Lieberman Calls on Bush to Establish White House Climate Change Effort

WASHINGTON – Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) today called on President Bush to support legislation aimed at combating the growing threat posed by global warming.

“Climate change is one of the most critical issues facing our country? and our planet– and the President has walked away from the only agreement we had to address it without any viable alternative,” Lieberman said at Wednesday?s hearing on climate change.

Lieberman stressed the need for the United States to take a leadership role in addressing climate change and praised legislation sponsored by Senators Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.) and Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) as an important first step.

Specifically, the Committee heard from scientists and representatives from industry and the environmental community on the Climate Change Strategy and Technology Innovation Act of 2001 (S.1008), introduced Byrd and Stevens in June. The legislation would complement current climate change proposals by creating a White House office responsible for crafting a national climate change response strategy. Additionally, the bill would aggressively promote research and development of innovative technologies for the long-term stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere by establishing a new Office of Carbon Management within the Department of Energy.

Lieberman also agreed with Senator Byrd?s statement that this initiative “is intended to supplement, rather replace, other complementary proposals to deal with climate change.” Specifically, Lieberman supports firm targets and timetables on emissions reduction to drive innovation.

“Today we clearly broke new ground,” Lieberman said. “In my view, for the first time genuine consensus was reached on an approach to addressing domestic emissions of greenhouse gases, which cause global warming. It seems we can all agree on the need to develop a national strategy and to coordinate the activities of various government agencies and departments that are carrying out work in this area.”

“Even if we disagree on the potential impact of global climate change and the specifics of a response,” Lieberman said, “the legislation put forward by Senators Byrd and Stevens creates common ground we can all occupy and from which we can move forward together. Achieving a bipartisan consensus on this legislation can, I believe, be an important turning point in America’s reaction to global climate change.”