How the bipartisan Senatorial team of Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman might break new ground in US Cimate Change Policy.
bridges vol. 9, April 2006 / Feature Article
By William A. Pizer
For the past few years, the dynamics of trans-Atlantic climate change policies have featured a mandatory emissions trading scheme in Europe and a voluntary, technology-based approach in the United States. Part of that story in the United States has played out in the US Senate: The US Senate passed the 1997 Byrd-Hagel Amendment , stipulating that the Senate would not ratify any international treaty that did not require meaningful participation by developing countries or that harmed the US economy. The US Senate has also been the venue for debate over the cap-and-trade program authored by Senators McCain (R-AZ) and Lieberman (D-CT).
More recently, however, another bipartisan Senatorial team has begun working on the issue - Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Energy Committee. Senator Bingaman engaged the issue early last year, when his staff examined the recently completed work of the National Commission on Energy Policy (NCEP) . During a brief window of opportunity in June 2005, Senator Bingaman considered introducing a proposal based on the NCEP report as an amendment to the 2005 Energy Bill. The Senate was debating the 2005 Energy Policy Act, and there appeared to be genuine interest in a NCEP-like alternative to the McCain-Lieberman proposal.
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