President Obama vowed to “restore science to its rightful place” in his inagural address
. And then earlier today he said
, "Now is the time for us to lead…. We cannot be afraid of the future. And we must not be prisoners of the past."
The Waxman-Markey climate legislation, however, will not do what the science says is necessary to avert the worst effects of climate change. In fact, House Democrats have worked extensively
with the coal industry to edit the bill, which has translated into weakened emissions targets and massive offsets, in addition to several other critical shortcomings. Instead of leaving coal in the past – as the dirtiest of fossil fuels, it certainly has no place in a sustainable future – the coal industry now stands to reap significant rewards from the American Climate and Energy Security Act as it’s currently written.
That is why Greenpeace opposes the bill in its current form. Read our statement here
The President must deliver on his campaign pledge to set climate policy based on science, not politics. Without President Obama’s leadership, corporate polluters will continue to highjack this process and ensure that we continue business as usual rather than implement policies to combat climate change.
Here are some of the key shortcomings of the bill:
- The Nobel-prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that to avoid the worst climate impacts, the United States and other industrialized countries must cut their emissions by 25-40% below 1990 levels by 2020. The short-term target in this bill is only a 4% reduction by 2020.
- The already weak targets set by the bill are further undermined by 2 billion tons per year of allowable offsets. That number is so large that the amount of available offsets will exceed the actual pollution reductions required under the cap until at least 2026—meaning it will be more than a decade before polluters would have to make real cuts in their emissions.
- Coal -fired power plants are the single largest source of global warming pollution in the US. In order to tackle climate change, we need to begin phasing out coal immediately. Far from phasing-out coal plants, however, Waxman-Markey will spur the growth of a new generation of coal-fired plants, locking in this dirty energy source for decades to come and sinking tens of billions of taxpayer dollars into the myth of carbon capture and sequestration – an untested, and unproven technology that is decades away from full-scale deployment even by the most optimistic estimates.
- Worst of all, the Waxman-Markey bill will actually remove the President’s existing authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act—authority recently reaffirmed by the Supreme Court. At a time when we need should be pursuing every available means to stop global warming, Congress should not be throwing one of the most powerful tools at the President’s disposal.
We are calling on President Obama to move beyond rhetoric and deliver on his commitments to “restore science to its rightful place” and to lead the world in addressing climate change.