The Heat Is Online

Senate Bill Would Cut GHGs 80 percent by 2050

Sanders, Leahy re-introduce Jeffords global warming bill


The New York Times, January 15, 2007


BURLINGTON, Vt. -- Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is planning to introduce a bill that would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the middle of the century.


The Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act, co-sponsored with 10 other senators, including Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is the same piece of legislation that was introduced last year by now-retired Vermont Sen. James Jeffords, an independent.


"If left unchecked, global warming will have a devastating impact on our nation and our planet," said Sanders, an independent, during remarks prepared for a Burlington news conference. When Sanders took office earlier this month he promised to make the effort to stop global warming one of his priorities.


"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," Sanders said. "The forward-thinking legislation will put the United States on track to lead the way toward a cleaner future for all and I look forward to strong support as we push to protect our planet."


The measure is supported by a variety of environmental groups, including Greenpeace US, the Sierra Club, the National Audubon Society and the Union of Concerned Scientists.


Scientists agree that man-made emissions of carbon dioxide, mainly from the burning of fossil fuels, are helping warm the planet, with potentially dire long-term consequences such as melting glaciers and shorter, warmer winters.


The legislation due to be introduced Tuesday in the Senate would reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and by 2050 require an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gases over the 1990 level.


To reach those goals, the bill would use a combination of mandatory reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by setting strict standards for electric power plants and vehicles. It would encourage conservation and new, cleaner energy technologies.


"The concept is simple. Not only will this move our country toward efficient, sustainable energy sources, it will also help us create millions of good-paying jobs in the process," said Sanders.


Jeffords, who retired earlier this year after more than 30 years in Congress, said he was pleased his bill was being reintroduced.

"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," Jeffords said. 


(C) 2007 The New York Times Company