Greenpeace Attacks Kerry’s Climate Bill Preview

Greenpeace executive director Phil Radford said the much-anticipated Kerry-Graham-Lieberman energy bill, due out Monday, has been hijacked by “polluter lobbyists,” after co-sponsor Democratic Senator John Kerry gave some details of the bill to a business group known as We Can Lead.

In a conference call with We Can Lead, a coalition of companies pressing for climate change legislation, Kerry said the bill would implement an emissions cap on several sectors of the economy, as well as give $10 billion to “clean coal” projects and support the construction of 12 new nuclear power plants, according to the Washington Post. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, co-sponsor of the bill has also said expanded offshore drilling will be part of the bill, presumably going beyond what President Obama outlined earlier this month.

Kerry said the bill has gained the support of three major oil companies, BP, ConocoPhillips and Shell, as well as that of the Edison Electric Institute, a consortium of investor-owned utilities, according to Greenwire, in the New York Times.

Perhaps most controversially, Kerry said the bill would block the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, and preempt state and regional efforts to control emissions.

Greenpeace, in a press release sent out Friday morning, said that, based on Kerry’s remarks, the bill has inadequate emissions targets; gives money to dirty technology, including clean coal; and “eviscerates” the Clean Air Act, by limiting the powers of the EPA. Greenpeace urged Congress to “get back to work” on creating a bill that does more to reduce emissions, without giving money to the coal and petroleum industries.

The KGL bill aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent by 2020, and 80 percent by 2050, according to the The Hill’s E2 Wire. Greenpeace said, based on findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that emissions must be reduced an additional 20 percent or more by 2020 to prevent catastrophic climate change.

BC (Ben) Upham is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. He has written for the New York Times, and was a writer and editor for News Communications, Inc., a local paper consortium serving Manhattan. When he's not blogging on green issues -- and especially renewable energy -- he's hiking in the Angeles Mountains or hanging out at El Matador.