Climate Legislation at Last?

The author of today’s article, Mark MacLeod, is Director of Special Projects for our national climate campaign.

What do you get when a longtime champion of the environment and a respected Republican voice on both the economy and national security join forces in the Senate to write a climate change bill? A real opportunity for bipartisan action on global warming.

On Wednesday, Connecticut Independent Joe Lieberman and Virginia Republican John Warner announced a groundbreaking commitment to develop a comprehensive greenhouse gas cap and trade bill. They intend to bring it to a vote in their panel on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee before the end of July.

A pile of climate bills have already been introduced in the Congress this year – why is this announcement such big news?

These two senators have a track record of seeking practical solutions to difficult problems, and their colleagues in the Senate will be looking to them for a sensible approach to fixing the climate problem. Lieberman will set a high bar for environmental protection, and Warner will ensure the bill helps the climate without weakening the economy. That means a bill that can win broad support on both sides of the aisle.

Their partnership also underscores the growing recognition that climate change is an issue of national security. Lieberman and Warner hold senior posts on the Senate’s homeland security and armed services panels, and both understand the security threats global warming poses at home and abroad. As Warner said on Wednesday, "In my 28 years in the Senate, I have focused above all on issues of national security, and I see the problem of climate change as fitting within that focus."

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer called the announcement a "critical milestone" for her committee’s efforts to pass a comprehensive climate change bill. We share her optimism, so stay tuned for updates when the bill is unveiled next month.

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  • […] Jun 28th, 2007 by loufuzai In a recent entry about the EU market, I questioned how long it would take the US to catch up. An article at today reports that the high rollers are all wagering that the US market will bloom like a mushroom after a spring rain. The more risk averse are banking on change as soon as a new administration takes over in DC, but there is already action in Congress. The large US banks are already hiring carbon traders, who are busy buying inexpensive certified emissions reduction credits (1 CER = 1 tonne of CO2 equivalent or tCO2e) created under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol. Most of the CERs are from China and India. The traders are counting on a 200-300% return on investment if the US carbon market takes off. One plan is to bundle carbon credits with power contracts. When US electric utilities are faced with carbon caps, the carbon credits will allow trader to sell power contracts at lower prices. We will see how it plays out. But with all the money queuing up, a large US carbon market appears to be a good bet. […]

  • […] American participation is a big concern here. The European Union has decided to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent below its 1990 levels by 2020, and will increase its commitment to 30 percent if other major nations – in particular, the United States – step up to the plate. Delegates are encouraged by the building momentum in the U.S. Congress towards legislation to cap greenhouse gas emissions. […]

  • […] they announced this summer, they are now working together as chair and ranking member of a key Senate subcommittee to draft a […]

  • […] month, I wrote about the significance of Senators Warner and Lieberman joining forces to craft global warming legislation. I noted Senator Warner’s view that global warming is a […]