A day after President Obama threw his support behind the American Clean Energy and Security Act, one of the world's most prominent environmental advocacy organizations has come out in strong opposition to the bill, which is set to go to a full vote on the House floor as early as Friday.
Greenpeace USA Deputy Campaigns Director Carroll Muffett today released a statement calling the proposed climate legislation "weak" and insufficient to address the severity of the problem at hand. Greenpeace called on Congress to reject the bill and "begin immediate and urgent work on legislation that treats seriously the dire threat of climate change."
"We are calling upon Congress to vote against this bill unless substantial measures are taken to strengthen it," said Muffett.
Greenpeace's biggest bone of convention was that emission reduction targets in the bill are "far lower than science demands," and that the giveaways and preferences in the bill will spur the growth of a new fleet of nuclear and coal-fired power plants "to the detriment of real energy solutions."
"Despite President Obama’s assurance that he would enact strong, science-based legislation," Greenpeace's Muffett explained, "we are now watching him put his full support behind a bill that chooses politics over science, elevates industry interests over national interest..."
"To support such a bill is to abandon the real leadership that is called for at this pivotal moment in history. We simply no longer have the time for legislation this weak," said Muffett.
Mixed support and strange bedfellows
By staking-out opposition to the bill, Greenpeace now joins the conservative-leaning PAC, Americans Solutions for Winning the Future, which just launched a fear-based TV ad about the dire economic consequences of passing Waxman-Markey.
Greenpeace, however, does not represent the entire universe of environmental advocacy organizations. Many organizations and environmental advocates have expressed their concerns with the bill, but see its passage as better than the other alternative of doing nothing at all. The Sierra Club and The League of Conservation Voters, for example, just produced a new advertisement in support of Waxman-Markey featuring the words and images of President Obama.
Although President Obama has not aggressively shaped and pushed ACES, he is expected to sign the bill as it is currently written if it gets to his desk. But that may never happen.
Even if a single Republican does not vote for the bill, it likely has the numbers to pass a full vote of the House. The same cannot be said for the Senate, where getting the bill through with a veto-proof super majority of sixty votes will prove much more difficult.