.”  The free ride to which Jackson refers is the increase in the capacity of the world's soils to store carbon as a consequence of the increase in the growth of the planet's vegetation that has been driven by the increase in the air's CO2.  The free ride Jackson alludes to includes the ability of earth's plants to extract ever increasing amounts of the CO2 that are emitted into the air during long periods of time and absorbs its carbon in their tissues and the soils in which they grow.  Jackson believes that this ‘free ride’ is over.  Critics believe that this process is perfectly fine and will continue to balance earth’s atmosphere.  Critics believe that Jackson’s observation actually implies that earth's vegetation will absorb ever more carbon as the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere continues to rise, thereby exerting an increasingly more powerful brake on the rate of increase in the air's CO2 content and reducing the potential for deleterious global warming. 

According to the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change (Study Center), “the highly-hyped "unprecedented global warming" of the past two decades never actually occurred.”  They rely on analyses from the U.S. Historical Climatological Network data set, which is a product of the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center and the National Climatic Data Center to support their position.  The readings come from monthly temperature and precipitation data from 1,221 stations located within the United States.  The Study Center’s data includes (1) the satellite microwave-sounding-unit temperature record, which in the absence of the massive 1998 El Niño heat pulse shows no warming whatsoever from 1979 to the present, (2) the weather-balloon temperature record, which for the same circumstances also shows no warming, (3) the surface- and satellite-derived temperature records of earth's polar regions, which also show no warming, and (4) the U.S. Historical Climatology Network data base, also shows no statistically significant warming over this period. 

The Study Center augments this body of evidence for no global warming over the last two decades with observations from tree-ring reconstructions of surface air temperature. They believe that enhanced tree growth induced by the historical rise in the air's CO2 content has been increasing the growth rates of trees all around the world for over a hundred years.  They believe that earth's temperature has experienced no net warming during the past 70 years when the vast majority of all human-produced CO2 has been emitted to the atmosphere.  The Study Center concludes that since there should have been a sizeable CO2-induced increase in atmospheric warming over this period, there must have been some “compensatory negative feedbacks that totally overwhelmed the standard "greenhouse" impetus for warming.” 

Global climate change analyses will continue to challenge humankind.  Proponents of climate warming want to err on the side of caution and implement policies and procedures to prevent catastrophic consequences of climate change.  Opponents of climate warming theory do not believe the sky is falling.  They believe that we should continue with business as usual.  The African American community should take a balanced approach and combine a reasonable response to numbers suggesting some influence on our atmosphere while aggressively participating in on-going economic development.  We should also be prepared to participate in public and private initiatives that address global climate change.  Empirical evidence demonstrates that humankind’s emissions lead directly to smog, acid rain, dirty water and negative human health consequences in America’s urban, suburban and rural areas.    A measured response to our atmospheric climate management is prudent.  African Americans should position themselves to protect the health, environment and economic security of our communities.

Global Warming and the African American Community (Part 2)

By Norris McDonald

Global warming is a very complex scientific issue.  There is also disagreement about whether the current increase in temperature over the past decade is a problem or just an earth cycle.  We believe human activity is influencing the atmosphere and the best thing we can do to protect earth’s inhabitants from any dysfunctional effects of global climate change is to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs).  Our thick atmosphere only extends up about 100 miles and thins out at about 300 miles. Our atmosphere is an irreplaceable mix of perfectly calibrated gases covering the earth’s 25,000-mile circumference.  Ninety nine percent of our “air” is within 30 miles of the earth’s surface (troposphere and stratosphere) and all weather occurs below about 7 miles (troposphere). How does global climate change affect the African American community?  How will the policies addressing global warming affect the African American community?  Can solutions to global climate change provide opportunities for environmentally friendly economic development?  American blacks, in partnership with innovative-minded companies and organizations, can provide effective and affordable technology development and market mechanisms to achieve significant GHG reductions.  This will help human health, the environment and the community.

The United States is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, accounting for roughly 25 percent of global emissions. African Americans, as 13% of the U.S. population theoretically contribute up to 3.25% of these global emissions.  Although blacks do not own or control utilities and other manufacturing facilities, this community is a large consumer sector in the U.S. economy.  Notwithstanding a lack of ownership due to monumental obstacles, the African American community is about a $500 billion economy that would be one of the largest on earth if it were a separate nation. No strategy addressing global climate change will succeed without substantial reductions in U.S. emissions. All current efforts have failed to curb the growth in U.S.GHG emissions. A number of policy options are being debated to achieve emissions reductions.

The African American community could serve as a leader in developing techniques and technologies to address global warming.  African American entrepreneurs should pursue manufacturing electric/hybrid/hydrogen cars, pollution control equipment (scrubbers), ownership stakes in solar, wind and nuclear power plant construction, industrial efficiency equipment ownership and increased participation in the production of other state-of-the-art alternative technologies.  The transportation, electric utilities and industrial sectors are the big-ticket reduction targets.  There are also significant opportunities in the commercial, residential, agriculture and waste disposal sectors.

African Americans suffer from ground level ozone in our nation’s cities and suburbs.  Asthma hospitalizations and deaths are increasing at an alarming rate.  The suffering is unacceptable and unnecessary in the richest and most innovative country in the world.  Increasing health care costs strain an already struggling health care system. Unfortunately, many low-income African Americans use emergency rooms for long-term treatment of respiratory and other cardiopulmonary problems.  Every major city in the United States is in noncompliance of the Clean Air Act.  According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), approximately 150 million Americans breathe bad outdoor air at some time during each year.  Components of smog also contribute to global climate change.  t might seem contradictory, but the same dangerous ground level ozone that is a component of smog, when in the upper atmosphere as the ozone layer, it protects the earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation.  At the same time the growing hole in the ozone layer, produced by chlorofluorocarbons, serves to reduce global warming.  Global climatological management will be one of mankind’s greatest challenges.

Global warming creates hotter, more dangerous smog.  To the extent we can clean ground-level air pollution, we facilitate the reduction of greenhouse contaminants.  The African American community should immediately adopt practical and effective techniques and technologies for mitigating atmospheric contamination to facilitate acceptance of successful American procedures and policies by developing nations.  The U.S. already excludes itself from established climate change policies developed by 160 other countries.  The global warming issue has been debated for over a decade.  Although the Bush Administration has submitted a climate change plan for the U.S., the Clear Skies Initiative, we believe the African American community can accelerate reductions in GHGs through innovative national and international entrepreneurship.

The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) brought the scientific concerns of climate change to the public arena.  The 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) was the first formal international statement of concern and agreement to take action on global warming. This was followed by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that specified commitments by individual countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Among the IPCC findings:  1) average global surface temperature has increased by about 0.6 degrees C during the 20th century- - the largest increase in any of the last ten centuries; 2) the 1990s was the warmest decade on record. 

According to the IPCC, although the earth goes through normal warming and cooling periods, it is generally agreed by the scientific community that most of the recent temperature changes can be attributed to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases caused by human activities: 1) carbon dioxide, which contributes 60% of the global warming effect, has now increased 31% since the 18th century to a higher level than any time in recorded history; 2) about 3/4 of the human-induced carbon dioxide emission is due to fossil fuel combustion; 3) methane concentration in the atmosphere has increased 150% since the 18th century and contributes a fifth of the warming effect. The balance is from halocarbons (14%) and nitrous oxide (6%).  Although African Americans do not own the polluting industrial facilities, blacks own automobiles and homes.  The average home or apartment releases more pollutants than the average car.  In a market-based emissions trading system, a reduction in home and apartment emissions could be aggregated and leveraged as securities or credits, possibly in a global trading market designed, owned and operated by African Americans.  A similar system could also be established for automobile emissions.  Blacks also purchase a significant percentage of the goods and services produced by the sources of pollution. 

Our atmosphere, like our waterways and oceans, cannot accept unlimited quantities of pollutants and operate properly.  What are the implications of increased greenhouse gases for the African American community?  One immediate consequence of global warming could be this year’s historic high pollen levels of 2500, when a normal level is about 200.  This tenfold increase negatively affected a large number of people.  We believe this unprecedented pollen level can be attributed to global warming.  There was virtually no winter ice or snow to moderate plant growth and the pollen level exploded in large portions of the United States.  There were numerous reports of hay fever sufferers moving from over-the-counter antihistamines to prescription decongestants.  Unfortunately, these increased pollen levels only serve to render people with respiratory problems susceptible to increased lung dysfunction.  This damage will be exacerbated by summer smog exposure.    These pollen levels also negatively affect people with normal respiratory systems.  We can hypothesize that it will lead to significant additional respiratory and cardiopulmonary problems.

Global climate change is creating some interesting questions.  What effect does global warming have on the planet’s plant life?  Trees are budding in January.  Plants that normally bloom in April are blooming in February.  Sporadic freezes and intermittent low temperatures have been making plants bud two, three, and even four times.  Does this contribute to the production of super pollen?  Is global climate change behind the significant increase in the quantity of pollen?  Are plants being overly stressed? More trees and other plants are surviving and thriving through mild winters.  What effects will these habitat changes have on animals?   Many hibernating animals are now active throughout the winter.  Are we listening to Mother Nature?  Current policies and policy-makers are taking a cautious, minimalist approach.

The Kyoto Protocol includes the following provisions: 1) by 2012, developed countries would reduce their collective emissions by 5.2% from 1990 levels; 2) the emissions covered by the Protocol are carbon dioxidemethanenitrous oxidehydrofluorocarbonsperfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride; 3) each country must accurately measure its emissions and meet its individual reduction commitment; and 4) countries can jointly fulfill their commitments.  While participating Protocol countries are expected to rely mainly on reducing their own emissions, three "flexibility mechanisms" are included to make it easier for participants to comply: 1) Emissions Trading, 2) Joint Implementation and 3) Clean Development Mechanism.  African Americans can assist the 160 other countries agreeing to the Kyoto Protocol in reaching their greenhouse gas reduction targets.  American blacks could assist them by participating in the flexibility mechanisms. 

Emissions Trading involves issuing carbon dioxide credits to each country and trading them according to whether it is cheaper to buy credits or actually reduce the CO2 emissions. The US has operated a reasonably successful acid rain permit-trading program for sulfur dioxide for many years. African Americans should provide the participating countries with the best industrial practices and equipment in America.  This mechanism could provide a huge opportunity for promoting the use of emission free facilities and vehicles.  This self-regulating, market-driven Protocol mechanism should create a huge market for photovoltaic panels, nuclear power plants, wind power, efficient motors, pumps, generators and water efficiency equipment.

Joint Implementation involves one developed country working with another to reduce emissions and trade emission reduction credits.  African Americans can facilitate deals between developed countries such as Russia, Japan and European countries.  It is crucial for the African American community to facilitate these deals because higher temperatures tend to increase the intensity of photochemical smog.  Higher temperatures combined with the paved urban and suburban areas increase the potency of the toxic mixture of acid rain, poison runoff and smog.  Urban and suburban blacks without air conditioners are defenseless against smog in summer months.

The Clean Development Mechanism involves identifying projects to reduce emissions in developing countries and crediting the developed country implementing the projects.  African American entrepreneurs can serve as third party brokers among Kyoto Protocol-participating members from Africa and Russia, Japan and Europe, among others.  Again, reducing global climate change will benefit African Americans in U.S. neighborhoods. Greenhouse gas emissions from developing countries will soon overtake those from developed countries.  Countries have made little progress in defining particular roles for actually working on emissions reductions. Part of the reason for this is that developed nations are bound by the Protocol while developing countries are not. Developing countries have different priorities from developed nations.  Countries agreeing to the Kyoto Protocol are upset with the United States for refusing to participate in the agreement.  President Bush rejected the Kyoto global warming treaty in 2001, saying it would harm the U.S. economy while exempting developing countries, including India and China, from mandatory emissions targets.  The U.S. Senate went on record in 1997 opposing the essential features of the Kyoto protocol.

On February 14, 2002, President Bush announced a two-part plan for addressing atmospheric contamination: One part of the Clear Skies Initiative targets sulfur dioxidenitrogen oxides and mercury. The Clear Skies Initiative proposes to:  1) cut sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions by 73 percent, from current emissions of 11 million tons to a cap of 4.5 million tons in 2010, and 3 million tons in 2018; 2) cut emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 67 percent, from current emissions of 5 million tons to a cap of 2.1 million tons in 2008, and to 1.7 million tons in 2018; 3) cutting mercury emissions by 69 percent, the first-ever national cap on mercury emissions.  The plan proposes to cut emissions from the current emissions level of 48 tons to a cap of 26 tons in 2010, and 15 tons in 2018.  The Initiative’s emissions trading program would allow big polluters that exceed mandatory emission targets to buy credits from cleaner companies whose emissions come in lower than the targets.  The plan would delay such cuts until 2010 or later.  There would be no similar limits on power plants' emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas.  President Bush abandoned a campaign pledge in March of 2001 to control the four plant emissions together.  

Another part of the Clear Skies Initiative targets greenhouse gases.   The Administration's strategy sets a target for “greenhouse gas intensity”: the ratio of greenhouse gas emissions to economic output expressed in gross domestic product (GDP). This approach minimizes economic impact by allowing emissions to rise or fall with economic output.   It would use $4.6 billion in tax credits over the next five years to encourage companies and individuals to limit those emissions. Under the administration's proposed target, the growth rate of emissions of carbon dioxide would drop nearly 18 percent by 2012 from the current level of 183 metric tons to 151 metric tons for each $1 million in gross domestic product.  One provision of the new climate plan would be to greatly expand a program encouraging businesses to monitor and report their emissions of greenhouse gases. Those that participate, voluntarily, would gain credits that might eventually be used in a trading system similar to that used for other pollution.  Clear Skies is President Bush's response to the Kyoto Protocol.  The Bush Administration has rejected the UN-FCCC and Kyoto Protocol approaches, requiring that emissions be reduced by mandatory amounts.  Critics do not believe the Clear Skies Initiative will reduce greenhouse gases.

If the Clear Skies Initiative is adopted, African Americans should leverage the Kyoto Protocol and President Bush’s Clear Skies Initiative.  The emissions trading components of the Protocol and the Initiative can be used as securities and exchanged among countries.  Assuming its adoption, African Americans should export market-based innovations to countries interested in reducing greenhouse emissions.  Entrepreneurs should be prepared to trade credits or provide pollution control equipment.  The preferred alternative is to provide equipment that will actually reduce greenhouse gases.  This will entail partnerships with established equipment manufacturers.  African Americans should negotiate for equity in companies in exchange for deferred profit sharing from international sales of emissions control hardware and software.  This is particularly important for capital-intensive production of photovoltaic arrays, nuclear power plants, massive wind power farms, efficient light bulbs, motors, pumps, generators and other alternative technologies.  Solutions to global warming provide the twin benefits of environmental protection and profit.  And both are sorely needed in the African American community.