The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Elliott Negin,Media Director,

New Bill from Senator Cantwell Would Not Adequately Reduce Emissions

But Bill Does Underscsore Bipartisan Support for Addressing Climate Change


A climate bill introduced yesterday by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)
is proof that there is bipartisan support in Congress for deep
emissions reduction goals. However, the bill is too weak to meet its
purported goals, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
The bill, the Carbon Limits and Energy for America's Renewal (CLEAR)
Act, was also sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).

The CLEAR Act includes the aspirational goal of cutting
heat-trapping emissions 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83
percent below 2005 levels by 2050. The long-term target is in line with
the minimum reductions scientists say are necessary to have a
reasonable chance of avoiding the worst effects of climate change.
However, the bill provisions would not achieve those goals. In reality,
the CLEAR Act would only cap carbon dioxide emissions at 6 percent
below 2005 levels by 2020.

Additionally, the bill says that it would provide funds to achieve
more emissions reductions, but doesn't say how funds would be spent or
how they would achieve emissions reductions. Further, all funds would
go through a typical appropriations process and important
emissions-reduction programs might not get funded at all. The bill also
lacks provisions that would help secure an international climate
agreement, such as deep near-term and long-term emissions reductions as
well as financial assistance to help protect tropical forests, support
clean technology deployment in developing nations, and help vulnerable
populations cope with the unavoidable effects of climate change.

According to a UCS analysis, Congress should adopt an integrated, comprehensive suite of climate and energy policies
to curb global warming and accelerate the development of clean energy
technology. In addition to a strong emissions cap, the United States
also needs efficiency and renewable energy policies that accelerate
investments in those areas. Such an approach can set us on a path to
adequately reducing our emissions.

The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.