Senator Sanders has provided a strong statement about Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act’s lack of security for the climate.
The three key points from Senator Sanders
- First, virtually all of the scientific evidence tells us that, at the least, we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050 if we stand a chance to reverse global warming. Lieberman-Warner, under the very best projections, provides a 66 percent reduction.
- Second, this legislation allows major polluters to continue emitting greenhouse gases for free until 2036. In fact, old-fashioned dirty coal burning plants could still be built during this period. That’s wrong. The “right to pollute” should not be given away for up to 24 years. Further, in calculating emission reductions, the bill relies much too heavily on “offsets,” a process which is difficult to verify and which could significantly undermine the actual emissions caps.
- Third, this bill provides a massive amount of corporate welfare to industries which have been major emitters of greenhouse gasses while requiring minimal performance standards and accountability. According to a report by Friends of the Earth, the auction and allocation processes of the bill could generate up to $3.6 trillion dollars over a 38 year period. While a large fund exists in the bill for “low carbon technology,” there is no guaranteed allocation for such important technologies as wind, solar, geo-thermal, hydrogen or for energy efficiency. But, there is a guaranteed allotment of $324 billion for the coal industry through an “Advanced Coal and Sequestration program” and $232 billion for the auto industry for “Advanced Technology Vehicles.”
In other words:
– Optimistically speaking, Lieberman-Warner falls short on the minimum level.
– It rewards past polluters by enabling them to continue to pollute, at no cost. And, well, if they figure out how to cut pollution cheaply, they will make real money selling the right to pollute to others.
– The money that is allocated for research and development is poorly allocated, going to “advanced coal” and “advanced technology vehicles” rather than deployment of ready and existing technologies.
At least one Senator speaking sanely when it comes of Lieberman-Warner’s inadequacies.
As Senator Sanders concludes:
In terms of the future of our planet the bad news is that scientists tell us that they have under-estimated the speed and destructive aspects of global warming. There is less time than we previously thought before irreversible damage is done. The good news, however, is that we now know what we have to do to solve the problem. We know how to make our homes and transportation systems more energy efficient and we are making huge progress in driving down the costs of non-polluting sustainable energy technologies. What is lacking now is the political will to stand up to powerful special interests, and move our energy system in a very different direction.