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WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.), ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, today introduced sweeping legislation that will for the first time set the United States on a path to decrease and, in time, reverse the emissions of greenhouse gases that cause global warming.
“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.”
"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.
Highlights of Jeffords’ Greenhouse Gas 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 US 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.
“I appreciate the strong leadership that Senator Jeffords has demonstrated on protecting our environment, including his latest proposal on climate change,” said Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). “Sen. Domenici and I have worked for more than a year on a different approach to what needs to be done to address this serious problem, and we will continue to work together. Regardless, I am encouraged that Senator Jeffords and other senators are offering fresh ideas on how to slow, stop and reverse the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.”
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).
Statement of Senator Jim Jeffords, I-Vt. On Introduction of Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act of 2006 July 20, 2006
We gather today to call for change. Forty years ago I began my public service as part of a generation committed to defend the rights and liberties of people across this nation and around the world. Today, I am here to pass the torch to a new generation.
I have dedicated much of my career to advancing education and to preserving the environment. I am proud of my accomplishments. But I am concerned that my generation has not left this planet in good health, and on behalf of my generation, I offer a partial solution to a problem that dwarfs all others.
The earth is warming. The science is clear: mankind is heating the planet in a manner that is destructive.
Today, I have introduced legislation that attempts to reverse global warming. This bill mandates that polluting industries begin to make significant reductions in their output of greenhouse gases. Our legislation requires that power plants, automobiles and carbon-intensive businesses reduce their global warming pollution. This measure calls on the United States to do its part and join the international community to stop human-induced warming.
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 changes. There will be skeptics. They will tell us we are mistaken, that climate change is a myth. They are wrong.
I pledge to do all that I can do in my remaining days in the Senate to convince our nation's leaders that we can conquer this problem. But only if we start now. You have the energy and I have the faith that together, we can succeed.
I want to thank all the young folks here today, who have a far greater role than I in solving this critical problem. We are at the beginning of a new national purpose. I challenge you to work to commit our national government to recognize global warming as a serious problem and to pass my legislation.
I have been in Washington long enough to know that this won't be done overnight, and it isn't likely to be done in the six months before I retire. But I am comforted in knowing that Senator Boxer, who will take my place on the Committee on Environment and Public Works, stands ready to take up where I leave off. And she'll have plenty of help from our other colleagues who are here today.
So to Senator Boxer, I say, Barbara, let's keep up the good fight!