Friends of the Earth Issues Detailed Critique of Kerry-Boxer Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 30 Sep 2009 16:35:00 GMT

Breaking from most national environmental organizations, Friends of the Earth has issued a detailed critique of the Kerry-Boxer Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, which limits global warming pollution and invests in clean energy:

We commend Senators Boxer and Kerry for their dedication to combating the important problem of climate change but we cannot support a bill that fails to solve the problem. Overall the draft is riddled with loopholes and does not go far enough to protect the planet.

Friends of the Earth’s “areas of concern” include:

Emissions Cap: Science demands at least a 40% reduction in emissions, compared to 1990, by 2020. The draft bill has emissions reductions targets of about 20 percent below 2005 levels – nowhere near what a fair U.S. contribution to a global emissions reductions should be to avert climate catastrophe

Clean Air Act: The draft bill prohibits the Administration from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants and other stationary sources until 2020.

Offset Loopholes: The extensive use of unreliable offsets in this draft bill, up to 2 billion tons a year, seriously undermines the integrity of the already weak emissions cap and delays the health, environmental, and economic benefits of shifting to a low-carbon economy.

Methane Regulations: The House-passed bill would require emissions from landfills, coal mines and natural gas pipelines to be regulated, but under the Kerry-Boxer draft, these sources can voluntarily capture methane in exchange for offset payments.

Markets Regulations: The bill would create from scratch a new commodities market for carbon that could quickly be the largest market in the world and has no specifics on how that market would be regulated.

Subsidizes Dirty Energy: The bill gives special subsidies to expensive, unsafe and environmentally damaging technologies such as nuclear reactors and carbon capture and sequestration and capture for coal plants, not to mention ambiguous incentives for biofuels.

Friends of the Earth’s policy team will be taking a deeper look at the bill in further days and release a more detailed analysis at a later date so that we can work with the Senate to pass legislation that will fairly and effectively address the problem of climate change.