Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Lieberman-Warner climate change bill



May 12, 2008

Dear Friends:

The Lieberman-Warner climate change bill is slated to come to the Senate floor the week of June 2-6, 2008.

Without even explicitly mentioning nuclear power, the bill would be the largest giveaway to the nuclear power industry ever­some $500 billion worth.

And if that weren’t enough, we expect one or more amendments to be submitted to give even more billions of taxpayer dollars to the nuclear industry; further reduce public participation in nuclear issues; and speed the development of new radioactive waste sites over public opposition.

We need to stop this nuclear nonsense, and your voices need to be heard.

Even our friends in the Senate, like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), say they are not receiving enough phone calls on this issue. They, and we, are urging you to call your senators now and demand that they oppose any nuclear provisions or amendments to the Lieberman-Warner bill.

Your calls are especially important because the nuclear industry is actively lobbying to obtain more taxpayer dollars, and they have far more resources to do so than the environmental movement.

Please call your Senators today: Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121.

And activate e-mail lists, phone trees, myspace and facebook sites, and any other networks you have. We need to get as many of your voices to the Senate as possible.

Some background information on the Lieberman-Warner bill, and some of the nuclear provisions now being talked about, is below.

First, we all know that election campaigns take huge sums of money, and we know that many of you have been contributing to your candidates this year. But issue campaigns, like this one, require resources too. After you’ve called your Senators, please consider making an extra $30 donation (or $300 or $3,000, if you can!)­in honor of NIRS’ 30th anniversary this year­on our secure website here.

Background information on Lieberman-Warner Bill (S. 2191)

According to an aide to Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT), the Lieberman-Warner climate change bill scheduled to be debated on the Senate floor during the first week of June “would be the most historic incentive for nuclear in the history of the United States."

The cap-and-trade carbon emissions system that the bill would establish would both make utility investments in carbon-emitting technologies like coal and gas less economically competitive by putting a price on carbon, and would also create a fund­totaling as much as $500 Billion over the next four decades­that could be used for nuclear power investment.

There are many problems with the proposed legislation, not the least of which is that its emissions reductions targets fall far short of what science now says is necessary to avoid a climate catastrophe. In fact, the global carbon emissions reduction of 80% by 2050 called for by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Global Climate Change translates into a 95% reduction in U.S. emissions­or essentially a carbon-free energy economy. But at best, the Lieberman-Warner bill would reduce emissions about 60-70% by 2050, and perhaps not even that much.

Nuclear amendments that have been discussed on Capitol Hill may include some, or even all, of the following:

*more money for taxpayer loan guarantees for new reactors
*more money for “risk” insurance if reactors are delayed because of interventions or other licensing problems
*establishment of “interim” storage sites for high-level radioactive waste
*speed-up of Yucca Mountain licensing
*further restrictions on public participation in reactor licensing
*money for training nuclear engineers
*money for training skilled workers (like welders)
*money for security guards and improvements
*money for Hardened On-Site Storage
*money to build new factories to manufacture large reactor components
*money for new transmission lines
*money for transformers

We need safe, clean, fast and affordable solutions to the climate crisis. Nuclear power meets none of those criteria. Your actions now can make a real difference!

Please call your Senators today: 202-224-3121, and alert your colleagues, co-workers, church groups, PTAs, and all of your friends and ask them to call too! And please call both of your senators no matter where you think they may stand on the issue: we need to create a better sense in the Senate that people care about this issue.

Thank you for all you do. Together, we can stop the nuclear industry’s misguided notion that climate change legislation is their opportunity to have an atomic Christmas in June!

As always, if you have questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Michael Mariotte
Executive Director
Nuclear Information and Resource Service

This is NIRS’ 30th anniversary year: Help kick off our next 30 years, and our work to build a nuclear-free, carbon-free energy future, with your most generous contribution possible. Please make your tax-deductible donation here.

And if you haven’t done so yet, don’t forget to sign the statement on nuclear power and climate at (but please don’t sign more than once!). If you’ve already signed, please ask your friends and colleagues to sign!

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