Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lieberman-Warner Introduce America's Climate Security Act

Oct 18: Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and John Warner (R-VA) formally introduced their America's Climate Security Act (S. 2191). The two Senators, who are the Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively, of the Senate Environment and Public Works, Subcommittee on Private Sector and Consumer Solutions to Global Warming and Wildlife Protection, originally announced their intention to develop the bill on June 28 [See WIMS 6/29/07]; then unveiled a more detailed proposal for the bill on August 2, 2007 [See WIMS 8/2/07].

Senator Lieberman said, "With all the irrefutable evidence we now have corroborating that climate change is real, dangerous, and proceeding faster than many scientists predicted, this is the year for Congress to move this critical legislation. If we fail to start substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the next couple of years, we risk bequeathing a diminished world to our grandchildren. Insect-borne diseases such as malaria will spike as tropical ecosystems expand; hotter air will exacerbate the pollution that sends children to the hospital with asthma attacks; food insecurity from shifting agricultural zones will spark border wars; and storms and coastal flooding from sea-level rise will cause mortality and dislocation."

Senator Warner said, "In my 28 years in the Senate, I have focused above all on issues of national security, and I see the problem of global climate change as fitting squarely within that focus. Today we introduced a balanced bill. Senator Lieberman and I found a good, sound, starting point that sends a significant signal that the U.S. is serious about taking a leadership role in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions."

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, delivered a floor statement on the introduction of the bill. Boxer said, "today will be remembered as a turning point in the fight against global warming. Here's why:

"First, it represents a bi-partisan breakthrough on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. I have made restoring bipartisanship one of my priorities as Chairman of the Committee. And second, if enacted it would be the strongest global warming program in the world in terms of its reach...

"Today, with the introduction of this bill, we are taking the first, immensely important legislative step to meet the challenge of global warming with hope not fear and with approaches that are carefully thought out and some already successfully tried a cap and trade system that has been so successful in addressing acid rain, and energy efficiency which has been so effective in lowering per capita energy use, costs and greenhouse gas emissions in states like California.

"I have been working closely with Senators Warner and Lieberman as they have assembled their bill. I have been very impressed with the effort they have invested in seeking out the views of other Senators and other groups, and in the work they have put into examining the other global warming bills that have been proposed. In my own conversations with them, I have laid out some important principles that I believe must be reflected in legislation to address the challenge of global warming.

"1) The first, most important thing is that any bill has to include real, mandatory cuts in global warming pollution. Any bill we pass must set the nation on the path to achieving the emissions reductions that will avoid dangerous climate change. Under the Lieberman-Warner bill, we anticipate reaching 1990 emissions levels in the U.S. by 2020. That will send a strong, early signal to the marketplace - a very important part of getting where we need to go.

"2) The second necessary element is the flexibility to respond to new information. I like to call it "look backs." The bill must include provisions for continuing to review the science and the results of our policies at regular intervals. We also must know if we need to do more, and we must always reflect the most current science.

"3) Third, we must establish a cap-and-trade program for global warming pollution like the one that has worked so well in curbing acid rain. A cap and trade system will put a market price on carbon, driving greater efficiency and new technologies while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"4) Fourth, we must protect the pioneering state efforts that are already underway. The states have been leading the way on this issue. My home state of California has been the trail blazer on this issue, and other states are also making tremendous progress. Of course, California's AB 32 -- passed by the state's Democratic legislature and signed by a Republican governor -- is the gold standard. A total of 29 states have completed comprehensive Climate Action Plans and many have set mandatory reduction targets.

"5) Fifth, it is a moral imperative to do what we can to ease the impacts of global warming -- not only on the American consumer, but on world populations suffering from droughts, floods and famine. I look forward to working with communities of faith and others as we work to address theses issues.

"6) Finally, a bill must take into account the actions of countries that are not making progress toward a clean, sustainable energy future and must help level the playing field. Countries that want to export their goods to the U.S. must take steps consistent with our global warming policy or be held accountable for their emissions.

"These elements are all included in the Lieberman Warner bill... The bipartisan progress made in this bill is a reflection of how far we have come, and brings us closer to the day when we enact comprehensive legislation to deal with the challenge of global warming."

Environmental Defense, a key supporter of the bill, issued a release saying that the bill would require that covered sectors (about 80% of the U.S. economy) reduce emissions by 15% below 2005 levels in 2020, a "strong target" that they say "helps put the U.S. on the path to much deeper reductions by the middle of the century." The sponsors estimate that energy-efficiency policies also included in the bill would generate additional reductions, for a total economy-wide reduction of up to 18% by 2020. Responding to environmental concerns the senators tightened their short-term target from earlier proposals. Environmental Defense said, "This new target is at a level that would send a clear signal to companies and markets to begin investing now in new low-carbon technologies, and would make sure America is on the path necessary to achieve the long term goals required by global warming science." They said the centerpiece of the bill is a mandatory cap on emissions from the electric power, transportation, and manufacturing sectors, coupled with emissions trading provisions that will help companies meet the cap at the lowest cost. The cap requires a 70% reduction from these covered sources. The sponsors estimate that the bill's energy-efficiency policies, when combined with the cap, would produce overall reductions of up to 63% compared to 2005 levels.

In a second release, Environmental Defense said bipartisan support for the bill was growing. Steve Cochran, national climate campaign director at Environmental Defense said, “The momentum has never been greater and the path forward has never been clearer. These Senators deserve real credit for recognizing the need for action and bringing their vital support to an approach that promises to deliver environmental and economic results.” Cosponsors included: Senators Norm Coleman (R-MN), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

In a release from Lieberman and Warner, the two also highlighted support statements for the bill from: National Wildlife Federation; Exelon Corporation; PGE Corp; Natural Resources Defense Council; and the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies.

Access a release from Senator Lieberman (click here). Access the complete statement from Senator Boxer (click here). Access an webcast of Senators Lieberman, Boxer and Warner, on introduction of the bill (click here). Access legislative details on S. 2191 (click here, posted soon). Access two releases from Environmental Defense (click here); and (click here). [*Climate]


Bedeo said...

Great to see the Lieberman has finally changed his tune. Hopefully the act will pass, and it'll bring about some improvement.

Rick G said...

I strongly suspect the US government will do just as well with a global warming program as they have done with the rest of their programs that are sucking up $3,000,000,000,000 a year.

The leading advocate of this issue is a former government employee that ignores the issue in his personal life.

Picture the bridge is Minnesota that collapsed.

* The law mandated that it be maintained.
* Money was duly confiscated from the people to maintain it.
* Government personnel supervised its condition.
* The bridge collapsed and the citizens died.

Now picture this same approach to global warming.

Of course I'm just a guy thats supposed to draw a Social Security retirement check in 16 and a half years. It would have been 15 but Clinton added to the time. I'm thinking though it really doesn't matter that much.