October 17, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tony Kreindler, Environmental Defense, 202-572-3378 or 202-210-5791 (cell)
(Washington – October 17) Senators Joe Lieberman and John Warner tomorrow will introduce comprehensive, bipartisan climate change legislation that would cap and cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions while protecting the economy and American consumers.
“Lieberman and Warner have paved the way for a historic committee vote on a bill that promises to make great strides toward climate security and economic growth,” said Steve Cochran, national climate campaign director at Environmental Defense. “Thanks to their thoughtful approach we’re moving beyond talk and quickly toward action.”
America’s Climate Security Act 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 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. 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 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.
“The emissions goal is aggressive in the short-term and that will have a real impact on investment decisions made now. Most scientists say we need to cut U.S. emissions by about 80 percent, and we continue to believe that deeper reductions are needed long-term. This bill is a good start in that direction, and we will continue to work toward those longer term reductions,” Cochran said.
Importantly, Lieberman and Warner’s bill 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.