UPDATE: If leaders Carl Pope, Fred Krupp, Frances Beinecke, or Brent Blackwelder have comments on this, I'll happily update my post.
When there's a major environmental disaster, it's interesting to see how the major environmental groups think through their response. And one small tell is what they put on their websites. So let's take a tour.
Environmental Defense has something on its front-page about what companies can do to reduce their carbon emissions, while the National Resources Defense Council has a series of beautiful pictures of wildlife on its home page, with a link and picture to the Federal Fire Safety Budget. Friends of the Earth has a top item of 'Carbon tax in the House', while the Sierra Club's top item is on the Energy Bill, with nothing on Carl Pope's blog.
It's Getting Hot in Here has as its top blog post titled 'Megafires in California Force Evacuation of 1 Million'. Step It Up has a blog post hidden down the page on the fires.
Websites do not tell the whole story. The Sierra Club after all has a press release out on the Wildfires, and that's good, except that the press release is defending the Sierra Club from right-wing attacks. And one of two of NRDC's press release yesterday was 'Environmental Victory in New York Harbor Dredging Court Battle'. Now it's possible these groups don't update their websites with their priorities, but I doubt it. And given the interesting social media coverage of the fires, that seems like a poor choice, if indeed it is a choice.
When California is burning down due to extreme drought and unusual winds, and there's drought across the Southeast and new and much more pessimistic scenarios on carbon emissions, perhaps this is something environmental groups might want to jump on.
When an emergency like this happens, it's possible to make a large discontinuous leap in the political system. It's possible to say 'throw out last years projections, we have to stop emitting carbon now and use the money to build new global warming proof infrastructure.' Put a sense of the Senate resolution in there that carbon emissions are extremely dangerous, if you don't have a plan ready. 9/11 changed everything because the right was ready. We weren't ready when Katrina happened. Thankfully, though, we'll have more extreme weather to contend with so it's not hard to plan for it.