October 18, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tony Kreindler, Environmental Defense, 202-572-3378 or 202-210-5791 (cell)
(Washington – October 18) Comprehensive climate change legislation introduced today by Senators Joe Lieberman and John Warner is winning strong bipartisan support from a diverse group of legislators, reflecting growing momentum for a mandatory cap on global warming pollution as the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee prepares for its first votes on the bill.
Joining as cosponsors today are Republicans Elizabeth Dole, Susan Collins, and Norm Coleman, along with Iowa Democrat and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin. More than a dozen Senate Republicans have now joined a majority of Democrats in supporting legal limits on greenhouse gas emissions.
“The momentum has never been greater and the path forward has never been clearer,” said Steve Cochran, national climate campaign director at Environmental Defense. “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.”
Lieberman and Warner are the chairman and ranking member of a key global warming subcommittee of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and they plan to bring their bill to a markup in their panel within the next few weeks.
Their bill, America’s Climate Security Act, would cap and cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions while protecting the economy and American consumers. It would require that covered sectors — which emit a substantial fraction of U.S. greenhouse gases — reduce emissions by 15% below 2005 levels in 2020, a strong target that helps put the U.S. on the path to much deeper reductions by the middle of the century.
The bill’s authors 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. 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.
The centerpiece of their 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 2050.
Lieberman and Warner’s bill also contains an effective approach to managing costs that minimizes economic impacts without compromising climate protection. Other cost management proposals would jettison emissions caps if the price of reducing emissions reached an arbitrary ceiling. Instead, Lieberman and Warner would allow companies to bank emissions allowances as well as borrow emissions allowances from future years.
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. www.environmentaldefense.org