Delahunt v. Bush

Congressman Bill Delahunt (D-MA) returns from a visit to the UN and cosigns a letter with several House colleagues:

In order to achieve a comprehensive international climate regime that includes all major emitting countries after 2012, there is an urgent need to make significant progress in negotiations at the Conference of Parties to the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) being held this December in Indonesia. You have invited representatives from the world’s leading emitting countries to Washington, DC on September 27th and 28th under the auspices of advancing these negotiations.

We are concerned that in announcing the Major Emitters Meeting, and then again in the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s Sydney Declaration, you have focused on reaching long-term “aspirational” goals. Given the latest reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which provide clear evidence of global warming impacts on all continents and most of the oceans, we need actual reductions in global warming pollution, not aspirational goals.

Indeed. Full text below the fold:

To avoid the most catastrophic impacts, the IPCC has suggested the need to cut global emissions by 50 to 85 percent below 2000 levels by 2050. Given our historic responsibility for the current concentrations of global warming pollution in the atmosphere and our technological capabilities, the U.S. contribution to such a global target should be on the order of 80 percent reduction in our emissions by 2050.

The United States is the largest emitter of global warming pollution in the world. It is, therefore, incumbent on our government to adopt mandatory policies that will reduce our global warming emissions in a timely manner. In this June’s G8 summit declaration, you and the other G8 leaders reaffirmed the responsibility to act on climate change and the need for policies that “accelerate action over the next decade.” Furthermore, the fact sheet released with the announcement of the Major Emitters Meeting calls for the adoption of “ambitious mid-term national targets and programs, based on national circumstances.”

To that end, we call on you to partner with Congress to put in place mandatory domestic policies that will achieve real reductions in emissions, protect vulnerable communities at home and abroad, and demonstrate the United States’ commitment to finding a global solution to this global challenge. We support increased investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy research and development, but policies to drive their adoption in the marketplace are needed. Ensuring mandatory domestic actions that reduce global warming pollution in the United States would be the most effective way of advancing the international negotiations.

Good for Delahunt.

This summer, the House of Representatives and the Senate passed energy legislation that could lead to significant reductions in global warming pollution. The House bill included a national renewable electricity standard and provisions that would result in a major increase in the energy efficiency of appliances, and the Senate bill included a provision to increase the efficiency of our nation’s vehicles. Taken together, these provisions could achieve 25 percent of the reductions in heat-trapping gases the United States needs to make by 2030 in order to keep the world on a path to avoid the worst impacts of global warming. Congress will be in negotiations to reconcile the two energy bills this fall with the intent of sending you energy legislation that will increase the nation’s energy independence and reduce the threat of global warming.

The House will also soon consider legislation establishing a mandatory domestic cap for global warming pollution to realize the rest of the necessary emission reductions, and to provide assistance to the most vulnerable communities in coping with the impacts that are no longer avoidable. The adoption of such legislation in the United States will facilitate expanding the international carbon market, allowing developed and developing world countries to use market mechanisms to reduce global warming pollution.

Your commitment to work with Congress to enact these crucial pieces of legislation would demonstrate, as no other action could, your dedication to achieving an international climate agreement for post-2012. We urge you to work with us this fall to ensure that the United States establishes ambitious, mandatory polices that will further negotiations for appropriate mandatory commitments from all major emitting countries under the UNFCCC, and will meet the twinned challenges of global warming and energy security.