Bali, Indonesia – Officials with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said landmark climate change legislation sent to the floor of the US Senate by the Environment and Public Works Committee this week will help put the US on the path towards meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
In an 11 to 8 vote, the Committee approved S. 2191, the Climate Security Act of 2007, also known as the Lieberman-Warner Bill. WWF officials say passage of the bill by the Senate would send a strong message to the world that the US is serious about playing a leadership role in addressing climate change.
“This landmark legislation sends a powerful message to the negotiators currently meeting in Bali and to the world that the U.S., as a nation, is committed to addressing climate change,” said Richard Moss, Vice President of the U.S. Climate Change Program. “It not only takes a comprehensive approach in addressing climate change, but creates a framework that includes international forest carbon offsets, funding for international forestry conservation, and adaptation.”
One of the main pillars of the legislation is the creation of a cap-and-trade program that would encompass 80 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions of the U.S., and would gradually reduce emissions 15 percent from current levels between 2012 and 2020, and 70 percent from current levels by 2050.
“By sending this bill to the Senate floor, members of the committee are demonstrating that they remain committed to having the US play a leadership role in combating climate change, which comes in stark contrast to actions taken by the official US delegation at the UN climate talks in Bali,” said Jason Patlis, WWF-US Vice President for Government Relations. “WWF applaud Senators Lieberman and Warner for introducing the Climate Security Act of 2007, and the leadership and skill of Chairman Boxer in successfully advancing it through her Committee to the Senate floor for consideration.” WWF would also like to acknowledge Senator’s Kerry’s important role in helping to navigate the complicated negotiations on this legislation as well as his longstanding leadership on climate change issues more broadly.
The congressional action is especially significant because while the U.S. is represented in the Bali negotiations by the Bush administration, it is the Senate that would eventually have to ratify any treaty.
“Much work remains before the Lieberman-Warner bill becomes law, but WWF will work with the Senate to ensure that the emissions reductions are not weakened, at the same time that WWF would like to see stronger provisions relating to forests and adaptation,” said Patlis.
In addition to the Lieberman-Warner bill, the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday approved legislation that revamps the U.S. climate change science and research program, and the Congress as a whole is putting the finishing touches on a comprehensive energy package that will have great bearing on reducing U.S. emissions. Patlis said, “Congress has taken some powerful actions this week to demonstrate that it cares deeply about the outcome of these negotiations here in Bali.”