U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), a member of the Senate Energy Committee and one of the leading voices during last year's debate of climate change legislation, blasted a proposal introduced today by the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) calling it a "self-serving" approach to reducing carbon emissions. USCAP is an alliance of businesses and environmental groups calling for major reductions in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
"While I deeply respect the companies who put this proposal together, after listening to USCAP's briefing this morning I am very disappointed in their self-serving approach to reducing carbon emissions. It appears their blueprint promotes many of the same problematic provisions that have plagued cap-and-trade bills in the past," said Corker. "If the United States truly wants to be a world leader we need real, market-based solutions not self-serving, window dressing attempts to get federal expenditures with no real steps forward in environmental reform and sacrifice.
"I'm totally bewildered that in this anti-earmark atmosphere, USCAP would promote what is basically just another request from special interest groups to take money out of taxpayer pockets. The notion that this bill will give significant allowanceswith real monetary valueaway for free is outrageous.
"I am also opposed to the inclusion of international and domestic offsets, which will compromise the strength of the market system and call into question the integrity of emission reductions.
"I could support a simple, transparent cap-and-trade system that focuses on auctioning emission allowances, returns all the revenue generated from those auctions to the American people, and doesn't allow loopholes such as offsets to weaken the market system.
"I also support exploring the concept of a carbon tax that returns all generated revenue to the American people as a more efficient and transparent way to address carbon emissions."
Noting that climate change and cap-and-trade would be significant issues facing Congress, Corker has spent his first two years in office delving into the complexity of the policy. In May 2007, he traveled to Europe with Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) to meet with European Union officials, carbon traders, representatives from the utility industry, and cement manufacturers. In July 2007, Corker went to Greenland with Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to view the effects of climate change. He has also spent countless hours with Tennessee-based industry, conservation groups, and experts discussing the impacts of climate change legislation, and in April 2008, Corker began making presentations to his colleagues outlining his concerns with the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008, S. 3036.
In June 2008, during Senate debate of S. 3036, Corker presented amendments to get more money returned directly to the pockets of the American people who will bear the brunt of the costs associated with cap-and-trade. Specifically, the Corker amendments would (1) provide direct relief to American consumers bearing the brunt of the cap-and-trade program's costs; (2) increase direct reimbursement to the American people by eliminating free allowancesworth over a TRILLION dollarsto entities that have nothing to do with reducing carbon emissions; and (3) eliminate the use of international offsets to meet emissions reductions.