Earlier, Brian noted one statement from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on the Lieberman-Warner climate bill. There’s another over on The Hill blog that gets into the technical details of Sanders’ objections. It’s worth reading.
To begin with, it shows that Sanders is one of the only legislators in D.C. that really gets it:
On most issues, Congress goes through the time-honored tradition of working out compromises which both sides can end up accepting. … We live in a country where people have different political views and in almost every instance members of the Senate compromise to reach an agreement.
Today, however, we have a qualitatively different situation. I wish it wasn’t so, but it is. The issue is not what I want versus what Senator Lieberman or Senator Warner or Senator Inhofe may want — and the need to work out an agreement that we can all accept. That’s not the dynamic we face today. The issue today is one of physics and chemistry and what the best scientists in the world believe is happening to our planet because of greenhouse gas emissions. The issue is what we can do, as a nation, along with the international community, to reverse global warming and to save this planet from a catastrophic and irreversible damage which could impact billions of people.
In other words, we are not in a debate now between Bernie Sanders and anyone else. It’s not a debate between what I want or what you want. We are in a debate between science and public policy.
He goes on to outline his objections to the bill. They are:
- The targets are too low: “… it is my view that the 2020 target should be at least a 15 percent mandatory, under the cap, reduction from total current U.S. emissions. … Additionally, the 2050 target should be at least an 80 percent mandatory, under the cap, reduction from total U.S. emissions in 1990.”
- There’s no “look back” provision to ensure that if greater reductions turn out to be necessary, the targets can be changed.
- The transition to 100% auctioning of credits is too slow: “I want to see 100 percent auction or public benefit by, at the very latest, 2025.”
- It allows businesses to get 15% of their reductions from offsets: “With only a few very quantifiable exceptions, I would be hesitant to rely on offsets to meet our emission reduction goals.”
- The Climate Change Credit Corporation that administers revenues lacks proper structure and accountability, and sends too little money to renewables.
Bernie Sanders is a hero.