Sanders: Science Must Guide Global Warming Legislation

Senator Bernie Sanders, a member of the Environment and Public Works subcommittee chaired by Senator Joseph Lieberman, said today he would work to strengthen legislation on global warming proposed by Lieberman and Senator John Warner.

"I look forward to playing an active role in strengthening the legislation they introduced today. The issue we're dealing with here is not Democrat versus Republican, Progressive versus Conservative. What we're dealing with are the laws of physics, and it's absolutely imperative that we produce legislation which the scientists tell us that we need, legislation strong and effective enough to reverse global warming and prevent catastrophic damage to our planet."

The most recent studies, Sanders added, have found that scientists had underestimated the rapidity of changes caused by global warming.

"The problem is even worse than many have previously suggested," Sanders said. "If anything, the legislation Senator Boxer and I introduced in January, the strongest legislation introduced in Congress to address global warming, is probably too conservative to address the problem. It is likely that we should be even more aggressive in our targets and timetables for mandatory reduction of greenhouse gas emissions."

In a Senate floor statement, Sanders cited the views of major environmental groups on the Lieberman-Warner legislation. US Public Interest Research Group said, "This new bill must be strengthened." The Sierra Club called the legislation "a significant political step forward for the U.S. Congress, but unfortunately…still falls short what is demanded by the science and the public to meet the challenge of global warming." Physicians for Social Responsibility also weighed in, calling on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee "to make necessary improvements before passing the bill."

Sanders also told colleagues that if we have the courage to be bold, and move away from fossil fuels toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy, that we could create millions of good paying jobs in the process. There are enormous job creation opportunities in expanding solar, wind, geo-thermal, bio-fuel and energy efficiency technologies."