Bipartisan Climate Change Plan Opens Door to Senate Action

August 2, 2007


Tony Kreindler, Environmental Defense, 202-572-3378 or 202-210-5791 (cell)

(Washington – August 2, 2007) Environmental Defense today applauded Senators Joe Lieberman and John Warner for developing a bipartisan plan to cap U.S. greenhouse gas emissions that opens the door for Senate action on a climate change bill soon after the Congressional recess.

“Joe Lieberman and John Warner are providing remarkable leadership. By developing an approach that has environmental integrity and support from both sides of the aisle they are doing what is necessary to actually make law,” said Steve Cochran, national climate campaign director at Environmental Defense.

“Their plan includes an airtight cap on emissions, innovative ways to control costs, and a path forward for international action. That lays the groundwork for a consensus bill that meets the environmental test,” Cochran added.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has committed to bringing an economy-wide climate change bill to the Senate floor once bipartisan legislation is approved by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Senators Lieberman and Warner, the chairman and ranking member of the committee’s key climate change panel, are working with their colleagues to finalize their bill over the next few weeks and bring it to a vote shortly after Congress reconvenes in September.

Lieberman and Warner’s proposal already contains several essential elements of a bill that would protect the climate and benefit the U.S. economy:

It sets an economy-wide cap on greenhouse gas emissions, putting the country on the path toward achieving the deep emissions reductions scientific experts say are needed to help avoid the worst consequences of global warming.

It creates a market for emissions allowances that encourages U.S. businesses to find and fund the best emissions reduction opportunities, spurring private investment and creating new jobs as America takes the lead in developing the low-carbon technologies of the future.

It minimizes adverse economic impacts without compromising environmental results. A cost management provision authored by Senator Warner will create a carefully overseen system for adjusting short-term emissions reduction targets without changing or abandoning the overall emissions cap, preventing high costs while maintaining the environmental goal.

Environmental Defense believes an important tool for lowering the costs of climate change policy is a robust emissions trading market that allows companies to invest in the broadest array of verifiable emissions reductions, such as agricultural practices that cut emissions or sequester carbon in the soil. Comprehensive climate legislation should take advantage of the full range of available emissions reduction opportunities.