A Missed Opportunity
Posted Jun. 1, 2009 / Posted by: RConnors
On May 21, comprehensive climate change legislation passed a congressional committee for the first time in history. Unfortunately, what should be a momentous occasion for all of us is, instead, a huge letdown.
For more than 10 years, I have fought in the trenches with champions such as Congressmen Henry Waxman and Ed Markey (the bill's sponsors), hoping for an opportunity to pass the sort of bold clean energy bill that our planet desperately needs. After last year's elections, we finally have that opportunity, but it's being squandered with this bill.
Here's why we can't support this legislation:
- It sets the bar too low. It would reduce pollution, but not enough to save us from catastrophic effects of global warming.
- Instead of being forced to pay for the transition to clean energy, corporate polluters would receive hundreds of billions of dollars in handouts, and ordinary citizens like you and me would be stuck with the costs. (That's why Shell Oil and other corporate polluters support the bill.)
- The bill contains massive "offset" loopholes that would delay its already-too-weak pollution reductions.
- Despite the recent financial meltdown, the bill allows Wall Street traders to game new carbon markets, creating the potential for wild swings in energy prices that damage our economy.
Bush and Cheney are gone, but there are still too many Big Oil, Dirty Coal and Wall Street-backed Democratic members of Congress doing lobbyists' bidding, rather than fighting for the public interest. It's up to us to hold them accountable and demand true solutions.
Friends of the Earth is working to empower the most progressive members of Congress to fight for a stronger bill. Billions of people's lives are at stake and we need to support champions who will ensure the United States leads the world in solving this crisis.
P.S. One of the reasons strong legislation is needed in the U.S. is because we need to show leadership in advance of international climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December. Click to learn how this bill could impact these negotiations.
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