In a speech yesterday, the Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), announced a four part strategy with 10 guiding principles for Congress when it returns to the task of writing climate legislation in the fall. Chairman Bingaman has previously crafted bipartisan climate change legislation with Sen. Spector (R-PA) and Sen. Domenici (R-NM), and has emerged as a leader within the Senate on the subject.
Bingaman has sponsored one of the most aggressive renewable-energy standard passed in the Senate, requiring utilities to produce 10 percent of their electricity from renewable resources by 2020 (up from less than 3 percent today) and he’s persuaded a majority of his colleagues to support a "Sense of the Senate" resolution that puts the Senate on record acknowledging humanity's role in global warming and the need for federal mandates to curb the crisis.
Bingaman’s strategies to reduce emissions include funding new energy technology research and development, imposing a carbon tax, directly regulating greenhouse gas emitters through command-and-control regulations, and implementing a cap-and-trade program. “Any proposal to seriously address the challenges of responding to climate change will require sustained action -- and a sustained commitment to keep taking increasingly more stringent actions -- over the course of many years.”
The Senator, however, advocates a measured approach. “We need to set ambitious but achievable targets for emission reductions.” Bingaman, for example, has taken the position that any cap-and-trade program must include a mechanism that limits the costs of such legislation. He has also taken the position that a commitment to certain technologies, like carbon capture and storage, needs to come before cap-and-trade legislation, to determine if such a technology should be integrated into the legislation.