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Environmental alliance has big hitters and big bucks

By A. James Memmott

October 14, 2007 at 7:46am

It’s the sort of windfall that not-for-profits don’t receive every day.

A little more than a year old, the Alliance for Climate Protection gained $750,000 when former Vice President Al Gore was named co-recipient of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize Friday.

Gore announced that he would give his share of the prize to the alliance, a Palo Alto, Calif., organization he formed last year.

The group’s goal is to increase awareness about threats to the environment from global warming.
It helped put on this July’s Live Earth concerts in seven cities around the world.

And through its website, it’s asking people to take a pledge to, among other things, lead energy-efficient lives and fight for laws that reduce dependence on foreign oil.

Though it’s new, the alliance is extraordinarily well-connected, almost a case study in the power of bipartisan boardroom and governmental networking.

“They certainly have access to some pretty big channels for communications, and they’re reaching out to people in the corporate world who are ready to start talking about solutions to global warming,” David Willett, the Sierra Club’s national press secretary, told the San Francisco Chronicle Saturday.

The connections start with Gore, who’s not just a former vice president, a former senator and congressman, and a person who grew up in the Washington home of a powerful senator, his father, Albert Gore Sr.

In addition, even before the Nobel was given to him and to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Gore had done much to raise concern about global warming, especially in the Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth and its companion book of the same title. (Gore’s profits from both have gone to the alliance.)

But Gore has also brought to the board of the alliance a cross-section of movers and shakers, some Democrats, like himself, and some Republicans.

Carol M. Browner, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, is on the board.

Also serving is Lee Thomas, administrator of the EPA under President Ronald Reagan, a Republican.

Brent Scowcroft, national security advisor to Republican presidents Gerald R. Ford and George H.W. Bush serves on the board. Scowcroft caused a stir in 2004 when he broke with administration of George W. Bush, calling the Iraq War a “failing venture.”

Other directors of the alliance include Kevin Wall, the CEO of Control Room, a live music production company, and the producer of Live Earth; former Republican Congressman Sherwood L. Boehlert; and Larry J. Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation.

The alliance also has an advisory committee made up of people involved in environmental issues; among them is Paul Gorman, executive director of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment.

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