Senators McCain & Lieberman Launch Bi-Partisan Attack on Global Warming

In Political Milestone, Leaders Seek Economy-Wide Action to Cut Heat-Trapping Pollution; Move Follows Second Hottest Year on Record

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 7, 2003) -- Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) are introducing comprehensive, market-based legislation tomorrow to reduce global warming pollution throughout the U.S. economy. The McCain/Lieberman bill is the broadest in a series of Congressional efforts to control carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping pollutants, and reflects growing political concern within both parties about the global warming issue.

The legislation follows news that 2002 was the second warmest year ever recorded (see press release on the World Meteorological Organization's website). Two studies published in this week's issue of the journal Nature show that global warming is already affecting ecosystems around the world.

"Leaders in both parties are recognizing public demand for action on global warming," said David Doniger, climate center policy director at NRDC (the Natural Resources Defense Council). "McCain and Lieberman are pressing forward with real, market-based solutions even as the White House continues giving the biggest polluters a free pass."

The McCain/Lieberman bill sets a nationwide cap limiting pollution from major sources in the industrial, commercial, electricity, and transportation fuel sectors, which together are responsible for nearly 80 percent of U.S. emissions. Companies must reduce their own emissions, or purchase emissions allowances from others. Starting in 2010, emissions from these sectors would be capped at 2000 levels. In 2016, the cap would be reduced to 1990 levels (the target level in the Rio climate treaty signed by the first President Bush and ratified by the Senate in 1992).

The new measure complements the Clean Power Act sponsored last year by Sen. James Jeffords (I-VT) and nearly two-dozen senators of both parties to clean up carbon dioxide and other dangerous pollutants from U.S. power plants. That bill will be reintroduced in the new Congress shortly.

"Sponsors of these bills deserve great credit for genuinely tackling global warming, in contrast to the administration's smoke and mirrors," Doniger said. "Senator McCain's leadership opens the door for Republicans to take a fresh look at this most critical environmental challenge."

The Natural Resources Defense Council is a national, non-profit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental specialists dedicated to protecting public health and the environment. Founded in 1970, NRDC has more than 500,000 members nationwide, served from offices in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Related NRDC Pages
The Clean Power Act: A Comprehensive Solution to Power Plant Pollution