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Climate Change Activists Drop Banner get Arrested in New York

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New York, NY April 4, 2007; On the heels of the Supreme Court’s monumental decision this week to allow the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from tailpipes, Freedom from Oil activists at the New York Auto Show unfurled a dramatic 20-foot banner inside the front entrance to the Javits Convention Center challenging Toyota to become a true environmental leader. The banner subverts Toyota’s current Tundra advertising blitz with a picture of the truck driving over a globe with the tagline, “Toyota: The Truck That’s Changing the Climate.”

The banner was front and center at the entrance of the Javits center for 35 minutes before police arrested the two Freedom From Oil climbers.

Said Mike Hudema, co-director of the Freedom from Oil campaign for Global Exchange: “Toyota can’t have it both ways; Toyota can’t call itself an environmental leader while fighting legislation to curb greenhouse gas pollution and accelerating into the truck market.”

There is nearly universal acknowledgement from the world’s leading scientists, governments, business leaders and citizens that global warming is a serious threat to our future, that it is being caused by human activity, and that we must act now to curb it. The Freedom from Oil campaign asserts that a true environmental leader would: drop the Pavley Lawsuit and let Californians breathe cleaner air; stop lobbying efforts against fuel-economy standards; lead the way in reducing GHG emissions; and make a concrete production commitment and set a timeline for putting Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles onto the roads as soon as possible.

Just this week, the Supreme Court ruled to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution from tailpipes in the groundbreaking Massachusetts vs. EPA case. Car and truck tailpipe emissions account for about a quarter of the country’s GHG emissions, and the auto industry has argued against the landmark EPA case every step of the way.

“Building Priuses does not give Toyota license to mass-produce the Tundra,” said Sarah Connolly, the co-director of the Freedom from Oil campaign for Rainforest Action Network. “If Toyota really believed in curbing global warming, why did they argue with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers in the Supreme Court that CO2 is not a pollutant and that the EPA should not have the right to help regulate greenhouse gas emissions?”

While the automakers are using the New York Auto Show to promote eco concept cars, their fleet-wide production commitments are to gas-guzzlers like GM’s Hummer and Toyota’s Tundra.

“The message from today’s auto show is clear: America wants cleaner cars, and the auto industry needs to stop making excuses and start mass-producing them,” said one of the Freedom from Oil campaign climbers who released the banner. “For our planet, our national security, and our children’s futures, it is time for the auto industry to stop saying what they can’t do to improve fuel efficiency and to shift into high gear to avert this climate crisis.”

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The Freedom from Oil campaign, a coalition of environmental and human rights advocate organized by Global Exchange, Rainforest Action Network, and Ruckus Society, works to end America’s oil dependence, reduce oil related conflicts, and stop global climate change by convincing the entire auto industry to dramatically improve fuel efficiency and eliminate vehicle greenhouse gas emissions.