Vermont Senator Introduces Global Warming Legislation

Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-VT), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, introduced sweeping legislation that will for the first time set the U.S. on a path to decrease and, in time, reverse the emissions of greenhouse gases that cause global warming. It includes, among other measures, a national renewable energy mandate.

“The science is clear, mankind is heating the planet in a manner that is destructive,” said Jeffords, who summoned the United States to take its rightful place as a world leader. “We can no longer afford to watch from the sidelines. We are a nation of innovators, and we have the skills to develop the technology to make these needed changes.” Highlights of Jeffords’ Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act: — Requires that the U.S. reduce its emissions between 2010 and 2020 to 1990 levels. By 2030, the U.S. must reduce its emissions by 1/3 of 80% percent below 1990 levels; by 2040 by 2/3 of 80% percent below 1990 levels; and by 2050, to a level that is 80 percent below 1990 levels. — Requires that power plants, automobiles and carbon-intensive businesses reduce their global warming pollution. — In the event that global atmospheric concentrations exceed 450 parts per million or that average global temperatures increase above 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above the pre-industrial average, EPA can require additional reductions. — Provides for standards and grants for sequestration of greenhouse gases. — The National Academy of Sciences will report to EPA and the Congress to determine whether goals of the Act have been met. — Requires the U.S. to derive 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. — Establishes energy efficiency standards similar those found in California and ten other states. — Invests in innovative technologies. “This legislation is a flexible and forward-thinking approach to combating the threat of global warming. Senator Jeffords has laid down an important marker for us to work toward, so that our children and our grandchildren will see that we had the wisdom and leadership to choose a better path for our world,” said Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), the bill’s lead co-sponsor. Senators joining Jeffords and Boxer as original co-sponsors are Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Chris Dodd (D-CT), Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ). To see a summary of the bill, please use the following link.

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