Sunday, June 21, 2009

American Clean Energy and Security Act: is it strong enough?

In an attempt to trim governmental bureaucracy, lawmakers will, from time to time, try to consolidate regulations, agencies, or laws. Oil czars, Homeland Security, etc. - all are understandable and well-intended steps to a more streamlined approach. And it can be effective as long as the the strengths of the consolidated components are retained - and sometimes that is not always the case.

On June 26th, a vote is scheduled in the U.S. Congress on the American Clean Energy and Security Act. While on the surface it would appear to be a worthwhile attempt at defining a single overarching strategy, the act is receiving considerable criticism from NGOs and scientific experts because it does not go far enough in properly addressing C02 emission standards and also limits the use of the current Clean Air Act in regulating or enforcing emission standards. The Clean Air Act has been successfully used for 40 years to reduce air pollution. If it's not broke, why fix it?

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, " Leading scientists such as NASA's James Hansen warn that the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere must be reduced to no more than 350 parts per million. The American Clean Energy and Security Act sets a goal of allowing greenhouse gas concentrations to increase to more than 450 parts per million. At that level, scientists say there is a 50/50 chance that global warming will cause catastrophic impacts to humans and other species.

Any new global warming solution bill should work together with the Clean Air Act to preserve the lives and health of our children and fellow species. The American Clean Energy and Security Act instead repeals the Clean Air Act's ability to regulate critical polluters, instead allowing numerous coal-fired power plants to be built without any additional emissions-reduction requirements for more than a decade into the future. The world's top climate scientists call this approach 'reckless.' "

If you would like to voice your concern to your congressperson regarding the need for strengthening the American Clean Energy and Security Act, click here.

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