TAKE-ACTION TOOLBOX #2: STRENGTHEN climate legislation

We have more work to do on the climate bill.

In June, 2009 the House passed a global warming control bill called the American Clean Energy and Security Act, whose goals — if met —  would give us at best a 50/50 chance of avoiding cataclysmic runaway global warming in the not-too-distant future. At the same time, it would repeal the power of other laws, such as the Clean Air Act, to act as a global warming backstop.

Thanks to you, we won a key — but tragically temporary — victory in the Senate: The Senate bill, introduced in September, initially maintained the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to curb greenhouse gas pollution under the Clean Air Act, one of our most successful environmental laws.  But we know that Big Coal, Oil, and Gas, as well as opponents in the Senate, continued their attacks on the Act, and after mark-up by the Environment and Public Works Committee, the bill now bans the Environmental Protection Agency from fulfilling its longstanding duty under the Clean Air Act to reduce greenhouse pollutants based on scientific standards. This is not a time to cheer. The fossil-fuel industry has received what it wants and will now seek more.

The crisis is urgent.  While the Senate bill recognizes the absolute necessity of stronger emissions-reduction targets, the targets in the Senate bill — like those in the House bill — are tragically inadequate.This legislation would not save the polar bear and hundreds of other species and ecosystems because it simply doesn’t go far enough fast enough.

The Center is advocating for legislation that sets an overall cap on atmospheric carbon dioxide levels consistent with the best available science of no more than 350 ppm, which would require reducing emissions by 45 percent or more below 1990 levels; that works with, rather than replaces, the Clean Air Act; and that eliminates or greatly reduces offsets and other loopholes.  But we need your help to make this happen.