This past June, the House passed the American Clean Energy & Security Act (ACESA). Soon, this bill will be voted on by the Senate. If passed, this climate bill would:
a. Prevent the U.S. from making anything remotely close to its fair share of greenhouse gas emissions reductions – necessary for averting catastrophic consequences and forging an effective global strategy on climate stabilization.
b. Lock us into an extremely complex cap-and-trade scheme that benefits fossil fuel, utilities, the Wall Street, and big agribusinesses, prone to Enron style market manipulations, while doing nothing to save the climate.
c. Use public money to subsidize the most polluting industries like coal and nuclear, drawing much needed financing away from real climate solutions like renewable energy production;
d. Add more toxic and climate polluting smokestacks, especially in backyards of the poor, people of color, and indigenous communities across the U.S., by grandfathering dirty old coal plants, permitting numerous new ones, and subsidizing incinerators as a form of renewable energy.
In the words of leading climate scientist James Hansen, ACESA would "do more harm to the environment than doing nothing at all."
Please contact your Senators and let them know that as a person deeply concerned about climate change, you want to see climate legislation passed, but ONLY IF IT IS REAL AND EFFECTIVE legislation, not like ACESA.
Visit or call your Senators’ home offices before Sept. 7.
After that, Capitol Switchboard is: (202) 224-3121.
Email US senators from link below.
If a Senate bill modeled upon the House version (ACESA) is passed, it will commit us to a pathway that ensures catastrophic climate change – endangering the lives of hundred of millions of people worldwide, especially communities that already suffer the bulk of the impacts and play little or no role in its cause. If the Senate cannot dramatically improve on ACESA, rather than lock bad law into place, our leaders should go back to the drawing board and get serious on producing meaningful legislation. This could mean supporting a filibuster, or a "no" vote on the basis that the bill does not do enough to avert catastrophic warming. Then we must take up the fight for our lives – a real bill that does nothing less than ensure a safe and just future.
Climate change deniers, fossil fuel-based industries, and other special interests will also be seeking to keep climate legislation from passing, but we have entirely different motives. We must make it clear to our leaders that there are other, more honorable reasons to oppose this legislation, and emphasize that many of the provisions of ACESA, likely to also be in the Senate version, are highly likely to worsen rather than remedy the problem of climate change.
Tell your senators that "Worse than Nothing" is Not Good Enough!
Climate SOS is launching a national "Green Bill or No Bill" tour during August and September, seeking to empower people to meet with their Senators, take action, and demand real climate legislation. We especially need local help in these states: ND, IN, AR, LA, NE, OH, WV, PA. Our tour will also touch down in NY, MA, VT, CA, OR, WA.
HELP US HELP OUR PLANET NOW!
Please pass on this alert, join our growing coalition, and/or help out with the tour.
Please contact us at: [email protected]
Visit or call your Senators’ home offices before Sep7. After that, Capitol Switchboard is: (202) 224-3121. Email US senators from here:
KEY TALKING POINTS TO BRING UP WITH YOUR SENATOR:
We need not just any climate bill, but one that will actually rise to the challenge
Tell your senator: "A vote against a climate bill that not only fails to go far enough, but would actually make things worse, is a green vote. You know that we can and must do better if we want to forestall climate change. Please scrap this bill and start over if need be. In its current form, it will do more harm than good….Here’s why:"
1. The bill does not even aim for keeping atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration below 450 parts-per-million (ppm). Current science tells us that we must return to below 350 ppm. We are currently at
387 ppm and already experiencing serious consequences while the worst is still coming down the pipeline, due to delays in climate system amplifications of man-made warming. Let’s take serious action before it’s too late!
2. It relies upon a cap and trade scheme to reduce emissions. Cap and trade has been tried before-for example, in the European Union and elsewhere-and proven ineffective(1,2). Dr. James Hansen calls it "a subterfuge designed to allow business-as-usual to continue".
Effective options (revenue-neutral tax and dividend, for example) for regulating carbon emissions should be implemented.
3. It allows carbon polluters to keep polluting if they buy offsets.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has faulted the credibility of the lucrative* CO2 offsets market, yet the bill continues to rely upon this dubious scheme(3,4). Offsets are not an effective substitute for straightforward pollution reduction at the smokestack. Over half of the approved offset credits under the Kyoto Protocol have turned out not to meet the required criteria of "verifiable, additional or permanent"
4. It preempts the EPA authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. This important public agency, which exists to protect Americans from environmental harm, should be allowed to do its job.
5. It categorizes a host of destructive technologies, such as the burning of biomass and garbage, as "renewable," which makes them eligible for taxpayer- and ratepayer-funded green energy incentives.
We should not be giving toxic smokestack and carbon-intensive incinerator technologies the same privileged status as wind, geothermal, and solar.
6. Industry-specific carbon accounting loopholes are written into the bill. For example, the CO2 from wood biomass burning, in a seemingly arbitrary move, does not get counted or capped at the smokestack, and when trees are harvested to feed biomass plants, the carbon emissions are not counted in the forestry sector either. Biomass burning should not get a free ride. Biomass burning results in carbon emissions that will take decades, potentially hundreds of years to resequester, if ever. We desperately need to be protecting, not burning, our forest and grassland ecosystems.
7. It grandfathers existing coal plants and will allow many new coal plants to come on line. Even though Carbon Capture and Sequestration technology is supposedly required years later, its existence can not be counted on, is much more expensive compared to solar and wind, and potential leakage makes underground storage of sequestered CO2 a serious threat to the integrity of climate mitigation and even public safety. We should be quickly phasing out coal plants starting now. We also need to invest in just transition pathways for utilities workers, coal miners and their families, so that the new energy economy is one that is rooted in community justice.
8. A letter to Congress, signed by over 200 organizations nationwide (initiated by the Center for Biological Diversity) points to many of the same concerns we identify, claiming …"we recognize the massive political effort that is necessary to pass climate legislation, but a bill with inadequate targets, loophole ridden mechanisms, rollbacks of our flagship environmental laws, and inadequate financing to help developing countries address climate change will move us in the wrong direction."
In sum, this bill will entrench us in pathways into deeper pollution and poverty, and our last chance of averting the worst of climate catastrophe will be lost forever. Our most vulnerable communities both in the U.S. and around the world – predominantly working poor, people of color and Indigenous communities that have the lightest carbon footprints will be the first to suffer from the impacts of these failures.
*(Global CO2 offset transactions have been estimated at $7.2 billion in 2008, with transactions in the secondary market topping $25 billion. Under an ACESA type of bill this market will be greatly expanded
Climate SOS – www.climatesos.org – [email protected]