WASHINGTON – Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) reintroduced the Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act (S. 280) today with his longstanding ally, Senator John McCain (R-AZ). Co-sponsoring the bill are Senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), who had co-sponsored the 2005 version of the bill, and Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Susan Collins (R-ME). The most bipartisan of the Senate proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all major sectors of the US economy, the new bill quickly won endorsements from the National Wildlife Federation, Environmental Defense, and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.
“When former skeptics cite melting habitat as the reason polar bears are now threatened, you know the global warming debate is over,” said Lieberman. “The American people want action now because they understand the alternative is bequeathing a diminished world to our children and grandchildren. Our comprehensive legislation has attracted bipartisan support because it solves the global warming problem without weakening the nation’s economic position or imposing hardship on its citizens. By using the power of the free market to promote the rapid and widespread deployment of advanced technologies, we will strengthen this country’s economic position even as we protect our grandchildren against the threat of a diminished future.”
“We continue to work with the scientific community, industry, economists, environmentalists, the faith-based community, and other stakeholders to ensure that we are fully addressing the serious problem of global warming in a manner that has both economic and environmental integrity,” said McCain. “I am confident that given our will and what's at stake, America can and must assume its proper leadership role in addressing the preeminent environmental issue of our time, the consequences of which so directly affects our national interests. The costs of inaction are enormous, and the national security concerns related to our inaction cannot be ignored. That is why I will continue working with my colleagues to further improve this legislation to craft and implement a market-based policy that will efficiently combat global warming in a manner that will serve our nation well for many years to come.”
“It has become readily apparent that climate change is real and potentially irreversible if we don’t begin to address it soon," said Lincoln. "The burden that we will pass on to future generations grows larger each day that we fail to take action. As we move forward with this legislation, I will continue to work with my colleagues to find a solution to climate change while developing mechanisms within this bill to ensure that our economy remains strong and consumers, particularly in rural areas, are protected from unreasonable rate increases.”
“With overwhelming scientific evidence that global warming is adversely impacting the health of our planet, the time has come for the Congress to take action,” said Snowe. “Manmade greenhouse gas emissions that enter the atmosphere today will last for generations to come, threatening our oceans, our environment and our economic well-being. It is beyond dispute that we cannot afford the price of inaction. This legislation takes concrete steps by using a fair, market-based system to once and for all demonstrate leadership on climate change and reduce emissions in the United States.”
“With each passing year, the consequences of federal inaction on reducing greenhouse gas emissions become more devastating for our children and grandchildren, and the range of solutions grows smaller,” Obama said. “This bill offers a comprehensive solution that relies on American will, ingenuity, and technological expertise to solve one of the greatest problems of our generation, and it deserves consideration by the Senate as soon as possible.”
“I’ve traveled north to the Arctic and south to Antarctica, and I've seen signs of the changing climate in both places and almost everywhere in between,” said Collins. “The world’s climate is changing, from top to bottom. With 2006 the warmest year in United States history, it is clearly time to act. The Climate Stewardship Act is a powerful bill that takes advantage of market mechanisms to address global warming without harming the economy. I’m pleased to join senators McCain and Lieberman in cosponsoring this important bill.”
The 2005 version of the Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act would have capped US greenhouse gas emissions at year 2000 levels without mandating further reductions. The new bill (S. 280) will gradually lower the emissions cap, such that it reaches approximately one third of 2000 levels by 2050. Those long-term reductions will forestall catastrophic, manmade climate change, provided the world’s other major economies follow suit within the next decade. Like the 2005 version, the reintroduced bill controls compliance costs by allowing companies to trade, save, and borrow emissions credits, and by allowing them to generate “offset” credits by inducing non-covered businesses, farms, and others to reduce their emissions or capture and store greenhouse gases. The reintroduced bill, however, increases the availability of borrowing and offsets in order to control costs further.
Lieberman and McCain first introduced their landmark bill to curb global warming using a market-based system in 2003. They forced the US Senate to vote on the measure that year, and on the reintroduced bill in 2005. In June 2005, the Senate passed a resolution calling for the enactment of legislation to reverse the persistent growth of global warming pollution without harming the US economy and while encouraging the country’s major trading partners to take comparable action.
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