Status of Climate Change Legislation in the House
Representatives Waxman and Markey formally introduced H.R. 2454, The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, on May 15, 2009. This is the comprehensive climate change bill that previously was circulating in draft form. It has been significantly altered from the draft form, due to much negotiation among committee members. The Committee began its final deliberations, the “mark-up” process, at 1 p.m. on Monday, May 18th. A vote is expected by the end of this week, before they recess for the Memorial Day weekend.
At the moment, the bill does not provide much money for adaptation funding, money that would be used to help low-income vulnerable countries adjust to the effects of climate change they have begun to experience. Adaptation funds would be directed to projects like agriculture research and development and extension programs to help farmers cope with changing weather patterns and more comprehensive and sophisticated emergency preparedness trainings and forecasting. In the early years of this program, the majority of allowances will be distributed free to various industry sectors in the U.S. that produce greenhouse gas emissions. Some will be dedicated for international purposes, but will need to be sold in order to produce the money needed for programs. Only 1% of carbon emissions allowances will go toward adaptation spending. According to estimates of what is needed, something like $7 billion, or more than 7% of the value of the emissions allowances is needed annually for the U.S.’s fair share.
Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee need to hear from their constituents now. Please contact them by Wednesday, May 20th. Let them know:
a) You support ambitious, compassionate climate change legislation and want your Representative to be a positive force for moving it out of committee and onto the floor of the House.
b) The United States has a moral imperative, international legal obligations, and important practical reasons for providing sufficient adaptation funding for vulnerable developing nations. 1% is not sufficient – please raise the amount of money for adaptation funding.