Voinovich Proposes Legislation to Increase Global Warming Pollution for Decades

May 2, 2008


Contact: Tony Kreindler, EDF, 202-572-3378 or 202-210-5791 (cell)

(Washington — May 2, 2008) Ohio Senator George Voinovich today proposed to address the rapidly escalating threat of climate change by delaying meaningful federal action to control greenhouse gas emissions, obstructing existing state programs, and allowing U.S. global warming pollution to increase for decades to come.

“This proposal can be summed up in one word: bankrupt,” said Steve Cochran, national climate campaign director at Environmental Defense Fund. “It’s a detailed prescription for doing nothing. If you think climate change is a hoax, this is your bill.” 
The plan outlined by Senator Voinovich today postpones meaningful action on greenhouse gas emissions for at least twenty years, calling for weak, non-binding emissions reduction benchmarks – current levels in 2020 and 1990 levels in 2030 – while providing taxpayer-funded subsidies for favored technologies. If the subsidies failed to achieve their goal, the Environmental Protection Agency could establish a cap and trade system to reduce emissions – but it could be suspended at the whim of the federal government, and it would come with an astonishingly low $5 per ton “safety valve” – an artificial price control on emissions reductions.
In the meantime, the proposal would take away state authority – confirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in Massachusetts v. EPA – to control global warming pollution. Dozens of states across the country, including California, Florida, and the Northeast members of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, have set ambitious emissions reduction targets.
Widespread scientific consensus holds that the U.S. needs to reduce emissions to roughly 80 percent below current levels by mid-century to help avoid the worst consequences of climate change. The U.S. can meet that target by reducing emissions by a manageable two percent per year – every year of delay will require steeper emissions cuts at a higher cost to the economy.
The Senate is expected to vote in early June on the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act (S. 2191), a bipartisan bill that puts an enforceable limit on pollution and puts the U.S. on a path to meeting science-based emissions reduction targets without harming the economy. The Energy Information Administration reported earlier this week that the bill’s mandatory cap and trade system would effectively reduce emissions without impacting strong long-term economic growth in the U.S.
“Senators looking for an environmentally effective and economically sound climate policy need to look no further than the Climate Security Act. Senator Voinovich’s proposal is just an escape route from credible action, and it leads to the same old expensive and ineffective policies that have already failed to curb emissions,” Cochran said. “It’s an attempt to block real action, and it’s only going to raise the price of fixing this problem down the road.”
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