The battlelines are being drawn when it comes to what makes sensible legislation to respond to Global Warming. Sadly, the lines are being drawn among the environmental community, with Global Warming Deniers, Skeptics, and Delayers watching the developing battle with amusement.
In December, the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) committee passed out for full Senate consideration the Lieberman-Warner Climate (in)Security Act (CISA). As discussed elsewhere, the CISA is fundamentally flawed. Among its problems:
Giveaway of $500+ billion in pollution permits, raising the cost and lowering the efficiency of the US economy’s finding a path toward a climate friendly society; and
Inadequate targets for reducing CO2 to lower the risk of catastrophic climate change …
These are just a taste of the CISA problems. Even with these known, serious, high-risk problems, too many people have found their way to praise LW, seemingly desperate to be able to claim victory on the Climate Change legislative front, even if this seeming battlefield victory could doom us to defeat in the war on Global Warming.
The CISA’s risks and inadequacies need daylight shown on them to either ensure fixing its faults or keeping it from going to George W Bush’s desk for signature.
Earlier today, Friends of the Earth began a campaign to shine this light.
After years of ignoring global warming, the U.S. Senate is finally considering legislation to cap greenhouse gas pollution. Unfortunately, the Lieberman-Warner bill being advanced by Senate Democrats lavishes up to $1 trillion on industries responsible for global warming, and in return asks for reduction targets well below what scientists say are necessary. If this is the best Senate Democrats can do, the world is in trouble.
FOE is running advertisements (print, web) to highlight the (VERY) serious disparities between Lieberman-Warner and the sensible energy and Global Warming policies of the three Democratic Presidential candidates.
Carbon Reduction Targets:
Clinton, Edwards, Obama: 80% reduction of carbon emissions by 2050.
Lieberman-Warner: about 60%.
Pollution Permit Revenue:
Clinton, Edwards, Obama: 100% auction
Lieberman-Warner: 40% given away to serial polluters (>$500 billion over 20 years)
And so on …
“Do Democratic senators really want to undermine their own presidential candidates on global warming?” asked Friends of the Earth Action President Brent Blackwelder. “The top Democratic candidates have all called for global warming pollution to be reduced 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050; they also want to make all polluters pay through a 100 percent pollution permit auction. The Lieberman-Warner bill falls far short of these goals.”
Who has Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John Warner (R-VA) endorsed in the Presidential election? John McCain.
Who co-sponsored an earlier version of this bill with Joe Lieberman? John McCain.
“This is a potential political debacle for Democrats, but that’s not why we’re concerned,” Blackwelder said, highlighting what he said are the bill’s two most critical substantive problems. “First, it includes massive giveaways to corporate special interests. Handing polluters a trillion dollars is not the way to solve global warming. Second, it fails to reduce global warming pollution at the rate scientists have said is necessary. Eighty by 2050 from 1990 levels is a bare minimum, giving us only a 50 percent chance of avoiding the worst effects of global warming. This is the biggest threat facing our nation. If this Congress and this president can’t get the job done, the next ones absolutely must.”
Yes, it sounds so arcane, so without meaning, but 80 by 2050 is an absolute minimum to have any serious chance of avoiding truly catastrophic climate change. Lieberman-Warner falls short.
Now, some will argue that we “can’t wait” and the Climate (in)Security Act (CISA) is the best that can happen with George W. Bush in the Oval Office. “We can’t wait!” That is an important, powerful call. But, the CISA wouldn’t go into effect prior to 2012. Is that a “wait”?
Now, some will argue that the CISA is simply a start, that we will be able to improve it over time. “We can improve it later as we see success.” That, again, is a compelling and seemingly logical argument. After CISA has given away $500+ billion to serial polluters in permits to pollute the air we breathe for free, does anyone believe that these serial polluters will quietly give up these valuable permits without a massive fight? Improve it later? How?
Global Warming legislation will be the most far-reaching actions by Congress, perhaps ever. It will have huge fiscal implications. It will touch all of US across our lives. It will set our future path toward prosperity or devastation. Its importance is hard to overstate. Should such important legislation be developed behind closed doors by the staff of Senators not in the majority party? Should it go forward without extensive discussions throughout the Congress and across American society?
It is time for voices to speak up, to call on your Senators to ensure that Lieberman-Warner follows the basic Global Warming platforms of the Democratic Presidential candidates (80% by 2050; 100% auction) or it does not leave the Senate.
NOTE: For more information, see Fix or Ditch Lieberman-Warner.