Business and Environmental Leaders Release Landmark Blueprint for Climate Protection Legislation
Broad and Diverse Coalition Presents Consensus Approach on Major Climate Initiatives
The landmark document – titled A Blueprint for Legislative Action – echoes the sense of urgency that President-elect Obama has articulated regarding the need for a cap on greenhouse gas emissions.
Developed through two years of intensive analysis and consensus-building among 26 corporations and five environmental organizations, the Blueprint offers policymakers a clear path forward endorsed by a coalition representing a broad swath of the economy and diverse environmental interests.
“In the past, the U.S. has proven that we have the will, the capabilities and the courage to invest in innovation – even in difficult times,” said
USCAP believes that strong climate legislation is a critical element of any effort to stimulate investment and innovation in low-carbon technologies. The Blueprint provides specific guidelines for the Administration and Congress to enact legislation that both protects the environment and facilitates the necessary transition to a vibrant, low-carbon economy. That includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent of 2005 levels by 2050 through an economy-wide cap-and-trade program.
“The health of our economy and the safety of our climate are inextricably linked, except nature doesn’t do bail-outs,” noted
USCAP noted that every year of delay in controlling emissions increases the risk of unavoidable consequences that could necessitate even steeper greenhouse gas reductions in the future, at substantially greater economic cost and social disruption.
The Blueprint details steps for creating a mandatory, economy-wide cap-and-trade program, coupled with cost containment measures and complementary policies addressing a federal technology research development and deployment program, coal technology, transportation, and building and energy efficiency.
Expanding significantly on USCAP’s 2007 groundbreaking Call for Action, the Blueprint includes an aggressive emission reduction schedule, further details on the scope of coverage for the cap-and-trade program, and recommendations for how to include as much of the U.S. economy under the cap as administratively and politically feasible.
Highlights from the Blueprint include:
- Requiring an 80 percent emissions reduction below 2005 levels by 2050: National climate legislation should include aggressive emission reduction targets that can be achieved at manageable costs to the economy. The targets and timetables in the Blueprint are consistent with the schedule proposed by President-elect Obama.
- Allowing the ample use of offsets to manage program costs: Offsets should be used to help meet compliance obligations and should be environmentally additional, verifiable, permanent, measurable, and enforceable. Other cost containment measures to limit price spikes and volatility are detailed in the Blueprint.
- Using the value of emissions allowances to protect consumers and businesses while advancing climate program goals: USCAP believes the distribution of allowance value should facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy for consumers and businesses, provide capital to support new low- and zero-GHG-emitting technologies, and address the need for humans and the environment to adapt to climate change. A significant portion of allowances should be initially distributed to capped entities and particularly disadvantaged economic sectors. The Blueprint identifies principles to guide the fair and equitable allocation of allowance value to mitigate costs to consumers and impacted sectors of the economy.
- Creating incentives for technology development and deployment: In addition to outlining the design and function of a cap-and-trade system, the Blueprint details complementary measures for coal, technology transformation, transportation, and buildings and energy efficiency that are needed to facilitate rapid technology transformation and to ensure that actual reductions in emissions occur across the economy. These measures are presented as necessary components of the cap-and-trade recommendations.
A summary overview of the Blueprint for Legislative Action as well as the full text of USCAP’s recommendations are available online at www.us-cap.org.
United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) is a group of businesses and leading environmental organizations that have come together to call on the federal government to quickly enact strong national legislation to require significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.
* Alcoa * AIG * Boston Scientific * BP America * Caterpillar * Chrysler * ConocoPhillips * John Deere * Dow * Duke Energy * DuPont * Environmental Defense Fund * Exelon * Ford * FPL Group * GE * GM * Johnson & Johnson * Marsh * Natural Resources Defense Council * The Nature Conservancy * NRG Energy * PepsiCo * Pew Center On Global Climate Change * PG&E * PNM Resources * Rio Tinto * Shell * Siemens * World Resources Institute * Xerox *
SOURCE U.S. Climate Action Partnership