Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Senators Struggle to Act on Global Warming

Expand Messages
  • mtneuman@juno.com
    Senators Struggle to Act on Global Warming Washington Post, July 22, 2005 By Juliet Eilperin After listening to some of the world s preeminent climate
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 24, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      Senators Struggle to Act on Global Warming
      Washington Post, July 22, 2005
      By Juliet Eilperin

      After listening to some of the world's preeminent climate researchers
      yesterday, a bipartisan group of senators said they saw the need to take
      quick action on global warming but were struggling to reach consensus on
      what policy to adopt.

      Several Republicans on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee
      said during the two-hour hearing that they would consider adopting
      mandatory limits on emissions of heat-trapping gases but that they prefer
      the approach of promoting new technologies that do not contribute to the
      problem.

      "I don't think the issue is whether we have a major international
      problem;
      the question is: How do we solve it?" said the panel's chairman, Pete V.
      Domenici (R-N.M.). "I'm looking for a solution, but I'm not going to join
      the crowd that thinks it's simple."

      Last month, the Senate adopted a nonbinding resolution by a vote of 53 to
      44 calling for a "national program of mandatory market-based limits and
      incentives on greenhouse gases" that would not hurt the U.S. economy and
      would encourage other polluting nations to follow suit. The Senate
      defeated a bipartisan bill by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joseph I.
      Lieberman (D-Conn.) that sought to establish a mandatory federal cap on
      heat-trapping emissions, and Domenici said he hoped his committee's
      climate change hearings would help lawmakers devise an alternative.

      The scientists testifying yesterday, including National Academy of
      Sciences President Ralph J. Cicerone and Nobel prize-winning chemist
      Mario
      Molina, all said the world is warming at a dangerous rate, and that human
      activity accounts for much of the recent temperature rise.

      "Climate change is perhaps the most worrisome global environmental
      problem
      confronting human society today," said Molina, a professor at the
      University of California at San Diego. Molina added that while experts
      are
      still uncertain about exactly how global warming will play out in future
      decades, "not knowing with certainty how the climate system will respond
      should not be an excuse for inaction."

      Several committee Republicans, including some who had questioned climate
      change predictions in the past, said they agree the world has reached a
      scientific consensus on global warming.

      "I have come to believe, along with many of my colleagues, that there is
      a
      substantial human effect on the environment," said Sen. Larry E. Craig
      (R-Idaho), who has opposed mandatory curbs on greenhouse gas emissions
      and
      voted against last month's "sense of the Senate" resolution on climate
      change.

      Some GOP senators, such as Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), went further. In
      an interview, Murkowski said that "there's an emerging consensus we've
      got
      to deal" with climate change, adding it would be "tough" to cut
      greenhouse
      gases sufficiently through voluntary programs alone.

      "I'd rather we don't have to [adopt mandatory limits], but we know what
      happens when we leave it to our good judgment. Sometimes we don't see the
      benefits," she said.

      Some Republican panel members said they would be more open to the
      witnesses' call to arms if the scientists would embrace nuclear power,
      which does not release carbon dioxide as coal-fired power plants do. Sen.
      Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) lectured the climatologists from the dais,
      saying that installing solar panels "might be nice for a desert island,
      but that's not going to work . . . in America."

      Cicerone replied that nuclear power "has tremendous potential. People
      just
      want to see it done safely."

      It remains unclear how quickly lawmakers would be willing to act on
      climate change proposals. Domenici said in an interview that he plans to
      bring in a group of global warming skeptics to testify, and he would
      prefer requiring that American companies install cleaner technology,
      rather than setting specific targets for reducing greenhouse gas
      emissions.

      "They're not saying we have to do something tomorrow morning," Domenici
      said of the scientists.
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.