News Release

EPA’s Carbon Rule “Falls Short of Real Emissions Reduction”

WENONAH HAUTER, via Rich Bindell, Rbindell at fwwatch.org, @foodandwater
JANET REDMAN, Janet at ips-dc.org, @Janet_IPS
Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter and Institute for Policy Studies Climate Policy Program Director Janet Redman released a joint statement this morning: “On the heels of two telling reports from the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change and the National Climate Assessment detailing the substantial negative impacts from climate change around the world, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to incorporate emissions trading and offsetting in their new carbon dioxide rule undermines its ability to deliver the real reductions in carbon emissions so urgently needed.

“We applaud the President for using the tools he has available, given a Congress that refuses to act, and for setting hard targets for emissions reductions. However, the targets don’t make the U.S. a leader in addressing climate change. Because this rule applies to only one segment of our economy — existing coal-fired power plants — the reduction targets fall far short of the IPCC’s goal for developed countries of economy-wide reductions of 15 to 40 percent below 1990 emission levels by 2020. With the President’s targets, U.S. economy-wide emissions would still be above 1990 levels in 2030.

“In addition, by allowing states the option of using cap-and-trade and offsets, the administration has cut the legs out from under its own rule. Carbon trading is designed to benefit big corporate polluters. It lets industry decide for itself how to limit carbon emissions based on profit motive, and makes it cheaper for the dirtiest power plants to simply pay for permits instead of cleaning up pollution.

“The U.S. needs only look to the European Union for evidence that cap and trade fails to deliver on its promises. The EU’s Emissions Trading System for carbon — the largest and longest-running in the world — has been fraught with problems, including corporate giveaways, gaming by the energy industry, volatile carbon prices, and fraud.”