Global Warming: A Time to Act
An international consensus has been forged: Global warming is real. It
is already happening. And greenhouse gas emissions produced by human
activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels, tropical deforestation,
and agriculture – are the leading cause of that warming….
That is why I am working on a comprehensive package of legislation to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions – the leading cause of global warming –
from all sectors of the economy. Every business, home, and industry
will have to do its part.
There are five bills in total:
- First: a bill to establish a cap-and-trade program to reduce emissions from the electric utility sector by 25 percent of anticipated levels by 2020. It is the most aggressive bill supported by industry to date. (S.317)
- The second bill will be a mandatory cap-and-trade program
for industrial and corporate polluters, modeled after the electricity
sector program. (in progress)
- Third, a bill to raise the average fuel economy of all cars and light trucks from 25 miles per gallon to 35 miles per gallon over 10 years. This would cut emissions by 18 percent by 2025. (S.357)
- Fourth, a bill to increase the supply of bio-diesel, E85, and other low-carbon fuels.
This bill would also effectively nationalize California’s landmark
tailpipe emissions law. Together, this would cut emissions by 21
percent below projected levels by 2030. (S.1073)
- Finally, a bill to establish a national energy-efficiency
program, modeled after California’s program. By 2020, the bill would
reduce emissions from electric and natural gas utilities by 9 percent
below projected levels. And the updated building codes would reduce
emissions from new homes and new buildings by 25 percent below
projected levels. (in progress)
It is an ambitious agenda, but I believe it is the right way to go.
Congress has a window to act. If we act boldly and quickly, then perhaps we can make a difference.
The earth has already warmed 1 degree Fahrenheit – and scientists
predict that the warming trend will continue in the decades to come.
The simple truth is that the warming cannot be stopped, but it can be
slowed. We are at a tipping point: If the earth warms 1 to 2 degrees
Fahrenheit, the impact will be manageable, and we can adapt. But if the
earth warms 4 to 10 degrees, the effects will be catastrophic. The
question becomes, what can we do? The reality is that there is no
silver bullet. There is no single solution. We need many answers and
people of common purpose working together.