(Remarks as prepared for delivery)
We are here today to consider a landmark global warming bill, thanks to the bipartisan leadership of Senators Lieberman and Warner.
They have worked so hard to come together and craft this thoughtful, comprehensive piece of legislation, and we could not have done it without their tireless dedication to this issue.
This legislation brings to us a strong framework and solid foundation to build upon, and I am so happy that they were able to successfully pass the bill out of their subcommittee.
Today we will hear that the cap and trade approach is not new, and has been applied in the United States for many years. This market-based system has been proven to successfully reduce air pollution.
This bill’s approach provides an effective system for emissions reduction, and opportunities for businesses to thrive.
This bill will create a great climate for strong economic growth, new green jobs, and vigorous environmental protection.
There are several important provisions of the bill that make it such a breakthrough proposal:
It sets the nation on a clear path to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst effects of global warming.
The goals in the bill are strong and will continue to be reviewed by scientists to ensure we are on the right path.
It sets up a cap-and-trade program that will establish a price signal to drive the development of technologies and encourage energy efficiency while keeping costs low.
It preserves the right of states, including my home state of California, to implement their own solutions to global warming, building on the significant progress they have already made.
It includes provisions to help ensure that consumers—especially low and middle income consumers—will be protected.
This includes measures that will make substantial auction revenues available to help ease the cost of transition, pay for weatherization of homes, and mitigate any potential impacts of energy price increases on low and middle-income consumers.
It includes important steps to ensure that action is taken internationally to address this problem, and that our national security is protected.
It creates American jobs, supports American workers in the transition to a green economy, and it provides support for wildlife and natural resources.
I will continue to work to strengthen this bill at each step of the process.
I believe that it is a moral imperative to do what we can to ease the impacts of global warming—not only on the American consumer, but on world populations suffering from droughts, floods and famine. I look forward to working with communities of faith and others as we work to address theses issues.
It is our obligation to act now. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, has warned of the dangers that global warming poses for us all, such as droughts, extreme weather events, threats to water resources, more frequent and intense wildfires, threats to public health, and the extinction of up to 40% of the species on the planet.
Sir Nicholas Stern, former chief economist of the World Bank, has told us that a dollar invested in combating global warming can save $5 later.
We cannot afford to do nothing. We cannot afford to pass a weak bill. We must pass the strongest bill we can, but we must remember that the perfect cannot be the enemy of the very good.
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