Congressional Movement Reflects Growing Desire for Action, Solutions

WASHINGTON (June 20, 2006) -- A new global warming bill introduced today in the House calls for bold cuts in heat-trapping emissions on the scale needed to solve the global warming problem, and reflects growing momentum in Congress for responsible action to cut emissions using cleaner, more efficient energy technologies.

The Safe Climate Act, introduced by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and co-sponsored by 14 fellow House members, would freeze global warming emissions in 2010 at the 2009 levels. Beginning in 2011, it would cut emissions by roughly 2 percent per year, reaching 1990 emissions levels by 2020. After 2020, it would cut emissions by roughly 5 percent per year. In 2050, emissions would be 80 percent lower than 1990 levels. This system of cutting emissions and reducing over time is called a "declining cap."

Sens. James Jeffords (I-Vt.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) are expected to introduce a similar bill in the Senate in the near future. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is also developing a legislative proposal with a declining emissions cap.

"This is the year of new ideas on global warming, and these new legislative proposals are an important step forward to meet the global warming challenge," said David Doniger, policy director for the Climate Center at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). "These forward-thinking legislators are heeding the science, which tells us that we must start cutting heat-trapping pollution now and reduce it to a fraction of current levels by mid-century."

Bi-partisan support for real action on global warming is growing. The Senate approved a resolution last year calling for mandatory cuts in heat-trapping emissions, and several global warming bills have been introduced from both sides of the aisle and in both houses of Congress. In April, Maryland became the eighth state to join a partnership among governors to cut global warming emissions, and Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and several of his colleagues in the American West are also working on bold plans to cut emissions and encourage the development and use of new energy technologies. In addition, more than 200 American cities have signed onto an agreement to substantially cut their global warming emissions.

"Congress, governors and mayors are all waking up to the magnitude of the global warming challenge," said Doniger.

The scientific community has been clear that emission cuts on this scale are needed to avoid the worst effects of global warming. And leading American businesses have called for cuts as well, with GE, Wal-Mart, Duke Power and others calling for emissions cuts and business certainty for their industries in a Senate workshop in April.