House Democrats presented Congress with legislative guidelines to combat global warming today. In a letter addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the Democrats outlined four major goals that they believe comprehensive global warming legislation must achieve:
- Reduce emissions to avoid dangerous global warming,
- Transition America to a clean energy economy,
- Recognize and minimize any economic impacts from global warming legislation and,
- Aid communities and ecosystems vulnerable to harm from global warming.
In order to do so, Congressional leaders say the legislation would have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from 15 percent to 20 percent by 2020 and to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. It would also require the United States to “establish binding emissions reduction goals under the United Nations Framework on Climate Change." The Democrats’ letter called on the E.P.A. to adjust the country’s regulatory response should scientific findings require greater emissions reductions. The Democrats were optimistic about the economic implications of comprehensive global warming legislation. They believe that such legislation could create jobs and transform the way Americans live and work by transitioning America into a Clean Energy Economy. However, not all members of Congress are likely to agree as some have been skeptical of the cost benefit ratio of such comprehensive legislation. () But, the Democrats did allay some federalism concerns by highlighting the need to preserve states’ authority to protect their citizens. They proposed that federal global warming requirements provide a floor rather than a regulatory ceiling, especially since states have pioneered policies in the past that the nation subsequently adopted. Reps. Markey (D-MA), Waxman (D-CA), and Inslee (D-WA) sought support for the principles and were able to gather signatures from 152 members of Congress.