By Mike Soraghan - 12/17/09 05:14 PM EST
Next to another Crown Victoria (newly purchased, bearing dealer tags and license plate frames from Luxury Auto Sales of Dumfries) marked "Climate Talks Hostage Negotiator," another activist barked commands to release the country's climate policy.
And a green ambulance in the middle was marked "Climate Emergency Response."
The message is that industry lobbying like that done by the chamber in the past year is the reason Congress hasn't passed a climate bill and that talks have stalled at the climate conference in Copenhagen.
"We're asking the Chamber of Commerce to release our climate policy," explained Greenpeace "campaigner" Molly Dorozenski. "This is the scene of the crime."
They also liked that their street theater played out within sight of the White House where President Obama is preparing to leave for the conference in Copenhagen.
"We're hoping he sees this," Dorozenski said. "We want him to stop listening to industry lobbyists and be a leader."
The group arrived around 10 a.m. Activists in climbing gear put up ladders and unfurled bright yellow banners fashioned to look like crime scene tape in an "X" pattern across the chamber's stately facade. Continuing with the crime-scene theme, they read, "Global Warming Crime Scene/Climate Policy Hostage Area."
But people inside the chamber leaned out the window and snipped the tape-banners.
By 11 a.m. the real police were treating the sidewalk in front of the chamber like a real crime scene, blocking pedestrians from walking through. But the folks with real guns and badges didn't seem to be taking acting against their green wannabes.
The activists stood around in their green SWAT gear, except for the ones perched on the chamber's narrow balcony atop the ladders. They sat.
The Chamber of Commerce called the street theater "a distraction from real solutions."
"Pranks like today’s only lessen the importance of the issue of climate change," chamber spokeswoman Tita Freeman said in a message. "We welcome constructive discourse on the issue, and support comprehensive federal legislation in this area."
She added that the Greenpeace action prevented a number of children from a local charter school from getting into the building for their performance at their annual holiday event. She said it also frightened some of the families.