sábado, octubre 17, 2009

For immediate release: October 8, 2009


Brian Tokar, 802-229-0087 briant@pshift.com

Rachel Smolker, 802-482-2848 rsmolker@riseup.net

A controversial article posted last week on a popular environmental website has inadvertently highlighted environmentalists’ skepticism toward the cap-and-trade provisions of climate legislation now before the US Congress. The article, posted on the environmental news site Grist.org on October 1st, was titled “‘No compromise’ faction attacks climate bill,” and attempted to dismiss the activities of Climate SOS (climatesos.org) and other groups highly critical of the legislation, as far outside the environmental mainstream. A review of comments posted in response to the article tells a very different story, according to members of the Climate SOS network.

Out of 55 original, non-duplicate comments posted to the Grist.org site by mid-day October 6th, 34 were critical of the article and of the “cap-and-trade” approach to limiting emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Fourteen comments defended the legislation and/or supported the article’s point of view, and five others were ambiguous or uncertain in their position. While far from a scientific poll, comments on mainstream environmental websites such as Grist are seen as a useful indicator of the views of environmentally concerned readers.

“We feel tremendously vindicated by Grist readers’ response to this article,” said Brian Tokar, director of the Institute for Social Ecology, a founding member of the Climate SOS network. “People seeking real solutions to the climate crisis know that creating a carbon market in the US is not an effective way to reduce emissions. It hasn’t worked in Europe or elsewhere where it has been tried. It is no accident that many of the most polluting companies support cap-and-trade, and worked actively with corporate-friendly environmental groups such as NRDC and Environmental Defense in helping craft the current legislation.”

Since the Waxman-Markey climate bill passed the US House in June, several hundred national and regional environmental groups have signed letters and statements strongly critical of the bill. Letters were initiated by groups such as Friends of the Earth and the Center for Biological Diversity, as well as the Climate SOS network. They argued that the House version of the bill falls far short of scientifically valid targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, removes the EPA’s authority to regulate emissions under the Clean Air Act, and incorporates massive, unjustifiable corporate giveaways into its cap-and-trade program. Corporations would be able to defer needed emissions reductions for decades under the bill’s generous offset provisions.

Dr. Rachel Smolker, representing Biofuelwatch and Climate SOS, said, “The Senate bill released last week by Sens. Kerry and Boxer can hardly be considered an improvement. The article in Grist attempted to marginalize our ‘no-compromise’ approach, but many knowledgeable environmentalists recognize that the time for compromise is long past. We were pleased to see the support that people expressed, and hope they will join us in actively demanding real solutions to climate change. The US continues to avoid taking meaningful action and is obstructing international negotiations. If we do not demand the changes that are necessary, who will?”

“The Senate bill claims slightly stronger emission reduction targets by doctoring the numbers, but its targets are still far below what scientists agree is needed,” said Dr. Maggie Zhou of the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities. “The current bill would partially reinstate some of EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases, which many recognize would be much more effective than a carbon market at regulating emissions, but it turns out that the EPA authority is simply a bargaining chip.” Senator Kerry was quoted last week saying that EPA authority over greenhouse gases was retained largely to provide “some negotiating room as we proceed forward” with the bill.

In contrast to the current legislation, Climate SOS network members support alternative approaches such as direct, revenue-neutral carbon charges coupled with equal dividend distribution, aggressive energy efficiency and renewable energy standards, and an end to subsidies for fossil fuels, nuclear power, biomass incineration and other false climate solutions.

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