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Press Release: Environmental Group Denounces House Energy Bill as Sham

[ Ed. note: The following press release from our Secure Green Future project was sent out far and wide to try to correct the misconception that the climate bill passed by Congress is a solid step forward in addressing global warming. An emerging protest voice from the environmental perspective joined the fray as the vote drew near, but the loud chorus of well-funded environmental organizations supporting the disastrously compromised Waxman-Markey bill carried the day.]

For immediate release: June 29, 2009

Maggie Zhou, [email protected], 781-316-8283
Eli Beckerman, [email protected], 617-821-1453

The Waxman-Markey bill, or the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), that passed the US House on Friday, is a false climate-protection solution more appropriately characterized as a polluter-protection bill, according to leaders of Secure Green Future (SGF), a grassroots environmental group based in Massachusetts. The group joined a number of other statewide and national groups in calling for the bill to be withdrawn and completely rewritten.

According to SGF legislative analyst Maggie Zhou, “ACES creates an illusion of ambitious climate legislation, while actually ensuring perilous growth of carbon emissions for decades to come, locking in construction of numerous new dirty coal power plants, and stripping away existing EPA power to regulate carbon. It is a big win for the fossil fuel industry, who will receive massive taxpayer giveaways and unconditional investments. It will continue to delay the urgently needed transition to a low carbon economy and, going into the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference this December, will squander hopes for any meaningful international agreement on climate action that could save our collective future on this planet.”

Eli Beckerman, a project coordinator for Secure Green Future, added, “Our window for critical climate action is very short, on the order of a few years. The trivial targets in this bill – which are 20 times less ambitious than the minimal requirement defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to avert climate catastrophe – don’t even begin to address catastrophic climate change. And even that IPCC target is now looking too weak from more recent science. This bill will keep any meaningful alternative legislation off the table for years to come, ensuring we miss any remaining opportunities to pull back from the brink, before powerful planetary amplifying mechanisms take global warming out of our control.”

Last week Secure Green Future was joined in their call for a “no” vote against the bill by a handful of public interest organizations including the CLEAN network, Progressive Democrats of America, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and even former Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich. Noting that many established environmental groups continued to support the bill, despite its weak targets and polluter-friendly provisions, Zhou noted that “There needs to be some soul-searching among the environmental community to ask how so many groups were led into supporting legislation that is totally inadequate. We must redouble our efforts to get new legislation that will truly resolve the risk of climate catastrophe – we can’t be satisfied with the non-solutions that Congress is offering us.” Zhou added, “It’s time to begin a real mobilization to simultaneously revive our economy while we avert the most severe climate consequences. Over 300,000 lives are already being lost each year, along with billions in damage to the economy – and the impacts are going to get much worse1.

Secure Green Future is a project of the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities. Further information on ACES and on climate science can be found at www.securegreenfuture.org

1. According to the prestigious 2006 Stern report for the UK government, authored by former World Bank chief economist Nicholas Stern, impacts of climate change – absent decisive, urgent reductions – could shrink the global economy by as much as 20 percent by mid-century, while newer data suggests this figure is much higher.

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