Lead or get out of the way

by Chris Miller

June 28, 2007

We at Greenpeace very much enjoyed listening to Chairman Dingell’s opening comments yesterday.  We agree that an emissions cap of 80 percent (with auctioned credits) AND a carbon tax would be a very good start.  And we strongly support both ideas. The suggestion that CAFÉ is unimportant is laughable and irresponsible.  

Reductions in transportation related emissions are essential and failure to get on a path toward major reductions from tailpipes will make it impossible to reduce total emissions by 80 percent by mid-century.  Our analysis shows that even if we cut transportation related emissions in half, the sectors share of total emissions will double from one to two-thirds of the problem by mid-century.    

Our concern with the Mr. Dingell’s position do not come from his rhetoric on climate change, but rather the initial legislation that he and Mr. Boucher submitted to the Committee. The draft legislation was not only inadequate because it did not include a renewable portfolio standard or increases to mandatory fuel economy standards. The larger problem with the draft was that it included several extremely harmful provisions.  Although these provisions have been removed from consideration today and yesterday they have not been taken off the table by Mr. Dingell yet.    

The draft legislation would:

  • Repeal the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Act authority to regulate global warming pollution from vehicles and substantially limit its authority for cleaner fuels by legislatively overturning the Supreme Court ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA.  This authority could be a key administrative power in 2009.

  •  Block California and a least 11 other states from going forward with adopted clean car standards that limit global warming emissions from vehicles. Under the Clean Air Act, California has always been authorized to go beyond federal minimum air pollution standards, and other states may adopt the California standards – in their entirety.

  • Open the door to liquid coal fuels and other nonrenewable alternatives, while failing to ensure that these fuels produce substantially less global warming pollution than the fuels we use today. Together with the liquid coal incentives in the broader bill, which lack clear limits on emissions, the bill would propel the development of a liquid coal fuels industry, with only a plan in place, but no guarantee of global warming emissions reductions.


Some of you might have been left wondering after reading the post on Grist about Mr Dingell.

We cannot disagree that Mr. Dingell is one of the most powerful members of congress, and we will work with him and his staff to craft legislation that solves climate change. In the end, Mr. Dingell needs to lead or get out of the way of the leadership’s effort to advance strong global warming legislation.


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