American Power Act Fails to Reduce Emissions Enough to Avoid Catastrophic Climate Change

For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Bill Snape, (202) 536-9351

American Power Act Fails to Reduce Emissions Enough to Avoid Catastrophic Climate Change

Center for Biological Diversity Analysis Finds Bill Would Allow Greenhouse Gases to Reach Lethal 650 Parts Per Million

WASHINGTON - As the worst environmental disaster in
U.S. history devastates the Gulf of Mexico, clarifying the urgent need
for bold,
effective climate legislation, a new Center for Biological Diversity
analysis of
the American Power Act demonstrates the bill’s gross inadequacies.

The Center’s analysis shows that the
greenhouse gas emissions allowed under the bill could lead to global
gas concentrations of 650 parts per million (ppm). At these
global mean temperatures would almost certainly rise 2°C (3.6°F) over
preindustrial levels. There is also an 80-percent chance that the
would exceed 3°C (5.4°F), and a 40-percent chance that the
increase would
exceed 4°C (7.2°F), according to leading scientists. Even a 2°C
could cause the displacement of millions due to sea-level rise,
loss of entire ecosystems, and the triggering of multiple climactic
points” that would result in additional, accelerated warming.

“The decisions we make today will
determine the
health and livability of the planet for generations to come,” said Bill
senior counsel at the Center. “Policymakers need to acknowledge the
great danger
from proposals like the American Power Act, which simply do not provide
pollution reductions that scientists warn are needed to tackle this
crisis. The
hard truth is that the bill would leave our children and grandchildren
to deal
with what can only be called climate catastrophe.”

To limit future warming to 2°C, developed
like the United States must make firm commitments to reduce their
emissions by
25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels within the next decade. Even assuming

successful implementation of the bill’s programs — an unlikely scenario
its many loopholes — the Act would likely reduce emissions by less than 1

percent below 1990 levels by 2020.

The Act would also offer a smorgasbord of
regulatory streamlining provisions, and other incentives for expanded
oil exploration, nuclear power, and continued reliance on coal-fired

Naomi Klein Block

Making matters worse, the climate bill
devastates proven, effective programs under the federal Clean Air Act
that could
be used to achieve the immediate and long-lasting emissions reductions
that are
needed. It removes EPA’s ability to set a national pollutant cap for
gases, permanently removes the agency’s ability to set greenhouse
standards for
major polluters like oil refineries and cement plants, and prohibits the

regulation of important greenhouse gases like methane from sources such
as coal
mines until at least 2020.

“Passing a climate bill with inadequate
gas reduction goals is bad enough, but adding subsidies for offshore oil

drilling and other fossil fuels to the mix while gutting successful
laws that can get the job done is downright crazy,” said Snape.

The Center’s longer analysis of the
American Power
Act is available here.

The Center’s short summary of key
provisions of the
bill is available here.


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.

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