Confront Global Warming in the Senate Before Getting to the White House

Last week, Senator John McCain gave a prominent speech about global warming. I was glad to see him, like the other two remaining candidates, outlining what he might do to combat global warming if he were elected president. But the truth is, McCain, Clinton, and Obama are all still senators, and the Senate is where the action is right now.

As early as the first week in June, the Senate will vote on the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act. This is the most promising global warming bill out there right now. It gets us quickly moving on a strong trajectory to cut global warming emissions: it calls for a 15 percent reduction by 2020 and a 70 percent reduction by 2050.

The bill still needs to be strengthened, and we will have to head off attempts to file down its teeth, but it is the best chance we have right now of taking real, concrete action to address the crisis of global warming.

And it’s happening in the Senate, not the White House. That’s why we need all three presidential candidates to show up at their Senate jobs and prove today that they are serious about their promises for tomorrow.

It is not enough for them to vote in favor of Lieberman-Warner. They should be rallying the support of their Senate colleagues as well. We all know life is busy on the campaign trail, but a few strategic phone calls and speeches on the Senate floor could make a significant difference.

Global warming has gotten woefully limited attention in the media coverage of the campaign (see my previous post for some startling numbers). Yet what better way to reverse that trend than by having the candidates throw their weight behind the Lieberman-Warner bill?