Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) released the much-anticipated full text (PDF) of their climate legislation on Friday, prompting several big-name green groups to take sides on whether or not the House Democrats’ bill is strong enough.
Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and Public Citizen released a joint statement on Wednesday as reports on the deal trickled out, arguing that “the compromises being struck on the bill undermine these goals.”
With the full text now available, Greenpeace Executive Director Phil Radford issued a statement Friday outright condemning the changes. His group, he said, “cannot support” the bill in its current form.
“Despite the best efforts of Chairman Waxman, this bill has been seriously undermined by the lobbying of industries more concerned with profits than the plight of our planet. While science clearly tells us that only dramatic action can prevent global warming and its catastrophic impacts, this bill has fallen prey to political infighting and industry pressure. We cannot support this bill in its current state. We call on President Obama and leaders in Congress to get back to work and produce a bill, based on science, which presents a clear road map for significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, transforms our economy with clean, renewable energy technology, generates new green jobs and shows real leadership internationally.
To avoid the worst impacts of global warming, the best available science suggests the United States and other developed nations together must achieve emission cuts of at least 25-40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80-95 percent by 2050. But this legislation only sets a domestic target at approximately 4 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. Even with additional measures elsewhere in the legislation, the U.S. effort would still fall far short of the science.
The Sierra Club struck a more positive tone about the legislation, but Executive Director Carl Pope warned that energy interests are working to water down the proposal:
[I]t is clear that Big Oil, Big Coal and other polluters are still holding out for a Congressional bailout. They will continue to try to riddle this legislation with loopholes, water it down, and load it up with hundreds of billions of dollars in giveaways. They don’t want it to deliver a recovery fueled by the clean energy jobs that America needs.
… As this bill moves through the many remaining steps in the legislative process, we will work to strengthen this bill, so that it meets President Obama’s challenge to Congress and the American people. Only a bill which accomplishes these three things can really jumpstart the green recovery, build the clean energy future, and end our addiction to oil and coal:
* Dramatically ramp up America’s transition to cleaner, cheaper energy sources like wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal
* Slash energy waste in order to cut emissions quickly and cheaply, while saving consumers money on their energy bills
* Close the carbon pollution loophole and make polluters pay for the carbon pollution they emit
Most of the other mainstream environmental groups are generally praising the Waxman-Markey plan, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the League of Conservation Voters, the Wilderness Society, the Nature Conservancy, and the Environmental Defense Fund.
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