18 environmental organizations have sent a letter to President Obama requesting some serious financing be put on the table for the Copenhagen climate talks by phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, and redirecting that money for international assistance. The also want the US to reach a strong deal over international deforestation. The letter was signed by National Wildlife Federation President & CEO Larry Schweiger, along with leaders of Alliance for Climate Protection, American Council On Renewable Energy, Center for International Environmental Law, Ceres/BICEP (Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy), Clean Economy Network Inc., Environmental Defense Fund, Evangelical Environmental Network, Food for the Hungry, Inc., League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, The Wilderness Society, Union of Concerned Scientists, World Resources Institute, World Wildlife Fund, and 1Sky. It’s reposted below
December 16, 2009
18 Organizations Write to Obama to Phase Out Fossil Fuel Subsidies
December 16, 2009
The White House
Dear Mr. President,
We write to you on behalf of the businesses and millions of Americans we represent to urge you
to lead at this historic moment and secure a fair and ambitious plan for global cooperation to
combat climate change. In particular, we ask that you reprioritize American policy to phase out
the sizable taxpayer subsidies we provide the fossil fuel industry and instead significantly
increase the U.S. investment in global efforts to protect tropical forests, provide humanitarian
assistance to protect vulnerable communities from climate impacts, and speed the deployment of
clean energy technologies. With strong leadership and new proposals in the coming days, the
United States can and should secure additional financing commitments from other nations as part
of a broader agreement from major emitters to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
A Copenhagen agreement should include a landmark global plan to protect tropical forests from
the destruction that causes approximately 15% of the emissions that contribute to global
warming. Backed by a broad coalition of businesses and conservation groups, many in Congress
have already supported measures to finance global efforts to protect tropical forests in climate
legislation. The House-passed American Clean Energy and Security Act includes strong
financing for efforts to reduce emissions from global deforestation by 720 million tons annually
by 2020 – emission reductions that are above and beyond the emission standards in the bill.
Similar provisions are included in the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act that has been
approved by the Senate Environment Committee. You have an opportunity to offer this as a
supplemental commitment here in Copenhagen and ask other nations to match it.
From Biloxi to Bangladesh, poor families get hit first and worst by the effects of climate change.
We must help the poor in poor countries adapt to the impacts of climate change, including
increased water scarcity, extreme weather events, increases in diseases, and declining
agricultural productivity. Since climate impacts act as “threat multipliers,” such destabilization
and the increase of refugees also will lead to security threats. Just as climate legislation in
Congress must address impacts of climate on America’s poor, a global agreement should make
sure that such impacts do not make it more difficult for the world’s poor to create better lives for
themselves. The good news is that the solutions can help them climb out of poverty.
There are several opportunities to generate the necessary financing from innovative sources. At
the G-20 and at the meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation nations, you helped lead an
effort to phase out the subsidies of fossil fuels globally. These subsidies have been costing
American taxpayers $10 billion annually. International transport emissions from aviation and
shipping were left out of the Kyoto Protocol. The loophole for these fast growing sectors should
be closed through a global sectoral cap, and revenue generated should be directed to these
A successful Copenhagen outcome will include global targets for both emissions and climate
finance. The United States should encourage and support a strong global commitment through
2020 for public finance of forest, adaptation and technology initiatives, backed by specific
options for securing this funding. This effort will help advance global cooperation toward a
more ambitious and fairer global deal that involves all nations.
We stand ready to support your leadership.
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