The Lieberman-Warner climate bill was criticized almost before it left the gate Thursday. Others weighed in, praising the bipartisan measure as a worthy starting point toward reaching a consensus in the Congress. By the time the Washington Post broke the story with details of the plan environmental and scientific advocacy groups criticized it as too weak. The senators, who are powerful enough to get their proposal considered seriously, calls for these elements, according to the Post:
Here's what two critics had to say: Alden Meyer, strategy and policy director for the Union of Concerned Scientists:
"We welcome new ideas when it comes to fighting global warming, and are pleased that Senators Lieberman and Warner are providing leadership on this issue. But their proposal must be strengthened to be effective. "The heart of the Lieberman-Warner proposal is a cap-and-trade system, which would guarantee pollution cuts. But they only call for a 70 percent reduction in global warming pollution by mid-century, and a 10 percent cut by 2020. Unfortunately, that's not enough.
Scientists say reductions of at least 80 percent by mid-century are needed to prevent the worst effects of global warming. "Their proposal also includes too many giveaways of emissions allowances to polluters, and would let companies rely too heavily on offsets instead of making significant pollution cuts themselves. "That said, we understand the proposal is a work in progress, and we look forward to working with Senators Lieberman, Warner, and other members of the Environment Committee to make this a stronger, more effective bill."
Erich Pica, domestic policy programs director for Friends of the Earth
The Lieberman-Warner legislation is just one more proposal that won''t get the job done on global warming. The U.S. has generated a large proportion of the world''s greenhouse gas emissions, and we owe it to the planet to take the lead in fighting global warming. We have to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050, and probably more, but this legislation proposes just a 70 percent decrease, and most of its decrease comes in the distant future, even though major reductions are needed now.
The legislation also violates the âpolluter pays'' principle by distributing many emissions permits for free. A better policy would make corporate polluters pay for all of their global warming emissions and reinvest that money into renewable energy, energy efficiency improvements, and mitigation strategies for impacted communities around the world. We welcome senators'' desire to address this issue, but many of them just don''t appear to understand the gravity of the threat. Temperatures are already rising, and if we don''t start dramatically reducing emissions in the near future, the results will be catastrophic.
Not all activists were so down on the development. Steve Cochran, national climate campaign director at Environmental Defense, had this to say:
"Joe Lieberman and John Warner are providing remarkable leadership. By developing an approach that has environmental integrity and support from both sides of the aisle they are doing what is necessary to actually make law. Their plan includes an airtight cap on emissions, innovative ways to control costs, and a path forward for international action. That lays the groundwork for a consensus bill that meets the environmental test."
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