Lieberman-Warner Bill Not Fixed--Now Ditched!
Friends of the Earth has been on the forefront of the battle to fix the Lieberman-Warner global warming bill. Republicans shut down debate on the bill and it was not fixed, so it was ditched by the Democratic leadership. While the bill fell short of what scientists say we must do to reduce global warming pollution, it is still abhorrent that Republican senators were unwilling to even allow debate on amendments that could have significantly strengthened the bill.
The climate crisis threatens our health, economy and way of life, and bold legislative action is urgently needed. Looking forward to 2009, the Democratic leadership in both the House and Senate must advance strong bills that inspire environmentalists and progressives across the country to take action and that can ultimately earn the support of all Americans.
Friends of the Earth's compiled resources about the bill remain below.
Lieberman-Warner Original Version
Learn about the original bill and track how Friends of the Earth has followed the bill.
Fails to solve global warming
Scientists say that in order to avoid catastrophic climate change, the United States must launch an immediate effort to cut its global warming pollution and that this effort must reduce emissions to at least 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Such a cut is the bare minimum that a political solution must achieve, as scientific knowledge continues to develop and recent studies show climate change is occurring more quickly than almost anyone had anticipated.
Unfortunately, even if the Lieberman-Warner bill achieves its goals by 2050, emissions would only be reduced by 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, according to the EPA. Additionally, new provisions in the bill which include international offsets suggest that domestic emissions reductions could be put off entirely until as late as 2020. This is a wholly inadequate response that doesn't solve the problem.
Giveaways to corporate polluters
The Lieberman-Warner bill gives hundreds of billions of dollars to corporate polluters over 38 years. The giveaways come in two forms. First, pollution permits (worth up to $489 billion) will be handed to the fossil fuel industry for free. Instead of this approach, polluters should be required to pay for all emissions through a 100 percent auction of pollution permits. Second, the revenues raised by the bill's auctions should be invested wisely; instead, much revenue is directed to polluters through billions of dollars of subsidies to coal and potentially to nuclear power (worth up to $105 billion).
Specifically, the nuclear power industry could benefit up to $92 billion dollars of the auction revenue. Already, nuclear receives more subsidies than any other electricity generating technology, excluding hydropower; between 1943 and 1999, nuclear power received 96 percent of electricity generating technology subsidies.
Fails to invest revenues fairly and wisely
Revenues generated by the bill's auctions must be spent fairly and wisely. Instead of giving money to polluters, the bill should use revenues to fund:
- Energy efficiency and clean energy: Using energy more efficiently and promoting clean and safe sources of energy, such as wind, solar and geothermal.
- Economic growth and assistance: The bill must guarantee that it assists low and middle income US Americans as they cope with increased energy costs.
- Adaptation funding for developing countries: Vulnerable communities in around the world need funding to prepare for the impacts of climate change, such as droughts, floods, and fires.
- Clean transportation: Funds from this bill can provide US Americans with other options besides driving, which will significantly reduce our dependence on oil.
- Clean technology for developing countries: The bill should fund truly clean energy technologies to help countries leapfrog to climate friendly energy systems. Such technologies do not include oil, gas for export, any type of coal technology, hydropower above ten megawatts, or nuclear power.
- Funding for reducing tropical deforestation: The bill should fund assistance to countries for reducing tropical deforestation, which is critical to reducing global warming pollution, in a way that protects the environment and peoples’ rights.
- Response to Lieberman-Warner substitute - May 21, 2008
- Lieberman-Warner's Nuclear Subsidies Condemned - May 15, 2008