View Full Version : Flashback: Final Push to Pass McCain-Lieberman Global Warming Bill

Taco John
01-03-2008, 12:46 AM
Final Push to Pass McCain-Lieberman Global Warming Bill
Historic Global Warming Vote Could Come Up Next Week
Posted: 16-Jun-2004; Updated: 19-Aug-2004

Dear Activist,

If you're familiar with how Capitol Hill works, you know it's very difficult to predict the timing of a vote -- especially when it's on such a controversial topic as global warming. There are simply too many variables beyond anyone's -- even majority leader Bill Frist's -- control.

Last week, for instance, in honor of the passing of President Ronald Reagan, the Senate suspended most activities, pushing the calendar back a week and further delaying our global warming vote. Still, Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) continue to look for time on the Senate schedule to bring their historic Climate Stewardship Act up for an all-important second vote. That means we could have just days -- or weeks -- for our final push to pass the bill.

The new timing has given us a chance to extend our grassroots organizing, advertising and petition gathering efforts. As you may recall, we had originally thought a vote would come as early as May. We still have a long way to go, and we need your help now more than ever to build on the 43 votes we earned on the first McCain-Lieberman vote last October.

The good news is that response from our donors has been strong. Nearly $700,000 has been contributed, helping us deliver the message through old-fashioned grassroots organizing and through paid advertising in key states, like the newspaper ad we've run in Ohio and the television spot.

In order to continue our efforts right up to the vote, we must reach and exceed our goal of $725,000 -- you can help by making a final contribution in support of Environmental Defense Action Fund's 51 Club to help us get to a global warming majority of 51 Senate votes. Simply click here.

The challenge is steep. Just this Monday in the House of Representatives, efforts to introduce debate on global warming and related issues were stymied as even as Congress took up several energy initiatives. Rules Committee members would not even consider a bipartisan amendment offered by Reps. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) and John Olver (D-MA) to outline a national climate change strategy.

As the Senate prepares to take up the issue, your contribution can go a long way. Funds from the 51 Club can help boost our ad buys in our target states. Every dollar counts and could make the difference. With your contribution, here are just a few of the ad buys we could expand in the stretch run to the vote:

$425 = 10 television ads in Memphis, Tennessee, during ABC's Good Morning America
$1,670 = 100,000 banner ad impressions on www.fieldandstream.com
$4,605 = 1 print ad in the Sunday New Orleans Times-Picayune
$12,129 = 1 print ad in the Sunday Cleveland Plain Dealer
$25,279 = 70 cable television ads in each of the media markets in the target states
We've also learned that some energy industry lobbyists are stepping up their opposition to the bill, realizing that Senators McCain and Lieberman are dead serious about forcing another vote in this session of Congress. This is on top of the ongoing campaign by the big polluters to discredit some of the world's leading scientists and muddle the science of global warming. That's why it's so urgent that we be able to respond with effective organizing and advertising in these final countdown days.

What our opponents don't seem to realize -- or what they choose to ignore -- is that every day the problems of global warming are getting worse.

We are already seeing global temperatures rise and more extreme weather patterns. Arctic sea ice has shrunk by 250 million acres -- an area the size of California, Maryland and Texas combined. Severe drought affecting parts of North America, Southern Europe and Southern and Central Asia in recent years has been linked to global warming. And in the U.S. alone, crop losses brought on by global warming are expected to double by 2030 to around $3 billion. (For more details on the global warming impacts, read our new white paper on climate change, "The Heat Is On.")

The clock is ticking and the temperature is rising. Passing the practical, bipartisan McCain-Lieberman is a critical first step at changing the politics of indifference that permeates Washington, D.C.

I believe we can astound the pundits and deliver a total of 51 votes for the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act in the Senate test ahead. Against all odds, and against the intense lobbying of our opponents, we were able to defy the pundits' predictions and come within striking distance of a majority last October.

But since the vote could come up any day now, every minute counts. We are nearing the home stretch and must now redouble our efforts. So even if you've made a generous gift recently, please consider making an additional contribution today. Click here to link to our secure online giving page.

Quite frankly, the stakes are so high for the environment that we simply must succeed. I hope you will help make history.

Fred Krupp
Executive Director, Environmental Defense Action Fund


Taco John
01-03-2008, 12:49 AM
Summary of The Lieberman-McCain Climate Stewardship Act
(As debated in the U.S. Senate on October 30, 2003)

On October 30, 2003, Senators Joseph I. Lieberman (D-CT) and John McCain (R-AZ) brought a revised version of their Climate Stewardship Act of 2003 (S.139) to a vote in the United States Senate. While the measured failed by a vote of 43 to 55, the vote demonstrated growing bipartisan support for a genuine climate change policy.

The revised version of the bill would require the Administrator of the EPA to promulgate regulations to limit the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the electricity generation, transportation, industrial, and commercial economic sectors (as defined by EPA's Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks). The affected sectors accounted for approximately 85% of the overall U.S. emissions in the year 2000. The bill also would provide for the trading of emissions allowances and reductions through a National Greenhouse Gas Database which would contain an inventory of emissions and registry of reductions.

Target: The bill would cap the 2010 aggregate emissions level for the covered sectors at the 2000 level. The bill's emissions limits would not apply to the agricultural and the residential sectors. Certain subsectors would be exempt if the Administrator determined that it was not feasible to measure their GHG emissions. The Commerce Department would biennially re-evaluate the level of allowances to determine whether it was consistent with the objective of the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change of stabilizing GHG emissions at a level that will prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

Allowances: An entity that was in a covered sector, or that produced or imported synthetic GHGs, would be subject to the requirements of this bill if it (a) owned at least one facility that annually emitted more than 10,000 metric tons of GHGs (measured in units of carbon dioxide equivalents – MTCO2E); (b) produced or imported petroleum products used for transportation that, when combusted, would emit more than 10,000 MTCO2E; or (c) produced or imported HFC, PFC and SF6 that, when used, would emit more than 10,000 MTCO2E. Each covered entity would be required to submit to the EPA one tradeable allowance for each MTCO2E directly emitted. Each petroleum refiner or importer would be required to submit an allowance for each unit of petroleum product sold that, when combusted, would emit one MTCO2E. Each producer or importer of HFC, PFC, and SF6 would be required to submit an allowance for each unit sold that, when used, would emit one MTCO2E. The Administrator would determine the method of calculating the amount of GHG emissions associated with combustion of petroleum products and use of HFC, PFC, and SF6.

Allocation of Allowances: The Secretary of Commerce would determine the amount of allowances to be given away or "grandfathered" to covered entities and the amount to be auctioned. The Secretary's determination would be subject to a number of allocation factors identified in the bill. Proceeds from the auction would be used to reduce energy costs of consumers and assist disproportionately affected workers.

Flexibility Mechanisms: Covered entities would have flexibility in acquiring their allowances. In addition to the allowances grandfathered to them, covered entities could trade with other covered entities to acquire additional allowances, if necessary. Also, any entity would be allowed to satisfy up to 15% of its total allowance requirements by submitting (a) tradeable allowances from another nation's market in GHGs; (b) a net increase in sequestration registered with the National Greenhouse Gas Database established by the bill; (c) a GHG emission reduction by a non-covered entity registered with the Database; and (d) allowances borrowed against future reductions (as described below). A covered entity that agreed to emit no more than its 1990 levels by 2010 would be allowed meet up to 20% of its requirement through (a) international credits, (b) sequestration, and (c) registered reductions, but not (d) borrowed credits. An entity planning to make capital investments or deploy technologies within the next 5 years would be allowed to borrow against the expected GHG emission reductions to meet current year requirements. The loan would include a 10 percent interest rate.

National Greenhouse Gas Database: The EPA Administrator would be required to implement a comprehensive system for GHG reporting, inventorying, and reductions registrations. Covered entities would be required to report their GHG emissions and non-covered entities would be allowed to register GHG emission reductions and sequestration. The National Greenhouse Gas Database would be, to the maximum extent possible, complete, transparent, accurate, and designed to minimize costs incurred by entities in measuring and reporting emissions. The Commerce Department, within one year of enactment, would be required to establish, by rule, measurement and verification standards and standards to ensure a consistent and accurate record of GHG emissions, emissions reductions, sequestration, and atmospheric concentrations for use in the registry.

Penalty: Any covered entity not meeting its emissions limits would be fined for each ton of GHGs over the limit at the rate of three times the market value of a ton of GHG.

Research: The bill would establish a scholarship program at the National Science Foundation for students studying climate change. The bill would also require the Commerce Department to report on technology transfer and on the impact of the Kyoto Protocol on the U.S. industrial competitiveness and international scientific cooperation.

The bill also would make changes to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, establish an abrupt climate change research program at the Commerce Department, and establish a program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the areas of standards and measurement technologies.