Thursday, August 2, 2007

Warner, Lieberman, announce new global warming legislation

The devil may be in the yet-unannounced details, or in pork-laden compromises for the auto or electric utility industries, but it sounds promising. Here’s what they announced:

Senators Joseph Lieberman and John Warner said their plan would focus on 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, to cut these by 70 percent below current levels by 2050, and could be used as a blueprint in the fight against global warming.

“We hope it will be a turning point,” said Lieberman, who sits as an independent Democrat in the Senate, adding that the plan could reverse US foot dragging on tackling the global threat from climate change.

“We have been slow, we are already late, but not too late,” he said.

The proposal, one of several expected to come up in the Senate later this year, lays out a mandatory, market-based cap-and-trade program that would cover 80 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions.

It is designed to cut those emissions back to current levels by 2012, pare them by 10 percent of current levels by 2020, and to reduce them to 70 percent below current levels by 2050.

At the same time, the senators said, their plan, to be the basis of legislation introduced into the Senate later this year, contains “robust” measures to protect American jobs and sustain US economic growth.

It will include the establishment of a Climate Change Credit Corporation to permit industry sectors to buy emissions allowances to regulate the amount of harmful gases they spew into the atmosphere.

Warner notes (as a Pentagon study has also) that global warming can and should be seen as a national security issue. This “covers the flanks” of many Republicans who are starting to move to the same level of concern as Warner but don’t want to be tarred by constituents — or by GOP think tanks or BushCo — as “environmentalists,” not that there’s anything wrong with being one, of course!

Cross posted at SocraticGadfly.