Sanders and Lautenberg State Climate Legislation Principles

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 18 Oct 2007 05:22:00 GMT

Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) yesterday released a statement of principles for judging climate change legislation. Both are members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s Subcommittee on Private Sector and Consumer Solutions to Global Warming and Wildlife Protection, representing the majority with Sen. Lieberman and Sen. Baucus; Lieberman and Warner plan to submit cap-and-trade legislation to the subcommittee today.

Earlier in the month, a group of liberal Democratic senators outlined their goals for climate change legislation, praising the Lieberman-Warner effort.

Here are the Sanders-Lautenberg principles in short:
  • Targets must be set to cap atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases at a max of 450 PPM CO2 equivalent, latest science continually taken into acount
  • Quick transition to polluter-pays auction, with monies providing economic relief and significant investment in renewables and energy efficiency
  • No federal pre-emption of state efforts
  • Additional policies such as building and fuel standards and CCS requirements that ensure rapid deployment of clean energy technology
  • Offsets should be limited, real, verifiable, additional, permanent and enforceable
  • The Solution Must Recognize the Gravity of the Problem The scientific evidence is clear that humanity is responsible for global warming. As such, any action we take to prevent it must be bold, aggressive, and comprehensive enough to prevent the devastating effects of catastrophic climate change. Targets must be set to ensure that the global concentration of greenhouse gases rises to no more than 450 parts per million carbon dioxide equivalent. This requires a strong 2020 target to get the country shifted to a low-carbon economy and to make the long-term reductions that are needed in the fight against global warming. Additionally, we must ensure that the latest science is continually considered and informs our ongoing action.
  • Quickly Transition to Polluter Pays We must quickly transition to a polluter-pays scheme, and an auction is the most economically efficient and fair way to do so. Auctioning allowances will provide the incentive for companies to develop and deploy cutting-edge, low-carbon technologies. Additionally, the increased revenues from a full auction will undoubtedly help to provide relief to all those affected by global warming, help support our transition to a low-carbon economy, and to fund a significant increase in the country’s use of renewable and energy efficiency technologies, including solar and wind.
  • Encourage State Leadership The federal government should set the floor, not the ceiling, for action on and innovation in addressing global warming – consistent with the Clean Air Act and other major environmental laws. Over the past few years, states have stepped in to fill the unfortunate void left by a lack of federal leadership on global warming. As we now work to catch up, states must be able to continue to provide leadership and be able to pursue innovative strategies to protect their citizens from the risks of global warming.
  • Additional Policies to Include in a Cap and Trade Bill While a cap and trade bill sets the basis for the mandatory emission reductions that are needed throughout the country, additional policies are needed to ensure the rapid and often cheaper deployment of clean energy technologies. Examples of such policies include green building standards, which will reduce long-term energy costs for the occupants of the property, a requirement that any new coal plant deploy carbon capture and storage technology, and policies that offer a roadmap for reduced carbon transportation fuels.
  • Flexibility Mechanisms Must Not Result in Illusory Emission Reductions While theoretically offsets yield the same global warming benefit for less cost, in reality it is difficult, and some believe impossible, to ensure their long-term environmental integrity. As a result, the use of offsets should be strictly limited. In addition, they must be real, verifiable, additional, permanent and enforceable and should not undermine the signals to industry for technology development and deployment.
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