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Hot New Entry into Global Warming Solutions Debate in Senate

by: NRDC    20 July 2006

Hot New Entry into Global Warming Solutions Debate in Senate

Political Heat Wave Starting to Burn on Capitol Hill

Washington, DC (July 20, 2006) - A new global warming bill introduced today by Senator James Jeffords (I-VT) would set bold targets to cut the heat-trapping pollution that causes global warming. The plan would trim emissions based on solid science and is a positive vision for the future of global warming solutions, says the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The bill also reflects growing momentum in Congress for responsible action to cut emissions using cleaner, more efficient energy technologies.

The Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act, introduced by Senators Jeffords and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), would freeze global warming emissions in 2010 and then gradually cut emissions each year, reaching about 83 percent below current levels in the year 2050 (80 percent below 1990 levels).

"These Senate leaders are proposing action on the scale we need to prevent the worst effects of global warming," said David Doniger, Policy Director for the Climate Center at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). "We must start cutting heat-trapping pollution now and steadily reduce them year by year. Delay will only make the task harder and more expensive."

Reports released last week show the first half of 2006 was the warmest on record in the United States, with no states below average temperatures and several states breaking temperature records for the period. This follows a study released by the National Academy of Sciences in late June that ratified the already established findings that the past few decades are the hottest in hundreds, if not thousands of years.

Bi-partisan support for real action on global warming is growing. The Senate approved a resolution last year calling for mandatory cuts in heat trapping emissions, and several global warming bills have been introduced from both sides of the aisle and in both houses of Congress. In April, Maryland became the eighth state to join a Governors' partnership to cut global warming emissions, and Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and several of his colleagues in the American West are also working on bold plans to cut emissions and encourage the development and use of new energy technologies. In addition, more than 200 American cities have signed onto an agreement to substantially cut their global warming emissions.

The scientific community has been clear that emission cuts on this scale are needed to avoid the worst effects of global warming. And leading American businesses have called for cuts as well, with GE, Wal-Mart, Duke Energy and others calling for emissions cuts and business certainty for their industries in a Senate workshop in April.