Senator Sanders Introduces the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act

Washington D.C. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, announced today that he will be introducing the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act on Tuesday with Senators Barbara Boxer, Patrick Leahy, Edward Kennedy, Robert Menendez, Frank Lautenberg, Jack Reed, Daniel Akaka, Daniel Inouye, Russell Feingold, and Sheldon Whitehouse. The act calls for an 80% reduction – compared to 1990 levels – in global warming pollutants by 2050 and offers the most progressive and comprehensive solution to reduce greenhouse gasses across the nation. Senator Bernie Sanders said, “If left unchecked, global warming will have a devastating impact on our nation and our planet. We must, as soon as humanly possible, break our dependence on fossil fuels, particularly Middle East oil, and move to greater energy efficiency and renewable, non-polluting sources of energy. The good news is that we know how to address the problem. The bad new is that, for many years now, government policy has been totally inadequate. The forward-thinking legislation will put the United States on track to lead the way towards a cleaner future for all and I look forward to strong support as we push to protect our planet.”Originally introduced by former Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont, the bill sets out a roadmap of targets, requirements and incentives that EPA will use to reduce U.S emissions and help stabilize global atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. Specifically, the act sets a goal of achieving a reduction in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions that will help stabilize global concentrations below 450 parts per million–a critical level as recognized by leading climate scientists. To achieve this goal, the United States must reduce its emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and make additional reductions between 2020 and 2050. The bill includes a combination of economy wide reduction targets, mandatory measures, and incentives for the development and diffusion of cleaner technologies to achieve these goals. A summary of the act’s provisions is attached. Senator Barbara Boxer, chairwoman of the EPW Committee said, “This is the gold standard bill, as originally laid out by Senator Jim Jeffords, and I am very proud to be a cosponsor of it.”The legislation is supported by such national groups as the Earth Day Network, Earthjustice, Environmental Defense, Environmental & Energy Study Institute, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, League of Conservation Voters, National Audubon Society, National Environmental Trust, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Public Citizen, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, and US PIRG.Senator Sanders said, “The concept is simple. Not only will this move our country towards efficient, sustainable energy sources, it will also help us create millions of good-paying jobs in the process.”Senator Jim Jeffords said, “I am pleased that Senator Sanders has lost no time in placing comprehensive global warming legislation before the U.S. Senate, and proud that work I did last year will not be lost. Bernie clearly understands that global warming is the most serious environmental problem confronting the United States and the world, and that Federal action is long past due. With Bernie as a member of the Environment Committee, and new leadership in place, we may finally see some action.”Senator Patrick Leahy said, “Global warming is by far one of the most critical issues of our time. I am pleased to join Senator Sanders in reintroducing global warming reduction legislation in this new Congress. This forward-looking legislation first introduced by former Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords last year takes an aggressive approach to combating the dangerous effects of global warming.”Senator Edward Kennedy said, “This legislation will set the nation on a course to aim for necessary and achievable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. We can’t wait any longer to take bold steps to fight global warming or else the damage could be irreversible and the consequences will be disastrous.”Senator Robert Menendez said, “I am encouraged by the increased national awareness of global warming in recent years, and the personal choices many individuals have taken to cut emissions. But there is more we can do, and strong leadership is required on a federal level to fight such a devastating problem. Mandating lower greenhouse gas emissions is necessary to protect coastal states like New Jersey from rising sea levels, to promote a more fit environment for ourselves and our children, and to guarantee a healthy world for generations to come.”Senator Frank R. Lautenberg , a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said, “Global warming is real, and is a threat to the entire planet. It’s melting our glaciers, changing the conditions of our oceans, affecting our weather and hurting our wildlife. The Bush administration has not acted for six years. So now we will actand offer serious, comprehensive legislation to address this global problem.”Senator Jack Reed said, “Climate change is one of the defining issues of our time, and the United States must provide meaningful action to address this problem. Climate change affects our environment, economy, and security. We must take steps at the local, state, and national levels to slow, stop, and reverse global warming emissions. It is time for the federal government to step up in this fight, and that is what this legislation seeks to do.”Senator Daniel Akaka said, “”The global warming debate began in Hawaii over 30 years ago when the Mauna Loa Climate Observatory first documented evidence of increased carbon dioxide levels in the Earth’s atmosphere. U.S emits the most greenhouse gases in the world. We must be accountable as a world leader in reducing emissions and combating the threats resulting from global warming.”Senator Russell Feingold said, “One of the greatest challenges facing our nation is the need to reduce our contributions to global climate change before it is too late. The American public is looking to Congress to address this problem, and the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act provides a strong, comprehensive approach.” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said, “From Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay to ecosystems and communities all over the world, global warming is a serious threat that demands immediate and urgent action. This measure will put the United States in a position of real global leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and I’m proud to support it.”