As 190 nations gather in Bali, Indonesia to work toward a new global agreement on climate change, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has taken a key vote signaling that the U.S. Congress is serious about addressing climate change. The bill, called the America’s Climate Security Act (S.2191), authored by Senators Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.), would significantly reduce U.S. global warming emissions through a cap-and-trade system combined with a low carbon fuel standard. By 2050, total U.S. emissions would be reduced by up to 66 percent below 2005 levels.
“Movement on this legislation is a significant step toward a comprehensive solution to climate change. It requires reductions from major U.S. industrial emitters and provides incentives to transition to a low-carbon economy,” said Jonathan Lash, president of the World Resources Institute (WRI).
Lash, who is participating in the United Nations climate change meetings in Bali, Indonesia, noted that the international community is looking to the U.S. to make reduction commitments. He added, “Other nations will be encouraged by the signal this sends. We hope Congress will continue to move forward comprehensive, bipartisan climate change legislation.”
While a significant step, other policies and global action will be required to reduce emissions by at least 60-80% by 2050 - the level scientists indicate will be required to avoid the most serious impacts of climate change. Additional U.S. policies, such as automobile efficiency, renewable energy standards, and clean technology incentives are needed to complement the cap-and-trade program proposed by the Lieberman-Warner bill. Many of these complementary policies are currently under consideration by Congress.
The World Resources Institute, as a non-partisan research institute, will continue to analyze U.S. climate policy proposals, including the Lieberman-Warner bill, in the coming weeks.
The World Resources Institute is an environmental think tank that goes beyond research to create practical ways to protect the earth and improve people's lives.
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