Greenpeace Critical of Draft Senate Climate Bill

Media release - September 30, 2009
WASHINGTON—In response to the draft climate legislation introduced today by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Greenpeace USA Global Warming Campaign Director Damon Moglen issued the following statement:

"While the language the Senate unveiled today contains some improvements over the House bill, it fails to commit the US to meaningful, science-based greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed to protect us from runaway climate change.  This proposal meets neither the needs of science nor those of the international community, which is currently negotiating the landmark climate treaty.

"This proposal comes as climate science increasingly suggests that global warming is advancing even more quickly and more broadly than predicted. A UN report released just last week projects the planet is on track to warm beyond 2 degrees Celsius, a threshold climate scientists say would create an unacceptable risk for a global climate catastrophe.  Despite this urgency, the legislation only proposes to cut emissions by 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 while the Nobel Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicates that developed countries must cut emissions at least 25% - 40% under 1990 levels by 2020.

"The threat of runaway global warming has prompted countries such as Japan, India, Indonesia and China to commit to increasingly ambitious emissions reductions in recent weeks. The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), low-lying island nations whose very existence is threatened by sea level rise, urged world leaders last week to preserve their countries' livelihood and survival by ensuring that global temperatures be kept as far below 1.5 degrees Celsius as possible.

"For years there has been scientific consensus on the perils of global warming. Now there is increasingly international political consensus on the need for bold, immediate, and coordinated action by world leaders. Unfortunately, what is still missing is a plan from the U.S. that matches our historic responsibility to address the crisis and the scale of the threat we all face. With the deadline for action at the Copenhagen Climate Summit fast approaching, we urge President Obama to assume leadership for global warming policy and to commit to negotiate a fair, ambitious and binding treaty in line with the science and not the demands of the fossil fuel industry."

CONTACTS: Damon Moglen, Greenpeace USA global warming campaign director, 202-352- 4223; Joe Smyth, Media Officer, 831-566-5647

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Notes: Unlike the standard 1990 baseline used by scientists and policymakers around the world, the draft Senate bill uses a 2005 baseline to measure emissions reductions. To avoid the worst impacts of global warming, scientists have established that the United States and other developed nations together must achieve emission cuts of at least 25-40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80-95 percent by 2050. Using the 2005 baseline of the Senate legislation, needed emission reductions should be 35-48% by 2020. The United Nations Environment Program on September 24 released a Climate Change Science Compendium review of the latest climate science since the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report in 2007: http://www.unep.org/compendium2009/ Greenpeace, with a coalition of six NGO's and a group of 47 NGO experts from around the world, has written the Copenhagen Treaty - a blueprint for what we want to see world leaders agree when they meet at the Climate Summit in Copenhagen in December. http://www.greenpeace.org/raw/content/international/press/reports/ngo-copenhagen-treaty-legal.pdf Greenpeace’s Energy [R]evolution is a practical blueprint for how the US and the world can cut emissions, phase out nuclear power, save money, create jobs and maintain global economic development without fueling catastrophic global warming. http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/press-center/reports4/energy-r-evolution-a-sustain