· This Senate rightly rejected the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 because it called for unrealistic cuts over an unrealistic timeframe.
· I liken the Kyoto Accord to one of us driving down the road at 60 miles an hour and immediately putting our car in reverse. Obviously, we can’t do that and expect good results.
· What we can do is slow down the car, eventually bring it to a stop, and then put the car in reverse. That’s the approach I have advocated for. Slow the growth of CO2 emissions. Stop the growth of CO2 emissions.
And, after doing that, reduce CO2 emissions.
· I hope in the near future we can start talking about what we can do, not what we can’t do.
· When it comes to climate change, I have some good news, and I have some bad news.
· First, the bad news.
· The earth is warming. Climate change is real, and we are the primary cause.
· What’s even worse news, is that this is turning out not to be a 100 year issue, or a 50 year issue. We are seeing the effects of global warming, today.
· Just this month, another sobering report was released. NASA along with researchers from the University of Colorado and the University of Washington released the latest data showing that during the summer of 2005 the polar ice cap in the Artic Ocean shrank to its smallest size in over a century.
· At the current rate of decline, they predict the sea ice in the Arctic will melt entirely by 2060.
· The effects of these trends could be catastrophic. As the earth’s temperature increases, the extra heat energy in the atmosphere could trigger even greater extremes of heat and drought, of storms and wind and rain and even sometimes of more intense cold.
· Now for the good news.
· We can do something about it. We can begin reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, and still grow our economy.
· Forward thinking businesses have already started to realize that doing something proactive on global warming represents an opportunity to enhance their bottom line.
· More American businesses are coming to realize that controls on carbon dioxide emissions are becoming necessary. They’re saying it makes sense to take small steps now to avoid bigger problems later.
· In addition, many companies are realizing that addressing climate change now is having a positive impact on their bottom line. Let me give you a few examples.
· In May 2005, General Electric committed to reducing their carbon emissions while simultaneously moving to double revenue from carbon-friendly technologies and products -- to $20 billion within five years.
· Last week, IBM announced that by reducing more that 1 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, they saved $115 million. Wayne Balta, vice president for corporate environmental affairs and product safety at IBM said: "While some assume that cutting CO2 emissions costs businesses money, we have found just the opposite. Addressing climate change makes business sense,"
· DuPont Corporation reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by more than 60 percent, and SAVED the company $2 billion.
· These and many other companies have shown that reducing our greenhouse gas emissions is possible and profitable.
· It’s time to take the next step. It is time for the federal government to get in the game.
· On June 22nd , the Senate adopted a Sense of the Senate Resolution as part of the Energy Bill.
· The resolution called on Congress to enact a mandatory, market-based climate change program.
· I, along with Senators Chafee, Gregg, and Alexander have proposed just such a program for the utility sector in our bill the Clean Air Planning Act. It is a modest and achievable approach that has been endorsed by a number of utility companies.
· Our approach would slow down carbon dioxide emissions from power plants at 2006 levels in 2009. It would than require power plants to reduce their emissions to 2001 levels by 2012.
· And by allowing these reductions to be achieved through offsets, it will be very affordable.
· We’ve seen the states show leadership on this issue, and begin developing regional climate action plans.
· We’ve seen forward looking companies like DuPont, IBM, and General Electric show leadership and vision and develop a business plan for operating in a carbon constrained economy.
· What we haven’t seen is leadership from the federal government. While we continue to do nothing, our international competitors are preparing for the future. While we provide no direction to our businesses, foreign companies are already developing new technologies.
· Therefore, I urge my colleagues to support a mandatory, market-based approach to reducing our country’s greenhouse gas emissions. As members of the U.S. Senate we have a responsibility to lead.