435+ Organizations/Activists Give U.S. Senate Criteria for Climate Change Bill

In a letter delivered today, 201 organizations - joined by 236 individuals - urged the Members of the U.S. Senate to focus on sustainable energy strategies, oppose nuclear and fossil fuel subsidies, and approach cap-and-trade carefully when it considers climate change legislation next week.



For Release: Thursday, May 29, 2008

Contact: Ken Bossong 301-588-4741

WASHINGTON DC -- In a letter delivered today, 201 businesses and organizations - joined by 236 individual activists - urged the Members of the U.S. Senate to focus on sustainable energy strategies, oppose nuclear and fossil fuel subsidies, and approach cap-and-trade carefully when it takes up climate change legislation (S.2191) next week.

Specifically, the letter argues that "federal legislation must - at the very least - set the United States on course to reduce its total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by no less than 80 percent by 2050 - a target higher than the 70 percent goal proposed by S.2191. However, even a reduction of 80 percent may fall short of what is actually necessary to avoid the worst consequences of climate change."

Noting the potentially adverse social and economic impacts of a "poorly designed" cap-and-trade system, the letter's signers said any such system should "provide for enforceable and rapidly declining ceilings on GHGs, a simple and transparent administrative structure, protections for low-income and other vulnerable communities, and full auction of all carbon credits with the funds targeted at sustainable energy investments." Moreover, cap-and-trade should be "only one in an arsenal of strategies to shift the nation's economy on to a path of sustainable energy development."

The letter recommends that national climate change legislation "give emphasis to making a rapid transition from fossil fuel energy sources to renewable energy sources coupled with deep cuts in energy waste." It notes that "recent analyses have suggested that U.S. energy use can be reduced by 30 percent or more while renewable energy technologies could be brought on line far more quickly than other options to meet most of the country's supply needs."

Accordingly, "national climate change legislation should not divert federal resources into long-term, unproven, expensive, and potentially environmentally risky fossil fuel technologies such as so-called 'clean coal' and carbon capture and sequestration." In fact, climate legislation should embrace "phasing-out subsidies to fossil fuels and coal-fired electrical plants."

Moreover, noting the rapid increase in price estimates for new nuclear plants and other concerns, the letter's signers said further nuclear investments would be "a costly mistake" and "climate legislation should not include direct or indirect subsidies or mandates for nuclear power; in fact, such subsidies should be phased out."

The full text of the letter and list of signers - including such national organizations as the American Solar Energy Society, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Nuclear Information & Resource Service, and the state chapters of Environment America - are available upon request from sustainable-energy-network@hotmail.com.

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The Sustainable Energy Network is a network founded in 2006 comprised of 550+ organizations, businesses, and individuals advocating aggressive development of sustainable energy technologies to curb energy imports, slash greenhouse gas emissions, and phase out nuclear power.

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