Soon-to-retire Senator John Warner (R-VA) is working diligently with Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) to pass legislation that would mandate limitations on greenhouse gas emissions. The two introduced America’s Climate Security Act of 2007 (S. 2191) on 18 October.
The measure would mandate that major polluters cut their emissions to 2005 levels by 2012, and then again to 70 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. Drawing criticism from both sides, the bill would implement a cap and trade system, “in which the government allocates most major polluters a share of a shrinking national emissions limit. Those that seek to pollute more could buy unused emissions credits from others, or from a government auction.”
S. 2191 was approved by the Committee on Environment and Public Works on 5 December after nine hours of debate, and remains the only greenhouse gas bill to have done so. During the committee debate, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) won the right to help electric companies in his state, many of which burn coal to produce electricity.
Warner was the only Republican to vote for the bill in the committee; however, the legislation does have a few Republican co-sponsors, including Senators Norm Coleman (R-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Elizabeth Dole (R-NC). Lieberman and Warner are trying to secure the 60 votes needed to prevent a filibuster on the Senate floor, likely to come from Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK).
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