Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-VT), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, introduced sweeping legislation that - if enacted - would for the first time set the U.S. on a path to decrease and, in time, reverse the emissions of greenhouse gases that cause global warming. It also includes, among other measures, a national renewable energy mandate and aggressive national energy efficiency standards.
"The science is clear, mankind is heating the planet in a manner that is destructive," said Jeffords, who called upon the United States to take its rightful place as a world leader. "We can no longer afford to watch from the sidelines. We are a nation of innovators, and we have the skills to develop the technology to make these needed changes."
The following are highlights of Jeffords' Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act:
"This legislation is a flexible and forward-thinking approach to combating the threat of global warming. Senator Jeffords has laid down an important marker for us to work toward, so that our children and our grandchildren will see that we had the wisdom and leadership to choose a better path for our world," said Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), the bill's lead co-sponsor.
Senators joining Jeffords and Boxer as original co-sponsors are Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Chris Dodd (D-CT), Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ).
Well, this is just about the full laundry list of all the things I'd like to see passed at the federal level - well it's missing any serious measures addressing the transportation sector (i.e. increasing fuel economy standards, etc.) which would be necessary to actually achieving the GHG reduction targets.
Of course, this bill will probably never move out of committee. The list of sponsors seems like all the usual dems, but without any republicans supporting it, it is unlikely to go anywhere. Plus, it's asking for quite a lot in one package - probably because Jeffords et al. know it doesn't really have a chance of passing anyway. If Jeffords was really interested in getting legislation passed (at least in the current political climate) he'd try just one or two of these measures on their own.
Still, it's nice to see this kind of legislation at least being discussed. Maybe it will make it to the floor (maybe) and get some debate at least, which could yield some progress towards a bill that could actually be passed. Anyway, I applaud all those supporting this bill for putting it out there. It's exactly the kind of thing we need to set us on the right track towards a sustainable energy future. But I won't be holding my breath waiting for Congress to pass this bill and President Bush to sign it into law...