The fact that some of the USCAP members have been involved in projects in the Alberta Tar Sands, widely called one of the most environmentally destructive projects on the planet, makes me skeptical...despite the involvement of some great green groups such as NRDC, EDF and the Nature Conservancy. Photo: Wikipedia
Considering all of the reports that have come out about climate change, the amount of reductions needed, the best means of doing so, and the costs of inaction on every nation’s economy and environment I do find it slightly odd that another report has been released on the subject (which says essentially similar things to previous reports), nonetheless the US Climate Action Partnership has just released its Blueprint for Legislative Action. Two years in the making, the report makes the following recommendations:
Require 80% Reduction in Emissions Below 2005 Levels by 2050
National climate legislation should include aggressive emission reduction targets that can be achieved at manageable costs to the economy. The targets and timetables in the Blueprint are consistent with the schedule proposed by President-elect Obama.
OK. That’s a decent emission reduction level, but by an increasing number of estimates the date of 2050 really is too late to prevent environmentally devastating temperature rises.
Allow Ample Use of Offsets to Manage Emission Reduction Program Costs
Offsets should be used to help meet compliance obligations and should be environmentally additional, verifiable, permanent, measurable, and enforceable.
Use the Value of Emissions Allowances to Protect Consumers & Businesses
USCAP believes the distribution of allowance value should facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy for consumers and businesses, provide capital to support new low- and zero-GHG-emitting technologies, and address the need for humans and the environment to adapt to climate change. A significant portion of allowances should be initially distributed to capped entities and particularly disadvantaged economic sectors. The Blueprint identifies principles to guide the fair and equitable allocation of allowance value to mitigate costs to consumers and impacted sectors of the economy.
Create Incentives for Technology Development & Deployment
In addition to outlining the design and function of a cap-and-trade system, the Blueprint details complementary measures for coal, technology transformation, transportation, and buildings and energy efficiency that are needed to facilitate rapid technology transformation and to ensure that actual reductions in emissions occur across the economy. These measures are presented as necessary components of the cap-and-trade recommendations.
Despite PR, I Have a Hard Time Supporting the Green Credentials of Some USCAP Members
Members of USCAP include: Alcoa, AIG, Boston Scientific, BP America, Caterpillar, Chrysler, ConocoPhillips, John Deere, Dow, Duke Energy, DuPont, Environmental Defense Fund, Exelon, Ford, FPL Group, GE, GM, Johnson & Johnson, Marsh, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, NRG Energy, PepsiCo, Pew Center On Global Climate Change, PG&E;, PNM Resources, Rio Tinto, Shell, Siemens, World Resources Institute, Xerox
At the risk of sounding more curmudgeonly, cranky and cynical than I really am, apart from a couple environmental groups which have done undeniably good things, aren’t most of the people on that list large industrial conglomerates, oil companies (including some with some seriously sketchy records on operating in countries with less than stellar human rights records and in developing horrendously polluting tar sands projects), chemical companies anxious to put a positive spin on their actions, and car manufacturers which have tried to stop tougher emissions requirements.
Which isn’t to imply that the USCAP Blueprint is a sham (its recommendations are broadly consistent with those made elsewhere, even if the timetable for emissions reductions is too slow), just that some of the people involved have historically been and currently are involved in some seriously questionable activities—even if parts of their organizations are operating on the level here and have received good environmental ratings. Again, call me cynical if you like.
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