WASHINGTON — Statement by Wilderness Society Director of Climate Policy David H. Moulton on introduction of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s draft cap-and-trade legislation to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions:
“We are at risk of compounding the financial crisis with environmental chaos if we do not tackle the causes of global warming now. The Wilderness Society applauds Chairmen John D. Dingell (D-MI) and Rick Boucher (D-VA) for proposing cap-and-trade legislation at this time regardless of the upheaval in the financial markets. We simply must act now to re-direct our economy away from expensive, unsustainable and polluting sources of energy that threaten the health of the planet. Instead, we must work to implement an energy economy based on clean, renewable sources and this bill marks a first step in encouraging such a change.
“In particular, the Dingell-Boucher draft supports a cap-and-trade system that would result in an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Unfortunately, it includes only a six percent reduction from 2005 levels by the year 2020. That goal is far short of the 20-25 percent reduction most scientists suggest we need in order to head off dangerous global warming later in the century.
“The bill also provides that dedicated funding for natural resources adaptation is an “option” for the use of carbon allowance auction revenues. TWS believes that failure to fund natural resources adaptation is not an option—that it is absolutely necessary to bridge the global warming gap—the period of inevitable warming we cannot avoid for the next several decades even if we eventually manage to constrain global by 2050 and beyond. By proposing weaker 2020 targets, the bill makes it even more difficult to bridge the gap, exposing our communities, ecosystems, public lands, national parks and wildlife refuges to unacceptable adverse impacts for even longer periods of time. We look forward to working with Chairmen Dingell and Boucher to ensure the 2020 targets are strengthened to lessen the impacts global warming will cause on our natural resources this century.”