Response to Lieberman-Warner substitute
May 21, 2008
For Immediate Release
Nick Berning, 202-222-0748
Friends of the Earth Statement on the Lieberman-Warner Substitute
Money shifts in good ways and bad, but bill gets worse on most basic test: whether it does what scientists say we must to avoid catastrophic warming
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder had the following statement in response to the Lieberman-Warner substitute amendment released today:
“Some of these changes make the Lieberman-Warner bill better, but others represent substantial weakening.
“We commend Senator Boxer for reducing the bill’s giveaways to the fossil fuel industry, though hundreds of billions of dollars for polluters remain. We are also pleased that this substitute increases mass transportation funding and creates rebates for citizens. The substitute increases funding to help vulnerable countries prepare for inevitable climate impacts; however this overall increase masks a significant reduction in assistance in the early years of the legislation. Not all expenditure changes were positive—for example, considerable funding for renewable energy was cut.
“Unfortunately, the bill appears to have become weaker by the most important measure. The new cost containment provision could delay short-term emissions reductions, and the substitute’s new offsets language further undermines the bill’s already-weak emissions caps. Let’s be clear. Scientists now say that we must phase out global warming pollution almost completely by mid-century, but according to EPA models, this bill gets us to only 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2050—that’s only a 35 percent reduction from current levels.
“The Lieberman-Warner bill comes nowhere close to doing what scientists say we must to have a shot at avoiding catastrophic outcomes. It is a wholly inadequate response to the greatest environmental crisis of our time. It remains Friends of the Earth’s strong belief that this bill must be either fixed or ditched.”
Friends of the Earth (foe.org) is the U.S. voice of the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 70 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has been at the forefront of high-profile efforts to create a more healthy, just world.