McCain and Lieberman Soften Climate-Change Legislation

The sponsors of a groundbreaking climate-change bill in the Senate are softening their legislation in an attempt to attract more support. Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) announced yesterday that a revised version of their Climate Stewardship Act would not contain a requirement that carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. be brought down to 1990 levels by 2016, though it would still call for CO2 emissions to decline to 2000 levels by 2010. The cornerstone of the bill is a system that would allow companies to buy and sell rights to emit CO2, similar to a highly successful trading program launched in 1990 to tackle the problem of acid rain. Both the original bill and the new version are much less stringent than the Kyoto Protocol on climate change that President Bush rejected last year, but the U.S. environmental community is still largely united in favor of the legislation.