Environmental Defense Takes White House to Task on Alternative Fuels Strategy

April 19, 2007


Mark Brownstein, (917) 279-4644
Tony Kreindler, (202) 572-3378, (202) 210-5791

(Washington – April 19, 2007) Environmental Defense today called on President Bush to abandon a misguided strategy that promotes coal-based fuel as an alternative to gasoline, warning that it would have dangerous consequences for the climate and national security if it comes without a cap on carbon emissions.

In a letter delivered to the White House, Environmental Defense president Fred Krupp said the Administration should heed urgent calls from scientists and military leaders to act now on climate change and cap global warming pollution, rather than encourage a short-sighted alternative fuels policy that does more harm than good. The letter noted “promoting transport fuel from coal absent a national strategy to cap and substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions is like throwing kerosene on a raging fire.”

“If the Administration’s goal is national security, it doesn’t make sense to pursue policies that make the planet hotter and the world more unstable,” Krupp said. “Promoting liquefied coal without limits on greenhouse gas emissions is simply promoting the worst effects of climate change – scarce food and water, competition for resources, and new threats to America.”

The Administration’s own figures show that coal-based fuel results in more than twice the greenhouse gas pollution than the conventional gasoline it would replace. Without full capture and storage of the carbon dioxide, the coal-to-liquids process results in a 118.5 percent increase in global warming pollution over traditional oil-based fuels, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“Why on earth would we be relying on 70-year-old technology to solve 21st century challenges?” asked Peter Goldmark, Climate and Air Director for Environmental Defense. “Back to the Future is a funny movie, but a lousy energy policy.”

Environmental Defense is urging Congress and the Administration to enact a national cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which would encourage all fuel producers to account for the cost of global warming pollution and drive investments in clean energy.

“The sooner emissions are capped, the sooner we can get to work on new ways of using coal to ensure energy independence and national security without risking the dangers of climate change,” Krupp said.