300 Organizations Unite to Push for Stronger Climate Bill


Photo via WSJ

Just as some are forecasting the tough battle in the Senate over climate legislation to be Obama's Waterloo, 300 organizations are uniting to push for an even stronger bill. The coalition, which includes not only environmental groups, but social justice and faith-based groups as well, is looking to let the legislators know that there's broad support for clean energy reform and climate action. Grist reports:

A coalition of more than 300 organizations including faith, human rights, social justice and environmental groups will deliver letters to the local offices of U.S. senators this week calling on them to strengthen climate legislation narrowly passed by the House of Representatives in June. The effort is part of a broader grassroots initiative that aims to demonstrate support for bold leadership in the fight to solve the climate crisis.
Perhaps riding a wave of optimism created by a new poll that found a significant majority of Americans support Obama's energy policies and a slightly slimmer one are in favor of a cap and trade system, the coalition hopes to strengthen some of Waxman-Markey's weaknesses.

Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Appalachian Voices, Center on Race, Poverty, and the Environment, and the United Church of Christ Network for Environmental and Economic Responsibility are just a few of the coalitions' participants. And, via Grist, here's what they're fighting for:

  • Reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to 350 parts per million, a level that scientists say is necessary to avoid the worst effects of climate change. ACES is based on a target concentration of 450 ppm.
  • Maintain existing Clean Air Act protections against greenhouse gas pollution. ACES strips the Environmental Protection Agency of the authority to regulate such pollution.
  • Minimize the use of offsets and other loopholes. ACES creates a system that would allow polluters to increase carbon emissions at one locale if they invest in projects that offset those emissions elsewhere.
  • Eliminate polluter giveaways. For example, ACES currently offers generous subsidies to the coal industry in the form of funding for so-called "clean coal" research.

With this surge of pro-climate action, paired with the EPA's moving to regulate larger emitters of CO2 and the news of public support, and Sen. Kerry and Sen. Boxer's dedication to the legislation, perhaps there's hope for a solid climate bill to emerge from the Senate yet.

More on the Climate Bill
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