Natural Resources Defense Council

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Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a highly partisan, tax-exempt progressive environmental group that "was founded in 1970 by a group of law students and attorneys at the forefront of the environmental movement. Today's leadership team and board of trustees makes sure the organization continues to work to ensure the rights of all people to clean air, clean water, and healthy communities."

In 2016, Rhea Suh of the Natural Resources Defense Council revealed that "NRDC has been working with China for 20 years."[1]

The NRDC Action Fund is the 501(c)(4) affiliate of Natural Resources Defense Council. Before joining the Biden Administration, Gina McCarthy was President and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council.


"We combine the power of more than three million members and online activists with the expertise of some 500 scientists, lawyers, and policy advocates across the globe to ensure the rights of all people to the air, the water, and the wild."[2]

Letter to Stop Fuel Subsidies

In June, 2021, hundreds of environmental groups signed a letter to stop fuel subsidies:[3],[4]

June 29, 2021
Contact: Collin Rees,
Over 500 Groups Call on Congress to Eliminate Fossil Fuel Subsidies with Letter, Rally, Petitions in Week of Action
WASHINGTON, DC — Over 500 organizations, including Oil Change International, Sierra Club, Oxfam America, Greenpeace USA, Friends of the Earth Action, Food & Water Watch, NRDC Action Fund, and a wide range of health, faith, environmental and other groups across the United States released a letter today calling on congressional leadership to eliminate the fossil fuel subsidies embedded in the U.S. tax code. They also staged an in-person rally on the National Mall urging Congress to ensure that fossil fuel subsidy removal is included in any major legislation advanced this year.
In a letter urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to support the “elimination of fossil fuel subsidies and other giveaways in any infrastructure, economic recovery and/or reconciliation legislative package,” 513 groups wrote:
“It is past time to remove the burden of dirty energy support from the public and instead turn the efforts of the government to supporting clean energy and the jobs it generates. Action now will help us protect the climate, promote a more equitable, clean energy economy for America, and strengthen international leadership.”
In addition to the joint letter to Congress, activists delivered nearly 150,000 petitions calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies to senators and representatives as part of the End Fossil Fuel Subsidies Week of Action, which is ongoing.
“Deadly public subsidies to Big Oil, Gas, and Coal have been driving climate chaos and harming frontline communities for far too long,” said Collin Rees, Senior Campaigner at Oil Change International. “The success of the clean energy transition will hinge on whether we’re able to wind down the political power of the fossil fuel industry — eliminating subsidies to oil, gas, and coal companies is a key first step.”
The groups cite Pelosi’s and Schumer’s own calls for eliminating subsidies, writing:
“In 2011, you rose [..] in support of eliminating a raft of fossil fuel subsidies. You highlighted the injustice and destructiveness of these giveaways to an industry responsible for the destruction of communities, nature, and climate. Fossil fuels are outdated energy sources that produce enormous levels of pollution that harm our communities, natural areas, and climate. These impacts fall hardest on historically marginalized communities, including Black and Indigenous communities.”
In 2011, Speaker Pelosi said on the House floor, “It’s long past time to turn off the spigot of public funds flowing to Big Oil…so I rise to ask my colleagues today: Should the American taxpayers continue to subsidize Big Oil’s profits?”
Likewise, Senator Schumer said on the Senate floor, “You don’t have to worry about [the fossil fuel industry’s] desire to explore. They are looking every place they can. They don’t have to have a subsidy to do it…so the time to repeal these giveaways is now.”
Fossil fuel subsidies are not only a gross taxpayer abuse, but also help incentivize the development and operation of oil and gas wells that heavily impact the health of communities around the country, as new research from the Stockholm Environment Institute clearly shows. The Biden Administration’s budget aims to cut $120 billion in fossil fuel subsidies over the next 10 years, and momentum is growing on Capitol Hill, with both the Clean Energy for America Act and the End Polluter Welfare Act gaining steam.
“Using taxpayer money and government resources to support the burning of fossil fuels is helping industry harm us,” said Sujatha Bergen, senior advisor to the NRDC Action Fund. “It is well past time to end taxpayer support for these wasteful and outdated technologies that are so destructive to communities and nature.”

Praising China

Rhea Suh visited China in 2016, for the Natural Resources Defense Council.;

That’s why I spent much of my recent visit to China learning more about what that country is doing to help fight this global scourge. NRDC has been working with China for 20 years. I wanted to get a firsthand look at the progress we’re making and the challenges ahead.
Rapid industrialization and decades of strong growth in China have come with enormous environmental challenges. Air pollution, for example, is blamed for 1 million premature deaths a year in China and for reducing life expectancy by nearly 25 months. In some of the country’s most heavily populated areas, more than 80 percent of the water from underground wells used in homes and factories and on farms has been polluted. And with its heavy dependence on coal, China alone accounts for 27 percent of the global carbon footprint.
What I saw on my trip, though, was a reminder that China is doing a lot to address its problems at home and to help fight climate change — starting with the wind turbines I saw from my train window as I traveled from Shanghai to Beijing.
China leads the world in clean power development from renewable sources like the wind and sun. Last year alone, China invested $111 billion — one-third of the world total — in wind, solar, and other renewable power sources.
The country’s leaders regard solar and wind power as strategic industries, and it’s easy to see why. That global market is huge. Some 64 percent of all the electricity-generating capacity added worldwide over the next 25 years will be powered by the wind and sun, Bloomberg projects, at an investment of nearly $7 trillion.
China has built the world’s largest high-speed rail system, part of which whisked me from Shanghai to Beijing in five hours on a smooth-as-silk ride at speeds that topped out at 186 miles per hour. Think of boarding a train in Washington, D.C., at breakfast time and arriving in Chicago in time for lunch.
China has invested more than $500 billion to build some 12,000 miles of high-speed railroad connecting nearly every city in the country with a population of half a million or more. The Chinese take four million high-speed rail trips every day, at a small fraction of the carbon footprint of equivalent air travel.
China’s electric utilities are urged by the government to collaborate with their customers to develop innovative ways to slow the growth in electricity demand. Zheng Qingrong, of the Shanghai Electric Corp., hosted me at the company’s gleaming new demand response center to explain a pilot project viewed as an early move in that direction. There, computerized technology is helping customers save money by shaving power consumption during periods when demand for electricity peaks. That means the company can serve more customers without building an excessive number of power plants.
China is also working to launch next year a cap-and-trade system that will create market incentives for Chinese industry to cut its carbon footprint, as the country’s special climate change envoy, Xie Zhenhua, explained to me in Beijing. Xie was a central player in global climate talks last year in Paris, where the United States, China, India, Brazil, and more than 180 other countries agreed to shift away, over time, from the dirty fossil fuels that are driving climate change and move to cleaner, smarter ways to power our future.

China has pledged to cap its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (sooner, if possible), and it’s beginning to make progress. For the first time since 1982 — essentially, the first time since China began to build a modern economy fueled by foreign investment — China has had back-to-back annual reductions in coal consumption. Its coal use fell 2.9 percent in 2014 and another 3.7 percent in 2015, even as its economy continued to grow — at a substantial 6.9 percent last year.
Here’s why China’s role is so important: China is doing something no other country in history has done. It is moving hundreds of millions of people out of abject poverty and into the global middle class. And it is doing it over the span of a single generation.

That growth has fueled a seemingly insatiable demand for energy. Most of that demand is met by fossil fuels. China burns as much coal, for example, as the rest of the world combined.
China eclipsed the United States several years ago as the world’s largest emitter of the carbon pollution that’s driving global climate change. The country kicked out about 9.7 billion tons of carbon emissions last year. While that was down about 1.5 percent from the year before, China still accounts for 27 percent of the global carbon footprint. Add to the that U.S. share — another 15.5 percent — and the two countries together produce about 43 percent of all global carbon pollution.

That’s why fixing this problem starts with our countries, the United States and China. And it’s one more reason I’m so proud of the work NRDC has done in China since first starting our clean energy efforts there 20 years ago.[5]

Trump Watch

Trump Watch

The Natural Resources Defense Council has a "Trump Watch" initiative, where they are "Keeping a vigilant eye on the administration’s environmental actions."[6]

Stop Trump Legal Fund

Stop Trump Legal Fund

The Natural Resources Defense Council has a "Stop Trump legal fund" advertised on their website, where they have as an action item to "Contribute to the Stop Trump Legal Fund to help our more than 500 lawyers, scientists, and policy experts fight back in court against the president’s assault on our air, land, and water."[7]

"President Trump's assault against the environment is so extreme that we're creating our first-ever emergency legal fund to stop him.
"NRDC has already filed suit against the Trump Administration on dozens of fronts: to stop the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline... to defend our Arctic and Atlantic coastlines from drilling... to save bees, birds and butterflies from a flood of dangerous neonic pesticides approved by the EPA.
"And this is just the beginning. The barrage grows by the week. And we must respond with maximum legal force. Make your tax-deductible donation to the Stop Trump Legal Fund today!

Board Members

Members of the Board:[8]


Honorary Trustees

Proteus Fund

Natural Resources Defense Council is a grant recipient of the Proteus Fund.[9]

External links