Senate Watch, Targets and Allocations: Bond, Byrd, Carper, Casey, Dorgan, Graham, Inhofe, Murkowski, Rockefeller, Specter, Vitter, Voinovich 8
Robert Byrd (D-WV)
E&E News It’s a smaller pie. People want to know what’s going on. We’re still trying to figure out how these complicated, cockamamie schemes are going to work. Anything that’s that complicated is by definition highly suspect and the more I hear, the more I suspect.
Tom Carper (D-DE)
Reuters Byrd praised Boxer’s additions in the bill that put more focus on clean coal technology. But he warned, “I will actively oppose any bill that would harm the workers, families, industries, or our esource-based economy in West Virginia.”
Robert Casey (D-PA)
E&E News Carper said he would pursue his measure to cut power plants’ emissions of soot, mercury, SOx and NOxas stand-alone legislation if it does not make it into the bill. “One way or another,” he said.
Byron Dorgan (D-ND)
Politico The target’s certainly a change from where the House was, and that’s going to be a subject of debate.
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Politico We’ll see what they put together in EPW, but I think it’s going to be very hard for them to pass legislation unless they have substantial discussions with moderate senators and address their concerns.
The Hill This administration is not going to allow offshore drilling for oil and gas unless it’s part of some bigger deal. I don’t think you’ll ever have offshore drilling for oil and gas until you marry it up with emissions controls. They don’t have 60 votes for environmental policy in the House and the Senate because it’s bad for business. All of these bills, I couldn’t support because they’re cap and trade legislation that really does put us at a competitive disadvantage.
Lisa Murkowski (D-AK)
Washington Post Science is not settled! Everyone knows it’s not settled!
Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)
E&E News An exercise akin to doling out pieces of a pie. But as climate legislation is developed in the Senate, we’re faced with a hard reality. There aren’t enough pieces left to satisfy the groups vying for them to repeat this process a second time.
Arlen Specter (D-PA)
Reuters An aide to West Virginia Democratic Senator John Rockefeller said the tougher emissions goal is unrealistic and harmful as there is not enough time to deploy the carbon capture and storage and energy efficiency technologies.
David Vitter (R-LA)
Heritage This legislation represents a new tax in the order of more than $1,700 per American household annually, and, if it’s passed, American families can expect to see considerable increases in the cost of electricity, gas, food and utilities. It is clear that most Americans families’ standard of living will be reduced if this cap-and-trade bill is approved by Congress.
George Voinovich (R-OH)
The greatest opportunity for investment in new technologies is revenue generated from increased domestic energy production. Recent analysis suggests that increased domestic resource production could generate $8 trillion in GDP, $2.2 trillion in incremental tax receipts and perhaps two million jobs or more – all without borrowing a dime or increasing taxes even a penny.
NASDAQ California is going to make out like a bandit with this legislation. To jam this thing through here is not going to be good and America is going to be very, very upset about it.
Senate Watch, Strength of Targets: Baucus, Boxer, Graham, Inhofe, Kerry, Lautenber, Sanders, Specter, Stabenow, Voinovich
As hearings begin on the Kerry-Boxer Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S. 1733), senators are staking out their positions on whether the regulations in the bill should be strengthened or weakened.Max Baucus (D-MT)
E&E News Speaking at the start of an Environment and Public Works Committee hearing where he is the second highest-ranking member, the Montana Democrat said he wanted to weaken the bill’s 2020 target for greenhouse gas emissions—now 20 percent below 2005 levels. He did not name a specific midterm target for the heat-trapping gases, instead telling reporters he hoped for “some modification.” The six-term senator also said he hoped to attach pre-emption language to the Senate climate bill, S. 1733, that stops U.S. EPA from implementing a 2007 Supreme Court opinion that opens the door to new greenhouse gas emission standards on industry.
Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
The legislation before us is about our economy. Montana, with our resource-based agriculture and tourism economies, cannot afford the unmitigated impacts of climate change. But we also cannot afford the unmitigated affects of climate change legislation. That’s why I support passing common-sense legislation that reduces greenhouse gas emissions while protecting our economy. The key word in that sentence is ‘passing.’
E&E News No climate bill has ever had this level of review, and the Obama administration stands behind this analysis.
This bill is the best insurance against a dangerous future. It is a responsible approach that sets attainable goals for gradual reductions in carbon emissions and it protects consumers, businesses and workers as we move toward clean energy. This need for bipartisanship, believe me, I’d give anything if had a John Warner still sitting here. We don’t have it. Climate change, global warming isn’t waiting for who’s a Democrat or who’s a Republican. Either we’re going to deal with this problem, or we’re not.
Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
[on weakening targets] I don’t think it’s necessary, because we’re so down on carbon, by about 8 or 9 percent, so the real goal is going to be really easy to meet.
James Inhofe (R-OK)
E&E News Graham told reporters he hoped to form a “working group” with Kerry and the Obama administration that could serve as a forum for senators who do not sit on the relevant committees. “What we’re going to do is start with a clean sheet of paper and say, ‘What does it take?’” Graham said.
John Kerry (D-MA)
EPW The victims of cap-and-trade can’t just move on and get new, green jobs.
E&E News America’s leadership is certainly on the line here.
Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
E&E News It’s really a much lower percentage, frankly, by 2020. We’ll see what happens on the floor on that. I’m open to talking to Max. We’ll see where we wind up.
E&E News Senator Baucus is a major figure in the Senate. The fact is, he has a different attitude than I, based on the needs of what he sees in his state. I wouldn’t hesitate to remind him there’s a national good that can come out of this, and to see if we can persuade him.
Arlen Specter (D-PA)
E&E News I think 20 percent is a conservative number. We’ll fight to make it higher, but we certainly are going to oppose strenuously any effort to lower the number.
E&E News We’re all concerned about job loss.
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Every part of the bill is now under analysis. We’re wading through a very complex piece of legislation. And there are going to be a lot of factors to consider, and I’m not prepared to make a judgment before the opening statements are made.
George Voinovich (R-OH)
E&E News Certainly it depends on how it’s all put together, but the president was talking about a lower number. I think we should look at a lower number.
E&E News Why are we trying to jam down this legislation now? Wouldn’t it be smarter to take our time and do it right like we didn’t do it the last time around when we had this legislation in the works?
Boxer Releases Chairman's Mark, Preliminary EPA Analysis of Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S. 1733) 1
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has released the Chairman’s Mark of the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S. 1733), introduced by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and herself in September. In the most significant change, the chair has filled in the allowance allocation scheme for the bill’s carbon market, distributing allowances to utilities, refiners, industry, states and tribes for various purposes. Some auction allowances are delivered directly to consumers.The Environmental Protection Agency issued a preliminary economic analysis of the legislation, arguing that its impacts would be largely equivalent to the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454), which it closely resembles. The EPA did not complete economic modeling for S. 1733, but based on its similarities to H.R. 2454, predicted:
It is likely that the full suite of EPA models would show that the impacts of S. 1733 would be similar to those that were estimated for H.R. 2454.According to the Committee on Environment and Public Works, the Chairman’s Mark introduces the following changes to the initial draft of the legislation:
Specifies Distribution of Emissions Allowances The Chairman’s Mark specifies the distribution of the allowances established under the Pollution Reduction and Investment program. The allocations place emphasis on investments in the following areas:
- Energy Intensive and Trade Exposed industries
- Small local distribution companies (including rural electric co-operatives)
- Transportation grants
- Agriculture and forestry
- Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
- Advanced energy research
- Credits for early action
- Energy efficiency and renewable energy worker training
- Nuclear worker training
New Provisions To Address Clean Coal Technology
- The Chairman’s Mark includes new provisions to stimulate development of commercial-scale carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies
- The bonus allowance program is modified to allow for advanced payments of bonus allowances for early actors with a requirement that funded projects will achieve at least a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
- The Chairman’s Mark includes provisions that require coal fired power plants to meet emissions performance standards once sufficient commercial-scale CCS technology has been deployed, while also ensuring timely reductions in global warming pollution from coal plants.
Increased Investments in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
- The Chairman’s Mark increases investments in utility-scale renewable energy generation.
- The 25 percent set-aside for local governments for energy efficiency and conservation block grant continues unchanged.
- The Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) program is guaranteed a share of the allocation provided to states for energy efficiency and renewable energy.
- Allowances are also dedicated to energy efficiency programs, including a specific requirement that states use some of these funds for thermal energy efficiency projects.
- Priority is given to low and moderate-income households and a dedicated portion of the energy efficiency set-aside is reserved for low-income households and for public housing retrofits.
- The Chairman’s Mark includes a new program that authorizes the EPA Administrator to provide assistance to owners and operators of buildings in the United States that implement energy efficiency measures that meet Energy Star or other relevant standards.
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Increasing Investments in the Transportation Sector
- A new allocation program with increased investments is established specifically to fund transportation projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Funds are provided for the “Clean-Tea” planning and performance grants program and for Transit formula grants.
- The Clean Vehicles program is modified to place a stronger emphasis on the domestic manufacturing of advanced technology vehicles, including transit vehicles.
Enhanced Agriculture and Forestry Provisions
- A more robust supplemental agriculture and forestry program is included with allocations throughout the life of the bill. The Supplemental Agriculture and Forestry Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Renewable Energy Program is strengthened to ensure measurable reductions in global warming pollution.
Directs Assistance to Rural Communities
- The Chairman’s Mark increases allowances for small electric Local Distribution Companies, including Rural Electric Cooperatives, which will benefit rural electric consumers.
- The Chairman’s Mark includes a new program to provide grants to states and non-profits to improve air quality by replacing outdated wood stoves.
Promotes Advanced Renewable Fuels
- The definition of biofuels in the Renewable Fuel Standard is clarified to make clear that algae-based and other advanced fuels are included.
Enhances the Role of Tribes
- Tribes are recognized in a number of ways throughout the Chairman’s Mark. Tribes receive guaranteed allocations for the energy efficiency and renewable energy program. The Chairman’s Mark also enhances the role that Tribes will play in a number of programs in the bill.
Bigger Market Stability Reserve
- To maintain price certainty and prevent market manipulation, the size of the market stability reserve is increased in the Chairman’s Mark.
Greater Assistance for Small and Medium Refineries
- Small business refiners are given additional time to comply with the Pollution Reduction and Investment program. In addition, the domestic fuel production allowance program focuses on small and medium refineries.
The EPA noted differences in terms of offset provisions and carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) incentives.
Summary of Key Offset Provisions
|H.R. 2454||S. 1733|
|Overall Offset Limits||2 billion tons||2 billion tons|
|Source Level Offset Limits||Does not aggregate to the overall limit||Aggregates to the overall limit|
|Domestic & International Offset Limits||International: 1 billion tons
Domestic: 1 billion tons
|International: 0.5 billion tons
Domestic: 1.5 billion tons
|Criteria for Adjusting International Offset Limit||Domestic offset usage below 0.9 billion tons||Domestic offset usage below 0.9 billion tons|
|Revised International Offset Limit||1.5 billion tons||1.25 billion tons|
|Performance standards||Landfill and coal mine CH4 covered by performance standards, reducing their ability to supply offsets.||Landfill and coal mine CH4 are not covered by performance standards.|
Incentives for CCS
|H.R. 2454||S. 1733|
|Early Deployment||$1 billion annually for 10 years||$1 billion annually for 10 years|
|Total Bonus Pool||5.32 Billion||4.19 Billion|
|1st Tranche||$90/ton for first 6 GW +
$10/ton built before 2017
|$96/ton for first 10 GW +
$10/ton built before 2017
|2nd Tranche||Reverse Auction||$85/ton for next 10 GW|
|3rd Tranche||N/A||Reverse Auction|
James Inhofe (R-Ok.)
E&E News We’re creating this policy – or at least this bill contemplates creating a policy – that has a lot of human giving away of free allowances. All kinds of things that distort the market, and it just seems that if truly the goal was to lower the amount of carbon there would be a proposal just to tax it and to lower some other tax and be done with it.
Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
Roll Call We need to remind the American public, for example, that the 1,400-page Waxman-Markey monstrosity is a monument to big government that will make food, gasoline and electricity more expensive, increase mandates on small businesses, and increase the size and reach of the federal bureaucracy — all while doing nothing to affect climate change. The Kerry-Boxer legislation introduced Sept. 30 is, in many ways, worse than the Waxman-Markey bill. This reflects the attitude of one of the bill’s sponsors, who said recently that, because of the recession, businesses should be expected to make even more expensive emissions reductions. While it’s never a good time to pass a national energy tax, one would have thought that imposing such a tax during a recession is especially bad. Over the past week, many people have speculated about the potential for a grand Senate climate deal, tying cap-and-trade to the expansion of nuclear power and offshore drilling. Both policies make eminent sense and are key components of the Republican “all-of-the-above” energy policy. But tying those policies to a massive national energy tax makes no sense, which is why there’s little hope for a deal so long as it involves cap-and-trade.
Washington Post Count me as one of those who will keep my mind open as we move forward. When you see changes to the land coming about … what is causing the loss of the sea ice that adds to the erosion issues, yes, in Alaska we are seeing change. That’s why I have been one of those Republicans who has stepped out front a little bit more on the issue of climate change.
Senate Watch, Responses to Kerry-Graham: Brownback, Carper, Durbin, Gregg, Inhofe, Kerry, Levin, Murkowski, Sessions, Voinovich
Tom Carper (D-DE)
Washington Post Because while we’re projecting these things, people are having to deal with their basic lives on it, and this is going to be very expensive.
E&E News We need to make sure that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has the human resources that they need to enable them to do the job.
I will be working with Joe Lieberman and others to create a more robust nuclear title when the bill comes to the floor, and among the things that we will be working on is, we want to make sure we invest the right amount of money in nuclear recycling, nuclear reprocessing, to try to determine what is the best path to try and follow there.
Dick Durbin (D-IL)
To the extent that people have ideas for further streamlining, should we look at those? Sure. But keep in mind a lot has been done, there is an incredibly heavy workload for the NRC already, and we have got make sure they have the resources they need.
E&E News It’s not a bad starting point to try and engage as many people as you can to find out if there is some common ground here. And I’m open to these things. I think both of them carry with them environmental concerns, serious environmental concerns. But if they’re going to deal with those honestly and directly, then maybe there’s room for conversation.
Judd Gregg (R-NH)
We also have a majority leader who’s interested in the nuclear power issue, too. So we have to be sensitive to that. But I think it’s perfectly all right to start with an agenda that is inclusive and try to build on that.
Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
E&E News If nuclear comes under that and has proper incentives, that could be a major step forward.
John Kerry (D-MA)
E&E News When I first saw it, I was disappointed that they’d have a joint communiqué of any kind. It doesn’t matter what happens, for Kerry, if he were inclined to move in that direction. It’s not going to stay, anyway. I think we all understand that. It wouldn’t survive. You always have the House to deal with. Pelosi. And I can’t see that it would.
E&E News We really haven’t gotten specific about a Kerry-Graham bill. What we’re really trying to do is get a coalition together to make this pass. What shape that takes at this point, I think, is down the road. I suppose it can develop into a bill, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be ours. It could part of a leadership effort, or some other effort.
Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
E&E News (on Kerry-Graham) It’s a reasonable position to take, provided they are both comfortable with going after the OCS and after nuclear power.
E&E News I think what Senator Graham and Senator Kerry have put out there is an indicator that, hey, things are possible if we’re willing to perhaps look at how you might meld some of the different ideas that are out there.
Instead of cutting emissions at any cost, we should be working on a policy that incorporates the best ideas of both parties—a policy that accounts for our near-term energy needs, limits costs, and is flexible enough to work under different economic circumstances.
E&E News Now, to be sure, they wrote a column, not a bill. Their outline could be improved, and there’s no guarantee legislation along those lines would pass the Senate. But in my opinion, the framework they laid out in 1,000 words is already better than the policies it took the House 1,400 pages to impose.
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
E&E News Neither accounts for the cumulative impact of every provision. Limitations and caveats are routinely noted.
George Voinovich (R-OH)
Mobile Press-Register Our conceit is such that we think we can manage the climate, we think we can manage a huge portion of the most dynamic economy the world’s ever known, and I’m wary of it.
E&E News “No, it’s not a game changer,” Voinovich said about Kerry and Graham. “It just sounds really good on paper.”
Contributors to the liberal community blog DailyKos have launched an environment-themed offshoot, DK GreenRoots. The site is led by Timothy Lange, who uses the handle Meteor Blades, Doug Snodgrass (dsnodgrass), and the Daily Kos contributor known as “Patriot Daily.”
Another Daily Kos project, led by contributor RL Miller, is the Adopt-A-Senator campaign on climate change legislation, with community members contributing profiles on the senators and where they stand on climate and energy policy, in particular the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) and the Kerry-Boxer Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S. 1733).
Hill Heat is tracking the published Adopt-a-Senator diaries at hillheat.com/pages/aas.
E&E News reports that Sen. Lindsey Graham believes man-made global warming and oil dependence represent a sufficient threat to work on climate legislation, even if it is seen as a policy victory for President Obama.Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.)
Tom Carper (D-Del.)
“I think it’s fair to say the vast majority of senators are very pro-nuclear and so the way I vote on the amendment is not the deciding factor, because in this case you have a sea change of support beyond where I am.”
“One of the things we need to devote some resources to is beginning to figure out what to do with the spent nuclear fuel rods. Do we recycle them? Do we reprocess them? I think there’s problems with current technology on both of those. We need to figure out what to do with them. We can safely store the stuff on site. And we’ll do for several decades.”
Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
“The legislation as drawn provides enormous incentives for the generation of electricity from sources that don’t create carbon. Nuclear is right there. So there’ll be a lot of incentives, just from the way the allowance system will be set up.”
“A guy like Senator Kerry is looking for coalitions. If you had a bill that would allow for responsible offshore drilling, a robust nuclear power title, I think you could get some Republican votes for a cap-and-trade system.”
John Kerry (D-Mass.)
“I think the planet is heating up. I think CO2 emissions are damaging the environment and this dependence on foreign oil is a natural disaster in the making. Let’s do something about it. I’d like to solve a problem, and if it’s on President Obama’s watch, it doesn’t bother me one bit if it makes the country better off.”
“Every idea is on the table. We’re going to work in a bona fide way with everybody to see how to bridge a gap here. We’ve got to get a 60-vote margin. That means you’ve got to legislate, which means you have to compromise.”
Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)
“There’s a nuclear title and it invites discussion on that. I’m willing to sit down with anybody and talk seriously about how we proceed in a serious way.”
“There’s more common ground than there has been with health care. It just depends on what it is, but again, I think people are willing and open to talk about any energy that helps our country to put us back in the driver’s seat again.”
“I think there’ll be some beginnings of it in the committee process, but I think the whole bill, given so many different committees are working on it, the bill will ultimately come together on the floor. I think we’d be naive to think that that’s not true.”
Bingaman: Ted Turner Working 'To Persuade More People in the Senate to Assist with Climate Change Legislation'
On September 18, Sen. Bingaman (D-N.M.) told a local activist that media magnate Ted Turner visited his office to ask what he can do to convince more senators to support climate legislation. Turner owns several vast ranches in New Mexico, established as wildlife preserves. “If we know something about the problem and don’t do it,” Turner has previously commented, “then we don’t deserve to live.”
BINGAMAN: He came in this week to lobby me on – or not lobby me really, but just basically talk about what needs to be done to get some type of climate change legislation enacted. He’s very committed on that issue, and part of what he’s taken on – I mean he’s done an awful lot, as you know, with support for the United Nations – but on climate change he’s committed as well. And he was in here with some of his key people to talk about what he could do to persuade more people in the Senate to assist with climate change legislation.
Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Environment & Public Works Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Energy & Natural Resources Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) will join other Republican senators tomorrow to discuss the national energy tax in the Boxer-Kerry bill.
Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) Environment & Public Works Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-Okla.) Energy & Natural Resources Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) Senate Republican Policy Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) Senator Kit Bond (R-Mo.) Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) Senator Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) Other Senate Republicans
Today, Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) introduced the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, the Senate version of the American Clean Energy and Security Act’s (H.R. 2454) climate provisions. Sen. Kerry introduced the bill:
For too long, Washington has let oil companies, lobbyists, and special interests maximize their profits and minimize our progress. Our dependence on foreign oil has hurt our economy, helped our enemies, and put our national security at risk. It’s time to invest in energy solutions that are made in America, and work for America. It’s time to take back control.
This bill will get tough on corporate pollution and put American ingenuity to work to dramatically improve every facet of the way America generates and uses energy. It will create millions of new, good-paying jobs, protect our air and water from dangerous pollution, and secure our children’s future by making America more energy independent. And it does not raise the federal deficit by one single dime.
Several environmental and labor organizations have responded.Alliance for Climate Protection:
Today’s legislation introduction by Senators Barbara Boxer and John Kerry reflects significant progress in our nation’s efforts to transition to a clean energy economy that will create millions of new clean energy jobs. Their work and that of their committees should be commended. We look forward to the upcoming discussions that will further inform and forward a bipartisan bill. Right now, we have the opportunity to fundamentally transform how we generate and use energy in this country, to put ourselves back in control of our economy and national security and to assert global leadership in a new 21st century clean energy economy. By taking action this year to pass comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation, future generations will look back and know that their leaders stepped up to tackle a deteriorating economy and the specter of climate change head on, ensuring a healthy, prosperous nation.
Senators Boxer and Kerry have blended some new and vital ingredients into the recipe for a truly meaningful and comprehensive energy plan. The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act would make a huge difference by requiring dirty power plants to clean up their acts and by establishing strong short-term emission reduction targets. Big polluters would have to slash their contributions to global warming, while the plan would help repower America with clean energy, create new jobs and cut our dangerous dependence on oil. That’s a recipe for energy success. The new measure is a big step toward the final legislation that America needs, Congress can support and the President will sign. We look forward to working with Senators Boxer and Kerry and members of the Environment & Public Works Committee to ensure the passage of a strong bill in the coming weeks.
The Blue Green Alliance commends Senators Boxer and Kerry for introducing comprehensive climate change and clean energy legislation. To truly achieve our goals of a cleaner environment and a prosperous and fair clean energy economy, we must pass comprehensive legislation that protects workers and ignites our clean energy economy. The Copenhagen negotiations are just around the corner, and it is critical that the U.S. Senate move on this legislation to send a strong message to the world.
We commend Senators Kerry and Boxer for their leadership in confronting one of the biggest challenges of our time. They share our vision of a clean energy future that addresses the heat-trapping pollutants responsible for climate change and puts America back in control of our economy, our security and our children’s future. For years we’ve relinquished control of our energy sector to other countries and to big corporate interests. Holding polluters accountable and investing in clean energy here at home will not only address the crisis of climate change but create jobs and put money back into the pockets of Americans. Naysayers ignore both the real costs of global warming and the economic benefits of a rapid shift to clean energy. They are intent on derailing and delaying action, but today’s announcement proves that momentum is building. Americans know we have everything to gain in confronting this challenge and implementing solutions.
While the language the Senate unveiled today contains some improvements over the House bill, it fails to commit the US to meaningful, science-based greenhouse gas emissions reductions needed to protect us from runaway climate change. This proposal meets neither the needs of science nor those of the international community, which is currently negotiating the landmark climate treaty. This proposal comes as climate science increasingly suggests that global warming is advancing even more quickly and more broadly than predicted. A UN report released just last week projects the planet is on track to warm beyond 2 degrees Celsius, a threshold climate scientists say would create an unacceptable risk for a global climate catastrophe. Despite this urgency, the legislation only proposes to cut emissions by 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 while the Nobel Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicates that developed countries must cut emissions at least 25% – 40% under 1990 levels by 2020. The threat of runaway global warming has prompted countries such as Japan, India, Indonesia and China to commit to increasingly ambitious emissions reductions in recent weeks. The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), low-lying island nations whose very existence is threatened by sea level rise, urged world leaders last week to preserve their countries’ livelihood and survival by ensuring that global temperatures be kept as far below 1.5 degrees Celsius as possible. For years there has been scientific consensus on the perils of global warming. Now there is increasingly international political consensus on the need for bold, immediate, and coordinated action by world leaders. Unfortunately, what is still missing is a plan from the U.S. that matches our historic responsibility to address the crisis and the scale of the threat we all face. With the deadline for action at the Copenhagen Climate Summit fast approaching, we urge President Obama to assume leadership for global warming policy and to commit to negotiate a fair, ambitious and binding treaty in line with the science and not the demands of the fossil fuel industry.
Laborers’ International Union of North America:
This bill will help curb climate change, strengthen our economy, and make our country more secure. It will help generate jobs, reduce our reliance on foreign oil and create a healthier future for all of us. And it will put Americans back to work, making our country the world leader in the green technologies that are driving growth in the global marketplace. We are optimistic that the calls for clean energy and climate solutions across the country – including support from business leaders, national security experts, entrepreneurs, labor, faith groups, veterans, and many others – will lead to action by the full Senate. This is the right step at the right time. It confronts the growing problem of global warming head-on – before it’s too late to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. It calls for a 20-percent cut in carbon emissions by 2020. That’s a strong and achievable goal. It will reduce the carbon pollution that causes global warming, while accelerating the move to a clean energy future for our country. A new analysis from UC Berkeley confirms that clean energy and climate legislation can strengthen our economy and create jobs. According to the report, comprehensive energy legislation with strong efficiency measures can create as many as 1.9 million jobs between 2010 and 2020.
Union of Concerned Scientists:
The half-million men and women of LIUNA — who work every day to build America – are pleased with the bill’s family-supporting Davis-Bacon provisions, which will help ensure that new jobs are good jobs with fair pay. The bill’s green construction careers provision invests in both workers and jobs of the future and will strengthen communities. As we move forward, LIUNA looks forward to working with the Senate to ensure that sufficient investment is also made in building weatherization, which can create good jobs, save families money and help free us from foreign oil.
“A stronger short-term target makes scientific sense,” said Melanie Fitzpatrick, a climate scientist at UCS. “U.S. emissions levels are now lower than expected, so we’re already well on our way to meeting these goals. Additionally, more of the carbon dioxide we’re emitting today is staying in the atmosphere because the ocean is absorbing less carbon from the air. That means early cuts in emissions are even more critical to keep temperatures down and prevent the worst consequences of climate change.”
Liz Perera, a federal policy analyst in UCS’s Climate Program, said the Senate bill mirrors the House version. “The House bill’s framework is a groundbreaking approach to moving America toward a clean energy economy. Sticking with the House framework will make it easier to move forward, especially in conference committee.”
Utility Workers Union of America:
Alden Meyer, UCS’s director of strategy and policy, attended last week’s climate summit at the United Nations, where numerous heads of state emphasized the need to make substantial progress at the December climate treaty negotiations. Meyer says the Copenhagen summit provides a concrete deadline for the Senate to act. “Without strong domestic action by the United States, an ambitious climate deal in Copenhagen isn’t in the cards,” Meyer said. “The House has done its part. Now this new bill gives the Senate a solid basis for moving forward. Time is short, but with the support of President Obama and Senate leaders, the Senate can show that it’s serious about cutting emissions and send a message to the rest of the world before Copenhagen.”
World Resources Institute:
Those working to supply Americans with their electricity have so much to gain from clean energy legislation, and so much to lose from inaction. Working with Senators Boxer and Kerry, we can ensure that comprehensive clean energy legislation transitions our economy to provide the investments needed to grow a long-lasting clean energy sector that will provide high-quality jobs for years to come.
World Wildlife Fund:
Today, the U.S. Senate moves the United States one step closer to curbing the dangerous effects of climate change while simultaneously transitioning the country to a clean energy economy. Introduction of this bill, and the input from senators representing diverse regions of the country, will allow the Senate to enact environmentally strong and economically workable legislation. Those who say this is the wrong time to act because of the economic recession are wrong. Businesses and investors need certainty, and this is a road map to transform America into the world’s leader in clean energy manufacturing, creating new industry and jobs. EIA just announced that energy demand in the U.S. is dropping. This, combined with the long-term price signal the bill sends, will allow businesses to get comfortable with the new emissions requirements at a relatively low cost and give them the certainty that the investments they make in clean technology will have value in the future. The Senate has an opportunity to spark economic growth through clean energy, and the time to act is now.
We commend Senators Kerry and Boxer for their leadership in starting the process for approval of a strong climate and energy bill in the Senate this year. The introduction of this important bill builds on the momentum created by House passage of the American Clean Energy Security Act in June. Senate passage this year of a comprehensive climate and energy bill is crucial to our economic recovery and our national security; it is also vital to ensuring American leadership towards a new global partnership to fight climate change this December in Copenhagen. The urgency of climate legislation cannot be overstated. In every region of the US and every corner of the planet, we are seeing the impacts of climate change. And they are coming sooner and hitting harder than scientists predicted just a few short years ago. The longer we wait to solve this crisis, the more expensive it will be. As President Obama said last week in New York ‘our prosperity, our health, our safety are in jeopardy.’ In December, world governments will meet in Copenhagen to negotiate a global partnership to respond to this global crisis. At that time, President Obama will need clear direction from the Senate. Simply put, Senate passage this year will be critical to success in Copenhagen. The Bill demonstrates Kerry’s and Boxer’s attempt to reach a compromise that will win necessary Senate support. Although we understand the political challenges, our climate does not. We are encouraged by the improvement of the Bill’s 2020 emissions target over the version that passed the House, but this target remains too weak and compromised by too many offsets. Reductions equivalent to at least 25% below 1990 levels by 2020 are needed to contribute to a global solution that has a chance to avoid the worst impacts of climate change on our farms, water supplies and communities. The Bill should be strengthened as it moves forward. But it is imperative that we get started. This Bill is the latest chapter in a long, bipartisan conversation in the Senate about reducing dangerous carbon pollution, beginning with the introduction of the McCain-Lieberman bill in 2005 and continuing through full Senate consideration of Lieberman-Warner just last year. We look forward to working with Senators Kerry, Boxer and all interested members to bring this long debate to a close. Time is running out; this Senate action comes not a moment too soon.