Warming Legislation Heats Up
Wednesday's announcement that powerhouse Sens. Joe Lieberman and John Warner will deliver an economywide global warming bill by the August recess sent, well, thrills through the green community.
Lieberman's involvement isn't surprising, as he's already the cosponsor, along with Sen. John McCain, of a global warming bill that was previously rejected by the Senate. The excitement, observers say, is all about Warner, who brings credibility to the issue among GOP stalwarts that previous Republican sponsors of global warming measures, such as the maverick McCain and moderate Olympia Snowe, failed to deliver.
"If anybody can pull folks over it's Warner," a top environmental activist tells U.S. News. "We need coalition building and Warner is just the guy. He has a lot of friends."
Green activists believe Warner has the juice to pull on-the-fence Republicans solidly into their camp—Republicans like Lamar Alexander, who has supported a greenhouse gas bill that targets only power plants. Greens are also enthused about the individual strengths Lieberman and Warner bring to the bill. Lieberman has a track record of support on environmental issues, while Warner is likely to assure that economic interests are represented. And they both sit on a subcommittee to the Environment and Public Works Committee, which will likely fast-track the bill.
In statements, Lieberman and Warner laid out general principles that will shape the legislation. They include elements to satisfy key stakeholders. The legislation will focus on a cap-and-trade program, favored by environmentalists because it will set a defined ceiling on greenhouse gas emissions, and require participation of developing nations, a key concern of many Republicans.