Statement by Environmental Defense on House Climate Change White Paper

February 25, 2008
Tony Kreindler, 202-572-3378 or 202-210-5791 (cell)

(Washington – February 25, 2008) Environmental Defense today commented on the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s latest climate change “white paper.”  
“Though we strongly disagree with some of its conclusions, this paper could be an important examination of the state-federal issues facing the committee as it crafts legislation. In the absence of a federal legislative proposal, however, it remains, at best, largely an academic exercise,” said Steve Cochran, national climate campaign director at Environmental Defense. “The sooner we have a bill, the sooner we can have a constructive debate.”
The white paper released today by Chairmen John Dingell and Rick Boucher examines the proper federal and state roles in a national cap and trade system for greenhouse gas emissions. The paper says states play an “essential role” in combating climate change, but it also suggests a diminished role for states under a national system. Environmental Defense continues to believe that groundbreaking state efforts like California’s clean car program are essential elements of an effective national climate strategy.
“We’re pleased that the paper, in some ways, recognizes the important role of states, because state leadership has provided the only concrete steps toward solving the climate problem so far. But we’re disappointed that it raises questions about their future role, particularly without pointing to any concrete federal policy,” Cochran said. “Suggesting that states should never move beyond federal policy when it comes to tailpipe emissions ignores a long pattern of success under the Clean Air Act, and could be a recipe for failure on this most urgent of issues.” 
“We urge the Committee to move forward quickly with the more complete draft of a comprehensive climate policy that the Chairmen have promised, so that everyone can roll up their sleeves and work out the specifics on this and other issues. We’re confident that they can be resolved in a balanced and environmentally effective manner once we have that framework, and that a bill so urgently needed to protect the climate can be advanced,” Cochran added.

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