Opportunity Seen as Senate Fails to Muster Votes for Lieberman-Warner Climate Change Bill

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 6, 2008
Contact: Molly Haigh, 301-270-4550 ext. 230 or molly@1sky.org.

Too many senators yielded to big oil and dirty coal, and failed their responsibility;
now next Congress can pass stronger bill science says is needed to preserve livable climate.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 6, 2008
Contact: Elizabeth Rose, Communications Director, (301) 270-4550 x231

WASHINGTON, DC —The Lieberman-Warner bill that died today after a procedural vote in the U.S. Senate would not have met even the minimum standard of what science has urged to combat global warming, said leaders of 1Sky, a new collaborative national campaign of more than 60 diverse organizations. 1Sky leaders blamed too many senators who yielded to big-foot pressures from big oil and dirty coal interests and failed their responsibility to the American people.

1Sky is dedicated to passing a stronger, "science-based" bill in the next Congress. The group announced today the first of a series of nationwide actions to demonstrate that the public is ahead of their elected representatives, and would support such legislation.

"This bill failed on two fundamental measures and that is why 1Sky and many others did not support it," said Betsy Taylor, President of the 1Sky campaign’s Board of Directors. "It would not have reduced carbon emissions as deeply or as quickly as the world scientific community says is necessary to address global warming. And, it would have given more money to the bloated fossil fuel industry, and left ordinary Americans paying too much for rising energy bills."

1Sky leaders also pointed out that only last month, Rajendra Pachauri, the Chair of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), emphasized the need to cut emissions 25-40 percent by 2020, while the results of Lieberman-Warner would have fallen far short of that. [Click here to view or download a graph reflecting green house gas emissions targets (PDF): www.1sky.org/ghg-emissions-targets.]

"It is unconscionable that so many senators pandered to the oil companies and did nothing to tackle the greatest threat to our children's future," said Gillian Caldwell, 1Sky’s Campaign Director.

In response to Lieberman-Warner’s demise, James Hansen, a prominent climate change scientist and a member of 1Sky’s Science Advisory Council, said: "We need a much stronger bill that is more strategic and puts a halt to coal plants.

In the aftermath of the Lieberman-Warner bill’s failure, Caldwell said she is encouraged by Congressman Ed Markey’s introduction on June 4, 2008, of a more comprehensive bill, entitled the "Investing in Climate Action and Protection Act," or "iCap," (HR 6186) which calls for slashing emissions by 85 percent by 2050 for greenhouse gases covered by the bill, starting in 2012. The iCap also calls for a moratorium on traditional coal plants.

Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists, which had worked to strengthen the Lieberman-Warner bill, said that the Markey bill "builds on the best practices of cap-and-invest programs and sets a strong framework to dramatically cut global warming pollution. It would auction 100 percent of carbon allowances by 2020, making polluters fully accountable for their emissions."

Later today, 1Sky delegations will present more than 100 murals calling for climate action, painted over Mother’s Day weekend by mothers and children, to members of Congress from 43 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. "These murals will be visual messages to members of Congress that mothers and families across the country are demanding bolder solutions to climate change for the sake of future generations," Caldwell said. [To view or download high resolution versions of some of our best Mother’s Day photos, please visit www.1sky.org/mothers-day-photos.]

A new blog named The Skywriter, which can be seen at 1Sky.org/blog, covers emerging climate legislation and day-to-day developments in the citizen movement.

"1Sky is looking to the future for a stronger bill that follows the science and the wishes of the American people," Caldwell said. "To achieve a renewable energy future, we need members of Congress who support urgent action and legislation that measures up to the threat. We need more members of Congress who will say no to big oil and dirty coal. The fight for a stronger bill begins now," Caldwell continued, "by ensuring accountability for the senators who do the bidding of oil and coal companies even when our crops, our coasts, the health of our economy -- and ultimately, the very balance of life -- is at stake."

1Sky’s leaders said they look forward to a fresh start for climate policy, urging every member of Congress to support the following platform:

  • Conserve 20 percent of the nation’s energy by 2015, creating 5 million new jobs and pathways out of poverty focused on climate solutions and energy efficiency;
  • Reduce global warming pollution at least 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and at least 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050;
  • Impose a moratorium on new coal plants and end fossil fuel dependence through strong standards and incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Betsy Taylor of 1Sky said that what the country really needs is "a brand new bill that meets the demands of science and helps America pivot to a green economy."

"The people are ahead of the curve on this issue and we will make our voices heard," Caldwell said, "If America is to join the worldwide fight to stop runaway global warming before it is too late, we need law and policy guided by science, not fatal compromises."

"Lieberman-Warner was the first round," said Caldwell, "We are preparing for the real fight now, to actually do what it will take."

1Sky is a collaborative national campaign for strong federal action to tackle global climate change and invest in building the clean energy economy of the future. As one of the largest national climate campaigns in the country, 1Sky combines the force of more than 647 allied organizations, more than 216,000 committed climate advocates, 4307 volunteer Climate Precinct Captains covering more than 400 congressional districts in 50 states, and a team of 24, including 9 organizers and 8 regional coordinators in 20 states working to mobilize constituent support.
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1Sky is a collaborative national campaign for strong federal action to tackle global climate change and invest in building the clean energy economy of the future. As one of the largest national climate campaigns in the country, 1Sky combines the force of more than 647 allied organizations, more than 216,000 committed climate advocates, 4307 volunteer Climate Precinct Captains covering more than 400 congressional districts in 50 states, and a team of 24, including 9 organizers and 8 regional coordinators in 20 states working to mobilize constituent support.