Monthly Archives: April 2009

Live Waxman-Markey Hearing Updates on Twitter

We have some folks from EDF down at the carbon cap bill hearing today.  Follow us on Twitter at to keep up with the good, the bad, and the ugly!

Posted in Climate Change Legislation, News, Policy / Comments are closed

Man of Steel Comes to Washington

Today, I am heading to Capitol Hill with John Fetterman, mayor of Braddock, Pa.  Mayor Fetterman recently lent his voice to Environmental Defense Action Fund’s “Carbon Caps=Hard Hats” ad campaign, which calls on Congress to pass climate change legislation.

On this Earth Day, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding hearings centered around the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES), and they asked the mayor to come talk about jobs.

Braddock used to be a booming steel town. When the steel manufacturing sector left in the 1970s, Braddock gradually slumped, falling from a population of 20,000 to 2,000.

When John Fetterman first came to Braddock, he saw potential, thinking not as an environmentalist, but as a citizen wanting to revitalize a community. He sees Braddock, and other cities that depend on steel (like Akron, Ohio, and Detroit, Mich.,), ready for economic growth. He has a vision of restoring jobs that left with the steel industry. And what can trigger that growth is a cap on carbon.

So today, the mayor is on Capitol Hill to tell Congress that there are jobs in renewable energy and steel, and if they pass a carbon cap, there will be jobs in Braddock, Pa.

Posted in Climate Change Legislation, News, Partners for Change / Read 2 Responses

EPA’s Endangerment Finding: Finish Line in Sight!

Friday, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson officially determined that global warming pollution “endangers” the nation’s human health and well-being.

The “endangerment finding,” as we enviros call it, was required by the Supreme Court during Massachusetts v. EPA, a landmark victory that rejected the Bush EPA’s laundry list of reasons not to address global warming pollution under the federal Clean Air Act.

Since that victory in April of 2007, we have been waiting for the EPA to “determine” what scientists have known for years: that global warming pollution is a danger to America’s health and well-being.

This EPA finding, coupled with the American Clean Energy and Security Act moving out of Chairman Henry Waxman’s committee by Memorial Day, offers us a glimpse at the finish line.

While the determination does not establish national emission standards for the main culprits of carbon pollution, the EPA will begin developing these standards while it finalizes the “endangerment” determination.

See our overview of the case for more about the twists and turns on the road to this determination.

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Rep. Fred Upton Fudges Facts

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, wrote an op-ed Monday in the Capitol Hill newspaper, Roll Call, complaining that global warming action will cost too much.

And, he might have a point — if his facts were, well, factual.

Instead, his sensationalistic claims seem to justify his opposition to global warming action rather than engage in a clear-headed debate.

In this Truth Squad entry, we’ll examine his op-ed point by point:

That’s Not What MIT’s Report Says


“According to a Massachusetts Institute of Technology model of a 100 percent auction cap-and-tax, the American people will be taxed $366 billion in 2015 — four times as much as the president’s estimate of $80.3 billion for that year… A family of four could expect to pay as much as $4,560 in additional costs in 2015.”


MIT has publicly berated the NRCC’s misrepresentation of its report, yet the unwarranted claims using these incorrect estimates keep resurfacing.  According to MIT, the correct estimate of the cost for an average household in 2015 is about $65 per family.

It’s 10 cents a Day


“Increased energy costs would near $1 trillion in 2030. Increases in electricity costs could be more than 100 percent.”


A cap on carbon pollution will help break America’s addiction to oil and create jobs, while protecting the family budget.

Best of all, it’s affordable. For example, based on Department of Energy estimates, it will only cost the average American household about ten cents a day more on their utility bills — this includes electricity AND heating. That’s roughly what it costs to brew one pot of coffee in the morning.

A Cap Will Unleash American Innovation


“There is no help for businesses that may move across our borders or permanently shut down operations. Not welcome news, especially with one-third of our jobs dependent on exports. Quite simply, cap-and-trade caps our growth and trades our jobs.”


Maintaining the competitive edge of the U.S. is a critical issue that has not been lost on the policy-makers on Capitol Hill— all cap proposals include provisions to avoid losing out to overseas industry.

The real question is which countries and companies will be exporting new clean energy technologies — likely the biggest new business of the 21st century. A cap will unleash the investment necessary for America to get ahead in this race.

Our steel plants need orders, our factories need new customers, and our exporters need high value products to sell to Asia and Europe.

A cap will drive enormous clean energy investments throughout the supply chain– generating demand for ball bearings and steel for wind turbines, glass and plastics for solar cells, and hundreds of new technologies.

President Obama recognized this when he explained that the effort to create millions of jobs and restore American leadership will ‘start with a federal cap and trade system.’

Cap and Trade is a Proven Environmental Policy


“Cap-and-tax can only hurt the economy while providing a questionable environmental benefit.”


When a similar cap-and-trade policy was proposed for reducing acid rain pollution during the 1990 Clean Air Act battle, our opponents made this very same argument over and over. It’ll cost too much. It won’t work.

What happened? Well, the cap on sulfur dioxide pollution worked so well that The Economist crowned it “probably the greatest green success story of the past decade.” (July 6, 2002).

In the 1990s, the U.S. acid rain cap and trade program achieved 100% compliance in reducing sulfur dioxide emissions. In fact, power plants participating in the program reduced SO2 emissions 22% — 7.3 million tons — below mandated levels.

All this has been achieved at a fraction of the cost estimates. Prior to the launch of the program, costs were estimated to run from $3-$25 billion per year. After the first 2 years of the program, the costs were actually $0.8 billion per year and the long-term costs of the program are expected to be around $1.0-$1.4 billion per year, far below early projections.

The doom-and-gloomers were wrong then. And they’re wrong now.

The U.S. Must Lead


“The U.S. cannot go it alone in the effort to cut greenhouse gases. Absent a global agreement that includes the heavy-emitting developing countries, cap-and-tax will only send energy costs up while sending employment numbers down.”


The Congressman will be happy to know that 183 countries have signed and ratified the Kyoto Global Warming Treaty, which calls for emission reductions from developed countries and other commitments from lesser developed countries. In fact, the United States is one of only 14 countries not to ratify the Kyoto agreement, joining the likes of Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Brunei. We’ve been going it nearly alone alright — alone in inaction.

Rep. Upton actually makes the case for domestic global warming action this year. The world will meet again in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December to negotiate the next international agreement for global climate action. If we fail to lead on this issue by acting domestically, we will have a weaker negotiating position from which to shape the international debate to our liking.

Five Principles of Successful Global Warming Action


“Any climate change legislation must adhere to five basic principles: 1) provide a tangible environmental benefit to the American people; 2) advance technology and provide the opportunity for export; 3) protect American jobs; 4) strengthen U.S. energy security; and 5) require global participation.”


1) Check; 2) Check; 3) Check; 4) Check; 5) Check. Hard to argue with these goals — in fact, they are some of the same goals that will be achieved when we pass a comprehensive cap on America’s global warming pollution as proposed under the draft Waxman-Markey Clean Energy and Security Act.

83% reduction of America’s global warming emissions by 2050 (as called for in the bill) is about as tangible an environmental benefit as you can get — it is entirely consistent with what most scientists say is necessary to avoid the catastrophic threats of run-away global warming.

Want more green energy technologies? A cap will unleash our clean energy future by creating powerful market incentives to invent and deploy new green energy innovation.

Concerned about jobs? As we’ve shown in our Less Carbon More Jobs report, a cap on carbon will put Americans back to work.

What about our reliance on foreign oil? A cap will begin to free us from our dependence on imported oil.

And, when it comes to global participation, bold leadership from the United States will encourage China, India and other emerging economies to the table — if we don’t show leadership, how can we possibly expect other countries to act?

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Green Jobs: Not Just Economic Projections

Marc Gunther was kind enough to write a post on his blog about our latest campaign for a carbon cap.  Unfortunately, he also called the green jobs debate “intellectually dishonest.”  Below, Environmental Defense Fund’s Executive Director, David Yarnold, replies.


Glad to see more attention to this issue as Congress gears up for its historic effort to pass a cap on carbon emissions. Opponents are hard at work to limit public debate to one side of the ledger; we’re shining the light on the other.

What we’re not doing is predicting the number of jobs a cap will create. Better yet, we’re showing the jobs that are here right now. We’re showing the people that want them, and businesses that are ready to create more of them when Congress caps carbon. You can see them for yourself at

One of the thousands of companies you will find there is Dowding Machining, which is putting hundreds of laid-off autoworkers back to work building wind turbines in Michigan — the state with the highest unemployment rate in the nation. Mayor John Fetterman, featured in our ads, wants to do the same thing for steelworkers in Braddock, Pa.

How many jobs will we create? It’s up to us as a nation. Will we take the lead, revitalizing existing manufacturing industries and creating new ones? Or will we settle for the status quo, see our factories shuttered, and end up importing the low-carbon technologies of the future from China and Europe?

For years, the U.S. was the worlds leading producer of solar cells, but now we rank fourth in production behind Japan, China, and Germany. They’re not the sunniest of places; they’ve just made renewable energy a priority.

What will the costs be? The transition to clean energy will not be free – but every credible economic analysis shows that our economy will enjoy robust growth under a carbon cap. And contrary to opponents who spent a decade trying to muddy the science on climate change (and having failed that are now trying to muddy the economics), household costs will be small – about a dime a day for household utility bills, based on Department of Energy estimates. That dime buys a lot: cleaner air, good jobs, less foreign oil, and a safe climate.

Posted in Climate Change Legislation, Economics, Energy, Jobs, News, Policy / Read 11 Responses

The Letter the Wash Post Refused to Run

A few weeks ago, we published a post challenging the claims of a draft print newspaper ad the Cato Institute was then shopping around looking for scientist signers.

On March 30, The Washington Post ran that full page ad, which appeared with the names of 115 signers whom Cato claimed were scientists.

Perhaps the better name for them would be “sign”-tists.

That’s because, based on our research, few, if any, of the signers have published peer-reviewed papers on climate science.

Indeed, only a handful of them have a background of any kind in climate-related sciences. And 15 don’t appear to have any advanced degrees in any academic field at all.

We wrote The Washington Post the following letter to the editor, which they refused to run. We share it here for the benefit of our readers:

April 3, 2009

To the Editor:

On Monday, March 30, the Post published a full-page advertisement by the Cato Institute that challenges President Obama’s assertion that, with regard to global climate change, “The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear.” The advertisement was signed by 115 scientists. In the upside-down world of global warming denial, this represents yet another effort to mislead the Post’s readers. Your readers should know that not every “scientist” on Cato’s list has a Ph.D., very few have a Ph.D. in climate science, and fewer still are publishing research on climate science in peer-reviewed journals. A typical signer is the retired Swedish geology professor whose expertise is paleoseismicity, the study of historical earthquake activity. He also claims an expertise in dowsing. Some signers don’t believe the HIV virus causes AIDS. A Google search for one reveals that he is “New Orleans’ #1 rated weather personality.” Another signer is a devotee of the notorious scientific quack Wilhelm Reich, who invented the “orgone energy accumulator,” a device that purported to gather energy from the atmosphere to cure common colds, cancer, and impotence. The signer’s web site claims that research at his “Orgone Biophysical Research Lab” has confirmed “many of Reich’s original findings on the orgone accumulator.”

Since many of the advertisement’s signers are from foreign countries, Cato presumably scoured the globe to find scientists who challenge the scientific consensus on global warming.

David Yarnold
Executive Director
Environmental Defense Fund

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