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Obama headed to Capitol Hill to weigh in on Waxman-Markey Draft Bill debate

by Mike Gaworecki

May 4, 2009

The American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), a draft bill released by Henry Waxman and Ed Markey that is currently being debated in the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee (full text here as PDF), is not perfect. But as a comprehensive piece of climate and energy legislation, it is a cause for some hope. The bill would set science-based emissions reduction targets, ramp up renewable energy standards, and provide money to stop international deforestation, to name a few of its highlights.

However, the bill’s shortcomings include some two billion tons of pollution offsets, enough that we wouldn’t have to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels whatsoever in order to meet the emissions reductions the bill calls for. And there are billions of dollars included for the coal industry, purveyors of the dirtiest fossil fuel around, whose only “green” cred is so-called Carbon Capture and Sequestration — a totally unproven technology that is really just a false hope and a dangerous distraction.

Read our full analysis of the bill here.

Of course, the fossil fuels industries are fighting tooth and nail to get even more handouts and to weaken emissions targets as much as possible so that they can coninue business as usual. Not surprisingly, they’ve got some members of Congress nervous. President Obama has made global warming a signature cause, and is reportedly headed down to Congress tomorrow to try and move things along:

President Obama puts his political chips on the line tomorrow when he meets with House Democrats wrestling with legislation to overhaul U.S. energy and global warming policy.

The bill is stuck in subcommittee because of concerns from about a dozen Democrats with strong ties to the coal and gas-and-oil industries, and many predict a push from the popular new president may shove the measure along in the legislative process.

This entire NYT piece, "Risks, rewards abound as Obama enters House climate debate," is well worth the read, as it examines the many political considerations at play in this debate.

Obama’s involvement is a good sign, but it doesn’t necessarily mean a stronger ACES is a sure thing. The only thing that will guarantee Congress does the right thing for the planet rather than for their large donors in the fossil fuels industries is you and me. We have to hold our elected representatives accountable. If you want to help, tell your Rep right now why you’re part of the movement to stop global warming.

We’ve gotten a lot of inspiring stories submitted so far. Who knows, maybe your story could be the one that inspires a member of the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee to do the right thing and support a really strong bill that will kickstart the energy revolution and stop global warming.

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