Birding Brevard: The "Pull" of Hunters Over Birders
Boardmembers Tom and Ken to Speak At December Meeting
That $12,000 Life Bird, Part Two
Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival, January 16-19, 2009
Project FeederWatch Benefits Birds and People
Monitoring Wintering Painted Buntings in Florida
Space Coast Audubon and Brevard County's Wildlife Wants You
Are You an Aspiring Nature Photographer?
Back to SCAS Home...
It is Time for a National Policy to Cap Global Warming Pollution
By Pete Johnson, Climate Change Organizer, Audubon of Florida
Currently 34 American states rank among the top 75 highest greenhouse gas polluters in the world. The good news is that many states across the country have recognized the need to cap and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are the principal drivers of global warming and produced mainly by burning fossil fuels, such as coal and oil.
"The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is the first mandatory, market-based effort in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ten Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states will cap and then reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector 10 percent by 2018," according to the initiative's website at www.rggi.org.
Ben Arnoldy reported in the Christian Science Monitor on July 24, 2008 that the "Western Climate Initiative (WCI), which represents one-fifth of the US economy and most of Canada's, aims to cut the region's greenhouse-gas emissions so that by 2020 emissions will be 15 percent lower than 2005 levels."
Beyond the long-term human health, welfare, and environmental stability benefits we can achieve by curbing climate change, national rules are important for economic stability. Bradford Plumer in his article, A New Leaf, in Audubon Magazine's Fall 2008 edition made the case well by writing: "Shell Oil and 25 other companies—including 19 that are listed on the Fortune 500 list, such as Duke Energy, Exelon, and General Electric—along with a handful of environmental groups, have formed the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) to push for a nationwide cap-and-trade system that would reduce greenhouse-gas emissions 60 percent to 80 percent below current levels by 2050.As state rules get pieced together, often haphazardly, many companies have become convinced that it would make more sense to push for a single federal standard rather than deal with a messy state-by-state approach. The RGGI, for instance, is non-binding, and states can technically pull out at any time—as Massachusetts did in 2006 as its governor, Mitt Romney, was gearing up for the Republican presidential primary—a fact that can create uncertainty for utilities."
The key to effectively mitigating our climate change risk and avoiding the worst impacts of global warming is to lower the cap on greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 2 percent per year from current levels to 80 percent or more below 1990 levels by 2050. There are several cap and trade proposals that meet or exceed these reduction levels currently being circulated around the halls of Congress in preparation for early 2009. The Waxman Principles outline what good cap and trade legislation should include. These principles have been signed and supported by 152 members of the House of Representatives.
How Can You Help
Audubon advocates in Washington DC and in Florida are working hard to convince our national Senators and Representatives to support strong carbon cap and trade legislation in 2009. You can help by calling on our Florida delegation to support this legislation next year. You can also participate by joining the Audubon Climate Action Network, which entitles you to become a member of the Alliance For Climate Protection's We Can Solve the Climate Crisis Campaign. Sign up today by visiting http://www.audubonofflorida.org.