With a nod to earlier legislative proposals, the Lieberman-Warner bill has adopted provisions from other bills and expanded to cover more of the U.S. economy. The bill also represents a significant step toward domestic policies that will be required for effective global action against the greatest consequences of climate change.
The bill’s proposed mandatory, economy-wide greenhouse gas reductions come as the international community prepares for a new round of climate change negotiations this December in Bali, Indonesia. It is widely understood that without U.S. action on the issue in the next several years, a successful international agreement on climate change will be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve by 2012.
“The U.S. Congress urgently needs to review and pass climate policy to unleash innovation and transition to a low-carbon future,” said Jonathan Lash, president of the World Resources Institute (WRI). “The international community understands the importance of U.S. action and they will take note of this and other developments in Congress.”
The latest refinements to the Lieberman-Warner bill outline a cap-and-trade strategy to reduce emissions from covered sectors by 15 percent by 2020 and 70 percent by 2050. In doing so, it establishes useful rules for investors and businesses, many of whom have been seeking clear, long-term U.S. goals to guide their decisions domestically and internationally.
In addition, the bill has incorporated components of several other bills and proposals including agricultural sequestration of carbon, improved building codes, and carbon capture and storage. Additional policies such as automobile efficiency, renewable energy standards and energy efficiency, currently passed by the House and Senate in the energy bill, may also complement a cap-and-trade program, an approach long sought by leaders such as Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) as they scoped their legislative proposal earlier this year.
WRI plans to release further analysis of the Lieberman-Warner bill, its complementary policies and interaction with a cap-and-trade program in the coming weeks.
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