Senators Outline Goals For Climate Change Legislation

Senators Outline Goals For Climate Change Legislation

Sens. Menendez, Reed, Kerry, Feingold, Dodd and Durbin urge authors of forthcoming legislation to include strong emissions reductions, focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency

Washington - As a Senate subcommittee drafts cap-and-trade legislation to address the climate change crisis, a group of their Senate colleagues from outside of the Environment and Public Works Committee are urging that the legislation include a number of provisions to help ensure that the goal of significant emissions reductions is achieved (http://menendez.senate.gov/pdf/100207lettertoSenatorsonglobalwarming.pdf).

Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), along with Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI), John Kerry (D-MA), Russell Feingold (D-WI), Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) have written to Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and John Warner (R-VA), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Subcommittee that is working on the bill, to outline their hopes for stringent emissions reduction goals and an emphasis on energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy.

The Subcommittee has publicly outlined components of its bill, and while singers of the letter applaud the overall goals and concept of the legislation, they believe certain portions must be made stronger.

"As our shorelines are at risk, as our wildlife is under threat and as our weather becomes more extreme, strong Congressional action is needed," said Sen. Menendez. "Our colleagues drafting this legislation have outlined the parameters of a good bill, but we wanted to raise a few concerns that, if addressed, will make the legislation as effective as it should be. We applaud our colleagues on the subcommittee for undertaking this important effort, and we look forward to working with them as they move forward."

"I applaud Senators Lieberman and Warner for their leadership on a strong bill aimed at reducing our greenhouse gas emissions," said Sen. Kerry. "We wrote this letter to support their efforts and to make it clear there is widespread support for bold action on climate change legislation. The Senate desperately needs more bipartisan, determined efforts to face a global challenge before it becomes a global catastrophe. By taking action to reduce our emissions here at home, we will be positioned to exhibit leadership globally on a new international agreement to address this urgent issue. The United States must lead, not follow, on climate change, and after seven years of denial, distraction, and division from the White House on this issue, finally there is a critical mass in Congress ready to force action."

"In order to prevent the devastating effects of global warming, we need a plan that includes a serious reduction in greenhouse gases," said Sen. Feingold. "If we don't get serious about climate change, the near-record low water levels in the Great Lakes the people of Wisconsin are seeing today could be just the beginning."

"We cannot wait another day to address the growing threat global warming poses to our nation," said Sen. Dodd. "Aggressive emissions goals are necessary to avert the most catastrophic consequences of climate change, and strong energy efficiency policies will bring down energy costs for consumers. I appreciate the efforts of my colleagues and I look forward to working with them to make this legislation as strong as it needs to be."

"The era of climate-change denial in Congress is over," said Sen. Durbin. "We have seen first hand that voluntary emissions reductions just don't work. If we are going to avoid a global climate catastrophe in our children's lifetimes, we need mandatory reductions. I look forward to working with my colleagues to reduce greenhouse gases and halt global warming."

In their letter, the Senators praise the efforts of the Subcommittee to craft meaningful cap-and-trade legislation, but they also ask for the bill to be strengthened in a few important areas:

· They call for an 80% reduction of emissions by 2050 - the target scientists have said is needed to ensure we avoid catastrophic climate change.

· They praise the Subcommittee for avoiding a cost-containment mechanism that is overly aggressive and might undercut the limits set in the bill.

· They emphasizes that the bill must encourage cleaning up traditional fossil fuel industries but also must promote greater energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources.

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