Author Archives: Fred Krupp

The Consequences of Inaction on Climate Change

What a long, hard road it has been getting Congress to pass a strong climate and energy bill. I regret to say that the news is not especially good, though the door is not yet completely closed.

After weeks of intense negotiations among EDF and other environmental organizations, Senate leaders, the White House, and some sympathetic members of the utility industry, we are still several votes short of the 60 required to break a Senate filibuster.

Because of this, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced that the Senate will not take up a limit on global warming pollution before the August recess, though it "may" consider it in September.

With a crowded Congressional calendar, and time running out, this announcement is discouraging. Will the Senate decide to take any meaningful steps? Right now it's a long shot, but we'll continue to work doggedly for a good Congressional outcome.

Consequences of Climate Inaction

While the politics are uncertain, the science is not. The consequences of Senate inaction are real and serious.

To name a few:

The Crisis Isn't Going Away: 2010 is on pace to become the warmest year on record, following the warmest decade on record: 2000-2009. Glacial and polar ice continues to melt at astonishing rates, worsening the threat of sea level rise, coastal flooding, and threatening the supply of drinking water for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Year by year and decade by decade, these and other very serious trends will get worse and worse with no end in sight.

Squandering the House-Passed Bill: To pass legislation, you need to move bills through both houses of Congress. The House of Representatives has already cast a clear, solid vote on this. If the Senate fails to act now, all that hard work will have been wasted and we'll have to start from scratch next year with a new Congress likely to be less inclined to act responsibly.

Inaction Now Only Makes It Harder Later: Science, not politics, is ultimately in charge of this crisis. And the science is very clear. We must begin cutting our emissions now to avoid even more dramatic cuts later. A delay of two or three years only makes the necessary pollution cuts all the more severe and disruptive to our economy and way of life.

I could go on, but the point is clear. Senate inaction will have very serious consequences for our environment, our economy, and, ultimately, our entire civilization.

That's the message we will continue to deliver to Senate leaders and the White House. And we will continue to let you know how you can help us in August and September as we continue to push forward.

One other thing is clear: Whatever the Senate decides in the coming days and weeks, we aren't going anywhere.

Global warming is the most serious environmental threat facing the planet and will remain our top organizational priority, one which we will continue to take on in a variety of ways, including:

  • Promoting local and state actions;
  • Getting our national policies right;
  • Working directly with businesses to improve efficiency and cut emissions; and
  • Negotiating internationally for global pollution limits.

Wherever there is a serious effort to cut global warming pollution, we will be there, fighting for the strongest possible solution.

The hour is late and the window for Senate action this year is closing. But, whatever the future holds, we will continue to fight to prevent the catastrophic threat of run-away global warming.

What a long, hard road it has been getting Congress to pass a strong climate and energy bill.

As someone who has fought with us for landmark legislation, you deserve to know where things stand. I regret to say that the news is not especially good, though the door is not yet completely closed.

After weeks of intense negotiations among EDF and other environmental organizations, Senate Leaders, the White House, and some sympathetic members of the utility industry, we are still several votes short of the 60 required to break a Senate filibuster.

Because of this, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced that the Senate will not take up a limit on global warming pollution before the August recess, though it "may" consider it in September.

With a crowded Congressional calendar, and time running out, this announcement is discouraging. Will the Senate decide to take any meaningful steps? Right now it's a long shot, but we'll continue to work doggedly for a good Congressional outcome.

Consequences of Climate Inaction

While the politics are uncertain, the science is not. The consequences of Senate inaction are real and serious.

To name a few:

The Crisis Isn't Going Away: 2010 is on pace to become the warmest year on record, following the warmest decade on record: 2000-2009. Glacial and polar ice continues to melt at astonishing rates, worsening the threat of sea level rise, coastal flooding, and threatening the supply of drinking water for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Year by year and decade by decade, these and other very serious trends will get worse and worse with no end in sight.

Squandering the House-Passed Bill: To pass legislation, you need to move bills through both houses of Congress. The House of Representatives has already cast a clear, solid vote on this. If the Senate fails to act now, all that hard work will have been wasted and we'll have to start from scratch next year with a new Congress likely to be less inclined to act responsibly.

Inaction Now Only Makes It Harder Later: Science, not politics, is ultimately in charge of this crisis. And the science is very clear. We must begin cutting our emissions now to avoid even more dramatic cuts later. A delay of two or three years only makes the pollution cuts we need to reach needed reduction targets all the more severe and disruptive our economy and way of life.

I could go on, but the point is clear. Senate inaction will have very serious consequences for our environment, our economy, and, ultimately, our entire civilization.

That's the message we will continue to deliver to Senate leaders and the White House. And we will continue to let you know how you can help us in August and September as we continue to push forward.

One other thing is clear: Whatever the Senate decides in the coming days and weeks, we aren't going anywhere!

Global warming is the most serious environmental threat facing the planet and will remain our top organizational priority, one which we will continue to take on in a variety of ways, including:

  • Promoting local and state actions;
  • Getting our national policies right;
  • Working directly with businesses to improve efficiency and cut emissions; and
  • Negotiating internationally for global pollution limits.

Wherever there is a serious effort to cut global warming pollution, we will be there, fighting for the strongest possible solution.

The hour is late and the window for Senate action this year is closing. But, whatever the future holds, we will continue to fight to prevent the catastrophic threat of run-away global warming.

We will keep you fully posted on events as they develop.

Thank you for your continued activism and support,

Posted in Climate Change Legislation| 3 Responses, comments now closed

House Passes Most Important Environmental And Energy Legislation in U.S. History

The American Clean Energy and Security Act is the most important environmental and energy legislation in our nation's history. Today's vote is a huge achievement for the country and the climate, and we applaud Speaker Pelosi, Chairmen Waxman and Markey, and all members of the House who helped craft this landmark legislation and get it passed.

The bill that emerged from the House has the fundamental structure we need to significantly reduce carbon pollution while growing the economy. It puts a strong cap on emissions and reorients our energy market to make low-carbon power the goal. It ensures that utility rates will stay affordable and a competitive playing field for U.S. companies.

Today's vote opens the door for President Obama to sign comprehensive climate legislation into law this year. The extensive negotiations leading up to the vote helped form extraordinarily broad support for the bill as it moves to the Senate. Chairmen Waxmen and Markey bridged the traditional sectoral and regional divides of energy politics to produce legislation that has support from labor unions and businesses across the economy, to rural interests, environmental advocates, and agriculture groups.

The bill puts the U.S. on the path to significant emissions reductions, a stronger economy, and a new position of leadership in the global effort to protect the climate. We look forward to working with the Senate leadership to meet Majority Leader Reid's September target for finishing committee work on the bill.

Posted in News| 12 Responses, comments now closed

My Arctic Journal

Fred KruppThis post is by Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund.

A few weeks ago, I returned from a voyage called the Arctic Expedition for Climate Action. Sponsored by the Aspen Institute, the National Geographic Society, and Lindblad Expeditions, our group [PDF] included over 100 business leaders, scientists, environmentalists, journalists, politicians, religious leaders, and community activists.

Orthographic projection over Svalbard (red dot).In a word, it was sensational. We set out by ship from Svalbard – almost the closest land to the North Pole, and a three hour plane flight from Oslo, Norway. This is by far the closest to the North Pole I've ever been. My prior trips to the north shore of Alaska at Prudhoe Bay and the north coast of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge were much further south.

Read More »

Posted in Arctic & Antarctic| Comments closed

Global Warming's Silver Lining

Fred KruppThis post is by Fred Krupp, President of the Environmental Defense Fund.

The Sequel

Earth: The Sequel tells the story of an exciting race that is just beginning - the race to develop low-carbon energy in time to turn our greatest environmental crisis into our greatest economic opportunity.

Many people have expressed surprise that I'd write a book like this about a problem so serious. And global warming is serious. With each passing year, scientists get more and more alarmed at the increase and extent of disturbing impacts. But this book is not about the doom and gloom of global warming. In fact, it's just the opposite.

Read More »

Posted in Energy| 6 Responses, comments now closed

Breaking News: California Judge Rebukes Automakers

Fred KruppThis post is by Fred Krupp, President of Environmental Defense.

A federal judge in California today rebuked the auto industry's attempt to block California and 16 other states from setting tough new limits on global warming pollution from automobiles, calling these efforts "the very definition of folly."

Read More »

Posted in Cars and Pollution| 8 Responses, comments now closed
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