White House Memo Signals Climate Retreat
Friends of the Earth
WASHINGTON, DC (June 30, 2021) — A just-released memo from the White House stakes out a series of climate negotiating positions in a pending reconciliation package. It makes no mention of repealing fossil fuel subsidies, which was a key provision of the American Jobs Plan.
The memo also includes an Energy Efficiency and Clean Electricity Standard (EECES), a rebranded Clean Energy Standard apparently based on similar principles of technology neutrality.
Just yesterday, a coalition of over 500 groups sent a letter to Congress demanding the repeal of fossil-fuel subsidies. Previously, a coalition of over 700 groups sent a letter demanding a Renewable Energy Standard that rejects natural gas and false solutions.
Friends of the Earth Program Manager Lukas Ross issued the following statement in response:
Democrats are once again throwing the climate justice movement under the bus. Congressional Democrats have yet to write a single Clean Energy Standard that excludes fracked gas and other false solutions.
Climate activists aren’t fooled by technology neutral gimmicks. Biden should not encourage proposals that peddle false solutions or that bargain away fossil fuel subsidy repeal.
ACTION ALERT Tell the White House and Congress:
Don’t Sacrifice Our Climate Future to a Nuclear Bailout
(July 9, 2021) — Proposed nuclear bailouts being pushed through Congress right now threaten to sacrifice our best opportunity to act on climate. Senators Cardin (D-MD), Whitehouse (D-RI), and Carper (D-DE) want Congress to include a massive subsidy for nuclear power plants in what is currently a good renewable energy bill.
The senators’ proposal would give as much as $50-$100 billion to dangerous, expensive nuclear power plants. This would be a huge mistake and it would undermine the commitments leaders in Congress and the White House have made to climate action and environmental justice.
Nuclear power has no place in our clean energy future. We can’t let the nuclear industry impede actual climate solutions by diverting time and resources away from renewable energy development and decarbonization. We can’t let Congress continue to subsidize dirty and unjust energy systems while failing to enact the just transition we need and deserve.
The choice to spend billions propping up aging, dirty, and dangerous nuclear infrastructure is the choice not to invest those billions in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and other climate solutions.We finally have the opportunity we have been working towards to make real progress in the fight against climate change. Nuclear bailouts undermine and obstruct climate solutions and only leave us further and further behind in the urgent race to solve climate change.
We can’t let our elected leaders sacrifice the climate to nuclear bailouts and forgo this opportunity to create a better, cleaner, more equitable energy future. Send a message to your members of Congress, President Biden, and Vice-President Harris telling them to say NO to nuclear bailouts and YES to climate solutions.
In the last two weeks, two bills have been introduced that would provide massive subsidies to decades-old nuclear power plants. We cannot afford to sacrifice our climate on bailouts for aging, uneconomical nuclear power plants, and I ask you to oppose these proposals. We simply must not waste the next decade and billions of dollars propping up old power plants instead of building the clean, safe, affordable renewable energy solutions that we need to address climate change.
Sen. Cardin has introduced a bill, the “Zero-Emissions Nuclear Power Production Tax Credit Act of 2021,” which would provide at least $5 billion per year to uncompetitive nuclear power plants. Over a ten-year period, that would add up to at least $50 billion, and could pave the way for including such a measure in legislation to enact President Biden’s American Jobs Plan. Please oppose this bill.
In addition, the bipartisan infrastructure bill you announced two weeks ago includes at least $9.6 billion in subsidies for unprofitable nuclear reactors through 2030. In contrast, the bill would provide less than $500 million for all sources of renewable energy — and then only for “demonstration projects.”
How can we possibly respond to the climate crisis with the scope and scale it requires if we spend twenty times more on bailouts for 40-years-old nuclear power plants than on building the new, renewable energy sources that will actually reduce emissions? Please work to ensure that nuclear subsidies are removed from the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
Both of these bills represent completely misplaced priorities. We have less than a decade to respond to climate change with the scope and scale that is required to save our country and our planet. We cannot continue to make such poor choices.
The American Jobs Plan could help us save the country and the world from the ravages of climate change we are already experiencing: unprecedented heat waves, cold-freezes, forest fires, droughts, mega-storms, crop failures, and flooding. But not if it includes bailouts for dirty, dangerous, unjust, uneconomical nuclear power. We must set the country on the path to 100% renewable energy by 2035 – fossil fuel-free and nuclear-free.
• Nuclear Power and Climate Action, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung-NYC
• US eyes nuclear reactor tax credit to meet climate goals -sources, Reuters
• Biden backs $195 billion nuke bailout, Friends of the Earth
• Vision for Equitable Climate Action, US Climate Action Network • The Unjustifiable Climate Cost of a Nuclear Bailout, NIRS
Too Big to Bailout: The Economic Costs of a National Nuclear Power Subsidy, NIRS
• Nuclear Reactor Closures: Practical, Cost-Effective Solutions for Communities and the Climate, NIRS
• Time to get off the fence on nuclear, NIRS
• The Global Nuclear Waste Crisis, NIRS
• Nuclear Power Violates Climate Justice, Human Rights, NIRS