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US Senate Panel Begins Work on Greenhouse Gas Cuts

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  • mtneuman@juno.com
    US Senate Panel Begins Work on Greenhouse Gas Cuts ... USA: July 22, 2005 WASHINGTON - A senior Senate Republican said on Thursday he will pursue legislation
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 21 7:43 PM
      US Senate Panel Begins Work on Greenhouse Gas Cuts

      USA: July 22, 2005

      WASHINGTON - A senior Senate Republican said on Thursday he will pursue
      legislation that may eventually require US industry to cut gases linked
      to global warming, a view sharply at odds with the White House and many
      other Republicans.

      However, crafting legislation that would reduce emissions without being
      too costly to the US economy will not be easy, said Pete Domenici,
      chairman of the Senate Energy Committee.
      The United States is the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, one of
      several greenhouse gases blamed for melting glaciers and rising sea

      The New Mexico Republican said he believes temperatures are rising
      because of human activities. But Domenici faces an uphill battle with the
      White House and many fellow Republicans, who warn that mandatory caps on
      emissions could stunt US economic growth.

      "We have too many people talking as if it were simple -- just cut
      emissions 10 percent," Domenici said at the first in a series of hearings
      he plans to hold on climate change. "I'm looking for a solution but I'm
      not going to join the crowd that thinks it's simple."

      Domenici said he supports in principle a plan by the National Commission
      on Energy Policy (NCEP), a nonpartisan group, for a mandatory
      cap-and-trade system starting in 2010.

      But Domenici said he wants to delay the mandatory cuts to bring the plan
      more into line with the views of the White House. President George W.
      Bush supports a voluntary plan for industry to cut greenhouse gas output
      per unit of economic growth by 18 percent by 2012.

      The NCEP plan calls for US utilities to cut the intensity of their
      greenhouse gas emissions by 2.4 percent a year starting in 2010. The
      percentage would rise to 2.8 percent starting in 2020.

      Plans to require cuts in US emissions of carbon dioxide have repeatedly
      failed the Senate.

      Domenici also faces a possible jurisdictional turf war with Senate
      Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James Inhofe, who has
      dismissed global warming as a hoax and questioned scientific evidence
      supporting rising temperatures.

      "We're not trying to usurp anybody," Domenici said. "It's just that the
      time is now to get people like this to testify."

      Scientists urged Congress to act.

      "The Earth is warming at a dramatic rate and any claims to the contrary
      are not credible," said James Hurrell from the National Center for
      Atmospheric Research.

      Earth surface temperatures have risen 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit since the
      early 1970s and could be from 2.5 degrees to 10.4 degrees above 1990
      levels by 2100, said Ralph Cicerone, president of the National Academy of

      Republican panelists said Congress must consider the US economy when
      considering potential greenhouse gas cuts. Bush in 2001 rejected US
      participation in the Kyoto pact to limit emissions because China, India
      and other fast-growing countries would not be held to the same standard.

      "You can sit in your scientific seat ... and not worry about the
      economy," Republican Craig Thomas of Wyoming told scientists. "But you
      can't do that when you're making the decisions."

      Story by Chris Baltimore
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