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Congress Gets Down to the Nitty Gritty on Climate Change Bill

June 4, 2008

Washington, DC – This week, it appears Congress is finally ready to make a change and face up to climate change. The Senate debate on the "Climate Security Act" (S-2191), which began on Monday, marks the first time federal lawmakers have considered such a far-reaching bill as part of the nation's energy policy. By the year 2050, it would cut greenhouse gas emissions dramatically, by 50 percent to 85 percent.

Scientists have predicted global warming can affect the planet in many ways - from rising sea levels and more severe weather events to increases in weather-related deaths from heat waves, floods and droughts - unless changes are made to control greenhouse gases.

Supporters of the bill, including Carmen Miller of the Pew Environment Group, believe North Dakota is one state at a climate change crossroads, and that this legislation would help make necessary changes.

"It tries to accelerate the development and deployment of carbon capture and sequestration technology. The bill also attempts to provide $150 billion in funding for renewable energy development, which would be a huge benefit for North Dakota."

The key to this bill, Miller explains, is its "cap and trade" provision.

"The cap allows you to address emissions and actually set some goals to reduce emissions, while also providing some flexibility for the regulated entities through a market trading system, to address their costs in the process."

President Bush has already warned Congress he will veto the legislation if it passes, citing potential costs that he believes would damage the nation's economy. However, Miller feels the bill has begun the climate change debate in earnest, and sets the stage for further action next year, when a new president will consider the issue.

Dick Layman/Steve Powers, Public News Service - ND