Reducing the Pollution that Causes Global Warming

Sen. Bernie Sanders and 10 co-sponsors introduced the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act in the Senate yesterday. This critical act, authored and initially offered during the 109th Congress by Sen. Jeffords, calls for an 80 percent reduction in global warming pollutants by 2050.

Sen. Sanders declared yesterday that “we know how to stop continued global warming—we simply need the political will to make it happen.” This bold legislation seeks to do just that by expanding the use of clean, sustainable energy sources like biofuels and wind, solar, and biomass power.

The reduction of harmful emissions depends on both public and private sectors acting together to strengthen our commitment to renewable energy and new technologies. The Center for American Progress has also advocated for the United States to adopt a national cap-and-trade program as part of a larger program to reach the long-term goal of preventing the global average temperature from rising more than 3.6°F degrees above pre-industrial levels. The program would include:

  • The immediate creation of a national cap on emissions and a market for trading credits.
  • Economy-wide implementation that protects early adopters, and provides opportunities for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and agriculture and forestry industries to participate.
  • Potential for integration into international carbon credit trading markets in the future.

To compliment the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act, Congress should also consider legislation that includes these four key elements:

  • Developing of a new generation of cars: We must use current technologies and invest in new technologies that will use alternative fuels or use gas more efficiently.
  • Getting biofuels to the pump: There are five million vehicles in America capable of running on cleaner, home-grown blends of ethanol and gasoline, but only 600 fueling stations that dispense this E85 fuel.
  • Investing in Research: The federal budget must reflect major new investments in research, development, and deployment of new energy solutions to help reduce oil consumption and develop the next generation of alternatives.
  • Stopping Unnecessary Corporate Subsidies: The government should revoke subsidy giveaways for profit-rich major oil companies and make sure they pay their fair share in royalties owed to American taxpayers for drilling on public lands and in federal waters.

Americans overwhelmingly support initiatives like these. Seventy-two percent of Americans think the federal government should impose mandatory controls on carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases, and nearly 90 percent believe the federal government should require or encourage companies and individuals to take action to reduce global warming. Action like the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act is necessary to put America on the right track for preventing further damage.

Contact our experts Ana Unruh Cohen, Bracken Hendricks, and Jospeh Romm for additional information and comments:

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202.682.1611 or sgibbons@americanprogress.org

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202.741.6273 or tkincaid@americanprogress.org