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US Climate Action Partnership Proposal Deeply Flawed

Posted Feb. 17, 2009 / Posted by: NBerning

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Nick Berning: (202) 222-0748

Friends of the Earth says much stronger approach is needed to avoid climate catastrophe

WASHINGTON, D.C.—A proposal for global warming regulation was released today by the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (a coalition of businesses from polluting industries as well as some environmental groups). Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder had the following response:

“While we welcome corporate engagement in the climate policy debate, the proposal released today by the U.S. Climate Action Partnership is deeply flawed and must not be the basis for domestic policy to address global warming.

“Put simply, the proposal would reward corporate polluters with hundreds of billions of dollars of giveaways, and its near-term pollution reduction targets are far weaker than what scientists have called for. The proposal is further weakened by its massive carbon offset loopholes. Were such a proposal to be enacted into law, it would fail to achieve the emission reductions we need in the U.S. and would undermine our ability to meaningfully and credibly engage in international climate negotiations. This is a dead-end approach that policymakers should reject.”

Some of Friends of the Earth’s critiques of the proposal:

• U.S. CAP’s proposed 14-20 percent emissions reduction target (below 2005 levels) for the year 2020 is far weaker than what scientists have called for. In a memo to the Obama transition team, U.S. environmental community leaders recently called for U.S. reductions of at least 35 percent by 2020. And even this U.S. environmental community call is at the low end of the range of reductions that the world’s leading panel of climate scientists, the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has called for.

• U.S. CAP wants to include the use of carbon offset loopholes in climate legislation. Unfortunately, offsets can allow U.S. corporate polluters to continue producing more than their fair share of greenhouse gas emissions, and it is nearly impossible to verify that such offsets, especially on the international market, end up producing the intended emissions reductions elsewhere.

• The U.S. CAP proposal calls for “a significant portion” of emission permits to be given away to industry for free, which would total hundreds of billions of dollars worth of polluter giveaways. This stands in contrast to President-elect Obama’s call for a 100 percent auction of such permits that would obligate corporate polluters to pay for their emissions. A 100 percent auction would also generate revenue to fight global warming and assist the public. The U.S. CAP proposal also calls for other massive giveaways to polluting industries, including coal.

• U.S. CAP would allow coal-fired power plants using current technology to be built for at least another seven years, potentially locking in new pollution for decades to come. Coal is the dirtiest energy source there is, and causes the most greenhouse gas emissions. Top NASA scientist James Hansen has called for an immediate ban on construction of new coal-fired power plants with current technology, and for a quick phase-out of such plants that already exist. Any effective U.S. climate policy must prevent such new coal plants from being built.

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Friends of the Earth (www.foe.org) is the U.S. voice of the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.

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