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Business Coalition Cap-And-Trade Program Needs Strengthening, Science Group Says


By Alden Meyer
Union of Concerned Scientists
January 15, 2009


The United States Climate Action Partnership
(USCAP), a coalition of 32 corporations and environmental organizations, this
morning announced a cap-and-trade proposal to reduce global warming pollution.
(For the members of USCAP and more information, go to http://www.us-cap.org/.)
Below is a statement by Alden Meyer, the director of strategy and policy at the
Union of Concerned Scientists.

"The companies that stepped forward today see the writing on the wall and know
their businesses would do well to address global warming sooner rather than
later. They are to be commended for calling for urgent action.

"Their proposed cap-and-trade program is a starting point, but it must be
strengthened significantly to ensure that it's effective.

"The lower end of USCAP's 2020 emissions reduction range is inadequate. Cuts of
20 percent or more below today's levels are both needed and achievable.

"We support USCAP's proposal for a periodic review of the climate science. But
we call on USCAP to join UCS and other groups to ensure that those reviews
trigger needed adjustments in the cap-and-trade program.

"We are pleased that USCAP recognizes the need for the United States to help
developing countries cut their emissions. But they should go further by actively
supporting provisions in cap-and-trade legislation to allocate significant funds
for programs that preserve tropical forests and deploy clean technology
overseas, as well as to help the most vulnerable countries cope with the
mounting impacts of climate change.

"We are concerned that USCAP is advocating giving away for free to polluters
allowances potentially worth billions of dollars. We stand with President-elect
Barack Obama in his call for 100 percent of the allowances to be auctioned.
Giving away too many allowances for free would distort the market and could
result in windfall profits for polluters.

"Last, but by no means least, we're troubled that USCAP's proposal to allow as
much as 2 billion tons of offsets could allow U.S. companies to avoid cutting
their emissions until about 2030. Offsets must be strictly limited to ensure
that companies invest in the clean technologies that reduce global warming
pollution here at home and that are essential to achieving much deeper
reductions in U.S. emissions by mid-century."

The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading U.S. science-based nonprofit
organization working for a healthy environment and a safer world. Founded in
1969, UCS is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and also has offices in
Berkeley, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

 

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