Bipartisan Climate Change Bill Approved in Landmark Senate Subcommittee Vote

November 1, 2007
Tony Kreindler, Environmental Defense, 202-572-3378 or 202-210-5791 (cell)

(Washington, DC – November 1) A key Senate panel today made history by approving a bipartisan bill to cap U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, putting the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on the fast track to vote on comprehensive climate change legislation before the end of the month.
“This is much more than a milestone,” said Elizabeth Thompson, legislative director at Environmental Defense. “With this bill we have a real chance of enacting a mandatory cap on emissions in this Congress. Today the U.S. Congress begins its leadership on climate at home and abroad.”
The Subcommittee on Private Sector and Consumer Solutions to Global Warming and Wildlife Protection this morning approved S. 2191, America’s Climate Security Act, on a 4 – 3 vote. Voting for the measure were Sens. Joe Lieberman, John Warner, Max Baucus, and Frank Lautenberg. Voting against were Senators John Barrasso, Johnny Isakson, and Bernie Sanders.
The legislation is expected to be taken up by the full Environment & Public Works Committee as soon as the week of November 12.
S. 2191 would put the U.S. on a path that is consistent with achieving the roughly 80 percent reductions scientists say we need by the middle of the century. The bill puts a mandatory cap on emissions from the electric power, transportation, and manufacturing sectors of the economy. It also contains energy efficiency provisions that, when combined with the cap, would according to the sponsors, produce overall reductions of roughly 19 percent by 2020, and 63 percent in 2050, compared to 2005 levels.
Most scientists say the U.S. needs to cut emissions roughly 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. Environmental Defense continues to believe that national climate policy should achieve that goal. Importantly, the bill contains a “look back” provision to help ensure that its emissions reduction targets keep pace with what current science demands.
Senator Frank Lautenberg also secured a change to the bill that expands the emissions cap to cover natural gas.
The bill also contains a sensible and important provision for managing costs – without busting the emissions cap like alternative “safety valve” proposals. America’s Climate Security Act would allow companies to bank and borrow emissions allowances for future compliance, without compromising the integrity of the overall emissions limit.

Environmental Defense, a leading national nonprofit organization, represents more than 500,000 members. Since 1967, Environmental Defense has linked science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships to create breakthrough solutions to the most serious environmental problems.