Senate Watch, China: Bayh, Bond, Boxer, Graham, Kaufman, Kerry, Lieberman, McCain

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 23 Sep 2009 10:45:00 GMT

At the United Nations Climate Summit on Tuesday, president Hu Jintao announced China would make “notable” reductions in carbon intensity while generating 15 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. E&E News asked senators for their responses.

Evan Bayh (D-IN)

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) said he had not yet seen the details. “But that’s a step in the right direction,” he said. “Clearly, the major economies are going to need to do this in concert. And it’ll be difficult for us to act unless the Chinese and the Indians are willing to make commitments that will actually solve this problem. So it’s a good sign. I’ll be interested to know the magnitude of it and whether it suggests further progress or whether it’s just symbolic.”

Kit Bond (R-MO)

“I want to see what the details are. It’s a target. Is it enforceable? . . . These are ministers, vice ministers and the commerce and environmental protection agency. They said they’re not going to do anything that’s going to stifle the growth of the economy—that they need to put all the people back to work.”

Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

“The more that other countries pledge to cut their carbon and to protect their own people from pollution, it helps us greatly.”

Lindsey Graham (R-SC)

“That’s encouraging. That will help us make decisions on our emission problems.”

Ted Kaufman (D-DE)

Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), a member of Kerry’s Foreign Relations Committee, said China’s decision was a clear signal to U.S. businesses. “The difference here is, they’ve figured out it’s in their economic interest to be involved in this,” Kaufman said. “This is one pledge that they’re going to deliver on.”

Joe Lieberman (I-CT)

The Hill Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who is working with McCain and other centrist senators to find broad support for a climate change bill, said that Hu’s commitment to targets was “a very significant and encouraging step.” “No question there’s a certain amount of people here who will not take on the responsibility that we have to take on to do things to deal with climate change unless China also does,” said Lieberman, whose bipartisan group is looking at ways to increase U.S. nuclear power.

John Kerry (D-MA)

“I think anything China does, if it’s constructive and fixed and measurable, and ascertainable, it’ll be very helpful, absolutely.”

John McCain (R-AZ)

“We’ll see the details. They’ve made similar commitments in the past but haven’t kept them.”

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