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Senate Global Warming Legislation Would Fail to Meet Necessary Targets

May 27, 2008

In June the U.S. Senate will begin debate on legislation to address global warming.  The Climate Security Act, S. 3036, fails to meet the scientific targets that will be necessary to avoid the worst affects of climate change.  While the bill and likely substitute amendment offered by Senator Boxer would initiate the first step in placing a declining cap on greenhouse gas emissions so the United States can do its part to reduce the impacts of global warming, the final bill must have more effective implementation measures.

The bill would have the U.S. reduce emissions at affected facilities by approximately 19 percent in the next decade and then continue on a declining path after that.  Unfortunately, this would be well short of the earlier goals of reaching a 20 percent reduction below 1990 levels that PSR has supported based on the best modeling data and scientific information available.  In addition, there are several mechanisms that would allow the president to suspend the bill but no direction for the EPA to strengthen pollution controls if the U.S. discovers it is falling behind in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Encourage your senators to support debate on the Climate Security Act and call for the following improvements.

  • Fewer giveaways to polluters — too many free allowances are given to the fossil fuel industry, especially coal.  PSR will support amendments to reduce these allowances and require tighter pollution controls as criteria for being eligible for allowances.
  • No nuclear subsidies — despite enormous government support in the form of tax credits, loan guarantees and limited liability already provided to the dangerous nuclear industry, it is asking for more.  PSR opposes any financial support to the already mature nuclear industry.   
  • Scientific certainty — the greenhouse gas reductions called for in the bill are a starting point, but they fall short of the necessary goals.  PSR is calling on the Senate to include a certainty provision that would allow the EPA to tighten controls and shorten reduction periods in order to avert the catastrophic consequences of climate change.
  • Public health adaptation — though the bill has a focus on international adaptation needs, little is done to protect public health in the U.S.  PSR is working to have language added to the bill that would provide funding for emergency management, public health needs and hospital services necessary as a result of global warming.

Please call or write your senators and tell them to support these improvements in the bill.  This legislation needs to be the cornerstone for U.S. efforts and it must be effective if we are to confront climate change in a serious manner.

For more information contact Will Callaway at 202-667-4260 x 224 or wcallaway@psr.org.

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