News Release

Global Warming Solutions and Shams: * Public Transit * Cap-and-Trade

The Senate is debating global warming and a “cap-and-trade” proposal.

HARVEY WASSERMAN
Wasserman is author of the new book SOLARTOPIA: Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030. He said today: “With gas prices going through the roof, where’s the discussion about public transit? Here in Ohio, the federal government just spent $500 million to widen the freeway between Cleveland and Columbus. For a tenth of that money, we could have re-instated train service. …”

[Background: On Monday, USA Today reported in its lead story: “Ridership on mass transit breaks records.”]

Wasserman added: “Wind and solar are booming — the American Wind Energy Association is currently having their convention and it’s huge. We will be able to get our electricity from wind and solar. Nuclear is a pre-failed option. McCain has backed that; Obama has verbally said he would consider nuclear, but he has spoken against the subsidies — but nuclear can’t subsist without massive subsidies.”

MICHAEL DORSEY
Professor of global environmental policy at Dartmouth College, Dorsey said today: “Trading carbon and other market-based proposals will not avert the looming global climate catastrophe. Indeed, the market approaches under consideration on the Hill and the green business leaders promoting them are pushing us closer to catastrophe.

“The architects of the Kyoto Protocol were inspired by the trading system sanctioned by the reauthorized 1990 Clean Air Act, which came into effect under President Bush’s father. This program was relatively successful inside the United States. It reduced the amount of sulfur dioxide emissions that cause acid rain. That program succeeded because there were few sources to monitor (about 2,000 smokestacks in the Midwest) and a national legal system by which to enforce the mandated limits. By contrast, there are far too many carbon source points around the world to monitor, and there is no international legal system or global environmental organization to measure, let alone enforce, emissions limits.

“Thousands of credit-generating projects are being realized under corporate self-monitoring, dangerously relying on the polluters’ own integrity. These potential conflicts of interest were at the heart of the Enron and Arthur Andersen scandals, both pioneers in emissions trading.

“The current leading climate change bill and related proposals are akin to putting the mafia in charge of the court system. Polluting industry has effectively dialed in a series of ‘new cost containment’ provisions that would delay short-term emissions reductions, when all known science says that we must reduce carbon pollution immediately.

“On a global scale, carbon trading is little more than an untested economic experiment that may not avert climate catastrophe in time. The industry-lauded European Union Emission Trading Scheme, the largest regulated carbon market, has failed to reduce greenhouse gases, and is beset by legal challenges from firms and EU members. Just last year, the Financial Times launched an investigation into carbon trading that uncovered numerous problems with trading and offset schemes. ‘The rush to go green suggests easy money for investors in projects that reduce carbon dioxide output,’ the FT reported. As recently as last fall, British tax authorities are also investigating fraudulent trading firms. Similar discussions are already underway in Canada, which inaugurated its Montreal Climate Exchange last Friday.

“Disturbingly in the U.S. former staffers of environmental organizations lobbying for cap-and-trade schemes, like Environmental Defense, Natural Resources Defense Council, WWF and others, have ties to carbon finance firms and corporations that stand to benefit from faulty legislation.”

Dorsey is completing a forthcoming book on climate justice for publication in early 2009. Last year he wrote “Carbon trading won’t work,” which was published in the Los Angeles Times and “Green Market Hustlers” for Foreign Policy In Focus.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167