For Immediate Release, July 30, 2008
Contact: Jonathan Evans, Center for Biological Diversity, (213) 598-1466
Lawsuit Aims to Force Wal-Mart to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
YUCCA VALLEY, Calif.— The Center for Biological Diversity filed suit today to force Wal-Mart to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new store construction as required by California law. Conservationists are challenging the megacorporation’s failure to implement measures to reduce the carbon footprint of a new Supercenter in the town of Yucca Valley, near Joshua Tree National Park.
“Wal-Mart has stated for years that its goal is to be supplied by 100-percent renewable energy,” said Jonathan Evans of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Yet even for stores proposed in the California desert, it refuses to incorporate cost-effective features like solar panels to reduce its carbon footprint.”
Research has indicated that continued “business-as-usual” greenhouse gas emissions threaten up to 70 percent of plants and animals worldwide with extinction. A recent report issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in July indicated that climate change will have severe impacts on California through increased heat related deaths, wildfires, and flooding, and worsening air quality via increased ozone formation. By mid-century, extreme heat waves from global warming in areas like Los Angeles and San Bernardino are projected to cause two to three times as many heat-related deaths as occur today.
The lawsuit is one of a series of court challenges brought by the Center to reduce greenhouse gases from new development through the California Environmental Quality Act. In 2007 California passed Senate Bill 97, which affirms the requirement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from land-use decisions. In June 2008 California also provided technical guidance on how to properly calculate and reduce greenhouse gases. The California Environmental Quality Act requirements are in addition to the requirements of the California Global Warming Solutions Act and the governor’s June 2005 Executive Order, which sets a goal of reducing emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
“Business-as-usual big-box sprawl is devastating to our local environment and communities,” said Evans. “Forty-three percent of U.S. greenhouse pollution is tied to buildings, but the good news is that with today’s technology green buildings can be a major part of solving the climate crisis.”
The Center for Biological Diversity is dedicated to ensuring that atmospheric carbon dioxide pollutant levels are reduced to below 350 parts per million (ppm), which leading climate scientists warn is necessary to prevent devastating climate change. Business-as-usual sprawl is incompatible with this goal. Without strong action, the current atmospheric carbon dioxide level of 385 ppm will rise to approximately 500 ppm by mid-century, triggering mass wildlife extinctions, catastrophic global weather and ecosystem changes, and tragic human suffering.
“The choices we make today will determine the future we leave to our children and grandchildren,” said Evans. “If we do a good job reducing greenhouse emissions, we can save as much as 70 percent of California’s snowpack, our reservoir for water supply. But if we continue with business-as-usual emissions, we’ll lose up to 90 percent of that snowpack by the end of the century.”
Visit the Center’s Web site for more information on its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the California Environmental Quality Act. www.biologicaldiversity.org
The Center for Biological Diversity is a nonprofit conservation organization with more than 180,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.