Boxer, NRDC, ED Attack Friends of the Earth Campaign: "Defeatist", "Small", "Isolated"

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 05 Feb 2008 15:32:00 GMT

Last Thursday, Darren Samuelson of E&E News interviewed Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and an NRDC representative in response to the Friends of the Earth campaign to “fix or ditch” the Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade bill (S. 2191). In its campaign, Friends of the Earth challenged Boxer for supporting Lieberman-Warner’s high degree of emitter giveaways and subsidies and its target of 60% reductions from 1990 levels of greenhouses by 2050, although the Democratic presidential candidates are calling for 100% auction and 80% by 2050.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.):
Their logic doesn’t hold up. What we need to do is not waste time. If we can get a strong bill signed into law, we should get it. And if we can’t, we shouldn’t. . . . They’re sort of the defeatist group out there. They’ve been defeatists from day one. And it’s unfortunate. They’re isolated among the environmental groups.
Boxer went on to emphasize the importance of holding senators accountable on global warming through test votes.

Julia Bovey, NRDC:

We do not agree with Friends of the Earth. We are not willing to give up the fight. We believe the Lieberman-Warner bill as passed out of committee is a very strong start. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.

NRDC had previously described the bill as “a strong start”.

Brent Blackwelder, Friends of the Earth president, responded:

Far from being defeatists, we’re being realists. We’re focusing on what the scientists tell us has to be done to solve global warming. It’s not acceptable to pass a bill that falls short of the science. It’s not acceptable to pass a bill that gives $1 trillion to polluters.

On Monday, Environmental Defense Climate & Air director Mark McLeod sent an email to several Senate offices excoriating Friends of the Earth for placing L-W and Boxer “under attack”, claiming that opposition in the “liberal blogosphere” to Lieberman-Warner or the passage of any climate bill in this session “will become orthodoxy if we do not present a counterview from respected pro-environment voices.”

He characterized Friends of the Earth as “small and fairly isolated” in contrast to ED and “many other major environmental groups” who “are in favor of moving forward to get a strong bill like Lieberman-Warner,” saying also that Friends of the Earth is calling for “unrealistic dramatic changes.”

The full text of McLeod’s email is after the jump.

Text of the email (verified by various sources, see also Energy Smart, the blog of the “major DailyKos contributor” named below):
From: Mark MacLeod
Cc: Elizabeth Thompson
Sent: Mon Feb 04 XXXXXXXX 2008
Subject: Need your help challenging attacks on Chairman Boxer, the EPW Committee, and climate bill


   Senator Boxer and the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act have come under attack in ads placed on liberal blogs. Some blog posts have picked up on the claims in these ads (see Environmental Defense has been defending the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act and the work of the EPW committee on these blogs and through posts on our own blog, but we feel at this point it would be very helpful to have members of the Committee voice their support for Sen. Boxer, the committee, and the LWCSA. One idea we have would be to run ads on the blog sites and we would be happy to work with your office to arrange for filming of a short statement of support. Other ideas include a joint letter from the members of the committee who voted for the bill. The more members that would participate – the stronger the message (further details below).

   Please let us know if you would consider participating in such an ad or taking other action. Time is of the essence. FYI – I am sending this message to all the offices that voted for the bill as well as other prominent supporters

   Mark MacLeod

   Friends of the Earth (FOE) is running ads against the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act, calling for killing the bill (if unrealistic dramatic changes are not made).

   – There are growing calls in the liberal blogosphere for opposition to the bill; and a general push against passing any climate bill in this Congress. This position has NOT yet solidified, but will become orthodoxy if we do not present a counterview from respected pro-environment voices.

   – A major DailyKos contributor today (2/1/08) ran a full-throat expression of the FOE point view, directly attacking Sen. Boxer for wanting to move forward and for objecting to the FOE ads.

   – Environmental Defense and many other major environmental groups (Friends of the Earth is small and fairly isolated) are in favor of moving forward to get a strong bill like Lieberman-Warner. We may differ on details and areas which require improvement, but are still pushing for action in this Congress.

   – For scientific reasons, and to take advantage of political momentum (which should not be taken for granted), we think it is important to make a strong start on global warming by passing a bill like Lieberman-Warner this year. If there are more environmental supporters in Congress in the future, we can improve it, as we did the Clean Air Act and other important first steps. Delay only makes the solution harder and more expensive.

   – We need a strong voices to stand up for Sen. Boxer, the committee, the LWCSA, and for the importance of acting NOW on climate change. Environmental Defense is interested in running ads featuring that voice on the same blogs where the FOE ad is appearing.

Boucher vs ED on cap-and-trade auctions 4

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 19 Sep 2007 17:46:00 GMT

From E&E News (subscription required), at an event in Washington hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, Rep. Rick Boucher (Va.), chair of the Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee of John Dingell’s Energy and Commerce Committee, said he planned to draft a cap-and-trade bill that distributes tens of billions in pollution credits to U.S. industries for free:

I’m disinclined at the moment to do auctioning, at least in the early years to give it very much prominence, if any at all. The best we can do is give the allowances to the emitters according to their needs. We’re going to have enough problems as it is with coal-fired utilities, for example, and other carbon-intensive industries meeting our production schedules. I think perhaps, at least for the early years, it’s better not to compound these problems by imposing a cost on these emitters of having to go out and pay for these allowances. It will be the least painful, most politically attractive way to do it.

In other comments, Boucher asked Pelosi to delay the conference committee negotiations on the energy bill until he produced his draft cap-and-trade bill, but he said she probably won’t. He agrees with the 80% by 2050 target but is unsure of the path to there: “The schedule that takes us to that very aggressive target will be perhaps the most difficult thing we have to negotiate.” He will be releasing a series of position papers over the coming weeks.

In contrast, Nat Keohane, Ph.D., the Director of Economic Policy and Analysis at Environmental Defense offers support for full auctions in a blog post countering Greg Mankiw’s recent NYT op-ed favoring a carbon tax over a cap-and-trade system (in line with Robert Shapiro’s argument):
Mankiw assumes that allowances in a cap-and-trade system would be handed out for free rather than auctioned, thus generating no federal revenue. Now, I admit that this has been the modus operandi in the past. Virtually all allowances were handed out for free under the wildly successful sulfur dioxide trading program in the U.S., set up by the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. But that doesn’t mean it has to be that way.

The alternative, full auctioning, would raise exactly the same amount of money as a carbon tax, and there are signs that it’s gaining ground. Earlier this year, several states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, including New York and New Jersey, announced plans to auction off 100 percent of their allowances. Plus there are calls to phase in auctioning in the European Union’s Emissions Trading System.

Debate on Cap and Trade with Environmental Defense

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 08 Aug 2007 20:37:00 GMT

Environmental Defense was one of several prominent environmental groups to embrace the Lieberman-Warner proposal:
Joe Lieberman and John Warner are providing remarkable leadership. By developing an approach that has environmental integrity and support from both sides of the aisle they are doing what is necessary to actually make law.
Matt Stoller of Open Left, who has been highly skeptical of all cap-and-trade approaches, let alone the Lieberman-Warner proposal, wrote this analysis yesterday:
Anyway, the bill Bush is going to get behind is the Lieberman-Warner bill, opposed by the Sierra Club but supported by the intensely corporate-friendly and compromised Environmental Defense. There’s a green civil war coming, with ED President Fred Krupp playing the role of the DLC. The other environmental groups are split, with the Pew Center and the Nature Conservancy following Krupp over the cliff. The Union of Concerned Scientists and NRDC are ‘concerned’, and the LCV and the Sierra Club are clear that this is a bad move. If you want to see a dysfunctional, degraded, and compromised movement that have lost touch with their mission statements, look no further than ED, Pew, and the Nature Conservancy.
Today, Tony Kreindler of ED responded on Stoller’s site. Here’s an excerpt:
What Lieberman and Warner have offered is a blueprint for a climate bill with an airtight emissions cap and a market for carbon that will spur investment in cost-effective emissions reductions. They also have a plan for managing economic impacts, and importantly, it doesn’t compromise the integrity of the emissions cap. Does that favor corporations over the environment? We don’t think so, and we won’t support a bill that fails the environmental test.

The discussion is continued at Open Left.