House “principles” on GW Legislation: Gaps with requirements

Yesterday’s House Principles on GW Legislation focused on a wording, a framing issue with the opening letter. One that is serious but, as well, quite likely one that the three signatories might well agree with on ‘principle’.  There are, however, there are elements of the House “prinicples” that violate core GW principles. 

Principle #1: Scientifically Sound.  That is core to me. Whatever Congress does should be in line with what the scientists say.  As Representative Waxman says, “We must listen to the science .”   Sadly, however, the letter to Nancy Pelosi seems to fly in the face of this imperative.

This is the beginning of the first “key element”.

Reduce Emissions to Avoid Dangerous Global Warming

The United States must do its part to keep global temperatures from rising more than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial levels.  The scientific community warns that above this level, dangerous and irreversible changes to the Earth’s climate are predicted to occur.  To meet this goal, the legislation must:

•    Cap and cut global warming emissions to science-based levels with short and long-term targets.  Total U.S. emissions must be capped by a date certain, decline every year, be reduced to 15% to 20% below current levels in 2020, and fall to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

This is about the same target as in the Lieberman-Warner Climate InSecurity Act.  And, just as Lieberman-Warner doesn’t meet scientific requirements, neither does this paragraph (by definition).  In fact, this is roughly 50% of the reductions necessary by 2020. We must be 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and, sadly, our pollution has increased quite a bit since 1990.

The next bullet in the letter:

Review and respond to advancing climate science.  The effects of global warming are happening much faster than scientists predicted several years ago, and there may be tipping points at which irreversible effects occur at lower levels of greenhouse gas concentrations than previously predicted.  A mechanism for periodic scientific review is necessary, and EPA, and other agencies as appropriate, must adjust the regulatory response if the latest science indicates that more reductions are needed.

 Okay, I wonder.  Why propose something (first bullet) that already requires modification if there is going to be a serious “periodic scientific review”?  “If the latest science indicates that more reductions are needed …”  The science already says that twice the reductions are required than are called for in this letter.

Representatives Markey, Waxman, Inslee: I have a great deal of respect for the three of you and for your efforts to turn the tide on Global Warming.  This, however, I simply don’t understand.




One response to “House “principles” on GW Legislation: Gaps with requirements

  1. Pingback: Introducing Sanity to Climate Legislation « Energy Smart

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