Offsets Galore In Kerry-Lieberman Draft Climate Bill

Payal Parekh

Polar Bears Love Joe?
Polar Bears Love Joe?
Last week, Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) unveiled their draft climate legislation titled the American Power Act. Similar to the Waxman-Markey Bill that made its way through the House of Representatives, this bill has weak targets and relies heavily on offsets.

The targets are much weaker than what the science demands. The near-term target, 17% below 2005 levels, translates to only 4% below 1990 levels. Yet the most recent science calls for global emissions to peak around 2020!

The bill allows up to 2 billion offsets, equivalent to almost 30% of 2005 emissions. Domestic offsets are slated to account for 75% of offsets, while international offsets, including the CDM, would account for the rest. If the domestic supply is too small to meet demand, then the quantity of international offsets can be increased. Domestic offsets are not discounted, while entities would have to turn in 1.25 international offsets for each unit of greenhouse gas pollution.

We need a bill that moves America toward a carbon-free economy.  The use of such a large number of rip-offsets allows business to do more of the same. It's not good for the economy or the climate. We will be working to put pressure on the Senate to improve this bill.