Historic Climate Vote Signals New Momentum to Pass Carbon Cap in 2009

May 21, 2009
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 
Contact
Tony Kreindler, Environmental Defense Fund, (202) 445-8108,
tkreindler@edf.org


(Washington – May 21, 2009) The House Energy and Commerce Committee today approved landmark climate change legislation with a mandatory cap on global warming pollution, successfully bridging regional differences among its diverse membership to produce a strong bill that can win broad support in the House and serve as a template for quick Senate action.

“The committee today put climate legislation on the path to the President’s desk,” said Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund. “Chairmen Waxman and Markey have forged common ground on a common-sense, effective approach to capping carbon pollution.”  
 
The Waxman-Markey bill, the American Clean Energy and Security Act, draws on key provisions of a legislative blueprint negotiated by the 25 leading companies from every sector of the U.S. economy and the five non-profit groups in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, including Environmental Defense Fund. Committee action on the bill also drew support from labor unions like the United Auto Workers and the Steelworkers, faith groups, and state and local officials.

“An extraordinarily broad coalition wants to enact a declining emissions cap this year, and this vote is a giant step toward that goal. Congress and the Obama administration are now in position to pass a declining cap that will begin to break our addiction to foreign oil and create new jobs for U.S. manufacturers,” Krupp said.

“As the President’s economic advisors said this week, a cap on global warming pollution is essential to our economic recovery and our long-term financial health. The economic benefits of a cap are too big to pass up, and the costs of inaction on climate are too big to ignore,” Krupp added.

The centerpiece of the Waxman-Markey bill is mandatory and declining cap to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050. Strong short-term targets help ensure that we avoid dangerous and irreversible climate change, and they kick-start investment in clean energy technologies and new jobs for U.S. manufacturers.

The bill also includes a smart plan to protect consumers and keep electricity rates low. The bill makes the majority of the value of emissions permits available to end-use energy consumers through their regulated local utilities. EPA estimates that a well-designed cap that returns permit value to consumers can be achieved for as little as $98 per household per year – about a dime a day per person.

“Billions of dollars will flow to new energy projects and technologies when we give certainty to companies for their investment decisions.  By passing a bill this year, thousands of jobs will be created in the U.S. next year and for years to come,” Krupp said.

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Environmental Defense Fund, a leading national nonprofit organization, represents more than 500,000 members. Since 1967, Environmental Defense Fund has linked science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships to create breakthrough solutions to the most serious environmental problems. For more information, visit www.edf.org.