Just in from Copenhagen — a letter from a coalition of conservation organizations to President Obama:
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.
The letter (PDF) 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.