For Immediate Release
Statement on Senate Climate Bill
WASHINGTON - The Center for
Biological Diversity issued the following statement today from Executive
Director Kieran Suckling, responding to a close-to-final version of the Senate climate
bill released today.
“The Boxer-Kerry climate bill marks a baby step
forward in the ever more urgent fight against climate catastrophe, but
much bolder action is needed.
“We applaud senators Boxer and Kerry for
introducing legislation that builds on the success of the Clean Air Act.
The Clean Air Act has reduced air pollution for 40 years and is one of our
most powerful tools in fighting global warming and protecting human
health. This legislation recognizes that now more than ever, we need every
tool in the tool box to curb global warming, and it retains the safety net
of the Clean Air Act to reduce greenhouse emissions.
“While the Senate bill recognizes the absolute
necessity of stronger emissions reduction targets, the targets in the
Senate bill — like those in the House bill — are woefully inadequate. This
legislation would not save the polar bear and numerous other species and
ecosystems because it simply does not go far enough quickly
“The scientific consensus is clear: We must
reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide to no more than 350 parts per million.
Leading climate scientists have called for reductions of approximately 40
percent below 1990 levels to avoid climate catastrophe, and yet this bill
aims to deliver only a 20-percent reduction from 2005 levels.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC) has found that to reach even 450 ppm CO2eq (corresponding to approximately 400 ppm CO2), the emissions of the
United States and other developed countries should be reduced by 25 to 40
percent below 1990 levels by 2020.1 Thus, to reach 350 ppm
CO2, the United States
must achieve or exceed the upper end of this range.
Forty of the world’s leading climate
scientists, including former IPCC chair Sir John Houghton, have called for
industrialized countries to make a commitment at the United Nations
climate summit in Copenhagen to cut carbon emissions to at least 40
percent below 1990 levels by 2020 “to avoid the worst impacts of climate
The Center for Biological Diversity is
advocating for legislation that sets an overall cap on atmospheric carbon
dioxide levels consistent with the best available science of no more than
350 ppm, which would require reducing emissions approximately 40 to 45
percent below 1990 levels; that works with, rather than replaces, the
Clean Air Act; and that eliminates or greatly reduces offsets and other
At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.