Another Step Forward on Climate Legislation

January 22, 2007
04:41 PM
Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) today circulated a draft climate proposal -- the latest step in a process to establish a mandatory program for regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The draft was shared with all 100 Senators and was accompanied by a summary of EIA’s recent economic analysis, which concluded that the bill will achieve modest but meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emissions while causing no appreciable harm to the U.S. economy.
The discussion draft is based on the principles set forth in the 2005 Sense of the Senate Resolution and has benefited greatly from input from Senate offices as well as hundreds of comments received at last year’s all-day conference on climate change.
While there will be a great deal of debate over the stringency of various climate proposals, Bingaman and Specter believe that it is vital to accelerate the detailed work needed to forge consensus on the mechanics of any climate legislation.  While working from their proposed discussion draft, the process is designed to benefit all of the legislative efforts.  As other legislative proposals are analyzed by EIA, these results will be given a prominent role in the discussion process.
The staff working sessions will begin Feb. 2 and will include presentations from experts and off-the-record Q&A periods.  The two Senators also will lay out a process in the coming weeks for engaging key stakeholders from industry, labor and NGOs.  Here is the Bingaman-Specter letter:
January 22, 2007
Dear Colleague:
In 2005, the Senate passed a Resolution setting forth an approach to tackle the challenges of climate change.  The resolution called for adoption of an economy-wide program that will slow, stop and reverse greenhouse gas emissions without harming the economy and that will encourage action by developing nations.  Meeting the dual tests of this Resolution will require a bipartisan commitment to understand the impacts of any legislative approach.
While considerable work remains, we would like to broaden the discussion to include all interested Senate offices.  Toward this end, we will be hosting a series of working sessions beginning on February 2, to consider the important details that must be resolved in any climate legislation.  The workshops will be open to all Senate staff. 
Attached please find a discussion draft that will form the basis of this process.  An analysis of this discussion draft by the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration was released early this month and will be useful in informing our ongoing efforts (summary attached).  The choice to release a discussion draft reflects our desire to modify and improve the legislation over the coming months.  It is our commitment to create a bipartisan process that will focus discussion in a constructive direction.  Your input in this process will be greatly appreciated.
We look forward to working with your offices on this important issue.
Jeff Bingaman                                  Arlen Specter
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