Don’t sign a petition …

As written about in The Shocking Analysis of Lie-berman-Warner, Environmental Defense Fund has a great little gag site (Get America Working) that provides a tool for learning of false industry statements on Global Warming legislation with counters from EDF. The site also links to a petition that I recommend readers NOT sign. Sadly, while EDF’s send-up of industry opponents is amusing, its petition is disingenuous.

Why not sign up to support Lieberman-Warner? Because it fails, across the board, to meet basic principles for global warming legislation.

Let’s examine the petition:

The Senate is scheduled to debate and vote on the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act the first week of June. I urge you to seize this historic opportunity and pass this bill.

Again, the Climate InSecurity Act (CISA) fails on basic principles. It is not scientifically sound, it fails to make polluters pay, and it will worsen social equity in the United States. This is NOT the Global Warming legislation that today’s and tomorrow’s Americans require from Congress.

Here are five compelling reasons to act now:

1. Every year we wait equals extra effort. If we delay this bill by just two years, we will have to make twice the annual cuts in carbon emissions to hit the same cumulative reductions by 2020.

Note “this bill”. But, is this the bill that we should see pass? No. Thus, this is misleading (at best). And, the assertion about reductions ignores the Lieberman-Warner provisions that could enable a path of zero reductions prior to the late 2020s.

2. The science is unforgiving. As the Earth warms, we approach a “tipping point,” after which large destructive climate changes become inevitable.

Yes, the science is unforgiving. And, according to that science, Lieberman-Warner is inadequate … even without those provisions that might mean zero reductions before the late 2020s. Hmmmm…

3. The political opportunity is ripe. 78% of Americans want Congress to act on global warming. We need to take advantage of the tremendous momentum that exists today.

Yes, let us fight like crazy to have inadequate legislation to try to get it signed by Global Warming denier George the W. Why, in the world, would anyone think that a President who believes in Global Warming (either McCain or Obama come Jan 2009) and a Congress that is much stronger in this arena might actually be able to pass more effective legislation into law?

4. Someone is going to win the global race to reinvent energy. It should be us. Renewable energy promises to become one of the world’s most profitable industries. But advances in renewable energy technologies will not be fully realized without a national cap on global warming pollution. The sooner we act, the sooner these new industries will start to flourish.

Truth and truthiness. The Congressional Budget Office has argued that a Carbon Tax (Fee) would be more cost effective than Cap & Trade. (But, EDF loves Cap & Trade …) But, a meaningful cap & trade that drives meaningful requirements for reductions (rather than subsidizing serial polluters in their pollution) is far more likely to drive advances than the convoluted and dangerously enriched pork of Lieberman-Warner.

Putting in renewable energy targets into law and directly supporting the development/deployment of renewable energy are far more likely to have meaningful impact in the next several years than the delayed carbon cap within Lieberman-Warner.

5. What legacy will the 110th Congress leave? When future generations look back at this moment, they will either praise the Senate for starting us down the path to solving the global warming crisis, or blame the Senate for squandering this opportunity.

Sadly, this Senate will almost certainly not be overly praised. It failed to pass restructuring of oil industry taxes to pay for renewable energy. It failed to push forward renewable energy targets. It failed …

And, passing through a recklessly inadeqaute bill will not improve the historical record.

Why delay action? Consider the calculus: Do you think come January 2009 that there will be a Congress and a White House more or less favorable to serious action to end our oil addiction and to deal with Global Warming? If you agree with me, that there will be, we should DITCH today’s Lieberman-Warner and FIX-up a better piece of legislation for passage in early 2009.

2 responses to “Don’t sign a petition …

  1. I agree with most of your points having done an extensive analysis of cap and trade, carbon tax and alternatives such as cap and dividend.

    While cap and trade is not the best policy, it for now is the only feasible policy on the floor. There is an argument that something is better than nothing, and that if a policy can be put it place with its related infrastructure, at least the fight has begun…as opposed to waiting and hoping for something better.

    The bill can always be made better, once the public is educated about the dangers and results begin to measured or not. A carbon tax can also be put on top of this bill later.

  2. Guido,

    The real challenges on ‘making this bill better’ are actually not covered in this post and re this petition.

    Challenges to making it better include:

    * Give-away of 40% of permits to serial polluters. Once given away, this value will never be recaptured. This will raise the costs of dealing with Global Warming.

    * Inadequate short-term targets.

    * Borrowing against future allowances.

    Etc …

    This will create impediments for ‘better’ action even a year from now. The “infrastructure” that Lieberman-Warner will put into place will inhibit meaningful action, not enable it.

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