Profound Shift in the Politics of Climate

June 22, 2005
03:54 PM

Following today’s 54-43 vote favoring his Sense of the Senate climate resolution, Sen. Bingaman said he “is pleased that the Senate is resolved to move ahead to enact legislation that will deal with this serious problem.  A majority of the Senate today acknowledged that doing so will require mandatory limits on emissions.”


Like the Byrd-Hagel Resolution in 1997, the Bingaman-Domenici resolution (S. Res. 866) “is a major step forward in a new policy direction for our nation,” Bingaman added.  He also expressed great appreciation to Chairman Domenici “for his continuing and genuine interest in this topic,” and said that he looks forward to hearings in the Senate Energy Committee “on proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also growing the American economy and engaging the developing world.”


The bipartisan vote on Bingaman’s Sense of the Senate Resolution on Climate Change essentially confirms that the U.S. Senate believes that mandatory action on climate change should be enacted, and it expresses the Senate’s intention to look carefully and take seriously climate change proposals that have been put forward. 


The resolution, co-sponsored by Sens. Domenici, Specter, Alexander, Cantwell, Lieberman, Lautenberg, McCain, Jeffords, Kerry, Snowe, Collins and Boxer:



(a) Findings.—Congress finds that—

(1) greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere are causing average temperatures to rise at a rate outside the range of natural variability and are posing a substantial risk of rising sea-levels, altered patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation, and increased frequency and severity of floods and droughts;

(2) there is a growing scientific consensus that human activity is a substantial cause of greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere; and

(3) mandatory steps will be required to slow or stop the growth of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

(b) Sense of the Senate.—It is the sense of the Senate that Congress should enact a comprehensive and effective national program of mandatory, market-based limits and incentives on emissions of greenhouse gases that slow, stop, and reverse the growth of such emissions at a rate and in a manner that—

(1) will not significantly harm the United States economy; and

(2) will encourage comparable action by other nations that are major trading partners and key contributors to global emissions.


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Bill Wicker

Democratic Communications Director

Senate Energy & Natural Resources