Mark WarnerMark Warner

Sen. Mark Warner recognizes the need to take action on climate change, but wants to ensure that legislation will not negatively impact the economy.

Warner seems a safe bet to support the Kerry-Boxer climate bill. In recent months, he has underlined the severity of the climate crisis and the steps necessary to solve it. Speaking to the National Energy Summit and International Dialogue in September, Warner strongly emphasized the need to take immediate action: “The idea that we’re going to, for one more year, delay trying to take action on this critically important issue around energy would be a competitive, financial and potentially environmental disaster.” Soon thereafter, he stood with Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) as they unveiled their climate bill, signaling his support for the legislation..

As Warner told Grist during his 2008 Senate campaign, he favors a wide-ranging approach to energy issues: support for renewables and next-gen hybrids, much higher fuel-efficiency standards, a big boost for energy R&D, government-funded research into carbon-capture-and-sequestration technology, “a fresh look at nuclear,” and expansion of domestic oil and gas production.

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In this letter sent to a Grist reader in early November, Warner sounds generally supportive of climate legislation, but again emphasizes the importance of protecting the economy in the midst of the current downturn:

Dear [Constituent],

Thank you for contacting me about global warming and related legislation.  I appreciate hearing your views on this important issue.

In order to best protect America’s citizens and environment, I believe that we need to develop a comprehensive energy policy that both reduces our emissions and utilizes alternative sources of energy.  Doing so would not only help to preserve the environment, but would also create green jobs and ultimately lower domestic energy costs.  Any discussion of our national energy policy must also consider the international scope of this challenge as individual nations confront problems such as the finite supply of fossil fuels, overhauling outdated energy infrastructures, and many other important environmental challenges.

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Members of the relevant Congressional committees are currently working on legislation that would address climate change on a national level, and I look forward to participating in this debate during the 111th Congress.  Though the science surrounding this issue supports the need for dramatic changes in policy, any comprehensive legislation to address climate change must balance this interest with the need to keep our economy viable during this challenging time.

Thank you again for your input on global warming.  Please be assured that I will continue to monitor related legislation and will consider your views as the Senate debates and votes on relevant legislation.  I very much look forward to serving the Commonwealth during the 111th Congress.

United States Senator

In a 2008 campaign video, Warner lays out his plans for addressing energy concerns and climate change:

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