Boxer-Lieberman-Warner Bill in the Senate: Dirty energy in the name of climate protection

On the surface, broad-based solutions to global warming appear to be emerging in Congress. But with even a meager scrubbing of the surface, Senators Lieberman and Warner’s “Climate Security Act” (S. 2191) – which is scheduled to be debated on the Senate floor in June – turns out to be perhaps the greatest greenwash of our generation.

Everyone who cares about the climate and a just energy future would do well to take a good, hard look at the Lieberman-Warner (L-W) bill. It could frame the climate debate in the US for a generation.

Most of the national environmental groups are taking a pass on L-W, not publicly taking a strong stand against the bill despite misgivings. At the moment only Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth , Beyond Nuclear and the Nuclear Information and Resource Service are taking strong stands against the bill. Some weak-willed environmental groups are even supporting this insane bill…

A few highlights from the bill:

  • Besides the inherent problems of carbon trading, the bill gives tradeable carbon permits valued at one trillion dollars to the fossil fuel industry for free.
  • The revenue from the portion of carbon permits that are auction is directed straight back to back to polluters through hundreds of billions of dollars of subsidies to the coal, oil and automobile industries, and nuclear power.
  • According to an aide to Senator Lieberman, the bill “would be the most historic incentive for nuclear in the history of the US“. It is estimated that throughout various incentives in the bill $500 billion could go to nuclear power.
  • Carbon permits are given first – before all other auctions – to NEW coal facilities, giving incentive to new coal construction before other forms of energy.
  • The bills targets are well below what the UN recommends, especially the short term goals: virtually no national reductions in emissions would occur before 2020.
  • The bill allows 30% of all emissions “reductions” to be achieved by carbon offsets. These Carbon Offsets , according to a recent analysis by Stanford often “do not represent real emissions reductions” (amongst many other problems!)

Friends of the Earth provided one of the first analyzes of the bill and kept examining the legislation as it changed. Read the updated analysis of the bill.

Here’s a chart showing who benefits from the bill:

Worse, a number of Nuclear amendments have been discussed on Capitol Hill may include some, or even all, of the following:

  • more money for taxpayer loan guarantees for new reactors
  • more money for “risk” insurance if reactors are delayed because of interventions or other licensing problems
  • establishment of “interim” storage sites for high-level radioactive waste
  • speed-up of Yucca Mountain licensing
  • further restrictions on public participation in reactor licensing
  • money for training nuclear engineers
  • money for training skilled workers (like welders)
  • money for security guards and improvements
  • money for Hardened On-Site Storage
  • money to build new factories to manufacture large reactor components
  • money for new transmission lines
  • money for transformers

Take a stand – the time for demanding “action” on climate is over, we must stop these deadly dangerous distractions and bring down the fossil fuel empire.

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