Statement: House Passes Landmark Climate Bill

 – This statement was issued following passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 by the U.S. House of Representatives. –

Statement of Eileen Claussen
President, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

June 26, 2009

Today’s vote is an historic turning point for climate action in the United States. For far too long we have abdicated our responsibility as a leader on an issue of epic proportions. Today the U.S. Congress has signaled a willingness to take responsibility for our past – and show leadership for our future. The passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES Act) by the U.S House of Representatives sends a clear signal to families, workers, and businesses that a clean energy future is possible. The ACES Act will help tackle climate change, drive our economic recovery, and advance energy independence.
 
The ACES Act combines ambitious but achievable targets for reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions with a market-based program that will reward business leaders for deploying clean energy technologies as quickly and inexpensively as possible. The science is clear that human-induced climate changes are already occurring and are projected to increase. The benefits of taking action now far outweigh the manageable costs. 

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the ACES Act would in 2020 have an average annual cost of $175 per household and that households in the lowest 20 percent by income would actually receive a net benefit of $40 per year. The Environmental Protection Agency projects that the bill would cost American households $80 to $111 a year. Neither of these estimates account for the benefit the ACES Act would provide to the U.S. public and economy by avoiding the costs of increased climate change. Nor do they account for the fact that the ACES Act will help U.S. businesses lead the race already under way to develop clean energy technologies – a race that will dominate the 21st century global economy. 

As this legislation moves to the Senate, it is also important to consider its international implications. Enactment of a comprehensive energy and climate bill along the lines of the ACES Act will finally allow the United States to help lead the efforts toward a global agreement in which the major economies of the world, both developed and developing, play their part to address the climate challenge.

I commend Speaker Pelosi, Chairmen Waxman and Markey, and their colleagues who have seized their opportunity to begin building a stronger U.S. economy and a better, safer world. Climate change presents an unprecedented challenge – but it is one we must tackle now. I urge the Senate to build on this work to advance strong climate and energy legislation.

 

Pew Center Contact: Tom Steinfeldt, 703-516-4146