The world is not going to turn its back on coal.
U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu

The Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy Security Act (ACES) won’t cut emissions. It won’t serve as a platform we can improve later anymore than the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) served as a foot in the door to improve our democracy when it promoted voter purges and Diebold electronic voting machines. But one last argument is left to supporters: we need to support ACES in order to improve America’s negotiating position in Copenhagen.

This bill would improve the U.S. negotiating position, since our international  friends and allies tend to grade us on a special needs curve.  The problem is that our government would use this increased leverage to weaken rather than strengthen any climate deal.  The current U.S. position is to support more coal, and oppose  strong emissions reductions in the next ten years.  The U.S. helped weaken the last climate change treaty by pushing  to include carbon trading and offsets in Kyoto. Does it really make sense for environmentalists to support a bill that won’t reduce emissions, that does not provide an infrastructure for future emissions reduction in order to let our government do the same thing a second time?


References

Gar Lipow; “Waxman-Markey bill would do more for climate without cap-and-trade provision – Should be called Jekyll-Hyde”;; Grist Magazine; 21-May-2009; <http://tinyurl.com/AcesNoC-T>

Gar Lipow; “Offsets are still counterfeit carbon credits – Clapping louder”; Grist Magazine; 1-Jun-2009; <http://tinyurl.com/OffFalse>

Gar Lipow; “Pissing the earth away”; Grist Magazine; 9-Jun-2009; <http://tinyurl.com/GristPiss>

Gar Lipow; “American Climate Energy Security bill still makes things worse. ACES is not playing with a full deck.”; Grist Magazine; 3-Jul-2009; <http://tinyurl.com/AcesNoDeck>

George Monbiot; “Why do we allow the US to act like a failed state on climate change? The Waxman-Markey climate bill is the best we will get from America until the corruption of public life is addressed.”; The Guardian – Environment – George Monbiot’s Blog; 26-Jun-2009; <http://tinyurl.com/GradeCurve>

West Coast Climate Equity;”Steven Chu Backpedals on Coal-fired Power”; West Coast Climate Equity Global Climate Change Information; 14-Jan-2009;  <http://tinyurl.com/ChuCoal>

Siobhan Hughes; “Energy Secretary Backs Clean-Coal Investment”;  Wall Street Journal;  7-Apr-2009; <http://tinyurl.com/wsjChuCoal>

Jeff Biggers;”Coalfield residents respond to Obama’s announcement on mountaintop removal – Kinder, Gentler Blasting, Leveling of Mountains, Filling of Streams”; Grist Magazine; 11-Jun-2009;  <http://tinyurl.com/kindMTR>

Mark Stevenson;”US nixes 40 percent cuts at climate change talks”; The Associated Press; 23-Jun-2009; <http://tinyurl.com/NoGHGcuts>