Ready, Set, Climate Bill in Motion

Today, Senators Boxer (Environment and Public Works committee chair) and Kerry (Foreign Relations committee chair) introduced a draft climate bill aimed at reducing U.S. CO2 emissions 83% by 2050 – with an ambitious 20% goal by 2020. This is a worthy goal, but it will not be an easy one to reach.

 The bill is a step toward creating a new energy/environmental policy framework in the United States, one that has the potential to restore U.S. leadership in this critical area. Specifically, it could provide the policy mechanisms to enable the U.S. to maintain its technology competitiveness create green jobs and simultaneously reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

While this bill is focused on climate change, it is important to realize that solar-generated energy is the best pathway to achieve the goals of this bill. For example, if we combine this thinking on climate change with aggressive renewable energy standards (addressed in Senator Bingaman’s energy bill awaiting full Senate action), we could create an achievable solution to two of the greatest challenges of our time — energy and climate change.

The latest climate data indicate the situation is worse then we thought and with Copenhagen looming large, there is good reason for the Senate to move. Timely Senate action to follow the House’s passage of energy/climate legislation earlier this year will contribute to achieving President O’bama’s stated vision to have the U.S. show leadership in the international community on energy and climate change.

While the introduction of the bill is just a starting point — hearings and mark-ups will start tomorrow — this bill will be battling for attention in Congress with healthcare reform and other issues for the rest of the year – but the discussion is now in motion. And this is a good sign.

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