Monday, May 18, 2009

Federal Climate Legislation Markup This Week

The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 now has a number - HR 2454. The text of the bill was released on Friday by the Committee on Energy and Commerce. Environmental groups are cautiously praising this compromise legislation, and Al Gore is rallying his supporters, saying that it will help build momentum going into the Copenhagen climate talks. The compromise version is far weaker than many environmentalists would like - it calls for emission reductions of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. Al Gore points out, however, that other provisions in the bill such as a renewable energy standard of 15-20% by 2020 may actually lead to larger emissions reductions. Once the shift begins, he believes, the change to renewable sources of energy will be "unstoppable".

While a bill with weak targets may be hard to swallow, there are other far reaching elements of this legislation that will increase funding and support for climate adaptation, such as agreements to use carbon allowances to prevent tropical deforestation, help with adaptation efforts and protect natural resources in the US and globally. According to the press release from the Nature Conservancy, support for US efforts to protect critical wildlife and natural resources could reach $4 billion. Markup of the bill will begin today at 1 pm.