Well, those poor struggling senators … how about a first step by having an energy bill that would reduce our consumption of fossil fuels with such simple measures as more efficient fuel standards for our vehicles? Nah, they’ll cave to the auto and oil industries. Just you watch.
Senators Struggle to Act on Global Warming
By Juliet Eilperin,
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
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
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 (
“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
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.