Stronger Global Warming Bill

WASHINGTON A Senate panel narrowly approved a global warming bill that Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) opposed because it would not reduce emissions of greenhouse gases as much as scientists say is necessary to stop catastrophic changes in Earths climate. This bill is a step in the right direction, but it simply does not go far enough to do what scientists tell us must be done to stop global warming, Sanders said. If we are not extremely bold and aggressive, this planet faces a catastrophe in the years to come. Sanders worked with Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) to strengthen the bill in behind-the-scenes negotiations over the past two weeks. At todays subcommittee meeting, Sanders also offered amendments that were supported by all of the major national environmental organizations. Added to the bill was a Sanders provision that would encourage automobile manufacturers to improve fuel efficiency. To be eligible for a pool of new funds to produce more fuel efficient cars, auto makers first would have to manufacture vehicles that get at least 35 miles per gallon. The subcommittee turned down proposals to carve out resources for solar, wind and other renewable energy sources in the bill that guarantees whopping sums for coal ($324 billion) and car makers ($232 billion). It blocked a Sanders amendment to make utilities dramatically reduce emissions from new coal-fired power plants. It voted down an amendment to make polluters pay for carbon emissions starting in 2026 instead of 2036. The majority also failed to set a goal of reducing emissions of heat trapping gases by mid-century by 80 percent the amount scientists say must be achieved to be effective. The bill calls for at most a 63 percent reduction by 2050, not enough to matter according to experts. I am proud that we pushed to improve the bill that is stronger today than it was when it was unveiled two weeks ago. I appreciate the support for my amendment to improve fuel economy standards for cars. I look forward to making the bill better. The American people favor bolder action than this bill to prevent a catastrophe for our planet and I hope that grass-roots activists will put pressure on senators to pass a stronger bill out of the full environment committee. Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder said, Senator Sanders is providing much-needed leadership and giving Vermonters reason to be proud. He has been the Senates strongest advocate for responding to global warming in a way thats commensurate with what science says is needed. We plan to do all we can to make sure his important voice is heard.

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